Boston and Beyond 2019-07-08

Dear Fellow-workers for the Truth (3John8),

Recently a dear friend asked me why missionaries speak in churches. As a result, we have had an extensive study of missionary giving. The first lesson was from 3 John, which reminded me how dear each one of you are to Deb and me. We know that you are fellow-workers for the Truth—Thank you. 

Our ministry/life schedule is becoming steadily busier. Our days are filled with wonderfully important meetings, Bible studies, communications and interactions, but we are having difficulty managing it all. We need your prayers for wisdom to order our schedules. One part of ordering our schedules is making sure you have what you need from us, so you can pray for us. 

Our plan is to resume sending a short weekly prayer update covering the various aspects of our ministry lives: 1) personal needs 2) the five areas of Boston and Beyond that are simultaneously progressing 3) Our online ministry presence. 4) Our Urban Peaks ministry. Today I will just list the areas with a general prayer request. In subsequent weeks, one area will be highlighted.

Personal Needs: Spiritually, physically, and mentally fit so we can effectively minister and accomplish the stewardship God has given us.

Boston and Beyond—Ten churches in globally connected cities to reach all ten civilizations.  

International Baptist Church—A church which ministers to the whole world in Boston.

Evangelistic Ministry—Extensive International evangelistic relationships & Bible studies 

Recruiting—Tentmakers, Career oriented professionals, and vocational missionaries

DemographicStudies—The selection of the ten most strategic Great Commission Cities

Launching our Ministry Teams—The formation of ministry church planting teams

Online Ministry Presence—Website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Blog, and Linkedin

Urban Peaks—Rock climbing ministry to underserved kids

Being efficient in all these areas will cause the gospel to take root in Boston and Beyond—Please Pray.

Praise the Lord—A supporting church has decided to give $2,000.00 dollars towards our collapsible tables, which designed for small places like our city apartment/cocoon. 

Additional Prayer Request—We need 12 chairs from Expand Furniture. They are very slim and easy to store. The total cost for the chairs $1,785.00  Slim chairs

We love You, 

Bill and Deb

#5 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches Because their is a Culture of Giving

We have been studying why missionaries speak in churches. So far I have given four reasons why we (missionaries do so): 1) We believe we should not go to non-Christians to support Christian ministry. Those who give become fellow-workers for the truth. 2) The labor is worthy of his hire, which is why Paul was not shy about asking churches to help him on his way. 3) God desires that Christians show their trust by giving the first part of their income to Him for Christian ministry. 4) We missionaries, while needing to be content with what we have, know it is good for Christians to give. Giving to Christian missionaries and Christian ministries causes Christian growth and maturity.

Today we will look at another reason why missionaries speak in churches. Missionaries know that certain churches have a culture of giving. These churches have been taught that God expects them to provide for the ministry of the church, which includes missions. Habibi, I personally have gone to hundreds of churches who have this culture of giving, which I will now describe to you.

The culture of giving in the churches, which I am familiar, is based upon principles found in the Old Testament. Let’s start at the beginning.

Genesis 14: 17 Then after his (Abraham’s) return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him (Abraham) at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him (Abraham) and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of all.

After Abraham and his men defeated those who had kidnapped his nephew Lot, Abraham was greeted by a priest of the Most High God. What two things did Melchizedek say about the Most High God? How did Abraham respond to Melchizedek and this information about the Most High God?

Abraham desired to show his thankfulness to God by giving a tenth of everything he earned to Him. There is no record of a command of God to do so. Abraham just did what he thought was appropriate.

Genesis 28:18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 “This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.

Why did Jacob vow to give a tenth to God?

In Jacob’s situation, he was facing an uncertain future, so he made a vow to God that he would give God one tenth of all this resources if God preserved him.

Numbers 18:21 “To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting.

Notice that God actually demanded the Israelites give a tenth of all their produce to God’s servants.

That which is a law in the Old Testament (giving a tenth) is only a principle or pattern in the New Testament. In the New Testament, God does not give a command to give a certain percentage of our wealth. I think this is because He desires for us to let love be our guide.

John 21:15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”

Notice that Jesus did not command Peter. Instead He asked, Do you love me? If you do then show it by caring for my lambs. If we love Jesus, we take care for His children. This takes our whole life to do so. It is our business as Christians to live life so others can hear of Christ and be saved. Financing Christian ministry is only one part of this.

Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

What does God want us to do? Is this a command?

