Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who Are You Holding On To?

I took two of my daughters, Deborah and Emma, with me on the moto the other day to make a visit. All of the kids love riding the moto with me, and since they have all been riding since they were toddlers, they are pretty comfortable with it. While we were riding, one of them made a statement which really got me thinking.

But first, a word about the different ways that passengers ride motos here in Cambodia. I have noticed that while virtually everyone here is comfortable on the back of a moto, there are different ways that people ride. 

First, there are the clingy riders. Oftentimes the really young kids are the clingers. I have seen motos go zipping by with a little girl behind her mom or dad just hanging on for dear life. Sometimes their eyes are wide open and slightly terrified, and sometimes their eyes are squeezed tightly shut as if they are concentrating intently on not falling off.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interesting World Statistics

Whether you like statistics, geography, anthropology, or world history, there is something in this video for you. If you happen to be interested in ALL of those things, then this video is an absolute "must-see". In this video, Hans Rosling of Sweden presents an amazing perspective of the development of 200 nations over the past 200 years in just 4 minutes. I'm not going to try to explain it - just watch it. Then I'll make a few comments afterwards.

There are no doubt many opinions as to the "why" and the "how" of the progress of these past 200 years. Some would use a video such as this to support their belief in humanism. Others would say, "Wow, look what capitalism has done for the world". Many Christians would claim this video shows that 200 years of missionary endeavors has helped to lift the standard of living and quality of life for the whole world. And for every proposed theory, there would certainly be a rebuttal. But one thing I am completely sure of is that some major data points were not included in this tremendous piece of research. I will mention just two:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Marks of Spiritual Maturity

I have been blessed in recent weeks and months to see some very spiritual behavior and attitudes in the lives of some of our church members. I have seen people who a few years ago were like a fragile, young plant needing lots of spiritual investment, now exhibiting the strength and stability of a mighty tree. In a recent post I showed a Biblical pattern for investing in people. The Apostle Paul went to the city of Thessalonica on his second missionary journey and invested himself in the people there. The Bible says he imparted not the gospel of God only, but also his own soul. I think it appropriate when considering "investment" to also take a moment to consider "the return". In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, he talked about his investment in them. In his second letter, he talked about the return on his investment. Notice what he said to them in II Thessalonians 1:3-4:

"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:"  

Paul was rejoicing and could not help but thank God for these precious people because of some things that he saw happening in their lives. When I read these two verses recently, I immediately thought, "Wow...that is exactly what I am seeing in some of our people!" Let us examine these three indicators of spiritual maturity that Paul raised.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Not The Gospel Of God Only

A Biblical Pattern For Investing In People

The ministry, by definition, is about people. While it is true that we oftentimes (of necessity) get encumbered with detail work and administrative tasks, ultimately the ministry is about people. There have been times in my ministry where I have gotten tired of people. That’s both horrible and hilarious at the same time. Horrible because the ministry is about people, and hilarious because…well, the ministry is about people. In recent years, God has used the book of I Thessalonians to teach me about the important work of investing in the people to whom God has sent me to minister. Even a casual reading of I Thessalonians reveals a very special relationship between the Apostle Paul and his beloved converts in Thessalonica. The key verse is 2:8 which says, “…we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls…”

It is possible to win people to Christ without really investing much into them. I know because I have done it! God has convicted me at times that although I was succeeding in imparting the Gospel of God, I was failing to impart my own soul. In I Thessalonians chapter 2, God gives us a pattern for investing in the lives of people.