Monday, February 14, 2011

Two ways to be wrong

Got this note from a friend.  (Which reminds me: if you come across something that you think my readers should read, please forward it to me!) 

His email needs no prefacing, other than to say that I find the attitude of this church just as misguided as that of Deepak.  Although Deepak and this church hold opposing theological views, the end result is still the same: the true good news of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection is not reaching people who need to hear it.
I ran into a couple of things that I thought you may be able to use in your blog.

The first is a short video clip of Deepak Chopra. You can google him if you don’t know much about him. It draws a comparison to his wisdom compared to the wisdom of Jesus. They tried to trick Jesus and ask him gotcha questions and get him caught up in his own words, but it never worked. When you read the gospels everything Jesus says is pretty much short, sweet, to the point and the best way it could be said. It is also the truth. He didn’t open himself up by saying idiotic things like Chopra says.

the second thing is a news story I came across about a mosque being opened up next to a church. I did not do any background checking into the history behind it but the reaction from the church, at least in this article is all wrong. If their was going to be a mosque built I my community I would encourage it to be built next to my church. I would be the first one to welcome them to the community and try to start a relationship with them. I would try to build on our shared belief in Christ and use it as an opportunity to steer them to the thru Lord. I would market to their members and invite them to learn more about “the prophet Jesus” who is in their Koran. I would see it as a wonderful opportunity to witness to Muslims.
But if you start out fighting them, you will probably never get that opportunity.
I am not lecturing you, I know you already know it, I just thought it would make for a good blog post.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No Collections: My All-time Favorite Hudson Taylor Story

My friends Chris and Janet Nevins' hearts have been captured by the Lord Jesus.  Chris is using his years of experience managing construction teams to assist missions agencies with construction tasks.  Visit their web site at to learn more.  Today I emailed them a bit of encouragement in the form of this true story from Hudson Taylor's life.  It tells the story of Hudson deliberately refusing to take an offering after speaking in a church.
   Preparations for sailing to China were at once proceeded with. About this time I was asked to give a lecture on China in a village not very far from London, and agreed to do so on condition that there should be no collection, and that this should be announced on the bills. The gentleman who invited me, and who kindly presided as chairman, said he had never had that condition imposed before. He accepted it, however, and the bills were issued accordingly for the 2nd or 3rd of May. With the aid of a large map, something of the extent and population and deep spiritual need of China was presented, and many were evidently impressed.
At the close of the meeting the chairman said that by my request it had been intimated on the bills that there would be no collection; but he felt that many present would be distressed and burdened if they had not the opportunity of contributing something towards the good work proposed. He trusted that as the proposition emanated entirely from himself, and expressed, he felt sure, the feelings of many in the audience, I should not object to it. I begged, however, that the condition agreed to might be carried out; pointing out among other reasons for making no collection, that the very reason adduced by our kind chairman was, to my mind, one of the strongest for not making it. My wish was, not that those present should be relieved by making such contribution as might there and then be convenient, under the influence of a present emotion; but that each one should go home burdened with the deep need of China, and ask of God what He would have them to do. If, after thought and prayer, they were satisfied that a pecuniary contribution was what He wanted of them, it could be given to any Missionary Society having agents in China; or it might be posted to our London office; but that perhaps in many cases what God wanted was not a money contribution, but personal consecration to His service abroad; or the giving up of son or daughter— more precious than silver or gold—to His service. I added that I thought the tendency of a collection was to leave the impression that the all-important thing was money, whereas no amount of money could convert a single soul; that what was needed was that men and women filled with the Holy Ghost should give themselves to the work: for the support of such there would never be a lack of funds. As my wish was evidently very strong, the chairman kindly yielded to it, and closed the meeting. He told me, however, at the supper-table, that he thought it was a mistake on my part, and that, notwithstanding all I had said, a few persons had put some little contributions into his hands.
   Next morning at breakfast, my kind host came in a little late, and acknowledged to not having had a very good night. After breakfast he asked me to his study, and giving me the contributions handed to him the night before, said, "I thought last night, Mr. Taylor, that you were in the wrong about a collection; I am now convinced you were quite right. As I thought in the night of that stream of souls in China ever passing onward into the dark, I could only cry as you suggested, 'Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?' I think I have obtained the guidance I sought, and here it is." He handed me a cheque for L500, adding that if there had been a collection he would have given a few pounds to it, but now this cheque was the result of having spent no small part of the night in prayer.
I need scarcely say how surprised and thankful I was for this gift. I had received at the breakfast-table a letter from Messrs. Killick, Martin and Co., shipping agents, in which they stated that they could offer us the whole passenger accommodation of the ship Lammermuir. I went direct to the ship, found it in every way suitable, and paid the cheque on account. As above stated, the funds deemed needed had been already in hand for some time; but the coincidence of the simultaneous offer of the ship accommodation and this munificent gift—God's " exceeding abundantly "— greatly encouraged my heart.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mom's Spine Fractures Again

As you know if you have been reading my blog for a while, in mid-2009, my mother suffered some osteoporosis-induced compression fractures to her spine.  Besides the tremendous pain of the fractured bones, this also caused severe (and painful) constipation.  In the last year and a half she has gradually recovered from that.  Her fractures healed and she learned ways to keep her bowels moving, albeit imperfectly. 

She has even been able to go to church regularly the last two months, something she had not done in over 12 years.  As recently as last week she was working to rebuild her stamina in walking, going about half a mile with the help of a walker.

This week those improvements evaporated as another compression fracture struck her spine.  This one seems to be in a worse location than the previous ones, because now sometimes even using her arms will throw her back into an excruciating spasm. The constipation too has returned with vigor.

Although her immediate situation is far from pleasant, perhaps the biggest battle right now is with the fears of what tomorrow may bring.  Barring a miracle, her osteoporosis won't improve. There are a lot of "what will we do if...?" issues, made more complex by her pre-existing environmental allergies.

Mom's attitude is remarkably strong, far more level-headed than I would be if I were in her shoes. 

We would be grateful if you will pray for her.  Here are three passages of Scripture you can pray over Mom (and all 3 of us):

And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18 NASB -- all of this chapter is good!)

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16-18, NASB)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." (Heb 12:1-6, ESV)

I will close with a friend's recent Facebook message that encouraged me:

God is good; therefore, life is hard.