“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1 NKJV).
It is almost inevitable whenever I make a report on my work in South Asia that members of the audience will come out saying something like, “We here in the U.S. are so blessed compared with those who live in other parts of the world.” Continue reading The peril of privilege
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, . . . Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him” (Matthew 3:1, 5).
One of the attractions of preaching in countries like Nepal and Bangladesh is the number of people who will travel long distances under difficult circumstances to hear one’s lessons. On my very first trip to Nepal I met some brothers from the mountains who had come to Katmandu to hear me preach. When I asked where they lived they said, “It is two days walk from our village to the end of the bus route, then a 12 hour ride on the bus to Katmandu.” Continue reading Drawing an audience
“Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14 NKJV).
I am planning a trip to Nepal soon to visit areas devastated by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of April 25. The Nepali friend who is helping me to plan the trip wrote saying, “We can rent a vehicle (since the) road has opened from last week. We are not trekking to the villages as advised by brothers. But since there are landslides in several places on the way we may need to walk to cross those areas in rain. So I think it would be better to have back packs, trekking boots, rain cover, and hiking sticks.” Continue reading How badly do you want to go?
“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:40-42 NKJV).
In South Asia there is a popular saying that every evangelist soon learns: “No eating, no meeting!” In other words, if you plan for people to gather for hours listening to sermons or Bible lessons, there needs to be some thought given to providing refreshment. That may seem to us like greed or self-interest, but in those cultures if people give up several hours of their day for spiritual purposes they are also forfeiting the time that would ordinarily be spent in preparing meals for themselves and their families. There are few microwaves or frozen dinners in those nations. Continue reading That good part
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2 ESV).
Sometimes, even in the midst of terrible tragedies, things happen that reinforce one’s faith in people. Perhaps I should have said “especially in the midst of tragedies” because it is the response of Christians to victims of disaster that has prompted the above thought. Continue reading Ready for every good work
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV).
This week I received an email from a friend in Katmandu, Nepal which included the following paragraph: Continue reading Shaken
“To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty” (Job 6:14 NKJV).
Travelers often get into awkward situations simply because they are not familiar with the customs and practices of their hosts. This happens regularly when one is visiting people of his own nation, even from his own family. It often causes much more serious consequences when one is in another nation with a very different culture. Continue reading Expectations
Perhaps the most remarkable person to work at a Christian college was Zelma Lawyer, but she was not a professor, she was a “dorm mother.” For decades she “mothered” young women at Abilene Christian College with an iron hand and a loving touch. But she was much more than a mere “dorm mom.”
Zelma Lawyer was a hero. Continue reading She married a missionary
“So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'” (1 Samuel 16:6-7 NKJV).
In my opinion perhaps the greatest challenge to missionaries is the development of indigenous leadership in areas where the church is young and opportunities for training are limited. How quickly can a new convert develop the spiritual maturity required of elders, deacons, and preachers? How quickly may we begin to trust those of different cultures of which our understanding is imperfect? Just when should we begin to push for independence and self-reliance on the part of mission churches? These are difficult questions with few obvious right answers. Continue reading Potential
“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:11-13 NKJV).
It has become very evident to me over the years that conditional statements are often not recognized as such. This may be cultural, or in other situations may be influenced by lack of education or even by personal prejudices (we often do hear what we want or expect to hear, don’t we?). Continue reading If