Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Trial of Jesus

Here are some thoughts from John 18:28-40; 19:1-15

The trial of Jesus Christ has some rather remarkable events take place throughout it. Jesus told Pilate in John 18:37 that he came to bear witness unto the truth. A trial is supposed to be about the truth. In the office Pilate held, he always had to determine truth. However, truth was not what Pilate was actually seeking. He was seeking to please the people. He was seeking to be a good servant of Caesar, and if truth got in the way of those two areas, the truth would be ignored.

In this trial, Pilate did not completely ignore the truth. The chief priests did, though. Pilate went out to the chief priests seven times, seeking the release of Jesus. At least two of those times, Pilate declared to the Jews, “I find no fault,” in Jesus. The chief priests heard the truth, but totally ignored it. They heard what Pilate said, but ignored it. They simply cried out “crucify Him!” The fact is the chief priests knew the truth before they ever brought Jesus to Pilate. How many people today simply ignore the truth, even when faced with it? They know the truth will forever change their life, and they do not want their life changed. They think they have found pleasure in sin, but true joy comes from the truth. These people are like little kids playing in mud holes, who when asked if they want to go to Disney World say no because they are having too much fun in the mud hole. They do not realize what they are giving up. The chief priests were looking to protect their power, but instead they rejected the One who gives the power.

The chief priests also exhibited another characteristic we should avoid. In John 18:28, the Jews bring Jesus to the judgment hall. The Jews did not want to enter the hall lest they be defiled, as a result of going into a gentile’s house. This custom came from their tradition. They have no problem killing an innocent man, but they do not want to dirty themselves by going into a house of a gentile! What hypocrisy! Oh how often we simply have an outward form of religion and IGNORE the truth. People who do this have their religion in vain. Their religion is not about God, it is about self. They do not attend church and maintain standards out of a desire to please and love God; they do those things to please men; to gain favor and praise of peers. This is wicked. Life is about GOD!!!

Now back to Pilate. Pilate knew the truth, but chose not follow it. Why? Truth was not his end goal. He wanted to keep the peace. He was more worried what the people and Caesar thought, than what God thought. He did not ignore the truth all together as the Pharisees, but none the less, when he could not reach a compromise he chose to ignore the truth. At one point Pilate asked Jesus, What is truth?” However, he did not stay for the answer. He turned and walked away after asking the question. Many people today base their actions on what others think instead of truth. They might even ask about the truth, but they do not really want the answer. Pilate wanted to accept the truth without having the truth affect him. This is not possible. Pilate wanted to let Jesus go. He knew he was innocent. However, he knew if he followed the truth in relation to Jesus Christ, it would cost him. It probably would have cost him is job and title. So he traded eternity for a few years of “prosperity” on this earth. How foolish! His problem was he was only thinking of the present and not the future. He should have been thinking of his own judgment before a holy and righteous God. He should have been begging Jesus for mercy. Many people today make the wrong decisions because they base those decisions on what others think, or they are only thinking of the present and not the future!

How do you respond to truth when the Lord works on your heart? Do you ignore it altogether? Choose to accept it provided it does not change you? Seek to compromise with the truth. Or do you willingly embrace it, allowing it to do its work in your heart. You will never be sorry you chose to follow the truth!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Back Online! Last Two Weeks

I am finally back online! My internet company was having problems and I was not able to connect at all for about 1 week. Then I was able to connect periodically for short time periods. This is still the case.

The past two weeks has seen many trials and many blessings. We have had power trouble, we are without water again, and the lawn mower and truck are both having lots of trouble right now. During all this, though, the things that really matter have been going strong. Many of the Christians are really showing signs of growth. One man, I believe, has the potential to be the future pastor of the work. I run a one on one discipleship program with those who trust Christ, and Joel is really growing. He has a strong desire to serve God. I have been praying, asking the Lord to show me who is the man I should begin serious training to be the pastor, and Joel may be that man. During the past nine days there have been two men and another teenager saved! On Sunday, I baptized 4 adults, a 14 year old, and an 11 year old. The four adults were two married couples. The picture below is of one the married couples getting ready to be baptized. Saturday, during my visits, I spent time with two men and their families. They have been visiting the church for several Sundays. Neither man trusted Christ on Saturday. However, on Sunday both were in church again, and one of them, Bennett, made a profession of faith!

I must admit, I am coming across one of the hardest parts of being a missionary. This church is the first church the Lord has ever used me to plant. (I hope, because the need is great, it is the first of many.) The church in the village of Kudukudu was started almost two and half years ago. It is a true church plant, not starting from a split or pulling members from another Baptist church. There is no other Baptist church! It started with the Lord putting this village on my heart and I began praying. Then I led a man to the Lord from the village and the work began. Now, we are averaging 70 to 85 every week, and the work is growing at a steady pace, doubling over the past year. As I am pastoring this work, the love for the people grows everyday. My desire for them to grow is great. I know that soon the Lord will confirm who it is I need be training to be the national pastor. At the tim, that man is ready, I will step aside and let the church run completely autonomously. I look forward to that time, but at the same time, it is hard for me to imagine stepping aside. Once the sheppard has looked after the sheep for several years, He knows all of the sheep personally. He knows them by name. He knows which ones are strong and which ones are weak. He knows which sheep need to be encouraged regularly, and which ones encourage others. He loves the sheep. Yet he has to turn it over to another shepherd. This is not easy. These are people I have personally seen put their faith in Christ. The Lord, of course, reminds He is the true Shepherd. He is the great Shepherd. He also reminds that, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform until the day of Christ:” The Lord used a missionary to pen the words to a church He planted. This verse gives me great comfort when I think of the day I am no longer the pastor. I know the Lord will continue His work. We always need to be mindful the work is the Lord’s and we are simply the tools. Any true progress made in the lives of men is 100% a result of the Lord giving the increase.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wedding Aniversary

(I have received an email from at least one person telling me their comment did not get posted. If you have sent a comment and I did not post it, resend it. For some reason, I am not receiving some of the comments, since I have enabled comment moderation. **If I choose to reject a comment, I will post a comment saying so, most of the time.)

Saturday will be mine and my wife’s 17th wedding anniversary. We were married on November 11th, 1989, Veterans Day. (The war was on! Just kidding.) Looking back 17 years ago, little did we know what all the Lord had in store for us. Here we are now with five children sitting in Papua New Guinea!

My wife and I were married after I joined the Air Force and finished my training. I was 19 and she was 18 when we were married. We met in high school at a Bible class I taught after school on Thursdays. We ended up being members in the same Baptist church a few months later. She has had to put up with me all these years, but my good looks make up for any trouble I have caused her. :)

The Lord used good examples of other marriages to strengthen our marriage. There were three in particular: Pastor Willie J Byrd, Missionary Bill Stewart, and Pastor Stan Roach. Pastor Byrd became our pastor about one year after we were married. (Now, for our first year of marriage we had a pastor in New Mexico that was an example of everything NOT to do in a marriage!) Missionary Bill Stewart was our pastor while we spent one year in Korea. Pastor Stan Roach is still my pastor. He is pastor of the I.B.C. of Anchorage Alaska, my sending/home church. All three men loved their wives with passion. They did not bury their wives while they were working in the ministry. Their wives were right there with them. Growing up in a broken home, I had no idea how to truly love my wife, but through the influence and teaching of those men, the Lord showed me.

I wonder what the Lord has for us in the next seventeen years! The Lord is so good. He provides man with a woman, a completer/helper. A companion with which to share all the joys of life. I love my wife and am thankful the Lord has given her to me.

(Proverbs 18:22) Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the LORD.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Missionary Wife Insights (Where's the Water?)

I asked my wonderful wife to write another post. This is her second post.

