HOWARD SLOAN
MISSIONARY AT LARGE

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Newsletter November 2019

Posted by pastorsloan on November 12, 2019 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)
I just returned from Cusco, Peru where I finished the �??Principles of Renewal from the Book of Acts�?� teaching sessions. Our topics were church discipline, Biblical teaching, worship, and church unity; but we began with a challenge. Is your congregation diving, surviving or thriving? A thriving church is the goal. A thriving church is strong, abounding in love, Biblically wise, evangelizing, discipling, and caring for their members in all their needs. People in the church trust and love one another. The question for the Peruvian churches is the same one for any church. Will your church dive, survive or thrive? Our discussions on church discipline were important. Church discipline is a struggle for the Peruvian church. Part of the culture is to never bring shame upon someone. To exclude someone from the church or point out there sin is to bring shame upon them. However, Church discipline is necessary. Church discipline must take place if we love Christ, His church, and its members. Church unity is a significant topic as well. The doctrine of the communion of the saints was discussed as the Biblical/Theological basis for our unity. We also talked about how to bring about unity practically. The Peruvians do not open up to one another, so transparency with one another is not something that will be easy. I shared with them one of my favorite sayings, �??Never underestimate the power of asking how someone is doing, and mean it.�?� I told them a story of how that simple question once saved someone life and brought them to faith. I was quite powerful. On Sunday morning, November 3rd, I preached at Jesús El Buen Pastor Iglesia (Jesus the Good Shepherd Church) in Cusco. The sermon was entitled �??Sola Scriptura and the Missions Mandate.�?� The first part of the sermon covered the basic doctrines regarding the Scriptures: inspiration, infallibility, inerrancy, and authority. The second half of the sermon focused on how a correct doctrine of Scripture drives us to take the gospel to the world. In one sense we should not need commandments and admonitions to take the Gospel to the World. If we are certain that this is truly God�??s message to the all men, then we should want everyone to hear. God has truthfully and accurately revealed Himself in and through His word so sufficiently that we should desire that everyone know what it authoritatively says. When I finished the sermon it was time for The Lord�??s Supper. Rev. Keith Powlison fenced the table and encouraged them to repent of the sin of keeping the gospel to themselves. It was powerful. Church members wept over their sin. When was the last time any of us wept in repentance because we kept the gospel to ourselves instead of giving it to our family and friends? The plan is for me to return sometime in 2020. The date and topic have not ben set. In the meantime, I begin preparations for the Lighthouse for Christ trip in January 2020. This trip will involve teaching a larger group of pastors on the Lighthouse Catechism, which is a catechism that was assembled for them using elements of the Heidelberg Catechism, Westminster Short Catechism, and new questions that are specific to their context. This catechism was a labor of love. It has already become a valuable tool for discipleship. Until next time. Missionary at Large UPCOMING EVENTS January 13-17, 2020 Lighthouse for Christ; Mombasa, Kenya. �??Lighthouse Catechism�?� course. February 2-3, 2019 Perspective on the World Christian Movement. Altoona and State College . PRAYER POINTS That God would provide me with financial and prayer supporters. For language study. I am attempting to learn 3 languages (Spanish, Swahili, and Nepali). Preparations for the trip to Kenya in January 2020. For my studies.

Wash Me

Posted by pastorsloan on October 29, 2019 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

John 13:1-17, Psalm 139:23-24

 

Lord Jesus, you have said that if you do not wash me, that I have no part in you. I thank you Lord that I have indeed been washed by the blood and righteousness of my Savior. But Lord, the dirt and dust of earth still clings as we walk through this world. Search my heart, Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there is any grievous way in me. Forgive me of my sin, for you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Work on this heart by your Word and Spirit, that no more filth be found in me. That sin would not longer reign in my mortal body. May my whole life be presented to you as an instrument of righteousness.

The Way to the Father

Posted by pastorsloan on October 29, 2019 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This is based on John 14:1-6


Lord Jesus, You prepare a place for me in Your Father's house. An abode of which I am unworthy. A place I would not find on my own. You comfort me by telling me to believe and trust in You. I long for the day of being without face to face. I long for the unadulterated worship of heaven. I long for the restraints of sin to be lifted, to be free from disobedience. I thank you that you do not leave me to find Heaven on my own. I thank you that you not only made a way, but are the way.


