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Thanks for visiting our website! This month’s picture is of a seminar in Guatemala at Ezell Clinic, December 2018. [Click picture to enlarge.]

Seminar in Guatemala

Ministry and mission work is a team effort -- Jan and I have shared the task of ministry and mission work for over 50 years! (We traveled together to preaching appointments during the year before we were married.) Countless people have encouraged us, supported us, loved us, and prayed for us. In addition to the customary "Brother Bob" or "Hermano Bob," I am also known as dad and papaw. One of my favorite breakfasts is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of rich Colombian coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and to help develop authentic "kingdom people." I seek to share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go, helping people find Jesus and helping people mature as disciples of 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 ‘Biography’ Category

Blessed to be a Blessing

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The old song says it well, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one….”

Today I am especially aware that God is marvelously blessing me. These are only a few of a much longer list, but for these I am especially grateful today.

    I am blessed because I get to spend time with the staff and volunteers at Park Plaza–my little cubbyhole gives me workspace, and also lets me share special times with spiritual people.
    I am blessed by the morning prayer time in the church offices as we unite our hearts before our God.
    I am blessed to be a part of the work at Iglesia de Cristo at Park Plaza. The opportunity to study with with visitors and new converts and brothers and sisters who are hungering for the Word, and the comments received and the appreciation expressed, are a blessing.
    I am blessed to work with a very special group of Christians on the board of Association Amicus in Honduras. This group of men and women has a passion for God’s work, and brings an unparalleled set of talents and insights to the work we share.
    I am blessed by those who share my passion and vision for mission work. This morning I received a phone call from a sister who has “found a few shekels” and wants to help. What an encouragement and blessing!
    I am blessed by my friends around the world–those who love me and encourage me and keep me going. Wow!
    I am blessed because I have increased opportunity to spend time with my sons.
    I am blessed by the love and spirit of Jan, my soulmate who shares the spiritual journey.
    Above all, I am blessed by the unfailing love and constantly renewed mercies of the God who loves despite our failings and weaknesses.

One other thing I know today–I am blessed to be a blessing! May my life bless others as I receive the blessings of God again and again, full measure and overflowing.

Blessed to be a Blessing!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Since stepping aside from full-time ministry almost three years ago, God has blessed me with unbelievable opportunities to minister and serve. I have more opportunities to preach and minister than ever before. Through the first 10 months of this year, I have spent 140 days in traveling, teaching and preaching. There are more invitations and opportunities awaiting, but the limitations my own energy and finding the travel funds to respond positively to the invitations. I thank God for the way he has blessed me in these ministry opportunities!

Through my years in ministry, I often closed weekly bulletin articles with the admonition, “Remember that you are blessed to be a blessing!” I am blessed in order to be a blessing to others. But I like what I am now doing for a selfish reason. For 40+ years I worked in the church and Christian education, receiving remuneration for my work. That is a blessing, but also a challenge. For preachers, it is sometimes hard to separate the money received from one’s faith commitment. Does the preacher go to church because of his faith or because he has to preach? Does one evangelize because it is part of the job or part of the heart?

I am blessed because I can do what I am doing now for free; I receive no personal remuneration. I am doing what I do because my faith commitment defines my life and being. I serve because I want to, not because I have to. I can quit at any time, but I will not quit. Thank you, Lord!

Why I “Retired”

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

I have read several articles recently about why people should not retire.  I would hardly be so bold as to say that one should or should not retire. Retirement is difficult to define and means different things to different people. Jan and I talk much more about reinvesting our lives than about our retirement. Nonetheless, the articles caused me to think about some of the reasons I stepped away from full-time salaried ministry.

  • I did not retire to so I could work less.  In fact, I am doing more now than before.
  • I did not retire to rest and relax.  I get up earlier than ever and accomplish more than ever.
  • I did not retire to spend my life in leisure, doing the things I want to do.  I spend less time doing the things I want to do than ever before.
  • I did not retire so I would have more time for recreation.  I have always found refreshment in changing activities, and have never spent much time in recreational activities.
  • I retired so I could have more time to do the things that were of supreme importance and priority in my spiritual life.
  • I retired so I could more easily walk through the doors God opens.
  • I retired so I could help people without concern for finances–helping those with the greatest needs, answering calls to serve with no concern for economic matters.
  • I retired so I could answer calls for help more quickly.
  • I retired so I could serve the people who most need it and can least afford it.
  • I retired so that my kingdom service would not be connected to financial remuneration, so I could serve and minister for the pure joy of ministry.

