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Showing posts from October, 2018

What's the Secret to the Christian life?

Have you ever considered that question in terms of successfully navigating the often chaotic waters of your Christian walk?  The world seems to be constantly posing this question about the secret of life in about anything that matters to people.  In our churches today we have a lot of real questionable teaching about what success looks like and how living the victorious Christian life translates into reality in the here and now.  In Africa where I spend a lot of my time teaching, I am constantly confronted with the health and wealth gospel.  Amidst the African poverty which so often accompanies systemic government corruption, the common people fall easy prey to the preacher who promises that God is interested in giving them everything that life refuses them.  That can mean just about anything, but most of the time that means wealth in spite of poverty, health despite chronic health issues such as HIV, AIDS, and a whole slew of common health risks associated with an impoverished lifest…

Uganda: Establishing a Future

Today is our last day here in Entebbe, and I want to catch our readers up with our classroom this week in Uganda.  We have invested in our students and attempted to bring then as much insight and training as possible.  It is never easy.  Fortunately, our translator has done a great job so communication has been more than adequate.  The materials have been placed into the hands of the pastors so they can move and multiply them into their future ministries.  This morning they told Larry and myself in unison that they want us to return and continue the training as soon as possible.  Consequently, we are now beginning to strategize how we can make that happen twice a year in both Rwanda and Uganda back to back.  We will share that news once we know!

Thirty-three pastors and teachers completed the course today and received a certificate of completion in Hermeneutics.  After graduation this afternoon we headed into the capital Kampala to shop for some trinkets and have our last dinner befor…

Today in Uganda

We began a new classroom in Uganda this morning in the city of Entebbe.  The rainy season has just begun, and we have seen some powerful rainfalls in the last few days.  However, when we got up this morning, we were awakened to a bright blue sky, warm sunshine, and a slight breeze which has kept things cool all day.

Looking into the faces of about 30 Ugandan pastors was a joy throughout this first morning.  In fact, it was so joyful I ran over about an hour in the first session before lunchtime!  Pastor Larry, our co-teacher for the week taught this afternoon.  The men responded well, and I believe they really have enjoyed the opportunity to have two instructors.  We are expecting about two to three more pastors to yet arrive before Tuesday morning.

Uganda is called the pearl of Africa and for good reason.  It has the second largest fresh water lake in the world, second only to Lake Superior in the Great Lakes region.  It is spectacular and offers the residents here fresh water Talap…

Rwanda Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

In April, 1994, tribal factions in the state of Rwanda, long cynical and untrusting of each other, fell into a three month genocide.  The Hutus had been led to believe the lie that their Tutsi brothers were worthy of death.  The result of this astrocity, which the world largely stood by and watched, ended with nearly a million Rwandans dead.  Their bodies were scattered throughout the country.  It was literally a three month long nightmare.

I never understood this event and its effect upon the present day country until four years ago when I went to the Genocide Memorial garden here in Kigali.  I walked through the building stunned as I learned of what happened during this time.  The killing was a non-stop slaughter, primarily with machetes, of men, women, children, and anyone suspected of sympathizing with the Tutsi tribe.  The blood, the gore, the anger, the brutality and manner of death; it all brought me face to face with the most incredible evil I have ever known.

When I finished…

The First Man

No, I'm not talking about Neil Armstrong and the new movie out about the first moon landing.  That would be a worthy and inspiring subject for sure.  Actually, I am refering to our first African trainer in Rwanda who has come forward and revealed how God has been working in his life.  Evidently this desire for becoming a teaching trainer has been in his heart for a few years now.  Little did I know that our first GBTF teacher would be my Rwandan translator Fidele Shinga.  Allow me to digress.

When I arrived on Saturday Fidele and Denys, the Legal Representative for the Baptist Union, picked me up at the airport.  Knowing that I was tired and still recovering from a recent illness, they dropped me at the place where I stay and left me.  A few hours later Fidele knocked on the door and came in for a few hours of conversation; and what a conversation it was!  He has, with the blessing of his mentor Denys and his church,  resigned as pastor.  Fidele told me that for years he had never…

Thank God for Pressure!

Did you know that stress and pressure get a lot of bad press?  They really do!  Everytime you turn around someone is talking about being stressed out or under "undue" pressure about something.  It always seems that we're doing everything we can to get out from under stressful situations in our lives.  We can't wait for vacations, massages, and about anything else we can find to alleviate the stresses of life.  Basically that describes just about everybody, including me.

But let's just hold on a minute.  Did you know that pressure is actually a necessary part of life?  Nearly everything we know in life requires some form of pressure to function normally.  From blood pressure to water pressure life would be impossible without a certain amount of pressure to make it work normally.  The problem comes when we have either too much or sometimes even too little.

In the Christian life God knows just how much pressure we can handle without flying off the handle! Paul sta…

What is your Hope?

This question could be easily misunderstood.  After all, it could represent a zillion different things for as many people!  People hope for a lot of things.  Children hope for their favorite toy at Christmas.  We have hopes for our children as they grow up into adulthood.  We may have hope for world peace or that a cure would be found for cancer.  As you can recognize, there are a limitless number of examples we could point out.

First of all, I think it would help if we actually defined the term hope before we move on because that could make all the difference in answering the question, "What is your hope?” Because hope has such a spiritually based connotation I want to give you the definition from that perspective.  Here is what hope actually is:

An expectation or belief in the fullfillment of something desired.  

Did you get that?  Hope is something that is actually going to happen!  It is future reality not yet realized!  In other words, despite how things may look today or to…

The Enemy of Your Faith

Everyone of us has our own spiritual achile's heal.  It's that weak point in our armor that the enemy exploits every chance he gets.  We each know what that is, and we are always probably praying first about that particular issue before we seek God's help with any other.

But let me share with you a spiritual enemy that we all struggle against at some time or place, and that's what we call anxiety.  You may also know it simply as worry.  Whatever you call it, it stands as the number one enemy of not only your faith, but of your life in general.  This word worry or anxiety means to divide or be pulled in two opposite directions.  This word merizo is used some 47 times in the New Testament.  Paul commanded the Philippian Christians in 4:6:
The Lord is at hand; be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God which passes all understanding shall guard your hearts and minds…

Your Future Has Been Told

I became a Christian in 1975.  I admit that was a long time ago but in some ways it seems like only yesterday.  During this period I was influenced by the ongoing interest people were generating about Bible prophecy.  On the morning of July 5th, I was re-aquainted with an old neighbor friend of mine who had just returned from Viet Nam earlier in the year.  There was something about him that I instinctively knew was different and I stopped over to see him in a restaurant.  He was cordial and invited me to listen to a tape about the second coming of Christ.  I was not interested in that as much as getting a ride in his vintage jaguar so I said yes.

To make a long story short, he came over that morning and instead of going in his car, we had to stay and listen to it at my house because of unexpected guests who came by my house that morning.  I had six people who came by without warning.  They all stayed and listened to that tape!  At the end of about an hour it was like the air had all b…