There was no one – and I mean absolutely NO ONE in the entire universe – who had it as incredibly good as God’s Old Testament people Israel. Moses reminded them of that yet again in Deuteronomy 4:7 when he said, “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?”He went on in chapter seven to explain to them how God had chosen them, specifically, and them alone, to be His very own “holy” and “special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth” (vs. 6). Moses further reinforced to them how God would love them, bless them, and multiply them; and how they would hence be blessed above all the other peoples on the face of the earth because they were His special and treasured people (vss. 13-14). Of course, inherent in that God-favored position and heaven-given heritage was the fact that they would also enjoy the very special and unique privilege of both knowing and carrying out their Creator’s divine and exclusive will for His chosen people, without addition, subtraction, or adjustment(Deuteronomy 4:1-8, 7:6-16).

Chosen Called

Being chosen of God comes with the responsibility of service.

But sadly, even tragically, such a high and holy, special and unique, great and highly treasured position before their Lord God and Creator was something that they either did not understand, or else were so satanically deceived and short-sighted about,that they showed no desire to treasure, protect, and maintain it. Conversely and instead, they militantly and aggressively sought to surrender, destroy, and rid themselves of both their revered position and the sacred responsibilities that came with it at all cost. Even when Moses was initially up on Mount Sinai receiving God’s instructions for them, they, His own special and treasured people, were down at the foot of the mountain seeking to re-implement and follow pagan worship practices similar to  those of the ungodly and idolatrous nation they had just been set free from, who neither knew, loved, nor followed the Lord their God (See Exodus 32) – and this was only the beginning of their sad and total surrender of their sacred and special status.

Not long after the death of Joshua, Judges 2:11-12 tells us that, “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger” – a pattern that they would repeat time and again throughout the period of the Judges (3:7, 8:33, 10:6-10) and indeed, on into and throughout pretty much their entire Old Testament history as well (See 1 Kings 18:18; 2 Chronicles 24:7, 28:2, 33:3; Jeremiah 2:23, 9:14; Hosea 2:13, 11:2). They even became so incredibly determined to destroy their infinitely unique, exclusive, and special standing and relationship with God, that they even outright rejected and demanded to replace Him with a human king! This, just so they could accomplish their own heart-felt and human desire to become like all the pagan, ungodly, and destined for destruction nations all around them (1 Samuel 8). What an awful, terrible, and satanically-induced waste! And yet… are we truly any different?

You see, the “churches of Christ”(Romans 16:16) comprise God’s one, saved, chosen and holy, very unique and distinct, body, church, or group of people today (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4-6; 1 Peter 2:9-12). We became children of God, and were therefore added by God, to Christ’s one New Testament church (or body, or family) when we, by faith, were baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins in obedience to the Lord’s commandment (Mark 16:15-16; Galatians 3:26-27; Acts 2:37-47; Colossians 2:12; Luke 6:46).

Just as with God’s former, chosen, Old Testament people, we (or at least most of us in the churches of Christ) also certainly understand as God’s chosen, special, unique and treasured New Testament children, that one divine aspect of our exclusive heavenly heritage is that we also get to enjoy carrying out the sacred responsibility that accompanies such a wonderful, God-pleasing, and infinitely exclusive status. We understand – and want – to worship in both spirit and truth (John 4:23-24) – that is, according to only what God said He wanted in His divinely-inspired word (which is the truth: John 8:31-32, 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:12-4:4) – and not according to any of the vain, futile, useless and worthless worship practices and teachings of uninspired human religious leaders of today (Matthew 15:3-9; Mark 7:5-13; Colossians 2:6-3:4).

Our God-given, grace-forgiven, and unique and privileged status as members of the Lord’s one New Testament church and no other, causes us to love Him more than anyone or anything else on earth. As a result, we seek to only and always, only and exclusively, obey only His commandments – and His alone (Jn. 14:15-24). How could we – or anyone else for that matter – who love Him so much, ever consider doing anything else?

We are so much in love with the Lord Jesus Christ in fact, that we would never dream of rebelling against and rejecting His holy and all-consuming authority and lordship by teaching that one can be saved and added to His church either without or before repenting and being baptized specifically for the forgiveness of their sins (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:37-47, 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21)! In our consummate and complete love and devotion to our one and only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we would never even consider changing the kind of worship music He consistently practiced, stated, and showed He wanted, enjoyed, and still enjoys, by adding unwanted and Biblically unauthorized instruments of music to it (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:10-12. After all, we certainly learned and took to heart the lesson taught to Nadab and Abihu – two Old Testament priests of the Lord I might add – who took the personal liberty of adding to their worship that which the Lord had not specifically authorized – Leviticus 10:1-2). Nor would we ever dare to even consider rejecting and trespassing against His holy and clearly-stated commandment that women are to remain silent in His churches (1 Corinthians 14:33-37), never leading or teaching over men (1 Timothy 2:8-15).

