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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, 2013

Seated in the Heavenlies

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Paul uses the phrase, “in the heavenlies,” four times in Ephesians. The phrase does not appear elsewhere in the New Testament. Translators generally feel the need to add a noun and use “heavenlies” as an adjectival modifier, e.g. heavenly places, heavenly realms. In the heavenlies Christians receive every spiritual blessing in Christ; in the heavenlies Christians are seated with Christ. More problematic is that in the heavenlies exist various powers, some of which oppose Christ. It is probably best to understand the heavenlies as a sphere and to avoid words that suggest geographic or place references. The heavenlies exist right now and in some way Christians participate in the heavenlies during the time we live in this world.

My purpose is to suggest some contemporary applications of the concept. What do these verses mean for Christians today?
What we do on this earth has eternal (heavenly) consequences. We are seated in the heavenlies right now and we wage war in the heavenlies in this present life. We are not merely participants in God’s plan and purpose on earth–we are participants in the heavenlies, with God and with Christ. “What on earth are you doing for heaven’s sake?” is not a selfish question. This is our personal spiritual development. This is motivation for sharing the good news. This is everything we do so that our lives can be an influence for good.

A Bible Problem

Monday, October 28th, 2013

It really was not funny (at least not to the person involved), but several people in the Bible class were laughing.
Jan and I were visiting another church, sitting near the back of the auditorium which was only sparsely populated. In the middle of the Bible class we began hearing someone speaking. At first I thought it was interference with the microphone system and that we were hearing feedback from other channels, shortwave, police, etc. Before long, I could tell that the voice was coming from a pew two rows in front of us. It seemed the noise was getting louder.
Finally, the person sitting in front of us got up to exit the class. As we she walked by us she explained, “The Bible on my phone is reading the text to me and I can’t figure out how to turn it off.”

The situation got me to thinking about possible uses for a Bible ap that reads the Bible to you and cannot be turned off. Equally useful would be an ap that turns the Bible on and begins the Bible reading automatically when the owner is contemplating some negative action. Even better, the ap could choose especially appropriate verses.

A more practical thought: In reality, the Bible cannot be turned off. We may choose to read it or not, to hear it or not, but the Bible is still there, and God’s Word is still God’s Word.

It’s Sunday Again: Home and Family

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Yesterday I wrote about home and family. This morning we are traveling and are “away from home.” As we prepare to worship with the family of God, I am thinking about how the reflections I wrote yesterday apply to God’s family and our spiritual home. Our spiritual home is usually defined most sharply by our relationships in a local congregation, but Christians have family in many places.

Reflections….
Spiritually, our family is larger than the part we experience regularly in the context of our daily lives.
Our spiritual family is a major part of our identity. Through our church family, we know who we are and are continually reminded of our significance, that others love us, and that others care for us and want to be with us.
In our spiritual family we learn the value of sharing and we become more like Jesus as we serve others. In the deep relationships of a spiritual family, we willingly serve, knowing that others have done and will do the same for us.
In our church family, we invest ourselves in others, seeing the beauty of the past and the hope of the future.
Church is a place where we give without asking how much it will cost or whether we will get anything back in return.
Church is a place of encouragement and strength, a place of laughter and life lived lovingly.
Church is a place where we share life fully, a place where we know that others will welcome us and accept us.

Home and Family

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

I arrived home late Monday night this week after almost three weeks away.
The sweet reunions and special times spent with family during the week have given me opportunity to reflect upon the importance of home and family. Not only have Jan and I spent more time together this week than during a “normal week”, I also had some one-on-one time with my youngest grandson on Tuesday–climbing trees, looking at pine needles, and enjoying some late afternoon rays from the sun as it treks further south in the sky. Wednesday evening our two oldest sons joined us for homemade pizza and salad before Bible class; Thursday evening Jan and I enjoyed time with Geoffrey and his family–eating out, lingering over the meal, talking about plans for the future (Thanksgiving plans together and Skyla’s plans for college in the spring), agreeing together that ice cream afterward was a bit much, enjoying small talk and sharing life. This weekend Jan and I will get away together for a mini-vacation, and next Tuesday we will make a day-trip to Arkansas to help take care of various issues related to her mother’s ongoing care.

Reflections….
Family is a major influence in our identity, a part of who we are. In family, we are continually reminded of our significance, that others love us, that others care and want to be with us.
Family time depends on quantity. One cannot spontaneously generate “quality time.” Quality time is a serendipity of quantity time.
Family is an opportunity to learn mutuality. In the midst of deep relationships, we do what we do because we confidently know that others have done and will do the same for us.
In family, we invest ourselves in others, seeing the beauty of the past and the hope of the future.
Family is a place where we give without asking how much it will cost or whether we will get anything back in return.
Family is a place of encouragement and strength, a place of laughter and life lived lovingly.
Family is a place where we share life fully, a place where we know that others will welcome us and accept us.

Stars to Steer By: Leadership

Friday, October 25th, 2013

There are many people who can talk about leadership, theorize about leadership, and debate over leadership, but very few people are doing and living leadership. –Tony Evans

He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk. –John Maxwell

The leadership crisis of our times is without precedent. –Robert K. Greenleaf

Stars to Steer By: Worry

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Two related quotes without comment. I do not know the original source of either.

“Don’t tell me worry doesn’t work. None of the things I worry about ever happen.”

“Worry steals your joy and keeps you busy doing nothing.”

Wisdom

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Today I share a “borrowed” thought, origin unknown.

Wolves Within
One evening an old Indian Chief told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”
“The one you feed,” replied the Indian Chief.

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