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Thanks for visiting our website! This month’s picture is from the August 2018 retreat of Colombian preachers in Santa Marta. I was honored to be asked to participate. [Click picture to enlarge.]

Colombian Preachers

Ministry and mission work is a team effort -- Jan and I have shared the work of ministry and missions for 49+ years! Countless people 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. One of my favorite breakfasts is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of rich Colombian coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and to 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 as disciples of 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, 2014

Stars to Steer By: Opportunity

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Another Friday, another quote.  This one from my high school days.  I’ve never forgotten it.  I don’ t know the original source.  Perhaps my mother found it and shared it.  She loved little sayings and quotes.

“When opportunity knocks at the front door, too many are in the back yard looking for four-leaf clovers.”

Stars to Steer By: Change

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Through the past 6+ year of blogging, I have often devoted Friday blogs to quotations which I call “Stars to Steer By.” These can be accessed through the “quote” category. For the remainder of 2014, I am going to use some Fridays to repeat some of my favorites. I hope you find insight and encouragement in these little thoughts.

“We must become the change we want to see in the world.” –Mohandas Gandhi

Ephesians 4: the church that genuinely serves

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Churches that understand their identity, mission, and eternal purpose are most likely to do the things God wants. The church exists in God’s eternal purpose to unite all things under Christ. In Ephesians 4, the church participates in this purpose through the ministry of every member, facilitated by the leaders Christ places in the body.

What factors encourage genuine service?

  • 1. Attitude of SPIRITUALITY, Eph. 4:1-2
  • 2. Environment of UNITY, 4:3-6
  • 3. Acknowledgement and acceptance of God’s GENEROSITY, 4:7-10
  • 4. Commitment to GROWTH–teamwork and variety in the body, 4:11-13
  • 5. Churches functioning in MATURITY, 4:14-16

Ephesians 4:1-16–Understanding the church and what it does

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Ephesians 4 begins the practical section of Paul’s Ephesian letter.  Paul undergirds action with principle.  Chapters 1-3 focus on church identity, “Who are we?” The church must understand its identity and purpose.  Chapters 4-6 answer the question, “What do we do?”  The Christian life that reflects our shared identity in Christ Jesus includes requirements, reasons, response, and results.

  • Requirements.  Paul reminds that our calling in Christ is a calling to humility, gentleness, patience (forbearance), love, and relationships.
  • Reasons.  Our shared life is based in our mutual commitment to peace and unity, our common faith, the gifts of God, the nature of God’s community, and Jesus Christ.  This shared life is reality and merely a dream.
  • Responsibility.  We are responsible to and for one another.  We mature together, following the example of Jesus.  The body functions and is self-sustaining.  We must use our gifts.
  • Results.  The result is a shared life of stability and support.  The body focuses on Jesus and together lives out the truth in love.  God’s picture of maturity is not only for individuals.  Individuals mature as part of a mature body of believers.

Paul’s conclusion is that the church then grows and is edified through the mutual work of the members with all members functioning according to their own specific activities in the body.

Church Renewal–How?

Monday, August 18th, 2014

The church is in constant need of renewal. The past is never good enough; the present is fleeting; we want the future to be better–as bright and good as it can be. In my experience, many churches desire renewal but do not know how to find it. Church renewal occurs when multiple dynamics are brought into play simultaneously. This blog identifies and describes three essential components of church renewal. These are not a cure-all or a guarantee, but they are essential to the renewal process.

Church renewal seldom occurs unless the church is reasonably healthy. Many authors have written about church illness and church health. Here is a list of eight symptoms of church illness from Kent Allen: maintenance complex, failure syndrome, credibility gap, fellowshipitis, people blindness, overcrowding, leadership tensions, and old age. A church may function reasonably well despite the presence of some of these symptoms, but experience confirms that churches that look inward, cannot see outward, lack bridges of communication and credibility to their community, and have a history of failure seldom have the spiritual strength to move forward. Allen also lists eight signs of health: effective leadership, an agreed agenda, believing prayer, life-related Bible teaching, mobilized membership, community minded, ongoing evangelism, and new member assimilation and incorporation. Such lists suggest two needs: eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive.

While negatives must be addressed, many churches can take a major step toward renewal by focusing on the development of a healthy congregation. Committed leaders can actively work on processes for identifying a vision and mission that can unite the church, mobilize the members, and encourage the active involvement of new members. Coupled with prayer and fresh Bible teaching, these positives can help initiate renewal. Churches with a clear sense of identity and purpose are more likely to have the energy to reach others.

Churches struggle with renewal when they do not know who they are. Church identity is not an easy task. What we were in the past is not what we are today. Some think the church is the same as it was, but such cannot be. Churches that seek and find renewal usually find a renewed identity. There are lots of ways to give a church a fresh identity. Some of the more obvious ones are name, descriptions, vision, mission, personnel, and leadership. The church must know itself; the church must also escape any false identities that have arisen in the minds or perceptions of the community. The latter is usually more difficult that the former.

Churches that find genuine renewal have a clearly defined mission. That mission should be grounded in Scripture and God’s mission for the church. A church that knows who it is and what it is about is well on its way to renewal. Add a commitment to healthy church dynamics, and renewal is even more likely.

Churches that find genuine renewal have a sense of purpose that transcends self. God has exceedingly great goals for the church. He lends his exceedingly great power to the task. God’s glory dwells in the church that is genuinely his–indwelt by Christ, energized by a power beyond mere human efforts, fervently seeking to understand God’s purpose which has been demonstrated by God’s love and mercy.

Stars to Steer By: Devotional Study

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Devotional study of the Bible “…is the spirit of eagerness which seeks the mind of God; it is the spirit of humility which listens to the voice of God; it is the spirit of adventure which pursues earnestly the will of God; it is the spirit of adoration which rests in the presence of God.”
–Merrill C. Tenney. Galatians: Charter of Christian Liberty. Eerdmans, 1950, pp. 207-8.

Colossians 1 Revisited: Kingdom People

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

What does God want from us?  What does God want from his creation?  What is God’s message that we are called to take into all the world?

These questions continue to burn in my heart.  We have made our little lists.  We have focused on an institutional concept of the kingdom and missed the bigger picture.  We have been more interested in being affiliated with the kingdom than in becoming genuine kingdom people, fulfilling God’s purpose as “image of God” people in a fallen world.  Mere affiliation with the kingdom (membership, church roles, even church attendance) will never substitute for being a kingdom person with total allegiance and loyalty to the King.

God has rescued us and moved us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son.  The text continues by (1) reminding us of how powerful Jesus is because of who he is and what he has done that makes him worthy of praise and adoration, (2) calling us to participate in the redemption and reconciliation he provides, (3)  challenging us to find genuine hope through his presence within us, and (4) communicating God’s ultimate purpose in Christ that we become mature and genuine.  No wonder Paul wrote:  We Proclaim Him!

You can read the entire story in Colossians 1:13-29.  Praise Him, Proclaim Him!

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