Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I got a call from Terry Singletary (wife of Larry, the missionary Brent is with) today and she encouraged me to get "my people" to pray for the guys: Brent, Larry and Michael. They made it to Uganda and on into Kenya which is a huge praise! However, in the process, the bus driver of the bus they were traveling on decided to race with another bus and was driving reckless. People were falling out of their seats and Brent's seat actually broke and he cut his arm. He is OK but Larry was pretty shook up and Terry and he have been through some rough situations. Perhaps it's just a reminder for us to pray more intently for them. They only have 6 hours in Somali to make their contacts so please pray that their time is spent well and productively. Continue to pray that God keeps them safe as His will is accomplished. We trust in His sovereignty!!

Thank you so much for praying! They avail much!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

a shepherd and goats descend from the mountain to drink from the stream (click on the picture to enlarge) in North Africa

This will be my last post before returning to Africa. I will follow open doors while there. I will be based in Uganda, potentially with the Karamajong tribe, north of Moroto. If it works out to visit Kenya, I will proceed there to a Somali refugee camp to serve, near the Sudan-Uganda borders. The men I am serving alongside are Michael and Larry. Please pray for safety, unity, and opportunities to share Christ!

While I am in Africa, my nephew Joshua (keeper of BJ's sword) and his daddy will be heading to Peru. This will be Joshua's first overseas mission trip! He is very excited, and will see many things, from the coast to the mountains to the jungle. Please pray for their safety and opportunities to share! He cannot wait to be in this land, where his cousin served.

Each of us leaves on Saturday, Jan 24. Joshua and his daddy return, about a week later. I return on Monday evening, Feb 2 (Lord willing).

I am traveling to Africa because the Lord has called me there. As I tried to articulate previously, I do not know why. I only know I am to go.

As plans have unfolded, our door to Kenya closed, which left me very confused. It was Kenya that the Lord was drawing me to. I sought counsel, and have continued on with the trip.

In the last few days, it appears the door may have reopened. This is a faith journey, and faith is what I am walking by. I do not know if I will be able to enter that land or not. I will if He wills it.

On my journey there, I will enter a very dark European city. I will spend a bit of time in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I will not be here long, but please pray the Lord would open doors for ministry. The need for Him in this land is enormous.

God's timing is always perfect...according to His standards.

For me, the timing of this trip is somewhat suspect. One of my primary roles at Awe Star Ministries, is to raise up leadership for our trips.

All positions were filled, save one. Then in the last couple of weeks, or so, two of them had to step down.

This leaves our summer trips short, three male leaders. These are very difficult vacancies to fill. I begin early to try and assure that I speak to people before their plans for the summer are set.

I need one man to co-lead our Asia team, and two men to serve as middle leadership in South America.

When I returned from Peru last summer, I was very excited, as I had the longest list of potential leaders, that I've had. I have exhausted this list, and have received almost all "No's."

The Lord is still in control. I know this. I trust this. I just cannot see what He has in store, as it is difficult to plan the trips as necessary without leaders in place.

Please pray for the men I have been talking to. Please pray that the Lord will move in their hearts to accompany our teams and serve as the men of God He is calling them to be.

Last summer, I had to cancel one or our trips due to lack of a male leader. The result is that thousands of people do not get to hear the Gospel message. If this breaks my heart, I cannot imagine what it does to the heart of my Father in Heaven.

I am doing the best I can to pull these leaders together. Please pray for my discernment, and for God's movement in the hearts of men. I would also ask you to pray that I am not distracted by this issue while overseas.

God bless you for being faithful to Him. Thank you for taking the time to read. Please, I would ask that you take even more time to pray!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

children of darkness...in the Sahara

Watching children brings me joy.

The past couple of nights at our revival services, I have had my attention drawn to the children present. Not because they were misbehaving, but because they are precious.

Watching them interact with their parents blesses me. Especially watching sons with fathers.

Sons grow up wanting to emulate their fathers.

Which father will they be like? The father of lies, our Father in Heaven, or their earthly father?

Reading through first and second Kings recently, reminds me how often our sons are like their dads. It somehow seems to be an invisible current they are swept into.

I remember when I saw my son reflecting the ugliness within me. I was convicted to do something about it. It had less to do with correcting him and more to do with following Christ and giving him a better role model.