Many in this world can not stand to hear that You are the Only way to the Father. That only worship offered in Your name is acceptable. That only prayer offered in Your name is acceptable. That we only come to the Father for eternity through Your blood and righteousness. Lord, proclaim Your word boldly through us, move mightily by Your spirit that many in our day would leave these false and dead ways. That they would be shown the living and true way to the Father, and that they would take it, even as Your take them there.


Move Your church out of deadness into a living hope and lively faith, that the excellency and supremacy of Christ might be proclaimed to a lost and dying world. Amen

Communion With God

Posted by pastorsloan on October 29, 2019 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I have been reflecting lately on the nature of our relationship to God. Think about the way we often refer to ourselves. We say we are "saved." I think that term may even be more popular than the term "Christian." While this terminology is not deficient, I think it does indicated a weakness in our thinking. Yes, we are saved, but what our minds ought to be focus on is not just that we have been saved, but what we have been saved unto. We have been brought into new relationship to God. We once were enemies, we are now friends. We once were strangers, and now are children. We once were children of wrath, now we are objects of mercy. When we leave it at saved we can miss the vital part of our salvation - our communion with God.


We have started to look at this idea of communion or fellowship with God on Sunday evenings. Check out these verses.


1 Cor. 1:9 (ESV)

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


2 Cor. 13:14 (ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


1 John 1:3-7 (ESV) that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.


Do we really see that the fundamental nature of our relationship with God has changed? We are saved to be in fellowship with God. Do we see the depth of the relationship? Closeness. Intimacy. Do we truly believe the words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever?


Something to think about until next time- how would our desire for fellowship with God change our approach to things like prayer, the scriptures, worship, the sacraments? Do we approach these means of grace expecting to meet with the living God, the risen Christ, and Spirit that raised Christ from the dead?


Saved Unto Good Works

Posted by pastorsloan on October 29, 2019 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Ephes. 2:1-10 (ESV)

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

[2] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— [3] among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. [4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— [6] and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [7] so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


Why do we need Jesus Christ?

1. We are disobedient enemies of God and children of wrath. (2:1-3)


2. God’s extends His mercy, love, and grace to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. (2:4)


3. It is in Jesus Christ that we are made alive, forgiven of our sins, and spared from the wrath of God to come. (2:5-7)


4. We come to Jesus Christ by grace through Faith and receive the benefits of His death and resurrection. (2:8-9)


Do we come to God just for salvation without wanting the rest?


So often the Good News of Jesus Christ is presented in a way that forgiveness of sin and escape from the wrath of God is seen as the end. Even eternal life is seen as a by-product.


We fail to see what we have been saved unto. Our God has saved us and spared us from wrath for specific purposes.


The Purposes for Our Salvation

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism says “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”


1. To bring us into Fellowship with God (enjoy Him forever)

of the great love with which he loved us (2:4)


so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (2:7)


God has saved us to be continual objects of His love, kindness, and grace.


1 John 1:3-5 (ESV)

that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. [4] And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

[5] This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

 

2. To do good works (Glorifying Him)


[10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


John 14:12 (ESV)

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.


We leave behind the evil works of our former ways.

 

We leave behind the supposed good works we have done that can not save, in which we have tried to boast but can not.

 

We go on to those good works that God has prepared before hand for us to walk in.

 

We are here to do this good work in His name. God has prepared this good work for us in advance.

 

And these good works are to the glory of God.


Col. 1:10 (ESV)

so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

 

What kind of fruit do you bear? It is real fruit or it is fake fruit.


Conclusion

Why do we do our good works?

To impress?

To earn God’s favor?

To do something good?

Because God has a work for you to do?


Examine your heart to see if you are living according to what God has saved you unto to.

Devotion on Hebrews Benediction

Posted by pastorsloan on October 29, 2019 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, [21] equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

The writer of Hebrews concludes the book with this benediction. A benediction is a “good speak.” It is the pronouncement of a blessing upon the people. This benediction is in two parts. The first is a rehearsal of God’s character. The second is the requested blessing.


