Keep abreast of the International Bible Teaching ministry, and learn about faith, in just minutes a week.
Atlanta, 10 August 2016

The past week has been pretty tough, emotionally speaking. It began when I walked into our local UPS store, and learned that Dave (manager) had died. I'd seen him and spoken to him a lot over the last 10 years. Then my wife and I visited a sister in hospice care (brain cancer). The decline since our last visit was shocking. Then I visited my own mother, also in hospice care (final stage Alzheimer's). Next I learned of the execution (in back of a supermarket a few miles from us) of two local high school students. Then the daughter of a friend of the teaching ministry was killed in an automobile wreck. (The memorial service was last night, with over 500 mourners from all the Atlanta area churches in our fellowship.) Add to all the bad news the concerning escalation of acts of terror around the world! No wonder I felt drained.

On the positive side, on Saturday we had a terrific family group breakfast in our home. Afterwards I taught on Jeremiah, Jesus, & Us: Lies We Church People Tell Ourselves. I heard that the discussion session afterward was energizing. Unfortunately (not really!) I had to leave early for the baptism of a friend. His wife became a Christian in 2001. Mike and I studied (on and off) for nearly 10 years. We spent many of our times studying the justice of God, especially how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament as Messiah. (Mike was brought up Jewish.) Read (click) his inspiring story.

Biblical Words Series:

                    N.T. Greek  O.T. Hebrew – O.T. Aramaic


Today's word is another Aramaic term: Mammon (Μαμωνάς, Mamōnás), meaning money, riches. It shows up four times in the N.T. Here's one instance:

No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Luke 16:13 KJV; also Matt 6:24; Luke 16:9; Luke 16:11).

Modern versions often render the word as money. That's good, for the sake of clarity. Yet perhaps Mammon was better -- identifying or even personifying this important word. Especially since we are awash in a culture that is not only saturated with materialism, but which even worships money. Money is a marker of success, worth, and (in some religious circles) God's blessing.

Yet our true "net worth" is our worth in the Lord's eyes as persons who bear his image and our objects of his live. Further, real success is measured by the extent to which our character is Christ-like -- and by that influence on others. And the "health & wealth" teachers not only misrepresent God's word, but poison people's faith. With these truths in mind, let's conclude our short study with a few challenges:
  • Challenges for us in the west:
    • Stop making excuses about how much we "have to" work -- in order to support our affluent lifestyles. We all make choices, characterized by such things as:
      • Shelling out for massive homes, multiple vehicles, and expensive entertainment paraphernalia
      • Buying into the media's liberal "values"
      • Spending hours every week in pleasure-focused pursuits, and then
      • Working out clever rationalizations to justify ourselves (Luke 16:14-15), while the world is as lost as ever and yet we aren't striving to rescue the perishing (Prov 24:11-12; Amos 6:1-6).
      • Comfy retirement plans -- Do we ever "retire" from the Lord's will?
    • Determine not to value wealth in itself, regarding it rather as a mere tool for doing good in the world.
  • Challenges for those in the developing world:
    • Don't be lured away from pure discipleship by "the American dream." It's not what you think.
    • Use your education to make a difference in your home country -- which usually means not emigrating to the west.
  • Challenges for all of us:
    • Evaluate critically the non-stop messages bombarding us from Hollywood, Wall Street, and Madison Avenue (the pursuit of pleasure, costing us our money, suggested and then reinforced by advertising)
    • Study the scriptures, especially those books of the Bible that reveal what God has to say about money, greed, and generosity (like Proverbs and Luke).
Indeed, Mammon is alive and well. So watch out! (Luke 12:15; 8:14; 1 Pet 5:8)

Next week
We'll unpack yet another Aramaic term. Hint: It's not a Swedish pop group.
North River
Finally, I thought this week I'd share a little bit about our local congregation. 
  • Founded 2005 as North River Church of Christ.
  • Church website:
  • Property in Marietta, Georgia (about 17 mi/11 km north of Atlanta)
  • Campus includes 12 acres (5 hectares), 3 buildings, and dozens of classrooms.
  • Slightly over 1000 members
  • Rough breakdown: 200 campus, 200 singles, 200 young marrieds, 200 young families, 200 older families
  • Racial profile: approximately 40% black, 40% white, 10% Hispanic, 10% Asian
  • 104 baptisms in 2015
  • Central leadership group includes 7 staff members; 12 couples in all.  
  • Meetings Sun 10 am & Weds 7:30 pm, plus family groups and Bible talks
  • Photos from last Sunday's worship below.

Till next week

Today I begin work on an apologetics curriculum for a friend in South Africa. Next week I will be working on a new book on Exodus. Thanks for your prayers. Thanks too for your generous support for the International Bible Teaching Ministry!

Douglas Jacoby

unsubscribe from this list           update subscription preferences