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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 October, 2012

Stars to Steer By: Education

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

A favorite quotation: “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.”

I spend a lot of space in my blogs to share information and provide orientation. Generally, my blogs are a lot more information than reflection. From time to time it is good to remind that the goal is not information but reformation–life change that integrates learning and living!
The word educate comes from a root which means “to draw out.” Education is a process of drawing out, helping others discover how what is within them integrates with what is outside them in our world. Education is self-discovery and world-discovery. Education is self-understanding and world-understanding. Education integrates logic and living, code and conduct, doctrine and duty, preaching and practice.
Christian education is challenging–the successful integration of self into a hostile world so that identity is maintained and God’s people are not tossed about by every “thought breeze” that blows through life. Authentic education encourages people to become what God calls them to be, providing teachers and leaders for God’s people.

Developing Leaders for Hispanic Churches

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Paul returned to the churches he had established in order to strengthen those churches and assist with the development and appointment of leaders. Paul left Titus on Crete to correct the things lacking and to establish leaders. We have a clear New Testament model. In the twentieth and twenty-first century, however, at times the work of church planting has been left incomplete because young, immature, struggling churches have been left leaderless.
The history of churches without effective leadership tends to follow a predictable pattern of growth and decline. Progress is made but then lost. The result is small, struggling churches that barely have a foothold and have little influence in the cultures where they exist.
By working with already existing churches across Latin America and also in the United States, we are trying to change this situation. Establishing leaders is a process of teaching and training–for congregations and members, for preachers, and for future leaders and teachers. When churches become self-governing, they are more likely to become self-sustaining and self-propogating. The work involves outlining biblical principles and values. The churches are then able to apply the teachings of Scripture in their own cultural context.
I am aware of some U.S. elders and church leaders who travel to Latin America to teach and share their experiences. I applaud every effort that is being made. The great need, however, is for intra-cultural applications to help churches develop leaders. This week, I will work with the Iglesia de Cristo-Park Plaza in Tulsa in a leadership development seminar. Our primary presenter is Pedro Sanchez, elder and teacher from Santiago de Chile.
I ask your prayers for the seminar. I ask your prayers for the work of developing leaders in Hispanic churches. This is a unique work. There is much to do. Write me if you would like information about how you can be involved in a work that is making a great difference across Latin America.

It’s Sunday Again: A Word of Encouragement

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Another Sunday, worship with another congregation within the spiritual family. I have been asked to teach and preach. No specific instructions, but I know what is needed–a word of encouragement!
We will focus on missions–God blesses us with marvelous opportunities to make a difference in our world.
We will remember God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice as we surround the Table–how can one explain God’s gracious initiative toward us in our weaknesses and inconsistent lives?

God’s people need a word of encouragement today. Our world needs encouragement toward what is right and good. May we hear God’s Word and take it forth into the corners of our world so that the world is changed and souls are won to Christ.

When God says “go”

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Some may remember playing the childhood game of “Stop and Go.” In the game, the leader gives an instruction to either stop or go while looking away from the players. Players try to disobey the stop instruction and move forward while the leader is not looking. Some players try to move rapidly, others inch forward almost unnoticeably. The leader tries to “catch” the players by giving an instruction and immediately turning around toward the players to identify those who are not following the instructions.

In Acts 16, Luke records a time when God said “go”. Being forbidden to go north or south, having just come from the east and not wanting to turn back, the text says the group concluded that God wanted them to go west. The Macedonian call provided them further instructions and Paul’s second missionary journey continued on.
When God says stop, or when God says go, we do not have the option of trying to outfox God. We are called to be obedient followers of God’s instructions.

Our lives have been blessed this month because God has not only said “go” but he has provided the opportunities and the resources. As always, our desire is to follow his guidance unhesitatingly. A month especially full of activity and opportunities to serve and share is a partial explanation as to why I have written more.

