Learning from the Apostle Song

Learning from the Apostle Song

Do you remember the words of the song you may have learned years ago entitled, “The Apostle Song”? It is the best way to remember the names of the twelve, but have you ever noticed the opening words? “Jesus called them one by one, Peter, Andrew, James and John…”

apostle song

Following Jesus is a decision the individual makes.

He called them, but the emphasis is that He called them one by one. Those four fishermen in the first chapter of Mark, who left their nets to follow Him, obviously had prior knowledge of Him. He called them, but He called most of them one by one.

We think of Jesus teaching large multitudes and are right in doing this, but have you thought His work involved one-on-one conversations with individuals? Look at this list.

He had individual, personal conversations with the Samaritan woman; the woman taken in the act of adultery; Mary outside of her house after Lazarus died; Martha outside of her house after Lazarus died; Matthew as he collected taxes; the one thankful leper; the blind man beside the road in Jericho; Legion, the “wild man” of the Gadarenes; the thief on the cross; the child who was used to teach humility; Zacchaeus in the tree; and likely many others. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, but many times He sought them out individually.

How often have we failed to see that, while the Great Commission involves going into all the world, it is most often achieved by taking it to every creature? There is a different emphasis in “all the world” and “every creature.” The commission in our lives always involves personal, individual contact.

Look at that list again, and see how often the contact with others was not planned contact. Jesus walked on this earth, and as He walked He saw the people around Him. Do we see people around us? I am not asking whether we see their physical presence but am asking a far more important question. Do we see the souls of those around us? We see their bodies, but do we see their souls? Jesus did!

Have you ever had a song come to mind and it stayed with you all day? The lyrics just kept coming to mind. Let me urge you to consciously put this song or at least its lyrics in your mind. It is more than 80 years old.

Lead me to some soul today,
O teach me, Lord, just what to say.
Friends of mine are lost in sin
And cannot find their way.
Few there are who seem to care
And few there are who pray.
Melt my heart and fill my life,
Give me one soul today.

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The Opportunity of Being Together

The Opportunity of Being Together

Another Lord’s Day has come and gone. We all had the awesome opportunity to worship our Lord in spirit and truth. We sang His praise, prayed to our Father, and heard a lesson from His word. Most of all, we had the sacred privilege of communing with our Lord and Savior just as He instituted and instructed that we should the night before He died for us. What a day. What a God. What a hope. What a Savior. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 Jn. 3:1)!

Better together

Together we build our joy, strength, and hope.

We were also extremely blessed by God, that even though we were forced to worship in small segregated groups in our homes due to the Coronavirus, that we were not having to do so for fear of being put to death for our faith by the authorities like so many of our early church brethren were, and as so many of our faithful brethren in some foreign and less religiously tolerant countries still are today.

Yet despite all of these incredible blessings from God, some of us undoubtedly still walked away from worship feeling a certain sense of emptiness or loneliness. We may have even felt guilty at first for feeling that way, because we know that we do not attend and participate in worship because of the people, but because of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that He is indeed, all that we need.

So why the sense of loneliness then? I believe the following is why… It is this same God, who in the beginning of creation said that it was “not good that man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). From the very beginning our God created us to be social creatures! Subsequently, when He later recreated us as New Testament Christians in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26-27; Eph. 2:4-10; Col. 2:13-14), He also created us to be socially active, interactive, together with, encouraged by, and dependent upon, one another, throughout our daily, earthly lives. He created us to constantly: be together (Acts 2:44-47), come together (Acts 20:7), and gather together (Acts 20:8); that we might be encouraged, refreshed, and raised up together (Ro. 1:12, 15:32, and Eph. 2:4-6). His ultimate plan, purpose, and design for us, as members of His one New Testament church, is that we are constantly “being joined together” (Eph. 2:21), “built together” (Eph. 2:22); and therefore “encouraged,” “nourished,” and “knit together” (Col. 2:2, 19; Eph. 4:16); that we would always “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).

Together,” “together,” “together” … We, as individual members of the body/church of Christ, must surely understand that just like the different parts of a human body, none of us was ever made or intended to have to stand alone, or to be segregated, separated, cut off, or set apart from one another (Ro. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 4:25). Instead, we were made to be and to function together as one; to thus serve, sing to, and teach and admonish one another (Gal. 5:13; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); to greet, be hospitable to, and assemble together with one another in order to “exhort,” and “stir up one another to love and good works” (Ro. 16:16; 1 Ptr. 4:6; Hebs. 10:24-25).

