Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Strange Pligrim

While reading 1 Peter 2:11 today, I began to reminisce over the distant past and memories from teenage days long ago.
I call upon you as strangers and sojourners, to keep from the fleshly desires, that war against the soul. 1 Peter 2:11 Young's Literal Translation
I entreat you as pilgrims and foreigners... Weymouth New Testament
...foreigners and exiles... New English Translation
We are in this world but not of it. Through Jesus we are a totally new race. We are sheep among wolves. Our minds are to be transformed and metamorphazised into God's way of thinking . We have been moved from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His dear son, Jesus. We are light in the darkness. All these are ideas of differentness. This is what we are to be; not weird, but different. The idea of being a foreigner and pilgrim, a stranger and sojourner has been a concept in my mind since I was a teenager. I guess it's always been an integral part of my destiny. It's part of who I am.
Being Christian, not participating in "the world", moving to a new city between my 10th and 11th grade in high school, going to Jamaica right after high school and then a year later living a in Venezuela for 13 months, all go together to put the Third-Culture-Kid into me [TCK - someone that is a combination of two cultures but doesn't fit completely into either]. Even though I grew up in the States the all of my early life, til I was 18, I have always had a bit of a different culture in me. And that is probably the reason I so identify with the idea of being a stranger and sojourner in this world.
Maybe that's why being a "foreigner" to me is no big deal. Maybe that's why moving from city to city is not a major event. Maybe that's why this Strange Pilgrim is such a content sojourner in this world. I'm still uncomfortable with change and uncertainty, but I'm willing and ready to go forward. And, I see that I'm even more uncomfortable with the status quo and the danger of becoming stagnant. What contradictions I find in my life, feelings and emotions! Desire for security and comfort, yet the need to take risks and move forward to new challenges and adventures. That's a part of who I am. I am a stranger, a foreigner and a pilgrim in this world. My home is in another land.

Friday, November 21, 2008


"You must look into people as well as at them." - Lord Chesterfield
Italics mine.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Radical 2

Seth Godin in his blog mentioned that people who are "irrationally committed" to their project as parents, entrepreneurs, sales people and service providers are very probably on the way to a successful break through of some type. "Irrationally committed", I believe, is connected to being radical or fanatic [previous post] about what you do in life. It has something to do with passionately living on the edge in your personal and daily relationship with God.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


"Nothing ever gets done unless it's done by a fanatic." Martin Sheen

Friday, September 12, 2008

Success continued

"The way to succeed is to double your error rate." Thomas J. Watson

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting Where We Are Going

"If we don't change directions soon, we'll end up where we're going."
- Professor Irwin Corey

Monday, August 25, 2008

Big Skies

As we traveled through the northwestern states of South Dakota and
Wyoming I have seen why they call Montana the "Big Sky State". The
skies are huge. They seem to go on forever. It was the the same
feeling I had when in Iglesia San Jose in Jinotega. It's bigger that
life... it's emmense, large and expansive.

I've reread the poem I wrote in Jinotega titled ETERNITY: I think of
the tourist poster I saw in Wyoming ['For generations finding yourself
has come right after discovering your insignificance'] and I
acknowlidge that I am insignificant in comparison to JAH, yet
important enough in his eyes for Him to give his life to ransom me and
restore me to perfect relation with Him. Yes, even though we are
insignificant in comparison to GOD, we are of great significance in
His eyes. The psalmist wrote, "who is man that YOU are mindful of
him?" We are the His creation, the work of His hands.

The largest taconite mine in the world - Hibbing, MN - , the awesome
multigeneration and bigger that life sculpture of Mt Rushmore, the
achievements of man in flight and space are all shadows in comparison
to the handi work of God's creation. And the greatest, the apex of all
God's creation is mankind. To man, God gave the privilege to totally
enjoy all creation, the responsibility to care for it and the ability
to increase, multiply and extend it.

He made us in His image. He grows us in His caracter [the fruit of the
Spirit] and He empowers us with the Holy Spirit and His gifts; all for
the purpose of establishing through us His kingdom on Earth as it is
in Heaven.

