Monday, June 30, 2008

Home Safely

Just a quick note to say that this afternoon I did make it home safely from The Voice of the Martyrs conference.

I will be posting selected pictures from and reflections about the conference here on my blog in the days ahead.

To those of you who’ve been praying for the conference, thank you so much. It was very powerful. May the Lord help me to assimilate and live out what I have heard in the last few days.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Off to Oklahoma

I'll be away from my computer for a week (yes, a whole week without Internet!) as I go to The Voice of the Martyrs' National Conference in Oklahoma. I look forward to whatever God intends to do in my life during this time.

If you'd like some details on the conference to see what I'll be experiencing, you can look at some of the recent posts at

Here's a short (and somewhat cute) interview about the conference with Tom White, the director of the US branch of The Voice of the Martyrs.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Jail Ministry

Last Sunday Dad and I had the chance to share with some guys in jail. We get to do this the third Sunday of each month. I don’t know if I have ever given you a good description of what we do in there. After some sort of initial paperwork rigmarole, a deputy escorts us through a series of heavy, very solemn looking doors. We’ve gotten used to this routine after being through it so many times and it doesn’t feel scary any more. The deputies are really quite nice. They take us in to a small meeting room. We usually have a few minutes by ourselves to set up the chairs and pray. Then they bring us the men, in groups, by dorm. We wind up getting an average of 3 groups, with about 45 minutes per group, but we never know in advance how many guys, groups, or minutes there will be. Most of the time the guys are wearing bright orange clothes. They would be well suited for going out hunting! The better behaved inmates can get the privilege of wearing dark green clothes and doing work in the jail facility. A very small percentage of the ones who are almost no threat at all (this is really interesting) actually get to work outside the jail during the day in street clothes and then have to come back and change back into their jail clothes at night.

We usually sing a couple hymns with the men using hymn sheets we bring. We are not allowed to bring them ANYTHING that they actually keep, so we collect the hymn sheets afterwards. Then we share / teach / exhort / pray / talk / interact with them. It’s very unstructured, something like a junior high Sunday School class. Some of the men have really been transformed by the Lord and it’s a delight to hear their testimonies and see their beaming faces. Some men are really hungry for God to change them. We had one like this last Sunday. At Dad’s encouragement, he got down on his knees in front of his dorm mates and God and called on God for salvation from himself! Some men are still apathetic, just kind of “blah” and unfortunately will probably be back again. And some men are angry – at the justice system, at the people who got them in trouble, etc. Last Sunday we had one guy that got so angry with us that he asked to go back to his dorm. That had never happened to us before. He is a very handsome young guy who is extremely tall – tall enough to play basketball. But anger is ruining his life.

Anyways, that is a snapshot of what we do. I’m sorry I can’t give you some real photographs. We aren’t allowed to take cameras in.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fight Lust (part 1): Get Saved!

A few weeks ago I posted a blog entry asking how my readers fight lust. There were very few responses, so I thought I’d begin an intermittent series of posts giving my short answer to my own question. Please share your comments too!

The most important step in fighting lust is to be saved. The other pointers I will share in future posts are mere Band-Aids if you miss this one.

Don’t assume “I know I’m saved” because you have had a past religious experience. Paul told us to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Tragically, many professing Christians in the US have never genuinely been saved by God.

Saved from what? Saved from our sin, and saved from the wrath of God we deserve for our sin.

When I was a fake Christian, I wanted to be saved from God’s wrath (hell) without being saved from my sins. I wanted heaven (who doesn’t?) but I didn’t particularly want holiness.

To be sure, I felt guilty about my sins, and loathed myself for being captivated by lust. But yet, I only wanted to be freed from some sins (the ones that made me feel bad). I loved the worst of my sins: wanting to be my own boss (god).

So, the first step in fighting lust is to realize that lust is not your big problem. It’s just a symptom. Your real problem is your refusal to worship God. Lust is a natural outcome, as Romans 1:18-32 amply describes.

The cross is God’s cure for sin. Do you want to be saved from your sin? Look to the cross. “But may it never be that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14, NASB.)

When I see the awful consequence of my sin (that it required the brutal execution of the Son of God to atone for it) and the immense love of God (that He was willing to pay that price for a pervert like me), the cross does truly become the means of freedom from sin!

(You can read the complete story of how God saved me on my personal web site.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Why Sex is So Preeminent in our Culture

John Piper explains it well in 3 minutes. Without the awesomeness of worshiping God, most people today find that sex is the best thing left.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Language Exchange Community

Thanks to my friend Smith for telling me about, an easy to use communication tool specifically designed for language exchange. If you're interested learning a new language or teaching someone else a language you already know, this looks like a very easy (and free) way to do it.