Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Newsletter

I was going to upload my newsletter here to blogger, but it seems that you have to have a Phd from MIT in order to rescript, use an external program, blah blah blah.

So, just in case your interested and did not receive it via email, here you go.  Click on this link and you can download it.

https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D6440300_1908097_654554

Hope you enjoy it.

Leia Mais…

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Two Princes



The Two Princes
Once upon a time, in a land far away, lived a rich prince.  The prince was a nice man, and to be honest did not even realize that he was that rich.  You see, he had grown up in a rich family, living in a rich part of the land, and enjoying all the benefits of wealth and success.  He lived in the Land Of Opportunity.  Instead of seeing his wealth, many times he found himself looking at the kingdoms around who seemed to be wealthier and feeling somewhat cheated by life.

This prince lived in the Land of Opportunity, doing what he needed to be done and helping out his fellow rich countrymen as he could.  He knew that there were other countries besides his, and he had heard that some of them were even poorer than he felt, but his life was busy and other than hearing an occasional tale from a traveling peddler he had no time to wonder or wander.

Then, one day, he decided to make it happen in spite of his busy schedule.  He prioritized a trip and arranged for someone to cover his responsibilities during his absence.  He left his home and traveled past the other rich kingdoms into the land of the normal person.  This was strange to him, because he defined normal based upon what he knew as normal, rather than what truly was normal for the world.
 
The first thing that he noticed in Normal Land was that the people were hurting.  They lacked the most basic necessities.  As a matter of fact, many of the things that he had always thought of as a necessity were either unheard of or viewed as luxuries by the people in Normal Land.  He had thought that his life was harsh because he went two years without a new carriage.  These people had never seen a carriage.  He considered himself poor because his home was smaller than some of his neighbors.  These people wanted a roof.  In his country, eating was a social event, and food was tailored to specific tastes and occasions.  To his shame, he realized that his dog ate better than most families in Normal Land, and he was in shock to see naked people starving to death.

Over and over he saw that people in Normal Land needed food, clothing, education, shelter, water, and basic sanitation.  One night he took a piece of paper and figured out that the money he spent on entertainment in a year could save the lives of over a thousand dying people in Normal Land. More than that, most of the people in Normal Land had never even heard of the King of Kings and had no hope of entering the Eternal Kingdom.  The prince thought everyone knew of Him.  This seemed doubly sad because the Eternal Kingdom was such a wonderful hope for people living in such desperation.  If only they knew that this world was not the end, but that their pain one day could end.  

He returned to his palace (funny, he had always thought of it as a house until his journey).  As he looked around at the luxury, the excess, the comfort and the ease of life in his country, he vowed to always be grateful. His heart hurt with sympathy for those that he had seen.  He tried, and to some degree succeeded in being empathetic with them in their struggles, even though he truly could not comprehend what it meant to be hungry and cold.

From this moment on, he would not compare himself to those better than himself.  He would remember the suffering and the struggling of the majority of the world that lived in Normal Land.  He would no longer complain when a luxury was denied.  He would be happy with his wealth.  He would be glad that he did not live in Normal Land. 

So he did.  He was a happy, grateful prince living in luxury.  He remembered those poor folk in Normal Land, and thanked God that he wasn’t like that.

Meanwhile, as he was grateful for his luxury, appreciative of his wealth, and thankful for his blessings…millions of people were dying in Normal Land.  Normal People that could have lived off what he threw away every day.  Normal People that the King of King loved who were living in abstract poverty while he was grateful to have the money for his entertainment budget.

He was grateful. They were dead.

Gratitude is not enough. 

Empathy is not enough. 

Sympathy is not enough. 

They are all passive killers.

      Nearby, there was another prince that took a similar journey through Normal Land.  He returned home and vowed to be changed as well.  He was empathetic.  He was sympathetic.  He was grateful.  However he took things one step farther.  He began to GIVE out of his wealth.  He decided that he did not need a new carriage this year, or the next, or the next.  He gave the money he was going to spend on a new carriage to drill a well and provide clean water for an entire village.  He quit spending such vast amounts on entertainment and started construction on a church that would teach others about the King of Kings for generations.  He took a trip to Normal Land every year in order to encourage fellow human beings in their plight, to give generous gifts to ease the harshness of life, and to constantly renew his vision for the world.
      