When Terry asked me to write another entry for his blog, I really didn’t know what to write about. Our life in PNG seems to never have a dull moment. Compared to life in America, most every aspect of the culture is completely different. To many of the village-dwelling nationals, we are considered rich. Not because we ARE rich, but because we live in a house made of wood with a tin roof and a cement foundation, we BUY most of our food instead of growing it and eating the same thing every day, we have indoor plumbing, and a generator to give us electricity to run our computer, water pump, refrigerator and freezer, AND we own a truck and can fill it with gas and have it repaired, which we need to do quite often. (We have even had it repaired with super glue and duct tape, and when you look under the hood, there is inner-tubing tying together just about every part you can see!)
I decided I would write about what it’s like when we have to do things the hard way. There is a joke among many of our missionary friends here in PNG. We tease each other about whether we are REAL missionaries or not. If we have some kind of convenience that offers us some comfort and/or rest, than we are not being REAL missionaries. If we have to do without something or have it tough, then we are REAL missionaries. We have been real missionaries for a few weeks.
As for the indoor plumbing, our water is pumped into the house from two big tanks that are filled with rain water. Our gutters are connected to the top of the tanks, and the rain water is collected from our roof. A good rain for just two or three hours will fill both tanks. The only problem with this system is, well, when it doesn’t rain, there’s no water. No water in the tanks, anyway. There IS water in the rivers and springs. We have heard that when your tanks run out of water here in Namatanai, that you have to go to the rivers and springs and get some. We always thought that would be tough, and I was always so glad when it would rain just as we thought we would run out of water. Well, it finally happened. We ran out of water. I thought it wasn’t a big problem, though, because we would pray for rain, and ask others to pray for rain, and it would rain. That was three weeks ago. So, we have been going to a spring fed river about one mile from our house every day to fill up our liter jugs with water from the spring. (Daniel, my 15-year-old, has this job.) We girls also wash our long hair at Halis (hah-leece), and the baby gets to play. I do the laundry in two large tin tubs every other day. I fill them up with soap and water and put the clothes in to soak. Then we all rinse the clothes one at a time, wring them, and throw them in the basket. This gets repeated about six times. Oh, my aching back! Normally, my children do the laundry in our semi-automatic washer, and I hang them up, (and inspect them).
It has been annoying, but the Lord always gives me what I need o help me grow, and this has been one of those times. First of all, it has allowed me to focus more on my prayer life. This time when I prayed, there was no rain after a few days. Why not? What’s wrong? I am confident that it will rain, and the Lord knows what He is doing in our lives. I also know that my prayer life needs to be much, much better. This really is not an emergency situation. We can get water any time we want from the river. Will my prayer life be good enough, (‘good enough’ sounds as if it will be where it should be; maybe I should say ‘better enough’), when things really get difficult? I really need to work on that.
Having no water has been good for the children, too. Normally, they don’t have to work that hard. Their chores are easy. They have also been praying for rain. I think it’s wonderful when we are all pulling together to pray for our needs here on the mission field. It’s been good for all of us. Especially baby Levi. He loves playing in the water! I just received some heating pads for my back in a package from the US, and I am off to try them out…

Disclaimer: the real missionary joke is a joke because we all know it’s tough living here in PNG, away from family, medical care, etc. We are happy to be serving the Lord where He has called us.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Abiding in Christ and Abiding in His love!

I am still preaching through the Gospel of John on Sunday mornings. I am currently in John 16. Here are some thoughts from John 15.

Chapters 13-16 of the Gospel of John is Jesus’s final discourse with the disciples before his death. His public ministry ended in chapter 12. Chapter 13 Jesus demonstrates amazing humility by washing the disciples’ feet. He then tells them one of them is a betrayer, that He is leaving, and that Peter will deny Him. No doubt, they all must have felt like they were just hit by a ton of bricks!! The news hit them hard and they were saddened by this discourse. In chapter 14, Jesus starts to encourage them. He tells them how He will come again and receive them. He tells them is preparing a place for them. Jesus tells them even though He is gone, they will do even greater works then He did on the earth. He informs them of the coming of the Spirit, the power of prayer and the peace of God. Chapter 15 Jesus gets even more practical in how they/we are to succeed while Jesus is in heaven and we are here.

John chapter 15 deals with our relationship with God, with other believers and with the world. In dealing with our relationship with God, Jesus said we are to abide in Him. Jesus tells us here that without abiding in Him, “we can do nothing.” (vs 5) He explains that without abiding in Him, we will not produce lasting fruit. (vs 5,16) The question is, how do we abide in Christ? Jesus answered it by using a metaphor. He said we abide in Him as a branch abides in the vine. Jesus gave this metaphor, so we could picture exactly what He meant by abiding in Him. The only reason the branch produces fruit is because it abides in the vine. The branch receives all of its strength, food, and power from the vine. The vine is the life of the branch. Jesus needs to be our life. He needs to be the source of our strength, not positive thinking. He needs to be our food, not our self esteem, and He needs to be our power, not our own intellect and education. He needs to be our life! In this process, the Father is the husbandman who will purge us. (vs 1,2) Purging, many times, involves pain. The Father will cut away anything that is hindering our growth and ability to produce fruit. This is not an easy process, but it is necessary for us to accomplish the will of God. The key to us being successful here on this earth, while Jesus is heaven, is to abide in Him as the branch abides in the vine.

By verse nine and ten, Jesus then tells the disciples to abide in His love. This would affect their relationship with each other. They were to abide in Christ as a branch abides in a vine, and here they are to abide in His love by virtue of their obedience:

(John 15:10) “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.”

Jesus told them in chapter 14, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Our love for God is directly tied to our obedience. You can not separate the two, although many try and do that in the day we live in. In Chapter 15, Jesus mentions a specific command of His in relation to abiding in His love, “that ye love one another as I have loved you.” Wow! Jesus Christ loves us unselfishly, humbly, and even to the point of giving of Himself unto death. These are to be our actions toward fellow Christians. Jesus also demonstrated His love toward us by being a servant. Don’t forget, minutes before this discussion He washed the disciples’ feet! This was the work of a common servant before a meal. Yet, Jesus took on this role. We need to love each other by our service.

We need to abide in Christ’s love by being obedient to Him. Especially, by our love for each other. The fact is, if we love each other as Christ commanded us, we will not be lying to each other; we will not be coveting from each other; we will not steal from each other; there would be no adultery, etc... We would be obedient to our Lord in all areas!

Abiding in Christ produced fruit, abiding in His love, by obedience, produces closeness to our Lord, a friendship.

(John 15:14) “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

Why is it some are closer to God than others? Because they are abiding in His love by being obedient.

Are you abiding in Christ and in His love?

Saturday, October 21, 2006


· One Sunday, several months ago, I held combined services with the work in Sohun and the work in Kudukudu. (Background information: The work in Sohun was started before I arrived in PNG. It was started by a man in the village named Joshua. When Joshua was younger, he left the village and went to the capitol, Port Moresby. While there, he heard the gospel and trusted Christ as the Savior. He became a member of Bible Baptist church in Port Moresby. He left there and went back to his home village, Sohun. He began a small fellowship and some of his family started getting saved. At that time, they began praying the Lord to send a missionary. I never met Joshua though. While I was on deputation, to come to PNG, he died of cancer. He was in his early 40’s at the time of his death. He did know I was coming to the island, though. I preach in Sohun each Sunday before going to Kudukudu. They do have a national pastor, James Able, there. He is not ordained yet. He has had some previous training and I am training him also. I hope to organize the work and run an ordination service for Bro James shortly. The work in Kudukudu was started by me in August of 2004. I am still pastoring this work until a national is trained.)

Alright, now back to the story: During the combined services, one of the men in Sohun, Pius, recognized one the men in Kudukudu, Wesley. Pius has been saved for about five years now, and had not seen Wesley for many years. Wesley and he were very good friends years ago. They used to get drunk together, and they even spent time in a PNG jail together. He had no idea Wesley and his family were now coming to the work I started in Kudukudu. Nor did he know Wesley and his wife had just recently trusted Christ as Saviour and this very service were going to be baptized with several other adults! After Wesley’s baptism, Pius and Wesley hugged and rejoiced that both were now new creatures in Christ. Both had found truth and meaning in life. I had no idea the two men knew each other from years past. I was thrilled to see the Lord give both joy over their reunion! The Lord was in control of all of this. How the Lord loves to give us delight!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Truck/Two Men/Rain/Post Office

Saturday, I headed out to the village of Kudukudu for my visits. It is just about a one hour drive on a pretty rough road. I am currently doing some discipleship with Joel and Rose on Saturday mornings. You can read about there conversion here:
  • Joel and Rose
  • They are doing good and growing in the Lord. I also needed to visit a family in the village of Balai, which is on the other side of Kudukudu. However, as I arrived in the village Saturday, one of my front wheels started making a horrible noise. I knew it was the bearing. (Driving on these rough roads for the past three years, I have had to replace many parts, including several bearings.) Daniel, my son, was with me, and we decided to just turn around and head back.

