Saturday, December 30, 2006

Death of a Tyrant

With intense interest I watched the events unfold on CNN and BBC this morning as Saddam Hussein was executed. Then, the video of him being led to the gallows and the noose being placed around his neck. Afterwards, his body, laid out in a sheet, with his neck elongated. Dead. But even worse: lost.

They said he went to his death with the Koran in his hand and shouted out "Allahu Akbar" moments before his death. Now, he knows the truth. The tragedy is that he never "knew" the Truth before it was too late. For His name is not Allah. It is Jehovah. It is Yahweh. It is "I AM".

As this tyrant refused multitudes of people basic human rights, he went to the gallows as a common criminal. As he acted as a demigod on earth, so he will now bow to the King of Kings in the after-life. Hussein has eternal life (of sorts); it just happens to be outside of the presence of God. And that is for eternity.

On earth, he deserved what he got; after death, we all deserve the same. But God has demonstrated His love for us, while that were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for us. I am no different from Saddam Hussein except that God has reconciled me to Himself through Jesus.

Thanks be to God, who is indeed great.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Reflections on 2006

How in the world can it be the end of another year? I remember back when it turned to 1970. I decided that I was going to go honk the car horn 70 times. At about 35 honks, my grandpa came out and put a stop to my personal celebration. Of course, that was WAY before car alarms which honk way more than 70 times when a trash truck goes by, right?

Now, 36 years later, we come to the end of yet another year. Reflecting on the events of this year, I'm not sure how to rate this year. We had a lot of transition. We moved to yet ANOTHER country and started yet ANOTHER new language. There is LOTS of stress related to moving to a new country. The kids have had trouble adjusting to the school. We have had trouble adjusting to our new lives here.

It hasn't been a particularly spectacular year in the "Main Thing". I think I have been faithful to share with many people, but I don't recall actually leading anyone to the Lord this year. There have been many times with large seed broadcasting, but no "one-on-one" experiences, other than sharing with folks. I have seen my kids faithful to share with others, and that makes me very happy. I console myself with knowing that God calls us to faithfulness and He will bring folks to Himself in His time. I question and challenge myself with making sure that I am as faithful as I can be. A missionary (or anyone else, for that matter) doesn't "save" anyone; that is the job of the Holy Spirit. It is my job to share with people and be available to be used by God.

It has been a particularly discouraging year. As I said before, my kids have had a hard time adjusting to our new situation and their new school. My wife has battled with severe migraines and more recently chronic pain that required minor surgery. Unfortunately, the effects of the surgery hasn't been all that we had hoped and she has only seen minor improvements. We have had many personal crises with our family back in the States, from aging parents, a grandmother basically going blind, a nephew in prison, another nephew divorced, a young brother-in-law suffering a stroke, and most recently, the "burning-to-the-ground" of my childhood home. Above all, and through all, I can honestly say that "God is faithful" and He has not forsaken us nor has He left us. But, through these difficulties, He has been faithful to love and support us either by His Spirit, or by the extended family He has provided in the Church.

Perhaps one of the most significant things that happened, in a personal way, this year was that I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and am now using a CPAP machine to breath at night. For the first time in years, I am dreaming and I actually feel rested. Previously, I was sleep deprived and was becoming (as I'm sure my wife could testify) quite the cranky old man. Now, I can concentrate all my efforts in just being crotchety! ;-)

There have been many, many blessings this year as well. We have been blessed with a very nice, "biggish" flat in our new city. Generally, my family's health has been good and we have made it through the year with only my wife's surgery as a hospitalization. In fact, one of my kids has asthma, and since moving to our new country, they have weaned them self off the asthma medicine and is doing very well. My kids are making friends here and are getting along better in school.

Now then, with all this said and written, what are my goals for next year?

I will to continue to be faithful to share with folks as God brings the opportunities;
I will finish language school;
I will begin the work for which we moved to this new country;
I will be a better husband by spending less time on the computer;
I will be a better father by spending more quality time with the kids;
I will be a good son by writing my folks at least once a week;
I will be a good friend by being available to those in need;
I will be a good colleague by not complaining and being willing to do what is needed;
I will loose weight by exercising and following a sensible diet;
I will be less crotchety (God help me);
I will be a better adopted son of the Most High by spending quality time with Him and being who I know He wants me to be.

May God bless you for a Happy, Healthy, Blessed 2007!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry CHRISTmas!

From our house to yours, we wish you a blessed, happy, merry CHRISTmas!
"Wise men still seek Him"

Winter Recess Holiday Season - Ha

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Attention Dorcas Hawker

This is to Dorcas:

I don't know what changes you made to your blog, but I am locked out. I created a Wordpress account just so I could log into your blog, but it won't let me. Please let me read your stuff; I like what you have to say.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New for 2007

Annonymous Blogging for Dummies!

A Tiny Glimpse of Heaven

We attend an international fellowship here in the 10/40 Window. It truly is an international fellowship. This morning, was our "missions emphasis" Sunday and we had a big lunch and missions presentations and a missions speaker. The tiny glimpse of heaven was this: there were people from every corner of the earth present at the service. I personally greeted people in Swahili, French, Portugese, at least two local languages, English, and of course, the dialect of the "Greatest State in the Union". There was a man and his son dressed in Scottish kilts, another man and his family dressed in East African robes, and a family from India all dressed in their saris and suits. It was way too cool.

I remember growing up and hearing about the church an old aunt of mine attended in Garland, TX. It was Church of Christ or Disciples of Christ or something like that. They actually believed that their little congregation in Garland was the ONLY church going to Heaven. I still can hardly believe that after all these years. How sad to think that folks don't understand that it pleases God to hear praises and prayers from all the peoples of the earth.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas season giving

For Southern Baptists, this is the height of the push for giving to missions through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. For those of you who are not SB, let me tell you what a good thing we got going!

About 100 years ago, there was a little bitty 4 foot nothing woman named Lottie Moon who was a missionary in China. She heard that Methodists were collecting an offering for missions and thought that Southern Baptists could collect more. She challenged a group of women back in the States to take up an offering specifically for missions. The tradition began.

Now, it accounts for somewhere around 40% of the budget of the International Mission Board. The rest of the budget comes from a really cool thing we call the "Cooperative Program". It is where SB churches from all over the US voluntarily contribute part of their weekly offering to support things like the IMB, the mission board in the US (called the North American Mission Board), seminaries, and some of our other denominational organizations. Part of the budget also comes from endowments and investments.

What it essentially does for us, the IMB missionaries, is provide our salary, our housing, our health insurance, our transportation needs, our logistical support on the field and in the US, continued training, retreats, meetings, and a whole lot more that I can't seem to remember right now.

In any case, you, even though you may or may not be Southern Baptist, have an opportunity to contribute to this missions offering. You can mail your check to:

Development Office
International Mission Board
3806 Monument Ave
PO Box 6767
Richmond, VA 23230-0767

Or you can give online at:

Do something special with your giving this year. Make an eternal impact. Give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. You'll be glad you did.

For those of you who are SB, thank you for your generous, faithful, continued support through the LMCO and through your regular giving throug the CP. We really, really appreciate it and find it an honor being "your" missionaries. May God bless you this Christmas season!