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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, 2013

Stars to Steer By: Leadership is a Catalyst

Friday, May 31st, 2013

“Leadership is largely a catalyst for what happens in a corporate body. Studies done in churches in different parts of the world have found that while many churches approach their ministry in different ways and have different emphases, a church that is vital and virile, and achieving that which it appears God has called it to achieve, has without exception a vital, virile leadership. I think it is also true to say that where you have a fellowship that is weak on leadership, you have a fellowship that is weak period. Now it doesn’t mean that leadership is everything but leadership is a massive part of the health and well-being, and the effectiveness and efficiency of a fellowship of believers.”
–Stuart Briscoe, Purifying the Church: What God Expects of You and Your Church

The Power of the Gospel

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

While I was in Peru, I received several messages from Guatemala concerning the progress of the gospel in the beginning of a new congregation. Because the news is so encouraging and provides continuing evidence of the power of the “Good News,” I share a little of the story today.
Late in 2012, two families who live in San Juan del Obispo developed plans for a new congregation in their town. The plans were to start a congregation with the ability to reach out to several smaller towns, to see where the contacts came from, and to make a final decision about exact location based on God’s guidance. The congregation began meeting in homes. When I was in Guatemala in March 2013, I presented a midweek Bible study with 13 present.
Earlier this month, the congregation had an attendance of more than 100 persons during a campaign with Roberto Alvarez preaching. The campaign was held in the community center near the plaza and there were 21 baptisms. Two days later, another message told of another baptism.
God brings people into his kingdom with the good news of Jesus. This is a simple story of Christians who want to take the gospel into the community where they live. The preaching of the message touches hearts and those who wish to be disciples of Jesus are baptized into Christ. A great teaching task remains.
God is good! Please join me in praying for this small group of believers who are part of a congregation barely six months old. Let us find boldness to take the gospel into our own communities, to take the gospel with us wherever we go.

God at the Center

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

It is no easy matter to maintain focus in life. Life happens; busyness is normal. Life fills with the urgent and the trivial. Life pushes priorities to the periphery. To what end? To what purpose?
God wishes our lives to reflect his presence and possibilities. In the midst of life’s seemingly meaningless activity, God gives life a sense of eternity that transcends the here and now. Life is not about here. Life is not about now.
Today, let us not be overwhelmed by the “stuff” of life, lest we fail to make of life what God intends for his children. Life at its best is lived in relationship with the God of heaven who understands, hears, and directs our lives.

A Busy Week–Looking Backward, Looking Forward

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Despite the fact that many calendars printed for use in the workplace now begin the week on Monday, and that in the minds of most people the weekend is Saturday and Sunday, Sunday is the beginning of a new week–the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day. The opportunity to worship God without fear of interruption is a blessing often overlooked.

Today I look upward to God, praising and adoring, remembering with gratitude what he has done for me.
Today I look back on a busy week and see God at work. It hard to believe that until early Tuesday morning I was in Peru. An overnight flight to the US, weather problems, and a circuitous flight path from Houston to Tulsa brought me home by early afternoon on Tuesday, in time to begin the process of catching up and preparing to teach my Wednesday night class at church. The last part of the week flew by–arranging future trips, working on writing projects, responding to ministry and mission opportunities, writing to and encouraging people around the world in their walk with the Lord.
Today I look forward to another full week. Memorial Day will provide a brief respite, but I am thankful that the week is already full of “God stuff” that the Lord graciously puts in my path.
Today I look around at the world in which God has placed me, and I am grateful that his grace empowers his people as they strive to live in his will, and to live out his will to his glory.

Leadership Reflections

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Leadership is difficult to define, easy to identify when seen. Leaders lead by example, thus leadership occurs in a specific moment, a specific circumstance. When moment after moment, in those moments when life is uncertain and leadership is needed, a person seizes the moment and fills it with goodness and strength, leadership happens.
Leaders realize that every moment of life is a precious gift. They do everything they can to infuse that truth into all of life. There are many distractions in this world, things that move us away from our profound potential to do good and to live in God’s will so we can live out God’s will. These distractions are temporary–they are time-limited, occurring right now in a specific part of life, right here in a specific place. Why do we allow such distractions to define life?
Leaders have a vision that is bigger than the present moment and place. Leaders know that right now in this moment in this place, they can change the world.
–Bob Young

I have no idea what’s going to happen, or if my specific plans are going to come out the way I envision them, but I am completely confident that if we get people together and keep service to the Lord and to our neighbors at the center of our thinking, that He will make something wonderful come out of our efforts, one way or another. My personal ego has some very specific ideas of what the Lord ought to do with our efforts, but I know my God is wiser than me [sic], and thinks bigger than I ever could, and sees the long-term big picture, and so I’m ready to find out what it is He will make of all our plans and efforts.
–Mac Frazier

Stars to Steer By: Leadership and Vision

Friday, May 24th, 2013

If the size of your vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God.
–Steven Furtick

It’s Sunday Again: Calling

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

He was an excellent student. He had grown up in a Christian home. He wanted to become a preacher, but….he had doubts. “What if I can’t make it as a preacher?”

He sat in my office during the scheduled advisor-advisee conference. He shared some of his story. He had watched a parade of preachers who were devoured by church politics and unhealthy dynamics in his home congregation. He was having second thoughts about his decision to pursue a Bible and ministry degree. He thought it would limit his options. I tried to tell him that the undergraduate level was an excellent place to follow his heart, to explore other areas of interest by earning minors in those fields, and that he would be well-positioned for graduate studies in a number of areas.

He was immovable. He had decided to pursue a degree in another discipline and take a few Bible courses along the way. He still wanted to preach, but he wanted to have a fallback position. To my knowledge, he is not in ministry today.

I continued to be his advisor, helping him with course selection and a degree plan. He again sat in my office as I signed off on his final semester. My last conversation with him about his plans after graduation was brief. I asked him just one question, “Are you called to preach?” He wasn’t certain. I told him that unless he was aware of God’s calling to ministry in his life, I was pretty certain he wouldn’t last as a preacher, or that if he did last, he wouldn’t be a very effective servant.

There is not enough discussion today about calling. Every Christian is called by God (2 Pet. 1:1-12; 1 Cor. 1:1-3; Eph. 4:1-3). The KJV uses the word ordained in Acts 13:48 to communicate that God appoints believers to eternal life. But in my conversations with the student, I was asking about something more. I was asking about the process whereby God chooses and equips servants of various kinds (Eph. 4:11-13) to build up the body to maturity.

I have two suggestions. First, let’s be more diligent to make certain that those who serve in various capacities in the church are “called”. I vote for called ministers, called missionaries, called elders, called Bible School teachers…..I trust that you get the idea. Second, I suggest that a healthier, more biblical sense of calling would help us all persevere in difficult times–the knowledge that God has called us to Christianity, to preach, to pastor-shepherd, to serve. That knowledge can keep us going when the problems seem insurmountable and everything around us is saying “STOP!”

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