God desires that we give our life to him. Everything we are and have should be placed before God for His use.

Romans 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

Each one of us should ask God how we should serve Him.

Romans 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

We should serve as God has prepared us to serve.

Romans 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

What is God asking of you?

Observations:

  1. God gives a pattern of giving 10% of our income.
  2. Our love for Jesus and His people should be our motivation to give.
  3. If it is our Spiritual gift to give, we should do it liberally.
  4. Missionaries speak in churches because some churches love Jesus and want to give to build His church.

#4 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches The Gospel/Love Motivation

Introduction/Review

In 3 John we learned that it is good to give to missionaries for three reasons: 1) Missionaries minister Jesus to the world. 2) Biblical correct missionaries receive money only from Christians believing that God’s work should be supported by God’s people. 3) We become fellow-workers with missionaries when we support them financially.

In 1 Timothy 5, we discovered that the labor is worthy of his hire. That is to say, those who minister the gospel should be able to count on others to support them as they do so. This is why Paul was bold in asking Christian churches to support him as he journeyed on gospel ministry trips.

In Proverbs 3 and related passages of Scripture, we were taught the principle of giving the first portion of our income back to God. By doing so we exercise our faith and trust in God. We show that money is not our idol and that our ultimate wellbeing is knowing and trusting in the God of the universe.

Today we will learn about the proper motivation of the one who gives and the one who receives.

Philippians 1: 1 Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

I am interested in Paul’s phraseology, “participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” Without reading the rest of the book of Philippians, one might think that Paul is only talking about the Philippians participating in Paul’s witness concerning Jesus Christ, but, as we will see, Paul had more than witnessing in mind.

Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.

By reading verses Philippians 4:14-15, it is easier to understand what this passage is about. Paul is telling the Philippians that he is glad that they are helping him financially.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Is Paul in need of money? How does Paul feel about having an abundance of things or lacking some essential things? Is Paul begging for money?

14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. 15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.

How does Paul feel about the Philippians helping him? What did Paul like about their giving practices?

17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

What is important to Paul about the gift which was given to him by the Philippians?

18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

To what extent was Paul’s need covered? How did God view the financial help, which the Philippians gave to Paul?

19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

In Proverbs 3:10, we learned that, by giving our first fruits to God,, our barns will be filled (our needs will be more than adequately covered). What does Paul tell the Philippians about God’s care for them? Why does Paul feel this way?

Observations:

Philippians helps us understand how the the one who gives to ministry needs should view (understand) their giving, and how the one who receives the gift should view (understand) the implications of the gift.

The one who gives should understand that giving is good in the eyes of God and that such gifts are exceedingly pleasing to Him. God is pleased with the one who gives sacrificially to His work and to His servants.

The one to whom the gift comes should know how to live without the gift, and should be mostly concerned for the welfare of the giver. He (the one receiving the gift) knows that it is good to give and that it will help the spiritual welfare of the person who gives.

So Philippians gives a beautiful picture of the mutual love represented by giving. The one who gives loves God, God’s work on earth and the one doing that work. The one who receives the gift is not desperate for the gift, but is concerned for the welfare of the one who is giving–a beautiful love relationship.

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.

#3 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches Giving should be our Priority

This devotional does not perfectly fit the subject of this series of devotionals, but I came across this passage in my daily devotions and thought it would be good to add.

Where should I place my Trust?

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.

Trusting the Lord means understanding His Word (the Bible) and obeying the commands and principles found in the Bible. Trusting Him in this way at times seems counter intuitive (crazy). This is particularly true when it comes to our finances. As we will see, God expects us to give to Him the first part of what He has given to us–How crazy is that?

Can the acquisition of Wealth become too Important?

Proverbs 23:4–5 Do not weary your self to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.

Like any other thing, when wealth becomes the main motivational factor of our lives, it becomes an idol–something good that becomes bad (evil) when placed too high in our list of priorities. We must worship the creator not the created.

About what should I boast?

Jeremiah 9:23–24 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

Jeremiah reminds us not to boast of our wisdom, might or riches. Wisdom is a good thing as are riches and might. The point is that our our boast, our confidence should be the Lord. He is the One who ultimately protects us, not our wisdom or riches or might, but the Lord God Almighty who fights for us and protects us. He protects and provides for us.

Is Wealth Good or Bad?

Proverbs 3:16 Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor.

