Just saw a tweet from a Brazilian newspaper: Unicef says that liking on Facebook doesn’t save a life, but money does.
It’s the old well-wishing problem that lacks action behind it.
Now I’m going to say something and don’t take me wrong. (More …)
Just saw a tweet from a Brazilian newspaper: Unicef says that liking on Facebook doesn’t save a life, but money does.
It’s the old well-wishing problem that lacks action behind it.
Now I’m going to say something and don’t take me wrong. (More …)
After uncountable moons, I added another One-Liner Dictionary entry on my blog. Which prompted this thought: Sincerity is not blabbing everything that pops into your head, but it is rather freedom from hypocrisy and purity of motive. Instead of giving permission to speak ill of others, or to others, sincerity allows one to consider their needs and speak and act in their interest. Sincerity does not oblige one to say all one thinks, but induces one to choose carefully and in a timely manner how to be honest and frank and to avoid duplicity and hypocrisy.
• The owners of the West, Texas, fertilizer plant are Christians. Several homes of saints were destroyed, including the preacher’s. For more, see the BNc story by Mark Teske. As in any disaster, they need help, and fast. Brethren are responding.
• After learning on April 7 that we’d be losing some major support in August, we’ve renewed the invitation for congregations and individuals to share in the GoSpeak effort. This effort includes TFR, BrotherhoodNews.com, Forthright Magazine, and a host of other services, virtual and real.
The American economic crisis is taking its toll on the worldwide missionary effort. Our loss is just one small piece of it. We do well responding to material needs and meeting physical crises. Not so well, perhaps, in feeling the urgency of the gospel message.
• The Firstborn has fired up his blog. Do read and follow him. I think he’s the only one at the moment who, among our progeny, is doing some writing.
• Here’s another evangelistic effort, an e-book, that I’ve heard good things about, but I’m not sure sure what the “generic version” tries to do that the other can’t. I’m in the middle of reading.
• Working on an article, inspired from using Psalm 14 last night in our reading group: “Why Does the Bible Repeat Itself?” Got any ideas on how to answer that question? I’ve thought of four, so far. Not sure where I’ll use it. My first thought is Biblical Notes, since I’m long past overdue for an article there.
• With the Boston explosions and now the West, Tex., incident, the sermon outlines about why bad stuff happens are getting dusted off, with reason. (Lately, they’ve had lots of use.) Let us be sure we preach the right perspective, however.
When people of Jesus’ day shared with him the newspaper’s latest headlines about disasters, he preached repentance, Lk 13.1ff. He did not vary from his message, Mk 1.14-15. He corrected their wrong interpretations of events and urged them to make sure that their lives were in order before God. Let us make sure we do the same as our Lord. (More …)
The new year always seems to result in some extra requests for funds related to mission work. If you know of some missionaries who are seeking funds, feel free to let them know they can post information about their search for finances at
This site also has some the links that congregations and preachers can use to help them connect with one another.
In Him, Brad Price
An issue covering a variety of Bible subjects and activities in the churches of Christ may be yours each month for a nominal subscription fee. Information and address are available at: gospelgleaner.com
Any saints or churches changing or cancelling their activities due to Hurricane Sandy? Romney and Biden have cancelled or rescheduled events on the east coast. We wonder about the churches in that region. What have you heard? We’d like to put something up on BNc.
• Jeremy Barrier and Will Bridges visited us Wed.-Thurs., and Jeremy presented his material on the so-called “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.” We had 25 people in our little living room to hear it, some eight or nine of them not in a relationship with God. Another one was out back watching the kids. People were quite impressed with the material. Jeremy had earlier given this material at Heritage Christian University. More on that, probably, in a few days, on GoSpeak.org.
• All 28 or so of those stayed afterwards to eat five pizzas that we’d ordered, plus some other goodies that friends brought. The stragglers left around 11 p.m., so it was a long night for our guests, who held up with a smile and warm attentiveness to participants.
• One down, at least three to go, assigned or agreed-upon articles for both print and online magazines. This besides other writing responsibilities. When they are published, I’ll be sure to tell you, but won’t give them away ahead of time. The editors might not like the articles, so I don’t want to have egg on my face.
• BrotherhoodNews.com has a slew of news items this month, 22 so far by the archive count. Do check them out. They’ll bring you sadness and joy. Some obituaries, others of accidents, preachers, persecution—you get the idea. If you’re not signed up to get notifications by email, you have that option in the top right column.
