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My Perspective on Mission-Related Topics

 

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MY ARTICLES
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Welcome to my Articles Page

Here, are my thoughts and viewpoints related to various aspects of missions ministry. While they may not be your typical viewpoints, I submit them here because I feel that it is only by the laying of a proper indigenous and autonomous foundation, that our handicaps of trying to pastor an unregenerated membership, our lack of control in maintaining a Biblical distinctive, and our financial draining caused by an unhealthy national dependency - can all be Scripturally overcome. So, welcome to my Mislan Messenger! Oh, and as I keep adding articles, this page will certainly lengthen. So please scroll all the way down. But please don't drop me... I need all the support I can get! Thanks, Mike Mislan

Do not be deceived my friends! While many have misconceptions about Independent, Fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist Churches, please don't let your bad experiences cause you to label all of us as being legalistic or uncaring.  Many of us really do care for our flocks,  and if we offend anyone, it's only because we had to make a choice between upholding God's Word or saying what people want to hear.  If a pastor loves his members, he will love them enough to tell them the truth.  And if he really was called of God, he will not change God's message to make everyone happy.  But... sadly, some have wrongly condemned all Independent, Fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist Churches, and have found innovative ways to mock them.  This link to an alledged church website is a perfect example.  Please don't think we all opperate this way.


Please scroll down, there's a lot here!

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To be straight forward with you, I decided several years ago to quit supporting BBFI missionaries other than the one we have supported for many years and whom I know personally. Knowing the direction of the BBF over the last decade, I will not support the fellowship nor their missionaries. I have some good friends that remain in support of the BBF and I remain their friend but do not support them financially.I hope you understand.

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (Jn.1:11)

While I appreciate his being honest with me, I see a problem. In 1980-83, when I attended a BBFI college, I was challenged by godly men in their chapel, to "stick by the stuff" to "shuck the corn" and "shake the tree." The Word of God was the KJV and the mission field was white unto harvest. And when I was approved by the BBFI, just about everyone I knew was KJV, conservative and unwavering. So I took what I was taught and went to the Philippines where God enabled me to church plant, start a seminary, and launch out many ministries. But now that I have been faithful for three terms, I am rejected by my own.

Like Rip van Winkle, I have returned to a time that I don't understand. The conservatives do not want me because I am BBFI, and the BBFI does not want me because I am conservative. Yet, it was the BBFI who trained me to be conservative. Now I don't fit in. Where do I go? How do I raise additional support? The progressives don't like me and the conservatives don't trust me! But all I did was remain faithful. So why am I being punished? I was away in the Philippines when all these changes took place and wasn't there when the lines were drawn. I thought I was being faithful. Now I learn I am an outcast.

If you are a conservative Baptist pastor, please give me a chance and don't just label all BBFI Missionaries as having no standards, no convictions or being worldly. Many of us older missionaries have remained unchanged since we were first approved many years ago. To ask us to change agencies at this point in our lives is almost suicide for us. And if you are a progressive, please don't shut your door to me either. As a missionary, local church autonomy is deeply ingrained in us. This means we understand the Baptist Distinctive of letting your congregation govern themselves under your shepherding as their Pastor. We are missionaries, not Camp Evangelists.

Please click on the links above and get to know me before you judge me. Thanks, Missionary Mike Mislan.

 
Featured Weekly Article
 
Yes, Philippine Churches CAN HAVE A Missions Program!

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Since our sufficency is in Him and not in ourseves, our poverty, unemployment, corruption, age and even poor health should not limit our Missions Program.  If I can help you, please e-mail me.

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The Macedonian Church is in the Philippines!
 
"Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God" (2 Cor 8:1-5)
 
After losing 15 members, only four remained with steady jobs and the financial status of our missions program was in a real crises.  So we had a church meeting, did some hard restructuring, put up a giving barometer, decorated our auditorium with missions posters, scheduled some good speakers on missions, and challanged our church with the themes "have a heart, do your part" and "show you care, do your share" for missions. 
 
One lady worked all day in the rice fields to give her four dollars to missions - she gave it with blisters in her hands! A wife did some cooking while her husband went around selling it for missions.  He has only one leg!  Our Youth Pastor gave his full church salary - not once but committed it each month for missions!  Others are cooking and selling, walking to give their jeepney fare to missions, collecting and selling bottles, praying, and even texting me on my cell phone of how excited they are to be earning money for missions.  "Gud AM Ptr. We are selling merienda start yesterday & 2day. Pray 4 us...Thanks"  "U no what Ptr? Im now selling cadies to my students I gained P200 4 dis wk as my profit. I am happy bec. it help alots 4 our missions giving!".
 