As I look toward tomorrow to peer into the future I see Big Skies,
unlimited possibllities and divine destiny. Eternity is written in our
hearts. The possibilities are endless. "I have a good and great and
awesome future full of hope and possibilities beyond your
imagination," says the LORD.

BIG SKIES ahead!!! Eternity is waiting.

A Short "Rest" before getting on the Road Again

Since the last comment we have seen the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, the
Air and Space Museum and Sturgon Motorcycle Museum all in Wyoming.

We moved on to Yellowstone National Park for 4 nights and 3 days. Wow,
what a diverse expresion of the glory of God.

Passing through Grand Teton National Park we spent 3 days moving on to
Hood River, Oregon to meet up with Scott Rich and stay at his house in
White Salmon, Washington. That is where we are now.

The boys had a great time at an awsome skateboard park here on Friday

The first day, Saturday, was rest for me. 5 hours of sleep -10am til
3pm - was refreshing. The boys are having a ball with Scott's 2 boys.
Sunday we went to church with Ronnie and rested again. Today it's the
skatepark again, lunch with Bev's cousins and swimming. Cousins
tomorrow, fishin', river rafting, and whoknows what else in the next 5

Then we'll be heading south to California and starting back east
through the Grand Canyon. Who knows what else will happen in the nest
3 weeks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Go West Young Man

Yesterday we started our trip west. Today we'll see the Badlands and
Minuteman Missle National Park.

It is 6AM and we almost have the van packed, tents and all. It still

Tomorrow we should have a lighter day. Maybe we'll see Mt. Rushmore
and rest a bit. God has blessed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

GPS and God

We have been greatly blessed on our trip in the States with lots of camping on two month loan. God is good. One of the blessings provided has been a Global Positioning System. It sure helps get from one place to another, especially when we "don't know where we're going.”
The key to obtaining complete benefit and profitable results is entering the correct address and carefully following the directions given, even when you think you know better. This isn't to say that the GPS has always been right, but I've been wrong many, many more times than the computer.
God is the GPS of life. He always knows the best route for getting us to His desired location and fulfilling His destiny for our lives. Ps. 23 tells us He is "a lamp to my feet and a light into my path." I believe the same guidelines regarding the GPS will apply as we seek to follow Him. We must carefully follow Him even when we think He is wrong. "There is a way that seems right to man but the end of it is death," is the wisdom of Proverbs and Romans extends the idea when Paul writes about "the good and perfect and acceptable will of God.”
Do we really believe He knows best? Do we really trust the eternally perfect and never wrong GPS of life? Have we truly put our trust in the wisdom of God Eternal? Each person must evaluate his own life to see if he himself is making the decisions in life or is he following the leading and will of God, our Eternal GPS.

"Here am I LORD send me."

Friday, July 25, 2008

another thought on Success

"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." - Dale Carnegie

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Thought on Words

"I will never say anything that could not stand as the last thing I ever say."
Benjamin Zander quoting a survivor of the German war camps in regards to words.
TEDTalks (video) 6/25/2008 "Classical music with a Smile"

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fan the Flame - 2 Timothy 1:6-8

Vicente Diaz shared an excellent teaching yesterday. The following are his main ideas

Fire must be taken care of to continue burning.

There are three basic componants neede for a fire to exist: heat, oxygen and fuel.

He compared the heat to believing God's words; oxygen to the Holy Spirit; and fuel to peoples' specific needs and stated that the presence of all three is required if there was to be a fire or a move of God in our lives.

In the Christian walk he mentioned 5 things we must believe:
  1. we are sons of God
  2. we are new creations
  3. the Holy Spirit lives IN us
  4. we have gifts
  5. gifts from God are to edify and bless the church and others
He finalized with 3 things that will put out the fire and prevent the gifts of God in our lives: fear, shame and lack of love and compasion towards others

A gift that is not stirred up is a gift that will be lost.