So it is totally understandable, that even if we are able to meet in small groups and worship the Lord on His day as He instructed, that we still miss the Christian love, fellowship, refreshment and encouragement that only being together with our brethren whom we hope to be together forever in heaven with, brings. God made us that way from the very beginning. In fact, if you feel no sense of loss at all, then that might possibly be the sign of a more serious problem…

According to the news, our governor and his staff are currently making plans to re-open the state. One report I heard near the end of last week said that he hopes to have Oklahoma restaurants and churches opened back up for business by mid-May if not earlier. Let us continually pray that that happens my beloved brethren – the sooner the better, and all over this nation! Can’t wait to see, study, worship, serve, and fellowship with my brethren in Christ, in person, together once again, soon and very soon. Can you?


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Being the church in a divided nation

Being the church in a divided nation

We live in a divided nation. I do not think all of that is by accident. But I also think some of the division is because our country never fully dealt with the original problem of racism. President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but the tentacles of racism reached deeply into our culture.

divided nation

Racism is a sinful issue which the Church must address.

And, sadly, the one institution that could have shined brightly and demonstrated unity and love instead formed “white churches” and “black churches.” This is a paraphrase that has been described to me by individuals with light and dark skin: “Basically Brad here is what happened. The whites didn’t want blacks in their church buildings. So they paid for a cheap building and a black preacher in a poor section of town. Likewise, the blacks didn’t want to be with the whites. So they took the money, and then made the preacher their pastor. Today, the black ‘pastor’ preachers don’t want to give up their power and position so they have no incentive to change things. Likewise, many white congregations are comfortable and don’t have any incentive to change as well. And so we remain divided—even in the church.”

I recognize that the above scenario is a broad generalization, and I know there are some very diverse congregations out there. One of the reasons I know this is because I’ve had the privilege to speak in several of them. To me, these multi-ethnic congregations are a beautiful picture of what heaven will be like. But the reality is in too many cities you can still find a “white church” and a “black church.”

At a time when so many are rioting, protesting, and demanding we defund police departments, the church should be leading the way. We should be demonstrating unity and love. Read very carefully the words of Jesus in John 13:35 – “ By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” We should look different. We should stand out. We should not be divided. We should be recognized as His disciples by our love for each other!

But this is going to require humility on everyone’s part. The night Jesus would be betrayed and arrested He stopped and prayed for unity. Almost two thousand years later His prayer should be echoing in the ears of all who call themselves His followers. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:20-23). Racism is a major topic in our culture right now, and we [must] confront it head on.

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Hablar de ángeles en la Biblia es realmente extenso aunque no voy a negar que podría ser emocionante. Sin embargo  un estudio más concreto  en Hechos 12 resulta ser más preciso con el tema de los ángeles guardianes. El origen de esta idea no es nueva. De hecho es probable que tenga su origen en algunos rabinos Judíos renombrados. Sin embargo la idea no murió al extinguirse el judaísmo sino que continuó hasta hoy a travez de la Iglesia católica Romana. De hecho claramente se establece en el catecismo numeral 336  lo siguiente “Desde su comienzo hasta la muerte, la vida humana está rodeada de su custodia y de su intercesión. Nadie podrá negar que cada fiel tiene a su lado un ángel como protector y pastor para conducir su vida. Desde esta tierra, la vida cristiana participa, por la fe, en la sociedad bienaventurada de los ángeles y de los hombres, unidos en Dios”. (Catecismo Católico N.336).

ángeles guardianes

ángeles guardianes?

El misticismo y la fantasía son agradable a los oídos de muchas personas pero debe de suscitarse un estudio serio de las santas escrituras y ser consecuentes con las enseñanzas de la Biblia. En el el N.T aparte de nuestro pasaje en Hechos ( a considerar en un momento) el libro que más nos presenta ángeles es Apocalipsis pero sin ninguna relevancia a nosotros puesto que su actividad es celestial y su trabajo exclusivo al Creador. Con respecto al pasaje de Hebreos 1:14 el hermano Tom Wacaster en su comentario señala lo siguiente:

Es mucho lo que no se sabe con respecto al trabajo completo de los ángeles. El hombre ha tomado mucha libertad ilustrando el trabajo de los ángeles en casi una forma y con capacidad milagrosa. Programas televisivos como: “Tocado por un ángel”, o “ Camino al cielo” han tomado libertades extremas y contribuido al amplio y muy afamado mal entendimiento en esta área.