Instead of saying I'm unemployed, they employ themselves.   Instead of looking at what they can't do, it's now what can I do.  Instead of asking what others give, it is now what can I give.  While many blanks used to fill our missions giving column in our financial ledger, now it looks the same as our general column.  Before our crises we were meeting our missions budget without even realizing the potential we had.  Now that we lost 15 members, we are currently EXCEEDING our previous budget!  Yes, it CAN BE DONE.  The heart gives more than the economy ever will.
 

 
Previous Weekly Article
 
A Plea to my National Pastor Friends

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I realize that it is not easy here in the Philippines, and that as a foreigner you think I can't understand.  But God's Word is the basis of our faith and practice.  If I can help you, please e-mail me.

A CRY for Ethics in Ministry
 
Not everything is as it seems and this is particulary true in ministry.  How was the ministry built?  How is it conducted?  Where did all those members and seminary students come from?
 
Once a neighboring National Pastor friend was struggling with his new school so I offered to give all my curriculum on CD which he glady accepted.  I want his school to be succussful, don't compete with others and will do my best to help them.  Imagine how suprised I was to later learn he had approached my faculty and one of my returning students asking them to go to "his" school.   I also had an experience where all the sudden all the students from another church just stopped coming.  Later I learned their pastor had pulled them out, started his own school, and even hired my Associate Pastor and his wife to teach in his school on their off day, all behind my back!  And then there are the typical reports I receive from my NP friends of other NPs who approach their key members trying to recruit them for positions in their churches, who fail to honor church discipline, or who spread rumors to destroy their reputations.
 
Why do some NP's do these things?  Don't they know better?  Well, YES, most do.  But doesn't it look better if you can brag in your reports that you have a "large" ministry?  Like I said, some things are not always as they appear and behind the scenes, most American pastors would be shocked at what actually takes place.  What you read in reports from some NP's who boast of "great" works to attract your support, are often the sad result of sheep stealing, bribery, compromise and unethical ministry building.  Is there hope?
 
YES!  I know of one NP friend who went to another, made things right, and took a loss in attendance, when he could have gained a "larger" church.  We also teach "Ministerial Ethics" in our school and hit on all these things. 
 
NP Friend, let's not permit financial harships to lower the great Name of our Big God by turning to questionable resources or methods.  Besides, when we look back at our work, we want to be able to say, "This is what God did" and give all the glory back to Him.   That's why I don't have a PAY-PAL or CLICK HERE TO DONATE on this site. There is a right way to fund God's Work.  And if you are a church planter of like faith, why not email me and present your work to our church here.  We have a good missions program and would like to help you, God's Way!

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The key for establishing an indigenous, autonomous church...

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Is training the members to share the Gospel themselves!

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A real key to a Missionary's success, are those who pray for Him.

Pictured left, are those who came to our Wednesday Prayer Meeting last April 15th. These are the ones who make a difference, who care, and who are the spiritual strength of our church and ministries. Without them, our ministry here would have very little fruit.

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Some Wisdom
The best friend of Truth is time.

What you catch them with is what you keep them with.
 
A Progressive Methodology without boundaries, usually progresses toward worldliness.

When the Letter of the Law violates the Spirit of the Law, either a consideration must be given, or a Pharisee was just born.
 
Success is not always measured by what is built, but sometimes by what is tore down.
 
The true test of missions is not how fast it is built, but how long it lasts after the missionary leaves.


A look at the Christian News . . .
Here for now until I can find a better place for it.

Please use the slider for non scrolling widgets to view all news and articles.


 
OK. Finally my Articles!

God's Word and the Swine Flu Virus: 
(1) God prohibited His Jewish nation from eating swine in the OT, which as unclean animals, are often breeding farms for sickness and disease, even in our modern sanitized world.   (2) Unlike many other viruses, the Swine Flu Virus has the distinction of attacking the most healthy people from 20 to 45.  This is in direct conflict with  Darwin's survival of the  fittest.  (3) The Swine Flu Virus requires a global cooperation with a central global organization for the good of the people - a characteristic of the future one world government.  Interesting...!
 
Pro-Church versus Campus Philosophies: 

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Why didn't I stop the "Campus" Method? 
As a missionary, I discovered the best way to train our potential leaders, is to let them see the results themselves.  Had I forced my way, doubts would linger. 

