“Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf [banquet] with hatred.”
That is what Proverbs 15:16 says about hospitality. At Tenth’s Mercy Dinners we provide both the love and the banquet for our homeless guests. Our hospitality offers an elaborate dinner and a commitment to provide a welcome, a relationship, and the Good News of Jesus Christ to all who…
Members often ask me how I am able to oversee so many ministries, write articles and books, train deacons, consult with other churches, and more. My answer is that I’m merely doing my best and using my gifts to honor God. I also try to make all of our ministry opportunities convenient, specific and measurable so anyone can participate. Because of that, ministry is shared by the…
“. . . this church opens wide her doors and offers her welcome in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” For over thirty years now, our homeless and poor neighbors have learned to respect and love the hospitality and welcome they receive through Tenth’s mercy ministry.
When did the mercy ministry start? “Tenth Mercy”—i.e., ACTS—began in 1984 with a Thanksgiving dinner attended by forty homeless men and…
By Dr. David Apple, Director of Mercy Ministries
Several years ago, Tenth’s Missions Conference brochure said:
We are a sent people witnessing to salvation in Christ and participating to build up the Church.
Our mission ...
(a) begins in worship
(b) ministers in evangelism and compassion
(c) encourages believers toward Christian maturity through discipleship…
On March 27, I began a series entitled The Church at Work. In that Tenth Press, I encouraged you (and me) to reach out to one another, build up one another, visit one another, and come alongside one another. Living out our faith this way is the work of the church.
Someone asked Jesus the question, “What must we do to do the works…
What comes to your mind when you think of our church?
Some of you will think of Tenth’s building: a beautiful sanctuary with new flooring and carpeting, plus classrooms and meeting rooms. Others will think of worship services that includes a particular type of teaching and music that helps us to worship. Still others will think of excellent ministries like the Bible School, Special Needs…
A new series of videos for the diaconate by Dr. David S. Apple: "The Role of the Deacon."
If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
For pressing milk produces curds,
pressing the nose produces blood,
and pressing anger produces strife.
Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase reads, "If you're dumb enough to call attention to yourself by offending people and making rude gestures, don't be surprised…
Three things are stately in their tread;
four are stately in their stride:
the lion, which is mightiest among beasts
and does not turn back before any;
the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
and a king whose army is with him.
The lion is a mighty one, and does not turn back down from the face of other beasts…
Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
Under three things the earth trembles;
under four it cannot bear up:
a slave when he becomes king,
and a fool when he is filled with food;
an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.
Do you know how to prevent earthquakes from occurring? Foundations from crumbling? The writer speaks…
There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a maiden.
This is the way of an adulteress:
The partner of a thief hates his own life;
he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
If you’ve seen the TV show Law and Order, you have observed people aiding and abetting criminals by refusing to testify or actually perjuring themselves from the witness stand. Those people stand condemned if caught in their wrong-doing (TV never calls this a sin). The context of this proverb has to…
One’s pride will bring him low,
but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
The prideful person will, indeed, “bring himself low” because of his behavior. This person is quick-tempered, boastful, arrogant, and rude. He insists on his own way, is resentful, rejoices in wrong-doing, and puffs himself up. Pride’s behavior is the opposite of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
A man of wrath stirs up strife,
and one given to anger causes much transgression.
Wrathful people are difficult people. They “stir up strife.” They cause trouble for us and others. They bully, act aggressively critical, and puff themselves up. Their behavior is the result of choices, and they choose to live with unhealthy choices. Difficult people go past the limits of decent behavior…
Whoever pampers his servant from childhood
will in the end find him his heir.