Si uno ha entendido correctamente que el tiempo sobrenatural del siglo primero ha tenido ya un cese entonces podrá comprender bien el tema de los ángeles, es ahí donde uno tiene que ser consecuente con la enseñanza y no es fácil serlo en un tema, que como dice el hermano Wacaster se tiene tan poca información en la Biblia.

Si nosotros contáramos con ángeles de la guarda la pregunta apropiada es ¿Porqué los cristianos sufren accidentes, son tentados y hasta pueden pecar y caer de la gracia? Pablo pensaba incluso que él mismo podía perder su salvación (1Co.9:27). Si ese es el caso (y lo es) ¿porqué los ángeles guardianes no le ayudan? Por otro lado alguien podría argumentar que la misión de ellos es proteger físicamente al cristiano,  entonces: ¿Porqué no protegieron a Pablo “…en peligros de ríos, peligros de ladrones, peligros de los de mi nación, peligros de los gentiles, peligros en la ciudad, peligros en el desierto, peligros en el mar, peligros entre falsos hermanos;” (2Co.11:26), o ¿porqué Epafrodíto enfermó gravemente?  (Filp 2:27) e incluso Herodes mata a espada a Jacobo (Hechos 12). Estimado lector es necesario por estos y muchos otros ejemplos comprender que ni siquiera en la era del siglo primero, en una era milagrosa existían los así llamados ángeles de la guarda actuando milagrosamente en protección de cada cristiano. Ningún ángel puede interceder por nosotros ante Dios, puesto que eso lo hace el Señor Jesús (1Tim.2:5), ni consolarnos, animarnos, instruirnos, exhortarnos pues eso lo hace la palabra de Dios (2Tim 3:16-17), ¿entonces qué hacen los ángeles guardianes en nuestro tiempo?. Esa es una pregunta que demanda una respuesta clara, apropiada  y concisa que solo puede ser respondida mediante la imaginación y conclusión del ser humano.

Los ángeles interfirieron en varias ocasiones en la historia de redención por mandato directo de Dios, pero habiendo sido completado el canon y el misterio de Dios revelado en su totalidad (Ef.3:5; Col.1:26) no existe nada aparte de lo escrito en la Biblia que Dios tenga que revelar o le falte todavía (2 Ped.1:3) por lo que entonces no tendrían los ángeles razón alguna de funcionar en nuestro mundo hoy en día como tampoco los sueños, las visiones y las profecías que sí fueron necesarios en la infancia de la iglesia hasta que viniera lo perfecto (1Cor. 13:8-10) esto es la revelación total del Nuevo Testamento (Ap.22:18-19).

Hechos 12:15

Pedro había sido arrestado y se encontraba en prisión cuando Dios envió su ángel, luego Pedro llama a la puerta donde se encontraba una parte de la Iglesia que oraba por él y es ahí cuando el v.15 dice: “Y ellos le dijeron: Estás loca. Pero ella aseguraba que así era. Entonces ellos decían: Es su ángel”. Este pasaje ha sido motivo suficiente por parte de algunos para asegurar que el N.T sostiene la idea que Dios tiene ángeles guardianes para cada cristiano. Con el mayor respeto debido aún cuando exista la posibilidad que algunos cuantos hermanos en el siglo primero tenían algunas creencias como tal, provee suficiente autoridad como ratificar el hecho de que el nuevo testamento enseña. Lucas escritor inspirado solo menciona lo que ellos dijeron en un sentido de récord y no más bien como proveniente de Dios. Algunos comentaristas en la Iglesia de Cristo como lo es J.W. McGarvey en su comentario de Hechos(Pág. 237)  dice ciertamente la mención alude a la creencia popular supersticiosa común en aquellos días que el ángel guardián de aquel hombre asumió forma humana. Y aunque McGarvey contaba con algunos grados académicos avanzados es difícil concluir para estar total y absolutamente en acuerdo con el hermano, al fin y al cabo solo es un comentario por lo cual estamos agradecidos de todas formas por su trabajo.

