Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reflection on the book: "In the Presence of My Enemies."

In The Presence of My Enemies

May 28, 1983 was the day of Martin and Gracia’s marriage. And even from the early year of their marriage Martin and Gracia believed that they were called to serve on the mission field. In response to their “call” to the mission field, they joined New Tribes Mission where Martin would work as a pilot.

The decision to go to the mission field, however, was not something that could be accomplished over night. So in January of 1983 they began NTM’s one year boot camp to prepare them for what they would face in the tropical jungles. Finally in 1986, 3 years after beginning boot camp, Martin and Gracia arrived in the Philippines (Burnham 44).

Martin and Gracia's work in the Philippines was to support the other missionaries. Martin was a pilot, and so would deliver supplies and transportation to the missionaries on the ground. All the while Gracia was working the radio, and raising their quickly growing family.

Things drastically changed when Marting and Gracia were kidnapped and held for ransom. They spent over a year of hardship, terror, and pain in captivity. Yet through it all they were faithful in prayer. Sadly, Martin died when a stray bullet struck him in the chest while he and Gracia were being rescued.

I wish that I could have nearly as faith as Martin and Gracia did. I was challenged to see the love and commitment that Martin and Gracia had for each other even in captivity.It made me reflect on my own character and wonder what I would have done in that situation. Throughout the entirty of the book I had to keep myself from crying. The facts that they were faithful in praying together made me wish that I had a wife I could encourage, cherish, and pray with.

However my desire to go to the mission field and have a family raised another question. Is international missions and serving God worth the risk to my own personal comfort, health, and family? The answer and I am sure Martin and Gracia would agree with me, is a resounding YES!

The cost of serving God is never too great! It was completely worth it! Here is why, God has called me up from death into life. Without Christ I was dead in my trespasses already. Yet God sent His Son [Jesus] down to earth offering himself as the perfect sacrifice conquer death. What more can I do but obey what Christ has given me to do?

Also, when I go to the field is there anyway to prevent me or anyone in my family from being kidnapped, tortured, or even killed? Of coarse it is possibly to be careful yet sadly, there is no way to completely prevent a situation like the Burnham’s faced from arising. As Christians we will face persecution. And no matter what form it comes in, without compromising beliefs it is impossible to rid yourself of persecution.

It is interesting to note that, Martin and Gracia were always praying, singing hymns, and meditating on the scripture the remembered. Part of the reason they were able to survive emotionally and spiritually so long was their knowledge of the bible. Wow! If everyone was as commited to the praise of God, I wonder what the world would look like.
The long and short of the matter is that I greatly enjoyed In The Presence of My Enemies and wholeheartedly believe that every Christian should be forced to read it. Through it I was convicted, encouraged, and challenged to be more like Christ and to everyday live to the fullest I can for Christ.

Who is More Important than What

I am now a Sophomore at Moody Bible Institute. Over the past year I have learned many different things about Theology, the Bible, Preaching, Sermon writing, etc. However, as I look back over everything, I think that one of the greatest things I learned was from Doctor Floyd Schneider, who said, “Who is more important, than what.” This means that my team, and how we get along with each other, is more important than agreeing on every single theological principle. Doctor Schneider said “granted there are certain theological principles you have to agree on, however, as long as you can like each other, or at least can work with each other, you can continue to be evangelizing.”

And so whether you are in “career” ministry, or are just serving God as an “average Joe,” I ask you, who are you working with, and how can you better your relationship with that person so that quarrels do not cause barriers?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Husband of One Wife

“Husband of One Wife”

1 Timothy 3:2 NASB “An overseer then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, [and] able to teach, [.]” The line “the husband of one wife” is the problematic (Fee 80) and seemingly “ambiguous” (Walvoord and Zuck 736) line of the passage. While 1 Timothy 3:2 is the verse specifically being analyzed, the line is also found in Titus 1:6 which says, “namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.” And although, the passage has a number of interpretations which will be explored in an attempt to discover the root significance, it is certain that a moral standard is being laid down for overseers (Liefeld 129). The problem remains that how “husband of one wife,” is interpreted affects individuals, and church as they apply the verse to both pick and elect elders, because it will influence the direction of the local church.

