Training School: God’s Glory, Our Excellence

It is time for our annual training school. This year’s theme is God’s Glory, Our Excellence. Our key verse is 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Every year we try to edify and encourage our missionaries, while at the same time educate our newer missionaries in financial reporting, policy and taxes. This year 13 Deaf and hearing missionaries are traveling to attend. These missionaries represent countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.

Pastor Mark Campbell of Faith Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Jack Bufkin of Legal Shield, Richard McMillen of Pulpit and Pew Finances and Pastor Ronald Kuhns of Gospel Lighthouse Baptist Church will be our special guests.

Please pray for this week. We may make some of these sessions available via video or audio. Stay tuned!

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Solving Problems While Heathen Watch

And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.

—Genesis 13:7

Abram and Lot—the main characters in chapter thirteen—were recent arrivals to this region which was heavily populated with idol worshipers. As acquaintances were made, the local residents found out that these men were strange indeed; they had no idols of any kind, and had no regard for man-made deities! If their curiosity drove them to the point of asking Abram, “In whom or what do you trust for protection? Who or what do you worship in order to be blessed and prosperous?”, they would have been given an abstract answer, “My God cannot be seen by men’s eyes; He is invisible, I worship Jehovah.”

In the previous paragraph notice the word abstract. My guess is that idol worshipers don’t easily comprehend an invisible, untouchable deity; after all, they can actually see and touch theirs. As problems and needs arise in the life of an idol worshiper they go before their deity, follow a specified ritual and expect their god will take care of the matter. This illustrates an important principle of how the world walks by sight, not by faith which is the opposite of a Jehovah worshiper. Instead of abstract words it might carry more weight to have an actual, visible demonstration that Abram’s invisible God was in fact real and willing to work on Abram’s behalf.

With that in mind we look at verse seven again and see that it tells us there was contention and strife between God’s people. Even true believers do not have some magical immunity against problems in their human relationships. However, it should always be remembered that the world watches us as we work through our problems. The way in which our conflicts are resolved should demonstrate the nature of the One Whose name we bear. That is what makes our text so significant: the idol worshiping Canaanites and Perizzites couldn’t figure out how Jehovah worshipers resolved their problems since they didn’t have charms, fetishes or use any kind of tangible objects.

In the previous chapter (Genesis 12:10-20) Abram had learned a shameful lesson of what happens when we lean on our own understanding. Pharaoh, seeing that Abram relied on deception, sent him out of the country. Could it be that the Egyptian head of state said to someone nearby, “If that is how Jehovah worshipers deal with people, I hope I never meet another one!”

There are many places to apply these thoughts but I am thinking especially of cross-cultural situations where missionaries dwell among heathen people. So, when missionaries are dealing with people problems—for example, national pastors or even other missionaries—the locals need to see how the One Whom we represent can solve problems without using charms, cultural mechanisms or physical force. We must remember that we live among the Canaanite and Perizzite—they are watching. Let our conduct be the means by which they see that the Spirit of God and the Truth of God’s Word can solve any kind of dispute. This is as much a part of making disciples of Jesus Christ as to stand before them and preach a sermon.

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The Focus of Your Love

…Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?…

—John 21:15

Christ asked three times in John 21 if Peter loved Him. In verse 15 the question was whether Peter loved Him “more than these.” We’ve probably heard various explanations for what Christ meant by the word “these.” Some say it is a question of Peter’s love compared to the love that the other disciples had for the Lord. Or whether Peter loved Christ more than he loved the fish they had just caught. Or possibly whether he loved the Lord more than the other disciples did. More generally, I have heard pastors talk about whether Peter loved Christ more than the secular work in which he was engaged.

I think those are all good topics to speculate about and to draw meaning from; however, I would like to draw your thoughts to the idea that Christ was challenging Peter to focus his love on the Lord more than just doing ministry for ministry’s sake. Christ asked Peter to feed His sheep. Peter was asked to do ministry as a result of his love for the Lord.