    About half way home, the bearing went completely out, making it impossible to drive. I was only about 2km from where the bush mechanic lives. I eased the truck to his house, and from there Daniel and I started the walk back. It was about 9:00am now and well over 100 degrees. We had just over 10 miles to walk. The Lord blessed and about one hour into the walk, a bush truck came by and took us back to Namatanai where our house is.

    Not only did I have the problem of being without a vehicle, but the day before we ran out of water. I was planning on going to the river in the afternoon with several buckets to collect water for our house. When we are without water we also do all the washing of clothes and bathing at the river. It is about 2 miles from the house. I knew I needed to find a truck. We needed water for the house and the next day was Sunday. This is the first time in our three years here I have needed to find another vehicle. There are no car lots here; there are no rental car places. Very, very few people have vehicles here. I decided to ask one of the trade store owners if I could rent his vehicle.

    Upon going into the trade store, it became clear why the Lord had allowed this day’s events to take place. I went to the back of store to talk with George, the store’s owner, but before I could bring up the need for the truck, he started asking me Biblical questions. This is not typical of George. George had been thinking about his future and talking with one of his workers about it. Both of the men were fearful. They were primarily asking questions about the Lord’s return. This opened the door for the gospel. This is not the first time I have witnessed to both of these men. About one year ago, I shared the gospel with George and about 18 months ago with the other man, Michael. We talked for awhile about the Lord. Neither man made a profession of faith, but the Spirit was working in their hearts. George and Michael both asked me to come back and talk with them again. The Lord knew I needed to be in the store at that time, and He made sure I was. Had I not needed a truck, I would have never went there that day! Oh yes, George did lend me a truck for the rest of the day and for Sunday.

    Pray for George and Michael that they would put their trust in the Lord. Also, do pray for rain. We have been without water since Friday. It is no fun having to go to the river for your water. When my generator is broke down or our phone is out, it is still pretty manageable, but it is very difficult without water. We had a major volcanic eruption almost two weeks ago on the island just south of us. The people here are saying it is affecting our weather. The eruption occurred 36 miles from our house. Here is a link to a picture of it, from the PNG newspaper:
  • Volcano
  • Pray for my truck as well. A plane is due in the morning and it is supposed to have parts for my truck on it. Another thing to pray for is our post office. The government here has closed it down, again. This is the second time now. The last time it was closed for four months. When this happens we have to have our mail sent to a post office on the north tip of island and that is a five hour drive away.

    Pray for:
    George and Michael
    Post office

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Perseverance of the Saints

    For this post, we will examine, in the light of Biblical salvation, the doctrine of perseverance of the saints as taught by Calvinists. This post is not an attack on any one person, but on a false doctrine. Many saved people who love the Lord, as much as I, believe in this false doctrine. My desire is not to prove I am right! My desire is to , glorify my Lord, earnestly contend for the faith, and be of help to fellow brethren.

    I need to finish off my last post first. I did not finish with what makes salvation effectual to a person. The answer in the Bible is (Act 20:21) Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

    When a person realizes they are a condemned sinner before a holy and righteous God and truly believe in the work Jesus has done for them, they need to put their faith in Him with repentance. All who do so are saved! Acts 3:19, Acts 17:30; John 3:16,36 Romans 10:9,10; Acts 16:31. (There are dozen of verses teaching us this.) We are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8, 9). It is the grace of God that enables this. You see, none deserve salvation! It is because of the grace of God, that God has provided a means of salvation for His creation. (Titus 2:11) If God does not give grace, then Jesus does not go to the cross and we are all condemned! The key attributes of God in play are Holiness, Justice, Love, and Grace.

    My guess is the majority reading this would agree. It is the clear Biblical teaching.

    So when a person “A” places their faith in Christ his sin was judged at Calvary, and he has received the righteousness of God! Because of these two FACTS person A is eternally secure. Why? His sin has already been judged. ALL of his sin. Two, he has now received the righteousness of God, in which there is NO sin. This righteousness has been imputed to the believer, just like his sins were imputed to Jesus. This is why the Bible gives us verse after verse on everlasting life. Our sin has already been judged and the Lord God has given us His righteousness!

    There is no longer anything separating us from God. This is one reason why, at salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and his spirit is given life. At that moment he receives eternal life. Eternal life is NOT heaven. Heaven is a place. I will not receive eternal life when I die. I already have eternal life (John 3:36)! Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the LIFE.” He is eternal life, and all true believers have received Him!

    Here are some more scriptures teaching us what has happened to the believer’s sin.

    (1Jo 3:5) And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

    (Heb 1:3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

    (1Jo 4:10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

    These verses teach us our sins have been taken away, purged, and that Jesus was the propitiation of our sins. (He satisfied the holiness of God by His sacrifice.) This is why the believer is eternally secure.

    Now let’s compare that with the teaching of Calvinism. The Calvinistic doctrine of perseverance teaches perseverance is essential for salvation. They believe it provides the believer needed assurance, and that it is EFFECTUAL in their salvation. They believe it is the proof of a true believer.

    I do not have so much a problem with the idea of perseverance providing assurance, as well it being evidence of salvation. The Bible does teach, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” My problem lies with the teaching making it effectual in salvation.

    Now please don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at some of the teachings by prominent Calvinists of our day.

    (All of this material, sermons, I have personally read. I went to NO book or web page teaching against Calvinism for this material! This has been my own research. )

    First, let’s look at a comment by RC Sproul. He was teaching on the perseverance of the saints when he made this comment. I have NOT taken it out of context.

    “In and of myself I am capable of sinning even unto the loss of my salvation, but I'm persuaded that God in his grace will keep me from that. (“Can a Sinning Christian Lose His Salvation”?)

    According to Sproul perseverance is necessary for salvation. That without God keeping him from sinning, he would fall away and lose his salvation. Now, I have some questions for Bro Sproul, Were or were not your sins purged by Jesus Christ? If so, then how could you ever fall under condemnation again!? If all of your sin has already been judged, how can you be judged again for your sin? If you could, that would attack the justice of God.

    Let’s go to John Piper,

    These two quotes are taken from one of his sermons about perseverance of the saints.
    (Title of sermon: “Be diligent to enter God’s rest.”)

    “Persevering in faith to the end is a community project.”

    His point here was we need each other to “persevere.” (I thought it was all of God!?)

    “Anyone who puts faith in God's promises bought for us by the blood of Jesus, and is diligent not to throw that faith away, is a part of the people of God.”

    He, too, asserts to the necessity of perseverance for salvation. Notice his last statement. He is adding works to salvation! Now, he escapes this work salvation by teaching his perseverance is all of God, not of himself. However, he clearly contradicts that teaching in this sermon as is evident by the first quote.

    Eric Schumacher,

    This Calvinist has a sermon online called “The Necessity of Endurance for Salvation.”

    The title says it all, but let’s look at one quote from the sermon. The point he was trying to make, by this quote, is seen in many writings by Calvinist on this subject. I would like to address it. Here is the quote from that message:

    “So, we see that sanctification is a necessary attribute of a saving faith. One cannot be a saint without being sanctified. This is one reason we must be striving to endure: our salvation.”

    The first part of this statement I agree with, but his conclusion is unscriptural. He, too, is adding works to salvation. Notice WE must STRIVE. (Again he escapes saying he believes in works, because he is able to “endure” because of God not himself. That still does not change the fact that the enduring is his own work!

    Many sermons, and books by Calvinist concerning the “P”, use sanctification to teach the necessity of perseverance in relation to salvation.

    There are three Biblical aspects to sanctification. We will look at two of them here.

    The first is positional sanctification. This takes place at the moment of salvation. (I Cor 6:11 “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

    Here the Bible teaches we are sanctified already. This sanctification has already taken place. How? Because my sins were purged and I received the righteousness of God. Notice the verse says, I am sanctified in the “name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God.” No perseverance is mentioned or referred to.

    There is also a progressive sanctification. The Bible says in I Peter 1:16 “…Be ye Holy for I am Holy.” While we are on the earth we need to strive for holiness. Not to be saved, but because we are saved. That is clearly seen is the context of the chapter in I Peter.

    Problems arise when people mix positional and progressive sanctification.

    Finally, let’s look at statements by John MacArthur. (All quotes are taken from his Master Seminary Journal lecture on perseverance of the saints.)

