#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.

Good Morning

Deb and I have been going to bed early, so it was not hard to arise at 4:30am. I am longing to write more, and, for the time being, early morning may be the time.

I desire to write to be a blessing. At 64 I have observed a bit of life. I have learned lessons, which I hope to pass on to all, but especially to those whom I know and love.

It seems to me, it might be easier to communicate life lessons by writing than by speaking them. Some folks will read advice more easily than listening to advice.

So, what do I have to say today? I don’t know, but I can say this, at 64 it seems good to be alive. I am 6 weeks into hip replacement recovery. Received the news yesterday that it will be another 6 weeks before I should rock climb–not happy about that. Also, probably will need to cancel a summer trip to climb the Grand Teton. It’s not so much the climb but the hike through a huge boulder field on the way to the climb. Still, I am alive and well with plenty of reason to love life.

Next week, Boston and Beyond will become an official part of the life and ministry of Baptist Mid-Missions, and, on April 2, Deb and I move into a tiny Brownstone 250 feet from the Back Bay Station in Boston. Both of these happenings brings joy and hope to my heart. Joy in that we sense God’s firm leading hand. Hope in that we realize God still desires to use us into our old age.

Around 43 years ago, I realized my desperate need for God and responded to Him in faith believing that Jesus is the Savior. Since then God has taken care of me. He has preserved me, refined me, made me.

The life lesson is this: Walk with God and you will not regret it.

Jesus Presented at the Temple

J

Jesus Presented at the Temple

Luke 2: 21-24 And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Bill”s Comments–Mary and Joseph were humble, obedient parents. You don’t need to be well known to do great things. 

Lesson: Faithfulness to the Lord will accomplish whatever it is we should  accomplish. 

Luke 2: 25-35 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

Bill’s Comments–Simeon had obediently waited for the Father to reveal to him the One who would bring salvation to both the Jew and Gentile (the whole world). Simeon would have clearly understood that God would send a Savior by his (Simeon’s) study of God’s Word, the Bible. The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that in his life time he would see the prepared One.

Lesson: God will lead those who are obedient students of His Word (the Bible) to understand and do His will. Our personal God is able to lead us personally.

Luke 2: 36-38 There was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Bill”s Comments–Anna, by the giftedness granted to her by God, speaks to those at the Temple about the child Jesus, who would become the Savior of the world. Notice, that Anna was devoted to God all of her life.

Lesson: So, we are shown faithful parents, Jospeh and Mary; a faithful servant, Simeon; and a devout gifted for ministry woman, Anna. We also are able to lead a life which may be characterized as faithful and devout. By doing so, God may decide to use us to serve the Savior, just like Joseph and Mary, Simeon, and Anna.

Christmas 2018

Recently, I wrote about our financial need as missionaries. I am concerned that my letter may have sounded like Deb and I were having a tough Christmas. So, it seems important to tell you that we feel mightily blessed by God this Christmas of 2018.

The week before Christmas, when it looked like I would have hip surgery, four of our five children made plans to fly to Boston in order to be with their mom during surgery. They were coming from as far away as Jackson, Wyoming, Chicago and Simpsonville, South Carolina. They were willing to drop everything and come at a moments notice to make sure mom would be alright. We have 5 children and 11 grandchildren. Our children love each other and desire to spend time together and even inconvenience themselves to do so.

Not only has God blessed our family, He has also given us a strategic part in the building of His church. Boston and Beyond a globalized cities initiative is almost vetted and ready to go. The purpose, plan and procedures for B&B have been thoroughly explained in a number of our prayer letters, so I won’t repeat that here. However, I do want to emphasize that we sense God’s presence in this endeavor and are extremely excited about joining our Savior in the Great Commission mobilized cities of the world.

In addition to these things, Deb and I have each other. We have been married for 40 plus years now, and I can honestly say we continue to fall more deeply in love each year.

Beyond this, we have a wonderful close knit church family that is living the gospel in East Cambridge Massachusetts. Our plans/dreams are biblically correct, and our fellowship is helpful to each other and pleasing to God. We are making progress.

I have not taken the space or time to write in detail about the meaningful friendships we have outside of Boston, our extended family, of our faithful supporters, or of our missionary team, which is growing both numerically but more importantly organically (we are becoming one in spirit). Suffice it to say, all these relationship round-out the blessing bestowed upon us by God.

In conclusion, it is true, Deb and I have some financial and physical challenges to face in 2019–so what, you do probably as well. The point is this, God is blessing our socks off. Our Savior is continuing to save us, and we have no doubt that 2019 will be more of the same.

So, this Christmas 2018 is a blessed Christmas all the way around.

Bill

Edmo-Christmas 2017

The Birth of Jesus

Jesus Is Born

Bill’s Comments:

Deb and I started Christmas morning by reading the historical account of the birth of Jesus with friends in China by means of GoToMeeting an online conference tool. The husband is a Christian and the wife is considering Christ.

The four of us took turns reading verses from Luke 2:1-20.


Luke 2: In those days, Caesar Augustus made a law. It required that a list be made of everyone in the whole Roman world. 2It was the first time a list was made of the people while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be listed. 

4So Joseph went also. He went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea. That is where Bethlehem, the town of David, was. Joseph went there because he belonged to the family line of David. 5He went there with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby. 

6While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. 7She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. There was no room for them in the inn. 

Angels Appear to the Shepherds

8There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were looking after their sheep. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified. 

10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. 12Here is how you will know I am telling you the truth. You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 

13Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven also appeared. They were praising God. They said, 

14 “May glory be given to God in the highest heaven! 

And may peace be given to those he is pleased with on earth!” 

15The angels left and went into heaven. Then the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. The baby was lying in the manger. 17After the shepherds had seen him, they told everyone. They reported what the angel had said about this child. 18All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 

19But Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over. 

20The shepherds returned. They gave glory and praise to God. Everything they had seen and heard was just as they had been told. 

 New International Reader’s Version. (1998). (1st ed., Lk 2:1–20). Zondervan.


Bill’s Comments:

One question which was asked during our early morning meeting was this, “What does, ‘He is Christ the Lord’ mean?” It was our joy to explain that Jesus is the Savior promised throughout all of human/Biblical history, and that Christmas is the day Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior.

I asked the husband if he would close in prayer. He said he would but that he had only ever prayed in Mandarin (Chinese Language).

It warms my heart and creates in me a sense of awe to realize that Christians all around our world are raising their voices in a thousand tongues thanking our Father for our Savior born on Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas my brothers and sisters,

Bill E

Why do the Nations Rage

Why do the Nations Rage and Imagine a Vain Thing?

Donald Trump is against Russian aggression towards Ukraine, but he seems a bit ambivalent towards the murder of a journalist, perhaps with orders from the top of the Saudi political leadership. Many journalist and others on social media have written scathingly of what they characterize as blatant hypocrisy or moral callousness. Yet, the vast majority of those same people saw no problem with giving Iran billions of dollars, which they used to promote murderous aggression across the Middle East. Do we really think that government’s lead assignations don’t occur on a regular basis, originating from all sides of the national and political spectrums?  How naïve! Or is all the uproar no more than political theatrics? My guess is that it is a little of both. Honest but uninformed and naïve souls are disgusted with the callous murder of a journalist, while others know better, but prey on naivety to garner political power.

A biblical understanding of our place in world history informs me that geopolitical realities, in an age when the Prince of Peace was rejected and crucified, are very difficult, perhaps impossible to manage sinlessly.  The fundamental, individual, as well as geopolitical problem we all face is our personal and corporate rejection of Jesus Christ.

Continue reading “Why do the Nations Rage”