• In public we don’t talk, much, about the behind-the-scenes work of Forthright/GoSpeak. Time is short, for one thing. Don’t figure people are much interested in it, for another. But a couple of BNc tweets takes us back both in time and perspective. (More …)
The Missus and I received our absentee ballots on Monday, promptly marked all the items of interest, and put them back in the mail. We voted against casinos, new taxes, and medical marijuana, as well as against candidates who support taking the life of unborn children, restrict religious freedom and conscience, and promote homosexuality, among other issues of interest to all Christians.
• Our Internet Provider, which hosts BNc, FMag, FPress, BPrayer, and my own little blog, has locked me out of all of them for working hard. I was testing themes in the first site when the hammer fell. Hours later, I’m still waiting to hear from the honchos about my situation. In the meantime I can’t even open the sites. Nada. This is the third time this has happened. Seems like there ought to be a better way to protect a server than by walloping a hard worker. Bellyaching over.
• The BNc site is stuck with an experimental theme until I can get back in and settle on one. After almost four years of the same theme, it’s past its prime. Time to update.
• Speaking of honchos, do you know from what language the word is borrowed? Think before you answer! English is a fascinating language, borrowing from so many of the world’s tongues, so that, according to linguists, it has the largest vocabulary of all of them. No excuse for lacking for a word, now is there?
• If all works out well, tomorrow The Missus and I will host two good American brothers for the day. Their main work this fall break is to teach in Peru. They’re swinging by Brazil to see us in our setting. We’ll have a couple of days with them next week as they head back home. One of them, representing a supporting congregation, we’ve known for some years; the other we’ll have the pleasure of meeting.
• For lunch today, The Missus fried up some manioc from the organic garden of our brother in Christ, Liu, who brings us home-grown delicacies on occasion. I grew up on fried taters, but it would be hard to beat the taste of the light and crispy manioc. The chicken and lentils-and-whole-rice were quite good as well. How to stay a long time on the mission field? Learn to like the local culture, including the food. OK, so I’m still working on the feijoada, with the pig ears and tails and other less seemly parts.
• Last night in our home Bible reading group, we read the whole chapter of Matthew 18. Big idea there are the little ones. See my blog for a devotional on that. Don’t miss the line of application where I take on big-dog preachers, theological education, and building programs. Is there anybody I didn’t offend yet? (More …)
Critics lit into Mitt Romney when, during his visit to Israel, he compared the Israelis favorably to the Palestinians. They seemed to criticize not the content of his comparison, but the legitimacy of comparing people groups.
Paul held to no such political correctness. He characterized the Cretans and quoted one of their own with approval.
“Someone who is one of their own prophets said, ‘People from Crete are always liars, wild animals, and lazy gluttons.’ This statement is true. Because of this, correct them firmly, so that they can be healthy in their faith” (Titus 1.12-13 CEB).
So do you think Titus had a specially tough assignment? Was he in a highly resistant mission field? Is the letter to him a good sign or bad, of the gospel in tough cultures?
A British hotel has thrown out the Gideon Bibles … and now offers its guests a Kindle preloaded with Scripture, supposedly the first to do so. The report didn’t say whether the guests could take the Kindle with them. The general manager said they wanted to reflect the town’s literary character “in a very contemporary way” with the “cutting-edge Kindles.” Let’s hope they included a version that people could understand.
• Not every hotel and chain will be able to afford Kindles, so the Gideons will not be going out of business any time soon.
• The Lord’s church lost a Bible translation and distribution ministry recently. The World Bible Translation Center merged with the Bible League International and in doing so became an evangelical cause.
• Do we have in the brotherhood any ongoing, major efforts at Bible distribution? I’m not aware of any, though I’m usually the last to hear about things. Maybe our efforts are spread out among the churches and missions ministries, dunno.
• We who proclaim the sufficiency of Scripture, why don’t we do more Bible distribution? When was the last time you gave somebody a copy of Scripture? Or when did your congregation last hand out copies of the Bible?
On occasion we bump into people we know at big airports like DFW, as we did today. Barbara Leite and her two girls were traveling to visit in-laws in Brazil, were on the same plane as we were. Barbara is the daughter of veteran missionaries Bryan and Jacqueline Bost. There’s just something warm and pleasant about seeing familiar faces in places like airports, bumping into friends along your journey.
• The first time that happened to me, as I recall, was in 1978 or ’79. I was returning to the US from a campaign in Brazil, my first or second there (here), I’m not sure, but I think it was the second. Howard Norton and I wound up on the same plane and were able to sit together. That visit was important for me as he encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree and get some experience before moving to the mission field.
• I took Howard’s advice. It was sound counsel for me.
• Our plane last night hit an air pocket and dropped suddenly. A young man was making his way down the aisle, from the bathroom perhaps, when it happened. After the drop, he ran, literally, to his seat. The turbulence set the whole plane a-chatter. But before and after that one drop, the flight was smooth.