The writer states three things about God of whom He asks for this blessing. First, He is the God of peace. He has taken away the enmity that existed and brought into sweet fellowship with Him. Secondly, He is also a God of power. He is the God who “brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep.” The God who rose up the dead in power is the one from whom this blessing is being asked. Thirdly, He is the covenant keeping God which we see in the phrase “by the blood of the eternal covenant.” Our God does not just make promises and deals, He keeps them. He kept this covenant with His own blood shed on our behalf. So what then are the blessing requested?


The first blessing is that the saints be equipped with everything good to do His will. In order for us to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” we must be equipped to do just that. How often do we ask God for this same blessing upon us and His church? We ask selfishly to advance our own desires. But if we truly seek first the kingdom of God, then should not we desire to see the citizens of the Kingdom adequately supplied and prepared to answer the call? Let us begin to pray that God would truly equip us with “everything good to do his will.” The author of Hebrews also asks that God work “in us that which is pleasing in His sight.” That is the high calling of the Christian life – to be pleasing in God’s sight. In order to do that, we need God’s grace and mercy upon us in great measure. We ought to request that of God too, if that is truly our desire. And of course that He would receive the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 1

Posted by pastorsloan on October 29, 2019 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

PSALM 1

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; [2] but his delight is in the law of the Lord,and on his law he meditates day and night. [3] He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. [4] The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. [5] Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; [6] for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.


This is a man who knows where to get truth and wisdom and where not to.


Notice his attitude toward God’s word. “his delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.” Because of what He has done with God’s word and what God’s word has done in him, he is strong, faithful, and immovable. This is unlike the wicked who are like chaff blown away.

 

What does this teach us about prayer? It gives us a prayerful aim. If this man is the blessed man, the one whose ways are known by the Lord, then should not we pray to be molded into this man? What should be desire?

 

1) A heart that delights in the Word of God – To delight in God’s Word should be the cry of every Christians heart. Pray for God’s Word to captivate, delight, thrill and mold us.

2) To be people who seek counsel from the godly wise, not the worldly wise. – When our world becomes a mess, we seek counsel. From whom we seek counsel makes a great deal of difference. We ought to go to Godly, wise, and trustworthy people. Pray that God would provide those people in our lives and church.

3) That we would be firmly established like a tree firmly rooted. – The world blows heard against our faith. We must be firmly established, else we will be moved by every wind of doctrine and controversy, and every event that shakes our faith.

4) That we would be fruitful as Christians. – We are brought into Christ and forgiven of our sins with the purpose of doing good works in Jesus’ name. Jesus’ told His disciples on the night of His betrayal that those vines not found fruitful would be removed and put in the fire. Pray that we, individually and a church, would be fruitful vines, and not chaff or withered vines destined for the fire.

5) That our ways would prosper for Christ’s sake. - May we desire God’s blessing so that we might be a blessing to others. Pray that selfish desires would die out.

6) For those who stand in judgment and are following the way that will perish. – Many are lost and perishing. We must petition the Lord of the Harvest for workers, but also for the crop as well.

Psalm 2

Posted by pastorsloan on October 29, 2019 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Psalm 2:1-12 (ESV)

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? [2] The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, [3] "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us."

[4] He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. [5] Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,

[6] "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill."

[7] I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. [8] Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. [9] You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

[10] Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. [11] Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. [12] Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.


If we look around the world today, we see nations still plotting in vain and raging against the true God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Rulers and countries make it illegal to be a Christian. Men, women, and children around the world put their lives on the line because of the saving work of Jesus Christ. In our own land, we do not see this kind of persecution from the government, but we see a building resistance to Christianity in our land in the removal of the Ten Commandments and prayer from schools, and of Christmas and Easter displays from the public arena.

But “He who sits in the heavens laughs.” Many have tried and will try to frustrate or even stop the plans and purposes of The Lord God Almighty, but He laughs at them. Our God knows the real situation.

Jesus Christ has been given the nations as a heritage. They are His to rule. He alone is King and ruler of all. He is the King that sits enthroned on God’s throne. His plans can not be thwarted or crushed.

How should these truths affect our prayer?

