You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Missions’ category.
A little information on what one of Charles Spurgeon’s biographers called “The Greatest Sermon Spurgeon ever preached…”
I recently received an email from Doug Nichols, International Director of Action International Ministries. As I read what Doug wrote, I was reminded of numerous times when I have seen women, older people and handicapped people treated in the inconsiderate and selfish way that the women of whom Doug writes were treated. Some of what is occurring may be due to ignorance or lack of thoughtfulness, but I think as Brother Nichols suggests, the problem usually goes much deeper than that – it reveals a heart problem wherein self interest and an endemic bent to seek our own comfort and pleasure reigns supreme.
And, unfortunately, the problem Brother Nichols describes is prevalent among professing Christians as well as among those who make no profression of faith. We might expect unbelievers to be selfish and disrespectful and inconsiderate, but such should not be the case with those who are called to be followers of the One who came not to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Such should not be the case of those who are called to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than “themselves'” (Philippians 2:3). Rather, it should be a characteristic of all of us who call Christ Lord that we “do not merely look out for ‘our’ own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
What Doug wrote resonated with me for the reason I have already mentioned, but even more importantly, because it has broader and deeper implications in terms of why Christians fail to fulfill many of the commands of Christ about evangelism, missions and ministry to the poor and disadvantaged people of our world.
Now here is the portion of Doug’s email that stimulated me to write this blog. I encourage you to think about what he wrote and consider how it may apply to you and to your church.
“NO SEATS! This morning on the airport bus from a Chicago suburb to O’Hare
the bus was more than full. On the over one hour trip I stood as well as
three women. There were many young men sitting as well as children with
parents. No one offered his/her seat to the women. This attitude of “my
comfort and me first” might also be in the church. We teach by our actions
that our personal and family concerns are most important and do not think of
others around us, so why do we think our family and friends will have
compassion for the needs of the gospel to the orphan, widows, street
children, and the poor of the world.” “So, as those who have been chosen of
God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness …” (Colossians
On a number of occasions I have been in meetings where there were more people in attendance than the main auditorium would hold. On those occasions, Christians were exhorted to be willing to sometimes give up their seats in the main meeting room and go to another room where they would watch and listen to the service as it was relayed to them electronically. This, of course, was suggested so that everyone would at least have some opportunity to be seated in the main auditorium. Interestingly, I have watched as people ignored the exhortations and pleas of the leaders of the conference and selfishly refused to yield to the interests of others. The idea seemed to be conveyed by a vast majority of the attendees was that “I do not and will not esteem others to be more important than myself. I am here to seek my own things and not the things of others. I will not sacrifice my own comfort or pleasure for the sake of others.”
Some may consider this kind of behavior to be trivial and unimportant and be tempted to say, “Why are you making such a big deal out of such a little thing?” My answer to this question is that I suspect that if we behave in this way on little issues such as this, we probably will behave in selfish and inconsiderate ways in other areas of life and ministry as well. How we handle the “no seat” issues of life may very well explain why we are remiss in really sacrificing time and comfort and finances and energy for the cause of Christ in world missions and mercy ministries.
What do you think?
We just returned from a time of ministry in Mexico and San Antonio, Texas. In Texas we spent time with Dr. Marshall Asher, an elder in charge of Biblical Counseling at Believer’s Fellowship Church in San Antonio. We also had extended conversations with the chairman of their missions committee and another elder who is vitally interested in missions from the church. We had the opportunity of viewing with the Asher’s the DVD of our ministry in the last 9 months and leave it behind for the rest of the church to view. We spent a lot of time talking about the Grace School of Ministry and Tshofelo orphanage ministries in which we’re involved in South Africa. They would like to have all the information we can give them about these ministries.
When the orphanage is up and running, Dr. Asher who is a dentist would be thrilled to come over and use his skills as a dentist to help the children. We could probably get some physicians who are interested also.
Our time in Mexico City went well. 25 churches with many pastors represented. Biggest conference they’ve ever had – twice as big as any other conference they’ve had. They were thrilled. I’m so glad as it was encouraging to them. Really hungry people – went well even through a translator. PFG has translated several of my books into Spanish and at the conference they sold a pile of them with me autographing them. They’ve already distributed a lot of Strengthening Your Marriage in Spanish.
