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Thanks for visiting our website! Picture of the Month: sharing the word in Pilanqui, Ibarra, Ecuador; a view of part of the crowd, two baptisms. [Click picture to enlarge.]

Preaching in Pilanqui

Ministry is always a team effort--Jan and I have shared the work of ministry and missions for 48+ years! Countless others have encouraged us, supported us, loved us, and prayed for us. In addition to the customary "Brother Bob," I am also known as dad and papaw. My favorite breakfast is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of quality coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and help develop authentic "kingdom people." I seek to serve and share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go, helping people find Jesus and helping people mature in Jesus. One of the greatest blessings of my life is to be loved by countless people around the world!

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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

Understanding the Christian Life

Monday, January 12th, 2015

The words from Mark Bergin caught my attention: “And so we open the Scriptures and say our prayers, not in an effort to be with him, but because he is already with us.”
What a wonderful truth, shining light clearly on a common misunderstanding of the Christian life. Bible reading and prayer is not a part of a daily checklist to be pleasing to God. For the Christian, communication with God is not courtship and seeking relationship. It is the faithful action of the bride of the Lamb seeking ever-deepening relationship and understanding, ever growing love.

…The Behinder You Get

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

[Note: As I seek to use the last month of 2013 to establish effective spiritual habits for the coming year, today I reprint an article I penned several years ago. May God bless our every effort to walk each day more closely with Him.]

My mother often encouraged my sister and I to slow and think about what we most needed to do with these words: “The harder you go, the behinder you get.” It is true. When we flail aimlessly or act without the end in mind, it doesn’t matter how hard we work, we often make little progress. So we conclude that we need to think in advance about what we want to accomplish and how we will do.

In the spiritual realm, prayer is an important part of determining what we should do. Many Christians get further and further behind in their spiritual lives because we are too busy to pray. We are too busy to pray because we misunderstand the nature of prayer. We see prayer as one more activity to work into our busy schedules. Or perhaps we see prayer as a way out of emergencies, thinking that when we cry, God has to bail us out. In the routines of daily life that burn time and churn up problems, we seldom pray. So we find ourselves “behinder and behinder.”

Prayer is part of the Christian’s planning process. Prayer focuses our priorities. Reuel Lemmons is often quoted: “I only get done what I pray about.” More recently, Bill Hybels has written a book with the challenging title, Too Busy Not to Pray. Jesus demonstrated the priority of prayer as his way of maintaining contact with the will of his Father. Indeed, prayer is the first step in accomplishing all that God desires to do through us.

Let me suggest five things prayer will bring to your life.

  • Prayer will help you establish priorities. Since you can’t do everything, you must do what really matters. And in doing what really matters, the Christian focuses on what really matters to God. Prayer helps me decide what I will do.
  • Prayer will help you touch people. Since you can’t serve everyone, you must minister to those God puts in your path. When God leads you to people, can you see them? When God opens doors of relationship, do you walk through them?
  • Prayer will help you know God’s presence. Distinguishing the important things is helped by a sense of God’s presence.
  • Prayer will help you know God’s power. When I am overly-busy, I need help to get done even the most important things. The busier I am, the more important is prayer as a source of God’s power in my life.
  • Prayer will help you know God’s passion. Even in the midst of our busyness, prayer helps us see God’s purpose and plan. Prayer injects my life with God’s passion—compassion and caring.

The lesson is that we must pray about what we do before we do it. Too often, our prayers to God are that he might bless what we have already done. For the Christian serious about understanding and doing God’s will, prayer is first. Don’t make it the last thing you do as you deal with challenges of life.

Stars to Steer By: Prayer

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

“It’s not my business to try to make God think like me, but to try, in prayer and penitence, to think like God.” –A.W. Tozer

Psalm 17: A Model for Praying in the Midst of Problems

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The symmetrical outline of the Psalms as presented in the NIV Study Bible parallels Psalm 17 with the better known Psalm 22 (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) Both are briefly described as pleas for deliverance from the foes. The shorter Psalm 17 deserves more attention and awareness than it typically receives.

Psalm 17 can be outlined as follows: Initial Appeal for Justice (1-2), Claim of “Rightness” (3-5), Petition based on author’s trust in God and God’s “rightness” or righteousness (6-9), Accusation (10-12), Petition (13-14), Confidence in God restated (14-15). In reading the psalm, you will see significant overlap in these themes as one section arises from the previous one and flows into the following one.