    Here, Bro Macarthur was quoting from Murray:
    “But let us appreciate the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints and recognize that we may entertain the faith of our security in Christ only as we persevere in faith and holiness to the end.”

    Again, here he makes perseverance essential to salvation. This is a work of man.

    “God's own holiness thus requires perseverance. "God's grace insures
    our persevering`but this does not make it any less our persevering."21
    Believers cannot acquire "the prize of the upward call of God in Christ
    Jesus" unless they "press on toward the goal" (Phil 3:14).”

    He is adding to the gospel, not understanding that all his sins have already been judged at Calvary. Perseverance does not make salvation effectual! Faith does!

    Also, note he admits this perseverance is “our” perseverance, not simply God’s.

    “The maintenance of a Christian's faith
    is as much His work as every other aspect of salvation. Faith is
    kindled and driven and maintained and fortified by God's grace.
    But to say that faith is God's gracious gift, which He maintains,
    is not to say that faith operates apart from the human will.

    The means by which God maintains their faith
    involves their full participation.”

    Here he was teaching this “maintaining” of our faith is all of God, with our “participation.” If it is with our “participation”, then it is not all of God. Yet salvation is of God. I am not kept saved by my “participation.” That would be me working. There is no way around that. I am kept saved because of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

    It is clear Calvinist believe perseverance is necessary for salvation. It is making faith contingent upon perseverance, which is a work of man!

    Bro MacArthur again,

    “Consequently, many people who utterly lack any love for the Lord Jesus Christ are being given a false hope of heaven. True Christians love Christ.”

    Here, he is exactly correct. His conclusion is true, Christians love Christ. AMEN! That is exactly right. We love Christ not to BE saved, but because we are saved. Yet the teaching of following the Lord faithfully (perseverance) fails to distinguish this point.

    Many people think if perseverance is not true then you can sin all you want and never face consequences. That is not true and it too lacks understanding of what took place at salvation.

    When the Lord saved me, he indwelled me. (Rom 8:9) He gave my spirit life. (Eph 2:1) As a result I am a “ creature: old things are passed away behold all things are become new.” Because I am saved, I will follow my Lord. Those who profess to be saved, yet do not follow are not saved. John 8:31 We all agree a vain profession saves no one! At the moment of my salvation all my sins were imputed unto Jesus and His Righteousness was imputed unto me. (Romans 4; II Corinthians 5:21) Thus I am eternally secure. The penalty of sin has been paid for on behalf by Jesus Christ.

    The teaching of the perseverance of the saints makes a RESULT of salvation a CONDITION of salvation and thus the error. This error is believed and taught because of a lack of understanding of what took place at our salvation.

    The fruit of repentance will show up in a desire and love for the Lord. It is a result of salvation.

    Please remember back to my first post on how salvation works. It is our sin that has to be dealt with. Our sin was dealt with by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is not dependent upon my perseverance.

    Let me finish with the Bible, itself, address the issue. The following verses are Romans 4:1-8. The key verses being the last few. (One might be thinking, why Romans 4:1-8 it does not talk about perseverance. Exactly!!!)

    (Rom 4:1-8) What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

    I hope and pray this post is of help to some!

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Calvinism cont..

    (This is my second post in the last two days. Yesterday, there was a large increase in traffic to my blog due to my Calvinism post from last week. Many new comments were posted. I say that so that you will not miss out on the previous blog I posted Monday. Please take time to read it.)

    This post is my second post on the Calvinism issue.

    I would agree with Calvinism in that one who has truly trusted Jesus Christ will not lose their salvation. However, I strongly disagree with how they come to their conclusion of WHY a true Christian can never lose their salvation. The “P” of Calvinism demonstrates a lack of understanding on how salvation works.

    First let’s look at how salvation works. (This, of course, will not be an exhaustive study on soteriology, but a general overview.) What is the one thing that has separated man from God? Sin! (Isaiah 59:2)Sin is the cause of death (separation). (Romans 6:23) Sin is the reason we need a savior. Sin is the reason all men are condemned. Sin is the reason for physical, spiritual and eternal death.

    The fact is all men are going to die and face judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) “All have sinned,” and unless something takes place to remove one’s sin, he will face an eternal death (separation) from God in the lake of fire. (Romans 6:23; Rev 20:12-15; 21:8)

    Now, the question is what removes our sin? (Please remember the ONLY thing keeping us from God is sin.) At first glance, the future of man might look hopeless. Why? We all have sin. Judgment is coming. The lake of fire is real! There is an eternal death! We are guilty before God.

    The most prominent attribute of God in the Bible is His Holiness. The wages of sin are a result of God’s holiness and justice. God is a holy and just God. Because of this, there is a penalty of sin. He will NOT allow sin to go unpunished. If He did, that would go against His holiness and His justice. Now, another attribute of God is Love. Some have asked the question, if God loves everyone why does He not just save everyone? The answer is God’s love can not over ride His Holiness. Sin must be paid for.

    So how does God solve the issue between His holiness and his love for His creation? Jesus Christ! God became a man. He was 100% man and 100% God. He lived a perfect life without sin. He was the only person ever born to accomplish this. He had no earthly father, thus no sin nature. He was PERFECT. He met the requirements for God’s holiness and His righteous standard (perfection).

    So what does that have to do with our salvation? Everything! Let me explain.

    In God’s infinite wisdom and love, he decided to sacrifice Himself. How so? God determined to pay the penalty of sin himself. What is the penalty? Death!

    Because Jesus was without sin, and perfect, He was able to take our penalty. (Rom 5:8, Rom 6:23) Why? Because He was without sin. He was innocent. Had He been just another man, he would be facing the same judgment and not in a position to help anyone. It would be like two men drowning the ocean trying to save each other. Neither knows how to swim and neither is in a position to help the other because both are in the same danger. The two men would need someone who is NOT drowning to come and rescue/save them.

    Remember the penalty of sin is death. He went to the cross and shed His blood as a sacrifice for sins. Rev 1:5 He truly took our place. Why did God do this? He died for us because He loves us. (John 3:16) Jesus paid the penalty, but three days later He defeated death and ROSE from the dead! He defeated the penalty of sin!! This sacrifice, Jesus made, satisfied the holiness and justice of God!!! (I John 2:2)

    A great verse to show us what Jesus accomplished on the cross is II Cor 5:21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

    Jesus Christ was made sin, while we were made the righteousness of God! This means Jesus took ALL of your sin upon himself and fully gives you His righteousness. Now, did Jesus have sin? No! He was perfect. So if the Lord gives you His righteousness, it is a perfect righteousness meeting God’s standard for perfection. Thus, there is NO LONGER a barrier between you and God. You would have eternal life! Your sin is gone! It has been paid for, by the work of Jesus Christ on Calvary!

    The big question is how does this work of Jesus Christ be applied to our life. How does this work become effectual to us?

    If the death and resurrection of Jesus is applied to our life, our sin is removed and we receive the righteousness of God! (II Cor 5:21)

    Now, if you are a Calvinist you need to ask yourself if you agree with the above statement. Do you think the statement agrees with Calvinistic theology as written? (In particular the “P” of the TULIP) .I realize I have not specifically mentioned anything about the “P” as of yet. I will tie it together in my next post, as well as how the work of Jesus is applied to our life. I just want you to think about it before the next post.

    Please hold comments only to the matter of salvation on this post. I know many would like to begin to discuss the perseverance issue, but that needs to wait until my next post. Allow me to make my argument first, and then fell free to disagree and comment.

    This post was needed so that I could establish a good foundation for my next post. I would think most would agree with what I have written so far.

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Weekend Events

    During my soul winning time on Saturday, I spent time with three families. The first family belonged to an ex “catholic evangelist,” Stephen. This man made a profession of faith back on January 1st of this year. (I will write about his conversion in another blog.) Stephen is doing well, and growing in the Lord. He had spent a total of 46 years in the Catholic Church. He has a strong hunger for the Word of God and that is fueling his growth. Two weeks ago, during my Saturday visits, his wife made a profession of faith. Then, this Saturday, his oldest daughter made profession of faith! She is a young mother and has been attending services for several months now as well. Soon, I will be baptizing that family. I love to see families get baptized together!

