Issues of the Day, Just for fun

Here’s To Social Media Posts, Yours and Mine

images-2Facebook and social media in general have seemingly taken over our lives in some good and some not so good ways. What follows are a few ways in which I wish Facebook posts didn’t exist; posts I’d rather not read.

  • Pictures of what you are making or eating for dinner.
  • How boring your day was and how you feel at the moment.
  • Pictures of your family pet doing absolutely nothing.
  • Political articles or posts that are caustic, often falsely reported or of no literal value when it comes to making conscientious political decisions.
  • You or others working out at the gym.
  • Constant pictures of your new hairstyle, clothing or latest tattoo.
  • Off color jokes and the like.
  • Half dressed persons doing half-baked, questionable activities.
  • Reposting posts that you have not fact checked or checked the background on as to whether or not they are even true.  (Suggestion, check: first)
  • Your latest practical joke that is almost criminal.

Why? Remember who you reflect and who you represent.  If you do not police your own posts, the only “friends” and “followers” you’re ever going to have might be stalkers, psychologists, your employer or potential employer and/or the police. Most assuredly they won’t give you a “like.”images

Encouragement, Issues of the Day

You Have a Bible in the English Language; what are You Doing With It?

william-tyndale-featured-imageIt was the early 1500’s when an ordained minister was executed after imprisonment, being strangled and finally burned at the stake as a heretic. This “heretic” was a Protestant theologian and was the first to translate the Bible from the original languages into English. However, King Henry III and the English church authorities were hostile toward the project. William Tyndale finished only the New Testament and this Bible was printed in 1525.

Tyndale had to smuggle Bibles into England and his version became extremely popular. So much so, that when the church officials got ahold of them they would burn them. Church leaders burned the Bible…interesting. Tyndale had to work on translating the Old Testament in his jail cell and it is believed that he made it to the book of II Chronicles.images-11

Today whole denominations and church leaders are turning away from the truths of the scriptures and we think it’s something new. It’s not new; it is simply a repeat of some very dark times in history. Christians suffered for their beliefs. If you believe that God’s sacred act of marriage was given to us for one man and one woman, you will meet up with criticism and scows for your belief. If you believe there is a literal, eternal hell, you will get pushback. If you believe that a sexual relationship is for married persons only, you will be made fun of. And someday it will go beyond words, looks and laughter until we see a revival and more God-fearing leadership in the nations of the world.

Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Prayer

1953 and Our National Day of Prayer

images-5The National day of Prayer was originally designated on July 4, 1953 as a day of prayer and penance. However the man who instituted this day spent July 4, 1953 fishing, golfing and playing bridge. During the 1950’s, church attendance was at an all-time high in America and most best-selling books were religious ones. Crime rates were low and divorce was rare. Unemployment was low and the nation was prospering. Prior to the turmoil of the decade to come, the nation had a confidence in God.

images-8Who was this all-important and influential man who designated such an important annual day of reflection for America? It was Dwight D.Eisenhower. Dwight was named after the great evangelist Dwight L. Moody. Dwight Eisenhower’s parents were devout members of a German Mennonite group called the River Brethren. The River Brethren were known for their pacifism and certainly did not condone drinking alcohol, smoking or playing cards, of which Dwight eventually did all three. General Eisenhower grew up in a home that was dedicated to teaching him the Bible and he could quote many passages at length. Today he is hailed as one of the greatest US military generals.

images-7Was this two-term President a hypocrite or did he believe that America had a duty to acknowledge God? Was he fallen away from his personal relationship with Christ or was he being used by and obeying Christ for such an important season of America’s history? “…Listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life…” (Proverbs 4:20-22)

Encouragement, Issues of the Day

What is Your Biggest Need in Life?

images-4imagesWe all have needs. Recently I asked the following question to a group of persons outside of the US, “What is your biggest need in life?” The answers were varied, but a few included: education, money, food and medical attention. I then posed a second question, “What if I could bring a very wealthy man or woman to you and they would meet all of your need?” The group erupted with applause and responded with a brief conversation to the one seated beside them.   I could tell they were looking at me wondering if I would bring just such a person. I followed up with this question, “After your need is met, will you ever have another need and then desire to meet with this person once again?” Some could see where the line of questioning was headed.images-5

A story Jesus told in Luke chapter 12 reveals there was a man who grew in wealth through his abundance of harvest. He decided to build bigger barns to store all his grain and goods. He looked over his situation and exclaimed, “’You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ His need was more than met, but the caution was eventually the grain would run out. If we are looking to a man, our employer, an inheritance, the lottery or some form of windfall, eventually we’ll be disappointed because it too will run out.