Called to Love

It is encouraging to hear a veteran missionary talk about the work the Lord has called him to do. They often talk about the love they have for the people, country and culture to whom they are called to minister. Not only is it encouraging to hear from veterans, but it also offers a challenge to us to check and see if we are in love with the ministry the Lord has called us to do.

Sometimes, doesn’t it feel a bit empty for a new missionary to talk passionately about the love they have for the people and culture of the place they are called to serve? They have yet to fully experience the challenges of doing the ministry in a new place or culture. There is no doubt that young missionaries should have a zeal for the work of God. Yet, I propose that above focusing on loving the country and culture, the missionary should focus on loving God first and then a love for the people will follow.

If your love for the Lord is strong then He will help you to love the people to whom you are called.

Having lived in Mexico for a few years, there are many things I love about the country, culture and people. At least I can say that now. But the day I stood in line for 7 hours at the Mexican DMV to get a license plate for a recently purchased car was not a day I was feeling great love for the system. Even less so that night when I was complaining about it in church and a man praised the Lord on my behalf because it went so quickly for me.

There are days that a missionary may not love the country to which he is called. There are moments when he will question whether he has enough love for the people. Yet, if he will remember that he is called to love the Lord first, then his love for the people will grow.

Do You Love Cats?

Let me remind you of the illustration of a little girl who found a stray cat and immediately fell in love. Her daddy had no interest or love for the cat. But as days went by and he saw the love that his child had for the pitiful creature, he too began to love the stray. This love for the creature grew because of his love for the little girl. Because he loved her, he began to love the things that she loved.

It is a simple illustration, but certainly we can learn from this. If you will love God supremely, then you will develop a love for the people that God loves.

Challenge to Young Missionaries

I know that you are excited about your ministry—as well you should be—but don’t neglect to develop your love for the Lord. As your love for the Lord and the things of God grows, you will love those around you properly.

It is possible to develop an unhealthy love for the mission field and ministry. Though we don’t often think of these things as idolatry, you can easily misplace your love for the Lord into people, places and projects. You will then create an idol that steals your focus from the Lord. That is an unhealthy spiritual situation for you and can lead those around you into an unhealthy, or false, relationship with God.

Life on the mission field is filled with stories of victories that you see in the lives of people as the Lord works. There are also great experiences that you will cherish your entire life. But there are also challenges on the field. Going to the field “because I love the people” is very shallow and will not help keep you in the ministry. Because there will be some days that you find it difficult to love the people on the field. For myself, there were times that I did not love the people of Mexico. Yet if you will put your focus on loving God first, then when things get tough on the field you will be there for the right reasons.

Pray and Love God Supremely

Church member, pray for the missionaries you support and encourage them in their spiritual growth. Missionaries are very much like the people in your church. The things you struggle with, the missionary struggles with. The challenges you face daily, the missionary faces. Yet the missionary is going through all of this while on the front lines of the ministry, while in a foreign land, while missing the comforts of home, while battling the forces of Satan for the souls of men. Missionaries need your prayers and encouragement to do the work.

Missionary, love Christ supremely and you will be able to love the people He has called you to.

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The Primary Motive For Missions

Just before ascending into Heaven, the Lord Jesus charged His disciples to take the Gospel across every cultural and geographical boundary unto every people group. There are several motives for us to be involved in missions, yet I think there is a primary reason.


We are motivated because God commanded us. The fact that God said go should motivate every believer. How do we who want to please the Lord get around, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” This charge is a mandate from our Monarch, a command from our Commander, an edict from the Emperor. It is an order to be obeyed and a duty to be done. As soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ we can do nothing less than take the Gospel to the world. God commanded us; this is a motivation for missions.

Everlasting Fire

We are motivated because there is everlasting fire. God created Hell for the Devil and his angels; nevertheless, the justice of God demands that sinners are doomed to the same punishment. For thousands of years the rich man and millions like him have been screaming, “I am tormented in this flame!” This thought will motivate the coolest heart among us if it is meditated upon long enough. Without a doubt, Hell moves us to compassion: “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” There is a Hell; this is a motivation for missions.