    I would love to show video, on this blog, of what it is like walking to Stephen’s house. He and his family live in a small bush house which is surrounded by their gardens. (The gardens are how the villagers survive here. There is no “jobs” in the village. The people live entirely off the land. ) Their house is on a small hill in the jungle. One of the nick names of Papua New Guinea is “The land that time forgot.” If you were to travel to his house you would understand why that is an appropriate nick name. Time may have forgotten them, but the Lord Jesus Christ did not! One day they will leave that simple village in the jungle “for a city whose builder and maker is God!”

    Sunday proved to be pretty exciting as well. I just finished Sunday school and was starting the main service. As I began, a man came running up to the church. His one year old child had just become very sick. I asked the symptoms and I knew it was either cerebral malaria or meningitis. Both of which can prove fatal. I have personally seen malaria kill several infants in my three years here. I quickly had three men pray and I left to take them to the “haus sik,” (House Sick). The haus sik is in Namatanai, where our house is, so it is a one hour drive. I drove as a fast as I could. The front end of my truck starting making a horrible noise. It was metal grinding on metal. I thought a front bearing went out. However I could not stop, due to the sick baby. Keep in mind, there are no other vehicles on this “road.” This was a Sunday so the PMV trucks which transport people do not run. I thought my axle was just going to snap! The Lord blessed, though, and we made it all the way to the haus sik.

    This morning I went back to check on the baby, and the workers there told me he had cerebral malaria. His name is Hosea, so please keep him in your prayer. He was doing much better this morning. He was awake, and responsive. Also pray the Lord will use this to provide an oppurtunity for me to talk the family.

    Just another weekend in Papua New Guinea!

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006


    From time to time, I will be posting on one of the biggest dangers I see to the gospel and missions, Calvinism. I will be posting on different aspects of the dangerous TULIP. It’s effects are just beginning to come into many Baptist churches today and are changing people’s thinking. I fear if the current trend is not curved, much damage will be done to world missions.

    Major change usually takes time, so this change in thinking will not occur overnight, but over the process of time. Soon, we will hear the voices William Carey heard when he told a group of preachers he wanted to reach the world with gospel. Those Calvinistic voices told him something like this, “Sit down! When God wants to convert the heathen, He will do so Himself without the Help of you or I.” No, we are not seeing this yet in Baptist churches, but it is coming unless something is done. Today’s Calvinist is missions friendly, but over time that will change, just because of the nature of their theology.

    The past several years has seen a rise in Calvinism throughout Baptist churches. I believe there are several factors as to why this has taken place. One reason would be a reaction against quick prayerism. Christians began to realize this, “123 pray after me”, was not working. Churches were seeing thousands of “decisions”, but there was no fruit. Pride seemed to become a motivation for our service instead of a love for God as well. Our “method” was simply focused on getting people to pray a prayer. Books were written, classes were taught, which showed us how to get someone to pray a prayer. Much of this information was based upon manipulation and psychology, instead of the convicting work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. As Christians began realizing this was not right, nor was it working, the doctrine of Calvinism was there to provide answers.

    Another reason for the increase in Calvinism was the rise of two prominent Calvinistic preachers within fundamentalism: John Macarthur and John Piper. Both men, through their preaching and writings, began to promote Calvinism. It appealed to an intellectual side of the house, at a time when many were tired of shallowness in some churches.

    Calvinism of today began using several different means to get people to convert to their theological position. One of the means used is psychology. Let me give one example. A Calvinist boldly proclaims you are either Calvinist or Arminianist. Well, certainly no good Baptist wants to be identified with Armenianism! The fact is, though, many such as myself, are neither Calvinistic nor Armenianistic in our theology. Instead of following the TULIP, I choose to follow the BIBLE. Just because I may agree with some points of Arminianism or Calvinism in no way makes me an Arminianist or Calvinist. This would be like a person telling me, because I believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, I am a Catholic. If I happen to agree with Arminianism or Calvinism in some area, it is because their teaching is following the Bible. The fact is both theological positions (Calvinsim/Arminianism) are not scriptural and contain error.

    At the heart of this issue is a needed understanding of how salvation works. In my next post on this topic, I will discuss the “P” of the TULIP. It is here where it becomes clear Calvinist teachings lack an understanding of what Christ actually did for us on the Cross. They fail to realize why one who is truly saved can never lose their salvation.

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    Pastor John Norris

    My phone has been out AGAIN! That of course is nothing new, but it has prevented me from posting.
    This past week I had an answer to prayer that thrilled me. I was saved at the age of 12 at the First Baptist Church of North Ridgeville, Ohio. The pastor who led me to the Lord was John Norris. I have not seen or heard from him since 1983/1984. While on deputation I desired to find him. I wanted to let him know that a 12 year old boy he led to the Lord was now a preacher. I wanted to thank him for his faithfulness and sharing the gospel with me. I know he would not even know who I was if I found him, but none the less, I had a strong desire to make contact with him.

    I contacted people who were members of the church when he was pastor there. I asked them if they knew where he was. A few people gave me some leads, but none panned out. One person told me he was in south Florida, so I called all the John Norris’s in south Florida. There were plenty to call, but none of them turned out to be him. After that, I simply quit trying to find him. I was too busy with deputation and preparing for the field.

    Last month during one of my prayer times, I began thinking about him again. I prayed and asked the Lord to allow me to find him. Then last Saturday (Friday U.S.) I received the following email:

    Dear Brother Terry,
    I was doing some research on my message over the internet when I came across your blog and website with all the pictures. It looks like you are doing a great work in Papua New Guinea.

    I noticed in your testimony that you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior in 1982 in a Baptist Church in North Ridgeville, Ohio. And then in one of your blogs, you stated that the pastor was John Norris. If that was First Baptist Church of North Ridgeville, on Sugar Ridge Road, then I was that pastor. I am currently the pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Decatur, Illinois. You can visit our church website at

    May the Lord continue to use you and bless your work and your family.
    Pastor John Norris

    As I read the email, my heart filled with joy. The Lord had heard and answered my prayer! I was amazed at how he just “happened” to find my blog. This was all of the Lord’s providence! I emailed him back and told him how I had been praying the Lord will allow me to find him. I did not even know he was still a pastor. It had been over 20 years since I last talked with him.

    It still amazes me how the Lord answers our prayers. Think about it: The God of the universe hears our prayers and delights to answer them! Amen!

    Pastor John, if you read this, I just want to say thank you again!

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    Interesting Week

    Sorry it has been a few days, for those who are still around reading! We have had phone, power, and water problems. Praise the Lord we had rain yesterday, so our tanks now have some water. We do need more water though, so pray it will continue to rain.

    Power and phone problems are relatively minor compared to water problems. When you have to go to a river for your water, it affects every aspect of your life. You even have to lug a bucket of water for the toilet. It can get pretty hectic when you have phone, power, and water problems all at the SAME time. I am just a spoiled American!

    I have one generator broken down awaiting parts. I have been awaiting parts for it for one year now. I do have a backup though, and that generator broke down last week. However, I managed to rig it, so it is working now. The breaker fried!

    Answered prayer:
    Of the 50 to 60 people attending regularly only about 8 youth come. I have witnesses to all of them, and they hear the preaching each week. However, none of them have trusted Christ for salvation. Well, Sunday that changed, when a teenage girl made a profession of faith after the service! I talked with her for sometime and she was ready. Hopefully/prayfully this is the first of many. The youth here, as in many places, have many temptations. Immorality is common, expected and rampant among the youth as well as the adults in the villages.

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Who is First in Your Life?

    Colossians1:17,18 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

    (Mat 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

    Who is first in your life? How do we determine the answer to this question? Most Christians would say God is first in their life, but is He?

    Is He first in my life because I am a missionary or pastor? No! One’s position in life does not determine who is first in their life. Who is first is determined by more than priorities, as well. Now, of course, if one’s priorities are not correct, the Lord is not first. However, just because one’s priorities are correct does not mean God is first. For the Lord to be first, he must be preeminent in all areas of your life! He must be what you are seeking! My priorities can be in order and yet I am seeking things for self. Thus, God is not first.

    Either self is first, or God is first in our life. This is subject to change on a daily basis, so to properly answer the question as to who is first; one must answer it daily or moment by moment. Christ can be first in your life today, but not tomorrow. It is a matter of who you allow to control your life. The Apostle Paul said, “I die daily.”

