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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 May, 2010

God’s “Memorial Day”

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Memorial Day in our nation comes once a year. This is Memorial Day weekend–tomorrow is Memorial Day. All of us have different thoughts and memories—remembering fallen war heroes, special friends, family members….you have your own list and special memories. Cemeteries are decorated; some places have special parades and ceremonies.

Jesus gave his church a “memorial day”. It is not annual, but weekly. The early church gathered each week to remember Jesus’ death by breaking bread and sharing the cup of blessing and remembrance.

In our nation, Memorial Day is a time when we may feel closer to those who share our experiences. So also, in the communion service at the church, we not only connect with God to be reminded of the salvation he provides in Christ’s blood, we also connect with others who share the memory, the blessing, and the salvation.

Memorial Day

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Memorial Day weekend has arrived. Church attendance will be down tomorrow. For many people in our nation, the “first weekend of the summer” is more about recreation than remembering. Even for many who worship regularly on most weekends of the year, this weekend is more about recreation than religion.

My friend, Bob Smith, forwarded a copy of an excellent article authored by Sara Gray. If you are among those who would like to restore some of the meaning to Memorial Day, you will enjoying reading this article, Top Five Ways to Appreciate Memorial Day.

Heart Overflowing

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Yesterday was our travel day–we returned to the US from Honduras after almost three weeks. Our hearts are overflowing.

  • Honduras seems to be back to “near normal”. One should always exercise caution, and dangers do exist, but generally one can go where there is work to be done with few difficulties.
  • The Honduran political crisis of last year appears to have strengthened many of the Honduran churches, making them less dependent on US support, and making them aware that US financial support might not always be there
  • We were blessed to visit and preach in a couple of self-sustaining churches, both of whom are making giant strides forward
  • The Baxter Seminar was well-attended with overflowing classrooms and great fellowship
  • The work at Baxter Institute is flourishing with about 60 students. Two more Cuban students are expected in June.
  • The number of applicants for 2011 is nearing 50.
  • The number of missions and medical groups scheduled at Baxter is back to normal with almost 30 groups scheduled for 2010
  • We spent time with our students at Baxter. What a blessing! Our students are evangelistic in a healthy way, reaching out and touching lives each week. The work of our students in local churches on weekend assignments is generating at least one baptism per week per student–500-600 baptisms per year. The campaign work would bring even more fruit, and this while the students are being effectively trained for long-term ministries that will make a difference.
  • Honduras is receptive to the gospel. We were especially encouraged to spend some time with Phil and Donna Waldron about the work they are doing in western Honduras. The work there is having a big impact.

This is only a short list of the great gratitude we feel for the work that God is sustaining and empowering in Honduras and other Central American countries. If you would like to know how you can get “on board” with works that are making a great difference in kingdom things, please contact me.

Indio Viejo (Old Indian)

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

We ate dinner last night in the apartment of Alex and Jennifer. They are from Nicaragua. I met Alex in 2007 on a mission trip to Nicaragua. He is a graduate of the Nicaragua Bible Institute. He and Jennifer married in late 2009 and came to Baxter to receive additional training so they would be well-prepared for ministry. The evening was most enjoyable as we shared the stories of our lives, laughed, and ate together.

Alex and Jennifer served us Indio Viejo, a traditional Nicaraguan dish which, as Alex explained, goes back to the Indian culture of Nicaragua. In fact, the name of the dish is literally translated “Old Indian”. The dish is favored because of its unique combination of many different flavors. It is an elaborate stew-like dish with meat, onions, tomatoes and peppers (generally sauteed or fried) added to precooked corn meal. The corn meal based masa is thinned with juices and/or broth and adorned with “hierba buena” which resembles mint but also has hints of citric. Alex and Jennifer harvested the hierba buena from a small garden where they planted it when they brought some from Nicaragua.

One of the unique joys of spending extended time at Baxter is the opportunity to learn more of the various cultures and customs of the students, who have come from nine different countries this year.