I watched the same family the past couple of nights. I saw a father with two of his sons, be loving and firm.

I watched those boys crawl into his lap and be embraced warmly and have their heads kissed. I watched as corrective non-verbals were fired when necessary. Those boys responded to both.

Their eyes reflected whether or not they agreed, but they did what their father said.

They drew pictures of superheros and swords and other boy stuff, while dad listened to the message. When a piece of art was finished, dad would neatly stack it with the ones before it. A pile of treasure was in the works.

Last night, as the preacher beckoned for each hearer to surrender to the Lord in fullness, I was deeply moved as this same father went forward. He took with him his two most precious possessions. They accompanied him on his right and his left.

These were likely too young to understand the gospel message. This trip down the aisle was not about coming to Christ as one may think. This father was already a believer.

I cannot tell you his heart, but I can tell you from the way he gently placed his children to either side of him and laid himself out on before the Father, that his desire was to be completely surrendered to all Christ wanted him to be. To be completely filled with the Holy Spirit and equipped to be the best father, the best servant, possible.

His children learned a great deal through this experience! They understand that their father is seeking to be like his Heavenly Father. They have made this trip with daddy and found out that it is safe! Daddy has showed them that surrendering to Jesus is what life is all about!

This daddy is already a follower. He showed his children that in life, there is nothing more important than being completely Christ's! Completely surrendered before Him is what is necessary.

In a day when men are too manly to be sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit, this man was not. He set and example for his children.

You know what else he did? He set an example for the body of Christ! This man is also a pastor.

He could leave his example to his daily work ethic in how he serves Jesus through serving the body...but he didn't. When his children most wanted to be with their daddy, in his embrace, he showed them Jesus.

Children will reflect their father whether they realize it or not. Will it be the 'father of lies' or will it be their Father in Heaven?

Help them choose by being an example of Jesus to them. Completely sold out to the Father's will.

If you live it, they will see it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

main street

Who are your heroes? How would you respond if you were suddenly in their presence, with no forewarning?

Would words flood to the surface, revealing a wise disposition? Would you gush over their past accomplishments and future opportunities, sounding like a stalker? Would you ask questions or provide answers that revealed your own true heart for the Savior?

Years ago, I was volunteering at a national cycling event at the velodrome in Indianapolis. It came about during the time when I rode my bike thousands of miles per year. I was an avid fan.

Lance Armstrong was an up and coming rookie. Greg LeMonde was the American cycling hero of the day. He had won three Tours (Tour de France). His career in road racing was over, but his accomplishments were legend for that time.

One of my cycling buddies and I were filling our various duties this particular evening, when Greg showed up, via a hidden entrance! No one knew he was going to be present. All of a sudden he was just there!

Prior to his arrival, I had spoken with other greats of the time including some media types that are well known in the sports world. When my opportunity suddenly came, I was in disbelief.

My friend and I stood with him, asking questions and hearing first hand accounts of some of his wins. He even showed me scars and told the related stories (probably a guy thing).

When I went home that evening, I literally felt as if I had been in the presence of greatness. I thought my life was complete...I had met my idol, I had spoken intelligently with him, and we shared as if we had been friends for a lifetime.

It took me days to come down!

This past weekend, a good friend of mine had the opportunity of her life. Her story is more spiritual than mine. But then, she is more godly than I was at the same point in my own life.

A friend we have in common, had arranged for this young ladies hero to call her, personally.

Imagine, being at lunch on Sunday afternoon with your friends, having your phone ring, and the voice on the other end verifying who you are, and then tells you she is Beth Moore.

If Beth Moore is your hero, what is the likelihood that you will believe it?

Most would accuse the voice of being an impostor, and press for who put her up to the gag.

In this case, because of her respect for Beth, and her knowledge of many things about her, she recognized Beth's voice on the phone!

I was not present when this event happened, but I knew it was in the works. The question was, would Beth go along? She did!

My friend has not come down yet. It's Tuesday, this happened Sunday, and her renown is growing as others learn that she and Beth spoke for over half an hour, Sunday afternoon! She was tremendously blessed by the encounter.

They shared together for what seemed like forever for the rest of her lunch party. I began receiving text messages from those with her, who were trying to figure out why such a thing would occur.

At the end of their call, Beth prayed over her, prayer of affirmation and direction.

This encounter will no doubt be a benchmark in my young friends life.