To start, a small possibility is that that 1 Timothy 3:2 is a command that overseers, the church’s spiritual leaders, must be married (Fee 80). In opposition to this view is that simple Paul however, was both a spiritual leader and single (Fee 80), and Timothy was also single. Being married appears to not be a requirement for eldership (Liefeld 129). Yet, while marriage is not a requirement, it is beneficial for the counseling (Liefeld 129), and being a light to the community (Fee 80). Marriage is an institution ordained by God. Because of this, Paul, in chapter 4 verse 3 of 1st Timothy, warns against “men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.”

“The husband of one wife” obviously rules out all possibility of polygamy, which should be noted was never an accepted practice of the New Testament“Christian Church” (Demarest 187). Polygamy is completely and utterly forbidden for a Christian, and specifically an overseer, to be involved in polygamy or any other promiscuous act (Walvoord and Zuck 736). The idea of a one-woman man fits by the “one wife” (Fee 80). The truth of the matter is that since God requires monogamy of all Christians (Demarest 187), then overseers would not be excluded. God exalts “monogamous fidelity” (Demarest 187). Ephesians 5:31 NASB supports this by saying “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” And so it could appear that the question “husband of one wife, refers to the question of divorce.

The bible explicitly forbids divorce by saying “But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband… husband should not divorce his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:10a and 11b NASB) Only a few particular exceptions, which are clearly defined in 1 Corinthians 7, are possibilities for divorce to take place. Another interpretation of 1st Timothy 3:2’s line, “husband of one wife,” is that under certain circumstances an overseer may be divorced. If an overseer became a Christian after he was divorced, he may be permitted to be an elder (Liefeld 128). Since God “heals and forgives” (Liefeld 128), there is a possibility that God will use the experiences brought by the divorce to allow for the overseer to counsel and minister to someone who he would have otherwise been un-able (Liefeld 128). There is also a possibility that the divorce was the former spouses fault, and the divorce was brought about for reasons of adultery, abuse, or perversion. And there are times, no matter how sad it may be, that divorce will be necessary for the safety of children and or him/herself. And so, if the individual has done everything in their power at saving the marriage and reconciliation, then he is permitted to be an overseer (Liefeld 128).

An overseer, an elder, can not be divorced is an interpretation which takes a stand that the verse literally means “one wife.” A divorced person could conceivably be married for a second time, in which case the overseer would have had more one wife. Also, a divorce indicates a failure in the relationship (Walvoord and Zuck 736). If the purpose of an overseer is to guide and lead the flock in godliness, then character flaws, which should be at a minimum to say the least, must be addressed and healed (Liefeld 129). A divorce will also be harmful to more than one family (Liefeld 129). And an overseer might have a full-time job to maintain relationships with any children that may exist.

What if the wife died of natural causes? If “husband of one wife” is interpreted literally, then an overseer would not be permitted to remarry after their former spouse died (Gaebelein 306). A problem is created by the fact that Paul urges widows to remarry by saying, “But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:9), and, based on 1 Corinthians 7:39 NASB, “A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” Thus it seems more accurate that “one living wife” at a time is permitted (Ryrie 1920). This is also supported by the Paul saying that widows should re-marry.

The phrase “husband of one wife” literally means a “one-woman man” (Ryrie1920). Look at the other qualifications of and overseer presented in 1st Timothy 3:2-9, the verses describe an overseer as being “above reproach, prudent, dignified, not conceited, and not a new convert.” All of the words and phrases listed are words of integrity and used to describe a heart condition. In other words, if married, the overseer is to be completely faithful to his wife (Gaelbelein 306). Please understand that a “one-woman man” is a man who, whether single or married, has both “character and purity” in his sexual relationship (Liefeld 130). A side note is that in a world where promiscuity and infidelity are expected and even honored, it is extremely important that a Christian’s marriage models Christ (Fee 80).

My personal belief on the subject is that if a man who desires to be an overseer was divorced before he became a believer, or did everything in his power to save the marriage, but for some reason or another the spouse would not continue in the marriage, the overseer may be permitted to be an elder. Yet with that, I believe that the one desiring to be an elder must be tested. If his life does not bear the fruits of a life disciplined in serving Christ, and striving to bring God glory, then they are unfit to serve in a position as a spiritual leader. There should be no doubt as to what the qualifications of an elder are, because 1 Timothy chapter 3 explicitly lists their qualifications.

As stated at the beginning of the paper, the views and reasons that the how and why of the phrase “husband of one wife” is “applied to all of the churches, [in short] we simply do not know. And each church will have to decide whether or not to take this [being married once] as a universal rule” (Demarest 187).