It absolutely does not matter one whit or iota to those who are truly and totally in love with the Lord Jesus Christ, what the Biblically-condemned, Biblically-contrarian, and man-made and named doctrines and denominations all around them say and do (Matthew 7:13-27; 15:3-9; Mark 7:5-13; Romans 16:16-18; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Galatians 1:6-10; 1 Timothy 4:1-7; 2 Peter 2:1-3, 3:14-18; Jude 3). There is simply no other person, doctrine, or worship practice that such faithful disciples and children of the living God are willing to surrender their saved, sacred, exclusive, special,and eternal standing and relationship – or the sacred and special responses and responsibilities that come along with it – with God for.

Surely such have learned their lesson from God’s previously chosen Old Testament people (1 Corinthians 10:1-11). Therefore, faithful churches of Christ (Romans 16:16) certainly have no desire whatsoever to reject God’s commandments and become like any of the multitude of man-made denominations all around them.They certainly have no desire to surrender their unique, special, and Biblically-confirmed status and standing (1 Peter 2:9-11) in order to share in either the man-made doctrines, Bible-rejecting practices, or therefore Biblically mandated destination of those denominations. That would be to willingly commit spiritual suicide in the same way as His Old Testament chosen people eventually chose to do. God forbid!

However, what those of us who have truly learned from their example do have as a result, is the subsequent desire to get out there and share this message – speaking the truth in love – with every lost and misled member, of every lost and man-made denomination all around us. This, so that they, too, can be Biblically: taught, forgiven, saved, and added by God, to His Son’s one New Testament church, just the same as He has been doing ever since its establishment on the Day of Pentecost in 33 A.D., and just as we see recorded in the eternal record in Acts 2:22-47.

So, now, go (Mark 16:15-16)! Let’s get out there and “Give ‘em heaven!” And let’s always remember to never surrender even one, single iota of our sacred and special standing with God in the process! God bless!

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Persecution (and the lack thereof)

Persecution (and the lack thereof)

In a Bible class recently we discussed Romans chapter 8:17, “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” The point was well made that all of these wonderful adjectives (e.g., heirs, heirs of God, joint heirs) were conditional on us suffering with Him. Then we spent a few minutes in class discussing persecution. A slide was presented that revealed Christian persecution in areas like northern Africa and many communist countries. The point was made that we don’t suffer much in America and class members gave possible reasons why (i.e., the founding fathers upheld many Christian principles, etc.). After the discussion we moved on to verses 18 and following…but my mind stayed on verse 17.

persecution suffer

Pray for those who suffer in the name of Christ.

The passage says, “if indeed we suffer with Him,” but the reality is in America we try really hard in America to avoid suffering. The honest truth is we don’t like to get out of our comfort zones, and so we plan programs and activities that don’t require us to have hard conversations with the lost. The only time we really speak up is when people who share our beliefs and worldviews surround us. Many congregations spend a great deal of their annual budget on “internal” programs so that members don’t feel like they have to go out into the community and confront those who are lost.

So is the reason we are not suffering or being persecuted because we have chosen an easier path?

Over and over the Bible talks about Christians being persecuted and suffering. For instance, 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Jesus spoke of persecution in His famous Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:10.

Spend a few minutes looking over passages like:

1 Peter 4:12-19

1 Peter 3:14

Romans 12:14

John 15:18

Matthew 5:44

John 15:19

Acts 14:22

John 16:33

2 Corinthians 4:8-12

Romans 12:17-21

James 1:2-3

Is it possible the reason we don’t suffer persecution is because we do not speak up? Is it possible we have become such friends with the world that they do not hate us for our religious beliefs? Is it possible that we have stopped identifying sin to those we come in contact with? Is it possible that we don’t suffer because we avoid the hard conversations about the consequences of sin? Is it possible we don’t suffer persecution because our pulpits no longer speak out strongly on judgment and hell—but rather, they continuously proclaim love and grace? Is it possible that we aren’t persecuted because we expect the lost to come to us rather that us going out as we have been commanded?

I know that one day every knee will bow down and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. I pray that on that occasion many of us don’t find ourselves outside the body of Christ because we desired comfort over persecution.

