Monday, 30 May 2011

God isn't fair.

As always I must clarify. Most, if not all words have more than one sense. First I want to clarify what I don't mean, which is "God isn't just." We often equate the concepts of fairness and justice. Though I don't have any particular problem with this, its the other, I think more common, sense that causes problems because we start to use it trying to carry the weight of Justice, but really it is something else. This sense contains roughly the qualities of equality and even distribution of various things (resources, time, attention, etc.). This sense of the word fair is running rampant through our culture wreaking all kinds of havoc in my opinion, because it is rooted in a basic human vice, Jealousy.

Jesus told a parable about this very thing in Matthew 20:1-16. If you recall it is the story of the master of a household who went out and hired some people in the morning promising a day's wages. He again went out at different times of the day and hired more people even up until the last hour of the day. When he paid them, he paid them all the same. The workers who worked all day basically said, "Hey, thats not fair!" Their accusation of fairness was not based on Justice, but rather on Jealousy as they felt entitled to more if they worked more, when in truth they received exactly what they were promised and agreed upon. It would have been unjust if the master of the house had paid them less than agreed. In these situations I think of a spoiled jealous kid who is angry with his parents about his new bike because the kid down the street has a new bike that is shinier and has a bell on it. How can we see the Jealousy there and yet not within ourselves when we feel wronged in such a way, when in truth our idea of fair is not just.

I started to think about this and realize this when I did something much like this kid and these workers. This summer I will be working as a TA for Phonological Analysis during the summer @ CanIL and I am blessed. However, I also had applied for a TA position for this coming fall. I was not accepted to a position for the fall and noticed that some of my friends and fellow students had received a position who had already received TA positions more than once during our time there whereas my first TA position is this summer. As I started to feel cheated and that it wasn't fair God revealed to me the poison in my veins as Jealousy. My idea of fairness wasn't based on justice or any noble quality, but rather the fit I was throwing over the boy down the street's new bike. You see, with Jealousy often comes the sentiment of entitlement, that somehow we ought to have the same or better. If God has blessed another in such and such a way, He should also bless me in that way! After I realized this error in my heart and mind it quickly abated as falsehood never lasts long in the light of truth.

I've looked around online at people's arguments biblically concerning fairness and without exception so far every time a verse they use is examined it is used in the sense of justice, impartiality, or righteousness. This is simply not the more common way we seem to use the word and concept of fair in our society. I also think it in some places has wormed its way into our theology as some people see a God who would predestine people for heaven and hell as unfair. Maybe theres something wrong with our idea of fair instead of something wrong with the doctrine of predestination?

For His Glorious Name,

Saturday, 28 May 2011


I love simplicity. I love going back to the basics. When life gets complex, I return to the foundation, Christ. When my theology gets out of hand and my theories become frayed at the edges, I cut off the all the excess and return to the Source. Maybe its because of how complex my mind can be that I value simplicity so much. The simplicity of going out for a run and communing with nature and God is one of the most effective means to quiet my restless mind, heart, and soul. Maybe that explains some of my life choices.

One might describe me as a minimalist. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm anti-materialistic, at least not in the way ancient philosophers might have asserted. I'm the kind of guy who doesn't value money very highly. I use it to meet my basic needs for which it can provide (only a few of my basic needs, the others of which money has no bearing) food, clothing, and shelter. I feel no need to seek a career that will give me loads of money. I don't even feel like seeking a career that would provide any money at all. I like to serve people with no monetary benefit to myself. I don't like to accumulate property. If it were up to me, anything beyond my immediate needs I would rather give away most of the time (my books are one apparent exception, but I tend to lend them out and sometimes not get them back, so not really). I like to go hiking and spend time with friends, things that take no money. I like to run in my Vibrams because they are closer to my bare feet than a regular pair of shoes and maybe someday I really will run truly barefoot. All of this to illustrate something that I believe that affects me in all these ways, that nothing truly belongs to me. Everything I see around me, my clothes, food, trinkets, books, air, and even my own body are not mine. I am simply a steward of these things that I call "mine." I suppose thats why I don't care how much money I have or what I eat. I could eat high class food just as well as I eat rice and beans. I could live indefinitely off of whatever God gives me because I don't worry about how He uses what belongs to Him, including my self.