What a city Mexico City is – largest in the world – over 26 million people. Publiacione Faro Gracia (PFG) is translating and publishing some really good stuff – presently they have 1600 titles in their book store – they will soon be publishing our Life in the Father’s House and the Homework Manuals (all three) in Spanish. They’ve already done many of the books of Jay Adams and some of the works of John MacArthur. Some of Martin Lloyd Jones’ stuff is available. They want to blanket Spanish speaking countries with good Reformed literature.
Ligon Duncan along with myself and a few others are on the board – they interviewed him and me and are putting together a promo DVD using our interviews. They, of course, are trying to raise money to pay for publishing in that they want to keep the price low for Spanish pastors who really are somewhat poor.
Anyway, it was a great time – met many dedicated Spanish pastors and people. Pray for this worthy outreach ministry to the Spanish speaking people of the world. Especially pray for Wayne Andersen, the president of PFG and pastor of a church in Mexico City and Blair Smith and Julio who are his worthy assistants in the publishing ministry.
I think one of the neat things about going out as a missionary is the chance to rethink what you think you already know from a different perspective.
For example, and I’m just talking out loud here, there’s this idea out there in missions circles that if you want to be effective you need to target…
The following is a version of a letter I sent to a good friend who was thinking about leaving a good church and beginining to attend another church for less than biblical reasons. I decided to incude this letter on our blogsite because this practice of church hopping and shopping is so common among professing Christians and because it is harmful to the individual Christian and the work of Christ in this world.
I received some disappointing news that you are thinking about leaving the church. Carol and I love you and your family and are sorry that you are even thinking about moving churches. We are sorry for a number of reasons. One is for your sake and the sake of your children. When a person joins a church there are commitments that are made that should not be easily broken. It is legitimate to leave a church if the church has become apostate and no longer is faithful to the Word.
Church is not just an organization where you go to get; it is an organism where you go to give as well as get, to minister as well as be ministered to. I would encourage you to read my book To Be Or Not to Be A Church Member: That Is the Question. That books lays out the basis for church membership and also discusses the responsibilities of church members. Consider what you are teaching your children about commitment and service.
It may also be legitimate to move to another church if the church to which you presently belong is teaching erroneous doctrine or practicing a philosophy of minstry that is seriously in contradiction to what God’s Word teaches or majoring on what may be considerered as minor, secondary issues. In keeping with and included in what I have just mentioned would be a church where either the leaders or congregation are allowed to live ungodly lives without appropriate church discipline being administered.
Unless I misunderstand your reasons for considering a move, none of the things I’ve mentioned apply in your situation. I’m not getting the impression you think your present church has become apostate; nor from what I understand are you saying your present church is majoring on certain issues to the neglect of other important issues. Nor do I hear you saying that they are overlooking obvious and flagrant ungodliness on the part of the leaders or congregation.
It may also be legitimate to change church membership because you are being called to fulfill a ministry there that no one else is fulfilling and that you could not fullfiill at your present church. In reference to your situation, I know the area pretty well and I am convinced that there is not another church in the area that more faithfully and practically and relevantly and accurately preaches the Word and ministers to people. Does your present church need to improve? Absolutely, as is true with the best of churches.
I know of some men who, after much thought, research and counsel with godly, humble, seasoned and mature men (especially involving the elders/shepherds of present church to which they belonged) decided to accept the call to to another area of ministry because there was no one else that was doing or was even equipped to do what they were being asked to do. When they made the decision to move to another ministry they did it after discussing the move with other elders of their present church and they made the decision because they fully expected that gifted, committed, devoted men like you would step up and make sure their present church would continue and expand its ministry in the area where they were located and through their present church to the ends of the earth after they had gone. If it were just a matter of personal preference I guarantee that these men and their families would not have even considered leaving their churches. Their going had nothing to do with what they would personally preferred. It was all about Him – For these men to live is Christ (Philippians 1:20 – 23; Matthew 6:33). It would have been easier and much more comfortable for them to live out the rest of their days at their present church and in their familiar circumstances, but they decided to deny themselves the easy path and move for the sake of unique ministry opportunities and needs. Have you considered these issues and have you consulted carefully with and listened to the elders/ shepherds under whose care you have placed yourself? (Hebrews 13:17; I Thessalonians 5:12,13)
Another reason why the news that you are thinking about moving to another church is disappointing to us is related to the impact that this will have on the people of your present church. My friend, have you considered the impact that leaving may have on the work of Christ at your present church? You and others like you are needed where you are. This is the time for devoted, unselfish, committed, energetic, zealous men to step up to the plate and be a part of expanding the ministry of your present church rather than hindering that work by leaving. Please I beg you to think carefully about the impact on the other people and on the total ministry of the church. And remember, my friend, the truth of a the statement that someone passed on to me. The statement was that if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it’s probably because it’s artificial turf. I encourage you, therefore, to stay and make your present church more fruitful and useful to the Kingdom than it ever has been.
