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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 November, 2013

The Bible: Renewal Handbook

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

More and more Christians are using this time of year as a time of remembering God’s bountiful blessings. Various plans are available. One plan uses November as “30 Days of Thanksgiving,” another suggests 40 days of thanksgiving beginning in mid-October and concluding on Thanksgiving Day, another counts 40 days of Thanksgiving beginning just after mid-November and concluding on December 31.
It is vital that we Christians renew our minds with the eternal value system of God’s Word. Each day we must focus afresh on God and how he makes a difference in the important issues of who we are, why we are here, and where we are going. One value of a daily focus on thanksgiving is that it reminds us every day of God and his role in the world and in our lives. Another way to experience daily renewal is to focus every day on an affirmation from God’s Word. The Bible truly is our “Renewal Handbook.”

I encourage you to join me in making December a month of affirmation. Tomorrow I will post an article explaining the use of affirmations. I will explain the process and help you begin to develop the “affirmation habit.” I will explain how you can develop your own affirmations and use them in your daily walk with God. Each Sunday during December, I will provide affirmations for the week.
Reading (or recalling) a daily affirmation and using it in a morning or evening prayer does not require much time, and such affirmations can help you develop the habit of “renewal through meditation.”

Reflecting on Leadership and Change

Friday, November 29th, 2013

In today’s rapidly changing world, it is not enough that leaders develop loyal employees who will keep doing what they have always done. Leaders must lead by demonstrating the flexibility that can escape “the way things have always been done around here.” It is almost certain that “the way things have been done” and the “way things are done” will be insufficient in the future. Those organizations that want to serve “on the cutting edge” doing everything possible to fulfill their missions will be those organizations whose leaders can question the status quo, leaders who can dream, share, demonstrate, and encourage a future that resonates with new realities and new possibilities.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

In whatever circumstances you find yourself today, Jan and I wish you a day in which you can see the way in which God has uniquely blessed your life.
Twenty years ago today, Thanksgiving was forever changed for us when my mother and stepfather died in an auto accident on this day as they were traveling to our home to share Thanksgiving dinner.
The challenges and problems of life do not take a day off on Thanksgiving Day. Illnesses continue, sorrow and sadness still come. People spend the day in hospitals, faithfully caring for loved ones. The continued presence of life’s difficulties does not mean that we are not being blessed by God; the difficulties only make those blessings harder to see through the tears and blur of life. Serendipitously through the eye of faith, the difficulties can also make the blessings sweeter.

With grateful hearts in the midst of life’s challenges, we wish for you a Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Sunday Again: “thankful for” vs. “thankful anyway”

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Life is difficult. Very few people can claim that life is without difficulties and challenges, disappointments and regrets. We would like to change some things about the past. We wish there were ‘do overs.’ Things have not come out as we hoped. People, even our own family and those closest to us, disappoint us. Our hearts hurt for souls outside of Christ. Our hearts are scarred by decisions others have made.

Thanksgiving week! A common question, What are you thankful for? Today and next Sunday, many sermons will focus on “thankful for.” Lists will be made and shared. I applaud every effort to encourage attitudes of gratitude. I live a blessed life. God and those around me have overflowed into my life blessing after blessing. I am humbly grateful.
But in the midst of multiplied blessings, I know also that life has its negatives–its disappointments and frustrations. Can I be thankful when I look at life’s difficulties? Can I be thankful in the midst of the faith challenges in the lives of those I love the most? Can I be thankful anyway?

Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks.” Everything? Positives AND negatives? Blessings and bummers? In the midst of life’s positives, my challenge is to be “thankful for.” In the midst of life’s negatives, my challenge is to be “thankful anyway.”

“Dear God of love, mercy, and compassion, help me today and this week, in an attitude of trusting worship and dependent faith, to be thankful for the many blessings of life. Help me also to be thankful anyway when my eyes are focused on life’s bummers. Teach me to give thanks in everything, depending on you for that which is beyond my ability to change. I pray in the name of Jesus who can make everything new, Amen.”

Stars to Steer By: Leadership and Intention

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Our intentions tend to be much more real to us than our actions, and this can lead to a great deal of misunderstanding with other people, to whom our actions tend to be much more real than our intentions. –E.F. Schumacher

Little Things

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

The biggest things in life are the little things. Many go through life wishing to make the one big splash, to receive recognition, to accomplish something spectacular or noteworthy. Life is not to be measured by the big things but by a continual, consistent stream of little things, hardly noticeable, but powerful in their combined impact.
A pleasant tomorrow depends on living fully today. The little things, reflected in the habits of one’s life, make life full and abundant: the discipline of arising early, meditating, praying, and reading; time spent with family regularly; being true to one’s word with honesty and integrity; filling one’s day with priorities rather than the urgent or peripheral; committing oneself to the best rather than being satisified with the good.
“God, help me pay attention today to the little things to your glory.”

Mission: What are we teaching national preachers?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

I received an email from preacher who was trained at a preacher training school in Latin America: “I want to preach but I cannot find a sponsoring church in the United States to pay me.”

What? What did this brother learn in preaching training school? Perhaps we need to restudy the New Testament. Does the call to preach depend on finding someone to pay us to preach? Paul supported himself while he preached. Have we developed a faulty view of the call to preach? I fear we have let ministry concepts replace preaching and evangelism. Especially in mission work, we need to rethink the difference between preaching and ministry.

What is the work of a preacher? Quickly—how would you respond? Do we answer with visions of church planting and church development, or do we focus on a pastoral concept of ministry? Isn’t the work of the preacher to preach, to evangelize? The work of Titus on Crete was to appoint leaders, first correcting that which was deficient; but it seems that was for a specific, unique situation, and that the goal was to develop leaders do the lion’s share of the pastoral work.

The church needs more preachers, ministers, and missionaries who are trying to work themselves out of a job by strengthening churches and establishing local leaders who will advance the cause, lead the congregation, and encourage the member to support the work of the local church with their time, activities, and money (which may include a local minister).

Few who have genuinely received the call to preach and evangelize are going to be happy if their work is primarily in the mold associated with “local ministry.” Paul’s words to Timothy provide a helpful reminder: do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your service (2 Timothy 4:5). For Timothy, preaching and evangelism was his ministry.

P.S. I wrote back to the brother and suggested that if he wanted to preach, he should preach. Find a congregation to work with, help build up the local church, volunteer to teach and preach at every opportunity and do it well. Do not worry if you have to work vocationally in order to preach: Preach the Word!

How would you have responded to this brother? How can the church more effectively train national preachers?

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