• That happened, too, on my very first international flight, from JFK in New York to London, in 1976, when the A Cappella Singers of FHU headed to Europe for a campaign and tour. It was a prolonged drop, frightening. I seem to remember one or more persons bumping their heads on the ceiling. Right off, I was convinced of the need to remain belted in when seated.
• On the domestic leg from Nashville to DFW, I can’t but overhear a conversation directly behind me between an older gentleman and a woman. He asks what her husband does for a living. Cost accounting, I think, was the answer. He asked her what that was. She didn’t know. I thought that was sad, that a wife didn’t know what her husband did to provide her and her children a living.
• I’m grateful to God and thankful to my wife that she participates in what I do.
• I often complain of Brazilian red tape, so I feel obligated to mention one less document needed. In the São Paulo airport this morning, I asked about the paper to fill out for customs. I was told that, if one had nothing to declare, no paper was necessary. You just walk right through. (Of course, an official sits watching passengers leave and can pull anyone over to examine bags.) Now that’s progress!
At the moment, the TFR site has reached the top number of hits ever. Let’s see how far it gets at day’s end.
• Beautiful day in Denton TX and a blessed time with the Weylan Deaver family. Tonight, we’ll enjoy a moment with the Sherman Drive congregation and share updates (video link) on our work.
• Thanks to the Deaver’s for providing me time and space to write the first draft of the article, “Being a Family in a Strange Land,” for The Jenkins Institute’s magazine, Hope and Expectation.
• What do Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida have in common? They all have churches regularly supporting our GoSpeak/Forthright ministry. God bless them all!
By Kevin Moore (Missionary in New Zealand)
What do you do when you’re working your dream job (teaching Bible and missions at Freed-Hardeman University) but your heart is pulling you back to the mission field? Why not ask for a leave of absence? You’d be surprised at how little resistance the administration raises and how happy they are to not pay your salary for the next couple of years!
A mission team is formed. A mission field is targeted. A plan is developed for establishing the Lord’s church in a city where it does not exist. A departure date is set. Fund-raising commences. Our house is prepared for renting, and renters are secured who sign a lease and agree that if they move out before our return, suitable replacements will be found. One-way airline tickets are purchased. We are on the proverbial fast-moving train, and there is no stopping it, no getting off, and no turning back. Then come the challenges.
Due to the economic recession, after eight grueling months on the fund-raising trail and only four months from our departure date and final pay check, zero support has been committed. But we press on. The other members of our mission team start dropping out until all that is left is our family. But we press on. After our departure, in less than a week the renters had moved out of our house without finding replacements to pay the rent and cover our mortgage. Then my wife falls and breaks her ankle in three places, requiring surgery, eleven days in the hospital, and months of rehabilitation. Our vehicle is rear-ended and written off. The cost of living is higher than we anticipated, and the currency exchange rate consistently moves in the wrong direction, decreasing our monthly income. Is this God’s way of telling us that what we’re attempting to do is not His will? Or could it be something else trying to hinder us? It can’t be the former, because we know what the divine will is – go, preach, make disciples. So we press on.
Despite the financial struggles everyone is facing, the support that we need eventually comes through. New renters move into the house we left behind and cover our mortgage payments. Without the original team of co-workers, we solicit the involvement of nearby Christians who prove to be an even greater asset to this new work. My wife recovers. Our vehicle is replaced. The budget is tightened and the family does not go hungry. More importantly, souls are reached, and in just over a year the church of Christ has been planted and is growing where it had never been known before. God has blessed us and this work beyond anything we could have ever imagined!
In recent years I have heard a lot of “church bashing,” but most of it seems to be coming from those who have never stepped out in faith and seen the Lord working through His church nor opened their eyes to witness the generosity and faithfulness of God’s people. It’s easy to sit around and complain about what’s wrong with the church. But if we present ourselves as willing instruments in our Father’s capable hands and persistently go about His business, we will experience first-hand all that is right with the church.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Special to TFR
How would you illustrate, say, for a magazine cover, the theme of the Christian name? I went with this idea for our Brazilian mag, delivered today to the printer.
• Sometimes I dream of a Forthright print magazine, with news articles pulled from BNc, devotionals, and articles from our online zine. Then on days like today, after wrapping up the Brazilian mag, I give thanks we don’t have one in English.
• Several challenges lately on some of our websites. I don’t consider it down-time, just part of the process to keep everything working smoothly. But Murphy’s Law guarantees that it all happens at once.