Webster’s Dictionary defines pamper: "to cater excessively to someone or to his or her desires or feelings." To pamper is to gratify appetites, tastes, or desires—to indulge, spoil, coddle, mollycoddle (archaic), and baby. Indulgence suggests excessive lenience. Spoil, coddle and mollycoddle point to overprotective care that often leads to weakening…
Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
The one who is hasty with his words is prideful, conceited, and possibly, contentious. Scripture tells us, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint . . .”…
Not Just a Soup Kitchen is David Apple's newest book for churches desperately seeking answers on how to do diaconal ministry effectively. It provides the practical tools and instructions Christians need to serve God effectively in ministry of mercy and compassion. The book doesn’t provide scholastic tools, but real life how-to information based on the experiences of success and failure. David will be holding a book signing at Tenth on September 21, at 1…
Whoever gives to the poor will not want,
but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.
Matthew Henry’s commentary states, "He that gives to the poor shall himself be never the poorer. If he have but little, let him give out of his little. If he have much, let him give much out of it, he and his shall not want…
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
What is the character of a fool? The fool trusts his own heart, listens to his own counsel, and relies on his own strength and sufficiency. He trusts the good opinion he has of himself as if he had earned righteousness, yet he has deceived…
A greedy man stirs up strife,
but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.
Webster’s dictionary defines greed as, "an intense and selfish desire for something." This could be wealth, power, food, or even health. It could also include coveting what belongs to another. All in all, it is selfish and intense. Similar to anger, greed rages and stirs up strife.…
Whoever robs his father or his mother
and says, “That is no transgression,”
is a companion to a man who destroys.
A son or daughter might think getting all they can from their parents is no transgression, for it will soon become their inheritance. For how could they live "the high life"—now—without it? Such excuses are vicious. I’m reminded of Henri Nouwen’s…
Whoever rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
than he who flatters with his tongue.
"He won’t like that I’ve corrected him." That thought has prevented me and others from confronting a friend with their offense. We are such people pleasers that we fear doing right. Yet, it is our Christian duty build up (edify) those who need to be strengthened in their walk…
The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding,
but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
There are natural consequences to our actions. A son who has understanding will, in most cases, seek to honor God with his attitude and actions. The one who lacks understanding and eats or drinks to excess will embarrass himself and shame his parents.
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
Aristides, a wise and just Athenian of long ago, was a great enemy to greedy men in government. As treasurer of Athens, he hated covetousness. He lived and died poor by choice. Once, reproached by an evil banker, he answered, "Thy riches do…
Evil men do not understand justice,
but those who seek the LORD understand it completely.
Included in Webster’s Dictionary definition of justice is, "Fairness, justness, fair play, fair-mindedness, equity, evenhandedness, impartiality, objectivity, neutrality, honesty, and righteousness." None of these values are on the "map" of an evil-doer. Evil people have no desire to be fair. They do not even see why someone should want to be…
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
but those who keep the law strive against them.
I remember before my conversion to Christ that I took pleasure in the works of darkness and my rebellion against God. I even praised those working in it. How I wanted more! That was then. Now, we who respect the law of God do not want evil people…
A poor man who oppresses the poor
is a beating rain that leaves no food.
There are times when a poor man becomes a leader. People raise such a person, poor like themselves, to power. But he does not use his power fairly. He is cruel. He does not remember that he is like the other poor people. He thinks that he is…
I am pleased to announce that my new book, “Not Just a Soup Kitchen: How Mercy Ministry Transforms Us,” will be available on September 9.
In my 25 years as Tenth's Mercy Minister, I have trained hundreds and hundreds of people across the USA. Whenever I consult with pastors and deacons, I hear such questions as, “What do I do here? How much do I give and…
Written by a member of ACTS Ministries Fellowship Bible Study. FBS meets 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th Sundays at 4:00 pm at Tenth Presbyterian Church.
After a 39 year career as a drug and alcohol abuser, an incident occurred prompting me to look to God with gratitude. God spared my life when I was stabbed in the heart and was supposed to die—but didn't! My old self did die a…
Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?
We all know how it feels to be angry and to have those emotions rage within. Some of us know the state of wrath when, vengeful, we want to get even with someone who has hurt us. Both anger and wrath can be strong and consuming, and the verse says…
A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,
but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
Fools have no common sense or self-control. They do not govern their actions. Thus, when the foolish person is provoked, he/she doesn’t care about the "weightiness" of thoughtless words or deeds. The natural consequences of foolish actions affect everyone nearby—like the heavy burden of a great stone…
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
a stranger, and not your own lips.
