Why here?

“And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord, and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense” (1 Kings 13:10 NJKV).

I am frequently asked, “What led you to do mission work in the countries to which you go?” On one level the answer is relatively easy – I chose to work with a particular congregation which had established work in those countries and they gave me the opportunity to become a part of that work. The rest just developed naturally.

But that may not be the whole story. Continue reading “Why here?”

Complete in him

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principles and power” (Colossians 2:9-10 NKJV).

Since the earliest days of Christianity there have been those who sought to add elements to the gospel message which were not originally a part of it. Jewish Christians sought ways to include the requirements of the Mosaic Law – specifically circumcision (Acts 15:1; Galatians 1:7). Others proposed various elements of pagan religion and philosophy (Colossians 2:8, 18-23). Continue reading “Complete in him”

Be safe

“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13 NKJV).

When I first began traveling in South Asia I was continuously shocked at the lack of guard rails and other protective structures in places of danger. One can go onto the roof of a 10 story hotel (or much higher) and there is no wall, rail, or barrier at the edge. Similarly, roads and paths have little or no barricades at dangerous curves and drop-offs. When I commented on how “unsafe” this is, my companion smiled and said, “You Americans are spoiled; we watch where we are walking and driving. Continue reading “Be safe”

Doors

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Revelation 3:8 NKJV).

One of the most visited sites in Kathmandu, Nepal is the Hindu temple called “Pashupati Nath.” This is actually a large complex of temples and related structures including schools, housing for priests and other religious officials, and administrative buildings. One notable feature is the limitation on entry. The main temple door has a sign posted denying access to anyone except Hindus. Continue reading “Doors”

Contending with horses

“If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5-6 NKJV).

Complaints are universal. Every generation compares its experiences with those who come after it, sure that the things of previous times were much harder than those of the present. The weather was harsher, conditions were much more difficult, and accomplishments were won at far greater effort. In many cases those comparisons are not without truth. Continue reading “Contending with horses”

Why mountains?

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2 NKJV).

I have been blessed with opportunities to travel to many parts of the earth. I have visited five of the seven continents, and at least thirty different countries. I have visited some of the world’s harshest deserts, beaches on many different oceans, seas and lakes, tiny villages, and huge metropolitan areas. Of all the places and geographic categories that I have experienced, my overwhelming favorite is the mountains. From the moderate heights of the Appalachians in the eastern U.S., to the towering Himalayas, there is just something awesome and wonderful about all of the mountain ranges I have seen. Continue reading “Why mountains?”

Consistency

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV).

The first few years I traveled to South Asia I was able to obtain a visa on arrival at each of the countries I visited. I usually preferred to obtain my visa in advance while still in the U.S., but it was good to know there was an alternative in case of emergency.

One year another American was traveling with me, and due to time constraints he chose to wait to get his visa when we arrived. However, when we got to Los Angeles on Friday afternoon, where we were to begin international travel, we were told that the host country had changed its policy abruptly and we would have to wait over the weekend, go to San Francisco, get a visa, then come back to LA to travel. That was a major upheaval to our plans and completely unacceptable. Thankfully, we were able to find another way that was not so time intensive and our trip was not severely affected. Continue reading “Consistency”

Deserving

“Then the king sent and called for Shemei, and said to him, ‘Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there anywhere. For it shall be, on the day you go out and cross the Brook Kidron, know for certain you shall surely die; your blood shall be on your own head.’ And Shemei said to the king, ‘The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so your servant will do’ ” (1 Kings 2:36-38 NKJV).

There are few ideas which are more frequently abused in modern society than that of entitlement. Commercials bombard us with luxury and leisure, persuading us that we all deserve such. Leaders of third world countries speak before global venues, demanding that those in better circumstances provide the help that is owed by them to the poor of the world. Millions of the poor everywhere expect governments to provide for every need (and for many things they simply desire). “We deserve it” has become the universal creed, without regard for any responsibility on the part of the one making the demand. Continue reading “Deserving”

Made for man

“And he said to them,’The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath'” (Mark 2:27, NKJV).

On one trip into the mountains of Nepal to preach among the villages, we took a Nepali cook who was a practicing Buddhist. Over the course of the two weeks we traveled, we spoke to him several times about his religion and about the Gospel. One comment he made has stayed with me. “I am tired of the priests’ extravagant demands – for everything there must be a sacrifice and I must always pay.” Continue reading “Made for man”

Uncharmed snakes

“‘For behold, I will send serpents among you, vipers which cannot be charmed, and they shall bite you,’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 8:17, NKJB).

Snake charming is an ancient practice in parts of Asia. When I started traveling to South Asia I was a little surprised to discover that it is still fairly common and popular among the people, especially those in rural areas. I have gone into a village more than once and seen a charmer with several baskets strapped to his bicycle from which he would extract multiple large cobras while playing a tune on a flute. As soon as they were placed on the ground the snakes began to lift their heads and upper torso and sway in tune with the music. I was much impressed. Continue reading “Uncharmed snakes”