Saturday, October 29, 2016

When Paul applied to be a missionary

This made up letter by the Antioch Missionary board made me chuckle:

Dear Dr. Paul,

We have received your application to serve with our mission. Unfortunately, the board was unanimous in deciding not to accept you as a candidate with our mission. We want to be as honest as possible, so that you can address what we see as some serious deficiencies in your character and past service.

First, we understand that you have never had sufficient financial support in your missionary labors. Working on the side to support yourself is unacceptable to this board. If a man does not have the faith to trust God for full support, we think that he is not qualified to serve on the mission field.

Second, we have heard that you have been brash and outspoken about your own views. Specifically, we heard that you publicly criticized Dr. Simon Peter and that you contended so strongly with some of our ministers that a special council had to be convened at Jerusalem to prevent a church split. We cannot condone such radicalism. We are enclosing a copy of Darius Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Jews and Influence Greeks.” We encourage you to read it.

Also, we understand that you have not graduated from an accredited seminary. We are glad that you learned a lot during your three years in Arabia, but that does not count. Also, in our background check, we discovered that you used to be a violent man to the point of persecuting the church. Even since your conversion, you have been in jail on more than one occasion. You caused so much trouble for the businessmen of Ephesus that it led to a riot. If it were an isolated incident, that might be one thing. But a pattern of causing enough trouble to lead to your being beaten on several occasions and even being stoned once shows an underlying problem on your part. We would advise a counseling program where you could learn some basic relational skills.

Our background check further revealed that you have numerous critics and enemies, even in some of the churches that you supposedly founded. Some of those critics in Corinth challenge whether it was you or Apollos who had the most influence there. We also learned the details about your falling out with the fine young minister, John Mark, and your refusal to cooperate with Barnabas. We have talked with Hymenaeus and Alexander, who said that you delivered them over to Satan! We believe that such extreme measures are uncalled for! A more tolerant and less judgmental approach would be more in the spirit of our gentle Savior.

Apart from these serious flaws, we have heard that you are prone to preach too long, not being sensitive to your audience. We heard that one young man actually fell to his death while you droned on and on! You need to get in tune with the younger generation that has been raised on TV. Fifteen-minute sermons are the maximum that they can endure. We advise you to use more stories and less doctrine in your messages. Have you considered using a drama team instead of a sermon once in a while?

You admit on your application that you cannot remember those whom you have baptized. A good record-keeping system would help you to be more organized. Also, your resume shows that you have never ministered in one place longer than three years. This pattern of moving on to new works shows that you lack perseverance. Our staff psychologist also suggests that it may reflect a pattern of running from your problems rather than a commitment to work through them.

We share all of these things out of love and concern for you. We want you to succeed in whatever the Lord has for you. But we strongly believe that you would do best in something other than missions. The stresses of the mission field could lead to a complete nervous breakdown. Perhaps a good Christian counselor could help you begin to work through some of these problems. We wish you God’s best.

Sincerely, The Antioch Mission Board

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Idolatry of Mnistry

If we only rejoice in God because of what He is doing through us and not because of what He has already done for us, we cherish our ministry more than Him. If our awe for what He is doing through us surpasses our awe for what He has done for us, we have made ministry our god. - Eric Geiger

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

A walk is really good for you

If you've been unfortunate enough to get my status updates via social media for the last 10 months you will have noticed that my health has been a concern. There are still some strange sensations going on in this ageing body but in other ways so much has improved.

A year ago I went to the NFL at wembley. I struggled walking up the incline that is at the end of Wembley Way. I pretended to the people with me that I wanted to look around and take photos. Truth was my legs were like lead and I just couldn't move them anymore. I left early knowing I had to climb a few sets of stairs to get up to Wembley Park tube. I literally had to pull myself up the final flights using my arms and the bannister. Finally I decided that I had to see the doc.

I finally saw a neurologist who basically told me that there was nothing essentially wrong with my muscles and I had to start doing a little more exercise. He said: You are over 50 jhave a very sedentary life style and if you don't use it you will lose it! He also said if you are bedridden in hospital for 10 days you would lose 10% of your muscle mass and take 6 moths to get it back.

That's when I simply started walking. Nothing rediculous I started with 10,000 steps. Since January I choose to walk when possible. Things have changed totally. There have been a number of milestones but returning to wembley a year later with the same people with no problems whatsoever interms of climbing stairs etc. Just reminded me how far I've come.

You don't have to join a gym and pay a fortune just walk a bit more. I won't be running a marathon any time soon but I can function in day to day life and enjoy trips to watch some sport which I honestly thought was going to be a thing of the past.

As I said I've still got very weird sensations but I'm in a much better place thanks to something as simple as a walk!