I've been thinking about this recently and realizing some of the repercussions of this belief and this lifestyle. One is that it dramatically reduces my desire for and ability to get married and have children some day. Don't get me wrong, I sometimes long for such things, but there are some difficulties. On the one hand these lifestyle choices will make the transition to the mission field, wherever that may be, an easier one as I can adapt to basically any condition. However, it also means I would have trouble providing for a family. Maybe I'm not supposed to and rely on God. But I have to admit there would be tension there between my minimalist attitudes and my family. To be sure it probably wouldn't be possible with any woman that didn't share most if not all of these views to begin with. I don't know about you, but women like that are exceptionally rare, at least among those I've met. I'm not particularly worried about it though. I don't think its really up to me anyhow.

For His Glorious Name,

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Why choose Bible Translation?

As you may or may not know, I am currently in the process of training to become a Bible Translator and linguistic consultant in order to see the Gospel and Kingdom of God spread through all cultures. Its a fairly uncommon field in comparison to what most people do. The task rarely even pops up on the radars of most people, even Christians. So its understandable that I often get the question, "Why Bible Translation?" The motives for this question are varied and vast as some are genuinely curious while others seek to convince you of some other path or to justify their own choices. I can not speak for others choices or paths, only my own. So usually when asked this question I give the steps and ways God has spoken to me specifically in leading me down this path. However, this personal testimony today is more along the lines of my perspective on some of the other choices I might have made instead and mainly concerns an event where I realized that God has made me for something a little less common.

I attend a church called Bridgeway Christian Church when I can. I find it to be a place that God has spoken to me clearly and a place where people genuinely seek to glorify and serve God with their lives. So please do not interpret this as any kind of criticism of the church. However, one weekend the church, instead of having a normal service we had stations set aside to do various acts of service. It was a project to put together boxes and supplies for the homeless and the task was very great indeed considering how much was done. I appreciate the service the church was giving to the community as well as the motivation for people to become involved in their communities. However as the busyness of the task was progressing I stood back and began to think and pray. There were more than a thousand people in that large warehouse-like room packing boxes, folding clothes, praying for people, etc. I saw them lining up to have a chance to help out when it hit me. I saw the great disparity. While in Tanzania I saw thousands of people line up to receive 15 minutes with a doctor and receive some basic medical care and here people were lining up to have a chance to serve. That is when I realized that I wasn't made to do what everyone else was doing. I wasn't made to remain in places of relative comfort and line up alongside many others to do the tasks that we have too many people doing already. I need to be in a place where the harvest is great and the workers are few. I need a place where if I left there would be noone to replace me. I had a professor in my undergrad share something with me once saying,

"Twenty-five years ago I was trying to find the balance between current ministry responsibilities (I was the youth minister at my home church) and the desire to go into missions. It was difficult to think about leaving the church and ministry I had known for several years and the kids I loved. I realized, however, on a trip to the Philippines that if I resigned from my ministry at the church there would be many people lining up to take the job. With the mission ministry, however, no one was lining up for that one."

I don't begrudge those whose callings are not the same as mine. Just like people have different spiritual gifts, people have different callings and paths their lives must take. I do not look down upon the person whose spiritual gift is giving rather than service, teaching, etc. I just can't stay here when God has clearly shown me to go somewhere else. And Bible Translation is where I see the greatest need amongst the unreached peoples of our world.

For His Glorious Name,

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Humility is a subject of great interest to Christians and philosophers (which by definition Christians should be since we are indeed interested in the wisdom of God and loving God who is wisdom, thus Christian, philosopher, and Theophilus should be rather synonymous) alike. Even writing about the subject I find myself at odds to presume wisdom on the subject being a fallen man with a propensity towards pride, the antithesis of humility. But I will offer my thoughts anyhow. Entire books have been written on the subject, and a full treatise on the subject will never be offered by humanity, but I do think that I may have a perspective on it that few have considered. Maybe it is that I have gleaned this perspective from those wiser than I somewhere in the past, or from God more directly, but either way I do not claim the idea as my own. I simply want to approach humility in terms of perspective, mainly self-perspective.