"It's about you!" is a phrase often heard. For Christians, especially, our goal is to give God all the glory. Our Lord tells us, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven"…
Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
It is common sense to know we are not guaranteed tomorrow. The epistle of James 4:13-16 reads, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'— yet you do…
A lying tongue hates its victims,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Occasions arise where we have the opportunity to choose how we use our words: to help or to harm, to bless or to curse. Yet many mean-spirited people use words to hurt others at any given moment, deliberately hurling verbal slings and arrows at their victims. It becomes a lifestyle. Their…
Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart
is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day,
and like vinegar on soda. ESV
Singing light songs to the heavyhearted
is like pouring salt in their wounds. The Message
The writer speaks of the thoughtlessness and even cruelty involved here. Sorrow and grief have no time-table. The sufferer…
Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble
is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips. ESV
Trusting a double-crosser when you're in trouble
is like biting down on an abscessed tooth. The Message
The dictionary definition of treacherous is "guilty of or involving betrayal or deception as 'a treacherous Gestapo agent.'" Synonyms: disloyal, faithless, unfaithful, duplicitous, deceitful…
A man who bears false witness against his neighbor
is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow. ESV
Anyone who tells lies against the neighbors in court or on the street
is a loose cannon. The Message
Ouch! What harmful weapons we have here: a club, a sword, and an arrow—each of these can cause severe injury…
Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house,
lest he have his fill of you and hate you. ESV
And when you find a friend, don't outwear your welcome;
show up at all hours and he'll soon get fed up. The Message
Matthew Henry wrote,
It is a piece of civility to visit our neighbours sometimes…
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,
lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. ESV
When you're given a box of candy, don't gulp it all down;
eat too much chocolate and you'll make yourself sick. The Message
I remember at age 12 proving this verse right. There are natural consequences to over-indulgence. Here…
Moses (not his real name) became a drug addict at the age of 12. He had been through the court system, in shelters, institutions, jails, “becoming very knowledgeable about evil ways.” At the age of 25 he had a job, an apartment, a girlfriend, and a car. Moses says that he thought he had it made and more. Then he lost it. “One big ride downhill,” he says, “with a…
Whoever plans to do evil
will be called a schemer.
The devising of folly is sin,
and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.
The dictionary defines “a schemer” as someone who is always trying to pull a fast one, or get by through shady, under-handed methods. Here it is coupled with the words evil, folly, and abomination. Now, that is…
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end…
Last week, I recounted the first part of my conversion story. I left off somewhere in the depths—I had been brought low by a series of unimaginable life circumstances, and this had left me broken, bitter, and hopeless. Here is the rest of my story.
As a pre-teen and teenager, my only escapes were baseball and bowling. I followed my beloved Brooklyn Dodgers and my heroes…
My son, if your heart is wise,
my heart too will be glad.
My inmost being will exult
when your lips speak what is right.
How wonderful it is to see that children who have learned the good things they are taught. Earlier the writer of Proverbs penned, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he…
A few weeks ago, we published an excerpt from Stan Vander Klay's memoir Chains of Grace in which he recounted my conversion story. I thought it might be interesting to tell you my side of the story.
At the age of five, my brother Michael and I were playing ball on the sidewalk as we very often did. I missed the ball (a rarity), and it went into…
I became a Christian in my first year of college through the ministry of an inner-city church plant in Paterson, NJ (Northside Chapel CRC). The pastor who discipled me, Stan Vander Klay, later wrote a memoir which I recently read. I was surprised to see in the book the following story about my conversion. I hope and pray you find this account to be an encouragement.
Do you see a man skillful in his work?
He will stand before kings;
he will not stand before obscure men.
In his volume entitled Works, Martin Luther asks, “What is the greatest work?” What he answers is “Salvation.” He was pointing to the greatest work in accomplishing the greatest gift. Christ gave his all—for the benefit of others. His work…