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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, 2011

Memorial Day

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Refresh and renew, but….sometime during the day,
Remember and Reflect!

It’s Sunday Again: Wisdom

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Fourteen months ago, I “retired” from full-time local pulpit ministry. Over the last year, I have spent a lot of time reflecting about the nature of life.
Jan and I have entered a new phase of life–a time when we have the privilege (luxury) of picking and choosing our activities, applying our hearts to wisdom, doing those things that matter the most to us. The absence of a regular daily schedule has not slowed our lives–in fact, it appears that life may have accelerated, but in new and fresh ways, with new opportunities.
Today I will preach. I have retired from “full time preaching” but this is my seventh Sunday of preaching in the last two months.
This is also Memorial Day weekend. We are remembering those who have gone before us. All are in the procession that leads to the grave, and one day we will no longer be among the living. We will be among those whose lives are a part of history. How does one measure life? What are we giving our lives for? When all is said and done, what have we been about? What is life? What is the goal of life? There are many ways to summarize our goals and dreams. Here is one version: Live a life of wisdom!

Wisdom enables the authentic life and avoids shadows and illusions. Wisdom avoids self-deception. Wisdom makes effective choices; wisdom identifies real priorities and discards the artificial, fleeting priorities of the urgent. Hearts applied to wisdom understand what really matters.

Tomorrow I may summarize the goal of my life in different words, but today my prayer will be: Lord, give me wisdom! The Bible teaches that such a prayer will be honored by God (James 1:5).

Spiritual Leadership

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Christian leadership is essential. The church must have effective spiritual leaders–not only elders or pastors, but also servants, ministers, deacons, teachers, evangelists, preachers. The family suffers without effective spiritual leadership. Our nation needs spiritual leaders in touch with biblical foundations and principles, those who reflect those principles in their value systems and in their lives. No segment of society is immune from the need for spiritual leadership; every person is made better when spiritual leadership exists.

Have we made it too hard? Spiritual leaders are people of character. Spiritual leaders recognize and accept certain responsibilities toward those they lead. Followers and leaders exist in mutual relationship with mutual responsibilities. Spiritual leaders must develop and have certain skills. Spiritual leaders can be identified by observing their actions and evaluating their experience–in the church, in their families, in their neighborhoods and communities.

What am I overlooking? What aspects of spiritual leadership do not fit into one of the five summary sentences above?

Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 27th, 2011

For many, the Memorial Day Weekend has already begun. Some will spend most or all of the weekend in fun and frolic (first weekend of summer) with little thought to the meaning of Memorial Day, and little thought given to the sacrifices made so that we can be the free nation we are today.
Originally observed to honor the Civil War dead, and eventually expanded as a day of remembrance for any of those who have gone before us, Congress declared Decoration Day or Memorial Day a national holiday in 1971. Thus, this year marks the 40th year of the national celebration to honor all of those who have died in our nation’s wars, and the tradition of remembering family members who have deceased continues as well.

At the least, I hope your Memorial Day weekend includes some time for being with family. I encourage you to take a moment to remember and honor those who have served our nation in conflict and battle, giving their lives for our nation’s values and freedom.

May God bless you, and may God guide and bless our nation as we seek his will and way.

Honduras [One More Time], Catching Up, Moving Ahead

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Good Wednesday morning!
Well, we finally arrived home yesterday (Tuesday) about mid-morning. With a slight flight delay and problems with severe weather which we had to fly around, it was later than expected when we arrived in Tulsa Monday night. After a long day (we had awakened about 4 a.m.), we decided it would be good to overnight in Tulsa and drive home when we were fresher. The night didn’t last long, but the Comfort Inn breakfast was quite good for complimentary, Continental breakfasts, and we were on our way a little before the most intense rush hour traffic.
It was good to be home after more than two weeks away. Of course, that meant most of the day spent in catching up–washing, mowing and trimming the yard (which had become a mini-maple tree plantation with hundreds of 2-3″ ‘trees’ arising from the buried ‘whirly-bird’ seeds, catching up on the bill-paying, financial records, expenses, mail…. Unfortunately, Jan came home with the allergy, nasal problem that I had had more most of my time in Honduras. It appears that my respiratory problem is just about cleared up, but that hers is just beginning. Last night was a little tense with the severe weather around the state of Oklahoma, and some of it not far away, but we escaped with only a severe thunderstorm about 9 P.M., and the intensities were definitely subsiding by that time. We were able to hit the sack a little earlier than normal, for which we were grateful.

