Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Notes like this one (received yesterday) make me sad.  Do you pray for those brave few who go to unreached areas of the world to spread the fame of Jesus? Satan reserves his choicest arrows for them. Daniel

Dear Friends,
Greetings in the name of Him, who promises that He “works for the good of those who know Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
We wish to inform you that this will be our last prayer letter.
Our situation is such that for now, {husband} will no longer be working on the _________ project. We will not be returning to {unreached region} in the near future.
We thank you all for your prayer support for us and the {unreached people group}. We also thank all who gave financially to support us over the years. We understand that you will discontinue your gifts to us and hope that you may be able to continue to support God’s work in other ways.
We are grateful for all your interest and the invitations you extended to share the work among the  {unreached people group} with your fellowships.
May God bless you all abundantly in every way.

Friday, October 21, 2011

When was the last time you read a short story?

I don't mean the little snippets of stories that you read all the time on Facebook or even in blogs like this.  I mean the classic literary genre of short story.  A real short story.  I fear our lives have gotten so fragmented by technology that we no longer have attention spans to sit for even a short story now.  When last did you actually take time to read one?

I read a short story when I was in my late teens that found a permanent place in my memory.  The title is "Contents of the Dead Man's Pockets" by Jack Finney.  I tried several times since then to find it again.  Just a few days ago I succeeded.  It was just as good as I remembered. 

I hope you'll take time to read it too.  Share it with a teen you care about.  Then talk about its meaning.  Here are some questions to ponder:
  • Would this story make a good movie?  Why or why not?
  • What is the worldview of the author?
  • What worldview is he confronting?
  • How would the story have been different (and better) if the author had a Christian worldview?

Monday, October 17, 2011

the raw Word

Last month I was blessed to deliver a one hour teaching based on Jonathan Leeman's book, Reverberation.
This book challenged me to trust in the power of Scripture to change my heart and the hearts of those I speak with. So often, we feel the need to "dress up" the Bible in order to get people to swallow it. When we do this, we actually rob Scripture of the backing of the Holy Spirit.  You can watch the video below or by clicking here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How Social Networking Will Reduce Your Hotel and Gas Bills

This is the (draft) script for a YouTube video I hope to create. It introduces a great new idea for a way social networking could streamline society, then packs a surprise punch for both Christians and non-Christians. I worked hard to keep it as short as possible because I know YouTube viewer attention spans are very short.

Your input would be welcome! 


Would you hitchhike occasionally if you knew the person picking you up would always be safe? And if you knew you’d have easy connections all the way to your destination? If there were a way for drivers to know you’re harmless (and for you to know they’re harmless), think of all the gas you’d save, and new people you’d meet!

When you attend that 2 day seminar in Baton Rouge next year, would you still fork out sixty dollars a night for a hotel room if you knew that your friend Terry’s uncle Billy Bob would be tickled to let you stay in his spare bedroom?

Would you buy a brand new book on Amazon if you knew that a person two blocks away had the same book laying on his shelf and would happy to lend and maybe even give it to you? If she knew what you needed, another neighbor would probably be glad to pick up a few extra things for you when she goes to Walmart if you gave her a couple extra bucks for her trouble.

What’s the common element in these scenarios? There are people all around you who could provide things you use for a fraction of the cost. You just don’t know who and where they are. Yet.

Social networking has the power to change that.

For example, Google Books, Amazon, and Shelfari all already have easy systems for listing the books you own. One of them just needs to add a way for you to list your location, and mark which books you’re willing to share.

Facebook already knows you’re attending an event in Baton Rouge, and that your friend Terry’s uncle lives there. All they need to add is a way for Uncle Billy Bob to show he’s willing to share his home with a friend of a friend.

The same principle applies to these other ideas. By providing a way for us to list the books or rides or shopping trips or whatever that we’re willing to share with people our friends trust, social networking can help us all save money and meet new friends.

So why hasn’t this happened yet? The technology is already in place. We just need a few programmers to write the code. They just haven’t thought of the idea yet. Please share this video with your friends. Probably all we need is for a key person at Facebook or Google to get their mind around the idea.

Here’s an even more fundamental question: why is this technology even necessary? Why can’t we trust everyone? Because of sin. If the world were sinless, you could hitch a ride with anyone without fear. If everyone were righteous, you could walk up to any home in Baton Rouge and see if they had a spare room for you to stay in. And they would be happy for you to stay with them. (In fact, if there were no sin to worry about, they wouldn’t even have a lock on their front door!)

You’re a Christian? This kind of sharing is what we should have been doing all along. The church ought to be the best kind of social network. If Jesus really “saves His people from their sins” there is no reason why we should not be able to trust each other enough to share anything and everything we own. “You need a place to spend the night, and you’re a Christian? Come on in, brother.” Of course since anyone can call himself a Christian, the church needs some sort of verification system. That’s why God instituted church membership and church discipline, so that the church could maintain the honor of Jesus’ name by policing itself against imposters. (But why is it that so many churches are so lax in their membership and discipline policies?)