Deligating our family camp to our director, he followed a "Navigator" or "Campus Crusade for Christ" philosophy that majored on evangelism and then sharing your faith while minimizing the importance of the local church.  On the other hand, was our Youth Director who was conducting Bible studies using a "pro-church" approach, where baptism and church membership were incuded as topics.  While both approaches resulted in converts, only those whose discipleship included church membership, were actualy baptized into our church!  Now I ask, which is better?  New lambs without protection, guidance and accountability, who will only reproduce more vulnerable lambs, or lambs under the watchful care and protection of their shepherd?  While I am noticing an increase in home Bible studies, Campus Crusade and Navigator type ministries, and Christian TV Network families, God's plan is for every believer to replace their TV remote with a Bible, get dressed, get out of their living room, and become a member of a local flock (Bible believing church) under the guidance of a shepherd (a God called pastor), to enjoy fulfilling the higher purpose that God had created them for.  That's why Christ came and founded the local church and not an invsible or universal church.  While church structure and accountability may seem like freedom-denying prision bars that control or bind you, they are actually prison bars that protect you from what is outside!  Premarital sex, unwanted pregnancy, vices, drugs, violence, crime, and family "secrets" are all costy consequences that can be avoided by finding your place in a good local church!  Even with our global financial crises, it is still more cost effective to join and support a local church with your tithe, than it is to stay out of church.  That's because the tithe is still LESS than the costs of abortions to cover up premartial or extra-marital sex, for expensive street drugs, alcohol or cigarettes to support a habit, and for costly medical biils to replace organs injured by harmful vices, not to mention the emotionl price, of seeing your sons in prison, or your teen daughters pregnant.  Please think about it, visit my salvation page, and then introduce yourself to a good Bible Believing Baptist pastor and church (Christian OFW, Links Page), and start fulfilling God's higher purpose in your life.  You'll be so glad you did.
Should American churches support National Church Planters?
According to Acts 11:29, when the famined saints in Jerusalem needed help, it was NOT done as monthly support, but was done as a one time gift, as a RELIEF for a specific need.  This avoided dependency, and never obsolved the Church of funding her own needs.  But when we support a national church planter on a monthy basis, other national missionaries come here to raise support, ignoring the churches in their own country. As a result, some 85 percent of national churches have no viable missions program, and the autonomous church is never realized. Let's help our needy co-laborers as they did in the Book of Acts -with one time gifts and relief, to tithing and obedient congregations so we could see a stronger National Church rise up as a shining testimony to genuine missions! For every National Church Planter you support, are dozens of National churches here who had been by-passed, and who will see no need to have their own missions program.





























Why Missionaries Fear Furlough!

When a deputation missionary presents himself to you and your church, and then gains your cherished trust and support, he leaves for the field committed not to violate that trust, and so, church plants just as he represented himself. But when he comes back, he is suddenly hit with where he stands on..

Conservative vs Progressive
Hymnals vs Projectors
Pastor B vs Pastor C
Piano vs Band
Amen vs hand clapping
Mission Board 5 vs Mission Agency 2
Formal vs Casual
Theocrisy vs Purpose Driven
Christian Author Z vs Christian Author T
Church Building vs Worship Center
Bible School D vs Bible School E
Male Song leader vs P & W team
American vs supporting Nationals
Preaching vs Motivational Talks
No Tree vs Christmas Tree
Church Sent vs Board Approved
Baptist label vs Baptistic Bible Church
KJV Bible vs KJV translation
Closed vs Close or Open communion
No eggs vs church easter egg hunt
Pre-Pentecost Church vs Pentecost Church
Dresses vs Slacks
Standard vs Contemporary
Publication A vs Editor of D
Easter Sermon vs Easter drama

Now you know the true reason why a missionary on the field only returns once every four or five years!

BACK TO TOP


The Forgotten Generation

As many Pastors move forward with progressive methods to reach the masses, we tend to view the older generation with worn KJV Bibles, outdated formal attire, and who still don't know how to sing without a hymnal, as being slow, old fashioned, out of step, not with it, stubborn or as extinct dinosaurs. But before you write them off, don't forget, it was they who sacrificed and brought you to where you are are today!


Has the Church Failed?

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Just today I read my Yahoo news and discovered a large university had crowned a new Prom Queen - a man! From the clip: "Large portions of the crowd cheered as Allen, wearing a gold-sequined top, accepted the tiara and the Ms. Mason 2009 sash." . . . What happened? Were any in the university Bible believers or members of Bible believing churches? Any Campus Outreaches? Where were the Navigators and Campus Crusade for Christ? How about their parents? Have they set Biblical values in the home of these students? While the world rejoices I am saddened by this moral decay in our families, universities, and their students. That's why I thank God for our outreaches to a neighboring college and three high schools.