    As we study the Word of God we learn of God and his attributes. We learn of His holiness, love, mercy, longsuffering, power, justice, etc… It is here the Lord gives us knowledge too see the wisdom of letting God be first/preeminent in all areas of our life. We learn He is able to manage our life better than us. He knows what is going to happen tomorrow. We see He is able to provide for all our needs; physical, spiritual, and emotional. To actually let God be first takes faith. It is not blind faith, because we have the Bible, and creation. Why faith? Because without faith it is impossible to please God. So God has chosen the avenue of faith for our benefit. You see, through faith we have the opportunity to please God. We do not please God by our righteousness. We do not please God by works. Some think they please God by inflicting pain on themselves, i.e. opus dei of the Catholic Church. We please God by faith. By trusting in Him and acting upon His Word as a result. Faith will produce actions. (James 2)

    For the Lord to be first, we must learn of Him in His Word, and trust him on a daily basis, living by the principals of God’s Word regardless of circumstances.

    Great Biblical examples of men who allowed God to be first: (notice how God used and changed their lives)
    Joseph – From slave/prisoner to Prime Minister
    Joshua – From slave to general/leader of the people of God
    Daniel – From slave to Prime Minster through two world empires.
    Elisha – From farmer to one of the greatest prophets of God
    Paul – From religious hypocrite to Apostle of Jesus Christ
    Peter – From fisherman to Apostle
    Your Name – From ? to ?

    How can the Lord use and change your life if you allow Him to be first/preeminent?

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Five Miles

    For each service, Sunday and Wednesday, everyone walks to church, except for my family. No one in the church has a vehicle. Keep in mind, this village is in the bush. Most walk about 1 mile. However, one family has been walking quite a long distance to church. The family is from the village of Belai, and has now attended four services.

    Saturdays I usually spend in the village, visiting. This past Saturday, I traveled to visit with this man from Belai. While driving there, I took notice of how far he lived from the church. It was farther then I thought it was. It was just about 5 miles, 4.6 miles to be exact. This man, his wife, and their five children were walking almost 5 miles, one way, to church!

    When I arrived at his hut/house, he was thrilled to have me there. My son Daniel was with me, as always, and he sat down on their bamboo bench. I sat down on the ground with the family. Two neighbor ladies also came and sat down with us.

    I must admit, even though I have been here now almost three years, it is almost surreal making some of these visits. Here I am, sitting down next to a bamboo hut with a grass roof, on a tiny little island in the South Pacific Ocean giving the gospel out! What a privilege! Pigs are running around, parrots flying overhead, no modern civilization is anywhere close.

    Anyhow, I began to make conversation with the man and his family. His name is Stephen and his wife’s name is Limakum. I told him that I would make arrangements to pick him up for church at the end of Kudukudu. This way, he would only be walking about 2 miles. Now, my primary purpose of the visit was the gospel. He and his wife had now heard me preach several times from their visits to church. I knew the Word was sown in their hearts. I asked if he had any questions about what he had heard at church. He told me he had just one question. Stephen then said this thing about eternal life/heaven bothered him. He went on to say, he did not know what would happen to him when he would die. He wanted my help with this!!! Up to this point, I had not mentioned anything about the gospel, or asked him any questions regarding salvation. The Lord had been giving the increase already in his heart and his wife’s heart.

    I then preached to them the gospel. They listened intently. I explained to them sin and the penalty for it. They both admitted, at that point, if they died they would go to Hell. Then we talked about Jesus Christ and why he came to this earth. When I explained II Corinthians 5:21 to them, you could almost see the Holy Spirit turn the lights on for them. They understood why Jesus had died on Calvary. They knew He took all of their “nogut pasin” sin, and made available to them His “stretpela pasin” righteousness. Both then told me they wanted to repent and put their faith in Christ, and a few seconds later they both did! Amen!
    We rejoiced together at their decisions to receive Jesus Christ. The neighbor ladies also listened intently, but did not trust Christ as Savior. Hopefully, they will allow me to come back and talk with them more.

    As I was preparing to leave, Stephen told me that I do not need to come to the edge of Kudukudu to pick him and his family up for church. He said they would continue to walk. I told him I did not mind. He said, “No, I will be there waiting when you arrive at church. He said, “We really want to come. You do not need to come get us!” Sure enough, as I pulled into the church grounds today Stephen and his family were already there. They walked the five miles. One of the men told me they had been at the church for quite some time, waiting for things to begin!!!

    Stephen’s dedication, which led to his salvation, puts many Americans to shame. Most Christians are so caught up with the things of the world, that any excuse not to come to church will be used. Many, I do not believe, would walk a half mile to church. If the church can not make arrangements, then they simply will not come. How sad! We lack the knowledge of what life is all about! Life is about God and serving/loving Him. If we have to make some sacrifice in our service for God, it is a greater opportunity, not a greater burden! When sacrifices are made out of a love for God, this is a privilege!

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    You Know You Are A Missionary Kid When....

    My family and I really enjoyed this, so I thought I would post it. We found it to be very true.


    You Know You're a Missionary Kid When...

    (Originally compiled and published by Andrew and Deborah Kerr)

    You can't answer the question, "Where are you from?"

    You speak two languages, but can't spell in either.

    You flew before you could walk.

    The U.S. is a foreign country.

    You have a passport, but no driver's license.

    You have a time zone map next to your telephone.

    You would rather eat seaweed than cafeteria food.

    Your life story uses the phrase "Then we went to..." five times.

    You watch nature documentaries, and you think about how good that would be if it were fried.

    You think in grams, meters, and liters.

    You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.

    You go to the U.S., and get sick from a mosquito bite.

    You send your family peanut butter and Kool-Aid for Christmas.

    National Geographic makes you homesick.

    You have strong opinions about how to cook bugs.

    People simply don't understand.

    You live at school, work in the tropics, and go home for vacation.

    You don't know where home is.Strangers say they can remember you when you were "this tall."

    You have friends from or in 29 different countries.

    You do your devotions in another language.

    You sort your friends by continent.You keep dreaming of a green Christmas.

    You tell people where you're from, and their eyes get big.

    "Where are you from?" has more than one reasonable answer.

    The nationals say, "Oh, I knew an American once..." and then ask if you know him or her.

    You are grateful for the speed and efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service.

    You realize that furlough is not a vacation.

    You've spoken in dozens of churches, but aren't a pastor.

    Furlough means that you are stuffed every night... and have to eat it all to seem polite.

    You realize that in Australia, the above statement would be very rude.

    Your parents decline your cousin's offer to let them use his BMW, and stuff all six of you into an old VW Beetle instead.

    You stockpile mangoes.

    You know what REAL coffee tastes like.

    The majority of your friends don't speak English as a first language.

    Someone brings up the name of a team, and you get the sport wrong.

    You believe vehemently that football is played with a round, spotted ball.

    You know there is no such thing as an international language.

    You know the difference between patriotism and nationalism.

    You tell Americans that democracy isn't the only viable form of government.

    You realize what a small world it is, after all.

    You never take anything for granted.

    You know how to pack.

    All preaching sounds better under a corrugated tin roof.

    You know raw fish tastes better than cooked.

    When guests come to your house and bring a fish as a gift.

    Going to the post office is the highlight of your day.

    When you sing songs to yourself in a language other than English.

    When you mother gets excited over finding Doritos at 7-11.

    When on deputation you have memorized Dad's messages.

    When after the church service you look for a slide projector to put away.

    When wearing shoes in the house sounds disgusting.

    You get excited to find cokes are on sale for only 99 cents.

    You carry Bibles in two languages to church.

    You watch an English language video and read the foreign language subtitles.

    When you dream in a foreign language.

    On your 18th birthday you still don't have a driver's license.

    You send out birthday invitations in a foreign language.

    When you carry a dictionary everywhere you go.

    When your five foot tall mother is taller than most of your church members.

    Your Dad scolds you in a foreign language.

    When you don't know how to count American money.

    When you go on furlough your Mom buys everything in the store.

    When adults want to pay you to teach them English.

    When you can't find shoes to fit your feet in any of the shoe stores.

    When you would rather sleep on the floor than on the bed.

    When the family gathers around the computer to check the E-mail.

    When you enjoy getting together with other MK's and talking about old news.

    When all your clothes have been worn by someone else.

    When at your yard sale the 80 year old man next door buys your mother's culottes.

    When your friends know more English grammar than you do but can't understand English conversation.

    When you find a seven year old picture of yourself on someone's refrigerator.

    When you know how to send a fax using an international call back service.

    When you have carried the same dollar bill in your wallet for four years.