Many people in practice see humility and self-degradation as more or less synonymous. It is because humanity is fallen, so humility requires us to recognize our weaknesses, failures, and inabilities to meet that standard set forth by Christ and fulfill our calling as ambassadors of God. A humble man admits his mistakes while a prideful man denies them. Few of us stop there however. We begin to degrade ourselves and deny those things that aren't mistakes and admit things that we haven't erred in because we think by doing so we are being humble. We have bought into the lie that the lower we make ourselves, the more humble we are. After all, isn't humility one of the highest virtues we espouse in Christendom? But heres the rub, when we begin to degrade what God has made as less than it is (for that is what we are, creations of God), then we insult the maker and therefore are not glorifying God but rather degrading His character. By the very fact that we are created in the image of God we carry innate quality and worth, not of ourselves, but because of the one who has made us. We have the worth that God has imputed to us through creating us and furthermore by the price he paid for us on the cross. After all, something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it right? Therefore we are of infinite worth because of the infinite price paid by Jesus for us. We need to keep this in perspective in our view of humility. I think the proper way to approach humility is to have an accurate view of ourselves. Humility admits faults, but also does not deny the truth of our worth. Jesus, while on Earth, did not ever deny who he was. He became man, yes, which is a role or position lower than He really is. And we are called to do likewise, but he never claimed to be something he wasn't nor did he ever deny his nature, worth, purpose, and mission. Likewise we must not deny our nature (which is both fallen and created in the image of God), worth, purpose, and mission namely to glorify God. Ultimately it is a matter of perspective. Men have many different perspectives, all of which are inaccurate to varying degrees. So what does a humility that seeks to have an accurate view of ourselves, others, creation, and God require of us? It requires that we come to know God's perspective and align ourselves ever closer to it. This means admitting our faults, sins, mistakes, or any other way you want to label our misgivings, and acting accordingly. It requires admitting our worth, purpose, and mission as God perceives and acting accordingly. It also means having God's perspective in regards to our roles and positions. God's hierarchy is different from man's. In man's perspective a servant is among the lowest positions, but in God's hierarchy the servant becomes first. We are almost all familiar with the verse, "But many who are first will be last, and the last first." So then, as I see it, the key to humility is seeing the world and ourselves through God's eyes, then we will see clearly and show true humility.

Before I sign off I'd like to present a little conundrum I find myself in. As I seek to glorify God I want to decrease as He increases in others lives. But there is a natural correlation between how well known God is and how well known a person who is His ambassador among men. You see, I wish I could be remembered only in the sense that I brought Christ along with me (though to be theologically accurate, it is I who tag along with Christ) and introduced people to their Savior, but beyond that people wouldn't really remember me. I imagine two men sitting outside a rural home on someplace like Africa having a conversation like this: Man 1: "Hey, can you remember the name of that fella that introduced us to Jesus?" Man 2: ". . . .No, not really, but I'm sure glad he did." I need nothing more to be remembered of me through history. But if thats really how it goes down in the future I would be angry with myself because I would have only been in their lives for a short time for them to easily forget and therefore have a poor witness. Furthermore the larger the impact a person has on peoples' lives, the more they are remembered. So although I wish I wouldn't be remembered so that only Christ was, ultimately for Him to be remembered I must be too. Not that this whole scenario is even plausible. These are just some thoughts that go through my head sometimes when I ponder humility.

For His Glorious Name,

Thursday, 19 May 2011

How does one Run for God?

I've been giving this question some thought recently, especially today. I went for a great run with my good friend Jake for a few repeats up K2. As always, we talked about many things even as we ran up this monster. Just a side note, this man is an incredibly strong runner and is putting in over 30 summits of this monster hill k2 this week. Thats insane, but then again both runners of his calibre and Christians alike (which he is both) are often considered insane by the teeming masses. Anyhow, I was going to leave this subject for tomorrow or maybe Saturday to write about, but two things happened that influenced me to write now. First as I sat at the table with my father and sister playing cards I talked a little about Jake and the running we get to do together whenever I'm in the area. In short he asked me this very question on how Jake integrates his faith with what he is doing, namely running as he is a sponsored runner by New Balance of Roseville. The second was Jake's recent blog which inclined me to write my own thoughts! To be honest I couldn't decide where to put this, on my other blog or on this one since it is a synthesis of the two areas of my thoughts, which is actually part of the topic! Let us move on to what I actually want to talk about, faith and running.