Please also consider what kind of an impact this will have on your unsaved relatives (parents for example) and friends. What kind of a message will you be sending about Christ and about the church to them and to others who know about your participation in your present church? You must realize that as a Christian whatever you do will be either positive or negative in its apologetic and evangelistic value. Is it any wonder that unsaved people have a low opinion of the importance of the church and commitment to the church when many Christians have a very low view of the church and commitment to it?
And when you think about apologetics and evangelism to an unsaved world, consider these words from Ravi Zacharias. Ravi Zacharias is quoted as saying, “If the church of Jesus Christ rises to the challenge of HIV/AIDS it will be the greatest apologetic the world has ever seen.” Jesus tells us that one of the ways we are to seek His fame is by doing good works. “Let your shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We believe that we as Christians have a unique opportunity to do just that by demonstrating the grace of God through sacrificial love for HIV/AIDS affected orphans.
I agree with Ravi. I know that your present church is very concerned about meeting the needs of the hurting and helpless and disadvantaged people of the world. They demonstrate that through their giving and praying for missionaries who minister to perople like that. They also demonstrate their concern and compassion through what they do for each other and hurting people in the area where the church is located. Well, I believe that being part of a church like this that is concerned about meeting the needs of the hurting and helpless and disadvantaged people has more apologetic and evangelistic value than all the words in the world.
Many today think very lightly of church membership. In fact, there are many who seem to be involved in the rolling stone or should I say switching churches phenomena. There are, as I have noted, legitimate reasons for moving your church membership, but the reasons that impell most people to move from one church to another are usually quite different from the ones I have mentioned. And, to me, this is serious.
And just how serious is it? Well, listen to what John Calvin said in his widely read and treasured work The Institutes of Christian Religion. Calvin wrote,”The Lord esteems the communion of his Church so highly that he counts as traitor and apostate from Christianity anyone who arrogantly leaves any Christian society, provided it cherishes the true ministry of the Word and sacraments.” ((page 1024) Could Calvin have stated the seriousness of church hopping more strongly than he did in this statement? If he could, I don’t know how. And while, I may think that the words he used were a bit over the top and perthaps stated too strongly, I do agree with his conviction that switching churches for less than biblical reasons is a serious matter.
So my friend, I ask you to please think on these things. Don’t leap before you look. Remember Romans 14:23, “Whatever is not from faith is sin” meaning, of course, that if we do anything without a conviction that it is supported by God’s Word we are sinning. The point being that I am encouraging you to make sure that what you are doing is according to God’s law and testimony (Isaiah 8:19, 20). I’m not saying that it is always wrong to change churches, but what I am saying is that if we do, we need to make sure we’re doing it with the approval of our God.
Be assured that we love you and will always do so regardless of what you decide. Carol joins with me in extending our warmest regards.
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Romans 14:7, 8
People have asked for a listing of items for prayer: So here is that list.
Please pray for the items on Joshua’s previous blog about him and his move to RSA with all that has to be done prior to that.
Praise for God’s continuing faithfulness and goodness.
Praise for the opportunities to serve Him and for the kindness of fellow Christians.
Praise for people who love His Word and are being changed through the teaching of His Word.
Praise for the way the Lord is beginning the process of Josh and Marda’s move to RSA.
Praise to God for Werner and Thomas and Hanrais IN South Africa who are looking after our house in Pretoria while we are away.
