Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here is a short 4 minute video I put together of clip and pictures from my first term. Hopefully, it comes out fine.





video

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Video from the Field!

I just noticed I can now load video clips onto my blog! I have many different clips I can load from the field.

I will start of with one from my youngest son trying to start our generator back in May. He is about 19 months old at the time. Knowing how to start the generator is a very important part of life! :)

(Also I just posted a story yesterday about a lady who put her faith in Christ a few weeks back. Be sure to read that.)


video

Friday, November 30, 2007

Finding Faith at The Flea Market

I know, I know, it has been a very long time since my last post. It has been difficult for me to get into a normal routine thus far on furlough, with all the traveling. I appreciate some people letting me know they were looking forward to my next post, and they noticed I had not posted for awhile.

Several weeks ago, I was in Alabama reporting back to a supporting church. The church was Landmark Baptist in Lineville, pastored by Danny Rogers. The meeting was a Friday through Sunday morning. On Saturday, before the meeting that night, we spent a good part of the day making visits. One of the visits was very memorable. We went and visited a lady and her husband at a flea market. They had their own stall at the market. After making some small talk, I asked the couple what church they attended. The lady, Linda, told me she had been a member of Church of Christ, Methodist, AOG, and Baptist churches in the past. I knew right away that there was a good chance this lady was very confused about the gospel. I asked her to tell me what she would say if God asked her “Why should I let you into heaven?” She told me she prayed frequently asking forgiveness for her sins, she tried to do right and I think brought up baptism, but I can’t remember for sure. From there I went into the gospel, trying to present it as clearly as possible knowing her background. A small crowd started to gather as I presented the gospel. One lady came over and said, “I heard the word being preached, and that is free, so I came over here!”

It was difficult breaking through all of the false teaching she had learned, but I could see the Lord was working on Linda’s heart. I went into an illustration based on II Corinthians 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.”) By this time, Linda had admitted she was guilty before God and on her way to a lake of fire. After the illustration, it was as if the Holy Spirit turned the lights on for her. She looked up at me and loudly proclaimed, at least two times, “I get it! I get it now! For the first time I get it!” She then began to weep uncontrollably. Linda did not care about the crowd that had gathered. While she was weeping I asked if she desired to put her faith in Christ and Linda said yes, and then by calling upon the Lord, put her faith in Him! I was rejoicing, as well as Pastor Rogers. Linda was also rejoicing. After we talked, she told me, with conviction, she would be in church the next day. Her husband, however, was hard to the gospel. He was polite and kind but did not put his faith in Christ. By his non verbal communication it did not appear he was thrilled with his wife’s decision. Linda did not come to church the next day, and I talked with Pastor Rogers a week ago and she still had not come. More than likely the husband is the reason for this. Pray for Linda and her husband. Her husband needs to be saved, and Linda needs to get into church to live for the Lord with boldness.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mission Conference, Shady Grove Baptist Church


This last week, my family and I reported back to Shady Grove Baptist Church, during their mission conference. We had a great time during the week and the church really made us feel special. The last night of the conference one of the men in the church gave us a CD with pictures he took thoughout the conference. Here are some of those pictures.










The shoes in this picture represented one of the themes for the preaching during the week. Dr Joe West preached the conference. Each pair of shoes represented someone who played a big part in missions and has went home to be with the Lord. The question was asked over and over who is going to fill the shoes. The black shoes, on the top row fourth from the left, belonged to Dr. Lee Roberson. The brown shoes on the top row 6th from the right had belonged to Lester Roloff. The shoes on the second row belonged to missionaries. On the third row the shoes belonged to lay people who made it possible for missionaries to go to the field.







Dr. Joe West and his wife.










This is me in the dunk tank. My daughter Rachel is throwing the ball. For those at my home church, in the background you can see Eric Jones. He is standing close to the church building.





Men's Prayer Breakfast (Missionary Josh Adams and Missionary Jim Gulledge)


Missionary Bob Nichols. A second generation missionary to Brazil. (Again, for those from my home church, Mrs Paulette Jones is the background wearing blue, leaning against the wall.)




This the Pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church, Dennis Blankenship





This is missionary Steve Anderson




The family and I singing after the international banquet.

Meeting new friends.

Pastor Blankenship and his wife, Karen.

Myself and fellow missionaries taking up the faith promise cards.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Traveling and Calling


I am doing alot of traveling. I am currently with my family in a mission Conference in Bossier City, Louisiana, at Shady Grove Baptist Church. This is one of my supporting churches, and we are enjoying the meeting. I have a few more meetings in Louisiana after this meeting, and then I have a few in Alabama and Georgia. I am also busy scheduling new churches for meetings. We will need to raise addtional support before going back.


