December 10th, 2013
Everything went as planned on this trip–six days filled with scheduled activities mostly related to Baxter graduation and the annual board meetings. The trip home was a little more difficult due to the difficult travel conditions across the U.S., but thankfully it translated into only about an hour delay for my connection and I arrived home last night with minimal problems.
Many of the churches in Latin America are growing in exciting ways, and the opportunity to launch a new set of Baxter graduates to go forth and make a difference is always a source of encouragement and hope. I encourage your continuing prayers for Baxter. If you want more information about how you could help make a big difference in the spread of the gospel–please be in touch.
December 8th, 2013
I will be blessed today to worship with part of God’s spiritual family from across Latin America. Christians from several nations have assembled in Honduras for the traditional United AreaWide Worship that always occurs on the Sunday after Baxter graduation. I will see evidence of God’s power and goodness. I will be “at home” even though my journey on earth is not complete. I will marvel at God’s wisdom and might, and rejoice anew in his salvation. I will share sweet fellowship among those God loves and I love.
Perhaps that is what Sundays are about–regardless of where I am.
December 8th, 2013
God’s Mighty Works (Psalm 136)
By his understanding he made the heavens, spread out the earth upon the waters, made the great lights—the sun to govern the day, the moon and stars to govern the night. (136:5-9)
He struck down the firstborn of Egypt and brought Israel out from among them with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; he divided the Red Sea asunder and brought Israel through the midst of it. (136:10-14)
He swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; he led his people through the desert, struck down great king, killed mighty kings—Sihon king of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan. (136:15-20)
Wednesday. Promised Land.
He gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance to his servant Israel. (136:21-22).
He remembered us in our low estate and freed us from our enemies. (136:23-24)
He gives food to every creature. (136:25)
Give thanks to the God of heaven. (136:26)
December 7th, 2013
Awoke early today after only 5 hours of sleep. Long, full days with many activities. Today will be another long day with the last session of the board meeting from 8 AM until early afternoon, Baxter graduation at 3 PM, and the graduation banquet this evening.
The 50th year celebration last evening gave me an opportunity to renew many old friendships in Honduras and Central America. I was also able to make initial arrangements for some mission seminars and visits to new locations for 2014.
I will write a more complete report once I am back stateside and removed from the hustle and bustle of this whirlwind trip. Thank you for your prayers.
December 5th, 2013
Winding down Day 2–we have a banquet in honor of Baxter graduates tonight. Always a great time of memories, celebration, and saying thank you as we send forth a new crop of graduates to help make a difference in the world.
This trip has begun with a great couple of days, although the days on this particular trip are always long! The day began early with a Baxter committee meeting at 6 A.M. Today on campus we heard reports from all of the graduates about their plans for future ministry, also administrative reports focused on Baxter and the work at the Clinic. A special dedication ceremony at the new on-campus Day Care Center included the unveiling of the plaque honoring Annabelle Lawrence for her many years of service to the children at Baxter. Lots of off-line conversations and interaction as the board assembles and thinks through the challenges of the future.
December 5th, 2013
Unknown verses of the Bible! Why don’t we know them? We love the familiar, we avoid the unfamiliar! We read to reinforce our own thinking. The familiar must be read more closely, because we think we already know what it says. The Bible must be read and studied again and again, always with fresh eyes seeking new insights.
Many of us develop our understanding of the Bible based on a limited number of favorite verses. How many of us really know more than a few dozen verses? Some who quote a lot of Scripture don’t really know that many verses.
Today I share an unknown verse. Unknown verses are “the rest of God’s story.”
One of my scriptural affirmations this week declares that God is love. Some days I think that if I hear one more person summarize Christianity in a mushy, undemanding version of love with a quote from John 13:35 cited without context, I’m going to scream, “Quit! That’s not what Jesus said.” But then I restrain myself, for after all, who can be against love?
Have you read “the rest of the story”? John wrote a Gospel; we have also three letters from his pen. We know John as the “Apostle of Love.” Here is John’s explanation of the love we Christians share: “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands” (1 John 5:2-3a). Love is not multiple choice—we love God and we love others. If I cannot love God without loving my fellow human beings (1 John 3:16-18), it is equally true that I cannot genuinely love others unless I love God and keep his commands.
Don’t make it multiple choice. Don’t make it either/or. And keep Jesus’ order intact: The first is to love God with all your heart…, the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.
December 4th, 2013
Today begins a whirlwind of activities in Honduras–only 6 days.
Here is a suggested prayer list: Pray for the stability of Honduras in the uncertainty after the recent election. Pray for the mission work at Baxter and the clinic. Pray for the students who will graduate and go forth to make a kingdom impact. Pray for other mission works in Honduras, as well as the works in Central America and South America. Pray that God continues to give open doors and receptive hearts. Pray for the safety of those who travel during these days to participate in various activities. Pray for the unity of the church so that the message can spread and the world can know.
Thank you, and thank you for your prayers for me and my work.