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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 July, 2013

Earn the Right to Have a Point of View

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Not too long ago, Jan and I watched the movie, Music Within. The movie is based on the story of Richard Pimentel, a brilliant public speaker with a troubled past. When he returns from Vietnam severely hearing-impaired, he finds a new purpose in his landmark efforts on the behalf of Americans with disabilities.
One line in the movie was especially memorable for me. During his years as a capable but arrogant student, he was told by one of his professors, “Go out and earn the right to have a point of view.”

Not bad advice! Live life, live it fully, experience it completely with all of its victories and challenges. Look, observe, process, analyze, listen, learn. Develop an integrated point of view; earn the right to have a point of view. And then, Speak.

It’s Sunday Again: Contemplating “Us”

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Since mid-May, I have been in Latin America many more Sundays than I have been in the U.S. What a difference! Last Sunday in Venezuela we had an hour of Bible class, a brief break, and over two hours of worship, including a lengthy sermon preached by a Colombian brother. Such would hardly ever occur in the typical congregation in the U.S.
I believe we can worship and serve God acceptably without lengthy assemblies, but the contrast makes me wonder if we have developed a form of Christianity that relegates our spiritual walk to the corners of our life with only brief appearances center stage. With 44 men present for a 9 am-5 pm Saturday leadership seminar (in a congregation of about 180), I cannot help but wonder if such could occur in the U.S. (Then we men sat around and visited an hour until the rest of the congregation arrived for two hours of Bible study Saturday night!)
Many things typically fill our Sundays–worship, fellowship, spiritual growth, service…. Let me add to the list: contemplation. What would happen if we were to spend a little time in meditation, contemplating us, beginning in the heart and asking what it would mean if we were to whole-heartedly live out our Christian commitment 24/7? Such could prove profitable; such contemplation could change the course of our Christian life.

Review: God’s Favorite Place on Earth

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Frank Viola. God’s Favorite Place on Earth. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2013.

When I received an invitation to review Frank Viola’s newest work, I eagerly accepted the offer to read the book and write a review. I received and read the book the first week of June, but left almost immediately for three weeks of mission work in Honduras and Panama. I returned to the U.S. for only a week before I left for about two weeks in Venezuela. Just this week I have had the opportunity to reread the book.

The book was for me a disappointment in one sense, but also a spiritual challenge. Having read other books by Viola, I was expecting analysis and challenging thinking, an appeal to my left brain. Viola is always analytical, but in this book the analysis finds a different outlet. Here is storytelling and a challenge to reconsider what it means to have a meaningful relationship with Jesus.
As a free narrative based on the biblical text and research, the book provides a template and guide to demonstrate how one may meditate more deeply on Bible stories and integrate texts that may not appear related. The book challenges the reader to develop a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Jesus based on the special relationships Jesus developed with Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Bethany. Here one finds an invitation to spiritual encounter and a changed life.

Readers should always be aware that authors are seldom far from their theological understandings, and this is the case here, especially with some eschatological imprecision and hypothesis. The problem with telling a story is that story may get ahead of the teachings of Scripture. Viola suggests Christ will return to Bethany whereas the biblical text says both the resurrected and the living will meet him in the air. Viola also connects Bethany the fulfillment of Revelation 21.

Overall, the book is easy to read, and the inclusion of a “Walking It Out” section in each chapter helps open possibilities for understanding applications in one’s daily Christian walk.

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