• Say a prayer for the family of the nephew of our neighbors, who happen to be also The Maiden’s (former) music school teacher. The young man was killed by a gunshot to the head, in front of his house, apparently, by robbers. He was 26, engaged to be married.
• In years past, and some this year, I’ve traveled across the country to speak. A lot. My dream is to say no to all travel, stay in my little region of the country (with some 3 million people) to write, publish, and evangelize around here. Can I start today, with future invitations? Can I?
• Last Sunday, a young dating couple showed up at church. They’re from the greater São Paulo area, were up in the mountains on vacation with the girl’s mother, who’s not a Christian. The two of them, in their early 20s, made the hour trip to come to church. They’ve been Christians for three or four years. What an example!
• Since the church’s mission is to teach the gospel to the whole world, which scenario should we be seeing: churches lined up to find missionaries to support, or missionaries scrambling and crisscrossing the country trying to find support? You know which one we see. What does that say about us?
A Nashville church plant, supposedly one of ours, is growing. and there is much to commend its approach. But the newspaper report also records numerous problematic (from our standpoint, not the paper’s) points. None is so great to my mind, even counting the use of instrumental music, as this one:
[The sermon] was supposed to be from the Gospel of Matthew, but Clayton switched gears around 5 a.m., explaining he felt God wanted him to speak from Hebrews.
When people begin to feel what God wants them to do, there is no limit to how far they will distance themselves from the divine will as revealed in Scripture.
My heart grew heavy when I read that two evangelical missions groups will merge, “forming a body representative of 35,000 evangelical missionaries deployed in every country by more than 190 agencies and churches.” Why heavy? Would to God that the Lord’s church had so many, and in so many places!
• Over on the Forthright Press Facebook page, a poll asks which offering of FP you most read or visit. Pop over there right now and give it a click.
• A pundit and fellow (adopted) Arkansan gives his view of education in this quote: “In his preface to ‘Culture and Anarchy,’ Matthew Arnold said the purpose of education was to pass on ‘the best which has been thought and said.’” Would you agree with that? If not, how would you define the purpose of education. I remember that one Christian college defined its mission as “teaching how to live and how to make a living.”
• Just received an email from an old friend, a former editor of a poetry magazine who was kind enough to publish an item or two of mine. She is an essayist, poet, and painter. I love her style in all three. Check out Margaret Been’s Northern Reflections.
• How quickly time changes things! Take the image at right, for example. Not everybody will know the connection. Over time, we ourselves change, too. Inevitably, the body runs down and expires. But the spirit can go against this world’s deterioration and deepening corruption. When we attach ourselves to Jesus Christ, “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” we grow toward his perfection, into his image.
• I’ve plugged the distributed social network Diaspora* before, but here’s a site and chart that explains it very well and shows comparisons to Facebook and Google+. Come on in, the water’s fine!
• Last, a quatrain; let’s call it “Forever and a Day”:
Forever and a day, they say,
Some want it now, without delay,
I’ll keep eternity. —JRM
Wes Dawson is discussing. Toggle Comments
Text: Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16. One of the great themes of the Bible is evangelism and missions. Even in the Old Testament, the Jews were supposed tell others about the One True God. We see this theme elaborated more in the New Testament.
All throughout the Old Testament, a Redeemer was promised. There are prophecies starting in Genesis 3:15 through Malachi about the promised Messiah.
The Apostle Paul told us in Galatians 4:4, that God sent forth His Son. Jesus was born, lived and died for our sins and was resurrected according to the Scriptures (I Cor. 15:3-4). After the resurrection He gave the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16), first of all to the Eleven Disciples and then to us today.
In Acts 1:8-9 we read of His ascension into Heaven after He gave them the commission to start where they were with the preaching of the Gospel and then spread out to other lands. This should be our pattern for missions. Some are called to be foreign missionaries, while some are called to be missionaries here in the USA, and ALL of us are called to be missionaries in our “world,” our circle of influence.
I’ve mentioned before that the World Convention, an ecumenical movement involving Disciples of Christ, Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, and progressives in the Lord’s body, is coming to Brazil next year. Some congregations here are already promoting it. Its goal is to lay aside doctrine as a barrier to fellowship and to interface with the wider religious scene in Christendom.
Let no one say they did it from ignorance. But many churches, even supposedly faithful ones, are participating in efforts with progressives here. They think they can do it and still remain pure. “Take what is good, and spit out the bones,” one Brazilian elder told me, who sought me out to persuade me to participate in and approve of the Brazilian version of ACU’s ElderLink. They brought down an evangelical to speak for that.