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Follow the Leader

Follow the Leader

A children’s game from long ago involved getting all participants in a line, and one individual was selected to be the leader. Every person was to keep watching and doing everything the leader did. If he took giant steps, everyone in the game had to stay in line and take a giant step at the very place he did. There was a lot of raising of one arm, then two, twisting, jumping, skipping, and hopping. One thing you really learned from the game was to follow the leader.


Who is the Leader that you follow? Do you do what he has commanded?

The truth is that sometimes it was far more difficult to be a follower than to be a leader. The same is true in our spiritual lives. We need to learn how important it is to follow the leader.

We need to learn to follow the leader, but we really need to learn to follow the Leader. That Leader is our Lord, and the Bible has so many verses emphasizing this truth. Paul said, “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Peter said, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). A good way to look at this is to think about the path our Leader has taken and where He is now. If we keep following Him, imitating Him, we shall someday be where He is now. Hebrews 6:20 describes Him as our forerunner who has already entered that Holy Place where we someday will go.

The leader of the game could sometimes make it too difficult to follow him. Obviously, Jesus is not this way, but leaders in the church and in our homes can easily make this mistake. I was the youngest of the four children in our family and the youngest when a large number of cousins were part of the game. The best leaders never forgot what it was like when they were younger and with great compassion made it challenging and yet enjoyable for those who had less ability than many. We need to thank God for godly, caring and compassionate leaders in the body of Jesus.

There were times when those who were not the leader, but who were ahead of you in the line, did not follower the leader. They took it on themselves to get in charge of the game. When this happened, the game fell apart. Think of how this applies to spiritual leaders and followers in our day. It also emphasizes how important it is to be a good follower.

This month we are focusing our attention on becoming stronger leaders. Parents lead, elders lead, older brothers and sisters lead, deacons lead as do teachers and preachers. You may not see yourself as a leader, but rest assured others are watching you. The important thing is for us to never forget the one who is the Leader of all of us.

Isn’t it rather amazing what lesson you can learn even as a child which helps you throughout all your life!

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Costa Rica 2020 La Fortuna Report

Costa Rica 2020 La Fortuna Report

 Thank you for your kind support and prayers for the Costa Rica 2020 work.  Your efforts made the work this year successful.  I am grateful for the personal messages, questions, and interest shown regarding this trip.  Your interactions with me help to make every trip the best it can be.  In this report,  it is my aim to provide an overview of the work as well as present information which will strengthen the reader in their daily walk.  While your feet may not have been on the ground with us on foreign soil, you are none-the-less laborers for the Lord and responsible for this work being possible.  We are brothers and sisters working together to encourage the saints and reach the lost around the world.  This particular report I have themed with the ideas of:  Cooperation, Communication, and Prayer.  These concepts are central to the success of mission work and were particularly poignant to me in this year’s work.

Costa Rica 2020

Sharing the Word of Truth in Costa Rica.

The Numbers

To begin, let’s get the least exciting details out of the way.  The combined budgeted cost for April and I to travel to Costa Rica and work for 10 days was $4360.  We were able to raise $4160.  We were able to come in under budget and spent only $3857 on planned expenditures.  An additional $243 was spent on benevolence for the saints and the needs of the ministers in Costa Rica ($220) as well as 3 Bibles for those without ($23).  The left over funds ($60) are in Cost Rican money and will be used for next year.  Our scheduled time to arrive at the airport to leave to Costa Rica was 4 am.  Therefore, we stayed the night before at a hotel and parked our car at the airport for the 10 days we planned to be gone (approx. $200).  These expenses we covered personally, I include them so folks get a better idea of a total cost if they are entertaining doing this type of a work.  While in Costa Rica, April and I conducted 14 bible studies.  Most studies were longer than an hour if not two hours.  We visited many other homes and left tracts and invitations to evening meetings at the church in La Fortuna.  I taught the Monday evening lesson as well as the Sunday morning class (which comes after the worship service and lesson, unlike the American tradition of class first).  The topics were “How to strengthen the Church” and “The Meaning of the Cross”.  April taught a Sunday afternoon women’s class entitled “Beautiful Feet” as well as two children’s classes during the week.  As a group, over 60 Bible Studies were conducted, there were 3 baptisms, and there are a number of follow up studies that will be engaged.  The meetings each night were attended fairly well, but there was one evening the rains limited attendance somewhat.  And yes… the sky opened up and it poured!  (Note:  Much of the transportation in Costa Rica is by foot or by motorcycle.  If a person lives way out in the country, they may have no transportation into town unless someone goes to get them.)  As far as the topics covered in the Bible studies, here is an approximate list of what was touched on: Original sin, living together before marriage, marriage, infant baptism, water baptism, faith, repentance, confession, belief, apologetics, Hades, Heaven, Catholicism, Singing vs. Instruments, giving, the Evangelical religion, obedience, Biblical authority, and the origination of Christ’s one Church.