There are fine young men rising up at La Fuente! Thanks Vicente!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jinotega, A Church and Genesis 28:17-19

Entering your presence
is to encounter a large and open space;
It is to extend horizans
beyond those seen before;
It is to remove limits
and fly with the LORD of the Heavens,
Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.
Entering Your presence
is to experience eternity.

The photo is of a the inside of Iglesia de los Angeles [Church of the Angels] in Jinotega.

On one of the posts in the back were these words:

This is the House of God
The door to Heaven
Genesis 28:17

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Potter and the Clay

There are different types of clay and each one has it's special use. In North Nicaragua we have a lot of houses that are actually made of bricks, not just brick shells. The bricks are made of clay that is fired and then cemented together with morter to make walls and houses.

Here in Matagalpa we also have a black ceramic that is used to make different pieces of decorative pottery. It is formed, fired and then polished. Because of the unique elements in the clay it doesn't need to be painted, just polished.

There are many different types of clay, all created by God, with specific caracteristics and qualities that determine their use and purpose. The potter takes each clay and begins to work it removing rocks, straw, sticks, airbubbles, dry particles and sand. His purpose? ...the perfect work of the artist needs the removal of imperfections so the clay and the pot will not be ruined.

The same occurs in the Kingdom of God... we are all clay with different abilities, personalities, talents, etc. and in our clay we find rocks [character flaws], sticks and straw [good works to achieve God's favor and righteousness], dry clay and sand [personal failures] and air bubbles [lack of preparation and abilities]. The key is to stay on the potter's wheel and allow him to mold us and mold us according to His design. If the pot has some of the flaws in it or is damaged in to process, the potter may start over, and that isn't easy. On the contrary, many times starting over is shattering and requires brokennness, but the end result is a vessel of honor that will be a chosen work of the LORD.

Don't appologize for the type of clay you are. These characteristics are God given abilities and characteristics, but allow the potter to take out the rocks, sticks, sand and air bubbles. Don't confuse them. Allow the potter to make the decisions and in the moment of brokenness and starting over, don't get off the potter's wheel. Let Him mold you in the way he desires. He knows the exact purpose of your clay and he will mold you into the destiny he has planned, if we will let him.

I went to the potter's house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot. - Jeremiah 18 The Message

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Man of Full of God's Grace and Authority

Friday, May 9, I was asked to translate for a visiting speaker for a local pastors' seminar. Since I really enjoy translating and since I want to help out with the pastors' group when ever I can, I agreed.

It was quite an experience and an awesome blessing. The man I was translating for was Emma Okorie, founder of Living Word Ministries - Nigeria. I translated during the morning and was super tired... Having to listen very closely because of his distint accent and having to also translate was definantely taxing, but it well worth the effort. The morning session dealt with Honoring the Call on Your life and the afternoon was about Apostolic Government and the Church.
Wow. I've been around the bush a few times in these past 40+ of being in the church; I've heard and read a lot of things regarding apostles and apostolic ministry, but this was the best.
Walk in the grace God has given with a humble heart, a servants attitude and an intimate relation with Him were the central theme in his message. I know I've heard the same on various occasions before, but I could tell he was real, a true man of the LORD. God's grace and authority were on him. It was so good and God was speaking to me so much that a few times I almost had to stop translating to soak it all in.
I was blessed, challenged and encouraged.
If for no other reason, God sent Emma Okorie to Nicaragua for me. Thank you Lord.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


"No wise man ever wished to be younger." - Jonathan Swift

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

step by step

"I used to try and take things in leaps and bounds. Now I've realized it's got to be step by step." - Tommy Bolin

power to change

 "When you blame others, you give up your power to change." - Robert Anthony

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Worst of Failures

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure." - George Edward Woodberry

This quote reminded me of a couple experiences I've had. While living in Managua I felt I should do some teaching and support of worship ministries in Bluefields on the "Atlantic coast, but I never did because I never had the money. How wrong I was! Later God challenged me as he let me know that it wasn't that the worship seminars never materialized because I didn't have the money. The reality of the situation was that I never had the money because I never followed through with the worship seminars. Mmmmm.

