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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, 2013

What do you see?

Saturday, August 31st, 2013

I received another response to our mission report, from a member of a church where I formerly preached. “Hi Bob and Jan, What an interesting life the two of you have in your mission work….the scenery is beautiful and reading your report reminds me of reading the Apostle Paul’s letters. No wonder you have always had your eyes focused on wandering to other places.”

I am not sure eyes wandering to other places, even to mission points, is a good thing for a local preacher. Then again, one job of the preacher is to have his eyes open, another is to help open the eyes of God’s people. What are we to do when we see the needs in other places? How shall we respond when certain parts of the world are very receptive to the gospel? When God opens doors, do we see the opportunity?

In 2 Kings 6, Elisha’s servant had his eyes focused on the enemy armies surrounding Jerusalem. He could not see the overwhelming power of the Lord which could easily crush the enemy forces. Elisha prayed that the servant’s eyes would be opened so he could see. This story suggests several lessons related to seeing.

  • Do we see the things of the world or the things of God?
  • Are we looking at temporary things or eternal things?
  • Are we focused on things nearby or things far away? Are we near-sighted or far-sighted?
  • Do we look with spiritual eyes or worldly eyes?
  • Are we seeking opportunities or are we satisfied with what already exists?
  • Are our spiritual eyes closed or open?

What do you see? Do you see the global panorama, what God is doing in this world? Are you excited about joining him in his work as it advances around the world? Do you see the world, or do you see only your little corner of your little neighborhood?

Vineyard Tending

Friday, August 30th, 2013

I sent out a summary of my Summer 2013 Mission Work this week. (The report is also linked on the website.) Some of those who receive reports send responses: “Are your mission trips always so intense? It makes me tired reading it. Can I go with you? I am jealous–except for the bus rides!”
This week one of the responses was especially encouraging. A good friend who is an elder and is actively involved in mission work referred to the results of my “vineyard tending.” I had not thought of that phrase to describe my mission efforts but it is fitting. In most of the places I go, planting has occurred in the past. There is an existing vineyard, but it needs to be tended. Sometimes it needs to be cultivated, sometimes it needs more planting, sometimes it needs pruning. My work is tending the vineyard to make it more productive. Without tending, weak vines multiply and strong vines do not become well established. The vineyard cannot be productive without strong plants in the vineyard.

The purpose of this effort is to strengthen and edify local churches and to establish biblical leaders. By developing model churches throughout Latin America, the influence and impact of the gospel is multiplied. Establishing strong, missionary churches gives the gospel a stronger and more permanent foothold. As local churches become mature, they are able to accept more and more of the responsibility for evangelizing and church planting in their own regions.

Friends are Friends Forever

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

The first part of this week, Jan and I were blessed to spend a couple of days with our long ago friends, Bill and Betty Sims. Our friendship formed over 40 years ago when we were both in Plymouth, Michigan, and our paths have crossed briefly a few times since.
I am reminded that Jan and I are blessed to have friends across the nation and around the world. The four of us reminisced and shared stories that have almost been forgotten. We laughed, we caught up on some of the happenings in one another’s lives, and we hopefully planned to be able to spend more time together in the future.
Only God knows, but I am sure that God is the one who gives us forever friends. I hope you are blessed with such friends!

Thinking about….our inheritance

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

The question seemed easy enough. “What does our inheritance in the Lord look like?”
After several traditional answers, the response of one of the class members went beyond our usual thinking.

“A child who is waiting to be adopted into a family is not focused on what he or she will receive when the new parents die. That kind of inheritance is the furthest thing from her mind. The thought is not, “I hope I am adopted by a rich family!” While that is our usual idea of inheritance, the child awaiting adoption is merely seeking a family. The inheritance is to belong to a family. When we think about our inheritance in heaven, we easily miss that we have an inheritance here and now in our spiritual family.”

Wow! Food for thought. Go back and restudy the Bible verses on inheritance. Our inheritance is the Lord. God’s inheritance is the church. The descriptions in Ephesians 1 shout relationship, belonging, current blessings, acceptance, and purpose. Hardly in view are eternal bliss, privilege, power, and prestige.

What would you add? How could we develop a more biblical view of inheritance? What does spiritual inheritance in the Lord look like?

Progress on the “Psalms Project”

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Yesterday I was able to post another set of devotionals in the “Psalms Project.” For those who may not be tracking this project, I am writing a “Short Guide to Reading the Psalms Devotionally.” For each psalm, the project includes a brief comment, a reading guide that provides insights and outlining ideas, and a prayer based on the psalm.
Book IV (Psalms 90-106) is now available: Psalms Project: Book IV.
You may access all of the psalms currently available at the Psalms Project: Index.

It’s Sunday Again: Worship Begins with Who God Is

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

This past week, I have returned to my “psalms project.” I am writing a devotional based on each of the 150 psalms. As a result, I have had the opportunity to read and reread Psalms 90-100.
Worship begins with a heart attuned to God. The Lord reigns—majestic, strong, eternal, transcendent, invincible, and holy. The Lord is upright and righteousness. On the foundation of who God is one declares God as Fortress and Rock. His creative majesty declares his nature–the world, God’s Word, God’s holiness are immovable.
I suspect that our struggles with worship are indications that we have not recognized God’s glory. It is not enough to recognize God’s existence. God desires to be worshiped for who he is. Therefore, God defines worship–by his nature and by his Word. Worship is a human endeavor but it is God-informed. God designed worship to touch the human spirit but worship is ultimately not about me but is about who God is.
He is worthy of praise!

Stars to Steer By: Leadership and Anxiety

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

All the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
–John Kenneth Galbraith

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