Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Men of Faith

It's not the sort of thing that makes headlines, even in Christian circles. But it is the heart of story after story in the Bible. The heartbeat of God's kingdom throughout the world. A simple walk of faith. A commitment to serve the Living God and His Son, Jesus the Messiah, and extend the Kingdom of God on earth.

I want to mention a few more of the men and women of faith—true faith—that make up the Body of Christ worldwide. Echoes of their stories are found in the Bible (as in Hebrews Chapter 11) and scattered in all the continents of the world. I featured two families of pastors I know in the Philippines in some recent posts (Extended Family and Fruit). These are men I've mentored over the years. This post is more or less a follow up to those posts. 

Monday, February 11, 2013


The value of long-term missions, especially cross-cultural missions, is the fruit it can produce. Time and investment are key. Not just marking time, nor the investment of money. These things produce their own fruit, but they are not spiritual, nor do they always further God's kingdom. I'm talking about the time it takes to invest in people and God's mission, which will always extend God's kingdom. 

It's not rocket-science, as they say, it's obvious. It's what Jesus did when establishing the Kingdom of God on earth. He invested His time in people—twelve men in particular, three men more deeply (Mark 1:14-20; 3:13-19). This same model works today, but is not always followed. Why? Because it requires commitment, faithfulness, persistence, and other such qualities and disciplines not so popular in our current age.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Extended Family

Extended family living under the same roof is common in many cultures. It hasn't been so common in America the past few decades, but that's changing because of present economic realities. At Rainbow  we have an extended family on one compound under a few roofs. On special occasions (Christmas, weddings, despididas [farewell parties], we see other members of Rainbow's extended family join us.

Susan and I feel at home when we travel to the Philippines to rejoin our extended Rainbow family. It's a community of young and old (we're the old ones now). Each person has a place within this community, this family. This is what God intends for His family, the church, the Body of Christ [1 Cor 12:12, 14, 18, 25-26]. Seeing God's extended family, the church worldwide, is a great blessing for cross-cultural missionaries.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2 Families

Michael came to Rainbow Village with his younger brother when he was three years old. His story, like many others, has it's own sadness, which is why he was brought to us in 1992. This past week we had the blessing of seeing Michael and catching up on what's been going on in his life. Seeing him after so many years is an amazing encouragement to everyone at Rainbow.

Michael arrived at Rainbow this past week as Susan and I were leaving the US. He was smothered with love and acceptance by the ya-yas (the local dialect term for childcare attendants), his family at Rainbow. A few of the women remembered when he and his brother first came, and they accepted and loved them both into our Rainbow family. This week he got to experience a family reunion.

Monday, January 21, 2013

2 Homes

This week I'm traveling with my wife to the Philippines, so my regular weekly post will be a little late. But a quick thought.

It's been said that missionaries are only at home while traveling between their home culture and their home on the field (where they are involved in ministry). This expresses the dilemma most missionaries go through after assimilating into another culture and developing a home abroad. When returning to their home culture, it often seems foreign.

Not only does life continue on without us when we go from one place to another, but the missionary changes as well. Their worldview changes. Their perspective on their home culture changes. And like it or not, the passing of time changes each person, that is, we get older. 

People often make a big deal about climate and food and customs. All of those require a certain adjustment to cope and function within a new environment. But the one thing that a missionary misses most are the relationships made in both homes. It's hard to say goodbye and leave behind family and friends. But you have to get used to it, because that's a pretty constant reality!

I'm writing this late before we head out early in the morning, so hopefully it's coherent. I'll be checking back in when I'm on the other side of the world from my home in the US. What are you up to?

Monday, January 14, 2013

What, Me Worry?

Remember the Mad Magazine cover with Alfred E Neuman asking, "What, me worry?" Perhaps I'm reaching too far back for some of you, but his iconic face and this question were a popular sight in the heyday of Mad Magazine (1960's-70's). It was the first irreverent and satirical magazine to impact pop-culture. Now, we are deluged with irreverent satire in all sorts of media.

A few days ago I read through a familiar passage in the Bible. It's familiar to those in Christian circles. Something simple caught my attention this time. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), Jesus gives insight and practical advice on how to live within God's kingdom. It's practical, yet spiritual. It's not mystical, but deals with motives of the heart and internal struggles. What do most people struggle with on a daily basis? Worry.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The "C" Word

How do you react to the beginning of a new year? With hope? Anticipation? Great expectations? Many people make New Year's resolutions with full intent to keep them. Others have given up on that sort of thing. Me, I never really did much resolution making, at least, not that I remember.

Many people are familiar with the expression, "The paths of hell are paved with many good intentions." Resolutions and commitments are different. How are they different? Resolutions are intended commitments. Resolutions are what I intend to do. What I plan or hope to do. A commitment is what I promise to do—I give my word on it.