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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 April, 2009

Stars to Steer By: Rising

Friday, April 17th, 2009

In a few moments, I will leave the house to drive to Arkansas for my Aunt Genell’s funeral today. She was special, we shared faith, we shared hope, we shared life. I really got to know Uncle Jay and Aunt Genell after visiting in their home during some preaching and campaign trips to New York, New Jersey, and Long Island. From that time on, at family reunions and other gatherings, conversations were easy and natural. Jan and I enjoyed visiting her, going to church with her, sharing life and mutual friends in Christ.

“I will rise again; death can’t keep me in the ground.”

Today’s quote, from an A Capella song long forgotten by many, says all that one can say in the face of life’s brevity and death’s certainty. It doesn’t get said often enough, even at funerals. It’s the thought and the song I want at my funeral.

Heroes

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

A few years ago a reporter confronted a well-known sports figure who had had a run-in with the law and had received a lot of negative publicity.  The reporter suggested that sports figures should avoid actions that set a negative example for youth, because we expect our heroes to behave better.  The sports figure responded, “I don’t want to be a hero.”

Where have all the heroes gone?  Who are our heroes today?  Does anyone want to be a hero?  In a recent survey (February 2009), respondents were asked to select from a list of choices to describe what makes someone a hero. The most frequently cited responses challenge us as Christians.

    Doing what’s right regardless of personal consequences (89%).
    Not giving up until the goal is accomplished (83%).
    Doing more than what other people expect of them (82%).
    Overcoming adversity (81%).
    Staying level-headed in a crisis (81%).

It’s Sunday: Easter 2009

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Easter Sunday–I awoke to rain. I don’t remember very many (if any) rainy Easters! Easter is late this year–well, not as late as it could be (which due to the calendar calculations could go all the way down to the last week of April). Theoretically, Easter could be scheduled almost a week plus a full moon (6 + 29 = 35 days) after spring begins.

Easter Sunday–what is an appropriate Easter sermon today? In view of the story of the cross, the purpose of God, and the tensions of our world (especially in times of economic distress and world conflict), what does one say on the Sunday when more Christians are in church than on any other Sunday?
I read one news article that suggested many preachers would find their text in Mark, based on its fear and faith tension, and especially the fear of the women when they heard and witnessed the resurrection (Mark 16:8).
A sermon summary I received online took its text from 1 Pet. 3:18: Christ suffered for sins, as our substitute, for a purpose.

Today I am using the text of Phil. 3:7-11. Paul is in prison. He is an old man (60 or more). Since I am also 60, maybe that’s not so old. Paul’s overriding desire and need in attaining progress in the faith is to know the power of Christ’s rising. As Paul makes clear in the text, this knowledge of the resurrection is not only mental acknowledgement, but participation in Christ’s death, suffering, and image. Futility, fatality, and finality are banished for Paul in this great goal. He no longer has to live with the chain of his false start shackling him. He is no longer plagued by doubts about whether he has lived life correctly. He no longer fears the finality of death.

Indeed, the resurrection is God’s answer to the futility of life, the fatality of failure, and the finality of death. The resurrectin of Jesus is demonstration and promise that we too can participate in God’s newness. If resurrection is the answer, why do so many refuse the resurrecting renewing power of participation in Christ’s death through baptism? Why do so many fail to honor Paul’s promise that the resurrecting power of baptism in providing newness of life is evidence of resurrecting power that promises we shall share in the last resurrection?

I hope today in some meager way to communicate the power of resurrection! I celebrate each week the death and resurrection of Christ in the Supper. I anticipate his coming, knowing that I have in some inexplicable way come to share in the hope of the final resurrection. But the news is just as good (or better) that my life on earth has been changed forever by the resurrecting power of Jesus, to make me what I was not, could not have been, and never would have been by my own power.

Thank God for the resurrection!

Stars to Steer By: Resurrection

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Today the message of Easter seems especially appropriate:

“Life is not futile. Failures are not fatal. Death is not final.”

Stars to Steer By: Bible Reading

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

“Faithful reading of Holy Scripture in the economy of grace is an episode in the history of sin and its overcoming.” (John Webster, Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 87).

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