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Missions 101

The Real Acid Test of Our Profession of Faith in Christ

Feb. 9, 2016By: Philemon YongAuthor Bio

In the last post, I noted that Martyn Lloyd-Jones lists and rejects three possible acid tests for one’s profession of Christianity. Having rejected those, what is the real acid test? 

The answer for Lloyd-Jones is found in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18;

17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

This passage, according to Lloyd-Jones, includes the other three tests, covers them, and guarantees them. Thus, he says, “I am suggesting that the acid test of our profession is our total response to life, to everything that takes place within us and around us.”


The real issue is not what we say we believe, how upright we are, or what experiences we have had. The real test is our response at that moment when we are face to face with end of life situations. What is our reaction when facing “a disease that brings us face-to-face with time and eternity, with life and death?” The acid test in these situation for us in situations is “what we feel, what we say, and what our reaction is . . .” when facing a possible life-ending situation.

But how does this answer relate to the 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 passage? In the context of those words by Paul, he is facing many troubles and trials. Even then, Paul could say, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Lloyd-Jones then asks, “Do we react like that as we look at the worst, as we look at life at its darkest and its starkest?”

This is the ultimate test because it brings out our orthodoxy. Only those with right belief about God can speak like Paul in this passage. Those with only right belief will turn away in hard times. It covers morality because we continue to trust and obey God in crisis. It covers experience because only those who have experienced the new birth can speak like Paul. They have truth living in them.

This being the real test, the question for us is, “Can we speak like Paul?” Even before answering, we must seek to understand what is it that moved Paul to speak this way, and how it can be an example for us?   (See next post).

[1] This sermon can be found in a recently published book, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Setting Our Affections Upon Glory: Nine Sermons on The Gospel and the Church, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013), 11-27. 

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Pastor, Do You Think You Are Busy? Consider John Harbaugh

Feb. 5, 2016By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio


ESPN recently posted a sample weekly schedule of John Harbaugh, the head football coach of the Baltimore Ravens:


5:50 a.m. Wake up on office couch

6-8 Review opponent game tape

8-8:15 Call Ingrid (wife)

8:15-8:30 Breakfast with LS Morgan Cox, K Justin Tucker, P Sam Koch and QB Joe Flacco

8:30-8:45 Meet with team president Dick Cass

8:45-9:15 Meet with assistant GM Eric DeCosta

9:15-9:45 Prep for team meeting

9:45-10:15 Meet with senior offensive assistant Craig Ver Steeg

10:15-11:15 Review opponent game tape

11:15-11:45 Meet with player leadership committee

11:45-12:15 p.m. Lunch with Ingrid and Alison (10-year-old daughter)

12:15-1 Sit in on special-teams meeting

1:00-1:20 Team meeting

1:20-2:45 Sit in on offense and defense meetings

2:45-3:35 Meet with GM/Executive VP Ozzie Newsome

3:35-4 News conference prep with Kevin Byrne, senior VP of public and community relations

4-4:25 News conference, local TV interview, Ravens TV interview

4:30-5:30 Work out

5:30-5:45 Call from John Madden

5:45-6:20 Dinner with assistant coaches

6:20-6:30 Review last game's plays for submission to officials

6:40-6:50 Meet with head athletic trainer Mark Smith

7-11:15 Watch upcoming opponent tape

11:30 Sleep on office couch

"Sleeping at the office is about maximizing my time. I can get more done if I eliminate time I'd spend driving home. Plus, if I come home too late, chances are I'll wake up my wife.