Its Sunday Again: The Fullness of Christ

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Today I will preach at the Iglesia de Cristo Kennedy (a church in Colonia Kennedy in Tegucigalpa). This church has a great story to tell–moving from meeting in a school to its own building, now with the building remodeled. The church exhibits enthusiasm and a bright future.

The church must never forget its identity. The church is forged in an awareness of God’s nature, God’s purpose, God’s power, and God’s plan for the church and for the world. The church is the presence of God, the fullness of Christ. The purpose of God, reflected in the word of God and secured by God’s promise sealed with God’s Spirit, must always guide the church. The church must not seek its own purposes. The church must not cave in to the desires of the world in order to attract more people. The church must be what God calls it to be–hope and richness and power in this world, the fullness of Christ.

The church, and individual members of the church, have access to God’s power–the same power which operated in Christ and his resurrection, a power that now functions in the lives of God’s people and resurrects a new creation out of hopelessness and emptiness. We forget so easily. What we were is no longer–we are what we could never have imagined or hoped by our own power. May God’s people find renewal in the challenge and power of being the fullness of Christ in this world.

Los Pinos

Friday, May 21st, 2010

I preached at Los Pinos last night. Los Pinos is not a large church, but it is a healthy, active church. The barrio Los Pinos is well up into the mountains which rim Tegucigalpa. The drive to the church building can be described by a continuing repetition of the word “up”, that is, up-up-up-up. The concrete turns to dirt, the road winds around the mountains in a ribbon barely wide enough for a vehicle, from time to time the washouts make the trip more exciting as the road narrows even more. The cliff drops off severely right next to the road, providing an overlook of the city of Tegucigalpa. About 25000 people live in the barrio. The church has about 70 members with 80-100 children in attendance each week. The church hosts a Sunday noon meal for all of the children who attend, many of whom live in extreme poverty. The church does not receive any outside assistance and provides its own funding for all of its programs to help the community. Eventually the church would like to open a day-care to meet the needs of the single mothers and children in the area, enabling the mothers to work.

Last night the singing was enthusiastic, Bibles were open for the preaching, and faces were bright and receptive. They said they were blessed by my presence and the preaching. As is often the case, it was I who received the greatest blessing. Thank you, God, for the power of your word to transform us into what we are called to be!

It’s Sunday Again: Reflections from Honduras

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

I awoke early this Sunday morning to the sound of the birds singing. They were doing what they do every morning. They depend on God who supplies their needs and sustains them, but they don’t know it’s Sunday. As the dawn brightened, the dogs started barking as they do every morning. They don’t know it’s Sunday.

Who knows it is Sunday? Who will alter their schedules this day because it is the Lord’s Day? I hear the sound of the buses and some early morning traffic. Do the bus drivers know it is Sunday? The buses are not filled with people as they usually are. What does that mean? There is not as much traffic as normal. Does this mean people know it is the Lord’s Day?

Before long, I snap back to reality from my day-dreaming and contemplation. It is Sunday. What will I do today? Will I recognize the nature and sovereignty of God? Will I communicate my respect and adoration in honor and praise for the God of the universe? What will I do today in response to God’s demonstration of his love and his desire for relationship with me as a small part of his grand creation? Will I find renewal and the restoration of his reflection within me? Yes that is what I will do–just as God’s faithful people have done on the first day of the week for almost 2000 years.

For me, today will be different. I will worship–but in a language not my heart language. I will assemble with God’s people, not in my home congregation but in a combined worship of a thousand Christians from different countries and local churches. Our desire will be one–to recognize and declare that there is a God of heaven who created, sustains, and watches over this world. We will praise and honor him for his nature and glory, giving him the fruit of our lips in songs of praise. We will respond with gratitude to his sacrificial love as we break the bread and drink the wine. We will listen again to the story and recommit as we are reminded that we are his presence in this world, reflecting his nature and glory and love.

This Sunday will be new and fresh. I seek and pray for that each Sunday, but some Sundays are routine. Today in a different language I will pay especially close attention as we Christians greet and share love and blessing, sing and pray, share the Supper, and hear the Word. May God’s people never lose the wonder! It’s Sunday again–Day of Resurrection and Day of Promise. The remembrance of his Promises to us; our Promise to him.

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