The Brazilian ethos is to avoid conflict. One of our challenges is to teach that one cannot be a Christian and approve of everyone’s behavior, not even in the church. Many want to continue fellowship with those who bring another teaching, and think that they won’t be affected, nor will such teaching spread. Such people are ignoring clear instructions from God.
It pains me to see, and I agonize over how much and how far to speak. I certainly teach these things in the congregations where I work and in the venues where I am invited to speak. This issue affects so many even there in the U.S., some of the most conservative supporting churches and most respected brethren are turning a blind eye to it. Let us pray that the Lord may preserve his people, for the road will be long and hard.
J. Randal Matheny, I Know the Sickening Feeling Well » Walking with God, and Chad Dollahite are discussing. Toggle Comments
So far, six or seven writers have sent in their 100-word paragraph about 9/11. We expect more tomorrow, so Sunday’s collection of perspectives ought to make for an interesting read on Forthright Mag. Don’t miss it!
People must think I’m an expert. I’ve gotten queries about Internet software and apps from webmasters for well-known brethren’s sites. I’m by web knowledge like I am by Koine Greek: I know enough to be dangerous. But I may have actually helped someone somewhere. To God the glory!
As a member of a dwindling subset in the church — of missionaries who actually reside and speak the language of the people where they serve — I feel like something of an oddball. You ever get the feeling there aren’t many places you actually fit in? Maybe the sensation will pass by morning.
Unrelated to the above sensation, somebody discovered I don’t belong to their group. They weren’t happy, but I’m pleased. Sorry to be vague, but you really don’t want to know more.
Isn’t it encouraging to see good works go forward? Like the Christian Worker going online? I’ve received it by email, in PDF, for a while, and appreciate that solid effort.
Someone once recommended extending the invitation (sans song) before the sermon rather than afterwards. The writer thought it avoided manipulation. Since in our congregations we don’t use the invitation song, at times I’ve offered the invitation on the front-end. It worked well when I did. Helps people to think, it seems, that the lesson is for acting upon, and not just for listening. Try it, since having one before and after certainly can’t hurt. Consider it the pre-invitation.
A daughter-in-law wrote to ask if everything was all right. She’d noticed my absence on Facebook. A friend also queried. Everything was very all right.
Saturday we received two American visitors from a supporting church. All our time was devoted to them, until they left yesterday for Peru, to teach there. This congregation began supporting us last December, so our conversations were very helpful to fill in a lot of blanks about their work and how we fit in.
Before they arrived, however, early Saturday morning, around 4:30, I rushed The Missus to the hospital with tachycardia. They couldn’t find her blood pressure, it was so low, and when they did it was 80/40. They got her stable with nitro, oxygen, and I know not what other measures. By the afternoon, she was released and accompanied us to the BBQ in Taubaté.
While she was wired and tubed, I went to the São Paulo airport, about an hour away, to pick up our guests. I’d asked a friend to stay with her while I was gone. I scooped them up, dropped them at our house, where Leila and a friend of hers from São Paulo were, then returned to the hospital to sit with Vicki. After her release, we drove to Taubaté and enjoyed the BBQ, but I kept an eye on her. She didn’t have to do anything there except eat.
I was almost entirely absent from the Internet from Saturday through yesterday, when we all had lunch with friends in São Paulo and then dropped our distinguished visitors off at the airport. They went on to Peru to teach in a program there, and we returned home to a quiet house, all the more so since Leila stayed in São Paulo to visit a friend for a few days.
Now to catch up on a bit of work and prepare for our monthly advanced Bible study on Saturday.
Saturday, we’ll receive two brothers from the Madison AL church as they come to see what we’re up to and how we live, as well as explore future ministry possibilities. Pray for their safe trip and for a good visit, which we’re looking forward to. One of them we knew somewhat in college, but not well, so we’re looking forward to getting to know him better, and meet the other brother.
• They’ll go on from here to Peru, where the congregation is involved. They fly back to the US on Sept. 11, the ten-year anniversary of 9/11.
• Some conservative Lutherans are disavowing denominationalism. They tout their creeds as the only right ones. Their Missouri synod, along with a few other, er, religious groups, “holds the pure confession.” No discussion of such an obviously sectarian name. Those who hold to the restoration of the New Testament church will find it a strange discussion.
• Some congregations have a “What to expect” page on their websites, and I like that. Some time ago, I put something similar up on ours, for English-speaking visitors, called “Tips.” One tip reads thus, “The sermon does not include a hymn of invitation. We prefer to teach individually so that people may come to a personal decision not swayed by the emotion of the moment.”