1 Corinthians 3:8-9 – “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.  For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”

Endeavors upon the mission field require that brothers and sisters work together.  There is much coordination of effort from both those within the United States and the brothers and sisters in Costa Rica.  However, other countries are involved as well.  Frequently our interpreters must come from out of country to aid the work (Past countries that I know of: Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua).  It is difficult to find brothers in Christ who can accurately interpret and have the time and inclination to do so.  It is no doubt difficult also to assume a role of interpreting when perhaps the interpreter may have an idea how he would like to teach a Bible study that is different from the one conducting the study.  I believe it is much like a class setting in America where everyone has an opinion and wants to share a comment, but respects the role of the speaker and therefore assumes the role of listening.  It is an issue of humility and I think our interpreters display it well.  This is not a new problem, but one like the 1st century era of the miraculous when many no doubt wanted to speak (I Corinthians 14:26-33).  I greatly appreciate the coordination of both the visiting brothers and the interpreters in regard to this evangelistic effort.  It is important also for those leading studies to appreciate the abilities of their interpreters.  I have been blessed with a combination of interpreters who have had a solid array of religious experience, Bible knowledge, and pleasant interpersonal skills.  It is wise to recognize moments where you relinquish control in areas where your interpreting brother may be more effective.  This type of coordination increases as the team comes to know one another over time (I Corinthians 12, Galatians 5:13).  We serve one another, to serve God and save souls.


Ephesians 3:4 – “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ”

Paul shared the gospel that mankind might understand the salvation offered by God.  Peter didn’t deny that what Paul preached was understandable, but did convey some of it was hard to understand (2 Peter 3:15-16).  Communication could be hard even when the speaker was inspired.  Communication can be hard when you speak the same language, but when you don’t, things can go south quickly.  Though I will not retell the adventure in this report, I have already written of a communication issue which occurred this year in Costa Rica.  You can see it here:  Sometimes, communication issues are ones of translation.  For example we see this in the Bible via words transliterated such as “baptism”.  It is funny to listen to a lesson in English being presented in Costa Rica and then have the same English word repeated in Spanish because there is no word for it.  Communication can also be hindered by a lack of understanding of customs or practices.  There are many attempts at humor that I have seen that have not translated from English to Spanish.  The audience didn’t comprehend.  I suggest, do not try humor for those that do not speak your language.  There are also other moments when you are trying to communicate in another language and you try a word you aren’t certain of, but think it may be correct.  For instance, some years ago I attempted to greet a Spanish speaking sister with a term of endearment.  The term little grandmother is “abuelita”.  The sister was motherly, not grandmotherly, so I used the word “Mamacita”.  Fortunately, the sister had a good sense of humor and understanding that I had no clue what I was saying.  “Mamacita” is a term certainly not used for sisters in Christ.  Nuff said on that.  There is nothing more important on this earth than conveying the message of Christ correctly so that others can embrace and obey our Savior (I Corinthians 1:21).  Coordinate how you want to convey the message of Christ with those whom you are working.  Communicate in the clearest way possible.  To your best ability, make certain what you are communicating to your interpreter is what the audience is receiving.


I Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”

Communication with God is vital in the Christians life.  It enables to us to petition God, praise Him, share our sorrows and fears, and to express our gratitude.  God has commanded us to “Go” and preach all creation (Mark 16:15).  Praying that opportunity will be there is definitely something we should do.  God has promised and when God promises, we can count Him faithful to open the door for evangelism (Matthew 7:7).  Mission work requires the Christian to know he is not alone, but that God is there and He desires your success.  In this last example, I want to combine the concepts of coordination, communication, and prayer together.  There was a difficulty this year in Costa Rica that was puzzling.  A situation had arisen where an impediment to effectively evangelizing arose.  The specifics do not matter.  The effect of the impediment does.  The effect was a failure in coordinating the work of brothers together which further resulted in a loss of harmony to the individuals involved, the Church as a whole, the glory of God, and the recipients of the gospel.  Issues such as this arose even in the first century (Acts 15:39).  In this circumstance, the solution first and foremost was prayer to God by good hearts that the impediment be removed.  Secondly, communication followed as to how to manage/correct the issue which had arisen.  When you have troubles, rely upon your brothers and sisters in Christ (Titus 2).  Our group is particularly blessed in that we have five preachers and elders from two different congregations.  The lives of the elders exemplify spiritual wisdom (I Timothy 3).  With the help of the group, a proper course of action was suggested.  This again was followed up with prayer.  The result was that the problem was resolved and harmony in Christ resulted.  Those involved in the work coordinated their hearts, minds, and actions toward for the glory of the Kingdom of God.