Por otro lado las palabras del hermano Robert Notgras en su elocuente artículo publicado en inglés son tan lógicas. El hermano contiende que cuando una persona pone a su ángel guardián como protector, Cristo es desplazado y tal persona termina dando más gloria y honor a los ángeles que son criaturas en vez de al creador.  El suceso acontecido y registrado por Lucas en Hechos 12 tiene un matiz providencial desde el inicio del capítulo apuntando de hecho a la protección de Dios y los propósitos que tenía para con Pedro. El rescate del ángel del Señor aquella noche no fue solo de Pedro el hombre sino también de “1 y 2 Pedro andantes”.  Las remarcadas palabras del hermano Eric Lyons resuenan con esplendidez en este contexto cuando escribe:

Nada en Hechos 12 indica que Dios le ha dado a cada persona (o incluso a cada cristiano) un “ángel guardián” para protegerlo de cualquier daño. Además, se puede aprender una lección de este texto sobre Quién debe recibir la gloria por las obras extraordinarias que realizan los ángeles de Dios. Cuando Pedro finalmente habló con los reunidos en la casa de María, “les declaró como el Señor lo había sacado de la prisión” (Hechos 12:17). Observe que aquí no se dice nada acerca de que Pedro pronunció un discurso sobre un “ángel guardián”. Y ciertamente no cambió el nombre de la iglesia de Jesús como “la iglesia de los Ángeles Guardianes”, ni insistió en comenzar una fiesta anual en honor de los ángeles guardianes (cf. “Fiesta de los Ángeles Guardianes” de los católicos romanos). Lucas simplemente registra que Pedro quería que sus hermanos supieran lo que “el SEÑOR” había hecho.

En conclusión, es falso pensar que un solo pasaje podría proveer suficiente evidencia para elaborar toda una convicción al respecto. Es también propio entender que la rama de la hermenéutica llamado ejemplo aprobado no consiste mirar todas aquellas cosas que la Iglesia practicaban y creía como fuente suficiente de autoridad para nosotros hoy, ya la los apóstoles tuvieron que corregir e instruir algunas ideas incorrectas dentro de la Iglesia. Más bien al hablar de Ejemplo aprobado uno piensa en todo que la Iglesia creía y practicaba que había sido autorizado por Dios y de lo cual hay evidencia en otros lugares en el Nuevo Testamento. La creencia de algunos hermanos en Hechos 12, no es por lo tanto suficiente autoridad para creer en el ángel de la guarda. Dios merece toda la Gloria y en Apocalipsis 7 aprendemos que todos los ángeles en el cielo, le rinden adoración. ¿Cuanto más nosotros?


Lyons, Erick :


Notgras, Robert:


McGarvey J.W, Comentario al Libro de los Hechos ( Gospel light Publishing Company,

Delight AK:1892)Pág. 237

Wacaster Tom, Estudios en hebreos (Sain Publications, Pulaski, TN: 2009) Pág.51

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Having Enough Rope

Having Enough Rope

Many years ago, my sister moved into an apartment on the third floor; she asked me to help with the move, which I did. When it came time to move their couch, we were very disappointed to discover—after carrying it up three flights of stairs—that it would not fit through the front door. Upon much consideration, measuring, and good old-fashioned Texas fussin’, the consensus was to move the couch in through the outside balcony where there was a set of French doors. I volunteered to go to the local hardware store and acquire some rope to do the job. I came back with about 300 feet of heavy-duty bright-yellow rope. There was more than enough rope! We had rope laying around for years, and every time we would use it, we would all get a good laugh about how much rope I had bought. It still comes up occasionally today. I enjoy the ribbin’, and I don’t regret getting the rope because it got the job done.

rope job

Do you have enough rope for the job?

In 1 Peter 1:13, Peter wrote, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Peter uses a metaphor that is not familiar to us. “Gird up your loins” refers to the act of pulling up one’s tunic, tying a belt around it, and preparing to walk. It means “get ready,” or “prepare.” Christians prepare by putting their faith in Christ and hoping for his return. We cannot have enough faith! Get as much as you can. The world may make fun of you for it, but in the end, you will “get the job done.”


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