New Year's Revolution

Seven or so years ago a seasoned pastor sat across the table and said to me, "You've accomplished more in six or seven years on the mission field than many missionaries do in thirty years."  I was stunned when he said it.   I guess I had never thought about our "accomplishments" or much less the lack thereof of many missionaries. The reality of the situation is that God was gracious and merciful to us and that He kindly covered over so many of our errors and short-comings.  Truly, He did it all. Our part was relatively simple: 1.  Thania and I have always had a relentless kind of faith. We're stubborn by nature!  We just keep believing God was doing something and our job wasn't to doubt, but to look. What are you looking for from God right now? 2.  I've always believed that what we do was extremely important for the kingdom. It's not so much that we're important, but our calling to reach the forgotten is important. What have you prioritiz

A Beautiful, Reckless Abandon

I love to ride a bike. I always have. I think I always will. There is nothing like it: the wind in my face, the speed, the thrill of passing stopped traffic, the views, and the chance to really slow down and see things at a different angle. Recently Silas turned five years old. He proudly announced that it was time for an epic shift in our family bicycle culture. Silas would get Pablo's bike, Pablo would get my bike, and I would have to ride another bike. I was hesitant because I wasn't sure Silas could handle Pablo's bike. It's too big for him. It goes fast. The brakes are different. What if he crashes. . . Plus, Pablo loves his bike so I didn't think he would be willing to pass it down to Silas quite yet. One morning while Pablo was still asleep Silas convinced me to give him a trial run. I nervously helped him onto the bike and gave him a quick lesson about how it works. He wasn't paying attention at all!  I managed to get his pads and helmet on him and tol

Curiosity Did NOT Kill the Cat: Conspiracy

The yellow banner was really flapping in the breeze.  The temperature was perfect.  It would have been hard to find a more perfect weather moment any where on the planet.  Ruben was happy in his stroller.  I was happy to push him out and about around the museum while Thania and the boys were checking out the fascinating science exhibits. Our limited time in the U.S. means that we squeeze museum visits in between visiting friends, praying with folks, begging for support for our missionary endeavors, and traveling.  It's an exciting life, but not one that many people would embrace.  This was a moment of peace--a quiet walk with my tiny son. My eyes flashed back to the yellow flag.  "Long live curiosity" it exclaimed in definitive black letters.  The yellow really did work to draw in my attention.  I began to muse about all of the times that curiosity has gotten the best of me.  I remember questioning one of my "famous" seminary professors who was a renown ex

Liberated from my Fear of Clowns!

My wife and my assistant, Rodrigo, spent the morning at a public elementary school in Guatemala with six-hundred children.  I spent the morning with my new son, Rubén.  I was trying to give my wife a break and let her do what she loves to do which is sharing the love of God with children and women. Last week when I told the police chaplain about the upcoming event in the school, he suggested that we invite his friend "Payasito Perez" [Little Clown Perez in Spanish] to be a part of the program.  The treat for me was that I got to have lunch with the clown. As a child I was somewhat afraid of clowns.  My new clown friend explained to me why that was.  The clowns were not wearing the correct make-up and the make-up of a clown has to be oriented toward a certain age group.  Not only that, there are different kinds of clowns for different age groups and with different purposes.  Some apparently focus on specific age groups, or spread a particular social message, or are tryin

Why Your "Christian" Outrage Isn't Enough: Racism

I guess it's the latest rage to comment on the "recent" racist insanity in the U.S.  As I see the various theologians, church leaders, pastors, and parishioners commenting and sharing their "outrage" I find myself a little frustrated.  If only there were a meme for that (not!). Has the church been reduced to "talking"?  Is it enough to say how repulsed you are?  Has the Kingdom of God ever been about just talk!?!  The great missionary and church-planter, Paul wrote in First Corinthians (NAS): "For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. " How do others feel about your outrage when you have made very little (if any) attempt to dismantle the systems which have led to this?  What does the Bible teach? The early church had racial tensions.  As a matter of fact, certain groups of people were being left out.  The church immediately sought to take care of ALL of the people of the church.  There was action!  There were als

Where's the Rejoicing?

There is nothing more miserable than watching someone else rejoice while you're suffering or angry! It's a terrible feeling.  :-) As  Christians, we're often tempted to "fake it until we make it!" Jesus talks about rejoicing in Luke 15.  He specifically talks about the rejoicing that takes place when a "sinner" repents.  Think about the last time that hearing someone's life-story made you rejoice.  You get excited when they get to the part about the crazy things they used to do or think and then wham-o, right out of nowhere they repent.  Jesus performs drastic life-changing spiritual surgery on them and they instantly have a new point of view.   They're on a different road headed in a different direction. We don't hear a lot of these kinds of things any more because 1) we are afraid to talk about sin and be honest about the reality of  being "sinners."  Poor Jesus used such mean and outdated words that we couldn't possibly

Savior of the Useless

It's fascinating today how impressed we are with ourselves! We really think we're great.  Perhaps it's more insecurity than anything else that makes us look for more and more ways to tell people about ourselves or extend special titles to ourselves.  It's as prevalent in the church as it is outside.  Yet, Jesus was very clear in Luke 17 that we shouldn't make a big deal about just being obedient to Him--there is no special prize for doing what we're already supposed to be doing! He says (Luke 17 NAS): 7 “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8 “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? 9 “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are c