We identified a couple of needs this year that I would like to address now.  We are going to need Spanish Bibles to give out while we are in Costa Rica.  If I had had them, I could have given out at least 20.  I will be trying to obtain the Reina-Valera 1960 translation.  I noticed the paperback was selling for approximately $5 in Costa Rica, but they only had 2 in supply (which I purchased).  Additionally, I have a need for Bible Tracts in Spanish as well as Bible studies.  I would appreciate any information folks can provide as to where I might find a sound source to purchase these.  I plan on writing a few of my own, but will need to have them translated.

Costa Rica 2021

This was my fifth year in Costa Rica.  I truly enjoy the people and the work.  While April studied Spanish nearly every day in preparation for this trip, my Spanish practice was not as diligent.  However, I am noticing little improvements as the years have gone by.  The greater blessing finds April and I continuing to grow spiritually. This is enabling us to be more effective in the Kingdom and for this we are grateful.  We are grateful for your financial and spiritual support.  We are thankful to God that we have the opportunity to share the gospel and encourage the saints.  This coming year we will travel to Cañas, Costa Rica to share the gospel.  I ask that you pray for us in this endeavor.  We plan on starting our fundraising in May this year so we will be a little less harried at the end.  If any desire to provide support prior to that time, support can be sent to:  Travis Main PO BOX 772 Steelville, MO 65565.

Past Reports

For those interested in past reports of our trips to Costa Rica, they may be found in the following locations:






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Going to Church (Ekklesia)?

Going to Church (Ekklesia)?

The Greek word ekklesia is translated “church” in English Bibles.  It literally means “called out” or “assembly,” and is used to refer to those called out universally from sin (cf. Matt. 16:18), local congregations of Christians (cf. Gal. 1:2; Rom. 16:16), and even to secular assemblies like courts (Acts 19:32, 39, 41).

ekklesia church

The body of Christ. His Church. The Ekklesia.

The word “church” originates from the old English word cirice or cyrice, which in turn comes from the Dutch word kerk and the German word kirche, which in turn are based on the medieval Greek term kuriakon doma (“Lord’s house”).  I surmise that in medieval times, kuriakon doma (“Lord’s house”) was used synonymously with ekklesia (“called out,” “assembly”) because the ekklesia was referred to as “the house of God” (1 Tim. 3:15).

Therefore, whenever you read the word “church” in your Bibles, know that you’re reading a word that should technically be translated “called out” or “assembly.”  However, the reason it’s translated “church” is because “church” originally meant “Lord’s house,” a biblical description of the religious “assembly” of the “called out” from sin (1 Tim. 3:15).

So when you say “Let’s go to church,” you’re technically saying either “Let’s go to the assembly of the called out” or “Let’s go to the Lord’s house,” both of which are biblical and basically mean the same thing.

Remember also that God warns us to avoid “unhealthy cravings for quarrels about words” because they produce “dissension…evil suspicions, and constant friction” and prove that we “understand nothing” and are “deprived of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).  The inconsistent policing of the term “church,” the suspicion of error or even apostasy such policing produces among some who hear their brethren say “Let’s go to church,” and the lack of knowledge and understanding about the origins of these terms all combine to show a prime example of what Paul’s talking about here.

How?  Several inconsistencies are made by those who tell their brethren that they shouldn’t say, “Go to church”:

  1. Technically, we should say “called out” or “assembly” instead of “church” because that’s what ekklesia actually means, but we don’t and no one has a problem with it.
  2. The etymology of “church” shows that it originally meant “Lord’s house,” a biblical description of ekklesia…so why quibble over something that technically is biblical?
  3. Ekklesia was also biblically used to refer to a secular court (Acts 19).  No one has a problem saying “Let’s go to court” or “Court is in session” or “I’m representing myself in court.”  So why have a problem saying “Let’s go to church” or “Church has started” or “I’m in church”?
  4. When Paul said that it’s shameful for a woman to speak “in church” (1 Cor. 14:35), how is that different from saying, “We’re in church”?

Just something to think about.

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