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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, 2011

An Idea: Day of Prayerful Gratitude

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

I awoke this morning with thanksgiving in my heart. My early morning prayer quickly turned to a lengthy list of blessings for which I am grateful. I knew the list was incomplete–there was no way to enumerate all I have received from the God who blesses his people.
I determined that I would go through today noticing life more carefully than normal, noticing blessings both great and small, and that I would be aware that all are a gift from God. Already the list is growing to include things I seldom include in my “blessings list”.

Perhaps you would like to identify a “Gratitude Day” and notice the blessings in your life that are often overlooked. If you adopt this idea, I would enjoy hearing from you to know how it went.

Stars to Steer By: Greatness

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
–Mark Twain

Philippians 2: Hanging on to “Stuff”

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I was recently reading Philippians 2. The text says that Jesus did not consider his position of equality with God as something to be grasped. He had to let go of it to accomplish his purpose. He emptied himself. As I read the passage afresh, I noted that Jesus let go of a number of things in order to accomplish our salvation.
In a world where we Christians are so often tempted to hang on to the things that give us security, meaning, position, and stability, it is helpful to note all of the things Jesus let go of. What things would you put on your list? What did Jesus let go of? What are the applications for us in our tendency to hang on to the “stuff of life”?

It’s Sunday Again: Resurrection

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

On a day that celebrates resurrection, or perhaps more properly on the day that celebrates resurrection, we should stop and ask ourselves what it means to live resurrected lives. Certainly Jesus’ resurrection is the promise of our future resurrection (read 1 Corinthians 15). But Paul also reminds us that Jesus’ resurrection is already at play in our lives since we in baptism have become participants in his death, his burial, and his resurrection (Romans 6).

What does it mean for me to live out the reality of my true and full self made possible in Jesus? What is different about my resurrected life than was true before I became a follower of Jesus? Frederick Buechner wrote about “our true and full self” in the following words:
“What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing.”

What does it mean to be fully known? Are we willing to come face to face with who we really are? Do we feel compelled to maintain a facade? In resurrection, we are reminded of the possibility of newness, and we affirm that who we truly and fully are is no pretend matter, but that we are new creatures in Christ.

Easter in a Changing World

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Easter in a changing world: are we in danger of suffocating Easter? I like Easter. It is a pure religious holiday. Of all of the religious holidays, the Easter tradition is pure Christianity. In fact, it is the heart of Christianity. Without Easter resurrection, there is no Christianity. Further, we have Easter at the right time on the calendar. Some may complain about the moveable date, but the Passover date was also moveable on the Jewish calendar since a 13th intercalary month was inserted periodically to keep the calendar accurate.
My religious heritage has not known what to do with Easter. We celebrate–but barely. Some are obviously uncomfortable with anything special. I regret that. I also realize that God did not intend notice of the resurrection to be only an annual event. I applaud the fact that people think about Jesus and the resurrection on Easter, I realize also such should be more than a once-a-year event. The practice within my religious heritage is to observe the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, recognizing that every Sunday is resurrection Sunday. I like the description I first heard from Marvin Phillips: “Welcome to the church that celebrates Easter 52 times a year!” But my question lingers: are we in danger of suffocating Easter?

Easter is changing in our world. I have noticed the change; if you have lived very long on this planet, perhaps you have also. When I was growing up in Kansas, the week preceding Easter was a somber occasion. There were special actvities at the churches–and at the school house! All of the businesses in our little town closed on Good Friday from 3-4 P.M. School was usually dismissed for the day, or if we had snow days to make up, no later than noon. Easter was Easter–even for those who did not celebrate Easter.
Today, Easter has become another holiday weekend in a long march of holiday weekends. A holiday week during Semana Santa turns into family vacation, time away from the city, time at the beach. Easter week or weekend involves long drives to see family or to work in a short vacation. The secular has all but replaced the religious.
Except for Easter Sunday tomorrow, Easter week has come and gone for another year. My Facebook friends who have taken time to post have gone on vacation, gone to the beach, traveled to other countries, and apparently had a jolly good time. One more day, and it will be back to work (unless you get Easter Monday off).

My complaint is really a question. What is an appropriate attitude for Christians during this time of year? What are appropriate activities? How do we reflect the central importance of the cross and resurrection? Is this week only one out of 52, nothing changed, nothing different? Or do chills run up and down our spines as we this week consider in a special, unique way that this was the time of year when Jesus changed our world by his sacrifice, death, and resurrection? Almost 2000 years have passed. Have we joined the scoffers wondering, “Where is the sign of his coming?” Or do we remember his resurrection as undoubtable proof that the promise is secure?

Daily Devotional Update

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Thanks to all who have written or commented personally on the daily devotionals. By the end of the year, I should have a devotional thought available for every chapter in the New Testament. These are being posted as daily devotionals (weekdays only) on my Daily Devotions Index.
The devotional guides allow a person to work through the New Testament annually, either with the selected readings which are provided or by reading the suggested chapter in one’s personal Bible. The guides do not work through the New Testament in order, but suggest a rhythmic oscillation between the various types of New Testament literature.
I have posted a link to the page in the right menu bar on my front page–or you can bookmark the page. The link has the advantage of taking you directly to the current month.
The thoughts and reflections often (not always) reflect the content of the chapter and how the chapter functions in the larger context to contribute to the message of the author. I am not aware of any effort which is exactly parallel. If you find the devotionals helpful, share with others.

Getting Used to the Wind

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

I grew up in Kansas. The wind always blows—well, almost always. It blows all day and continues all night. It finds its way into the corners of the house and whines eerily in the darkness. When one is not used to the sound of the wind in a house, the unique sound catches and holds one’s attention. One can imagine all kinds of things. But as one who grew up in Kansas, I can tell you that you get used to it.
The word for wind and spirit are the same in Hebrew and in Greek. One of the problems the modern church has with the Holy Spirit is that we have not become used to his presence in our lives. We experience him too infrequently, think of his intercession in prayer too seldom, and consider his presence and action unusual rather than common.
Jesus said that after his departure he would send a Comforter who would be his presence among his people. That comforter is the Holy Spirit. God, help us get used to the wind!

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