I often wonder, if I suddenly had a person to physical person opportunity with Christ, how I might respond. Would I be filled with remorse for the thoughts or actions of previous moments? Would I throw my arms around Him in instant recognition? Would I fall on my face to honor to Him?

I believe the reality of the answer says a great deal about who I am and where I am in my walk with Him. I cannot honestly say that I don't know what I would do. I can say, that my reaction would likely be different than how I approach Him on a daily basis. This should not be, but I fear it is true.

Have I become so comfortable with the King of Kings that I do not revere Him as I should? Am I more moved by a guy who rides a bike good, than I am the one who bled and died for me?

What are my priorities? What is important in my life?

I need to seek to honor Him with how I live my life every day, not just when He might unexpectedly show up.

We have all heard it said that 'who we are when no one is looking reveals much about our integrity.'

I submit that how I respond in unexpected moments of intimacy with Him, says a great deal about what I truly believe.

Am I playing games, or does my life truly reflect His?

I want to be more like Jesus.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Protecting or blinding?

I leave for Africa, on Saturday of this week. I will be in Uganda and Kenya. There is even a small chance I will be in Sudan. That latter is unlikely, though steps from where I am supposed to be. I have the privilege of following the Lord's guidance, and seeing what unfolds.

I can honestly say that this trip is about following the Lord in obedience. The agenda has changed multiple times. Not due to lack of planning, but more as a result of a changing landscape of opportunity within these places.

I have a team that will spend 8 weeks in Uganda, later this summer, and one of the reasons for going, is to set this trip up. However, at this point, it is more likely that I will serve in a Somali refugee camp, in the outback of Kenya. I cannot wait to see what He has in store!

Wednesday of this week, I am sharing live, on a radio show. The name is "Along the Way," and it can be found at www.alongthewayradio.com. It plays in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas. The interview is at 1:00 pm Central time.

This past weekend, we entered into a time at my church which we anticipate will be Revival. We cannot organize Revival, that is the work of the Holy Spirit.

I find myself wondering about something. We often speak of revival, and hear stories of the great revivals of the past. We often long for revival in our churches.

Our speaker said something very common sensical last night, and I wonder if we really ever take this to heart.

He said (and I am paraphrasing) a couple of things that stand out to me. One is that 'revival will never happen corporately, until it happens individually!' The great revivals of the past, seem to reflect this.

I believe I am guilty of sitting back in church and waiting on the Lord to move in the hearts of those around me. I must have a rather Pharisaical perspective, from the Lord's view.

It is so easy to believe that I am where I need to be, and wonder when others will arrive!

I came face to face last night, with my own self-righteousness. I do not like what I saw. I am very broken over my attitude and disobedience. I am positive that the likelihood I have reflected that here, is high. I have asked for forgiveness of Him, and do so now from you.

Another thing he said was (paraphrase) 'We ask the Lord to come and revive us, but do we do the things He has already asked us to do?'

When true revival happens, it accompanies significant kingdom growth. Enormous numbers of new believers come to Him as a result of the revival that happens in the hearts of individuals!

To believe we are in a time of revival in any body, that does not reflect the instant obedience of speaking publicly about our Savior, is a benign effort. Would that we be highly carcinogenic!

I can find a Bible full of obedience requests from my Lord, but cannot find my Bible! Perhaps, will not find my Bible is a better way of looking at it.

I am also guilty of reading without comprehension. I open it up, but do not allow its contents to take root in my heart.

I cannot expect my Savior to use me or my supposed witness in Tulsa, let alone Uganda, if I am not walking out my obedience.

For the few who read this, if we allowed the Spirit of the Lord to truly regenerate our hearts and responded in instant obedience to the things He is already asking us to do, we would become infectious, and His love would spread at an amazing rate!

I am seeking to avail myself to His direction more so now, than ever. Won't you join me, for His sake? For the sake of the lost? For the meeting of needs of the broken?

His impact must begin in my own heart. I cannot wait for others to do what He has spoken over me, to do!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Deanna gets reacquainted with her friend Linda

Deanna and I had dinner out for our anniversary. We used to eat out more often than we should. In tightening our belts a bit on that front, we have found ourselves for some reason, viewing our servers as ministry opportunities.

That is not a bad thing, but it is also not something we used to do, routinely.