Works Cited

Demarest, Gary W. The Communicator's Commentary. Waco: Word Books Publisher, 1984.

Fee, Gordon D. New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody: Henderickson Publishers,


Gaebelein, Frank E. The Expositor's Bible Commentary (Ephesians-Philemon). Vol. Volume 11.

       Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978.

Liefeld, Walter L. The NIV Application Commentary: From biblical contemporary life.

      Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1999.

Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. Ryrie Study Bible Expanded Edition. Chicago: Moody Press, 1995.

Zuck, John F. Walvoord, Roy B. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Colorado Springs:

       David C. Cook, 1983.

Sleevless Heart

To fix a sleeveless heart
Just tattoo it to your arm
Somewhere safe from harm
Where it can’t be torn apart

But if someone steals it away
Make sure they leave a ring
And constantly be praying
So love won’t fray

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Principles from Philips Ministry

Principles from Philips Ministry

Philip is one of the seven men of “good reputation…full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom”
chosen in acts 6 for the purpose of serving the body in what was essentially the soup kitchen of
Jerusalem. These men were chosen by the congregation and appointed by the apostles. These men although under the apostles an not the “leaders/ preachers” of the church did not neglect however the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ( Philip was faithful in the seemingly “un-glamorous” part of ministry - Serving tables.)

Sadly, Stephen, one of the seven, was martyred by Paul, who was at that time Saul, not long after the ordination. Stephen was not the only person who was martyred and the church in Jerusalem and Judea was being hunted out and persecuted by Saul (Act 8:3). “The congregation at Jerusalem was sadly disrupted” (Lenski 315) . Because of this “those who had been scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4b).

Acts 8:5 say “Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.” In many ways this was a bold move on the part of Philip (Bruce 177) . There was a “longstanding cleavage, going back to early times” between Judea and Samaria (Bruce 176) . Yet even though there was a racial division the people of Samaria still listened to Philips preaching. (Philip had courage to go where needed.)

The fact that the crowd was of “one accord” and “giving attention” to what was said by Philip in verse 6. Is a testimony to the fact that God approved of Philips boldness and work. Not only was Philip preaching the word, but he was also performing signs that authenticated the message (Walvoord and Zuck 372) . Many believed the “good news.” His “message in Samaria was the Messiah that it, that Jesus was the Christ” (Harrison 1138) . (Philip simple preached that Jesus was God and repentance.)

As a result of God using Philip many were baptized in a profession of faith both men and women alike. (The gospel is not gender specific like many false religions.) While in Samaria Philip ran into a man by the name of Simon who was practicing magic and claiming to be someone of great power. He [Simon] prayed on the fears and superstitions of the people to make himself great.News of Philips ministry, the work being done in Samaria, reached the ears of the Apostles in verse 14, And in verse 15 the Apostles Peter and John came down and prayed that the new believers might receive the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to note that, Philip is not mentioned once in verses 14- 25. He seems to just fade out of the picture while Simon comes back into the picture and tries to buy the Holy Spirit. (“Philip’s aim in his ministry was just the reverse of Simon’s aim in his sorcery. The latter sought popularity and influence for himself; the former sought to attract men to the Savior. And, accordingly any increase in the knowledge, any confirmation in the faith of the Savior, was to Philip a matter of pure joy, because he sought people’s souls, and not their suffrages” ( Hasting 123) .)

Philip comes back into the picture in verse 26 of Acts 8. While Peter and John went back to Jerusalem, Philip was called by “an angel of the Lord” to the dessert of Gaza. While there Philip sees an Ethiopian eunuch in a chariot and is told by the “Spirit” to go up and join it. (Philip was sensitive to the leading of the Spirit.)

When Philip drew near the chariot he over heard the eunuch, who was an official in the court of Queen Candace, reading from Isaiah 53. Upon hearing this Philip asks the eunuch is he understands what the passage is referring to. (Philip uses an innocent question to initiate sharing the gospel.)

In response the eunuch invites Philip onto the chariot. Where “beginning from this scripture he preached Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:35). And so, “Philips persuasive exposition of the Servant’s [Jesus’] passion found it’s way home to the Ethiopian’s heart; apparently he also told him…that the appropriate response to such good news was repentance and baptism for the remission of sinsand the reception of the Holy Spirit” (Bruce 189) . (Philip used the prophecy of the suffering servant, the scriptures, to preach Jesus.) This can be seen because, upon seeing the some water the eunuch requested to be baptized. In response to the eunuchs request Peter said “If you believe with all your heart, you may” (Acts 8:37). And so the Eunuch was baptized.

