Continuing the Mission

Times are tough for many people today. Economies are bad all over the world, especially for many of our brothers and sisters serving God in countries hostile to the gospel. This is why we try to provide as many free or low cost resources as we can. This month alone, we have given away 725 copies of A Heart Hungry to Worship both in print and electronic form. We mean it when we say we are not in it for the money. All of us here at Ta Ethne volunteer and all profits are redistributed to national leaders in churches across the globe. Each month we will continue to provide free resources, as well as posting new podcasts and bible study materials on our site. Let others build up their ministries, we will continue building up the Kingdom of God. Looking forward into March, we have some new ideas to help us do just that. Keep us in your prayers as we seek out new ways to help resource God’s church.

Commentary on Jude

As part of our ongoing efforts to provide resources to leaders in the Kingdom of God, Ta Ethne is pleased to announce that, beginning this week, a commentary on Jude will be offered. As this book is still in production, a chapter a week will be posted and become available under the Bible Studies tab. As the work progresses, comments are welcome. When the commentary is finished it will be published in print, Kindle and audio formats. Please, look for the links entitled Dominos: A Dynamic Commentary on the Epistle of Jude under the Bible Studies tab.

Orphan Adoption and Theology – an article

A very good article written on adoption and theology. There is a link at the end of the article so you can go to the original posting. Ta Ethne supports the work of Together for Adoption in mobilizing the Christian world for global orphan adoption. Please take the time to read this well-written article and check out their website.

Occasionally, when people hear about Together for Adoption’s emphasis and stress upon theology, they sincerely ask, “Do we really have time to study the theology of adoption when there is so much to be done for orphans now?
Isn’t it enough that Scripture commands us to care for orphans? Shouldn’t we just do it?”
If we think of theology merely as information about God, as the mental collection of facts about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then this question is legitimate. But if by theology we mean a real knowing of God, an ongoing and growing relational engagement with God, the question loses its teeth. Yes, theology necessarily involves information about God. Scripture is full of it. But theology is never merely information.
In Matthew 11:27 Jesus says, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (emphasis mine). Believe it or not, Jesus is talking about theology here. If you think about it, theology did not begin with the creation of man. It has always existed in the eternal mutual knowing of the Father and Son. For all of
eternity past the Father has known the Son and the Son the Father.
Understood like this, theology is a gracious gift to humanity. In reality, theology is actually a sharing in the mutual knowing of the Father and Son. It is a participation in the communion of love that the Holy Trinity is (“God is love”). There is no greater gift that can be given to man. So, do we really have time for theology when orphans need our help now? Yes, we do. If theology is ultimately about our participation in the love between the Father and the Son, then nothing can better mobilize and energize us to care for orphans now than theology. Nothing. Rightly understood and practiced, robust theology produces robust action. Just look at the life of Jesus. He enjoyed an infinitely robust theology and no one did more for the poor and
marginalized than he did. If you think about it, what orphans need, then, is Christians who are deeply theological. This is why Together for
Adoption stresses theology when we talk about orphan care.Theology is much more than gathering facts about God and arranging them into a system of
thought and belief. Now granted, theology is not less than true statements about God, but it is certainly and infinitely more than true statements about God. As James says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” There’s much more to theology than a collection of biblically gathered facts about God. Theology is ultimately our real participation in the mutual knowing and loving of the Father and the Son in the communion of the Spirit. This is why I said that theology is infinitely more than true statements about God. The study of theology and communion with the Triune God must go hand in hand. No one—absolutely no one—was and is more theological than the Son of God. He has forever known the Father through-and-through, even as he is and has been known. For all of eternity past the Son perfectly knew and communed with the Father. Remarkably, this is the Son
who became man, who became incarnate and lived among us! By becoming the incarnate Son Jesus brought his communion with the Father into the world of men—into the very heart of our broken and devastated world!
That’s the good news of the Gospel!
Suddenly, communion with the Father became a very tangible and possible reality for fallen humanity. Never before—not even with Adam and Eve—had mankind ever known God the Father like the man Christ Jesus knew him (and knows him!). Jesus was a one-of-a-kind man! He is the true man. Jesus was as deeply and profoundly theological as it is possible to be. No matter where in the infinite corridors of eternity you search for someone like the incarnate Son, you will never find anyone enjoying the same level and intensity of communion with the Father as he does. If ever there is someone who is without peer, it’s Jesus —well, except for the Father and the Spirit (both of whom, of course, share his same stratospheric, otherworldly level of communion in all its mind-blowing fullness)! In light of all of this, do you know what’s truly remarkable, though it really should not seem that remarkable to us? Nobody—and I mean absolutely nobody—cared more for the poor, orphaned, and marginalized than Jesus. Rather than his robust theology weakening his social engagement with and commitment to the outcast and neglected, his robust theology unceasingly fueled and sustained his social engagement. As such, Jesus is the truest of human beings! Through the Son’s incarnation, he became what we were and are supposed to be, and he became such for us and in our
place!
What must we learn from this? As orphan care advocates, one of the worst things we can do is neglect or overlook theology. If we do neglect it, we, and the orphans of this world, will be the poorer for it. But if we embrace theology as ones who live in vital union with this amazing Jesus, we, and the orphans we serve, will be the richer for it. What orphans need most, then, is Christians who do not merely know a ton of true statements about God, but who by the power of the gospel daily participate in the mutual knowing and loving of the Father and the Son in the communion of the Spirit.