A few years later, as I began to perceive the need to do a series of praise, worship and prayer meetings in 8 different cities of Nicaragua, I remembered the situation with Bluefields and God's response to my excuse. For this ministry project I needed a very large sum of money and I needed it fast. I decided that I was not going to fail by not trying. I was going to go for it and if it resulted in defeat, at least I was going to have tried. I wasn't going "to die" lying down.

We were not defeated, but even if we had not been able to achieve the complete project we wouldn't have been failures, because we had walked with God and we had connected with His grace and purpose. As George Woodberry said, "Not to have tried is the true failure." The end of the story is that all of the time, the money, and the participants came together and the whole project, Proyecto Josafat, was a God moment. All the needs were met and we visited eight cities in the four corners of Nicaragua. People were touched and we impacted the history of Nicaragua.

God is waiting for his sons and daughters to move by faith, step out of the boat and walk on the water. I am sure that if more of us would take this risk there would be fewer and fewer failures in the Christian world. Instead, we would see the true Kingdom of Heaven advance in greater and more spectacular ways because nothing is to hard for the LORD.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pigs and Kats (it’s a new breed)

Pigs really enjoy a dirty, filthy mud-hole filled with tasty, succulent three day old garbage to eat and satisfy their hunger. Some people think that those little piggies are so “cute” and make fine pets. Well, all washed, perfumed, and shined up with a pink or blue ribbon tied around the neck, they may be publicly presentable, but they are still pigs. They are waiting the chance to return to their dirty mud-hole.

Other people would choose a respectable domesticed animal, like a kat for a pet. Yes, the kat is a clean animal without the habit of looking for trashed out dirty places to live in. It always lands on his feet, is affectionate and dependent on his owner. I believe it makes a much better pet. (Obviously this will be debated according to your own personal experiences and bias.)

When we were without Jesus we were so much like the pigs mentioned. We were constantly looking for our own mud hole of pride, rebellion, sex, drugs, alcohol, and hate. Or maybe we preferred self-sufficiency, independence, self-righteousness and good works. Still, the truth of the matter is, all this way of thinking and living stinks. Yes, and sin, at least for a time, is so enjoyable that the putrid smell of egoism, rebellion, selfishness or self-righteousness doesn’t even register in our minds. We were just a bunch of pigs. Oink, oink.

The good news is that we are now new creations in Christ Jesus, sons and daughters of God, righteous and holy before Him in Christ Jesus. We are being transformed in to His image. Now when we sin we may enjoy it in the moment, but the Holy Spirit convicts our hearts and quickly we say, “Uck! Something stinks like pigs around here!” Like the respectable cat we get cleaned up a fast as possible. We do not enjoy lying around in and wallowing in a stinky, smelly sloppy, slimy mud hole of sin. By God’s mercy and grace we have been changed. We quickly go to 1 John 1:9 and receive forgiveness and cleansing of all our unrighteousness.

Yes, we have been translated from darkness to light; we have been transformed from old to new. We are no longer pigs in Satan’s kingdom of darkness and sin. Now we are sons of God in the kingdom of His dear Son and we are enjoying the blessing of living powered by the Holy Spirit in His mercy and grace.

God Calls

There is none that seeks/searches for God. Romans 3:11

God searches for us. He, by his grace and love, has placed the "desire for Him" in our being. Therefore, even the "hunger" or desire or seeking God on our part actually starts with Him, not with us. Our looking for God is a response to his kindness, patience, longsuffering, love and mercy (Romans 2:4).

It's not that mankind wants to find God. It's God who wants to save, redeem and rescue mankind.

Let's respond to his kindness and grace!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just Trying Hard

  • Striving is trying to do it yourself.
  • Trying hard is not the same as obeying.
One will strive as he himself makes tries to obey what he has heard from God, but he could also obey in faith, receiving God's grace on his life and see the power and presence of God manifest to "complete the work".