1) We ought to pray for those lands that are closed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ because of governmental controls, or where being a Christian is illegal. Pray that the Word of the Lord would spread mightily in these lands. Pray that the Lord would strengthen those undergoing persecution, and that the plans of men would be overruled by the will of God.

2) Pray for revival in our land. As our country continues to stray from Christian principles and true faith in Jesus Christ, pray that the Lord will once again sweep through our land with Gospel fire. That we would once again become “one nation under God.”

3) Pray for those servants of the Lord around the world who faithfully service Jesus Christ despite the cost to themselves because they understand what is at stake.

Psalm 3

Posted by pastorsloan on October 29, 2019 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Psalm 3:1-8 (ESV)

A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;

[2] many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah

[3] But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

[4] I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

[5] I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.

[6] I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.

[7] Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!

For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.

[8] Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah


This Psalm is given the preface A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. David’s family has a long and strange history. The account of this can be found in 2 Samuel 13-18. This issue begins with David’s son Amnon lusting after Absalom’s sister Tamar. Amnon uses deceit and is able violate her. Absalom finds out about it, as does David. Both are angry. Two years later, Absalom plots and has Amnon killed. King David finds out and Absalom is forced to flee. He remains gone for 3 years, then Absalom returns to Jerusalem but is not allowed to be in the King’s presence for another 2 years. After their supposed reconciliation, Absalom “stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” (2 Samuel 15:6) Four years later, Absalom proclaims himself to be King and David is forced to flee. This is when David pens this Psalm.


The first two verses have David surveying the landscape. He has enemies, which is something that he is familiar with from King Saul. These enemies think that God will not help him which is why David says in verse 2 “many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.” But David knows better.

 

David pleads to God first as his recognized defender and sustainer. God is the one who protects him from the enemy’s hand. He hears his cries in this hour of need. David realizes that even waking up in the morning is a gift of God’s gracious provision.


David also realizes that God is the source of his victory. Deuteronomy 32:35 says “Vengeance is mine, and recompense.”


What ought we pray for?


1) That we would seek our protection and vindication from the Lord when under attack or wronged.


2) That we would seek comfort from the Lord in the midst of our turmoil.


3) That we would be grateful for God’s daily provision. Even when no one is seeking our life, every day we wake up is from the hand of the Lord.

Psalm 4

Posted by pastorsloan on October 29, 2019 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Psalm 4:1-8 (ESV)

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!

You have given me relief when I was in distress.

Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

[2] O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?

How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah

[3] But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;

the Lord hears when I call to him.

[4] Be angry, and do not sin;

ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah

[5] Offer right sacrifices,

and put your trust in the Lord.

[6] There are many who say, "Who will show us some good?

Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!"

[7] You have put more joy in my heart

than they have when their grain and wine abound.

[8] In peace I will both lie down and sleep;

for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.


Once again we read from David a Psalm during times of trouble. A cry to “God of my righteousness” asking for relief and vindication. David knows of the trustworthiness of the Lord from his own experience “You have given me relief when I was in distress.” He remembers God’s faithfulness and his responsibilities.


In verse 3, David reminds us of one of the great truths of Scriptures - “the Lord has set apart the godly for himself.” When this truth is rightly understood, it becomes easier to do those things David speaks.


When we understand that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself, it makes sense that he would hear us as we call. In times of trouble and anger over situations around us, we will be still and not sin, not acting out, but trust in the Lord.


When we understand that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself, we would expect him to put joy in our hearts, and more joy than the world can muster with its worldly ways of producing joy. So many look for escape to worldly methods of soothing their hearts and lives when they are in distress. We turn to things that satisfy the senses when we ought to turn to those things that satisfy the soul. Why would we, the godly, the people set apart for God, do this when we have the ultimate source of joy and peace as our Father and our Protector. We are able to lie down in peace as well, because the godly are for him and He makes them dwell safely.


As we approach the Lord in our times of fear and desperation, let us remember that even in these times, we have been set apart by God for Himself. That even in the darkest of hours, it is still His pleasure and purposes that are being accomplished in, with, and through us. So let us cry to Him, trust Him, rest in Him, and take our joy in Him which is far greater than the joy of the world. Let us be completely settled under His wing.


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