    When you write in your diary in a foreign language.

    When driving on the right side of the road gives you the willies.

    When the traffic light turns from red to blue.

    When eating with chop sticks seems natural.

    When eating spaghetti with chop sticks is easier than using a fork and spoon.

    When you have explained the difference between "The cow is on the field" and "The cow is in the field."

    When you take a shower before taking a bath.

    When you call senior missionaries grandma and grandpa.

    When the message on your answering machine is in two languages.

    When you move into a new house you take a gift to all your neighbors.W

    hen earthquakes seem normal.

    When your Mom sends you out to sweep the street in front of your house.

    When you pull into a gas stand and expect people to come running out screaming welcome!

    You consider parasites, dysentery, or tropical diseases to be appropriate dinner conversation.

    You tell people what certain gestures mean in different parts of the world.

    You have stopped in the middle of an argument to find the translation of a word you just used.

    You calculate exchange rates by the price of Coke.

    You would rather have a Land Rover Defender than a Lexus.

    You enjoy textual criticism of customs forms.

    --Copied from different sources and edited

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Language: Uhhh? What did you say???????

    We have been without phone for some time, so I have not been able to post. The phone came back up a few days ago, but only lasted about a day. It has just come back up today.

    One of the most mentally challenging things for the missionary is learning a new language. (At least in my opinion.) Especially, if you have only have known one language your whole life. There is a joke I read while studying language: What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.

    Before coming here, I was one of those Americans who only knew one language. After all, in America, English is all you need. (Too be honest my English was pretty poor, as most of you can tell from reading my blog.) I have for the most part completed my language study for the Tok Pisin language. This language is a Melanesian pidgin. A pidgin is a language where there are less then 1 million people who speak it as a first language. Actually, the Tok Pisin should be reclassified. There are more than 1 million now who speak Tok Pisin as a first language. Over 5 million speak the language altogether, but not all of those speak it as a first language.

    When I first arrived, I thought, I could learn the Tok Pisin in about six months. I heard the stories of missionaries who did just that. (The Tok Pisin is not a difficult language to learn if one already knows English.) Well six months into my time here, I was far from fluent. As a matter of fact I was a horrible tok pisin speaker. I grew very frustrated. After the first year, I was still struggling with it, but it was improving. All together it took me a little over two years to become fluent in the language. I am able to think in the language without having to translate all the words in my head now. I can also understand/comprehend it well by someone who speaks it very fast. That took quite some time though. I fail to see how anyone, who previously only knew one language, could become fluent in six months. However, God gives each person different abilities, so for some perhaps it does not take as much work, or perhaps they just have better study habits than I.

    I have now begun learning my third language, Patpatar. This is a village language, so it will be much more difficult to learn. However, already having learned another language, I know a lot of the do’s and don’ts of learning a language. (There are over 700 different languages here in PNG. On the little island where I live, there are over 20 different languages. This is not counting the different dialects of each language.) I have been pleased with the progress I am making already. I have only been studying it now for two weeks. The Lord is really helping with the pronunciation. They say things COMPLETELY different. My mouth and tongue have to learn a whole new way of talking. All the “r” sounds are rolled. It is not the “ur” sound that we make in English. I have never been able to roll my r’s, but the Lord is blessing and I am having success at it.

    My lesson today was the phrase, “I want to preach the Word of God.” In Tok Pisin this would be, “ mi laik autim tok bilong God.” In Patpatar, “Iau warra tange ra nianga tane Kaloa.” (phonetically)

    Please pray the Lord will enable me to learn the Patpatar language fluently and quickly. We have a furlough mid 2007, and I would like to be fairly fluent before then.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Preaching On The Mission Field

    Preaching and teaching are key elements for the missionary. These are two primary methods the Lord uses for proclaiming His truth. The preaching and teaching lead to converts and enable believers to grow in the Lord.

    Many groups use different methods of producing “converts.” Examples of other methods of producing converts would be using money, making promises, building schools, using different forms of entertainment. Of course these different methods are not simply found here in PNG, but are also in America and throughout the world. One reason why there are so many lost people in churches today is because of what was used for the “conversion”. If it was not the gospel being preached, along with the Holy Spirit working on the heart, there was no true conversion to the Lord.

    One thing I have to guard against, on the field, is producing my “own” converts. I desire for people to convert to the Lord, or become born again by a spiritual birth worked by the Holy Spirit. However, being a white American in a third world country such as PNG presents some difficulties. For one, because of who I am, many look at me with a certain amount of admiration. As if I am better then they are because I am a white American. Of course this simply is not true. Yes, I come from a different culture altogether. My life in America was nothing like village life here in PNG. I had many more “luxuries” than what the villagers have here. I had a better education, and the opportunity to make a better living.

    However, these things do not make one a better person. I am still a man just as the men are here. I have the same temptations (I Cor 10:13). I have the same sin nature (Romans 5:12). I have the same trials. People go to hell just as easily in America as they do from PNG. The greatest need they have here is not better schools, better health care facilities, better government, better homes, and more jobs. The greatest need here is the same greatest need found in America and the rest of the world. That need is Jesus Christ.

    Now back to the point of this blog, preaching on the mission field. As I mentioned earlier, because of who I am there is a certain amount of admiration. It is easy to get people to follow me based on who I am. This is where the danger lies. I can get almost anyone to pray a prayer, simply because I, as the white American, asked him to bow his head and pray. Very few here would refuse to do what I asked them, because of the high regard they have for me.

    If I wanted to walk into a village with 500, preach a message, tell them to bow their heads and “pray to receive Jesus” all would follow. I could then write back to my supporting churches of the hundreds saved in the meeting. However, the reason for them praying would not be the Holy Spirit, but me. I can not save them, and a vain prayer saves no one!

    The solution to this problem is found in the humility of John the Baptist. John the Baptist was not looking for a name or converts to himself, but to the Lord. He pointed men to Jesus not himself. As he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The humble attitude along with the power of the Lord is the answer. However, if I began to be driven by ambition instead of the Lord, I would make a mess of things. I might have 300 on Sunday in each work instead of 60, but there would still only be 60 of the Lord’s converts present.

    Oh, how we all need the wisdom and power of the Lord in our lives and service to Him!

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    Trials James 1:2-7

    "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord."

    Sunday, after I finished preaching, one of the members of the church came to me for council. He is in the midst of a trial in his life. He is having a land dispute. Land disputes here are very common and many times turn deadly for those involved. Part of my council was for him to go and read James chapter 1 several times, and then on Wednesday come back and tell me how it can help him through this. At that time we will discuss the chapter and how it applies to him.

    The Bible instructs us to “count it all joy” when trials come into our lives. How is this possible? How can we have joy during the hard times? James 1 gives keys to answering this important question. I will discuss two things brought up in James one in helping us answer this question.

    First, we need to consider the benefits of our trials. A Navy seal candidate goes through grueling training prior to becoming a Navy seal. He must endure incredible pain and hardship. I have heard only about 30% of all candidates actually finish the training and become Navy seals. Why does the Navy put them through such hardship during their training? Because they know what they will have to face in the future. They know the battles and the enemy that they will face. They know this training helps prepare them to be successful in their missions.

    One reason the Lord allows trials in our life is to prepare us for our mission; serving and loving Him! James 1:3-4 tells us how trials build patience, which in turn helps us to become perfect in our faith. We come to a high level of maturity in our faith. We come to closeness to God. A place where God is enough! We are complete in Him. We are wanting nothing. How many of us desire to draw that close to God? The road to this level is paved with trials. Trials are the tool the Lord uses to mold us and shape us.

    When trials come, remember they are a tool of the Lord used to draw us closer to Him! This is another reason why our trials are “more precious than gold.”

    Secondly, we need to consider the help God has provided for our trials. There is a saying, “Trials will either make you better or make you bitter.” When trials do come, it is important how you handle them. The devil knows God uses trials to help us, so he does all he can to prevent that. He does all he can to try and discourage us. He wants you to become bitter, not better as a result of the trial. In verses five-seven, we have a key to allowing the trials to draw us closer to God. Allowing them to make us better not bitter.

    One thing we truly need during times of trials is wisdom. Wisdom which comes from God. When the man came to me on Sunday he needed wisdom. When we have wisdom to handle our trials, we will also have peace in the midst of our trials. One thing I have said, and have heard over and over when trials arise is, “What am I going to do now?”, or “How can I make it through this?” The answer to those questions lies in the wisdom of God.