• In our city, two thousands trees are to be cut down after being evaluated as a threat in some way (Portuguese-language news link). A report says the yearly average is one thousand. But it states that another 48 thousand are condemned because of disease or inadequate placement. Here’s a sad truth: The city takes better care of its trees than its population. Sign of the eco-nut times.
• In our region of the state, the two major bus companies, owned by the same folk, have 427 buses on 120 routes, that serve 50 cities (another Portuguese-language link). They provide a good service for the price, on time, fairly recent buses, usually clean. The US needs such service, and one columnist says some independent lines are beginning to pop up there (remember: (I’m outside the US, so it’s there for me). Take a look at those, they seem to be a decent option.
• For our guests Saturday, no buses, only personal chauffering. We will have for them a churrasco, Brazilian-style BBQ along with a number of saints from both congregations here. I’m not having to lift a finger, except to pop some meat in my mouth. Next week, I’ll double up on the veggies. Y’all come!
Nathan Franson, preacher for the Kissimmee, Fla., church, is in Murmansk, Russia, on an evangelistic campaign. He wrote a short while ago on Facebook,
Passed out invitations for the gospel meeting and Searching For Truth DVDs today. This is a difficult place for evangelism to say the least. Was cussed out by someone who spoke English. Others were responsive and we pray for a good turnout.
Pray that he and others working with him will reach people for the Lord.
A good man died today. Glenn Looper worked 50 years in Brazil. A sterling example of dedication, he gave his life to the Lord. I had little contact with him, but his many years of service stand as a challenge to us all.
I read Acts 28, our NT reading for today, some days back, and since then the Republic of Malta has been on my mind and in my prayers. I wonder if we have any work going on in that country? It’s a fascinating place, from some of the reading I’ve done. (Isn’t every place?) Does anyone know if any of our people are there?
by Joseph McKinney Jr.
February 28, 2011 was a tragic day for the McKinney family: Patrick, our friend and companion of four years, died. He was our pet cockatiel. A cockatiel can live up to twenty-five years, but Patrick’s life was cut short when he got stepped on.
On the day, intense grief cut short my breath, like a stone weighed on my sternum, blocking the air. The kids were devastated, and I couldn`t talk to anybody without my eyes tearing up.
I was embarrassed – I had to cancel the visits and Bible study I had lined up that day. I had comforted that very week three people, one who lost a father, and two who lost mothers, and here I was all torn up over a stupid bird. I was ashamed.
But then again, he wasn`t just a stupid bird. Patrick woke up every morning whistling the Brazilian national anthem.
In his own way, he ruled the house, using his cage only for meals or to sleep. He was a bird free to come and go as he pleased – you`d think he would want to escape, not Patrick – he loved us too much, especially the kids; he had to be around them all the time. When he heard them wake in the morning, he would sound off loud ear-piercing whistles (his way of screaming for attention) until one of them came to give him a good morning. When the kids were at school he would be as quiet as a mouse, but when he recognized the sound of the car bringing them home – he would start screaming again until he got the attention he wanted.
We thought Patrick was indestructible – we lost count of how many time he got stepped on, sat on, or run over, but the dangers didn`t scare him: he was the happiest when he was among the feet of a group of playing children. Almost daily he would engage in a strange ritual: singing to Lucas’ feet.
His favorite place in the world – sitting on someone`s shoulder. For him it was like being king of the mountain, a position he fought for, pecking hard anyone who tried to displace him.
When Edda scolded him for chewing up ferns, he knew he was in trouble, looking just like kid, hanging his head and trying to hide behind something.
He was part of our family, filling our house with song, but now it is silent. A sense of the purposeless fragility of life slapped me in the face; Lydia buried herself inside her self; Samuel cried constantly for two or three days and is writing Patrick`s name all over his notebooks; Lucas kept saying over and over, “I want to have Patrick back.”
Is it presumptuous to look for purpose in the life and death of a bird? Is Patrick teaching my kids a valuable life lesson on how to deal with loss and longing? Or could God have had a even deeper mission for our little bird? Twelve days after Patrick, Samuel said, “Dad, I want to be baptized.” I was driving and a flood of emotion rushed over me. I avoided a wreck and, after a moment, managed a calm question, “Samuel, why do you want to be baptized?”
“Well, I`ve thought about it for a long time, but didn`t feel I was ready. But when Patrick died, it made me think that I need to get ready.”
I told him that we would study to prepare for this decision, the most important of his life. A huge smile, one I hadn`t seen for days, lit up his face. On Sunday, in front of the whole congregation, we announced that Samuel was studying to be baptized and asked the brothers and sisters to pray and encourage him. And they have given him just that. A group of young people came over to the house to visit him and share experiences of the Christian life.