North Americans have a nasty habit of compartmentalizing life. Work is separate from home life which is separate from going out with friends to the bar which is separate from sports which is different from Church, and the list goes on. We often don't like parts of our lives to bleed over into other parts as things tend to get messy when they do. Its because we are living inconsistent lives. But if we try to live a unified life that is consistent throughout then we inevitably, for believers and ultimately anyone of any faith, must deal with the issue of living for God in all areas of our lives. I just want to focus on one, running. At first glance there doesn't seem to really be any way to integrate the two, after all what does running have to do with God? More than initially meets the eye.

A life of faith is not lived in a bubble. True faith requires interaction on a horizontal line between the believer and other human beings as well as in a vertical way between the believer and God. As such faith is based on relationships. After all, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-40. This is the basis for authentic faith. So then you might ask, "What running have to do with relationships?" Everything. Ask anyone who is a runner why they started running, and if you dig deep enough the reason is always because of another person. It may be a crush they had on someone in high school or a hero they had growing up. Like me it may have been because of their parents, or even if they're doing it to stay in shape or become more healthy it is because of what others have said about their health or some other influence outside themselves. Noone starts running from a purely inward motivation. More than that, running is a social sport more than people realize. There is a camaraderie between runners to the point where I can meet someone completely new and have an instant connection to that person and hold a great conversation because we share this trait. This camaraderie moves to the point that in most cases I am willing to listen, at length, to whatever a runner has to say even when I strongly disagree. I assume it is likewise with most runners. I also run the best when running with others rather than by myself. I run by myself to keep me ready for the times when I run with others. My point is that running is social and relational far more than people generally realize, and relationships are the foundation for faith and for expressing the character and glory of God to those who do not yet know him.

There is another aspect to this which is that running is a gift. Our bodies are gifts from God and each person's body is different with different innate abilities and different levels of those abilities. Each is a gift. When we receive a gift we have two basic choices, use the gift or don't use it. I think we can all agree that not using a gift that has been given is a waste and dishonorable to the giver of that gift (think about it, you don't tell your relatives you don't particularly care for greeting cards because of the disrespect it shows towards them). When we use the gift we can either use it for ourselves or use it for someone else. For others is more noble I think most would agree, though most people use their gifts and abilities for themselves more often. However, I think the noblest is to use the gift for and in the name of the one who gave the gift and giving credit to the giver. In short it means glorifying God and acknowledging His sovereignty in the giving of your gifts. If you want to see how this can practically play out in a person's life I recommend watching the movie, "Chariots of Fire."

There is one final area I would like to address while I'm at it, namely the subject of character. A follower seeks to be more like the one they follow. Inevitably that means a follower of Jesus will grow ever more like in character to Jesus. This is done is so many different ways as God guides us through life. However, running can be a very effective tool for building many character qualities in us from Jesus our Lord. Running builds endurance, long-suffering, perseverance, discipline, delayed gratification, determination, reverence, humility, confidence, and a great many more as well. No wonder Paul compared life to running a race. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24 "I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain." Galatians 2:2 "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?" Galatians 5:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7. Then there is in Hebrews 12:1-3 which some believe that Paul also wrote though we cannot be certain, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." This metaphor would seem to be some evidence towards that assertion, but that is an entirely different subject! The metaphor is well enough established in the Bible because there is in fact a strong connection between running and faith. There are also strong connections between all the areas of our lives and faith, if you have the eyes to see it.