Peter didn't strive as he got out of the boat. He just obeyed Jesus' words. He did not try to walk on the water. He did it. The striving started when he began looking at and focusing on what he was doing instead of trusting in Jesus.

Stop striving. Stop doing things in your own strength. Stop working so God will be with you. Yes, stop striving. Let Christ live his life through you.

Believe, receive, obey and do the works of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Understanding and Living Life - an interesting thought

"Life must be understood backwards; but... it must be lived forward." - Soren Kierkegaard

I knew somebody said it...

"Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect." - Vince Lombardi

Monday, March 10, 2008

Even more thoughts on Success

"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." - Thomas Jefferson

Maybe somebody would say, "but that quote is about luck, not success."

Well, consider how Jefferson says his luck is achieved; hard work. This sounds more like success than is does luck. Jefferson's quote is similar to what Seneca said. "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Proverbs says the diligent will prosper and be asked to stand before important men. Looks to me like hard work and diligence is the producer of this luck some call success.
Proverbs 10:24; 12:24; 22:29;

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Another look at how to be Successful

"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

Friday, March 7, 2008

Now that's simple

"Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time." -  Arnold H. Glasow

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Now that should make us think

"A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away." - Barry Goldwater

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Making Peace

"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist." - Indira Gandhi

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Who Would I like to Meet?

Answering this question a few days ago I wrote, "I'd like to meet Jesus, but something unplanned, unrehearsed, unexpected, on the street, and real."

In Pursuit of Success

"The way to succeed is to double your error rate." - Thomas J. Watson

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thoughts on OIL

The story in Matthew about the 10 virgins is challenging. They were all waiting for the wedding party and in the end only 5 were allowed to enter the party and 5 were not permited to enter because of not being present when the groom passed by. They had to go and buy oil for their lamps. Why couldn't the other 5 give them oil? I don't know. Here are some thoughts that I've had about the subject, although in some ways they contradict thoughts in the story.

  • Our oil can be given to others, but we cannot constantly maintain somebody else's bottle full. One must maintain himself but we shouldn't create a deopendency or a false "priestly" system of leaders to be the connection for others to God.
  • We can share unlimited quanities of "oil" as long as we stay filled through being connected with the Holy Spirit.

The lady with the bottle of oil never ran out... until all the containers she had gotten together were full.

The widow and her son always had enough oil and flour to make one more cake, as long as they made a cake for the prophet first.

Ephesians 5 tells us to be being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts says wait until you've been filled with power-from-on-high.

Psalm 133 tells us that unity and harmony produce abundance of oil. So much that it runs down from the head to the feet, now that's lots of oil.

Now, not all of these mentions of oil are directly regarding the Holy Spirit, but they sure can challenge us about generosity, unity, waiting for God, etc. What do I say? I want more of Him and less of me.

Success - a quote

"Success is a journey, not a destination." - Ben Sweetland

Monday, February 4, 2008

Good Habits - a quote

"Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow." - Lawrence Clark Powell

Friday, February 1, 2008

Bless the Nations

God's blessing is not for us to keep, instead we must use it to bless the nations. Israel believed that the blessing and favor of God was for them because they were the chosen, special sons and daughters of God, His chosen people, His holy nation. God's purpose in blessing Abraham and setting him apart was that Israel shine and reflect His glory; that they be a light to the nations and a blessing to the world.

A city set on a hill is not hidden. A light is not turned on in the closet and the door kept shut. A city, a light, a lighthouse is placed on a hill, on a high spot to illuminate, to guide, to bless, to protect. In the same way, we are blessed by God so we can bless others, not so we can be rich, proud and pompous. He lifts us up to show His glory and to draw the nations to Him.

Isaiah was clear when he wrote:

GOD's bright glory has risen for you.
GOD rises on you,
his sunrise glory breaks over you.
Nations will come to your light,
Kings to your sunburst brightness.

Paul left no doubt about the reason for God's blessing:

He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.