6:30-8:45 a.m. Watch opponent tape

8:45-9 Breakfast

9-10 Watch opponent tape

10-11 Meet with QBs

11-11:30 Build team meeting agenda

11:30-12 p.m. Watch opponent tape with father, Jack Harbaugh 

12-12:10 Meet with Smith

12:10-1:10 Work out

1:15-1:30 Lunch with DeCosta and director of college scouting Joe Hortiz

1:30-3 Watch opponent tape with Dad

3-3:15 Meet with assistant HC and special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg

3:15-3:40 Meet with Newsome

3:40-3:50 Call brother, Jim Harbaugh

3:50-6:15 Watch opponent tape

6:15-7:30 Coordinators meeting

7:30-8 Dinner with strength and conditioning coaches

8-11 Watch opponent tape

11 Sleep on office couch 


5:30-5:45 a.m. Call Ingrid 

6-6:45 Treadmill while reviewing route combo drawings, scripts and offensive game plan

7-7:15 Prep for team meeting with assistant Dan Parsons

7:15-7:40 Breakfast with Flacco, G Marshal Yanda and S James Ihedigbo; "fly-by" with training and equipment room staff

7:40-7:55 Meet with run game coordinator Juan Castillo about run scripts and pass protection

7:55-8:10 Bible study

8:10-9 Sit in on special-teams meeting

9-9:25 Team meeting (discuss game plan and what it will take to win)

9:30-11 Sit in on defense meeting

11-11:15 Call Ingrid

11:15-11:30 Meet with Byrne and Newsome

11:30-12:10 p.m. AACT (assignment, alignment, corrections and technique) walk-through with team

12:10-12:20 Media responsibility (local)

12:20-12:25 Media responsibility (opponent)

12:30-1:10 Lunch with Cass and Byrne

1:20-3:30 Practice

3:30-3:45 Meet with Newsome

3:45-5 Sit in on position and QB meetings

5-6:30 Meet with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti 

6:30-7:30 Dinner with assistant coaches

7:30-7:45 Review highlight tape to be shown to team night before game

7:45-10:35 Watch opponent tape

10:35-11 Drive home 


5:35-6 a.m. Drive to work

6-7 Watch Wednesday's defense meeting and cut-ups

7-7:30 Breakfast with Yanda and C Gino Gradkowski

8:10-9 Sit in on special-teams meeting

9-9:15 Review NFL rules and league trends

9:20-10:15 Sit in on offense meeting

10:15-11 Watch opponent tape

11-11:25 Meet with Newsome

11:30-12 p.m. AACT walk-through with team

12-12:15 Local TV interview

12:20-12:35 Lunch with Rosburg and kicking consultant Randy Brown

12:40-12:50 Call Ingrid

1-1:20 Lift weights 

1:20-3:30 Practice

3:30-3:50 Run sprints

4-5 Sit in on position and protection meetings, meet with players

5-6:15 Sit in on defense meeting

6:15-6:30 Dinner with athletic training staff

6:30-7:30 Watch opponent tape

7:30-7:40 Review second draft of highlight tape

7:40-8:30 Meet with Castillo, offensive line coach Andy Moeller and offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell

8:30-9:35 Watch opponent tape

9:35-10 Drive home


5:20-5:45 a.m. Drive to work

5:45-6:30 Work out

6:45-7:15 Bible study

7:15-7:35 Breakfast with players

7:35-7:50 Call Ingrid and Alison

8:10-9 Special-teams meeting

9-10 Sit in on quarterbacks, protection and defensive red zone meetings

10-10:10 Meet with strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki

10:10-10:45 Meet with Newsome

10:50-11 Meet with a player

11:15-1 p.m. Practice

1-1:15 Meet with media

1:15-1:30 Lunch with CB Corey Graham, CB Lardarius Webb, CB Jimmy Smithand CB Chykie Brown

1:30-1:45 Meet with Byrne and director of security Darren Sanders in cafeteria

1:50-2:15 Administrative work

2:15-3:10 Watch opponent tape

3:10-3:20 Review the week's officials' video

3:20-3:30 Meet with trainer Smith

4-5:30 Coaches Subcommittee call

5:30-5:55 Drive home

6 Play basketball and read Diary of a Wimpy Kid with Alison; watch TV and have dinner with the family; call grandpa Joe Cipiti.