For His Glorious Name,

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Keeping our mouths shut is something humans have a lot of trouble doing in general. Especially for anyone who knows me I talk quite a bit and have an opinion on just about everything. I'm the guy who has to answer every question in class and wants to be the one to explain, which I am sure is a hassle to everyone else. Its something I'm working on, but its a long way in coming. But there is a much more difficult circumstance to keep silent, in the face of accusation. My natural inclination is to defend myself and set the record straight, especially if the accusations someone makes are untrue. Whatever the motive for these accusations, sincerity, to get under my skin, to retaliate against me or someone else, or whatever it may be it is the most difficult time to say nothing. And yet that is exactly what Jesus did. He made no statements to rebuke the lies being hurled at him during his "trial". I can't even imagine how infuriated being accused in such a way would make me. It boils my blood just thinking about it. I need to keep my mouth shut. I need to learn to be silent and listen. I need to temper my desire to defend myself with the knowledge that the true judge knows the false accusations made against me and the sins that have never been accused by another human. I don't have to defend myself, because Jesus already has.

For His Glorious Name,

Added 5/19/11
I also was thinking that perceived accusations have the same effect. Sometimes we think we're being accused or our own conscience is accusing us and we start to defend ourselves against someone, often whom we love because of our own inward accusations. When I do this I get so angry with myself because then I hurt those that I love. Even more reason for me to learn to keep my mouth shut.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Sometimes God has to hit me over the head with my own ignorance and remind me that we all are ignorant. Ignorance is the lack of knowledge and information about anything. Many guys are ignorant of the inner workings of a woman's mind. I am ignorant of the principles of Botany, Business, Human Kinetics, Romance, and many other subjects in varying degrees. One of the funniest things I find when I think about this is how we can be ignorant of our own ignorance. That leads to pride in what we do know, which is so very little. We've been given access to what we need to know in life in various forms and by various methods which ultimately find their source in God whether it be our parents or the Bible. But even then we often fail to acquire much of what we have access to. And then there is so much more beyond what we even have access to. The grandiose ignorance we all have boggles my mind and it humbles me. Even Job, a great man of God, had to be reminded of how small he was and how little he knew. I have to continually be reminded of this the more I learn especially since I've been gifted with above average intelligence and drive to acquire knowledge. The moment I lose perspective on my ignorance is the moment pride takes root and begins to destroy not only my relationships but that which I am seeking through education, knowledge. Pride is a hindrance to learning, not a help, and the best antidote to this kind of pride for me is awareness of myself. I also wonder how ignorant I am of my very self, something I should be fairly knowledgeable about, and yet I suspect even in that respect I know very little.

For His Glorious Name,

Saturday, 7 May 2011

When God isn't speaking. . . . .

I've noticed a correlation in the frequency of my journals and when God is speaking to me. I also need to clarify, I believe when we don't hear God speaking, its because we're not listening. My last journal entry was from April 20th. When I have my ears open, like when I'm on the mission field, my journal entries are daily, sometime twice daily. Its in those times I'm not complacent and have struggles that I daily must go to God with. I believe that complacency is one of the most dangerous things for a Christian. It deafens our ears and blinds our eyes. Well, today God spoke to me loudly and in various ways. I've been going through a drought the past few weeks as I went numb. I sometimes go numb from my emotions and spirit when I have little to do. While I am home that is the case. Before Christ I was a generally numb person with little connection to my emotions or my spirit, and this tendency is an after effect of that lifestyle. Its become less and less, but it is still a struggle for me. Anyhow, so my parents are away and I am home alone with a sister who sleeps most of the day, not that it matters because I spend almost all of my time in my room on this laptop. I have some things to do like turn on the sprinklers every couple of days or mow the lawn. My most regular thing to do is running, where God started shouting into my nearly deaf ears. Through everything he has said today, the one resounding refrain has been, "I am with you." Let me share.