  • What a blessing it has been to teach a Wednesday night Bible class at Park Plaza. The fellowship shared and comments and encouragement received from this class have enriched my life.
  • To begin to integrate into and understand more of the mission program at Park Plaza has also been encouraging. The opportunity to meet with the Central American mission committee was special because our hearts are focused on the needs as the gospel echoes forth.
  • Spending individual time with various brothers and sisters to think about what God is doing in our world and how we fit in has also been a blessing.
  • We answered God’s “go” as we spent two weeks in Peru, encouraging and strengthening churches in Lima and Cusco. This time included youth activities, a family retreat, various home group studies, and many meetings with church leaders.
  • We spent a Sunday afternoon and evening with the elders of the Bella Vista (AR) church, enjoying also the opportunity to visit with Brother Bob Miranda and to think about the Latin American leadership training that is being done through the Education of Vocational Workers (EVO). I am always pumped up when I have the opportunity to share the word in preaching, and the time at Bella Vista was no different, made even sweeter by the gracious response of the members of that church.
  • A missions emphasis weekend and opportunity to report on the work we are doing takes us to Mena (AR) the last weekend of the month. This good church is developing a history of effective international mission endeavors and we are honored that they participate with us in answering God’s “go” and entering God’s open doors.
  • The month will conclude (and November begin) with an intense week in the Iglesia de Cristo–Park Plaza, preparing for the leadership seminar November 1-4. Brother Francisco Davila and I have been working on various details, and I will collaborate in the presentations of the seminar with Brother Pedro Sanchez, elder at Nogales in Santiago de Chile.

God is good to me! Across 45 years of ministry, I have seldom had more opportunities to share the word of God, encourage and edify brothers and sisters in Christ, strengthen lives and families through Christian counseling, and reach out with the good news of Jesus. Please join me in prayer that I might have the strength and stamina to continue to answer God’s “go.”

Galatians 5-6: Is Anything Different?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Christians who have experienced the new birth and new creation in Christ Jesus must not hesitate to ask, “What is different?” The Christian life is not lived in legalism. Nor is the Christian life license. The Christian life is understood through the liberty of healthy, loving relationship. With a new creation (or re-creation) and all things made new in Christ, how shall we then live?

  • Live in freedom. Freedom in Christ is not license. Freedom in Christ is not selfish. Freedom in Christ is for all. As I live in Christian liberty I am also willing to allow others freedom. This is the of Christ’s life and love flowing in and through me.
  • Live according to the Spirit. Life is not merely physical; honor the spiritual element of life. Be spiritual. The presence of God’s Spirit in the life of the Christian is the antidote to license. The presence of God’s Spirit yields the fruits of the Spirit, evidenced in changed attitudes and ways of life.
  • Live in mutuality. The Christian life depends on reciprocity. Life in the body of Christ is based on sharing.
  • With the cross of Christ central, what matters is a new creation. The new creation lives out the reality of Christ in new and fresh ways as Christ’s presence permeates the world.

    God is God, God is good

    Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

    Life is difficult; not easy; not fair. In the challenges and turmoil of life, the Psalmist’s affirmation is comforting and secure. God is God, God is good.
    God’s plan for his people is our eternal glory in Christ. Such often includes suffering in the inequities of this life, but God himself restores and makes strong, firm and steadfast. Such is his power forever and ever.
    Today we confidently affirm God’s mercy and love. God always acts in ways consistent with his nature as the God of holiness, righteousness, and goodness.

    A Superb Sunday!

    Monday, October 8th, 2012

    How humbling to receive the blessing and prayer of God’s leaders as we prepare for another mission journey! The heartfelt hugs and expressions of love, support, and concern continued as we greeted brothers and sisters after worship and as class began.
    Visiting with the leaders of the Bella Vista church and having the opportunity to preach the evening lesson with a focus on missions was another blessing. The church has a heart for missions, and is filled with delightful folks!
    By the time we arrived home, the day’s activities for the kingdom had stretched to near 14 hours, we were tired, but we were contentedly blessed.

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