A Biblical Philosophy of Progressivism

The following is what I would call a simple Biblical Philosophy of how to be progressive, as practiced by the Missionary Paul.

(1) In order to maintain a clear message and a holy distinctive, my evangelistic use of the surrounding culture (Acts 17:22, 1 Cor 9:22) will never partner with sin or promote worldliness (1 Jn.2:15, 2 Cor.6:14-17).

(2) Recognizing that God desires unity among my brethren (Psa 133:1), as a wise steward I will not use my liberty in Christ to cause my more conservative brethren unnecessary offense (1 Cor.8:9, 1 Cor 6:12, 10:23, Rom.14:19-21, 1 Cor. 9:22).

(3) Believing that faith must stand in the power of God and not in the wisdom of men (1 Cor 2:4-5), I recognize that the strategic use of newer methods can never substitute for the precise preaching of the Word of God (Tit.1:3), even if it may still offend some (1 Cor 1:23-25).


A Little Cooperation Please!

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All will agree that there is a great need for sound Bible colleges in the Philippines which major on character, doctrinal integrity, and ethics in the ministry. But within a 20 minute jeepney ride from my church, AFTER we started our seminary, another Bible institute started. Now I heard, that only ten minutes away, ANOTHER is being started. All by Independent Baptist pastors. And in Olongapo City, only an hour away from us, we have yet three more!

Now wouldn't it have been better to pull all our resources together to have a far better school? Could it actually be that when a church planter or National Pastor reports he has his "own" seminary that his chances of gaining more support improve? Maybe. Because three of these pastors have already been to the US. Or could there be some who just want all the "credit?" (Why should we join the "American's" school and let him get the credit?)

When a famine was prophesied for Jerusalem and the early churches got together to send relief, they did not worry about who would get the credit, who gave the most, or who should be recognized. Sadly, in todays support-grabbing economy, it looks better when you can say "I have my own seminary."

In response, I had let my associate and his wife teach in one school, and have also helped them and others with my curriculum. Will it effect the size of my student body? Sure! Will it affect my support? Maybe. But to me, the Great Commission is far larger than these petty concerns over who gets the credit. In the end, it will all be HIS anyways!


Church Planting Ethics

When I first came here, I visited other NPs that I knew of, introduced myself, and then later sought their approval of where I should consider getting property to build our church building. I did this because I did not want our work to be a threat to theirs, and so purchased a lot whose location was agreeable with them.

I also had opportunity to gain other church plants from pastors who had asked for my authority, but because there were things wrong in how they were conducting ministry, I did not endorse them.

Other times, it would have been easy for me to abuse the trust others had in me, to take over a struggling church, reorganize it, and then claim it as a church plant. Like the Linusungan Baptist Church, I will not take advantage of a struggling church who trusts me.

Once I had five church planters inform me that they were advised by their pastor who was resigning, to seek my counsel. Instead of advising them to unite with my church planting efforts, I advised them to go back and encourage their pastor to stay in the ministry. While I later realized he had no real plan of resigning, I am so glad that I said what I did. Imagine how bad I would have looked to aggressively lead these man to church plant under our umbrella. I thank God they are still planting churches, under the guidance of their own pastor and church who originally sent them.

The truth is, there are many ways to church plant, and also many unusual events, opportunities and situations, where churches can be claimed as "church plants." But there is a right way to do it, and that is what I will follow. While I can't boast of having started hundreds of churches, I can say like Paul, "I have maintained a clear conscience before God and man."

Man I wish I could be. . .

Go ahead and click on this link below and just read the first page.

Missionary Rick Martin Ministries

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When I read all he did, I said to myself "what have I done in comparison? How can I even compare with a man like that?"

But then I realized, God gave each of us certain gifts and abilities, and places us where we fit. A man like Rick for example, was equipped by God with a bigger vision, and better leadership and organizational skills to "fit" right where he is at. In the same way, God gave me what I needed to fit here. While I sometimes, no almost all the time, wish I could be more like Rick, the truth is, that is not how God endowed me. And sometimes, it takes MORE faith and integrity to labor in a place with the mental resources and personality God gave you, than it does to labor more effectively with the many gifts and related fruitful results. The hardworking pastor who is not sharp, dynamic or gifted, who pastors a small struggling congregation as best he can, in God's eyes, is just as faithful as the man who with many (God-given) gifts who pastors thousands. And if you as a reader are pastoring a smaller, struggling church, take comfort that when Christ evaluated the seven churches in Asia, He never mentioned attendance, size, buildings or the monetary worth of a churches assets.