Today was a long run, and I was aiming for 90 minutes. I know a hill nearby that takes me about 30 minutes to go up and come back down, so I figured three repeats would do nicely. Two-thirds of the way up this hill I had an episode. These episodes are hard to describe, but I will try with some background. A few years ago I was working on my undergrad going to school full-time, working full-time, running on the Cross Country & Track teams, and I joined the school Jazz Ensemble. I was spread way too thin. I got an average of about 4 hours of sleep a night when all of those things were going on. There is only so much the human body and mind can take, and I reached those limits. Maybe it was similar to a nervous breakdown, but ultimately I had to quit my job or quit school and I felt very strongly about the direction God was leading me with that. So I quit working, which raised other strains of life but not as big as previously. Anyhow it was after that I started having these "episodes." They are instances, usually when I'm running, but not always, where my vision narrows (not blacking out or anything like that, but my focus narrows to a point though I am still aware of my surroundings) and I have a strange sensation out to my limbs and a strange taste in my mouth. I then feel like all the energy drops out of me and I am all alone in the world. Its like everything important to me suddenly isn't and I have no desire for anything at all. At first these episodes were maybe once a week but became progressively intermittent to the point where before today its been a very long time since I've had one that I can't remember when. But this one was different. I felt all the same things and usually when it happens while I run I have to stop soon after with all my energy and motivation gone. I prayed a simple prayer, "Lord give me the strength and the will to keep running." I soon returned to normal without the usual after effects and hadn't even stopped running. I soon realized it was less of an "episode" and more of a "You need me. You are not alone, I am with you." from God. Not only for running mind you, but for everything. Which spoke to my greatest need that I wasn't even aware of, my loneliness. Furthermore as I neared the summit there was a bike race going on up that same hill and there were volunteers some of which were from Will C. Wood High School. An old friend and competitor from High School, Cheynne is not coaching that team and he was there. He may not realize, but God placed him there in part to say to me, "You are not alone." as I gave him my number and hopefully we will run together several times before I return to Canada. Today did not stop there. Coming home rejuvenated from a workout that should have leveled me and listening more clearly to God I got some things done that needed doing so I could go to church at Bridgeway in Rocklin.

Even the songs on the radio as I drove to church spoke directly to me and reminded me of His presence in my life that I had been numbing out. I even began to cry on some of the songs, which for me doesn't happen very often because I'm not a terribly emotional person. The emotions overwhelmed me even more when worship started at church. The songs I were familiar with like "I Am Free" by the Newsboys were making it so that I couldn't accurately hit any notes because of the emotion. There were two new songs to me as well that spoke directly to me. Here are the lyrics for "Love Came Down" by Brian Johnson, I've bolded a couple of the lines that really hit me.

Verse 1
If my heart is overwhelmed and I cannot hear your voice
I hold onto what is true, though I cannot see
If the storms of life they come, and the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith, I will believe

I Remind myself of all that you’ve done
And the life I have because of your son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am yours
I am forever yours
Mountain high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am yours
I am forever yours

Verse 2
When my heart is filled with hope, and every promise comes my way
When I feel your hands of grace, rest upon me
Staying desperate for you God, Staying humbled at your feet
I will lift these hands and praise, I will believe

Then there was Forever Reign by Hillsong United. Specifically the lines "I am running to your arms. I am running to your arms." The references to mountains, running, being overwhelmed, hearing, all of those things couldn't be coincidence. Actually let me be clear on this point, I don't believe in coincidence. There is meaning in everything, sometimes the meaning is no connection between the circumstances, but in something like this is so clear to me that there isn't any lack of connection. Let me restate that without using a double negative. There has to be a connection between the words of these songs and the way God has chosen to speak to me this day. There is one other thing, the lyric "I remind myself of all you've done" is the reason I even keep a journal or write anything like this. When God speaks so clearly, I must remember that it was so clear. If I don't write it down it is so easy for Satan to try and convince me I was making a bigger deal out of it than it was. So when things like this happen, I write them down as quickly as possible so I can read them later and remember.

And it goes on. The sermon by Lance this evening was, in my opinion, the best I've ever heard from him. It was on 1 Samuel 17, one of the most loved and well-known stories of all time, David and Goliath. I won't even try to do justice to his sermon. If you want to listen to it you can easily enough find it at Bridgeway Christian Church. It may take up to a week for it to be posted. The thing that I can tell you is how David focused on the name of God and that because God was with him, no man, Giant or no, could stand against him and his God. I serve the same God, and that same power, strength, and courage is available to me as well. So all of today He has been again and again telling me, "I am with you." Thats about as much encouragement as a man can possibly take. What has God been speaking to you? Have you been listening?

For His Glorious Name,

P.S. I bolded hope because it is a topic I've been thinking on lately and will likely talk about in the near future.