Perhaps it is too soon to say we do it routinely now, the point is, that I find we are paying a bit closer attention to our servers. They have asked more personal questions of us or we have of them for various reasons.

The bottom line is that we end up talking to our servers more than we used to.

A few weeks ago, we were eating with friends, and Deanna was reminded by our waiter of our son in some way. He was friendly and mannerly, and she appreciated that a great deal. We often don't see manners extended by others in this day.

As we left, she gave him a book, as she had told him our story in brief. He gave her a hug and we left. Our fervent prayer is that he reads it, and sees the clarity of the Gospel shared in BJ's own words.

Our anniversary dinner was completely different.

Deanna told the young woman that we were having our anniversary dinner. She immediately responded that it was also her anniversary with her boyfriend and then relayed a story of how they came to realize when their anniversary was. It included their good friends who happened to also share the date as their wedding anniversary. She asked us how long we had been married. We told her 26 years, to which she was surprised.

Later she returned and asked if we had any secrets.

I admit, when she asked, I was taken off guard. My mind had moved a million miles from our previous conversation with her. I was no longer in the same zip code with her thoughts.

My initial reaction was to why she would be asking us to tell her secrets...we didn't know her at all. Ridiculous, I know.

Anyway, we began by telling her that humor and communication were extremely important, which caused her to spontaneously, laugh and squat to our table side so that her face came into the dim light shining from above.

Next we told her that our relationship with the Lord was the primary thing that has allowed us to endure the difficulties of life. Again, we shared our story in brief, to which she was disarmed and did not know quite how to respond.

When she collected herself, she began to ask probative questions about our experience.

Ultimately, we left her too, with a book.

There were no signs of recognition or true understanding of a relationship with Christ from her. As we handed her our journey, we believed we were putting 'hope'
in her hands.

There are so many ways that we can make our experience with Christ pertinent to the lives of others. We need to be a bit creative, at times. Not with the Gospel itself, but in the road we travel to get to that point.

We praise God for our marriage, for our girls, for our son and for how the Lord continues to bring us opportunities to speak into the lives of those who need Him.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Whitney and her Mother-in-Law, Nancy

Deanna and I have been reconnecting with High School and/or college friends via the technology on the internet. It has been pretty exciting at times, we find out where people are and what they are doing.

One such friend of Deanna's lived in a nearby town in Texas, when we were visiting the Law family, over Christmas. Deanna and I met them for coffee (I should have posted that pic today...maybe tomorrow). When I say them, I mean Deanna's friend and her husband.

These kind of reconnection's can be uncomfortable. I remember going to a high school reunion and watching everyone trying to impress everyone else. I did not enjoy it very much.

A couple of the friends who were there that night, reconnected. They had been acquaintances in high school and little more...they got married a few months later.

What is interesting to me, is how we all change.

Some grow into their lives with more grace than others. Some grow wider, others thinner, some lose their hair, and still others seem to combine most of these elements, and can be unrecognizable.

I am often amazed at who was popular during these times. Popularity is fickle and has little to do with substance. It is fleeting and foolish, yet too many have been hurt by those who were considered so. It's a good thing we get to grow up!

I guess it's inevitable, but as I was reconnecting on the social internet network, facebook, I came across a young woman I had known in college. We had been friends. Not close friends or best friends, just friends.

I attempted to reconnect with her. I actually knew her little sister as well, and had come to do so through social engagements.

She did not recognize me.

I cannot be surprised. We have not been in touch for over 25 years. However, the nature of our friendship was wholesome and stable, so I had hoped...

Anyway, I keep a picture of myself on facebook from when I was in college. It was actually my senior picture. I had a lot of hair then. People who don't recognize me from that era, usually have vague memories, once they see the hair! I directed her to that page to take a look. Who knows if it will actually help.

Life happens, and we have so much going on that it is not easy to stay in touch. Some of us are less memorable than others, too. Not necessarily because we want to be, but often because we have not done outlandish or infamous things (at least that others are aware of).

I reconnected with a grade school friend recently, that I knew through college. As we began to get caught up, I have thoroughly enjoyed the hearing about her family and the things that are important to her.

She is not different than most of us. She speaks of husband, children, job and accomplishments. I'm sure I have done likewise.

As this occurs, I have been mindful of something. Regardless of who remembers me and who does not, I am always known by my Savior!