6:20-6:45 a.m. Drive to work

7:15-7:35 Review morning team meeting items (plays of the week, funny videos)

7:35-7:55 Breakfast

8:10-8:45 Special-teams meeting

8:45-9:30 Team meeting (share plays of the week, teaching points, practice players of the week) 

9:35-10:10 Sit in on offense and defense meetings

10:10-10:25 Meet with running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery

10:30-11:15 Practice

11:30-12:30 p.m. Walk on treadmill and watch defense meeting

12:30-12:40 Meet with Byrne in the sauna

12:50-1:15 Make practice schedule for upcoming week

1:15-1:45 Prep for travel

1:50-2:20 Drive to airport

3-5 Fly to Chicago

5-6 Bus to hotel

6:15-6:30 Call from Dick Vermeil

6:35-7:25 Production meeting with CBS-TV (Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)

7:30-8 Talk with players

8-8:30 Sit in on special-teams meeting

8:30-9 Sit in on defense meeting

9-9:20 Team meeting

9:30-9:50 Snack with team

9:55-10:10 Call Ingrid


6:15-8 a.m. Watch opponent tape on iPad

8-8:30 Call Ingrid and Alison

8:30-8:50 Mass

9-9:25 Pregame meal

9:30-10:15 Review game plan and scripts

10:30-10:50 Bus to the stadium

11-11:30 Final prep in head coach's office: Decide actives and inactives; WBAL radio interview; meet with coordinators, coaches and players

11:35-11:45 Meet with NFL game officials

11:50-12 p.m. Meet with team chaplain for prayer and reflection

12:05-12:30 On the field: Oversee warmups; greet officials and opposing head coach

12:35-12:50 Brief talk to the team in the locker room

12:55-1:02 Test headsets with coaches on the field

1:02 Kickoff

1:30 Game delay

1:40-3 In the locker room: Give updates to the team; meet with coaches; remind players to stay hydrated and stretch

3:15 Game resumes: Communicate playcalls and strategy with coaches; communicate with officials

4:05-4:15 Halftime: Check in on offense and defense; talk to the team

4:20 Second half begins

6 Overtime

6:25 Game ends, shake hands with opposing coach

6:40-6:50 Team prayer and talk

7-7:10 Postgame news conference

7:45-8:15 Bus to the airport

9:15-11:15 Flight home: Watch tape of the game, take notes (got through a quarter and a half) 

12 a.m. Kiss Ingrid goodnight


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Commerce, Not Aid is the Key in Economic Development

Feb. 4, 2016By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Have you ever thought of giving clothes away as harming someone? 

Elise Amyz writes:

Many young Christians look up to social entrepreneurs like U2’s front man Bono, co-founder of ONE, and Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, for their companies’ philanthropic missions. However, academics and economists have criticized both men for dumping aid into impoverished communities, which ends up hurting the economy by undermining local business.

Screen_Shot_2016-02-04_at_1.59.10_PMLast year, Bono came to a “humbling” realization and publicly announced his conviction that commerce is the key in economic development, not aid. Now, Mycoskie is joining his side.

Another article traces how TOMS former policy of buy one/get one actually hurts the poor and how they have now began manfacturing shoes in Haiti and have put 100 Haitians on their payroll to do so.  

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How Can You Know Whether You Are A Christian?

Feb. 3, 2016By: Philemon YongAuthor Bio

Even without saying it out rightly, one of the weaknesses of the human heart is to pass judgment on others as to whether or not they are Christians. Sometimes we even ask that question of ourselves. Sometimes these judgments/questions are based on expectations that the other person has not fulfilled. Some examples are: committing particular sins, holding to certain doctrines, or lacking in “required” experiences. 

