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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 September, 2008

Stars to Steer By: Treasure

Friday, September 26th, 2008

A quote from Calvin Miller–perhaps not exact but as I remember it.
This world is poor because her treasure is in heaven and her treasure maps are of the earth.

What the appraiser said!

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

The appraiser was at the house Monday–nice fellow, talkative. Interested in my ministry–when he found out I was moving to McAlester, he encouraged me to do lots of “field work” on the lakes and in the deer stands. He genuinely appreciated my desire to work in the trenches (his terminology), even though he clearly understood the need for training ministers and working in the academic arena.

I liked this guy–he talked about Christianity as though it were a part of his life. His insights were refreshing. He wanted to know about “my church.” I explained a little, but I think he only wanted to open the door for what he wanted to say. He’s concerned about the church. He’s afraid we’re selling out to the society and culture. He’s afraid too many churches are into the “anything goes” mode. We talked and laughed. He had to hurry on. His concluding statement in the conversation was interesting: Too many churches have turned the gospel battleship into the Love Boat. I thought of the old Negro spiritual, “The Old Ship of Zion.” Indeed! Battleship, or Love Boat? Not a bad description of the dilemma we face.

Losing the Connection

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

My computer has a problem.  When it is inactive for even a brief period of time, it loses its DSL connection.  Making sure it is connected before taking a few minutes for another project or activity doesn’t help.

One of my elders was in my office between Bible class and worship last Sunday.  We needed to look up something quickly–no problem, I’m online and it will just take a minute.  Wrong!  No connection!  (Do you want to work offline?–of course not!).

When I complained to Brother Dick that my computer loses it connection when it just sits there and does nothing, he astutely observed, just the same as with Christians.

Still Mad After 40 Years

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

My sister recently attended her high school class reunion—class of ‘68. Class reunions are interesting. My view on class reunions is this: “Everyone should attend a class reunion or two to find out that all the stuff that was a part of high school really wasn’t serious.” My sister laughed at my statement and proceeded with her story (names omitted to protect the innocent–or guilty!).

During the introductions, one classmate sincerely apologized for the mischief and difficulties he had brought upon another student. According to my sister, the offended student angrily acknowledged the wrong and refused the apology. The hurt was apparently still fresh in his mind after 40 years. She said, “He was really mad.”

Forty years is a long time to stay mad about a minor high school event. Even sadder, forty years is a long time to stay mad about perceived slights or problems down at the church. I like the practice of some churches who host a “day of reconciliation” periodically. Everyone needs reconciliation—to God, to others. Everyone benefits when they “go home” and rebuild broken relationships.

Some Christians just can’t let themselves forget. Some remember the wrongs a long time. Some ignore opportunities to repair relationships—and then one day, it is too late. Folks who retain grudges and anger start down a long road that leads nowhere. The Bible says, “Let not the sun go down you’re your wrath.” According to the Bible, even 40 days is too long to stay mad. In fact, 40 hours is too long. Whatever it is, settle it before sunset.

If you’re upset about some hurt or problem or disagreement, today is the day to settle it.

My 20000 Day Checkup!

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

I went to the doctor last week. I jokingly told people it was my 20000 day checkup. You can figure out about how old I am! (If you’re really curious, 20000 is a rounded number–it’s really almost 22000 days.)

Nothing out of the ordinary. I watched the doctor write on my chart–well man. I presume that it an adjective and a noun–an indication that all is well and that I am healthy.

Perhaps it would have been better if he had written “healthy man.” Consider all of the ways you can punctuate and accent “well man.” Maybe well is an interjection, as in “Well, the news is not good.” Maybe man is an interjection. Maybe both are interjections.

No desire to ponder those possiblities too long. A few weeks ago, a good friend and I shared coffee and he told me he thought I had another good 20 years in me (another 7300 days more or less). Wow! 30000 days of serving God and glorifying him. What a privilege. What a blessing!

Moving!

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

[Note: perhaps you’ve noticed that my blogging has slowed a bit. Today’s thoughts will provide some explanation.]

We’re moving again–about 10 days ago we purchased a house in McAlester and almost immediately succeeded in selling our home in Edmond. (God is good!) The only problem is that the buyers want to close at the end of the month. From past experience, I know at least this one thing–the next 10 days are going to be a whirlwind! A few years ago, an article by John Gipson quoted an ad, “Moving is like getting a root canal with a ‘Garden Weasel.'” Moving provides insights and lessons to be learned.

Jan and I have not moved much, as the experience of preachers goes. After working with three churches in the first 6 years of our ministry, we spent 26 years in three places–local ministry in two churches and seven years in Christian higher education at Ohio Valley University. Moving is not fun, but we have learned something of how to do it. We have also learned a lot of other things. Here is some of what we have learned.

Moving helps one travel light. The moving process keeps the accumulation down. The net weight of our move will be about the same as for a couple of recent newlyweds almost 40 years ago–and considerably less than a couple of moves during the “growing years” when the boys were at home. (Preachers don’t count their books, however. I always move my own library.) Through the years, there are a few things we’ve been tempted to buy but did not when we thought, “We don’t want to have to move that!” It is easy to forget that we are only pilgrims and strangers here–that our sojourn is temporary. Moving is a reminder.

Moving brings one face to face with the fact that we spend a lot of money for things that don’t satisfy very long. About two years after we married, we bought a new sofa–an expensive, high-quality, hide-a-bed. It may have looked a little nicer than the hand-me-down sectional we were using, but it didn’t sit any better. But, that sofa is still in the family after 38 years–it went to our middle son about four years ago. It’s heavy to move, but it refuses to wear out. Moving provides an opportunity for cleaning house, which is exactly why some people dread moving. I’ve noticed that after people move into a place, their garbage pile is extremely large. It is not comfortable to come face to face with how much money we have wasted on things that don’t matter.

Anticipating moves changes priorities. A few years ago, we decided that we would go through life accumulating memories rather than things. We have a few light and inexpensive mementos of our travels, and most of those things are gifts that represent special people in our Christian journey. Our goal is not to accumulate expensive things, but valued memories.

Moving reminds one that the things we often value here are temporary and fleeting. The only things that matter as we think back on our moves and ministries are the people. This world is about people. What we remember about the places we have lived is the people. It is not the house, the surroundings, the things. People enrich our lives far beyond the material things we can accumulate.

The article by Gipson concluded with the poignant words of Kipling with reference to worldly things. “Some day you will meet a man of such stature that he will care for none of these things…and then you will realize how poor you are.” Jesus said it this way, “This is the way it is with the man who accumulates things for himself, but is not rich toward God.”

Stars to Steer By: Advisors

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Too many Christians limit their involvement in the church to serving in advisory roles.

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