This I Will Do

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Perhaps my readers will put up with a little personal contemplation. I am thinking today about how aging changes one’s perspective. I marvel when I consider that Paul was probably near 50 when he wrote his earliest letters, or that most of his letters in the New Testament were written when he was near 60 or slightly older. The older Paul writes differently than the younger Paul. Eventually the enthusiasm and expectations of youth wane. Reality sets in. One becomes aware of the fact that “I will not get everything done in my lifetime that I originally hoped.”
At this point, many people give up and quit. This is a major factor in the common definition of “retirement” in our society. Others renew their resolve and determine to choose the most important matters or most pressing priorities, and to commit fully to using life to accomplish the things that matter most. I call this version of life “reinvestment.” A quote I recently read says that our greatest fear should not be accomplishing too little, but rather in accomplishing a lot of things that really don’t make any difference.
All of this gives me pause and opportunity for reflection. I do not consider myself old—I hope to have another 15 years (at least) with energy and vitality to be involved in things that matter most. But I also become more aware each day that life is not a given, and that the opportunities and energy will one day fail.
The conclusion of these ruminations is that I find it important than ever to come face to face with myself. Here is my “take”: I am an aging man who wants to help share the good news of Jesus as extensively as possible. I want to facilitate evangelism, help in the task of planting and establishing churches, strengthen existing churches, train leaders, encourage the downtrodden, build families, and encourage other Christians to share the good news. This is my priority list: evangelism, mission outreach, leadership development, teacher training, Christian families, and healthy relationships.
“I am only one. I cannot do everything but I can do something. That I cannot do everything will not keep me from doing the something that I can do.”

Moving Ahead Where God Leads

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Today I will give a mission report and update to the church, telling what God is doing and where God is leading us in our ministry and mission work. The process of collecting information and reflecting on God’s leading has encouraged us. Today’s blog is a brief version of the summary I will share today. (I often summarize in the plural since Jan is an integral part of this ministry and mission work. From time to time she teaches a class as requested, but I am usually the one speaking and teaching.)

It has been fifteen months since Jan and I finished our full-time ministry with the church and embarked upon a new ministry and missions journey. This journey is similar to what we anticipated; it is also much different than what we dreamed. This journey is leading us to unexpected places and opportunities. These fifteen months have been a time of “finding our legs” in this ministry and listening to God to understand why he has put us in this place at this time. Here is a summary of some of the activities we have been blessed to share.

  • In the U.S., we have preached and taught in ten churches, including one Hispanic church.
  • We helped a church while it was between ministers in an interim ministry that lasted six months (although we were not physically present during that entire time). We continually monitored the progress of the church, serving as consultant to the leadership and search committee, and providing onsite ministry for about half of that time. The rest of the interim period was covered by well-chosen guest speakers.
  • I conducted a “Restore My Spirit” campaign
  • I conducted two leadership workshops–one of the workshops also had a education component
  • I have continued to produce DVD studies for New Life Behavior–we now have 118 videos for use in prison classes and for broadcast on prison TV systems.
  • I spoke at a Latin America Leadership Training Workshop
  • I taught a class at the 2010 Pan-American Lectureship, focusing on Studies from Galatians
  • We have made eight mission trips, including four trips to Honduras and trips to the Pan-American Lectureship, Guatemala, Colombia, and the Latin America Leadership Training conference.
  • These trips have included multiple opportunities to teach and preach, extending to dozens of Latin American churches.
  • I have continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors for Baxter/Amicus, including several trips, appointments, meetings and presentations.
  • These represent about 80 sermons and special presentations in English, plus numerous seminars and classes taught in Latin America.
  • I have continued to write and maintain my website (with 15000-20000 visits per month).
  • Not to the extent I anticipated, but I have continued to assist at Main and Oklahoma as possible within the time constraints.
  • Looking ahead, it looks as though 2012 will be more focused on foreign mission efforts with much of that planning already in process (including the possibility of trips to Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, and Honduras, plus other locations).