Like the parable of the stewards, let us each use the measure that God gave us and leave the results to Him. But in the meantime, I'm gonna keep an eye on Bro, Rick. There's nothing wrong with learning from those God is using!


Helping Needy Members

How does a church financially survive in a struggling economy like the Philippines, when so many come to the church and ask for help?

Just yesterday, our church helped a mother afford a needed specialists examination for her daughter, and we will pay for the minor surgery that will probably follow. How can we afford this while keeping church money in the bank?

Since she is a teenager and member of our church, and is able-bodied, after her school year ends, she will sweep the leaves, pull up weeds and water our church lawn. She will do it because people should be taught that if they have the ability to carry their own weight, to help their church, to relieve a debt, or to show appreciation for past help, they should take the opportunity. It also helps build character, integrity, a good testimony and a sense of responsibility. It teaches members to "give back" to their church who helped them, and not to just take. But what about nonmembers who ask your church for help?

From experience, we have learned that many outsiders who ask for help, want God's money but not God! That's why their own church couldn't help them. They had none!


Reviving a Dead Prayer Meeting

If you have nice property, want to add some excitement to your prayer meetings and to develop leadership, why not try "prayer stations?" No, I'm not talking about the Catholic 14 Stations of the Cross. Instead, select three or four leaders, divide your congregation in to the same number of groups, and then have them rotate to the different leaders who are stationed on different places on your property. Each leader can give a short devotion and share prayer requests related to their different responsibilities, like "missions," "church family needs," "family and answered prayer" and so on. A buzzer or bell can be used as a five minute warning before rotating to the next station. It worked good for us and you may like it too.

BACK TO TOP

FAT Christians Wanted!

Yes, I am looking for Christians who are FAT! That's right, FAT.

F- Faithful. . A- Available. . T- Teachable

I like FAT Christians. They make pastoring so much more rewarding! Are you FAT? (FAT acrostics source unknown)

LINKS

MISSION STATS

UPDATES


Feeding the Multitudes

When Christ fed the multitudes, the multitudes were not really expecting it, but had originally gathered out of curiosity to hear His message. The disciples did not announce that there would be any free food to try to get them to come. And as a result, they actually listened. Some rejected, some accepted, but. . . they wanted to listen.

And when Christ fed them, he took what a boy from the people had offered, and then blessed and multiplied it. And when He distributed the food, He did it orderly, and even gathered up the fragments to avoid waste. He also showed thankfulness to His father.

Today, we have a tendency to "give away things" to try to get people to come. As a result, we can get large crowds which looks good on reports. But their reason for coming was not the same. They are not really interested in the message and may sometimes even raise their hands, pray, or come forward to receive a free gift. With so many false professions going on, mission strategists need to ask themselves, what are they doing?

To me, it is better to work with the few God is calling out, than to waste ninety percent of missions money on the mixed multitude who came for the free handouts only. This is one reason why you can find National Churches here with over 100 in their congregations, but with an offering of only ten dollars. What you catch them with, is also what you must keep them with.

If you catch them with the Word of God, their faith will stand on the Word of God. If you catch them with free-bees, their faith will stand on the free-bees. I's rather have them standing on the Word of God!


Rip van Winkle Missionaries

We are conservative in doctrine, moderate in attitude and progressive in methodology.

I am seeing more and more summary statements like the one above but can only guess what it means. That's because when I left, these buzz words were not even in existence. Does conservative in doctrine mean we are cautious about changing our doctrines? Does "moderate" in attitude mean we can compromise just a little or be "moderate" in our attitude of Truth, in in the wrongness of sin? And where is our progressive methodology leading us? Will it lead us closer to holiness or to worldliness? I can only guess because I just don't know.. I have been AWAY when all this happened, and like Rip van Winkle, sometimes it's a drastic change for me when I return. I'm a foreigner on the field and now a foreigner among my own brethren too.

When I left we still used hymnals, but I return to large projectors. When I left we had formal worship services, now they're casual. When I left the preaching was hot, now it's more motivational, and all the church pianos are gone!

I guess that's why I will arrive early to your church, park at a distant vantage point, watch what your people wear when they leave their cars, and then take my tie or suit jacket on or off, depending upon what you want in your church. And I'm so glad for those large video screens. If I don't know the modern songs, I can pretend I know them because the words are right in front of me.

All I'm saying is please be patient with me (and other missionaries), who, in the course of our faithfulness on the field, have been shielded from the modern issues that affect you in the states. Just as I wouldn't expect you to take a stand on all the cultural, social and ethical issues that affect my ministry on the field, I'm hoping you'll be kind enough to extend to me the same courtesy. Most returning missionaries I know need some rest, not more interrogation. They were already interrogated when they were sent out in the first place.