Praise to God for the dear brothers and sisters in RSA who love Christ and love us and are praying for us.
Praise to God for His mercy and grace and willingness to put up with us and even use us in spite of our weakness and frailty.
Praise to God for the students who are continuing to enroll at Grace School of Ministry for courses this October.
Praise for the publishing of my books Out of the Blues and Sweethearts for a Lifetime.
Praise to God for the dedicated pastors and people of The Bible Church of Little Rock who take care of us and provide for us while in the USA.
Praise to God for the way He is blessing and expanding the ministry of The Bible Church of Little Rock and other churches in the USA.
Praise to God for the 49 years of marriage that Carol and I have been privileged to have with each other.
Praise to God for 49 years of privileged service for Christ that Carol and I have had together in various parts of the USA, other parts of the world and now in RSA.
Praise to God for all the people who have loved us, encouraged us, challenged us, comforted us, been loyal to us, ministered to us, put up with us and been willing to allow us to minister to them for the last 49 years.
Pray for our continuing courses we’re teaching here in Little Rock (3 times a week) and then on to Mexico for a conference at the beginning of September.
Pray for healing for Carol’s hand.
Pray for the stabilization of my blood sugar level.
Pray for all the things that need to fall into place before Josh and family move to RSA.
Pray for strength to do all we must do prior to our return to RSA.
Pray for more eager students for Grace School of Ministry courses in October. We already have a sizable enrollment, but would still ike to have more.
Pray for more godliness and improved likeness to Christ on our part.
Pray for Ryan, Ian, Joel and others in RSA who are working on GSM and Tschofleo orphanage details in RSA.
Pray for all of the details related to the development of Tshofelo orphanage in Pretoria, for Hanrais, for the board, for all the necessary government details to be expedited, for the raising of funds for constructing the buildings.
Pray that God might cause people to give so that the funds necessary for the operation of GSM and Tshofelo orphanages and training schools might be raised.
Pray for a movement of the Spirit in bringing people to Christ and building them up in Christ in RSA and the USA and all over the world.
Pray for our families that all of them might be increasingly devoted to Christ and serve Him with all their hearts. Pray for them and us as we are separated from one another.
Pray for the Christians in America that they might realize that since God has blessed us with material blessings they might recognize their stewardship and more diligently use what they have for His glory.
Pray for the ministry in which our daughter, Beth, is involved in the Joburg area – Lambano orphanage homes and Grace Christian Church and Mercy Christian Church.
Pray for Pastors Lance Quinn, James Henrich and Todd Murray as they leave soon to speak at a Reformation conference in Zambia sponsored by the church where Conrad Mbewe is the pastor. They are expecting pastors and people from many parts of Africa. They will also be making contact with Christian leaders in South Africa to see how they can partner with the churches in RSA in ministry.
I could go on, but that’s probably as much as you can handle for the present. Thanks you for your support.
http://www.themacks.wordpress.comYours because we’re His,
Wayne and Carol Mack
Psalm 115:1; Romans 14:7, 8
Missionaries to South Africa
Professor of Biblical Counseling at Grace School of Ministry in South Africa
Adjunct Professor of Biblical Counseling at The Master’s College (July)
I’ve been reading a book which includes brief biographies of some very useful Christians from the past, one being a biogrpahy of David Brainerd, another of Henry Martyn and still another of Robert Murray M’Cheyne. One of the things that struck me was the fact that though all of these men died when they were around 30 years of age they left a mark for Christ that is still going on today.
While the question what made them such effective servants of Christ could be answered in many ways, I was challenged by a statement about M’Cheyne that I believe in part explains a reason why he was so mightily used of God in such a short period of time. It comes from the book They Were Pilgrims written by Marcus Loane. As I share this excerpt with you I hope you are as challenged and encouraged by it as I was and that you will join me in praying that God would make us more like M”Cheyne who so wonderfully reflected our Savior Jesus Christ.