The fact that Philip was so willing to witness to a gentle is interesting because it “put him face to face with the question of receiving Gentiles into the church. The apostle had not as yet encountered the question: ‘on what terms and in what manner are Gentiles to be received?’”( Lenski 337) (Philip was on a mission from God…he did what he was commanded to do. And fulfilled the commission found in Act 1:8.)“When he came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch no longer saw him,” (Acts 8:39). Peter was taken to “Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Ceasarea” (Acts 8:40). (Preaching/ Evangelizing was a habitual thing for Philip.)

Ceasarea is where Philip seems to stop and make a home. The next time we see him is in Acts 21:8 twenty years later (Bruce 191) . Philip’s dedication to the gospel and training people in the ways of Christ does not stop however. Because in Acts 21:9 it tells us that Philip had four daughters who were prophetesses. (Philip gave attention to the training of his family in the ways of God.) In Summary, Philips ministry was an incredible one. He went from being a somewhat no name deacon to a full fledge evangelist. In many ways, “Philip was his [Paul’s] precursor in application of the same, both in zealous missionary operations and, especially, in opening the door of the church to non-Jewish believers” (Hastings 118)

And on top of everything, Philip proved himself to be a humble man. He went out as a commissioned missionary approved by the congregation and apostles in Jerusalem – even though he was going out on his own, he was still willing to be under the apostles authority.

Works Cited

Bruce, F.F. Commentary on The Book of The Acts. Grand Rapids: EERDMANS, 1981.

Harrison, Everett F. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary: New Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1962.

Hasting, James. Greater Men and Women of The Bible. Vol. 6. Edinburgh: T. And T. Clark, 1916.

Lenski, R.C.H. Commentary on the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers, 1934.

Zuck, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Colorado Springs: Davic C. Cook, 1989.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Is there significance to the fact that Jesus’ 1st sign took place at a wedding?

The fact that Jesus cared and changed the water into wine shows a possible desire to save face for the groom. Also, and this is a wild speculation…Matthew 9:15 “And Jesus said to them, "The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Jesus calls himself a bridegroom in Matthew, is there any symbolism in this?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Life Services(PRC Spokane)

The problem of abortion got its start cerca 1973 and has been a prevalent issue in the USA ever since. The numbers of abortions in the USA grew until reaching a yearly “high of over 1.6 million in 1990.”1 Since then the number of abortions in the USA have decreased. However, there have been over 49,551,703 babies killed in the past 40 years. Life Services and Pregnancy Resource Centers around the USA see life as sacred and seek to reduce the number of abortion and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Life Services goal is to be a light to Spokane. Especially to women who are either considering an abortion, or who have had an abortion in the past. They seek to accomplish this by providing pregnancy testing/ medical assistance, Godly counseling, a safe maternity home, boutique/support services (i.e. new items for mothers and their babies,) parenting classes, and the iPulse educational program.

Life Services is always looking for “cheerful, caring, Christian people who are called to work in this area of ministry.”2 In order to volunteer you will have to sign up and go through their

“Basic Volunteer Training.” Training a two week programs with four separate sessions held on Tuesday’s and Thursday from 6:30-9:30pm. These two week training programs are generally held four times a year at the administrative offices on Ash St. After Basic Training, Advanced training and Continuing Education opportunities are available after an application process.” important to note that the registration cost for Basic Training is $15.

Here is how to apply go to the “volunteer” page at Download and print the application, then send it to Life Services by either FAX (509) 324-3669 or mail: Life Service 2659 N. Ash St. Spokane, WA 99205. Also for more information call: (509) 327-0701 or email:

Psalms 139:13-16 talks about God forming us in our mother’s womb, and how God ordained us. From ovulation to conception, all through the process God was there. He is there at our first heart beats. He creates the umbilical cord and forms our arm and leg buds. Our arms and legs stretch out and He feels our kick. He programs the neurons in our mind. From fetus to new born babe God is there. Humans are precious in God’s sight.

Abortion is not something that Christians can ignore. 49,551,703 children murdered is not something to be taken lightly. Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 explicitly say “You shall not murder.” If God sees man as precious how much more can we do but see life and precious and take a stand.

Works Cited

1 Life, National Right to. National Right to Life. Monday 7 December 2009 .
2 Service, Life. Life Services Help Us. December 2009. Monday 7 December 2009 .