Many of us long for connection points that may or may not come. They may be consistent or they may short term. Regardless, we still want to be known. We want to know that our life matters and that it is important.

To Him, it is! He has such plans for us that we have yet to come to know! It is exciting to grow more intimate with Him, to be known more by Him, and to have Him seek to draw us even closer.

Some of us spend a lifetime trying to find in other people, what can only be found in Him.

Regardless of marriage, family, bff's and other relationships, the one that truly endures through time and tests (if we stay focused) is the one with Him.

He constantly pursues us, if we are paying attention. Many do not.

Along the way, a few of us are afforded a mate for life that is an extension of His love for us. I have been thusly blessed.

Deanna and I have been through a great deal in our time together. Regardless of how we look, at this point (and she looks great!) we are closer now than ever, and I am so very thankful for her love, her encouragement and her friendship! She is an amazing woman of God, and I praise Him for her!

Happy 26th Anniversary my love!


Monday, January 12, 2009

working the puzzle

Prayer is a unique opportunity to be in communion with our Lord. It provides us with the blessing of seeing His hand move. I know we don't always get the answers we want, but that never means He is not responding.

I have seen God move mightily to our requests on the mission field. I have so many stories of the same.

While prayer effects change in this country as well, it is a primary tool that we often postpone, citing internally that we will do it later, when in reality, later always seems full in its own occupation.

The end result is that we do not spend time with Him as we should.

A few years ago, I went with a leadership team from my church, to New York City. While there, we purposed to visit Brooklyn Tabernacle. We visited on Sunday morning, and were very moved at the power and presence of the Lord in that service.

We decided to return for their prayer meeting on Tuesday evening. I have never seen anything like what we experienced in my life.

People arrived 2 hours early and stood in line at locked doors waiting to go inside to PRAY!

We were there in March and the weather was not conducive to standing outside in line.

Those people understand the power of God and have taken seriously the Scripture in Chronicles, "If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray"...

There were so many people that many had to audit the experience from an overflow room where the service was on a screen. I must correct myself, they did not audit this experience, they entered into prayer. A full out assault on the throne of grace to affect change in the world around them.

Contrast that with what happened last night at a local church here in the supposed "buckle of the Bible belt."

They have an upcoming "revival" planned. It is to begin next week. The pastor implored his body to show up for the evening prayer time, which was not the usual menu for this church.

They conduct two services on Sunday morning, and generally, both are relatively full.

He prepared an overflow room in hopes of an incredible turn out from this group of believers. He even promoted that there would be an overflow room.

You can guess what happened. The sanctuary was far from full.

The prayer time was incredible! The presence of the Lord was thick and moved those in attendance, yet many chose other "more important things" over coming to pray.

Schedules often don't allow us such luxuries at time with the Lord. Apparently we forget to schedule Him in, when we are setting up our weekly agendas.

This is a body that is often cold an unmoved on Sunday mornings. The pastor preaches dynamic sermons in demonstrated power, to those who sit tight and refuse to allow God to do more than quicken their pulse.

I confess, I am often one who has sat in front of the television when important things were happening in my own church body. I have a list of justifications for why I don't need to be there. I practice them in my head, just in case I have to give an account to someone of why my couch and TV are more important than what God may be doing in my church home.

With all of this in mind, it is interesting to note, that we always find time for the things that are important to us.

In the garden, Jesus begged Peter, James and John to pray with Him. With agendas "full," and spiritual appetites "sated," they chose to accompany Him, but to sleep over spending that intimate time in prayer.

How often do we do likewise?

The result is we often invest what little time we do spend in prayer, seeking His forgiveness, rather than affecting change in the lives of those around us. Once again, furthering our own agendas, but doing little to follow Him in obedience.

When will we pray?

If we are to be in constant prayer as 1 Thes teaches, then we are going to have to shut out the clamor of worldly music and frustrating, posing schedules which claim to be full, but in reality are more perhaps..."full of it!"


Friday, January 09, 2009

a view beyond

I am convinced I have written about this before. Today it is heavy on my heart, once again.

As we wistfully look to the future or ponder the past, we often get caught up in what "could be," rather than what "is."

Spending time here is something we all do, and we tend to do it frequently.

When we think of the past, we tend to rationalize or romanticize the memories. When we think of the future we tend to worry over its contents.