Marcus Loane writes: “The secret of his success … was his faithfulness to the Word of God with tenderness for the souls of men. He went about his work with an air of reverence which made men feel that the majesty of God was in his heart. There were few who could exhort the guilty in more searching or tremendous terms; there were few who could address the troubled in more gentle or persuasive terms. Andrew Bonar once told him how he had chosen for a text the words with regard to the doom of those who forget God and are sent to hell (Psa. 9:17). M’Cheyne at once asked him:’Were you able to preach it with tenderness?’ He knew that there is an enormous difference between a voice that scolds and a heart that yearns…It is not by threats and thunder, but by love and pathos that hearts are made to melt; it is not by words that scorch and condemn, but by a heart that bleeds to bless that souls are won. M’Cheyne himself preached on eternal destiny as one whose heart was wrung with a sense of anguish. He did not spare his hearers a word of truth; still less did he spare his own feelings a stab of pain. … J. H. Jowett once said that his severities were terrific because they were so tender…. Both the motive and the power in all such preaching may be discerned in his sermon an a broken heart and contrite spirit. ‘It is not’, he said, ‘a look into your own heart, or the heart of hell, but into the heart of Christ, that breaks the heart. Oh, pray for this broken heart!'”
Scripture admonishes us to get rid of “all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander … along with all malice and (that we instead should) be kind to one another (and) tender hearted…” (Ephesians 4:31, 32). M’Cheyne put these commands into practice in his life and ministry and, in so doing, experienced the blessing of God in his life and ministry. I am challenged to seek the help of the Holy Spirit to develop more of this tenderness in my own life and I hope you will be also.
Dear Praying Friends,
I just finished my second week of teaching at The Master’s College. It went well with students from all over the USA and from other places -England, South Africa , Brazil, Canada. The one from Africa says her husband is enrolled for our fall classes at Grace School of Ministry in Pretoria – he’s a homeopathic doctor from the Durban area in South Africa. I just received news from South Africa that we are receiving quite a few applications for the course we will begin to teach at Grace School of Ministry in October of this year. I presented our work in RSA – GSM and orphanages at Grace Community. Have already done this at Grace Fellowship in Pennsylvania and The Bible Church of Little Rock and at Calvary Bible Church in Burbank this Sunday. Result – a number of people want to give and pray for the work. Example – a pastor who is a student from Ohio told me that he wants to encourage his church to take us and our work on as missionaries. He was present when I presented the work at Grace Community and said he only wished that it had been video taped so he could show it to his church. He said he knows the people from his church would be interested in coming and helping us do construction work on buildings we want to put up. He said they had guys who are skilled in construction work. He said they want to support missionaries who are committed to biblical counseling. Others have given some money for Grace School of Ministry with one man telling me he wants to make a monthly contribution so that black pastors can attend our school and also receive good books for their ministry.
One of my students at The Master’s College works for Capital Ministries – a ministry to people involved in government. This student gave me the name of someone who has a foundation that supports Christian activities. She heard my presentation and said she thought that this foundation would be interested in the type of thing we’re doing with GSM and the orphanage. She said they prefer development projects. Any suggestions about the how and who of raising support for our ministries will be appreciated.
Incidentally, for anyone who is already supporting our training or orphanage ministries or would be interested in doing so, a DVD of our 2006 ministries is available. Just contact us and we will be glad to send you a copy. Also, our new book Out of the Blues is now available. You may purchase a copy from our resource site www.mackministries.org or Audubon Press.
Carol was one of the speakers at the Women’s conference recently at The Master’s College. There were about 600 women in attendance. Had to cut off registrations in that the room couldn’t hold any more ladies.
We returned to Little Rock on Monday and will resume the three classes I’m teaching there on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. We are enjoying our time in Little Rock – doing a lot of teaching, some preaching and counseling. The people are very friendly and receptive. They provide an apartment for us out in the mountains surrounding Little Rock.
Our son Josh just returned from four weeks of ministry and making contacts in South Africa. He and his family ares planning on moving to South Africa to help in the various ministries of Grace Fellowship Church in South Africa. These ministries include sponsoring Shepherd’s Conferences, an orphanage ministry and training pastors at the Grace School of Ministry. He and his family will be coming to South Africa as soon as a replacement is found for him at the church he pastors and the necessary financial support is raised. He has already been accepted by Grace Missions International (the missionary agency of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Californiua) as one of their missionaries.