If there were a test to see if one is a Christian, what would that be? Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers this question in a sermon, “The Acid Test.”[1] He asks the question, “What is the acid test of any man or woman’s profession of the Christian faith?” He lists and dismisses a number of possible tests. For example:

  1. Test of orthodoxy (right belief). If one does not believe certain things he cannot be a Christian. This is a true and important test BUT Lloyd does not accept this as the acid test. Why? “It is quite possible to be perfectly orthodox and yet to be spiritually dead.”2
  2. imgres2abdff0ebbTest of lifestyle (morality). One can claim to believe all the right things but is that person moral? While morality is an essential part of the Christian faith, Lloyd-Jones rejects it as the acid test. Why? “There are many men and women who live highly moral and ethical lives in this world, . . . yet who cannot be called Christian . . . because they deny God himself.” Morality is necessary for the Christian life but it cannot be the acid test of our profession of faith.
  3. Test of experience. That is, anyone who can clearly testify that he has come through some dramatic experience that has made him a new person. The experience of being born again is essential as well but it cannot be the acid test. The reason is that there are a growing number of cults (and some churches) that give people experiences, but do not fear God.

With the rejection of these three tests, what then is the acid test of our profession of faith?  See next post.




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Adoniram Judson’s Advice to Missionary Candidates (part 2)

Feb. 2, 2016By: Evan Burns

Continued from the previous post, these are the remaining five words of advice from Adoniram Judson for missionary candidates:

Sixthly.  Beware of the greater reaction which will take place after you have acquired the language, and become fatigued and worn out with preaching the gospel to a disobedient and gainsaying people.  You will sometimes long for a quiet retreat, where you can find a respite from the tug of toiling at native work—the incessant, intolerable friction of the missionary grindstone.  And Satan will sympathize with you in this matter; and he willScreen_Shot_2016-01-29_at_2.31.22_PM present some chapel of ease, in which to officiate in your native tongue, some government situation, some professorship or editorship, some literary or scientific pursuit, some supernumerary translation or, at least, some system of schools; anything, in a word, that will help you, without much surrender of character, to slip out of real missionary work.  Such a temptation will form the crisis of your disease.  If your spiritual constitution can sustain it, you recover; if not, you die.

Seventhly.  Beware of pride; not the pride of proud men, but the pride of humble men—that secret pride which is apt to grow out of the consciousness that we are esteemed by the great and good.  This pride sometimes eats out the vitals of religion before its existence is suspected.  In order to check its operations, it may be well to remember how we appear in the sight of God, and how we should appear in the sight of our fellow men, if all were known.[1]  Endeavor to let all be known.  Confess your faults freely, and as publicly as circumstances will require or admit.  When you have done something of which you are ashamed, and by which, perhaps, some person has been injured (and what man is exempt?), be glad not only to make reparation, but improve the opportunity for subduing your pride.

Eighthly.  Never lay up money for yourselves or your families.  Trust in God from day to day, and verily you shall be fed.

Ninthly.  Beware of that indolence which leads to a neglect of bodily exercise.  The poor health and premature death of most Europeans in the East must be eminently ascribed to the most wanton neglect of bodily exercise.  

Tenthly.  Beware of genteel living.  Maintain as little intercourse as possible with fashionable European society.  The mode of living adopted by many missionaries in the East is quite inconsistent with that familiar intercourse with the natives which is essential to a missionary.  There are many points of self-denial that I should like to touch upon; but a consciousness of my own deficiency constrains me to be silent.  I have also left untouched several topics of vital importance, it having been my aim to select such only as appear to me to have been not much noticed or enforced.  I hope you will excuse the monitorial style that I have accidentally adopted.  I assure you, I mean no harm.  In regard to your inquiries concerning studies, qualifications, etc., nothing occurs that I think would be particularly useful, except the simple remark, that I fear too much stress begins to be laid on what is termed a thorough classical education.  Praying that you may be guided in all your deliberations, and that I may yet have the pleasure of welcoming some of you to these heathen shores, I remain

Your affectionate brother,

A. Judson[2]

[1]Italics are original. 

[2] Edward Judson, The Life of Adoniram Judson (New York: Anson D. F. Randolf & Company, 1883), 578-579;  Francis Wayland, A Memoir of the Life and Labors of the Rev. Adoniram Judson, D.D. (Boston: Phillips, Samson, and Company, 1853), 2:39-41.

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