One of the things that BJ seemed to do fairly well, was to remain in the presence of Christ. It was reflected in his attitude and his demeanor/

In Exodus 24, God told Moses to "come up here and be here." The translation of this word from the Lord loses some of its weightiness, when put into English.

It was understood by Jews of that day that what was being said, was really, I need you to come up here and be here with me. I need you to be fully present, when you come. Do not be tied to thoughts of the past, or worries of the future. Do not be concerned about what will happen when you leave this place. Do not entertain any thoughts of anything other than our time together, and all that transpires.

In the US today, I wonder if we ever fully grasp this concept? When we attend services, so much of the time we are preoccupied with relationships, fashion, time, schedules, etc., that we are seldom truly in His presence.

If we do not enter into His presence, then we will likely not be prepared for what will come. If we are not prepared for what will come, we are likely to try to 'do it on our own.'

At what point to we learn to eliminate all distraction, and just be with Him?

We each must live. We each must fight. We each must seek Him above issues of self. Learning to be 'fully present' is a discipline. It involves focusing on Him and doing so at all costs.

Moses was called up to the mountain when this occurred. There will be times when we are called to Him, and times when we seek Him because He is all. During those times, He expects us to leave behind all the baggage and just catch all He has for us. When we learn to deny ourselves, we learn to do this.

I teach this and more on the mission field with our teams, as those times are specific times of calling, that must be walked out in obedience. They are times when the Lord is ministering to us and then through us.

When we refuse to yield to Him, then we are just going through motions and they don't precipitate change in us or those around us.

Yielded and surrendered lives, are the ones He uses to bring necessary change.

Today...this weekend...this Sunday...when you come into His presence, be fully present. Be disciplined to leave all distraction, all ties to the past and/or the future behind. Allow Him to reveal Himself to you, and you will see a new thing.

He gave Moses the commandments. What does he have for you? What does he have for me? How will we use what He provides to bless the lives of others? Seek Him while He may be found!


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Deanna sporting her favorite hat. BJ brought it to her from Peru.

It is interesting to me, to see how others respond to solving puzzles. Puzzles of all kinds. I like word puzzles, like crosswords, cryptoquips, and jumbles. I've never been very good at jigsaw puzzles.

Some people like the group approach, and join together to solve them. I find that I am too competitive by nature to want anyone helping me. That's probably not a good trait.

Over Christmas, while with family, we worked a couple of large jigsaws. First a thousand piece, and when that was solved, a fifteen hundred piece one.

I sat there as patiently as I could trying to help. I tend to wear blinders when I am working these. I try to find one piece at at time, and I'm very slow. I found some of the rest of my family were much quicker than I am. I didn't like that very much, but kept at it, and tried to be a team player.

I am not sure what the strategy in jigsaw puzzles is supposed to be, other than solving them. I know you start with the perimeter pieces and then work your way in. In participating in the process, I found a couple of people in particular took an area of pieces and worked at amazing speed in fitting them together.

Perhaps it takes practice. I am not sure starting them at two years old is that helpful. I've helped the two year olds in the church nursery with them. They seem more intent on putting the pieces in their mouth or throwing them across the room. I'm not sure that helps build skill.

There were times after so much concentration that I wanted to throw the whole puzzle across the room.

We had worked for many hours over a period of a couple of days on the last fifteen hundred piece puzzle. I was working a section that need mostly black pieces to finish up.

I've noticed that it is a cruel joke to use all of the same color pieces in an area for someone like me. I get a bit nuts, trying to solve it. Most of the pieces are so similar. Their differences so minute (I've used that word two days in a row...I am not sure why) that it is difficult for my small brain to figure them out.

Brains are supposed to weigh about 3 pounds. I think mine probably intimidates the scale at around 2.1 pounds.

I had been working the area for too long. Two of my family were working the other last area. They were sharing toys better than I know how. I noticed when I was working an area, others would withdraw from that region. It might have been my breathe...we were in close quarters.

Anyway, they finished before me...maybe there is something to that teamwork angle.

As they were putting in the last couple of pieces, I drew satisfaction from the fact that my last piece was lost! How cruel is that? How could they box 1499 pieces of a 1500 piece puzzle up? That is just unkind!

One of my family (who had previously helped but had bowed out for the last hour or so) wondered over to observe the finished product.

