Future ReplacementsJuly 24, 2013Ok, here it is:It looks now like our next replacement will be back to Nagykanizsa, Hungary (Olahs) from mid April to start of June and then straight to Bambili, Cameroon, West Africa (Sinclairs) for 8 months until the start of February 2015. Then we will be back in the states until late April when we will depart for 5 months in Johannesburg, South Africa (Moores). This, of course, is all subject to God’s will.Now, We are currently at 59% and have just 8 months to complete the remaining 41. We are remembering what God said to Moses in Numbers 11:23 “...Is the LORD'S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”Willyoupraywithus?
Our New WebsiteMarch 30, 2013Welcometoournewwebsite.Iwouldliketothankmy sonJasonforbuilding,maintainingandhostingthelast one.Healsoshepherdedmethroughtheprocessof searchingoutasoftwareprogramandpublishingthis one. He is hosting it for me as well. Thanks, Jason!IswitchedbecauseIthoughtthissitecouldbemuch morethanitwas.BecauseIdidnotunderstandhowto uploadthingstoawebsite,Ineverdid.Mybad.Iwantto remedy that.Throughthisblogwewouldliketosharethoughtsfrom theroad,chronicleblessings,shareburdensandinform ourprayerpartners.Inordertodothatwewillhaveto keepupwithitandyouwillneedtocheckinoccasionally.Let see how it goes.
Somthing We MissDecember 2, 2013Having done it for so long, I find that there are some things I truly miss about pastoring. Occasionally something will catch me by surprise. Most pastors don’t have missionaries in when they are going to observe the Lord’s supper. Sometimes they will reschedule communion to give the missionary more time. Either way, missionaries seldom get to observe this ordinance. Last Sunday evening was the exception. Myra and I discovered how much we had missed this time of remembrance. As the pastor asked all to stand and to sing “Blessed Be the Tie” I looked at her and saw my feelingsreflectedinhertears.I find it ironic that one of the things I have been asked to sacrifice, yet still find precious, is the celebration of Christ’s sacrifice because I was precious to Him.
Care of all the ChurchesOctober 15, 2015Toward the end of his explanations of his sufferings in II Cor. 11:23-29 the Apostle Paul added verse 28 “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” As a pastor I had never been arrested, beaten or shipwrecked, but I understood bearing the burden of the defeats in my church. Yes, there are the victories but the pain of the losses linger and seem to grow as a burden. This is particularly true when the defeats or their fallout leave an empty pew behind on Sunday, or sometimes worse, don’t.Whereas I understood all the care of the church, I did not understand “the care of all the churches.” The nature of my current ministry is giving me a glimpse into what he was talking about. As a furlough replacement missionary our job is to go to different fields and fill in for missionaries that need to return to the states. We get dropped into a strange city, church and culture tasked with loving, leading and building a flock in their pastor’s absence. This cannot happen effectively unless you love, and become involved in the lives of the people to whom you minister. In a few months you are off to minister to a new flock. You may say “goodbye”, but in this digital age you can stay in touch. That is so wonderful until you discover that, just as churches in the states have problems, so do the ones overseas. It would be nice to say “well, that’s not my problem anymore”, and it’s not, but the heart still aches for the people you love and the missionaries that are faithfully pressing on in the lonely struggle. In your heart and in your prayers you are never able to cut the ties.When Paul spoke of ,“the care of all the churches” there are still elements with which I will never be able to fully empathize. I am not an apostle. His was an authority and with it a responsibility that no longer exists. I come to the church under the authority of the missionary and leave it in his capable care when we leave. But, my pastor’s heart still aches, the prayer list gets longer and the burdens grow.Don’t get me wrong. Ours is a blessed ministry and we are thankful that God has called us to it. But I seek to draw your attention to the human element in the middle of the struggle between the divine and the demonic. Faithful missionaries need our fervent and informed prayers on their behalf. The world is growing darker as their numbers decrease, but where it shines, let us pray that the light shines brightly.
Keep Thy Heart?August 11, 2018TIn college I played defensive tackle on the left side of the line. In practice I learned quickly that if my opponent pulled, I was about to be blind-sided from the right by Terry McIntosh (my future brother-in-law). It was such a painful experience that I learned to just take a few steps further into the backfield and let him shoot by in back of me and let him hit the defensive end. The up side, no pain! The down side was that it took me and the DE out of the play. The coach had put me in there to be the man and take the hit... and the pain.A few days back I heard a guy misinterpreting Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” He was using it as a proof text for shielding yourself from the pain of life.First, that is not what the passage is talking about. You do not even need to know who Herman Neutics is to realize that vs. 23-27 are an admonition to shield your heart from the wicked influences of this world. Second, if you shield your heart from pain by building walls, you take yourself out of the game.Pastoring is one of the most painful things I have ever done. Watching the folks you love make choices that you know will destroy them, hurts in ways that only pastors can understand. Yes, we watch for their souls, but we can not make their decisions for them. We can warn, weep, and wrestle but ultimately, they must live their own lives. To compound the pain, they often turn against the one standing between them and their sin. The pastor becomes the bad guy.I thought that when I went into furlough replacement that the pain would go away. “It is the missionary’s problem. I’m just filling in.” Yes, the decreased investment in the lives has diminished the intensity, but the pain continues and multiplies the more places we go and the more lives we touch.Pastoring is one of the most joyous things I have ever done as well. Challenging folks to stay on the pathway that’s wending always upward and then watching them rise to the challenge is a joy that makes pastoring worthwhile. So, I choose to leave my heart open to pain and joy, betrayal and victory. My coach has put me in to be the man, take the hit and stay in the play.