Article written by Dan Cruver. Email questions and comments to: dan.cruver@togetherforadoption.org
http://www.togetherforadoption.org/wp-content/media/Article_Do_we_really_have_time_for_theology_PDF.pdf

Hymn Devotions Day 34 – Must I Go, And Empty-Handed?

DAY 34 – MUST I GO, AND EMPTY-HANDED?

 

What a haunting thought, to meet Jesus in heaven and have nothing to show Him. To waste the talents He has given us, to squander the time allotted to us, to waste the opportunities to reach others for His kingdom, what a tragedy. We must work now, before He returns, to reach as many people as we can with the gospel, for when He comes again it will be in judgment and not mercy.

Jesus will not lie to us. He will not say, “Well done my good and faithful servant” if we have not done well nor been good. If we have hidden our talent, as the man in the parable did, if we have refused to live our life for His glory, it will be in shame that we stand before Him.

To live a life with no regrets, to make the most of every opportunity given, to use every minute of every day seeking His will, that should be our goal. Oh if we could have time back. Time to witness once more to friends that have passed away. Time to speak, once again, to family members that have died without Christ. But there is no turning back the clock, we must make the most of every opportunity, redeeming the time we have.

This is a good resolution to make: to seize the time, to earnestly seek after souls and ferret out opportunities to share the gospel. Will we have people in heaven come up to us, thanking us for sharing the gospel with them or will we have people in hell shrieking, asking us why we cared so little for us that we kept our gospel to ourselves? Will we meet Jesus empty-handed?

 

Lord Jesus, help me redeem the time You have allotted to me to work for the kingdom. Give me souls to witness to, give me opportunities to share. Let me lead others to You so You can save them by Your grace.

MUST I GO, AND EMPTY-HANDED by Charles Luther

 

Must I go and empty-handed

Thus my dear Redeemer meet

Not one day of service give Him

Lay no trophy at His feet?

 

Not at death I shrink nor falter

For my Savior saves me now

But to meet Him empty-handed

Thought of that now clouds my brow

 

O the years in sinning wasted

Could I but recall them now

I would give them to my Savior

To His will I’d gladly bow

 

O ye saints, arouse, be earnest

Up and work while yet ’tis day

Ere the night of death o’er-take thee

Strive for souls while you still may

 

REFRAIN:

 

Must I go and empty-handed?

Must I meet my Savior so?

Not one soul with which to greet Him:

Must I empty-handed go?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast – 2 Sides of the Same Coin

 

Confession and Testimony make up 2 sides of the same coin. A testimony is defined not just as what God does for us, but what we do well for His Kingdom. Confession would be the admission of what we are doing wrong for His Kingdom.

 

Preached at Immanuel Baptist, Havre in July, 2012

Companies Ministering

Here at Ta Ethne we salute companies that see their work as a ministry for God rather than for making profit. Not that making profit is wrong. After all, if one doesn’t make a profit, one cannot stay in business. We salute those who see the reason for their business as being a vehicle or platform to extend works of mercy and ministry in God’s name to others. One such business is DaMory Diapers (www.damorydiapers.com). This small business does big Kingdom work. They manufacture cloth diapers, which are good for the environment and for babies. More than that, though, is the fact that they give away new diapers to local crisis pregnancy centers, give discounts to clergy families and discounts to those in financial need. Many times they donate almost as many diapers as they sell in a month. The reason – by sharing with those in need, it builds relationships and opens the door to sharing the gospel.

When a company or business sees itself as an instrument of God’s Kingdom, God blesses them with the ability to continue to impact others. Let us know of other businesses that see themselves as ministers of the gospel so we can salute them too.

Confession/Testimony – 2 sides of the same coin

Have you ever stopped and thought about the relationship between confession and testimony? In testimonies, people often talk about what God has done for them. This is good and appropriate, but it is not the only form of testimony. Another form of testimony, and one not shared a lot, is what we have done for God’s Kingdom. Part of being accountable to our fellow Christians is to regularly talk about what we have done for the cause of Christ. It is so easy to sit and talk about all the things God has done for us, and  not do anything for Him in return.

Confession is our talking (admitting) what we have done wrong. It also is part of our accountability. So we have this coin. On one side is confession – an admittance of what we are doing that is wrong, and repenting of it. On the other side is testimony – an admittance of what we are doing that is right. For a church to grow in maturity, both of these must be regularly practiced by the group.

If we have nothing to share with our brothers and sisters about what we are doing for God, we may have more to confess than we realize. We need to practice testimonies of what we are doing as well as acknowledgment of what God is doing.

I realize that some will think it might come off as bragging, It could, depending on the way a person phrases it, or their attitude. But just because the practice can be abused doesn’t mean we should abandon it. Let God deal with the braggart, but let us not shrink back from boasting in the Lord as to what we do for Him. It just might inspire others to get involved with us and it will keep us accountable so we are not found to be pew-warmers instead of disciples.