“And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:6-7 NKJV).
As I watched a mechanic and his helpers pull and replace the motor on the college van recently, I had one more occasion to feel resentment at the people of Babel. Continue reading “Confusion”
It has been another interesting week. It began on Monday as we watched Robi the mechanic and his two helpers put a new (rebuilt) engine in our school van, here on campus under a mango tree, with no winch or hoist – just a pipe and a rope and several strong backs. Who said there are no more shade tree mechanics?
The old engine was removed and stripped down on Saturday, a new one was ordered Sunday (yes Sunday is a business day here) from Dhaka, delivered overnight and installed and running by 3:00 p.m. Monday. Continue reading “Observations”
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'” (Matthew 25:40 NKJV).
I recently served on a panel for a missions training program where we were asked the question, “Why is it important to develop relationships with locals in the mission field?” Continue reading “Relationships”
“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.’ So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent” (Jonah 3:1-3 NKJV).
If you ask the average person about the book of Jonah, they might respond, “Isn’t that the story about the man who was swallowed by a whale?” It is likely that that is the only feature of the book which they know. Continue reading “Urban evangelism”
People seem to love to complain. Nothing is ever good enough (or so it seems). Nothing ever goes right. Nobody likes things the way they are. Somehow it seems that if everything was perfect that people would complain about that, too!
Notice what James said about those things we normally complain about: “My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials…” (James 1:2 NET). Joy when we fall into trials? Joy? What planet was he living on?! Continue reading “Consider it all joy”
“And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God'” (Genesis 35:2-3 NKJV).
Many today insist that they not be judged on the basis of appearance. Clothing is, in their view, unimportant, and they should not be evaluated on the basis of wardrobe, hair style, or other cosmetic and physical factors. Continue reading “Change your garments”
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV).
Our telephone rang, waking us, at 1:00 a.m. the night before we were to leave for Bangladesh. Continue reading “Adaptability”
Forgiving each other seems to be something that many Christians struggle with. From my experience of serving congregations for the past thirty-five years, it is the small offences, often done without thinking, that may serve to divide Christians and even split congregations.
Forgiving each other is so important that Jesus spent quite a bit of time teaching the necessity of forgiving. He even based some of his parables on the need to forgive. One of the most striking of these, to me, is the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, recorded in Matthew 18. Continue reading “Forgive from the Heart”
“And again he said, ‘To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened'” (Luke 13:20-21 NRS).
Societies, like recipes, are a blend of various ingredients. One does not bake bread from meal or flour alone. Neither does any nation consist of completely identical citizens. There is diversity of race, age, gender, education, economic status, religious commitment, and cultural development, to mention only a few of the vast differences which distinguish individuals. Continue reading “Active ingredients”
“Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest'” (2 Kings 4:7 NKJV).
A common characteristic of people in poverty, and of some undeveloped societies, is to develop a sense of helplessness. They see no way to solve their problems, or to improve their situation in life. This can lead to giving up and throwing oneself upon the mercy and compassion of others. It is as if they are saying, “You have to help me because I cannot do anything for myself.” Continue reading “Dependency”