The psalm provides a helpful prayer model. When we pray to God concerning any matter, we state our desire and base our appeal on our unswerving faith and trust in God’s righteous nature. Describing the nature of the problem and the reasons for our concern naturally lead us to restate our desire and our confidence in the God who always does what is right. With a little practice and repetition, the sequence and rhythm of this psalm can become familiar, providing a pattern for prayer.

“Lord, we ask that you hear us today and do what is right in our lives. As we seek to avoid sin and to live faithfully, we seek the wonder of your love and the salvation of your hand, and we ask you to _____________ , protecting your children in the shadow of your wings. This problem is overwhelming, so we ask you to intervene, rescue and save. We believe you provide for those you cherish and that righteousness will prevail, and that is enough. I depend on you and will be content with your presence, both here and in eternity when we share face to face fellowship forever. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

A New Week, A New Month: A Pattern for Our Lives–Psalm 101

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Psalm 101 is the first of ten psalms that appear to stand together as a group. The section is framed by two kingly psalms–Psalm 101 and Psalm 110. Psalm 101, only eight verses long, is one of my favorites. (Although it has eight verses, it contains seven couplets or parallel thoughts; see the text divisions below, noting that verses 1-4 contain 3 parallels.)
The psalm is a commitment to imitate God’s righteous rule in daily living. It has special meaning in ministry as a guide and reminder to treat people right. As a royal psalm it has special application to church leaders, but is a helpful guide to daily Christian living for every Christian. The church that gets this psalm right takes a major step forward in effective evangelism, fellowship, and ministry.
Think about how powerful it would be if every church leader and every Christian carefully lived out the commitments of this psalm. Thoughtfully, carefully, prayerfully read the psalm. Then go back and pray the psalm, applying each thought and concept to your own life, and asking God to purify, change, and strengthen your life in each area.
Consider using this psalm as a prayer guide each day this week (seven sections) or possibly as a guide for the month.


1 I will sing of your love and justice;
to you, Lord, I will sing praise.
2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life—
when will you come to me?
I will conduct the affairs of my house
with a blameless heart.
3 I will not look with approval
on anything that is vile.
I hate what faithless people do;
I will have no part in it.
4 The perverse of heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with what is evil.

5 Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret,
I will put to silence;
whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart,
I will not tolerate.

6 My eyes will be on the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me;
the one whose walk is blameless
will minister to me.

7 No one who practices deceit
will dwell in my house;
no one who speaks falsely
will stand in my presence.

8 Every morning I will put to silence
all the wicked in the land;
I will cut off every evildoer
from the city of the Lord.

Psalm 5: A Morning Prayer

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Psalm 5 is known as a morning prayer, perhaps associated with the morning sacrifice in Israel, but also a call for God’s help in the face of false rumors and accusations, implications and innuendos.

A part of the Psalm says, “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” (5:3)
Consider the custom of the psalmist. In the mornings, God hears his voice. Morning prayer is a normal part of his routine. Morning prayer is not “hit and miss.” He confidently affirms that his voice is heard in the morning.
Consider the content of the morning prayers. The psalmist includes God in his plans for the day. The morning prayers include requests of various kinds–for protection, goodness, humility, and truth. The psalmist requests guidance, mercy, and anticipates daily worship. The God who blesses and shields the righteous will provide refuge, protection, and joy.
Consider the confidence of the psalmist. He waits in expectation. Including God in all of our life changes everything. The requests we share we confidently expect to see fulfilled. The presence we request we expectantly anticipate.

Something to meditate on….
Does God hear my voice every morning?
Do I each day include God in my day?
Do I wait in expectation, knowing the promise of God’s presence and power?

An Idea for Prayer

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Many mornings, one of my early activities is check in on Facebook and send a few birthday greetings. Late last year, I noticed that my page randomly loads 10 friends when I open it. Each day’s friends sampler is different. I decided to include those whose names and pictures appear in the list, and also the birthday people, in my morning prayer. The idea is free, yours to use if you wish.
The principle has wider applications. God randomly (purposefully!) places people in our lives each day–personal contacts, phone, email…. One of the things we can do as we seek to bless those who enter our lives or cross our paths is to pray for those people. Why not include such people in your evening prayer, or in your brief thought prayers as you go through your day?

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