      One prince was grateful.  The other was good.
      Which do you identify with?
      
      This is Thanksgiving.  How about we change the name to this:  

THANKS AND GIVING.

      Don’t just give thanks, out of your thanks, give.

Leia Mais…

Monday, November 7, 2011

Being There While I Am Here


I am so pumped!  For the next two weeks, I get to teach a Bible Study class at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Virginia!  That is my home church, full of my friends.  My focus during Sunday School will be on living a radical life, emphasizing world missions.

After Sunday School, I will continue preaching a series of messages called "Jesus and_____"  I have been in this series for about six weeks, and plan on spending another 2-3 months in it.  Each week we look at a place in the life of Jesus where he had a conversation with someone and see how He is speaking to us through it.

So, I will be teaching Sunday School, followed by preaching.  Super cool!

Oh yeah, the Sunday School class will be in Purcellville Virginia.  The preaching will be in Cochabamba Bolivia.  All I have to do is travel 4,015 miles in 15 minutes (the time between Sunday School and the sermon).  No problem.  I have done it before.  Well, not traveled over 4,000 miles in less than 20 minutes, but taught in two places around the globe at the same time.

This is what I am doing.  This week I am filming the Sunday School class.  (I am trying to keep it from being boring by incorporating different settings, videos, music, etc.)  I will email the video to the church on Wednesday.  They will set up a big screen projector and show the class for two weeks. 

In a couple of weeks, Denise is speaking to the Women's Ministry at another church during their missions conference.  She is doing it through Skype Video. 

This is just one of the ways that we are trying to accomplish both edges of our ministry sword.  We want to not only help Bolivian church leaders know God better and love Him more; we want to challenge and encourage churches back in the States to become engaged in missions. 

Technology lets us do both, while staying here.  We can be there, while we are here. 

If you are interested in having us speak at your church, homeschool group, Sunday School class, missions conference, etc., please send me an email.  We would love to do it!

Leia Mais…

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It Is Not On Demand


This is one of the most important items that we own, and one of the most important places in our apartment.  It is our Big Berkley water filter, and the three pitchers beside it are clean water.  We take the water from the faucet and put it in the top of the filter.  It takes about an hour before we have filtered water in the bottom.  That is our drinking water.  Because it takes an hour to get a gallon, and thhere are 11 of us, we have developed a habit that allows us to always have clean water to drink, brush our teeth with, and/or cook.  It is pretty simple.  Every time we go into the kitchen, we put water in the filter if it needs it.  We lift off the lid, look at the water level, and refill it if there is room.  This keeps the filter working, our clean water in good supply, and mommy happy.

This is also a great analogy to the Holy Spirit.  The Bible tells us to "Be filled with the Spirit".  Literally this means "Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit".  I am to constantly look at my life.  I should listen to my words.  I should examine my thoughts.  I can see how I treat my kids.  I can check out my emotions.  I can continually see in my life that Jesus died for me, and that I NEED to surrender myself to the love and power of the Holy Spirit.  It is a constant process, because as I walk through this fallen world in my sinful flesh, I have to run to calvary often to be purified.  The Holy Spirit leads me there.

How are you in the purified heart and cleansed thoughts today?  In our house, if we don't filter our water constantly, then we discover that when we need it the most, we are out of it...and it isn't INSTANT.  If we don't do this all the time, we have a problem.  We cannot wait until there is a crisis in our lives, and then say, "right now I will start living this way or that way" because the consequences of the crisis are still there.  We need to PREVENT the crisis by living under the leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit now...when I don't FEEL like I need Him.  Keep on being filled.  Purify your hearts.  Cleanse your minds.

Now.  And Now.  And Now.  And Now.........

Leia Mais…