LORD, that may I stay truly humble, outrageously generous, always touchable and completely authentic for your glory and honor, forever.

LORD, that I may bless the nations.

Isaiah 61; 2 Corinthians 9:11 - The Message

Confidence - a quote

"Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence." - Vince Lombardi

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Portrait

I continue with drawing classes. It is an enjoyable and relaxing experience. I've done several different pictures (you can see on other if you click below where is says drawing projects) and now I've almost finished my first portrait, Esperanza.

We might allow the art school to share our space in the building one or two days a week. I hope it works out.

More on a Different Perspective

Frost and Hirsch continue provoking thoughts in my mind.

"Len [Sweet] told us about how he will often get Christians… to stand in a large circle around the room. He said that they always stand shoulder-to-shoulder facing inward. When he points this out, they immediately adopt the opposite stance and face outward. But, Leonard Sweet reminds them a totally outward-facing church isn't being everything a church should be. He then asks them to stand facing each other with one shoulder facing the center of the circle and the other facing out. It might seem like a small shift, but by standing in this less natural position they gain a powerful reminder of the missionary stance. It's both inward and outward looking."

Although I had read and marked this paragraph 18 months ago, I didn't remember it. I rediscovered it yesterday and it goes exactly with what I had done on Jan. 25, 2008 with the chairs facing out at morning prayer and devotion. I mentioned the need to look outward and not maintain our focus on ourselves. I also made the comment that a just outward focus was not correct either. There are times for inward focus and times for outward focus. I like Sweet's dynamic of shoulder-in and shoulder-out, facing each other to explain living and meeting needs of body (inward) and of the world (outward).

I'm also pondering another quote, but this time from Hirsch's book The Forgotten Ways.

"It is little wonder that our precommitments to the Christendom mode of church [typical Western-world church] and thinking restrict us to past successes and give us no real solutions for the future. We always seem to default to its preconceived answers. Genuine learning and development is at best a risky process, but without journey and risk there can be no progress."

We need to get outside of our religious box in at least two ways: In our methods and thoughts [new wineskins vs. old wineskins] and in regards to those we are to impact [new wine vs. old wine - ourselves vs. those that are not yet Christians]. To grow, learn and make progress we must begin to think different. We must raise the ceiling, take off the lid, shake off the chains if we're really going to make a difference.

Jesus' major difficulty was with the established religous leaders. Even among the disciples of John and his own disciples he wasn't understood in his teachings, practice of fasting, eating with sinners and undesirables, and allowing his feet to be cleaned and anointed with a very expensive and precious oil .

Jesus said, "Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God's good news to one and all. Train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life… Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you."

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Transform my way of thinking. Make me a new wineskin.

Frost and Hirsch , The Shaping of Things to Come, p. 44.
Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways, p. 51.
Mark 16:16 and Matthew 28:19-20, The Message.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Different Perspective

Today we marked day 25 in our New Year's Morning Prayer. The plan started out as 21 days of prayer in preparation for the "New Wine" based on a 21 day prayer guide by Chuck Pierce. On January 1st we started with 4 people. I was pleased, especially since the majority of the people in Matagalpa stayed up til after midnight on December 31. As the week progressed we finished with 8 people coming. The next week we had an average of 12 and the next week 21 people came on Monday and Tuesday and then it rose again to 24. Group desire was to continue and finish out the month. Monday 28 people came, Tuesday 28 again, Wednesday 29, Thursday there were 34 and today there were 29. God is doing something.

Each day is similar in that we read, meditate, share and pray... each day has it's own distinction and today's was a good one.

Today we placed the 30+ chairs facing out of the circle instead of towards the center. It was fun and interesting watching the people come in 1, 2, 3 at a time and start looking at the chairs. The first 5-10 people didn't even want to sit down.

"You're playing with our mind, Pastor," they said.