    Notice how easy God makes it for us to obtain wisdom. We simply ask him for wisdom. That’s right! Prayer! Oh, how we need wisdom every day in our life!

    We ask God for wisdom in faith. Trusting in God. Knowing God has the answer to our burdens and trials. The disciples were on a ship one day with the Lord, and a violent storm came up. Jesus was asleep. The disciples began to panic. They awoke Jesus in a state of fear, not faith. They did not even ask him to calm the storm, they simply stated, “Master we perish.” Jesus then calmed the seas and asked the disciples where their faith was. Many times we are like the disciples; we panic, not realizing the Lord is in control. There is nothing in your life that is out of His control. Come to him in faith and ask for wisdom. He knows exactly what needs to be done to help you with your trials.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Youth Rally/Truck/Levi and the Lizard

    I was gone for a few days to preach a youth rally at a high school in Kavieng. I preached for two nights at the school, and then Sunday at a village Baptist church outside of Kavieng. Missionary Terry Thrun organized the youth rally and the church where I preached was started by him.

    The youth rally went good. There were a large number of teenagers present. Three youths made professions of faith, two boys and a girl. On Saturday morning Bro Thrun and I preached at the market with our youth groups. Here in PNG people will stop and listen when you do open air preaching. There were probably 50 to 100 people gathered around to listen. Afterwards, we went to the only prison on the island and preached. There was somewhere around 75 prisoners who came for the preaching, two of whom also made professions of faith.

    The day before I left for the youth rally, I had some parts for my truck flown in. One of the parts was for the master clutch cylinder, and the other was a needle bearing for the front axle/wheel. The mechanic put the parts on and I then took him back to the village. I also picked up some of the youth for the next days trip to Kavieng. After I finished, my truck started giving me problems again. The clutch fluid started leaking like crazy. I had some spare fluid with me. (I have learned to keep a good number of things in my truck to be prepared for a breakdown.) I put the fluid in, but it would only last for a few minutes. My truck ran out again, but this time I made to the mechanics house. I made it right to the front of his house!!! I could have easily broke down anywhere on the road, leaving me to walk for a long distance, but the Lord blessed again! The mechanic was able to fix the problem in about one hour.

    Another truck story

    A few days prior to this, I was driving back home from church, and a bolt to my torsion bar snapped. I thought a tire exploded! The left front side of the truck just dropped. The tire was rubbing on the body of the truck. I was not far from the mechanics house and I was able to inch my way to his house. He jacked my truck up and took a block of wood and placed it somewhere in the front end and then lowered my truck back. This enabled me to drive my truck back home. He told me not to drive the truck again once I was home. Obviously, this too could have caused me to have to cancel the youth rally. The next day the mechanic borrowed a bike and rode for two to three hours to a broken down truck. This truck is similar to mine. He then removed the bolt from that truck and rode back to his house. The next day he came to Namatanai and repaired my torsion bar. (The mechanic’s name is Able. He is a good Christian man who loves the Lord. He is a member of the Baptist church in Sohun.)

    Funny Story,

    The other day my family and I were sitting in the house. My 10 month old son Levi was sitting on the floor. Daniel looked down and noticed something sticking out of Levi’s mouth. I looked down and saw it was a tail from a lizard! Levi was just chewing away! Mariann quickly reached down and pulled, but she only retrieved the tail itself. Levi was still chewing. She then stuck her finger in his mouth and pulled out the body of the lizard. It was pretty chewed up, and Levi had already swallowed the head! Levi was fine just upset that he could not finish his snack. After all he caught it!

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006


    Two weeks ago I held a national pastors meeting for the preachers on the island. There are four national pastors on the island, only one of whom is actually an ordained pastor. I wanted to assemble these men, as well as Bro. Terry Thrun, to try and encourage them. (Bro. Thrun is the Baptist missionary in Kavieng. Kavieng is the only town on the island and is about five hours away from Namatanai, where I live. He is the only other Baptist missionary on the island.)

    On Tuesday afternoon of the meeting, I arranged for a dingy to take us all fishing. Now, fishing here is not done with poles. Obviously, the people in the villages do not use fishing poles. They simply use fishing line and a hook, which is readily available on the island. You can also purchase “spools” to put the line on for fishing. I purchased two spools for the trip. (I have a fishing pole, but did not bring it for the trip. My fishing pole does not have strong enough line on it for the tuna and other fish abundant in our waters.)

    The “spools” do not at all assist one in pulling the fish in. They simply help you keep your fishing line somewhat organized. When you hook into a fish, you have to pull it in by hand. Yes, I said by hand. Yes, I have seen the line cut right into their hands! On many of the men’s hands, you can see the scars from fishing.

    On this trip the Lord really blessed! We just pulled out and not five minutes later we came across hundreds of tuna. Now, fresh tuna is excellent eating, so we were all very happy. There really is not a lot of skill involved when there is hundreds of tuna in the water. Although, there was one funny incident. I was using two lures, which I had purchased on another island a month before. I spent about $20 on each lure. They were working, but not working great. The national pastors with me, two of whom were seasoned fisherman, explained to me buying a squid lure would be best. They then told me they could make one at no cost! They simply took a white plastic bag, which I had with me, and tore it up. They then put the bag on the hook and trolled. It worked great. The tuna were biting the bag like crazy! Here I spent $40 on lures and they made a squid lure out of a plastic bag and it was ten times better than my expensive lures!

    On the fifth tuna we hooked into, we realized we were not the only ones who wanted to catch it! Bro. Naaman hooked into this tuna and was pulling the line in to bring it into the boat. We stopped the boat, while he was pulling the line in. Everything was going fine. I was standing next to him waiting to get a look at the tuna. (By the way, our dingy is not all that big.) Naaman just about had the tuna in the boat, and he was at the point of picking it up out of the water and putting in the boat. As he reached down a shark jumped out of the water from behind the tuna, trying to eat the tuna. Everyone on the boat jumped back and you heard one big oooohhhhhhh, from everyone on the boat. The shark thrashed around on the surface for several seconds. I was standing there in awe and disbelief over what I was looking at. It was just like some shark documentary you might see on TV. Namaan actually won the battle for the tuna and threw it on the boat. Then the shark disappeared as quickly as he appeared.

    The shark was probably 7 to 10 feet in length, although at the time it seemed like 20 foot! It was the first encounter I have ever had with a shark of this size without being in an aquarium! After seeing the shark, I suddenly lost all desire to ever go swimming in the ocean again. We were not a quarter mile from the shore! It was a great experience though. It gave all of us awe over God’s creation, which is exactly why I think the Lord allowed us to see it. It also reminds us to be on guard at all times with our life and service to God. We are not the only ones trying to “catch men.” We need to be diligent in the work of the Lord, avoiding the snares of the devil!

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Back Online

    I am back online if anyone is still out thereeeeeee!!!

    Most of the electricity for my house is produced from a 5KVA generator that I have. This generator as been spiking the volts lately. The first time it spiked it took out my AC adapter for my laptop, my printer, and my fax machine. Oh, in case you are wondering, I was using a nice surge protector on the outlet. I thought this surge was a one time thing, so I plugged in another printer I had. This was an older ink jet printer, which I kept in the closet for a back up. I still had some battery power on my laptop and needed to print my Sunday school lesson and sermon out. Well, shortly after I hooked up the printer a surge hit again and fried the printer!!. Now it was two printers gone!

    Llast Thursday the plane came in and my new AC adapter for my laptop was on it at a cost of $175! (It can be quite the logistical challenge getting things here. There is no FED EX, UPS, DHL etc… here in Namatanai.) By this time, I thought I solved the generator problem. WRONG. I hooked up my laptop and had my computer up and running. I was thrilled. Well, a few hours later, as I was writing an email, my screen blinked. Then my laptop switched to battery power! I looked at the surge protector and it had cut the power off, due to high voltage, just like it was supposed to do. However, it did not cut it off before it fried the brand new, just out of the box, AC adapter! Yes that’s right; the $175 adapter did not last one day! My wife was in my office at the time, and quickly reminded me how this is really no big deal. I am glad she was there to encourage me. It is amazing sometimes how little things can get us upset.

    Well, my second AC adapter arrived yesterday on the plane and so far so good!!!

    My next post I will tell you of my first encounter with a shark that happened lat week!!!