Not a Christian? You ought to be, if you want to see the world free of sin. Any religion can give you a set of rules. You can probably even find a set of rules that you can keep so you can feel better than the other people. Only in Jesus do you find a bar so high that you can’t possibly keep it. (Liars go to hell, lustful thoughts are adultery in the heart, and anger equals murder?) And only in Jesus do you find someone willing to take the punishment from God you deserve, and give you a new heart. Turn from your sins, trust in Jesus alone to save you from them!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Larry's in a Hurry

From a friend who attended last month's Simply the Story training with me.  He moved to the US from Sri Lanka earlier this year.  Please pardon the few typo's and enjoy a classic story of joyous evangelism.  Daniel

Hi Daniel,

It was such a joy coming to know you and your family. I appreciate all you did, going out of your ways to make our stay a memorable one. Please let your Mom know that I received an email from her friend in China and will respond today.

Last morning President Obama timed his departure from Phoenix in such a way to have us straddled to our seats for 20 minutes passed our scheduled departure time. Our flight finally took off Immediately after the President's and a stewardess began serving refreshments. Commenting on her good serving I kind a set her up for what would be an opportunity to 'tell the story'. My moment came when the seat belt sign was switched off. Immediately unbuckling I looked out for Larry who was seated several rows in front of me. But he'd gone missing in a twinkle of an eye, probably fallen flat on the empty row of seats like he did each day after returning to his room from the workshop.

But then, from the back of the plane, suddenly a loud voice called out, 'Martha, Martha', I swiftly turned around and to my utter dismay lo and behold was Larry 'telling the story' to the stewardess I had taken so much pain setting up. Not wanting to be left out I rushed to the scene. The air hostess was seated legs crossed hands folded on here lap. People were rushing back and forth to the only toilet behind this last row of seats. Across the isle, swinging and swaying to avoid hurried people blocking his view, varying his tone to blend with the sound of the flushing toilet, sat Larry simply telling the story. He paused to introduce me -as if that was necessary- and continued to tell the story. By now the woman was all ears -never mind her serving- and engaged in the ensuing discussion with a beaming smile and deeply thought out responses. This got Larry excited beyond his usual and he continued to dig even deeper, 'In the course of your work have you ever been made to feel like Martha?', he probed.

The young woman promptly responded, 'Most people take my service for granted.They think I'm here just to serve; little realizing that safety and security of passengers is what matters to me foremost'. After a little more repartee Larry told her that the story was from Luke 10 and she promised to look it up. With that we went to our seats allowing the hostess get about her work, serving.

Once home and the family gathered for prayers in the evening I told the story of the jars of oil. It was a wonderful experience for us all. But that's another story. This time however, I was not going to miss out on being the one telling the story and made sure the door was locked. Just in case.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Call to Generational Humility

Someone emailed this to me.  As you read it, consider how this call to humility before our elders applies to more things than environmentalism. Daniel

The Green Thing 

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologised to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."

Shee was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Western Australia .. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the tram, train or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Your Church is Better

I haven't been to a Psalm 119 Conference.  Nevertheless, having just been blessed by other conferences (one just a few days ago) I find the words below very true.  They are taken from the most recent Wretched Radio newsletter.  May they encourage you to stick it out at your own church, through the thick and thin of real relationships.  Daniel
The preaching at the Psalm 119 Conferences is out of the park and the fellowship is unbelievably sweet. Like-minded Christians spent two days chatting about Jesus, eating and talking some more about Jesus.
Many people didn’t want to leave. Why? Because it was so…not like church.
You see, church is like marriage, it is a school of character. Fellow believers rub you like sandpaper, smoothing off your rough edges: pride, perfectionism, selfishness, a short temper. Why? Because after you have been with those same people for longer than say, a two day conference, you start to see their true colors.
Click here to sign up for the Psalm 119 ConferenceConferences don’t allow for that. At conferences you don’t have to decide what color the curtains are going to be. At a conference you don’t have to see how attendees treat their children or spouses. At a conference you don’t have to listen to other people spout stupid ideas about how things should be done. Nor do you have to listen to their dumb answers during Bible study.
At church you do. And that is so good for you.
Do we want you to attend the Dallas or Sacramento Psalm 119 Conferences this year? Of course we do. We want you to hear staggeringly good preaching and enjoy fellowship that will make you long
for heaven. But we want you to leave the Psalm 119 Conference longing for your local church. That is the place that will get up your nose, make you annoyed and will turn you more into the image of Jesus Christ.