    NLB of Oklahoma

    Friday, June 3rd, 2011

    This morning I will finish recording another DVD series for the New Life Behavior Network of Oklahoma. This study series is especially important and promising–it is a “Seeker Bible Study Series” for those who have questions about how to respond to God. The series treats basic Bible subjects–God, Jesus, Bible, sin, repentance, grace, faith, baptism, obedience, church, commitment, discipleship, and last things. I encourage you to pray regularly on behalf of prison work around the world.
    This DVD series marks the 9th I have recorded–118 individual teaching sessions, with both videos and printed lessons. These are used in Bible classes and can also be broadcast on prison television systems. New Life Behavior does a first printing of 300 copies of each lesson, but an extra study sheet is often attached or available so that two people in the same cell can use the lesson material. With perhaps as many as 500 students (on average) receiving materials and participating in these studies inside prison walls, one can see that the potential of this project is great. The video series recorded to this point represent many hours of potential Bible study, even before considering those who may watch on TV. Generally, baptisms are permitted only periodically in the prisons (often monthly), but dozens are being baptized as a result of the efforts and teaching of New Life Behavior of Oklahoma.
    [This is an update of my blog of February 24. Here is a link to the previous blog: Update: New Life Behavior.]

    Honduras [One More Time], Catching Up, Moving Ahead

    Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

    Good Wednesday morning!
    Well, we finally arrived home yesterday (Tuesday) about mid-morning. With a slight flight delay and problems with severe weather which we had to fly around, it was later than expected when we arrived in Tulsa Monday night. After a long day (we had awakened about 4 a.m.), we decided it would be good to overnight in Tulsa and drive home when we were fresher. The night didn’t last long, but the Comfort Inn breakfast was quite good for complimentary, Continental breakfasts, and we were on our way a little before the most intense rush hour traffic.
    It was good to be home after more than two weeks away. Of course, that meant most of the day spent in catching up–washing, mowing and trimming the yard (which had become a mini-maple tree plantation with hundreds of 2-3″ ‘trees’ arising from the buried ‘whirly-bird’ seeds, catching up on the bill-paying, financial records, expenses, mail…. Unfortunately, Jan came home with the allergy, nasal problem that I had had more most of my time in Honduras. It appears that my respiratory problem is just about cleared up, but that hers is just beginning. Last night was a little tense with the severe weather around the state of Oklahoma, and some of it not far away, but we escaped with only a severe thunderstorm about 9 P.M., and the intensities were definitely subsiding by that time. We were able to hit the sack a little earlier than normal, for which we were grateful.

    Today we will resume a more normal schedule in earnest. Over the next two weeks I will record another New Life Behavior video study series for NLB of Oklahoma. These 13 lessons are part of the “Seeker” series, and are among the most evangelistic of theentire NLB series. I am looking forward to doing them, but it takes a significant amount of time. NLB of Oklahoma makes 300-500 copies of each lesson (depending on funding available), and almost all of the lessons are distributed to prison cells where there are two prisoners who share the lesson, which is distributed with two answer sheets. This means 600-1000 studies (times 13 lessons) for each series, something near 10000 individual Bible studies. Also, the materials and videos are used in internal Bible classes in multiple prisons, and can be broadcast on the prison TV systems in many of the prisons where NLB-Oklahoma works.
    Pray for the outreach efforts that continue in the prison systems. I received an email yesterday from Anne Coleman mentioning the desire for baptism of three inmates in the Latimer County jail. We must not be afraid to encourage people to obey the gospel–it is wonderful to be involved in benevolent, caring efforts, but not at the price of being hesitant to share with people the one thing that has the greatest potential both for helping resolve their deepest problems. Faithfully walking with the Lord is the answer to many of the most difficult problems of this life, and is the only way to eternal life.

    In addition to getting ready for my next mission trip in mid-June (this one with the Main and Oklahoma church group–Jan is not going), I hope to spend some useful time over the next 2-3 weeks in pursuing my work with the evangelism materials I have previously mentioned and described here (Quest for Truth–En Busca de la Verdad). Also, I have been invited to participate in a Latin American Leadership Training Series in Houston near the end of June, and will begin preparing materials for presentation at that event. Always it seems there are lots of things to do for the work of the Association Amicus–both at Baxter and at the JMA Clinic.

    God is opening doors–pray that we might have the wisdom to know which doors to walk through, and how to effective use our time and efforts to his glory, and for the maximum benefit of the churches that so much need encouragement, strength, and effective leadership.

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