Then Daniel (14 yr old), who has just started coming to the Sunday meeting, saw the youth group planning to visit Samuel. Though being very shy, he gathered the courage to ask for a visit too, showing interest in studying also.
My son at age 11 is beginning his journey on the way of eternity, another is being influenced to consider life matters, where will it spread to and for how long? Only our Father, who can use even a little bird to bring about His plans, knows. “Two sparrows cost only a penny, but not even one of them can die without your Father’s knowing it.” Matthew 10:29
Thank you, Patrick, for filling our house with song during your short life. Thank you, Lord, for using Patrick to fill our Heavenly Home with people You and we love.
Please remember Samuel and his decision in your prayers.
It is more than 10,000 miles by air from my home in Alabama to South Asia, to where I have traveled this past week. There is twelve hours difference (twelve time zones) between Alabama time and Bangladesh time. In other words they are exactly on opposite sides of the earth.
Jet lag is a concept with which I am very familiar. After flying for about 26 hours of actual time in the air over an elapsed total time of 36 to 42 hours on average, I am always tired and physically confused. My mind may say “It is morning, let’s get to work.” My body however responds, “I am tired; it is time to sleep.”
I remember my second trip home from New Zealand. We left Wellington at 3:00 PM on Friday afternoon. We landed in Memphis on Friday night at 9:00 PM. That was such a strange experience! You fly around the world and it is actually only a few hours later because of the international date line.
Of course, it may have only been six hours later, in one respect, to my body it seemed to be several days. I was exhausted.
George Jensen holds up a yellow warning flag in his March 5 post, “Food for Thought for the Mission-minded.” He wants to stimulate a “deeper consideration about how spiritual people ought to ascertain the worthiness of a mission effort.” George’s concern is well-founded. We see the same problem here in Brazil. Supposedly faithful churches in the U.S. are supporting progressive elements here.
George doesn’t mind naming names. He writes,
How deplorable it is when some are supported, sometimes for years, without the supporters even knowing the foundation upon which the worker stands. For example, some of our readers may have heard of the mission effort called Namikango Mission in the African country of Malawi. The stateside congregation associated with this work is the New Beginnings church in Houston, Texas. Would you be comfortable worshiping where the “worship arts” include “dance ministry, drama team, and praise band?” But the real question is not whether you or I would be comfortable, but whether such items are authorized by the One we serve (Colossians 3:17). Even if the “dance ministry” is “open to everyone, exists to honor God through movement and dance” it cannot genuinely honor God when such is not by the authority of Jesus Christ. (See http://www.nbchurch.com/ministries/worship-arts).
I’m aware of one sponsoring congregation in the U.S., again, supposedly faithful, that was informed, with evidence, of a missionary’s perfidy. The eldership took no action. It’s easier to turn a blind eye than to confront and actually oversee, instead of throwing money at a work and showcasing it on your bulletin cover.
The article, The Competition for Africa, is about business, mostly, written by a brother in Christ and a friend, after he spent a month on business in Tanzania. It got me to wondering about the spiritual implications. I thought his distinctions between China’s and the U.S.’s approaches fascinating.
I Corinthians 14:26
“Let all things be done unto edifying”
An E-Letter from Ted and Barbara Knight to EDIFY our Brothers and Sisters in Romania
Feb. 9, 2011
Dear Brothers, Sisters, & Friends,
I wonder when I will ever learn that I AM NOT IN CHARGE of things in this life. Right now I am sitting in front of my computer writing this message and I am supposed to be driving to the airport in Little Rock, Arkansas to make my flight to Cluj, Romania today. I had all my preparations made. I had my plane tickets, passport, hotel reservations, a good flight schedule, bags were almost completely packed, and suddenly on Monday, Feb. 7th I began to feel some pains in my stomach and chest. After a time I decided to go to the hospital, then went to my family doctor, and back to the hospital. After a lot of tests and appointments for more tests were made, I finally relented and decided that I could not fulfill the plans that I had made. In addition to those problems, as I sit here right now the snow is coming down until one can hardly see and if I had made it to the airport I am sure that the plane could not have left. So, here I sit realizing again that I am simply not in charge, God is.
In the last Edifier, I wrote to you about ‘Submitting’ to God. Jesus prayed, “Not My will, but Thine be done.” That is a simple prayer to pray, but there is a problem when HIS WILL and MY WILL seem to conflict. I learn then that what I really want at the moment is for MY WILL to be done regardless and that isn’t a good thing. So, I try to learn again the importance of submitting to His will and letting go of my own. As I look out my window right now I am so thankful to be here instead of on the highway, waiting in an airport, or being in Romania very sick and not knowing what the problem is and trying to deal with the complications of trying to get back home to my doctors.
