The distraction of social media

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Posted by on October 15, 2019 in Non-Sequitur


Russia 2019 – Moscow Conference – October Update

Pray for Pastor Mark & Carol Wheeler serving in Russia

From October 16-26, Pastor Mark & Carol will be serving in Moscow, Russia. Mark & Carol have served in Russia on numerous occasions with John & Naomi Musgrave, missionaries who lead a ministry called “Mentoring Matters.” This ministry follows the example of the apostle Paul in Acts 13-14, helping to strengthen and establish churches by training leaders.

Mark will be teaching a week-long seminar for pastors on the topic of, “How do we identify and train the next generation of leaders in the church?”

Thanks to your prayers and generous gifts, the trip is fully funded. Following the conference, Mark & Carol will be stopping in the U.K. for a week of vacation, which they are paying for out of their own funds.

Here’s the schedule for the trip:

October 16-18       Travel (Boston – Amsterdam – Moscow)

October 19-21       Recover from jet lag; prep for conference

October 22-26       Conference (7 Sessions – 1: The biblical mandate for mentoring; 2: Case studies—biblical examples; 3: What do you look for in a trainee? 4: What do you try to develop? 5: How do you train them? 6: Failures—not everyone you invest in will turn out well; 7: Q&A)

October 27            Travel (Moscow – London)

October 28-November 3         Visiting London, Oxford, Edinburgh

November 4          Travel (London – Boston)

Please pray for safe travel, good health, effective communication, and mutual encouragement with the participants.

Internet permitting, Mark will try to provide periodic updates and post them on his blog

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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in Ministry, Missions, Russia, Scripture


Mission: Possible

While we might grudgingly admit that Scripture calls us to live by faith (Hebrews 10:37-39), we secretly believe that it is an impossible task. We feel that it is only something that supersaints can achieve. But normal people have no chance at reaching to that lofty standard.

To challenge that assumption, the author of Hebrews 11 gives numerous examples of ordinary people who took God at his word. Abel went out of his way to please God and worship him extravagantly. Enoch walked with God in the midst of a corrupt society. Noah trusted God for the unknown. Abraham and Sarah left their comfort zone and followed God’s call. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph left a legacy of faith to their descendants. Moses left the comfort and pleasures of Egypt to endure hardship with God’s people.

In Hebrews 11:30-31, the author encourages his readers to learn from the example of Joshua and Rahab. Their faith demonstrates that when we face an impossible situation, we must believe that God will make us successful by trusting his plan and obeying his instructions.

God may give us an impossible task. From a human standpoint, Jericho was an impossible city to conquer. The city of Jericho covered about eight acres. It was strategically located in the center of Canaan and controlled the path into the hill country. It had a double set of walls and the gates were locked up tight. The first obstacle to overcome was not the Jordan River or the city of Jericho. The first obstacle to overcome was unbelief.

Believe that God will make you successful (Joshua 6:1-5). God had already prepared the way for Israel to be successful. The people of Jericho were scared (1). God promised the victory (2). God gave clear, direct instructions how to proceed (3-5). If God has called us to do something, then success is guaranteed. We need to understand that we fight from victory, not just for victory. While the battle plan was not physically taxing, it did require no small amount of courage and faith.

Recognize that success comes by trusting God’s plan (Joshua 6:6-16, 20). Scripture is very clear that faith precedes victory and belief precedes blessing. We must take God at his word and believe his promises if we want to achieve victory and enjoy his blessings. Because Israel stepped out in faith and trusted God’s plan, the walls of Jericho fell by faith (Hebrews 11:30).

Success comes by obeying God’s instructions (Joshua 6:17-19, 21-27). God gave four specific instructions. (1) Devote the entire city to God (17-18). (2) Rescue Rahab and her family (22-25). Joshua 2 explains that Rahab was an unlikely person to put faith in the true God, yet she did, and was saved by faith. She demonstrated her faith by her works of welcoming the spies (Hebrews 11:31). (3) Destroy every living thing (21). (4) Burn the city (24).

It is these last two commands that give us the most heartburn. The best explanation is to compare it to a surgeon removing a cancerous tumor from a person’s abdomen. God was removing evil from the land. Please understand that God had been patient from the time of Abraham (Genesis 15:16). He waited some 600 years before bringing judgment on the land.

Maybe God has not tasked you with conquering a city. Maybe your impossible task is living as a single parent. Perhaps your challenge is being a witness in the public schools. Maybe you are trying to live with integrity in a world that prizes deception. Perhaps your task is to conquer an addiction.

If God gives you a seemingly impossible task, trust his plan and obey his instructions. He will make your successful.

This is the synopsis of a message preached on October 13, 2019, at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA. It is part of a series of expository sermons from the book of Hebrews. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.


Where faith begins

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”

George Muller

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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Faith, Quotes


Mission: Possible – Introduction

Sometimes, God calls us to seemingly impossible situations and tasks. We need to learn that we will be successful if we trust his promises and follow his instructions. Here is the introduction to the sermon I will be preaching this Sunday at First Central Bible Church. The message examines the faith of Joshua and Rahab in Hebrews 11:30-31.


One more reason to like In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger is a cult favorite for those who hail from the southwest. For those who live in various parts of the USA, going to In-N-Out for lunch is often the FIRST stop in a visit to SoCal, NV, or AZ. Carol and I made our pilgrimage and had more meals at In-N-Out than we should have on our recent trip to SoCal. We even visited their corporate store to pick up some souvenirs.

One reason it is beloved is because it only does one thing–burgers and fries–for an affordable price. Many are surprised to see Scripture verses on the bottom of some of their packaging. In an article in the Christian Post, owner Lynsi Snyder, shares her Christian testimony and the origin of the verses on the packaging. Read the article, In-N-Out Burger owner Lynsi Snyder on spiritual warfare, desire to be ‘plugged in’ to God’s plan, to learn more.

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Posted by on October 10, 2019 in California, Faith, Food


Why attend church?

“Why should I attend church?” This question came up at a recent pastor’s gathering. We discussed how we would answer someone if they posed the question. Here’s a few of the reasons we came up with:

  • The church is God’s instrument to reach the world.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 commands us not to neglect meeting together.
  • The “one another” commands of the New Testament are hard to practice if you are by yourself.
  • As members of the Body of Christ, we have a mutual responsibility to one another.
  • Christianity is meant to be lived corporately, not just individually.

In addition, this article by Peter Adam gives “11 Reasons Why You Need to Belong to a Church.”

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Posted by on October 9, 2019 in Church, Scripture