Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015


    The above picture was taken when we first arrived in Amman, Jordan to start this wild journey.  It is amazing how far we have come since that day.  This last year has been the most exciting of all of my years in the ministry.  There have been times of great joy and celebration then times of sorrow and frustration. 
    Hebrews 12:28 says:  "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe."
    This is really one of my favorite verses because if you really look what it is saying then we are to not be shaken in anything and in all things be thankful, good and bad; because we someday we are going to be a kingdom that God created just for us.  Now that is a promise that each of us must grab hold of and never let go.
    So here is my THANKFUL LIST and believe me it is not complete:
1.  I am thankful to God.  Because of His Love for me I am guaranteed to be in His Kingdom.
2.  My wife, Jeannine, that has faithfully walked this road with me.  She has endured my extended travel alone.  She supports me, prays for me, and loves me when I am not sure about many things.  She is a rock even though while I am gone she stands alone.
3.  My children, all 4 of them now.  They are amazing people of character, integrity, love, compassion, understanding and support.
4.  To our Great Commission Partners that pray for us and support us so we can continue this crazy journey.   Without you, this would road would not be possible.
5.  To the Workers and Believers in the region that partner with me and International Commission to do the work of God in an area where their sacrifices I will never understand.
6,  For the safety that God continues to grant me as I travel.  This year has been the most dangerous for this road.  There has been unexpected dinners with people who could easily end my life or that of the team with me.  There has been safe passage when I had done something stupid. There have been the many times that I know I have been followed when in countries.  And just recently the car bombs that occurred within a few miles of where I was and then the military/police raids that occurred right in front of me. 
7.  For the protection of God.  A great example of His protection was the flight that was delayed out of Frankfurt.  Although I was frustrated and yes angry about not being able to be home as planned.  When I found out that the brakes were the issue and that there was a possibly of danger upon landing in San Francisco, I thankful that God knew better than I did.
8.  I am also thankful for the struggles that I have faced this year.  The times where I am not sure about what is going on in His Call.  The ways that our financial support has so drastically reduced but yet God continues to provide.  And the times that I have been in such extreme pain that I can hardly move.
    God continues to amaze me.  All I can do is to continue to be thankful.  Again thank you for everything that each of you have done and continue to do for us.  Finally I am thankful for the picture below because today this is the family that God has blessed me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Focus Should Be On Jesus Christ, Not A Cup!!!!


Hebrews 12:1-2 says: 
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

    So I was going to make this addition to my blog about my upcoming trip to the Middle East and how prayer is the support to its success.   The reason for the need  and importance of prayer is that this trip has the potential to be the most dangerous of trips and projects that I have taken a team on in a very long time.  However over the last couple of days, there has been a trend on social media that is wrong. 
    Christmas is fast approaching and Starbuck's has again come out with their "Red Cups."  The difference this year is that they are just plain red cups that say Starbucks.  Facebook and other social media have lit up with comments about Starbuck's taking Christ out of Christmas, how people are not going to shop them or patronize them because the red cups don't say Christmas or any other comments about Christmas.  Starbuck's publicly said we want to be more inclusive.  However, reality is that for Starbuck's, it also is a profit factor.  Less printing equates to more bottom line dollars.  Now I have been in Starbuck's recently and have seen all of the normal things in them, the ornaments, the "Christmas Blend Coffee"  (which actually says Christmas Blend Coffee), and all of the other things that say they have gone Christmas. 
    Why are we, and I mean we because all of the Christians out there who are "all up in arms" are representing me; a Believer of Jesus Christ and yes a Christian around the world declaring "War on Starbucks."  You see, your actions here in the USA reflect all Christians around the world.  People it is a RED CUP. 
    Candace Cameron Bure said this yesterday on her Facebook page:

Starbucks War on Christmas?
It's a red cup, folks.
Until Starbucks puts a baby Jesus or nativity scene on the cup while saying Merry Christmas, then pulls it because they say it’s offensive, let’s talk. I don't remember Starbucks ever being a Christian company, do you?  A Santa, a snowflake, some holly, a polar bear, some jingle bells or plain red cup don’t define Christmas for me as a Christian. My relationship with Jesus does.
So, I will joyfully sip on my Starbucks coffee, in a plain red cup, and instead of complaining about the lack of decorations, I will lovingly share the good news of Jesus Christ with friends and co-workers or anyone who's willing to engage in conversation.
    Is she right?  Yes she is right.  Here is my rant and I am yelling it at the top of voice right now....IT IS NOT STARBUCK'S, TARGET, OR EVEN WALMART'S RESPONSIBILITY TO SHARE THE TRUTH ABOUT JESUS CHRIST....IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!  The red cup is a red cup, let it go.  If you are that upset about a red cup then get off your duff and start sharing the real truth.  The truth the Jesus Christ came to earth to be a sacrifice for your sins, to create a new covanent so that you and I will have an eternity in Heaven with Him and His Father.  If you want people to know why we celebrate Christmas, then go meet with them and tell them. 

    See the picture above, "Sharing the Gospel with Others-Easy or Difficult."   Pick your battles.  You are making Sharing more difficult.  I am not trying to belittle your belief system, but pick your battles.  A red cup is a battle you are not going to win.  But if you use the red cup as a opportunity to share Jesus Christ, then it is a eternal battle you will win.  For me, I am going to use Starbuck's.  I am going to invite people to have coffee with me at Starbuck's, I am going to get them something in the red cup, and I am going to share with them the LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST, the TRUTH OF JESUS CHRIST, and THE ETERNAL REASON FOR CHRISTMAS.