Beth, our daughter, who is Director of Women’s Ministries at Grace Christian Church in Johannesburg is doing great. She is thoroughly enjoying her ministry in the church and AID’S homes. She just moved into a new home with help from the pastor and his wife of the church in which she ministers and Calvary Bible Church in Burbank, California.. She will be doing a women’s conference at Grace Fellowship Church in Pretoria on the last Saturday of July.
We will be returning to South Africa to teach at Grace School of Ministry as soon as our teaching commitments in The USA and Mexico are completed. We will be teaching some week long biblical counseling modules in the fall and then again in the spring of 2007 as well as doing preaching, teaching, mentoring, consulting, writing and counseling. Carol will counsel women, join me in counseling couples, conduct women’s Bible Studies and speak at women’s conferences.
Well, that’s the older Mack review for the time being. Lord willing, we’ll be in touch with other information in the future. Thanks for your interest and support and please pray for us and the rest of the family as we seek to serve Him and His people.
Because of grace,
Wayne and Carol Mack, Missionaries sent out by Grace Missions International to strengthen churches through teaching and doing biblical counseling. You may reach us at email@example.com. Our web site is http://www.mackministries.org.
For the love of Christ compels us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 2 Cor 5:14 and 15
To this point the posts on our blog site have been from Joshua and Wayne Mack, a son and father team of bloggers. On this blog, you'll hear and see some news from another Mack. This blog was developed by Wayne's daughter and Joshua's sister who is a missionary in the Joburg area of South Africa. She serves as Director of Women's ministries at Grace Christian Church and is also involved in the Lambano ministry to AID'S children which is a mercy ministry of Grace Christin Church.
Recent Pictures of Beth's ministry
Here are the Lambano kids with the team from Grace Community.
Praise Items and Prayer Requests
This blog is my attempt to help keep you better informed of what God is doing here in South Africa.
Its been a great couple of weeks in that we have had a missions team from Grace Community Church fellowshipping with, ministering to us at Grace Christian Church. It's been great also in that they have made real progress in helping us build a church auditorium and hospice for our church plant across the street from where thousands of poor black people live.
At the end of their time with us, we took the team from Grace Community in Los Angeles to a game park. Now, I've been to a game park several times and I am always amazed by the awesomeness of our God and the truth of Psalm 19. This time was by far the most exciting though. We managed to come up on an unsuspecting elephant who in turn got very angry and began to come for us. There was a moment or two when I wondered if our car was going to be squashed or overthrown. It was a pretty scary couple of minutes.
No sooner did the Grace Community team leave when another team that arrived from The Bible Church of Little Rock. This team of twenty young people and adults will be holding a Bible Club next week at our church and at the church plant in the settlement. We're excited for the opportunity to reach out to our neighborhoods. Please pray that kids would come from the neighborhood and the settlement and that they would respond to the truths of the gospel that will be presented. Additionally, the team will be running the children's program at our church camp next weekend.
Thanks to so many of you who prayed for the conferences we had a couple of weeks ago for the Lambano staff. The days were an answer to prayer. The women seemed to be really receptive to the teaching and many of them commented that they wished they had heard this teaching 5 years ago. Many of them are presently feeling overwhelmed and wondering what the point is of trying to apply what they heard now that it is so late in their lives. Please continue to pray for them and for me as I help them practically work through the application of what they heard.
You could also be praying for a single mom (Jeanine) and her two daughters (Crystal and Cherri) in our church whose house was broken into last week and they were help hostage for several hours. While we praise the Lord that they weren't hurt, please pray that God would give them peace and encouragement as they work through the fear that often follows an experience like this. Please pray too for Cherri's salvation and that God would use this experience to draw her to Himself.
Please be praying for my brother, Josh and his family. He arrives next week and I am very excited to be able to see him and spend time with him. He and his family hope to move to South Africa next July and start an orphanage in the Pretoria area. Pray that his time here would be profitable as he works on his dissertation for his doctorate and meets with people about the orphange. Pray also for his wife and daughters who will be home in the states while he is here.
Thanks so much for praying!
I don't want to post over Dad so please look down the blog a little and read what he has to say about pride and humility, but I did want to direct your attention to a new more personal blog I've been working on. If you want, after you read what Dad has to say, check it out by clicking on…africabound.