This Proverb is referring to wisdom when it uses the personal pronoun “her”. Notice that long life, riches and honor are the by-products of living according to wisdom. Therefore, we may safely say that riches are not a bad thing but a good gift from God to those who love and fear Him first and who seek to live in accordance with His instruction.

How much do I trust the Lord?

Proverbs 3:9–10 Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.

This is an admonition to give the first portion of our wealth back to God, who first gave it to us. Giving to God in this age means giving to churches and missionaries and ministries in order to make the gospel of Jesus Christ known. As I said above, this may seem counter intuitive, but it is clearly the way of God. What a wonderful way to show our trust in God by giving generously from what He has given to us to support Christian workers, Christian churches, and Christian ministries.

What does the Scripture say is true for those who give the first part of their income back to God?

Observations:

1. Everything begins with trust in God. 

2. All good things come from trusting God. 

3. Might, wisdom or riches must not become more important than knowing God, because that would deform them, making them into idols.

4. Might, riches and wisdom are good, wonderful as a by product of loving and pursuing God.

5. The priority of giving to God reflects our trust in God.

6. Proverbs 3:10 explains that those who faithfully give the first part of their income are rewarded with more riches.

#2 Why Missionaries Speak in Churches The Ox with Beautiful Feet–Missionaries, Pastors and Finances

Wild grown-up male musk ox feeding, grazing in a forest glade. Sunny summer day the animal sheds hair.

In our last devotional, we talked about our opportunity to become fellow-laborers with missionaries. Today we will look at two things: 1) Financially caring for those who minister (teach or admonish us), the Word to us. For me, this means making sure my pastor who teaches me each Sunday and who cares for my spiritual well-being is financially cared for. 1Timothy 5 teaches me why I should do so. 2) We will also look at the phase or idea of sending missionaries on their way, and what that means. I hope that this series of devotionals will help us understand how our good and loving God desires to bless us with the privilege of caring for His vocational (those who live by and for the gospel) servants.

Caring for the Ox

1Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

The word “Elders” refers to those pastors who have the responsibility of preaching and teaching the Word of God.

What does the Scripture mean when saying that elders who teach or preach well are worthy of double honor?

How does verse 18 illustrate verse 17?

According to the last part of verse 18, Is it enough for a pastor or missionary to do the work of ministry or should they have another occupation also?

My Observation:

We should financially care for those who teach us the Word of God, and who helps us live our lives with God.

Helping Missionaries

Yesterday, we studied 3John and learned that it is good to financially support missionaries. The passages below support that conclusion.

Acts 15: 3 Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren.

It is not completely clear, but I believe the phrase, being sent on their way refers to the church helping them financially travel to various places in order to minister the gospel.

Romans 15:24 whenever I go to Spain—for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while— 25 but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.

Paul’s hope, which he clearly communicated, was for the church at Rome (wonder if they kissed him on his lips) to help him financially as he traveled on to Spain.

1 Corinthians 16:I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 

Paul’s desire, which he clearly communicated, was for the Corinthian church to help him financially on his missionary journey.

1 Corinthian 16:10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers. 

Paul also clearly communicated his desire for the Corinthian church to financially help Timothy.

2 Corinthians 1:16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea

Paul not only asked the Corinthian church to financially help him go to Spain, but he also asked them to help him financially on his way to Judea.

Titus 3:13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing.

Paul instructed Titus to make sure Zenas traveled well by being financially generous .

The Beautiful Feet of Missionaries

Romans 10: 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

There is nothing more wonderful than hearing and understanding God’s love letter of salvation. However, we cannot hear without someone telling us. Someone cannot tell us unless they are sent to tell us. Those sent ones need to be supported. It is a beautiful thing to support those with beautiful feet.

My Observations:

  1. Because Christian workers, work they should be paid for it–a laborer is worthy his hire.
  2. Christian workers should be paid double if they do a good job.
  3. Missionaries cannot obey their calling if others do not pay their way.
  4. It is the responsibility of the Christian worker to ask Christians to help them financially.
  5. It is the responsibility, joy and honor for the Christian to join the missionaries work by taking care of their financial need in a bountiful way–lacking nothing.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016).


#1 Why Missionaries speak in Churches To Become Fellow-Workers for the Truth (Praiseworthy Giving)

Illustration. The Apostle John was one of the inner circle of three who stayed with Jesus even when the others were absent. John is known as the one for whom Jesus had a special affection and who was “reclining next to him” at the Last Supper (John 13:23).  Richards, L. O. (1991). The Bible reader’s companion (electronic ed., p. 890). Wheaton: Victor Books.

