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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 February, 2012

Victor and Timotea

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Today I share a story from our 2008 experiences in Guatemala.

“Victor and Timotea helped us distribute flyers this week, inviting people to the conference and fiesta on the weekend, and inviting the children to VBS this week.  I write about Victor and Timotea because they are ordinary, but extraordinary.

“I sat and talked to them as lunch was being prepared.  Victor is 75.  I didn’t ask Timotea’s age.  They have been disciples of Jesus, faithfully following the Lord, for only four years.  They are at peace being part of the body of Christ and sharing faith with the small body of believers in San Lorenzo.  They went with us to distribute flyers–both are obviously aged, stooped but proud.  Their feet and bodies show the effects of long years of toil.  They are delightful!  What a blessing to sit and talk.  They have four children, and eight grandchildren.

“Sometimes people ask why we continue to go and work in campaigns such as these.  Results are sometimes minimal, the influences we bring and the fruit we bear are often not visible to our eyes this year or next or even the next.  We go for the Victors and Timoteas of our world.  We go for the receptive souls who respond when they learn about the Lord Jesus who died for them, but arose; about the Jesus who makes possible hope and eternal resurrection; about the Jesus who walks with us daily bringing strength and faithfulness.

“Pray for Victor and Timotea and their family.  Pray for all the Victors and Timoteas of our world.  Pray for those who are waiting to hear.  Pray for those who share good news.”

Noah’s Ark–Top Eleven List

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

With apologies to Robert Fulghrum:  Everything I need to know, I learned from comtemplating Noah’s Ark.

11. When God is part of your plans, there’s always a rainbow waiting.
10. The Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
9. When you’re stressed, float awhile.
8. Speed isn’t everything. Both the snails and the cheetahs got on board.
7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.
6. Build your future on high ground.
5. Don’t listen to critics; just do what needs to be done.
4. Stay fit. When you get old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.
2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.
1. Don’t miss the boat.

Bull’s Eye

Monday, February 27th, 2012

We saw an unusual sight yesterday morning.  In the eastern sky, a perfect circle rainbow framing the sun.  Some mornings I greet the dawn without really seeing much–I mean that not much registers.  How easily one misses the beauty of God’s creation.  How easily we take for granted the rising and setting of the sun–and many other aspects of God’s beauty.

 It seems that yesterday God was saying, “You want to know what you should see?  Let me frame it for you, let me point it out for you so that you can see clearly.  Look at the sun.”  And then it becomes clear–in seeing the light God provides in the sun, I think also of the Light of the World, the Son.

God, I hope I get it right today.  Help me get it right every day.  Help me fix my eyes on Jesus.  I humbly ask because of who Jesus is and what he has done, through him.

Too Conservative

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

I like to read sermon titles.  Some are catchy, some are just plain weird.  Sometimes one can tell what the sermon is about, some keep the sermon content a mystery.  This sermon title caught my eye: “Too Conservative.”  The text was Ecclesiastes 11:4.  “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.  This Kansas farm boy understands this verse.  Never the right time to plant; never the right time to harvest.

In some circles, conservativism is praised.  People speak of the wisdom of being conservative.  Consider what the word means.  “Disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions; moderate, cautious; one who adheres to traditional methods or views.”  Conservativism steers the car (church) by looking backward.  (Only a good idea if you are backing up!)

If conservatism lives in the past, an error just as dangerous is to live entirely in the future.  In our relationship with God, we are not guided by the status quo, existing conditions, or tradition.  We are not guided by what might be.  God’s word is our daily guide.  The church is  hurt by those who will take no risk.  Lives are dull and dead when risk is destroyed.  Some are dead while they live. 

It is true that some may fail in too much zeal, but we may also fail in too much caution.  Some won’t drink the water in the town where I live.  Some won’t share a communion service with the local brethren on a mission trip to Honduras.  Certainly we must be wise, but Jesus calls us to “launch out” and “cast our nets.”

 Some cannot see the work to be done for the problems.  Some cannot see the good for the bad.  Some know more about what’s wrong than about what’s right.  The one talent man was conservative.  Jesus condemned mediocrity.  It is easy to see the foolishness of fanaticism; can we see the foolishness of overcaution?  It is better to try and fail than to do nothing and criticize.

A Word In Season

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

“…a word in season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23)

“The second year I was married, my husband opened an envelope and then looked over at me.  His brow was furrowed and his mouth a little awry as he said, ‘Maxine, this is April.  My birthday’s in July.’  ‘I know,’ I replied, ‘but I saw this card.  The sentiment is so appropriate.  It wouldn’t be there if I waited till July.  And if I bought it and brought it home, I’d put it away and forget I had it.  So I just thought I’d send it now.'”

 This little story from Maxine Jensen reminds us that waiting for “the right moment” to do something usually results in doing nothing.  We intend to act, but do not.  We forget, or the person moves or dies, or we don’t feel the same way.   It doesn’t matter what it is–mend a fence, share a compliment, restore a relationship, make a phone call, send a card, make a visit, express love, show kindness.   We must carry out good intentions promptly.

The reason is clear in another story Ms. Jensen shares.  “After my mother’s death I found in her Bible a card I had sent her many years before.  The verse started out, ‘This morning when I wakened/ And saw the sun above,/ I softly said, “Good morning, Lord,/ Bless everyone I love!”  Right away I thought of you…‘”  Expressions of love, words of kindness, encouragement, concern, and care are the lubricants of life.  They bless the giver and the receiver.  They make life a little smoother.

Is there someone you should call, write, or visit?  Is a word of kindness or encouragement needed?  Could your timely action ease a burden or give a blessing?  Would your love lift a life?  Would your first step mend a relationship?

 I come back to the verse I shared earlier this week.  “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.” (Isa. 50:4)”  You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.  

Conflict and Leadership

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Spiritual leadership does not allow one to avoid conflict.  Spiritual leadership sets one up for conflict.  Conflict shapes our hearts. Too many Christians are conflict-allergic. Because we are sensitive, we are vulnerable to the pain of conflict. Without a strategy for dealing with conflict we are tempted to withdraw from the battle. The inability or the failure to handle conflict causes hearts to remain stunted in comparison to what might have been.

Before the sun set last night….

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

I get to spend far too much time in my car.  Sometimes I listen to tapes or CDs, more often I pray and meditate.  On longer trips in moments of extreme boredom, sometimes I see if I can find a Christian radio station.  I heard a song a few years ago that was new to me. I liked it because the words were meaningful and biblically rooted.  It included a phrase similar to this, “before the sun sets, God has a plan for your tomorrow.”

 When you awakened up this morning, you may not have had much planned for the day.  Or perhaps, your day was already over-filled with obligations and plans.  Regardless, the Christian faces the day with the awareness that God is the only one with a plan that matters.  God has a plan for you today.  God’s plan is consistent with his eternal purpose.  The question of my life and yours today is this: Will our lives fulfill God’s plan for us?

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