We are motivated by rewards. According to Scriptures those who are faithful in missions are promised crowns, power, and position. Who hasn’t envisioned giving their crown back to the Savior? Who hasn’t wondered what position will be theirs during the Millennial Kingdom and throughout eternity. The Lord indeed promises rewards to those who are faithful; rewards are a motivation for missions.


We are motivated because of God’s grace. God saves sinners. We deserve damnation. We deserve alienation and abandonment. Yet, in spite of us, God became a man in order to save you and me. How can recipients of such grace enjoy the blessings and benefits of this grace without feeling compelled to share what they have with those who have no Bible, who have no church, who have no Savior, who have no hope. God’s grace reached me and it reached you; this is a motivation for missions.

Christ is Worthy

We are motivated because Jesus is worthy. Without a doubt this is the primary reason. Jesus is worthy to have His name published throughout the world. He is worthy to have His salvation clearly offered to all people! He is worthy because He is Sovereign, because He is Creator, because He is holy, because He is righteous, because He is love, because He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and immutable. Jesus is altogether lovely, the fairest of the fair, the Bright and Morning Star! No wonder Hudson Taylor said, “If I had 1,000 lives I’d give them all to China.” If for no other reason, we do missions because He is worthy!

’Not called!’ did you say?

‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say!

Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.

— General William Booth, Founder of the Salvation Army

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SMART Advice: Check The Timing Belt On Your Car

If you own a motor vehicle please consider this question, “Does its engine have a timing belt, or a timing chain?” If your response is, “I don’t know,” that is quite normal. However, I hope you did not include, “…and quite honestly I don’t care.” If it did, please stop for five minutes to read this article as your bank account could benefit from the information that follows.

What Is Engine Timing?

Two types of timing occur in an engine. First, consider spark timing, wherein an electrical impulse is sent to a spark plug so as to ignite the fuel/air mixture at just the right time. Secondly, there is valve timing which involves opening and closing valves in each cylinder to control the flow of air, fuel and exhaust gases. When the valves do not open or close at just the right time problems can occur: engine power and fuel economy are decreased; an engine could be severely damaged if a piston collides with a valve which is sticking into the cylinder. The process of valve timing is controlled either by a timing belt or a timing chain.


A timing belt is not the same as a serpentine belt; they are significantly different so don’t confuse the two.

The serpentine belt drives accessories like a water pump, alternator or power steering pump; it is externally visible and easily replaceable. A broken serpentine belt will cause the accessories to stop turning without harming the engine.

A timing belt is totally different; it is internal, hidden behind a protective cover.

The Differences Between Belt And Chain

A brief comparison can help one understand the differences between a timing belt and timing chain.

Timing Belt

  • Made of rubber—same material as a fan belt; not very durable
  • Manufacturer intends it to be replaced around every 70,000 miles

Timing Chain

  • Steel links held together with steel pins, like a bicycle chain on steroids; very durable
  • Designed to last the life of the engine, usually 250,000 miles or more

As a timing belt does its job the rubber will slowly deteriorate. At around 100,000 miles it will have weakened allowing for the possibility that it could slip or even break; this will allow a valve to remain stuck open. A moving piston which collides with an open valve can easily inflict $1000—or more—damage to the engine. In some cases it can render the engine irreparable.

What To Do

First, identify which engine is in your vehicle: gas or diesel? Now, what size is your engine? Raising the hood and looking at the engine might give you the answer. Often it is displayed using a couple of large numbers like 2.4L, 3.6L, 4.2L, etc.

Secondly, find out if your particular engine has a timing chain or timing belt by checking a service manual or through an internet search. If yours has a timing belt and you don’t know when/or if it was replaced you really should make plans to replace it in the foreseeable future. Choosing to wait until it breaks could end up being a very costly decision on your part.

One final thought, timing belts are not expensive; $50 on average. However, to properly replace one requires meticulous attention to detail. If the internal engine timing is not properly aligned when replacing the parts the engine could suffer serious damage the first time it gets started. The task really ought not to be trusted to a mechanic who has marginal skills.

Other Resources

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