A Church-Planters Dream!

FROM JONATHAN MY SON IN OKLAHOMA, USA.. Well, I'm back here in school now... We just finished our annual home church-planters conference last night. It's where a good number of American church planters come to the school to raise support and whatever needs they may have. Baptist pastors from all over come out to pledge money to whatever needs are presented. It somewhat resembles an offering, because a church planter will present his needs, and then pastors and individuals raise their hands and pledge to give $100 a month or $50 or $500 one time and so on. Many of them raise most of the support they need right there on the spot. it is pretty amazing and most of the church planters stated that they had never seen anything like it.


Evaluating Your Missionary
(condensed from Dr. Bob Baird)

1. Are your missionaries winning people to Christ?
2. Are their new converts being added to the Local Church?
3. Are these converts being added to the local church becoming productive members?
4. Are these converts becoming financial supporters of the work on the field?
5. Are men and women being called and trained for full time service?
6. Are they sending our cross-cultural missionaries?







Philippines Over-Evangelized?

Many Missions experts feel that the Philippines has been over-evangelized with some, like Christian Missionary and Alliance even transferring their missionary force to more needy fields. And when you get to the Manila International Airport, there is a big sign that reads, "Welcome to the Largest Christian Nation in Asia!" But under that same sign, is a much smaller one that reads "Caution: Beware of Pick-Pocketers, PNP." In fact, of all Asian Nations, the Philippines ranks number one in beer consumption, three for corruption, and is also high in drug usage. Of the 42,000 barangays in the Philippines, an estimated 26,000 barangays with a population of 39 million, are still without any church. How can we claim that 90 million people, speaking 87 different dialects, living on 2,000 inhabited islands, many with no Bible in their native tongues, have all been evangelized? NO, the job is not done. In fact, the Philippines in not just one mission field, but is many!

Careful How You Treat Your Classmates!

Since I entered into Bible college years before him, I was his senior. But when my pastor resigned, the deacons installed him as our temporary Interim Pastor. Now, the student who was under me, is my pastor! Careful how you treat others. One day you may be serving them!

Preventing A Big Fall

OK, from the above, you're probably wondering what happened. Yes, after being unable to overcome his sin, my pastor had agreed to step down with the full approval of our deacons. Sometimes this happens. It is a reality of ministry that deserves our understanding and prayers. But, is there anything we can do to help prevent these falls? I think so.

It's been my experience, that when a leader or influential member falls into sin, it is best to let the church know when it is small so they can pray for him and monitor his progress. Then, if something serious comes up, the truth was already known and the church can understand why discipline was needed. This avoids much misunderstanding when discipline becomes necessary, and also makes it more difficult for sin to continue.


Laying a LASTING foundation

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OK, here's one that just came to mind that I'll try to type in a hurry. A NP (National Pastor) is called to church plant and sacrifices. His start is hard, his people poor, and with their meager tithes, he is barely making it.

But then a foreign missionary arrives to his town, and being fully supported, he rents a nice building, renovates, decorates and landscapes. He can purchase chairs, fans, a sound system, build a platform and pulpit. He can also print invitations, business cards, pick up prospects in an air-conditioned van, hire paid staff, and provide food and snacks to his new congregation. In a short amount of time the foreign church planter is able to report of 200 in his congregation while the NP who cannot financially compete can only report of 30.

Yet in the long run, who laid the right foundation for an indigenous and autonomous church plant? I ask you, what were we thinking? The true test of missions is not how fast it starts (to get more support), but how long it lasts! Like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, we need to be more careful of what we are supporting. Things may look good on reports, but take away the props, free-bees and US dollars, and the house of cards may tumble. With a competition for your support, missionaries can be tempted to obtain fast results while neglecting the importance of laying the right foundation. And, if we step back and see what we are actually doing, we may not like the perpetual dependency we have created. In the long run, it wasn't the rabbit who won the race. It was the steady, sure, patient turtle who kept his eye on the objective. I want to be a turtle, and not a rabbit. Even if it means a lack of support as I run the race here! The best friend of truth, is time.


Baptist Missionaries getting support
from BIBLE Churches?

Just this morning, I received another e-mail from a supporting church agreeing to let me report via e-mail. But it was a "Bible" church. How can a Baptist missionary get support from a Bible church without compromising his ethics? Is he "playing both ends" to get money? The answer to this question is NO.