Two thousand years ago that “Man” did arrive to heal, to bring the good news of the gospel and to do more than meet needs. He was followed, worshipped, revered and looked to as a rescuer. But when He stopped meeting needs and willingly went to the cross for all mankind, those same followers rejected Him and cursed Him.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  (Matthew 6:33)

Encouragement, Mission Report

Where the Rooster Crows Early; the Sights and Sounds of Haiti

IMG_1752The 100%, all natural, purely organic alarm sounds off at 4:14 AM, sometimes earlier. Many other “alarms” follow the lead of this rooster from house to house and Haiti begins to stir. Soon the smell of charcoal smoke wafts into the room where I would still much rather be sleeping. I can hear the old yellow school buses, reconstituted from the USA as an oversized, overloaded taxi, carrying far too many passengers. They are traveling through the main street at a very high rate of speed, constantly blowing their horns while NOT slowing down. A quick prayer asking God that no one is run over, hit or killed. Dogs are barking as they begin their daily routine of scavenging food. Goats bleating and children are stirring. I crawl off my deflating air mattress and out from under my mosquito net. It was a better night of sleep due to the rain vs. the night before when it was 89 degrees in my room with no breeze and no fan. There is no electric here in Montrouis and after many years of traveling to this town, it makes life just a bit more challenging when it comes to…well, everything really.

IMG_1729We are here to conduct a DOVE International Regional Gathering with 27 Haitian churches. There will be many hungry leaders in attendance and we can’t wait to share God’s word with them through teaching, through a skit, through our love and acceptance of them, through handshakes and hugs and through one of their favorite things: a plate full of chicken, rice, fried green plantain, beans and pic kle’ (a local spicy, fermented cold cabbage slaw). It will be a good day and we pray that our Father speaks exactly what they are in need of as primary leaders of the many churches found within three different cities here in Haiti.  And, my very favorite Haitian drink will be served almost cold – Coke in a bottle.IMG_1731

IMG_1720The training begins with an accordion and exuberant worship. They pray for our day like it’s the last day on earth. How do we follow such faith and such expectation? It’s a joy to love these men and women who live in dire need, but who love Jesus. I take time to share that Jesus knows our needs and how the DOVE family prays for their church family in Haiti. Their face speaks a nonverbal, “Really, us?” They smile and are warmed that someone(s) is praying for them.

There are far too many needs here to mention, but the greatest, in my mind, is the truth of the gospel that can lift them out of poverty, out of a hopeless condition and out of a mindset of certain thinking caused by years of poverty. What we offer is life changing, life-giving and life eternal.

IMG_1715Yesterday a little boy told me he was hungry and I gave him a pack of crackers. He smiled and ate them in front of me waiting for something else. He could not speak English and I could not speak Creole, but a hand to the belly means one thing and it was good to be able to share. A similar thing happened last night and we shared bread and banana with two men. I can’t imagine being hungry without any capacity to relieve that hunger. However, a far greater need exist here in Haiti and it’s what causes that poverty and loss: government corruption, crime, the lack of police reinforcement of any laws, generations of poverty thinking, the lack of an infrastructure for travel and utilities, blaming life needs and issues on others and not taking responsibility, a poor and fractured school system and so much more.

Quite honestly, without all the Christian missionaries, pastors, teachers, orphanages and poverty relief organizations, I have no idea where Haiti might be. But “relief” is only immediate and then the powerless Haitian needs more relief. We need more than relief here; we need schools, life training in business and technical training so jobs can be created. And then we need leaders who will lead with integrity, honesty and moral responsibility. Government leaders who will care more about the people who elected them than their multimillion dollar home they are building in the countryside.  We are so thankful for some amazing DOVE leaders who work tirelessly and diligently to bring life to this nation.  It is great to serve alongside them.

IMG_1761Speaking of an orphanage, we were able to visit with Dada, a friend of ours who is a nurse by profession, but who chooses to take in orphans.  She has ten 18 year-old girls because those girls must leave orphanages at 18 and often find themselves on the street.  She takes them in.  She also has taken in 10 babies with various issues of illness and need.  Some she has birth certificates for and others she does not, but one thing is for sure, they are receiving Dada’s love and care.  Please pray for her as she attempts to feed and care for 21 orphans.

This is a beautiful and fertile nation that could lead in solar energy, hydropower, coffee plantations, sugar mills, tree farms and the like. Pray for Haiti.

Help us, Father, to change one life, one mindset at a time. Bless the DOVE churches who not only preach the good news, but who care for and educate the children Monday through Friday on so very little. Give us leaders in the churches, in the schools, in business and in government who will lead in integrity, caring for the people. Empower us to empower them. You have so many children here and so much is, can be and will be accomplished. Keep their faith strong in light of the many needs before them. In Jesus’ name.