Do You Have a Timothy?

2timothy1_2The letters that Paul wrote to Timothy are some of my favorite passages in the Good Book. Perhaps it is because of the personal nature we see in these letters, or perhaps it is because like Timothy I have had people who have helped and encouraged me. It is clear when we read these letters that Paul had a deep care and concern for Timothy. He refers to him as a true son in the faith and a beloved son (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2). Paul wanted his son to be successful as a Christian and as a preacher.

I have been in a similar situation. When I started preaching I had men such as Steve Higginbotham who encouraged me to be better and do more. They were able to see greater things for me than I could see for myself. Steve encouraged me to move to Karns and attend the East Tennessee School of Preaching. Deep inside I liked the idea, but at first I couldn’t imagine Carla and I quitting our jobs and moving to Tennessee. Steve just kept planting that seed in my mind until the time was right.

When we finally made the decision there was a lot involved. Steve and Kim were great encouragers, opening their home to us while we visited the school, but they were not the only ones. There were several preachers who spoke to their elders on our behalf as we sought to raise money to attend school. Other men such as Westley Hazel and Blaine Kelly made calls to congregations that had helped them in the past. There were also individuals who pledged their personal support to our endeavors. We were amazed and impressed with how many people were willing to help. We were glad that the church was not as weak as some would claim. There are still a lot of good people and strong congregations.

Aside from the regular financial support that we received, there were countless others who called us and sent us letters and emails offering words of encouragement. It was not easy being away from family, and at times we were so busy that it was almost overwhelming. However, it seemed that something always happened to lift us up. One year around Christmas our refrigerator went out. We not only lost the normal things, but all of the extra things that we had purchased for visitors that we were expecting during the holidays. The same day that this happened I went to the mailbox and found a card from a good friend and elder of the Lord’s Church. Inside that card was a much unexpected gift. This was very uplifting, not just because we needed it at the time, but it reminded us that we were not alone and that there were good people who had our back.

That is why I am presenting this challenge. If you don’t have a Timothy, you need to find one. We need to encourage our young men to preach the word. There are over 7 billion people living on this planet. If we intend to send the gospel to all those people it is going to take some manpower. Go find yourself a Timothy!

The Gospel on Autopilot

AutopilotIn the business world people have figured out that one huge key to success is to have their operation on autopilot. Different authors have written about this idea, describing how your business should be making money for you when you are not thinking about it. Men who are highly successful at business want their operation to be making money for them even when they are asleep. This is a principal that we need to make use of in regards to the Lord’s church (some already do). We certainly do not want to face the judgment having allowed the sons of the world to have made better use of their resources (Luke 16:1-13).

I do not want you to think that the reason for doing this is so that we can retire from doing God’s work. The reason for doing this is so that we are reaching people with the gospel even when we are asleep. I can’t give you all the ideas, but I can plant the seed. We need to think of ideas that will spread and give access to the gospel message 24/7/365. This needs to be done from a local level to worldwide.

How can we do this? As I said before, I don’t have room to list every single idea (nor do I have the market cornered on ideas), however I can give you a few to get you started. First, we need to write or at least make available literature. Mailing House to House in your community might be one place to start. People will have opportunity to read this material at any time of the day. The local newspaper might be another place you could publish articles. Second, we need to make use of radio and television. If your congregation can produce their own program that is great, but if not there are others that we can support. As far as TV goes, GBN is available in many areas, and In Search of the Lord’s Way is on almost every provider. There are also radio programs that can be supported such as The International Gospel Hour. They might even be willing to air their program on your local station. We should also be sure that we let people know about these programs. Third, make use of the internet. Websites are cheap and easy to set up. It is likely that someone in the congregation can do it. If not, there are millions of other resources out there that other people provide. At the very least we can let people know about these.

These are just a few ideas. I am sure there is an endless list of others. The point is we need to make the best use of every possible resource. There is nothing to stop us from spreading the gospel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.