(1) I have always used "Baptist" church directories for scheduling, represented myself honestly, and have never deceived anyone for support. All who support me know I'm consistent in doctrine, practice and ethics in ministry, and that I am also "Baptist."

(2) Being autonomous and independent, any one of my supporting churches can change their name and even drop their Baptist label. That is their right. It is not up to me to evaluate their reasons. Instead, I am to remain faithful in doing what I had presented and promised when they took me on.

(3) If a church wants to continue supporting me after they change their name, as long as I am still doing what I promised, and they are fully aware of it, I see no violation of ethics. It's their choice if they still want to support a "Baptist" church planter.

So please, let's not fault the missionary who is only trying to do what God called him to do. That's why I included the full name of that supporting church who had recently e-mailed me, but who had also opted to drop their Baptist label. I appreciate their continued support.

TO THE CRITICALS... A "Bible" church can support many "Bible" "community" or "Christian" church planters as part of their missions program. Now what is better? Having them support a Baptist church planter like myself, or dropping me in favor of a church planter whose doctrines you may not agree with? Hhhhhmm. Something to think about.

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Why Continued Corruption!

According to a recent survey (Jan 26th, 2009) which I conducted with an advanced class of 15 year olds in a senior year Filipino Public High School...

89% cheated on tests
38% drank alcohol
29% kissed the opposite sex
08% smoked cigarettes

05% responded that when a teacher saw them cheating, the teacher did nothing!


Humanitarian Church Planting?

The Great Commission makes it clear that we are to preach the gospel, enroll our converts as disciples, to baptize these converts into our church plant, and to train them to do the same.

But for about two years now, I have noticed a growing emphasis on children's feeding centers, clothing the poor, dental clinics, day cares and schools, sport camps, community reliefs, orphanages, boarding homes, medical clinics, sport centers, community improvement programs, and leadership training and learning skills. And while these "good works" are worthy of our support, we must not forget that they are NOT actually church planting. And this is why they are so much easier to start and are more successful. Because the world does not oppose the material benefits they receive from these humanitarian efforts. But start a church where the preaching of the Word makes the sinner feel uncomfortable... well, that is another story.

While not to downplay the importance of these "good works," let's not forget those genuine church planters, who without fanfare, slick adds, our wide community coverage, are often forced to pay the higher price of being unappreciated, unwelcomed, despised or persecuted, in bringing a message few people want to hear but so desperately need.

Support Me Twice!

Budgeting is when a missionary looks at what he has coming in, and then plans his activities around it. It is a way of saying "thank you" to his supporters because he does not ask them for more, but appreciates and uses what they have already given.

But recently, since I now have a LAN, I've been able to visit the website of my missionary co-laborer friends. And as I scanned their pages, I noticed...can you please pray about helping us sponsor these campers....we are looking for 15 of our supporters who can help us with $1,000 each... we need to raise $15,000 more.. (and more).

But I thought, isn't that what our support was for? Shouldn't we feel a little awkward to ask more from those who have already sacrificed to support us? I mean if it is not an emergency, shouldn't we plan our ministries and outreaches from within our own budget? And if we want to have a major evangelistic effort, shouldn't we encourage the benefiting National Churches to help sponsor their own prospects? Isn't this a good way to strengthen the National Church? Besides, can't a free lunch in a struggling economy lead to large numbers but false professions?

I don't know. Maybe I'm just too old fashioned. But to me, I feel that we should work within our existing budget, just like our supporting churches do. To ask for "extras" in non emergency situations, from those who are already sacrificing, to me, is just a little too forward.

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Genuine Missions Under Attack!

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Some people, especially in poverty-stricken areas where it is hard to find a good paying job, somehow survive by living off of others. And, in time, their children also will probably learn to live the same way.

In the same way, some NPs who have not been properly trained, will visit the US to ask financial help program, when their own congregations have not yet learned to be obedient with their tithe, missions, or sacrificial giving.

In fact, according to one survey, despite the large American missionary movement in the 1950's, and the large scale church planting that has taken place since then, a large 85 percent of all national churches in the Philippines, still have no viable missions program that supports both local and foreign missions. And as more and more NPs seek US supports, this already alarming figure will become even higher as each new church plant imitates their "parents." This in turn defeats the true purpose of missions, which is the planting of autonomous, yes, self-supporting churches.

Let's help our NP brethren! They are our co-laborers and the economy is hard here. But let's do it AFTER their congregations are tithing and giving to missions!