Monday, 2 May 2011


Over the past few months I've had a particular people group on my heart to pray for and promote.  They call themselves the Tongwe.  As you probably know I've been to Tanzania twice for the summers of '08 and '09.  On my second trip I worked with a man named Tori and his mission these past few years has been to reach the Tongwe and related peoples like the Bende, Rungwa, and Pimbwe.  Recently Wycliffe started a cluster project to start Bible Translation on these four peoples as well.  One of the friends I made and worked with that summer was Musa, a Tongwe Christian who wants to build the Church among his people and bring the light of life to them.  The Tongwe however have historically been a stronghold of Satan as only in the past few years have there been any believers among their people.  They are primarily Muslim (though in name only) and have been told many lies about Christianity and Jesus.  A few years ago Tori's team partnered with a Tanzanian evangelist as they tried to reach this group.  As they preached the Muslims started a riot and sought to kill the evangelists and destroy everything.  By God's power they did not kill anyone.  When the riot started the evangelist told his team to evacuate as he stayed up on the stage.  However, God masked him from them as they could not perceive him nor harm him destroying all of their equipment around him but leaving him alone even though they were searching for him urgently.  God masked him from their eyes.  So now Tori has another plan this summer.  He wants to build a road to these people, both metaphorically and physically.  They are some of the poorest people in Tanzania being fairly remote with no access to commercial centers other than by a long boat ride that is dangerous.  So the plan is to build a road for these people so they can more safely and quickly have access to commercial centers and improve their economy and access to medical resources as well as other necessities.  If you've read this far, then please read this next sentence very carefully.  Please consider praying for Tori, his team, and the Tongwe people especially this summer as they build the road.  If you would like to support this project, please let me know and I can help coordinate that effort.  If you would like to know more about the Tongwe people, take a look at some of the links below:

Joshua Project
The Word is Life

and some more general information about Tanzania:
CIA Factbook

and an article written by Tori's father for your consideration:
Are The Times Too Tough for Missions?

There is also a web site that Tori set up for the project specifically.  For security purposes it is password protected so it would not be a good idea for me to post the username and password online on a public blog, but if you are interested in taking a look at the project further then e-mail me, talk to me, or call me and I can give the information to you.

For His Glorious Name,

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Jesus in my heart

I just came home from church and there has been something grating on my mind for the past week and especially during today's service.  It concerns the life of Jesus, where he resides now.  While the pastor speaks with the kids each Sunday the past two Sundays they have used the phrase "He is in our hearts" in response to the question, "where is he?"  Though I do not fully disagree with the statement and I understand the metaphor as it pertains to explaining God's presence in our lives to our children.  However it grates against my reason and it is incomplete, but many people as they grow up in their faith do not grow up in their knowledge of God's presence.  They continue to hold on to the comforting thought of Jesus being in our hearts.  Here is my problem, that is not the only place he is.  He is on his throne in heaven.  He is working around the world preparing the way for His servants to do His work where a Christian presence is not known yet.  He is in a great many places other than our hearts.  Actually if you want to be theologically accurate, it is the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, but that is another discussion.  When you stop at Jesus is in our hearts, then you introduce a whole host of problems such as what then is the difference between us saying this and the comfort we offer to children when loved ones have died and we tell them, "They live on in our hearts."  When we say "Jesus lives on in our hearts" without saying any more we inadvertently deny the resurrection because to the North American culture, living on in our hearts does not entail physical, spiritual, or any kind of life.  Rather is signifies memory, that we remember and cherish that person.  Also if he lives on in the hearts of those who believe, then to them he lives, but we can not say to the unbeliever he lives because he does not live in their hearts.  Ultimately it comes down to the problem of subjectivity.  When we say "Jesus lives in our hearts" it is a subjective matter to each individual as He may or may not be present in the hearts of others.  But Jesus death, resurrection, and ascension to His throne are not merely subjective truths, but objective realities that are true for the believer and unbeliever alike.  They are not subject to the beliefs of a person.  So just keep this in mind any time you say, "Jesus lives on in you and in me" and realize that there is so much more going on than just that.  Remember His authority and presence in heaven and on earth.  Remember that your heart is not the only place he resides.

For His Glorious Name,