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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 ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

In whatever circumstances you find yourself today, Jan and I wish you a day in which you can see the way in which God has uniquely blessed your life.
Twenty years ago today, Thanksgiving was forever changed for us when my mother and stepfather died in an auto accident on this day as they were traveling to our home to share Thanksgiving dinner.
The challenges and problems of life do not take a day off on Thanksgiving Day. Illnesses continue, sorrow and sadness still come. People spend the day in hospitals, faithfully caring for loved ones. The continued presence of life’s difficulties does not mean that we are not being blessed by God; the difficulties only make those blessings harder to see through the tears and blur of life. Serendipitously through the eye of faith, the difficulties can also make the blessings sweeter.

With grateful hearts in the midst of life’s challenges, we wish for you a Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Sunday Again: “thankful for” vs. “thankful anyway”

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Life is difficult. Very few people can claim that life is without difficulties and challenges, disappointments and regrets. We would like to change some things about the past. We wish there were ‘do overs.’ Things have not come out as we hoped. People, even our own family and those closest to us, disappoint us. Our hearts hurt for souls outside of Christ. Our hearts are scarred by decisions others have made.

Thanksgiving week! A common question, What are you thankful for? Today and next Sunday, many sermons will focus on “thankful for.” Lists will be made and shared. I applaud every effort to encourage attitudes of gratitude. I live a blessed life. God and those around me have overflowed into my life blessing after blessing. I am humbly grateful.
But in the midst of multiplied blessings, I know also that life has its negatives–its disappointments and frustrations. Can I be thankful when I look at life’s difficulties? Can I be thankful in the midst of the faith challenges in the lives of those I love the most? Can I be thankful anyway?

Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks.” Everything? Positives AND negatives? Blessings and bummers? In the midst of life’s positives, my challenge is to be “thankful for.” In the midst of life’s negatives, my challenge is to be “thankful anyway.”

“Dear God of love, mercy, and compassion, help me today and this week, in an attitude of trusting worship and dependent faith, to be thankful for the many blessings of life. Help me also to be thankful anyway when my eyes are focused on life’s bummers. Teach me to give thanks in everything, depending on you for that which is beyond my ability to change. I pray in the name of Jesus who can make everything new, Amen.”

Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Thanksgiving is for me a favorite holiday. As a holiday, it is still relatively pure. It has largely retained its original intent–gratitude. Many of us still remember the story of the Pilgrims and we talk about our blessings with an attitude of gratitude, recognizing God is the giver and sustainer of life. Not that there are not challenges. The celebration of our bounty leads many of us to eat too much. And football and early Christmas shopping threaten to redefine the holiday.

A quote from Wilbur Nesbit reflects an often overlooked beauty of the holiday: “Forever on Thanksgiving Day the heart will find the pathway home.” Thanksgiving is as much a family holiday as Christmas. Families eat together and celebrate a shared history of mixed blessings that somehow translates to an awareness that life is good even in the midst of difficulties.

Throughout history, the shared meal has meant love and acceptance, common hopes and mutual support. Writer and simple food guru Laurie Colwin says it well: “The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift.”

May the food you share on this day, whether elaborate or simple, be a reminder that we are in this life together. May you relish with gratitude the presence of friends and family, and those you love and care for. May you honor God’s goodness and bounty, and may we be humbly grateful!

Thanksgiving: The Satisfying Life

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The days around the Thanksgiving holiday traditionally give cause for counting blessings–they are also good days for rethinking priorities.

Some research suggests that the great American search for prosperity and wealth is giving way to measuring life by other standards. Definitions of what makes life satisfying are changing. Satisfaction by consumption is giving way to the satisfaction of a simpler life. People are questioning whether spending time seeking greater satisfaction in life is really better than putting some aspects of life on autopilot. In a rugged economy, many are learning that money doesn’t necessary lead to happiness, but that aligning family, values that matter, and the enjoyment and experience of life are the ultimate sources of satisfaction. Such thinking redefines what it means to be wealthy–not in terms of money but in terms of family and friends, meaningful activities, traditions, and experiences.

As the Christmas season approaches, one way new definitions of life satisfaction are changing us is in the kind and quantity of gifts we give. More families are limiting gifts, questioning the tendency to go bonkers with gifts (especially for the children), and addressing the selfishness and entitlement that has too often become part of the Christmas season. Is there a way to experience the holidays with attitudes of generosity and selflessness, sharing with the needy and less fortunate both at home and in the mission field? Dare we consider ways we can help our families rethink what it means to share and care?

Thanksgiving–Food for Thought

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Too often on Thanksgiving we are thankful for those things that separate us from others, things that identify us as special or extra blessed in comparison to the remainder of the human race. When we are thankful for health, family, freedom, our country or shelter, we stand against many throughout the world.
This thanksgiving lets attempt to be thankful for those things we share in common with the rest of the people of earth.
–Rick Bennett
(reposted from today’s MinEmergent Daily Communique)

Thanksgiving 2011

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!
I like Thanksgiving. For many years, it was one of the “purer” U.S. holidays–a time to be thankful and spend time with family. Only in recent years has Christmas commercialism invaded.

Today I will be thankful. I do not plan to make a list, but I resolve to see the blessings of my life more than the things lacking. I will recommit to develop an attitude of gratitude. I will remember that it is better to be “humbly grateful” than “grumbly hateful.” I will cultivate gratitude as the antidote to pride.

  • I am thankful for friends and extended family across the nation and around the world. I pulled yesterday’s birthday greetings into a temporary e-mail inbox–I am thankful for those who sent words of greeting and encouragement, love and friendship (approaching 200).
  • I am thankful for my family–especially for my wife, children, and grandchildren.
  • I am thankful for my spiritual family around the world. What an incredible blessing!
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in the kingdom of Christ. The way God uses us according to our special skills, even as he has shaped and molded and prepared us, is beyond understanding.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving if you live in the U.S. and share this national holiday. If you live elsewhere in the world, I hope you have a blessed day and can see the blessings of your life more clearly today.

Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Dear Readers,
On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thinking about the blessings of God in my life. More specifically, I am thinking about the mission work God is enabling at Baxter Institute and Clinic in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I am thankful for the opportunity to be involved in this work. I am thankful for the ways God is working through Baxter to bless the world.

  • I am thankful for the more than 500 graduates who are faithfully preaching the gospel, building churches, evangelizing the lost, and training even more preachers of the gospel. I am thankful that these men and women are giving their lives for the sake of the gospel.
  • I am thankful that we are finding fresh ways to touch the lost people in our world as we explore options such as medical outreach, small groups, church planting teams, and community service.
  • I am thankful for the way the work at the clinic demonstrates the possibility of peace and wholeness.
  • I am thankful for the hearts of our current students who are committed to service in the kingdom.
  • I am grateful for the hospitality and generosity of a great network of supporters and encouragers who make the work at Baxter and the Clinic possible.
  • I am grateful for the board members, administrators, faculty, health professionals, and employees with whom I work and serve.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” [Psalm 136:1]

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