Showing Thankfulness

Reaching out to start a new relationship, I invited a new pastor to come and preach in our church. I lifted him and his wife up before our people, led our church to help them with a P5,000.00 love offering, and impressed upon them that as a new co-laborer, we should be responsive to their needs in the future. It felt good helping this young couple in the ministry, and our people felt the same way. But the "thank you" never came.

Missionaries who live off of the generosity and gifts of others, after a while, can start thinking of love offerings and monthly supports as being normal, routine, expected, or even "owed" them. As a result they can neglect to show proper appreciation. Will I help this couple again? Probably. But it just sort of leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Like the lesson of the ten lepers, let's be the one who goes back and says THANK YOU. Those are the kind of people I enjoy helping the most.


NT Leadership 101

When the early church needed deacons, their candidates were selected because they were Scripturally qualified. Even though their responsibilities were more of a benevolent or overseeing nature rather than spiritual, the early church still placed high value on Christian maturity, a good testimony, integrity, character, faith, wisdom (and so on). The nominee deacons did not suddenly behave themselves in order to qualify, rather, they were already known to live a consistent Christian life way BEFORE the position became opened.

Today, there is a new college-campus style discipleship philosophy that says, "put them in leadership so they will learn" and many novices teach Sunday School, head ministries and are elevated before the people, without being Scripturally qualified. Sadly, many youth leaders fall into sexual sin with their teen girls, Sunday School teachers live double lives, and the testimony of the church suffers. I say, if the early church "food managers" had to be men of proven spiritual character and integrity, how much more should those be who we place in spiritual ministries? After all....

You can always teach what you know, but you can only reproduce who you are!

True Predictions for 2009

1. The Bible will still have the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.

Remember: If You Need Help, Ask God. If You Don't, Thank God''... (source unknown)


The Gates of Hell will NOT Prevail!

I was walking along the streets of Vanity Fair the other day and had my attention drawn to a huge edifice which was in the course of construction. Apparently there was a strike that was hindering the work. On inquiring further I was told that there was a dispute among the workmen, that the men were holding a meeting, and anyone could sit in. So I went inside out of curiosity.

Some had returned to their work, others were divided in opinion as to what was best to be done. It seemed some were afraid that the building might fall because some of the workmen had been tampering with the foundations. The others were laughing them to scorn, claiming they were only resetting the foundations which had not properly been laid.

On further inquiry I discovered this edifice was called the church, and the workmen were divided into two camps called Fundamentalists and Modernists. The fear of the Fundamentalists was that their Modernist co-laborers would remove the foundations. And when I examined the damage already done, I agreed there was much reason for alarm.

Several of the huge foundation-stones were partly out of place. And with one in particular, I was able to decipher the words "The Virgin Birth" which was more or less broken, and almost entirely removed from its place. In fact, if moved a little more it looked like a great part of the building would be in jeopardy. Another I saw had an inscription which was partly obliterated by the workmen's tools reading something like .spir.tion of .oly Scrip..re. A third, much large stone, maybe a chief cornerstone was being vigorously attacked with pick and crowbar. But I could still read the words,"The Deity of Christ."

I then discovered what looked like was an important notice nearby, and drew the attention of some of those scholarly destructive workmen to it. It read "If the Foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" But they scoffed, muttering something about progress and Modern Building Methods, and then continued with greater zeal than ever. With sadness in my heart, I turned away, feeling that this beautiful building was doomed.

But as I was about to step out into the street, a young man in shining garments touched me on the shoulder, and gave me a letter from the Builder of this edifice, bidding me to read it. I broke the seal and read "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, and I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Much comforted by these words, I passed on. (source unknown)

My next article will go here. Please pray for me. I want these articles to be helpful and honest. But I don't want them to back fire in my face and cause some supporters to drop me. That's the last thing I need. Maybe I'll just keep this box here as a plea to ask my potential droppers to reconsider. You'd be surprised at the diplomacy, politicking, pressure, advertising, promoting, balancing, tactfulness, dodging, smoothing over, yes, and even the inner struggles of maintaining a clear conscience. Have I crossed the line? Am I reporting honestly or bragging with a financial motive? What's wrong with having a financial motive - isn't it to benefit the people and to fulfill my calling? If I don't agree should I say something or smile? Am I compromising for the sake of support? Please pray for us missionaries. It's not just about going to a remote jungle, learning the native language and preaching the gospel. It's all different now, and is far more complicated, "Madison Avenue" and political. That's why I have this website. It's just part of... well... my PUBLICITY CAMPAIGN. That's also why I decided NOT to put a title on top of this box, so that by being "different" more of my supporting pastors will read it. See, I'm learning now. It's part of my MARKETING STRATEGY! I better stop now before I become a politician.

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