Today we will resume a more normal schedule in earnest. Over the next two weeks I will record another New Life Behavior video study series for NLB of Oklahoma. These 13 lessons are part of the “Seeker” series, and are among the most evangelistic of theentire NLB series. I am looking forward to doing them, but it takes a significant amount of time. NLB of Oklahoma makes 300-500 copies of each lesson (depending on funding available), and almost all of the lessons are distributed to prison cells where there are two prisoners who share the lesson, which is distributed with two answer sheets. This means 600-1000 studies (times 13 lessons) for each series, something near 10000 individual Bible studies. Also, the materials and videos are used in internal Bible classes in multiple prisons, and can be broadcast on the prison TV systems in many of the prisons where NLB-Oklahoma works.
Pray for the outreach efforts that continue in the prison systems. I received an email yesterday from Anne Coleman mentioning the desire for baptism of three inmates in the Latimer County jail. We must not be afraid to encourage people to obey the gospel–it is wonderful to be involved in benevolent, caring efforts, but not at the price of being hesitant to share with people the one thing that has the greatest potential both for helping resolve their deepest problems. Faithfully walking with the Lord is the answer to many of the most difficult problems of this life, and is the only way to eternal life.

In addition to getting ready for my next mission trip in mid-June (this one with the Main and Oklahoma church group–Jan is not going), I hope to spend some useful time over the next 2-3 weeks in pursuing my work with the evangelism materials I have previously mentioned and described here (Quest for Truth–En Busca de la Verdad). Also, I have been invited to participate in a Latin American Leadership Training Series in Houston near the end of June, and will begin preparing materials for presentation at that event. Always it seems there are lots of things to do for the work of the Association Amicus–both at Baxter and at the JMA Clinic.

God is opening doors–pray that we might have the wisdom to know which doors to walk through, and how to effective use our time and efforts to his glory, and for the maximum benefit of the churches that so much need encouragement, strength, and effective leadership.

Honduras: Monday, May 23

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Today we travel! The time in Honduras has been too short, filled with many memorable experiences and opportunities to make a difference in the lives of God’s people and others.
Accept my apologies for failing to post yesterday, despite the best of my intentions and plans. The problem was that we did not have electricity yesterday morning, and thus the campus server was down.
We attended church in Guanacaste where I preached. Afterward, we went to Asado El Gordo (Fat Man’s Grill) for lunch with Noe and Gloria Perez. Typical food at a very reasonable price. Jan and I ate Sunday dinner for less than $10!
The afternoon passed quickly as we tied together final details and began planning our packing for today.
(By the way, Happy Birthday to my sister, Martha, a day late!)

Honduras: Saturday, May 21

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Good morning!
It seems that our Internet service has perhaps stabilized, so I hope to accomplish a lot this Saturday morning. I am working in the cafeteria since we still do not have Internet at the apartment.
Our final weekend in Honduras will be filled with checking lists to make certain we have gotten everything done that we can on this trip, reflecting, thinking, making some notes, and finalizing sermon preparations for tomorrow.
We are planning to go to the mall for a meal out this evening–our first “eating visit” to the mall on this trip.
Campus has been quiet the last couple of days–I think one could call it normal! There are no groups on campus (the last group left Thursday morning). The students are a joy to watch in their daily interactions when uninterrupted–chorus practice, special desserts, prayers, games, the cafeteria serves as both a study hall and a student center for both single and married students, with lots of interaction.
The chapel seating has been rearranged so that shorter rows and wider aisles give a sense that the students and faculty-staff fill the chapel each morning at 9:30 a.m. And it is not only a perception–with almost 60 students on campus plus faculty and some staff, and visitors from time to time, the singing is vibrant and encouraging, the area is abuzz with activity both before and after worship. For me, daily chapel is a representation of university life at its best–and our students are using the time to its best with prayer requests and spiritual sensitivity.
The campus theme this year is “Year of Spiritual Formation”, based on the text of Galatians 4:19: “May Christ be formed in you.” This emphasis on spiritual formation and personal spiritual development seems to be tempering campus life and making campus a unique sanctuary for the students–a place of peace and comtemplation of one’s walk with God, a place of study, reflection, and meaningful Christian fellowship. I think it is this unique and formative spirituality that makes the boisterous groups such an anomaly this year. (We have only experienced two groups during our time here.)

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