Buoyed by the Stories of Faith

Bruce Menning

Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (v. 7) I haven’t experienced the suffering of which Paul wrote. This suffering is not the stuff of natural disaster, war, illness, and loss, which are common to us all. The sufferings Paul has in mind are the afflictions that Christians endure because they are Christians: ostracism, discrimination, humiliation, persecution, imprisonment, and even …

For All the Saints Who from their Labors Rest

Bruce Menning

READ : Revelation 2:8-11 Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. (v. 10) In every century since the stoning of Stephen until today, martyrs have died confessing that Jesus is Lord. In the words of William How’s hymn, Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might; Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight; Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light. Alleluia! The planting of the church in Korean soil was …

A Plentiful Harvest

Bruce Menning

READ : Isaiah 55:6-11 So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (v. 11) The power of the Bible cannot be contained. It is the living Word that proclaims God’s message of reconciliation in Jesus for all humanity. Since the time of the Reformation in the 16th century, the church has been …

God's Eternal Word

Bruce Menning

READ : Isaiah 40:1-8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. (v. 8) Virtually all evidence of the church in China was erased by the radical Cultural Revolution during the heyday of Maoism in the 1960s. Church buildings were confiscated. Pastors were “reeducated” through hard labor in rural areas. The few Bibles that were not burned were hidden like precious jewels. To support the believers who remained secretly faithful, Bibles were smuggled …

Crossing Boundaries with the Gospel

Bruce Menning

READ : James 2:1-9 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? (v. 1) The new church started by RCA missionaries straddled a hill in Caracas, Venezuela. On one side was a middle class neighborhood. On the other, cascading down the steep slope of the hill was a favela, a jumble of tiny houses with common walls occupied by the city’s poor. One Sunday, a family from the favela …

Condemnation or Grace

Bruce Menning

READ : John 3:1-17 God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (v. 17) An old adage says it’s easier to attract flies with honey than with vinegar. Apparently the saying is also true when it comes to preaching. While in San Jose, Costa Rica, I ventured into the central city’s crowded market square. In the center of a circle of spectators, a street …