2016 Cuba Men’s Conference

Men's conferenceAs part of my work with Hope For Life (Herald of Truth), I get to go once or twice a year to Cuba. I usually get to go at the time of the national men’s conference, which was held last week in Varadero. In some ways, the conference is an excuse; that’s how we get the religious visas that allow us to freely teach and preach. (And yes, despite what you may have heard, you can freely teach and preach in Cuba, within certain limits)

The conference brings together church leaders from across the island(s), with somewhere between 250 and 300 men attending. I got to deliver two keynotes, as well as teaching a class.

Our main purpose is to visit Tony Fernández, Herald of Truth’s representative in Cuba. He continues to do amazing work, planting churches and ministering to those in existing churches. Our radio programs generate hundreds of responses every month; Tony follows up by mail, phone, and personal visits. No media outreach can be successful without consistent follow-up on the ground. We’re blessed to have people like Tony and his team.

Section 3 of Church Inside Out

Back cover of Church Inside Out

Back cover of Church Inside Out

On Fridays I’m sharing some information about Church Inside Out, the book and workbook I’ve written that 21st Century Christian will be publishing in the next few weeks. I wrote the book as part of my work with Hope For Life (Herald of Truth) and will be doing seminars based on this material in local churches around the U.S.

The third section is called “The Church Goes Out” and includes these chapters:

  • A Life Like Lightning
  • Preparing For Harvest
  • A Son of Shalom
  • Good News Is For Sharing

This section is probably more of what people think about when they talk about evangelism. However, one point that I try to drive home is that conversion is a process. Evangelism takes many forms. Moving an agnostic toward belief is evangelism, even if the fruits of that work may not be seen for months or years. Focusing exclusively on the person that brings a new convert to the point of surrendering to God is short-sighted.

Christians need to be intentionally moving toward God and helping others do the same. As someone makes the journey from unbeliever to disciple, they are influenced by many people along the way. “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)

As the title of the last chapter in this section says, good news is for sharing. That’s what we’re to do as Christians. Church Inside Out should give churches and individuals a better idea how to do just that.

Links To Go (April 21, 2016)

The Nation’s Latino Population Is Defined by Its Youth

Hispanics are the youngest major racial or ethnic group in the United States. About one-third, or 17.9 million, of the nation’s Hispanic population is younger than 18, and about a quarter, or 14.6 million, of all Hispanics are Millennials (ages 18 to 33 in 2014), according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Watch: College Kids Can’t Explain Why a Short White Man Isn’t a Tall Asian Woman

Watch as the students struggle to explain why an adult male shouldn’t enroll in a first-grade class, why he’s not a woman, why he’s not substantially taller, or why he’s not Asian.

The Trap of Tradition

The problem comes in when the traditions are built, not on gospel foundations or on liturgical /theoligcal Traditions, but on cultural milieu and are then held to as if they are gospel truth.

Why Church Competition Is Losing The Game

People want to know God more than why we are right and others got the church stuff wrong. This does not mean that there are not vastly important truths to be known as well as followed. But it does say that standing for Truth while being silent about the one named Jesus is the poorest of doctrines.

Be Quick to Read and Slow to Comment

In 2014, NPR conducted an April Fools’ Day experiment. They posted an article on Facebook titled, “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?” The Facebook comments came flooding in.

“I read every day, and all my friends and family members do too. Are we not America? Or are you just weakly grasping for stories?”
“Just because people aren’t opting to read a dusty copy of War and Peace doesn’t mean we’re having a hard time comprehending things.”
“NPR, wipe those nervous beads of sweat from your brow, sit back, or read & conduct research at a library for another NPR story. There are plenty of bookworms, you just have to look for them.”

If you clicked the article to “hear” NPR’s argument and the evidence behind their statement, you were instead greeted by, “Congratulations, genuine readers…” NPR then explained: “We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read.” Each comment proved their suspicion. Each comment revealed the reality of why James penned his words in James 1:19. As fallen creatures, we are slow to hear and quick to speak.

Understanding the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Church Today

So if you want to know the Holy Spirit, you must be in the church where He does His work and you must read Scripture to hear the words He gave the apostles and prophets. The Spirit works in the church – of the past, present, and future – “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). He wants to work through you to strengthen and comfort others by your ordinary God-glorifying acts of service and obedience (see Romans 12:3-8; 1 Peter 4:7-11).

What are you afraid of?

Fast forward several years, and I became convicted through Bible study and conversation with Spirit-filled christians that I had neglected the Holy Spirit. And as a result, my faith was simmering down to an intellectual set of beliefs and a lifestyle, rather than something that was active and growing in vibrancy in my life.

Ministers, Finances, and the Danger of Ignoring This Subject

When a minister is under severe financial strain, much energy may be required to simply survive financially. This is energy, time, and attention that could have been invested in that ministry. On the other hand, when a minister overly focuses on salary, his role can be reduced to little more than employment by a religious institution. In the end, everyone loses while the mission of Jesus is set aside.

Man Trapped in Sinking Car Rescued by Texas Reporter on Live TV

Reporter Steve Campion, from ABC station KTRK-TV in Houston, was doing a live shot in front of a flooded road when a driver tried to pass. But the car got stuck and quickly started to sink.
The man stuck his head out of the front passenger window as Campion shouted over to him, “Leave the car, swim.”
The driver then pushed his way out of the sinking car and the reporter waded into the deep waters to save him.

Police nab chicken for crossing Kingston Road

Police reported on Twitter that there was a “turkey or a large chicken on loose, causing a traffic disturbance.”
Moments after egging on morning commuters, officers made an arrest for fowl play.

Must God save everyone?

crossFollowing up on yesterday’s questions, I want to think about God’s obligation in terms of salvation. To what extent would it be a “character flaw” if God didn’t save the vast majority of people? Is it enough that God has given mankind life or must he also extend that life beyond the grave in order to be seen as just and loving?

Is Jesus’ act of atonement a failure if only a minority of people are saved? Does God have to save most if not all? Is the condemnation of some a sign that God’s design was imperfect?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these ideas or yesterday’s questions.

Lost or found

heavenly skyIs salvation a right or a privilege? Is it something that people should receive unless they do something to disqualify themselves? Or is it something that God gives to some and not to all?

Do we gain eternal life or is it something we have and possibly lose? Are humans born to live forever? Or does God grant unending life to some? Does God take away eternal life from the lost or does he bless the saved with eternal life?

Some questions for a Tuesday morning. How do you see it?

Image by exis on Pixabay.