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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 August, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Jan!
86 years–43 for you and 43 for me!
How blessed I am!

Getting Up Early

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Got up early this morning–3 AM.
Thinking about lots of things as I prepare for today’s flight to Guayaquil and the beginning of three weeks of mission activities.
Why do people get up early? From my own experience, here is a short list–perhaps in some order of importance, and reflecting my most frequent experiences.

To begin a Sunday of teaching and preaching.
To catch early flights and go on mission or ministry trips.
To study and read, meditate and pray.
To make the drive for another day of graduate classes.
To resume the vigil for someone seriously ill and hospitalized.
To begin a long family vacation.

Changing our viewpoint

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

I have been restudying Romans 14-15 in preparation for a mission trip later this month.
How do we learn to bless, rather than criticize and judge, those with whom we disagree? How do we learn to accept and love, rather than despise and arrogantly look down on, those who criticize us? How do we overcome the broken relationships that come when people deal with others out of fear? How do we deal with those who are different?
Romans 14 says all shall stand before the throne of God and that each will stand or fall according to the will of that one’s master. Our task is not to settle every disputable matter. Ours is not to determine the final destiny of others. We have our hands full with our own destiny.
What is is about us that makes it more popular among some to look for hell rather than heaven? What is about us that makes it more popular among others to focus on heaven and ignore hell? Both are a kind of blasphemy, for we are called to live in reverent hope that honors the complete nature of God–his holiness and purity, righteousness and justice, love and mercy.

Stars to Steer By: Vision

Monday, August 13th, 2012

“Vision without execution is hallucination.” –Thomas Edison

Considered against the historical background of Edison’s untiring efforts to bring his ideas and vision to reality, the quote reminds us of something often ignored or forgotten: it is easier to talk about vision than it is to bring it to reality.

Little Things

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

I am reminded almost daily that life is lived in the little things, not in the big spectacular splashes. Big projects may grab attention, but much of what moves us forward happens in small, unnoticed, almost invisible ways. Yesterday provided me a good reminder that investing life in things that can ultimately matter and make a difference is often less than spectacular.

  • A couple of hours of phone conversation with a minister seeking direction in his ministry setting.
  • Work on my website and meeting about various details of maintenance and hosting.
  • A series of emails to facilitate a major gift to a missions project.
  • Several hours working on details of a Letter of Understanding, multiple emails and phone calls back and forth, and summary communication with all involved.
  • An overdue chairman’s report finished and sent.
  • Update a mission website.
  • Continuing preparations for the presentations to be shared in the next three weeks in Ecuador and Colombia.
  • Just a summary of the most time-consuming activities related to my work in ministry and missions. But then one adds personal things like evaluating a resume for my son, working with the realtors on inspections and the upcoming home sale and purchase along with various moving details, touching base with our family by phone…. Add the spiritual side of life with prayer and hearing God’s Word.

    Nothing spectacular, a lot of “little” projects that fill the day from very early to late. Thankfully, God turns little things into things that ultimately change us and change our world, little by little.

    It’s What I Do

    Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

    I was intrigued by an interview with an Olympic female weightlifter. In some sports, Olympic champions find fame and fortune, endorsements, media popularity, and financial success. Apparently, for females, weightlifting is not one of those sports. The interviewee described months of living on a limited income in order to train and prepare for the Olympics. Her explanation of why she was willing to endure such hardship was simple: “It’s what I do.” She was paying the price for her commitment and desire to do something she thought important, a challenge she described as “bigger than I am.”
    I could not help by think of parallels in ministry and Christian service. I am glad those who serve in ministry in various ways are being remunerated at comparatively higher levels than in the past. Frankly, some ministers are paid quite handsomely. Church is big business. But I fear that somewhere along the way we may have lost our way. Ultimately, the best description of Christian ministry and service is that “it’s what I do.” I preach and serve because of a commitment, regardless of the sacrifice required, because of God’s calling to be involved in something bigger than I am.
    I think also of parallels in Christian living. Ultimately, we live out our commitment to Christ because it is who we are and what we do, a natural part of the rhythms of our lives.
    Our Christian walk is what we do, because of who we are. Plain and simple.

    A “Missions” Perspective

    Monday, August 6th, 2012

    Note: I am updating and reposting this blog from a couple of years ago.

    For those of you who follow this blog because of your interest in ministry and missions (the basic reason for my website and for this blog, even though I stray at times to other items), I share a post from Carlos Ulate, missionary and minister in Heredia, Costa Rica. I first met Carlos about 30 years ago when the Holmes Road church in Lansing, Michigan committed to mission work in Costa Rica. We were a part of the work in Honduras which Carlos describes in the article linked below.

    Carlos says some important things about doing mission work with the expectation and need for continuing US financial support. He is attempting to address the need to establish self-sustaining, self-directing, and self-propagating churches. The challenges are great, but the goal is commendable. I hope you will be challenged to think afresh about missions and ministry by reading the article: Our Philosophy of Missions.

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