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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Millennial and Gen Z

Millennial and Gen Z

Thank you for opening our eyes to some serious needs to change. I know that may not be what you were expecting to hear. I know your generation has taken a beating in the media (and even in church). I am more than familiar with the Millennial stereotype. But the reality is, your generation has pointed out some things that past generations really need to hear. So I begin by offering my sincere thanks.

We really are not as different as you may think. We both want to spend eternity in heaven. We both believe in God and want to follow His commands. We both believe in Jesus Christ and want to serve Him.

Millennial Generation

Open hearts and minds willing to serve God, Glorify Him.

We both have grown up under the shadow of previous generations. In fact, I am convinced if you were to sit at our kitchen table or maybe spend some time with me on a weekend seminar or in my garden you would realize I and my generation are not the “bad guys.” We really have a lot in common.

I appreciate your zeal and your desire to serve. I can remember sitting in worship assemblies week after week and thinking to myself—“Wait, shouldn’t we be getting together to actually do this stuff we are talking about? Shouldn’t we be serving in soup lines, clothing the poor, helping those in need, taking His Word to the lost?” Instead, for far too many decades we sat in air-conditioned buildings and we checked off a worship list and believed we were doing enough. As a result we stopped influencing our communities—and instead the communities started influencing us.

So thank you for encouraging us to get out of our buildings and doing personal evangelism work. Thank you for encouraging us to stop building these multi-million dollar buildings, but instead use some of that money to reach out into our communities. Thank you for reminding us that traditions are just that—traditions, and not doctrine. Be patient with those who are older as we learn to get out of our comfort zone.

You are a generation that questions things, and I appreciate that. I believe if you ask questions then your faith can be much stronger than just accepting what previous generations have done. But be careful not to allow your questioning spirit to drive a wedge between you and past generations. Use that same spirit to prove to others that Christianity is real. Show those who are questioning the evidence of why we believe what we believe.

I grew up constantly hearing about the “Greatest Generation” and how awesome they were—but deep down I always questioned that. I wondered why if they were the greatest generation it was on their watch that church growth stopped and began to decline. It was on their watch that wives left the home and never came back. It was on their watch that home Bible devotionals became almost extinct. It was on their watch that love and affection were rarely shown between fathers and their children. Simply put, I grew up with this troubling belief that the “Greatest generation” was not really the greatest.

This is where you come in. It is my sincere hope and prayer that you will be. It is my dream that your generation will bring back:

  • Personal evangelism
  • Church growth—both spiritual and physical
  • Service to the community
  • Home devotionals
  • Wholesome marriages that reflect Christ and the church, and more

So I challenge you. Become the greatest generation. Not from the world’s perspective, but God’s. Understand that in order to do this you will need to continue to remain faithful to His doctrines and His Truths. You will have to accept and teach others there is such thing as absolute truth. You will have to share with the lost their sinful condition.

But I believe you can do it. I believe you can be a light to the world. I believe you can use your talents and make an incredible impact. And given our technological age, your generation may be the one that is able to effectively put God’s Word into the hands of every single soul on the planet!

Are you up to the challenge? Are you ready to be great? I stand ready to roll up my sleeves and serve with you. We are not on separate teams. We have a common goal. Let’s get busy together—for Him!


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Open Door Shut Door

Open Door Shut Door

Jesus’ words in the parable of the ten virgins have a great application in the way we live our lives. Those virgins who failed to bring enough oil for their lamps found themselves unprepared for the arrival of the bridegroom. When he came, the wedding celebration began, and they were not included. His words? “And the door was shut” (Matt. 25:10).

The door was shut. What a vivid description to emphasize that in our lives there are opportunities which come our way, and we must react immediately or that open door may be shut for us. This is especially true of those times when our hearts are being convicted to obey the gospel, and we fail to respond. Look at some of these events which come to us in the lives of almost every one of us.

open door

Salvation is free, but the door won’t always be open to receive it.

The Open Door When We Are Young

Solomon said, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecc. 12:1). One of the most wonderful experiences is to watch the innocent faith of toddlers grow and grow until that time when they choose to become Christians. Timothy is a Biblical example of this. We should not be surprised that when, as a very young man, he was taught by Paul he became a Christian. This was because his mother and grandmother’s faith was seen by Timothy (even though his father was a pagan). The foundation of that faith was taught to him. Paul said that the knowledge of the Scriptures started when Timothy was a child (the Greek word used is infancy), and this resulted in Timothy obeying the gospel (2 Tim. 3:15).

Now suppose Timothy had not failed to remember his Creator. Listen to the rest of Solomon’s words. “…before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, ’I have no pleasure in them.’” Those who do not remember Him when they are young may find that as they get older the time arrives when that door is shut.

The Open Door Later in Life

Youth is not the only time we can follow Him, but it is the easiest time. When Paul preached the door to the Roman governor, Felix trembled. There was an open door. How did he respond? “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you” (Acts 24:25). As far as we know, that time never came. Is it possible that you are close to becoming a Christian, but you think a better time will come? It may never come.

The Final Door Permanently Closed

Remember this. When you draw your last breath the door truly will be shut, never to be opened again. God says, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Do not let the door close before you!

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