You and I recently had a discussion concerning missionaries speaking in churches and receiving a small honorarium for doing so. I think you felt it was an inefficient way to support a ministry. So, I have decided to write about why missionaries choose to speak in churches. This will probably be a two or three devotional series on missionary giving. Be ready to be blessed with Truth from God’s holy love letter. You will be blessed because through these few lessons you will learn/or be reminded, how one is able to become a fellow-worker for the Truth:-)

3John The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. 

John is writing to an individual named Gaius, who evidently has a church in his home (verses 10-12, 15).

3 JohnBeloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 

What causes John his greatest joy?

3 JohnBeloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church.

John is praising Gauis for doing something for a group of men, whom he refers to as brothers and strangers. Evidently, they were Christians (brothers) who were not know by Gaius, had visited Gaius, and afterwards spoken highly of Gaius before some church.

You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth. 

What does John mean when he instructs Gaius to send these men on their journey in a manner worthy of God?

What two reasons does John give in verse 7 for supporting these men financially?

What reason does John give in verse 8 for supporting missionaries?

3 John I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church. 

What does John do about brothers who hurt the church?

3 John11 Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true. 

What does John do for those who are good testimonies for the truth?

3 John13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. 

Is texting, emailing or writing letters as good as a face to face visit?

3 John15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name. 

Although, this letter is written to Gaius, John asks him to greet others, who must have been part of a small church.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016).

Boston and Beyond

Boston and Beyond Presentation 

BMM General Council 

2019-03-07 

Dear Council Members,

Thank you for taking time to hear about the Boston and Beyond ministry plan. I am eagerly anticipating our collaboration and have been praying that our Father will grant us wisdom as Boston and Beyond is vetted, and hopefully, weaved into the fabric of Baptist Mid-Missions.  

Boston

Deb and I moved to Boston 20 years ago in order to minister the gospel to international students and scholars. Over the years, God has taught us that the academic community is only one part of what makes large cities important places to minister. Because large cities consist of immigrant communities, tourist industries, internationally integrated businesses and globally connected city governments, these cities are strategic hot spots for Great Commission ministry. In Boston, on any particular day, we can potentially touch any part of the world.

Boston and Beyond

However, ministry in Boston has not remained in Boston. [1]Our disciples leave Boston and take the gospel with them. Friends and family members have responded to Christ through their witness. By using video conferencing augmented with occasional visits, we have been able to help these disciples in their evangelistic and discipleship ministries. Individuals have become Christians and young Christians have been strengthened. By following gospel-centered relationships made in Boston, globally, we have been able to disciple into other parts of the world.

A Globalized[2]Cities Initiative

We see the potential to join these disciples in other globalized cities, helping them to be faithful to our joint calling of making disciples in all nations. The resulting plan is being called, Boston and Beyond a globalized cities initiative.  

The Plan

1.    Build the Church: We will continue to help establish the International Baptist Church (IBC), which is designed to minister to the whole demographic of Boston. The IBC will provide the foundation and launching pad, which these disciples will need, as they go home and duplicate what they have learned in Boston. 

2.    Evangelize the Nations: Our outreach to the global community of Boston will continue. The goal is to develop evangelistic relationships/Bible studies with individuals from all parts of the world.

3.    Recruit the Workers:  We will recruit and train church members, interns, and vocational missionaries to live and work in globalized cities, internationally. This training will take place in Boston. 

4.    Target Strategic Cities: Through relationships made in Boston and by means of demographic studies we will identify the most strategic cities internationally.

5.     Launch the Teams: Teams will be formed which will include vocational missionaries, church members, as well as international disciples made in Boston. These teams will travel to the strategic cities in order to network with existing churches and/or to start churches capable of ministering the Word of God to the surrounding areas.

During our twenty years in Boston, God has shown us that by ministering in Boston, the gospel will travel globally. Our desire is to accelerate by working with the body of Christ to disciple the world, starting in Boston, and then extending globally—Boston and Beyond.

Please help us, 

Bill and Deb


[1] By “Our disciples,” we are referring to those who have become Christians in Boston through the ministry to which God has called us. We understand that it is God who works in them, and that we are blessed to be used by Him to do so.

[2]A globalized city is technically defined as a city of at least one million which is connected internationally by human interactions. 

Friendship and Brotherly Love

Some people are more demonstrative in their brotherly friendship and love than others. So, I thought it would be good to look at what the Bible says about this subject. When I think of showing emotion demonstratively, I think of John. So let’s start with John.