Bev and I sat down and began reading the verses for the day and soon all were somewhat doing the same, still uncomfortable and a bit nervous, but they followed our example. There was a bit more chatter than normal, there were one or two that just stood there and looked as they entered. One man sat down and got up looked around, sat down again for a moment and then got up again. Finally, he sat down, but couldn't read... he was uncomfortable.

After we broke into small groups to discuss the reading, we talked about sitting looking out of the circle instead of towards the center. The shared their feelings and we talked about the uncomfortableness. Some couldn't do their reading and meditation, others liked it better, all were affected some how.

"Why?" I asked. Because God wants us to have a new perspective. He wants us to look at things differently. He doesn't want us to get comfortable with the same ol' same ol'. Yesterday I mentioned Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch's book The Shaping of Things to Come and the need for change so we can continue growing and learning, and that was exactly the purpose of this morning's exercise in setting facing looking out of the circle.

Some key ideas I left the people with about sitting facing outward were:

  • we need to be made uncomfortable sometimes
  • we need a different perspective
  • we shouldn't focus on ourselves all the time
  • our help in not in ourselves
  • it's a better position for defense [if that is necessary]
  • we must go out to the nations
After chatting about the experience, we faced out again, prayed for a change in our perspective and the needs of the nations. Returning to face the center [it's not always bad, you know], we prayed for one another and then left for the day with a new commitment to give the nations what God has given us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Few Good Quotes From Our Past

James Madison - "If men were angels, no government would be necessary."
Thomas Paine - "That government is best which governs least."
Woodrow Wilson - "The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people."
Ronald Reagan - "We are never defeated unless we give up on God."

Give Me what You've Got

Toward evening the disciples approached him [Jesus]. "We're out in the country and it's getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper."

Jesus said, "There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper."

"All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish," they said.

Jesus said, "Bring them here."

Like the woman with the cruse of oil and the widow with just enough oil and flour to make one more meal, all God asks of us is what we have, nothing more, but he does want all we have.

In the same way, Peter took the step of faith and walked on water. Here all Peter had was faith in Jesus and a step of obedience.

He believed.
He obeyed.
He walked on water.

That is all God asks of us!

"Give me what you've got," He says!

Matthew 14:15-18; 2 Kings 4:1-8; 1 Kings 17:12-14; Matthew 14:28-29

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

An Interesting Thought

"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition." - Timothy Leary
Very interesting for at least two reasons:
1. A woman has her own special value in just being a woman, created different than a man. She has her own special characteristics, such as a more caring heart, a perception or intuition that man doesn't typically have, etc.  Why seek to be equal with men? Be who you are! special and unique.
2. Galatians 3:27, 28 "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." God already made us equal in His sight. What do we have to accomplish?
This is not to avoid the just application of the law for just and equal treatment, but that is a totally different topic. In fact, from a Christian male perspective I believe that women should receive special and preferred treatment. Peter mentions that they are the more fragile gender and should receive preferential treatment and care from their husbands.
I'm thankful for my awesome wife, the woman of my life. She deserves much more credit and recognition for great accomplishments in the Kingdom of God than I do. She far exceeds me in every area of life.
I love you Beverly!

Friday, January 11, 2008

A thought after silence...

Well, I've been super busy... but I have had lots of thoughts and have spent significant time reflecting.

The past weeks my major focus has been the family... Christmas, birthdays, putting together airplanes with the boys, drawing with Cheree, spending time and chatting with Bev, eating cashew nuts and chex with my mom...

We started a 21 day prayer cycle "preparing for the new wine" the new things God wants to do in our lives and the life of the church. We meet every morning at 6 AM, spend time alone in prayer and reading, read a chapter or two together, share what we have gleaned from the text read and finally we close in prayer. We started with 5 people the first day, today we had 14... It's been good.

I finished up a drawing from Johnny, the art teacher... was a bit time consuming for the details. As you can see it was an exercise in perspective. I've started a new one of Esperanza, my first portrait.

Bev and I are leading worship together on Sunday while Raul Castro is preaching. We're getting the church ready to assume more and more responsibility as we prepare to start a new project in Jinotega.

God is good... more later!