Category Archives: Mark Avery

Whose Standard?

— Mark Avery is General Manager and Editor at Herald and Banner Press, Inc.

Probably every fisherman has seen one. It is a twelve inch ruler that fits neatly in a tackle box. On the reverse of the ruler is another measure; it shows thirty equally divided units. A person using the wrong side might claim his fish is thirty inches long when really it is only twelve.

Somewhere we need a standard. That standard is held and maintained by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. We would have a difficult time if everyone set his own standard. As far back as Old Testament times, the Scriptures instructed justice and equity in units of measure. God warned against using dishonest weights in buying and selling.

The New Testament emphasizes godliness of character. Yet who is to say what is godly and what is not?

Jesus was and is the standard by which we measure our spiritual well-being. Height, weight, age, and appearance are of little importance. What really matters is how we measure up to the moral character of Christ.

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Alert!

— Mark Avery is the Editor and General Manager of the Herald and Banner Press, Inc.

He has never been the subject of an AMBER Alert, but my neighbor is lost. No one kidnaped him. He grew up in a dysfunctional home, yet his parents are not threats; neither is likely to snatch him from his home and whisk him away to another state. Instead, this neighbor is lost in sin. Captured at an early age and growing up with little or no instruction in the Word and righteousness, his heart and mind have been twisted by the world’s way of thinking and living.

Perhaps the Church needs an AMBER Alert system. The system could be used “to instantly galvanize the entire [Church] community to assist in the search for and the safe recovery of” the lost child, parent, friend, or neighbor. How easy it is to get involved in praying for physical needs, financial needs, and emotional needs and to neglect the urgency of praying for people who are lost, wandering through the maze of sinfulness with no hope beyond the present.

We ought to pray for those needs. God is concerned about them and about anything else that concerns us, yet people whom you and I could influence are lost. They do not know Jesus. They are destined for hell unless someone does something to interrupt their journey.

What if the Church recognized every unbeliever as a soul abducted from its rightful owner (God) and implored the Father to reach that soul. What if the Church were motivated not only to pray, but to build relationships with lost people in hopes of pointing them to Christ?

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Thirty-Three, Three-and-a-Half, and Three

— by Mark Avery, General Manager and Editor, Herald and Banner Press, from his article in the December Banner.

Thirty-three years. Nearly half of a thirty-three year life span today gets one old enough to qualify for a driver’s license in most states. Often the balance of those thirty-three years involves finishing high school and college, marriage and the beginning of a family, and getting started in a career.

Three and a half years is not very long. Church leaders say that a pastors most effective years begin after his sixth year in a given location. Jesus did not have time to waste. Nor would any of us consider His three and a half years of ministry in vain. Traveling from town to town, teaching in the streets, synagogues, and open places, He got His message across. Healing was an important ministry. He touched the sick, the blind, and the lame and they were healed. The dead rose to life; lepers were made whole; the demon-possessed were freed.

Then Jesus died. His body was placed in a grave. Roman soldiers guarded the sealed tomb so the disciples who had already run away could not steal His body. It was over. The teacher, healer, supposed Messiah was dead.

It was over.

It was over for three days, that is. The story is too long to tell here, but you know it. You can read it again in the Gospels. Sunday morning after He was crucified, Jesus was no longer in the grave. He met some of the ladies who visited the garden tomb. In turn, they told others who told others.

That is what Christmas is about. The same message comes through in the Easter story. The gospel message, focused in the person of Jesus Christ, is still the powerful, life-changing force Jesus designed it to be. It will change you. If you share this message with others, it will change them, too.

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December

— by Mark Avery, General Manager and Editor, Herald and Banner Press, from his December editorial.

Christmas! The word rings with excitement and anticipation. Celebrations are planned and families gather. Churches present cantatas, dramas, and programs to highlight the great event of Jesus’ birth.

Many of our celebration activities reflect the celebration of the first Christmas. The emphasis on angels, the singing of carols, and gift-giving remind us of the day Jesus was born.

Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem just in time, yet precisely on time. No rooms available did not present a problem or even a surprise to the Almighty. The birth, the angels, the shepherds were only the beginning. The infant grew. He ministered. He did not forget His purpose. The Son of man, who was also the Son of God, came to seek and to save the lost.

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Giving Thanks for a Godly Heritage

— by Mark Avery, Editor of The Church Herald and Holiness Banner. Excerpted from November editorial.

My heritage includes an edifying church experience. We did not attend a perfect church with a perfect pastor. Our pastor made mistakes, but he preached the Word of God.

My heritage includes a positive home environment. Once friends at school said our family was poor. I did not know that. We were loved, well cared for, well dressed, and had enough to eat. Our house was small but comfortable.

My heritage includes a positive living example. Among many outstanding qualities demonstrated by my parents were the qualities of stability and consistency. They practiced their faith. What was taught in Sunday school and in sermon was practiced a home, at work, and in the marketplace.

High on my Thanksgiving list is the heritage passed along from my parents. “The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places.” “The lines” suggest boundaries established for my good. My parents and other godly people helped me learn and apply biblical principles that have kept my life focused on serving God and others. I am grateful. Who would have thought God would use me in some phase of kingdom service. Indeed, His boundaries have led me in “pleasant [delightful] places.”