“Thank You, Father for taking care of me even when I do not deserve Your care, and help me to learn that it is YOUR WILL that matters above all others. Father, help all of us to trust YOU and accept Your direction through Your word for our life. I pray in Jesus name, Amen!”
God and I are working on plans for another trip there as soon as possible and I ask you to join me in praying for His will to be done and that I can see many of you soon. May God bless and keep you is our prayer. We love and miss you very much.
With Much Love,
Ted & Barbara
Below is Thomas Goracke’s last newsletter, posted here with his permission.
December 2010/ January 2011 Goracke Newsletter
|Greetings from the frozen northwest corner of Nebraska! Although it is cold outside we are comfortably warm inside with the warmth provided by an old wood stove, but even more so by the love of family!
I need to express my apologies that some of you did not receive our October/November report. In the midst of our moving and because of limited internet access I asked Nancy to finish our report with her family news and then send it out, but she missed sending it to a few of our mailing lists.
Most of our late November and December continued with getting settled into our little rental farm house and preparing for the holidays. In my estimation, I would say that we are about 85% settled in now. We still need to find a few more household items to live and function in a somewhat normal capacity, but that is to be expected when before leaving for China in 2006 and then Singapore in 2008, we either sold or gave away many of our belongings. We have been blessed to move back into a wonderful “neighborhood” where we previously lived for nearly 2 years and where we have been welcomed by nearby neighbors with friendliness and even helping hands. (More …)
The Jan./Feb. edition has been released. Here’s how he starts out:
In this new year of 2011, I can state from personal knowledge that there is far less zeal in our brotherhood today for preaching the gospel to every creature, than there was fifty years ago, when across this land, brother Ira Rice and others were holding world mission workshops and preaching the urgency of "World evangelism."
There is little doubt, that there are various reasons for this lack of zeal at this present time; but one of the most harmful contributions to that lack of zeal is that the ’50′s, ’60s and following decades saw many of our most talented young people being mesmerized by leaders in institutions of higher learning among us. Mesmerized due to the passion for accreditation of their theology departments to be like those of worldly colleges and universities.
Even though I quoted Barth and Brunner recently, his points are valid. Worth a read from this missionary veteran. The direct link to the PDF file is HERE.
A friend shared Molly Dawidow’s post, evidently from Saturday:
“For those of you who do not know, our son Mikey died of a massive heart attack in Poland this morning. Mike called us with the horrible news at 5:30 this morning. Annabelle and I are scheduled to fly out tomorrow, Sunday at 2 p.m. via Chicago and Munich. My brother Larry is going with us. Please pray for our travels and for Mike as he is alone.”
Let me share some wonderful news we received tonight, a new ministry partner in Alabama.
So where’ve I been the last week? Here’s my GoSpeak report on quite a profitable week.
A decision I regretted later was a major change in our mission strategy a few years after arriving in Brazil. I don’t think it fulfilled our original intentions, but we did it because, aside from being invited to do it by another team, we came up against some major obstacles. I think we took the easy way out, looking back now. The Lord can use any situation, and he used our decision for some good things, but I don’t think it was the best one. I think we should have stuck to our guns. (I’ve since moved on, long since, to another city and work, so there’s lots of space and time between that decision and where I am now.)
Stanley Adams is discussing. Toggle Comments
Myanmar elections today promise little change, say reports. We pray the country will open up to more freedom so the gospel can spread. Joey Barrier was supposed to be there about now exploring possibilities of a [preacher training?] school, according to his brother Jeremy. There is good work going on there, and we pray the political situation will increasingly allow efforts by brethren.
My dream has always been to work in Brazil in such a way that Brazilians may pick up from our efforts at any moment and carry it forward, doing an even better job that we’ve done.
Some years ago I reached a point in a collective effort where I saw that that dream had been squeezed out by an approach that I had tacitly agreed to, though philosophically differed with. I felt depressed about it for a long time. Then I set my sights on a different tack, and haven’t looked back since.
I can’t say that I’m 100% successful in living out that dream, but I’m closer to it now, I think, than ever. One that only time will reveal the outcome. But I’m good with that, for God is the judge of all efforts, in the final day. (I started to say, “in the last analysis;” that fits, too.)
If this post is a bit vague on details, you can probably figure out why.
Next year, 2011, the Sao Paulo mission team of 1961 will celebrate the 50th year of its arrival in Brazil, the as the first team, and first missionaries behind Arley and Alma Smith who arrived in 1956. The National Christian Workers’ Encounter, held annually during Easter weekend, will honor that work. Plans are in the works now.