by Ross W. Graham
As Jesus looks out on the Galilean countryside in Matthew 9, his concerns and actions reveal a primary reason why we should plant new churches. In verse 36, as the Lord of Glory sees the multitudes, he is moved with compassion for them because they are like sheep without a shepherd.
That statement takes us on a journey through Scripture. "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Ps. 23:1), says King David of his God. The Lord says to Ezekiel, "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel.... The shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock.... Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand.... Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.... I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down" (Ezek. 34:1-16). In his compassion for his sheep, Jesus tells his disciples to pray for those who will go out and labor among them: "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest" (Matt. 9:38). Read more
by Ross W. Graham
Puerto Rico and New Jersey have suddenly come very close together in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. In the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan, you can now find an evangelist of the Presbytery of New Jersey working to establish a new OP church.
Representatives from the Presbytery's Committee on Home Missions, including CHMCE general secretary Ross Graham, Camden pastor Ben Alvira, and Harmony elder Ed Kauffman, traveled to Puerto Rico in mid-January to explore New Jersey-based contacts who were interested in affiliating with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. They reported finding a well-organized group of believers, who appeared to be on their way toward becoming an established congregation. They also found a competent and caring pastor, who is committed to the Reformed faith and ministry in the OPC. Read more
by A. Craig Troxel
How easily we Christians fall into moments of skepticism regarding the vast riches of God's grace in Christ that are available to us, despite the overwhelming testimonials both in Scripture and in the pages of our life's experience. Although we have an unlimited line of credit in our fellowship with God, we wonder if his grace is really sufficient. We ask ourselves questions like these: Will God forgive me this time? Will he still love me after what I have done? When will he give up on me? Should I ask him for help again? Our communion with God the Son is in the abundance of his unlimited grace, but it does little good if we doubt and do not access the wealth of spiritual blessings that God has in store for those whom he loves.
by Robert B. Needham
In our society, the fields of unsaved, unevangelized people are truly ready for harvest (see John 4:35). Sometimes there are nearby fields that we may not even recognize as such.
One such field is that of providing pastoral (chaplain) ministry to members of police, sheriff, and other law enforcement agencies. Ironically, it is often easier to recruit volunteers for ministry to inmates of jails and prisons than it is for ministry to the men and women who daily risk their lives to protect law-abiding citizens. Read more
by Douglas B. Clawson
In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, Paul outlines the extent of his suffering for Christ:
Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; ... in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, ... danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; ... in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.Read more
by William Shishko
"Where's the choir?"
In the Old Testament, one group of Levites was dedicated to the work of singing in the temple (see 1 Chron. 9:33; 25:1-8). With the coming of Jesus Christ (whose person and work were foreshadowed in the Old Testament templesee John 2:19-21), the Old Testament temple and its worship are superseded by the church as the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21). There is no indication from the pages of the New Testament or the earliest records of Christian church history that there ever was (as in the Old Testament temple) a separate choir in Christian worship. Read more