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My Camp Meeting History

— by Mark Avery, Editor and General Manager, Herald and Banner Press, Inc.

Camp meeting holds a special place in my heart. More than forty years ago at a camp meeting altar I gave my heart to Jesus. I wish I could say that I have never turned away from the commitment I made that night, but I can say it was a turning point in my life. I made the spiritual start that has led me to where I am today in my relationship with Christ.

Another year at the same camp, God called me to His ministry. Indeed camp meetings have made a difference in my life.

My memory is foggy about some of the early camps I attended, but I have probably attended at least one camp every year of my life. In more recent years I have been privileged to attend many camps in many different places. This year I benefitted from attending at least ten camps, and serving as camp evangelist has been a ministry privilege.

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An Invitation to Forgiveness

— by Mark Avery, General Manager and Editor, Herald and Banner Press and Bookstore.

The night was cold and the lines were long. The homeless and poverty-stricken of the inner city were cold, hungry, and worried. With little to eat and no warm place to sleep, the prospects of a hot meal and a warm, clean bed made it worth waiting in line.

Inside the mission, preparations were underway for another night of ministry. The chaplain had studied and prayed in preparation for presenting the gospel. The cooks had spent much effort in preparing a meal that would warm and fill those hungry people who were waiting. The support team of volunteers had worked hard cleaning and taking care of countless details.

Why all this effort? These Christian men and women believed that by ministering physical comforts they could minister to the spiritual needs of these unfortunate people. The word was out. Anyone who was hungry, cold, or hurting could come and be filled, warmed, and helped.

Just as food, warmth, and comfort were available at the mission, God offers forgiveness to all who call upon Him. The invitation is not only to the rich, the strong, the accepted, but the gospel invitation is to all who will believe. The prophet declared that you could be forgiven, satisfied simply by coming to God in faith, confessing your need to Him.

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After Easter

By Mark Avery — General Manager and Editor at Herald and Banner Press and Bookstore in Overland Park, Kansas.

Resurrection Sunday is past. How quickly the routine changes back to normal. How sad that so many people who are close to the Easter celebration fail to participate in resurrection power.

I was privileged to preach the Easter sermon this year, yet now I am wondering. Not wondering about the content of the message, for it was accurate biblically and doctrinally, but I am wondering from a practical point of view.

The gospel is intensely practical. The good news of Jesus Christ changes lives. Yet some people know the story without knowing the reality of serving a living Saviour.

The very day after Easter, Jesus walked to Emmaus with a couple of men. They did not recognize Him, and He asked them some very probing question. In their responses, they stated that they had heard that Jesus had risen from the grave, but for reasons I do not understand, they did not bother to check out the reports. They did not go to the grave.

Then upon talking to Jesus and finally recognizing Him, they hurried back to Jerusalem, proclaiming the resurrection.

How sad. We talk about Easter and proclaim our belief in the resurrection, yet too often our lives fail to reflect resurrection power. I am asking God to make a difference in my life. Easter should not be just an annual observance. Easter should be a way of life!

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Stranger on the Road to Emmaus

By Mark Avery — General Manager and Editor at Herald and Banner Press and Bookstore in Overland Park, Kansas.

It was Easter! The first one! Only the two men walking toward Emmaus did not know that Jesus had risen. Discouraged and near hopeless, they trudged along, wondering what had gone wrong. What should their next step be?  

The only stranger 
That’s when He joined them. Cleopas and his unnamed friend didn’t recognize Him. And no wonder. Apparently He was the only stranger in Jerusalem and had somehow missed the significance of the events of the previous week. As their conversation continued, this stranger butted in. The two friends couldn’t believe how little this man knew about events that has so dramatically affect their lives. 

Catching this stranger up on current events, they expressed their now dashed hopes that this crucified man would have been the long-awaited Messiah. They even talked about reports of an empty grave, visions of angels, speculation about a resurrection. Makes you wonder why they didn’t investigate.  

The thorough explanation 

That’s when the stranger interrupted again. Surely they must have been impressed with the stranger’s knowledge of the Old Testament as He started in the Books of Moses and continued through the Scriptures giving a thorough explanation of Himself and the events recently experienced.  

Finally, arriving at Emmaus, a seven-mile walk from Jerusalem, they prepared to end their journey. The stranger appeared to continue His trip until they urged Him to stop for the night. Then as they prepared to eat, the stranger took charge. Recognizing His actions, their eyes were opened.  

The open eyes 

This was no stranger. He was Jesus! He had walked with them. Talked to them. Now they understood. Their load had lightened. Their hearts were glad. They saw Jesus! Alive! Ministering! And just as suddenly He was gone.  

The fourteen miles 

Immediately they started back to Jerusalem. Despite the seven-mile hike they had just taken. Despite the lateness of the time. The seven miles back to Jerusalem were not as challenging as the seven miles to Emmaus. Their hearts were light. Their spirits excited. Their friends at Jerusalem had to be told.  

Earlier reports were accurate. Jesus was alive. Death and the grave had failed. Life reigned.  

Jesus lives!

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