Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Where Feet May Fail

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
This bridge is from a song of a popular Christian worship band.  A lot of churches may even sing this song during their worship services.  How often do we sing this lyric, but really mean it? How often have I listened to and sung this lyric, but only really pay lip service to it.  

A Prayer Answered
Herein stands the believer's paradox. We pray, "God I want to become more dependent upon you, more reliant upon your grace."  But we don't really want God to answer that prayer.  Because when He answers that prayer, it means we lose control.  
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”  Matthew 14:28-30
I resonate with Peter.  He was a deep feeler.  Showed his emotions on his sleeve.  He had the guts to pray a prayer like the lyric above, but once the Lord answered, saw he had no control over his situation and it brought him to a place of complete and utter dependance upon Jesus.  But it was motivated out of fear and doubt, not confidence in His Lord, as we see by the Lord's response in verse 31: 
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  Matthew 14:31
And this is the sinner's dilemma.  Because sin has weighed down our perspective and thinking, we come to Jesus often out of fear and doubt.  But take heart sinner.  Christ's blood has been sprinkled upon our consciences, upon our way of thinking, and we no longer need to come to Him in fear and doubt.  
"...let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Hebrews 10:22
Our Confidence in Christ
"Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander...".  To pray a prayer like that and mean it takes guts.  And when God answers, we can confidently go to Him to trust that He will keep us above the waters.  But be ready for anything.  Taking us deeper than our feet could ever wander could mean a new ministry, a new place, a difficult trial, and certainly unknown boundaries to our current experience. And because we are on this side of the blood offering of Christ on the cross, we can confidently draw near to His help, His hand to hold you up, and "make your faith stronger". 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Muli Bwanji? Bwino. I am good.

I am the one blessed
I came here to bless a class of college sophmores, but have instead been blessed by them.  I came
to teach them Principles in Leadership found in the book of Nehemiah.  And in return they have taught me many things.

The class has been going very well.  My first two days I was unsure of how they were receiving me and I wondered about their perception of me, if they saw me as someone who deeply cared for each of them and their future, or if they saw me as someone who wanted to take advantage of them or to have some selfish gain for myself.  My fears were relieved when they began opening up to me by the third day.  By the end of the week, I have had several one-on-one conversations, one who said, "I never understood leadership until this class - you are teaching me many good things."  And one of them, after finding out my music background, brought me his guitar to have me teach his some new chords.  This student, with the limited funds and musical knowledge he has, had recorded his own music (and it's good!), but desires to learn more.  In fact, that is one characteristic I find common amongst most of them - they are all sponges for knowledge and teaching.  They desire to apply and so something with what they are learning.  These are F.A.T. people (Faithful, Available, Teachable).

The Daily Work
My typical day begins around 0545 hours.  The sun has already been up for about 1/2 hour by this time.  I freshen up, spend some time in prayer and put the last finishing touches on my lessons.  At 0730, a clanging pipe is heard, signaling everyone to the eating area, which is some picnic tables. All food is prepared outside or in small cabins - think of it like camping.  I eat my breakfast - a hard boiled egg and peanut butter flavored porridge every morning - yum. 

At 0830, class begins.  I like to begin with worship - most days African style - and prayer.  We meet for about 4 hours with a couple of breaks.  Then it is lunch time, which everyday is rice and beans and
some kind of cooked greens.  At 1400 we meet again for one hour and they take a quiz on the material that they had learned from that morning.  Class is done for the day.  I then spend about an hour grading, then work on my lesson for the next day, or take some time to walk around campus, meet with students or nap.  By this time of day, it is over 95 degrees and there IS NO AIR CONDITIONING!

At 1730 the dinner bell rings.  Dinner is my favorite meal as it varies from day to day.  One day we had noodles with a piece of beef. The next day we had fried chicken (that they killed that day from their own hen houses).  Another day we had sausage and noodles.  All meals are accompanied with Sheema - consisting of corn meal with other items in it. It looks like mashed potatoes, but thicker consistency and definitely does not taste like mashed potatoes. 

After dinner there is more time to meet with students or to work on my lesson.  Curfew is at 2100 and lights out at 2200.  I have no complaints about going to bed then, or even earlier as I am exhausted by this time. 

Thank You!
The fruit of the investment in this trip is being seen as students grow in their understanding of the material and of what it means to be a leader amongst God's people.  They have been wrestling with these leadership principles and expanding their minds to think beyond college and how they can be leaders in their own communities. As an American, I have so many resources at my fingertips. This has been a blessing to be able to impart knowledge and resources to those who are motivated to change their country and continent for Christ.  I have told the students about you, the people back home who praying, who believe in the vision of this equipping ministry and they are very thankful. 

As they say in Zambia - Zikomo! Thank you for praying for me, for them and for supporting this endeavor.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Going from First Class to Third World

I am now sitting in the Dubai airport reflecting on the wealth of this city compared to the poverty I am about to enter.  During my 14 hour layover in Dubai, courtesy of Emirates Airlines, they put me up in a hotel.  The hotel room was modest, but the hotel itself and the city sure wasn't.  Of course, I had to get out.  So I called a cab and they took me down to the Bujr Khalifa - the world's tallest building.  I stood amazed at the glitz, the power, the wealth of this city.  

If man's creation makes me stand amazed, how much more does the blood of our precious Savior spilled out for me and the gift that He offers.  This building will one day be destroyed.   It is temporary, just as the things I own are temporary.   But the gift of the Savior and the salvation He has to offer of eternal relationship and rest in heaven will last forever in heaven.  Which would you choose?

So as I go from first class to third world country, I pray for an eternal perspective for both rich and poor.  That we not hold too tightly to the things we have, and we thirst for that which will last forever.  I am looking forward to eternity in heaven where there will be no super rich or extreme poverty, nor injustice and tears, and where we take the awards we are given and lay them down in worship of our King.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

time to go

It's time!  I'm waiting at Chicago O'Hare to board my plane with a final destination of Lusaka, Zambia.  I am amazed at how God has provided abundantly for this trip through the prayer of His saints and the gifts of His saints to this ministry.  

I am excited, humbled, a bit anxious and ready for God to show up with the students I get to spend a week and a half with at the International Bible College of Zambia.  

Praise - My luggage has made it past the weight criteria!

Praise - God has provided abundantly for my family as I am away from them for 2 weeks. 

Prayer Need - That my checked baggage makes it all the way through Dubai and then onto Lusaka.  This is especially important because it contains all the materials and textbooks that the students will be using for our class.

Prayer Need - My own health protection and ability to sleep.

Thank you all!  Hopefully I can update as I go along as long as there is wifi.   

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Theological Famine in Africa

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” Romans 10:14-15

Honduras July 2010