Proverbs 27: 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

We start with this verse from Proverbs because it was from Proverbs that this study originated.

Notice that true friends are obligated to wound one another. This reminds me that love is more than an emotion. Friendship/brotherly love is also a commitment to one another’s welfare in the whole person.

John 13: 23 There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

Most commentators agree that the one whom Jesus loved passages refer to the Apostle John.

The context of the is passage is when Jesus announced that He would be betrayed. What does this passage reveal about the Apostle John?

John 20:26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”

Jesus entrusted His mother with John. What does this say about Jesus relationship with John.?

John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

What interests me is that Peter and John are hanging out together. Two very different personalities serving Jesus and finding brotherly friendship with one-another.

John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.

It was John who leaned on Jesus bosom but it was Peter who impulsively swam towards Jesus. What does this say about the relationship of John and Peter towards Jesus? How were they different?

John 21:20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?”

Why did Peter mention John? Why was it John that was following closely behind Peter and Jesus?

1 Jn 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—

The disciples spent three years with Jesus. They experienced close relationship with Him. Notice, John, the one who leaned on Jesus chest, mentions that the disciples even touched Jesus. Why did John emphasis this close relationship with Jesus?

1 Jn 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

If we get close to Jesus with whom can we have fellowship?

1 Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Fellowship with Jesus and true brother love/friendship with one another is based upon walking in the light, confessing and forsaking our sin and receiving our Savior’s cleansing. There is no true brotherly love based upon sinful living. But by walking in the light towards the brilliant light of Jesus, brothers in the Lord can enjoy soul satisfying brotherly love.

1 Jn 1:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

How do we first of all love one another?

 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.

 

Our New Ministry Home

We now live behind the windows to the right.

Recently Deb and I moved from 6 Wyoming Place in Malden, Massachusetts to 290 #4 Boston, MA 02116. We have a new ministry home, and it is quite a transition.

Twenty years ago, some of you helped us rebuild our first Boston area ministry home. It took eight months and a huge amount of volunteer labor to completely rebuild the Malden property, and it was for a good cause. The Malden property was dedicated to the Lord’s work and was extensively used to build evangelistic relationships, which became an international church family.

Having now moved us into a new phase of the Boston ministry, God has also moved us into a more strategic location in the middle of Boston. In fact, we now live three hundred and fifty feet from one the busiest subway, commuter/rail stops in the city of Boston. We are literally surrounded by the international academic community of Boston,. The globe, all of it, is within walking distance of our new ministry home.

How this happened–God’s firm leading from one location to another–is quite a story.

But that’s for another day.

Urban Peaks

Recently I began working as a coordinator for a non-profit organization called Urban Peaks. Urban Peaks has the same ownership as Metro Rock Climbing gyms. Deb and I originally asked the owner of Metro Rocks if I could work part time in-order to pay for our membership at Metro Rock.

The way this all worked out is interesting. The owner asked me to work at Urban Peaks rather than Metro Rocks, which still pays for our yearly membership at Metro Rock. Actually, Deb was granted, basically, an honorary membership since she is known as the gym mother. She was granted this status as a result of her practice of brining home made baked goods each time we go to Metro. What I thought would be a mundane job that allowed us a membership at a workout gym, turned into a coordinators leadership position at non-profit designed to help underprivileged children.

There are several reasons why it is good to work at Urban Peaks: 1) working there provides some financial assistance, which helps our budget 2) We are becoming more of a part of the Metro family, which allows us to share our life in God more effectively. 3) Being an employee of Urban Peaks allows me to travel more easily to non-access countries. 4) The purpose of Urban Peaks is to help underprivileged youth experience rock climbing. Like any athletic discipline there are many benefits from participation. 5) There will be the opportunity to engage many Christians groups in Boston, who are ministering to at risk kids, and to help them use Metro Rock gyms as part of their ministry plan. 6) This, in turn, helps me to become better acquainted and to engage with all parts of Boston. 7) Part of my fund raising efforts for Urban Peaks will involve me with various climbing clubs across Boston including universities and college climbing clubs. A good thing for Deb and I and the Boston and Beyond ministry.

It is interesting that what started as a financial hardship resulted in a strategic partnership with a secular non-profit. God had a nexus of reasons to bring a financial need upon us. Solving that need is opening new avenues of ministry, and causing me to think through other ways of engaging in ministry.