He sympathized with my frustration over the missing piece...a bit too much. As he spoke, he produced the final piece from its hiding place, and gently placed it in its home. He did so with glee!

I'm not sure how long he will get to be a family member with antics like that.

While the women were poo-pawing his little stunt, I envisioned emulating the football game on tv and taking him down...HARD!

Oh well, I learned a valuable lesson.

Teamwork is important. Trust within that team is important.

If we are to win the world for Christ, we will accomplish far more together than any of us can individually. The bottom line is that we each have to engage for this to work.

We cannot afford people who sit on the sidelines, or people who work their own agendas in order to gain the spotlight. This is and always will be about His glory, and we need to keep that center stage!

There are many out there who have not found their place in Christ. They are important to furthering His kingdom. Let's work together to bring them the Truth.


Monday, January 05, 2009

Barbara Ann and Meagann (from BJ's last trip), with Lauren at a recent wedding

Well, the travel and fun is finished for now. I guess I should say that I am 'back in the saddle,' since my lovely wife bought be cowboy boots for Christmas. Yes, I have lived here for nearly three years, and up to now, have not owned a pair. Now I get to walk around a couple of inches taller because of boots. It's interesting the minute perspective changes that accompany these pointy shoes.

Anyway, here we are in 2009. I can hardly believe it!

The coroner pronounced last rights on Lauren's '94 Mazda. Actually, it still works, just needs more money poured into it than she is willing to part with. So over the last few days, we have been searching for a new car...well, new to her.

Tonight, we are scheduled to go pick up her 2005 Toyota Corolla. Anybody wanna buy a well worn '94 Mazda MX-3?

It was wonderful to be away with family to get recharged! Deanna and I had a great time in Texas with our girls and new son-in-Law. We also spent a couple of days with his family. What a blessing to come together with other believers with no particular agenda.

Jared (Whitney's husband), Ross (his father) and I took target practice with their hunting bows. I can profess to you that I have never before held a hunting bow in my hands. When I worked at the camp, I shot the old fashioned bows that we used in the archery range, but this was nothing like that.

Archery has come a long way since William Tell parted the seeds of an apple atop his sons head. Bow science has made quantum leaps since Robin Hood was the bane of the Sheriff of Nottingham's existence. Indian's would likely have held onto the West had they had this technology.

As a first timer with a compound bow, I was amazed at it's accuracy. As one draws back on these flexors of arrows and peers through the tiny bead woven into the draw string, it is hard to believe that anyone came up with this idea.

At first glance, I thought the bead was decorative. I had no idea it was useful for zeroing in on a target. I could not even shoot these bows with my fingers, as the Indians did. I had to strap on a trigger mechanism that held the drawstring (under high pressure), in place, so I did not inadvertently shoot someone in the process of loading an arrow.

As I drew a bead on the target, and tried to relax my breathing, I checked the bubble on the built in 'level,' just under the siting mechanism, to make sure I was properly aiming. Then I let the arrow fly!

Arrow after arrow was hurled toward the target. The technology on these weapons has improved so much that I was able to keep most all of my arrows in a fairly tight pattern! Tight enough to be competitive with my teachers.

I couldn't help but wonder if Elisha would have reacted differently to King Jehoash in 2 Kings 13, if the king had this modern technology. It is easy to be distracted by incredible engineering!

These bows are so advanced that you can take a rookie in the sport, who has never held a compound bow, let alone shoot one and watch him hit the target at 35 yards nearly every time. I was impressed...not with myself, but with how well engineered the bows are.

Before handling them, I was convinced it would take months of practice and learning to even be able to hit the target. Not so!

Many times, those who hunger for a life changing relationship with the Lord are found in a similar place. They think it impossible to live a life that would be pleasing to Christ, since they are so set in their current ways.

What they do not understand, is that He comes in and makes the changes through your surrender and obedience. It is a completely different way of viewing the problem. One they struggle to understand and believe. It is our role to teach them and to show them what living for Christ is all about!

The "weapon" is the Word of God. The "technology" is the Holy Spirit! When we embrace them, we show others how to hit the target as they surrender their lives to Him!

The amazing thing is that the "technology" is always more advanced than new believers initially comprehend. He is never 'out of date' weeks after purchase, like so many things in our world, today. He is always fresh, new and up to date!

Let's make 2009 a year completely surrendered to Him for His glory!!!