Getting the new meetings is a humbling, and at times difficult process. Back when I started deputation I had no idea how difficult it would be to schedule meetings. To some degree I understand this as Pastors need to be careful as to who they have come in. Obvioulsy, Pastors want missionaries in they agree with, so this is not the frustrating part. I also understand many Pastors receive several phone calls a week from missionaries, and there is no way they can have them all in. The frustrating part is just getting past the church secratary! If I could just get the Pastor on the phone and have him tell me yea or nay as to a meeting or not, would be great. Many times, as soon as I mention I am a missionary, I am quiclky told the Pastor is not available, when it appeared he was availble just seconds before I mention I am a missionary. :) I found that to be humbling as well. I had this crazy I idea when I started deputation six years ago, that as soon as the person answering the phone at a church heard a missionary was on the line, they would be more thany happy to get the Pastor on the phone. When I was assistant Pastor, I always looked foward to talking with missionaries, so this was a suprise to me.



Although, I must admit the frustration leaves when I remember the Lord is in control and He will put me in the churches He wants me in. Romans 8:28 is a great verse, truth and help. When we come to frustrating times we all need to rember the Lord is in control and just stay faithful, trusting Him.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

From Books a Million to Life Eternal

This week I had an interesting encounter at a book store. I had to travel to a Best Buy to repair my laptop. Once I finished there, I noticed a store called Books a Million next door. I had never been in one of those before, and I enjoy book stores. I wanted to find a book called Safely Home anyhow, so I decided to go inside. After I entered the store, I quickly found the “religious section.” There was one other man in the same area, and he was looking at Bibles. The man approached me and asked if I knew what a “New Living Translation” was. He told me he just went to church for the first time in a long time the Sunday before, and they informed him the church used a New Living translation. I told him today there are over 100 different versions of the Bible and the NLT was the version the church he visited was using. I strongly recommend a KJV version and told him several reasons why. He then told me he remembered going to church with his Grandmother and that was the Bible she used. He said he remembered it was a KJV. (Of course, at that time that was almost the only version available! Oh, how far we have come! Today we have more versions than ever, and more coming out every year, and look how well America is doing today!)

From there, I quickly turned the conversation to the gospel. Wow, was this man fruit ready to be picked! The store we where in had a cafĂ© in it, and I asked him he would like to sit down and talk. He said yes. I went through the gospel and we talked for about an hour. Near the end, I explained if he would repent and put his faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord would save him. While I was talking, he stopped, without any prompting from me, and bowed his head and put his faith in the Lord Jesus. He then put his hands to his eyes and wiped away tears. I was rejoicing with him. He then told me how amazed he was we had met that day. His wife had left him the week before. His life was a mess and he was seeking for God. That was the reason he went to church the previous Sunday. (He visited an AOG church.) The church recommended that he go to a “Barnes and Noble” and buy a NLT. While going to the store, he changed his mind a decided to go to “Books a Million.” While there, he could not find this version. (He did not know to look for “NLT” on the Bible.) While still at the store, he called a man from the church to ask again which Bible to buy. When he called the man was not available, but his secretary said he would call him back shortly. He was waiting for this call back when I arrived in the store. He saw me and decided to ask me about the NLT. Right after he asked me, the phone rang and it was this man from the church. He basically told him he found someone to help him at the store.

Think about all that the Lord arranged for this Divine appointment. Had my laptop not needed repaired, I would have never met him. Had I not followed the leading of the Lord to go to Books a Million, we would not have met. Had he went to Barnes and Noble, we would not have met. Had he found the version of the Bible he was looking for, we would not have met. Had he gotten a hold of his friend on the phone before I arrived, we would not have met. I am so glad the Lord gave me the opportunity to give the Gospel to this man. What a privilege! The man (Ted) left the store with the Lord and the KJV Bible!

Amen!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Family Camp (Furlough update)


Last week, I preached my home church's annual family camp. This camp is always a highlight of the year. The week is filled with preaching, games, singing, testimonies, and fellowship. One man even created a human Foosball (SP?) game at camp. It was a blast. This last Sunday night I preached at Old Paths Baptist Church in Glenallen. This church is pastored by missionary Kent Lebouve. It was good to see him and his family again. (The picture to the left is from camp. One of the deacons from my home church, Chris Militech, and I were in a human wheel barrel race.)

My home/sending church has had a great blessing from the Lord this past week. The church has been packed in the current building for some time. My home church averages over 200 for all the services, and when the attendance hits 250, there is no space at all. The Lord has blessed with a new building (new to us). Another Baptist church in the area is selling us their facilities. The new building will be able to sit over 500. It is amazing to see how the Lord has worked all this out, so that my home church is able to purchase this property! It has been an exciting time to be back with my home church these last few weeks. Pastor Roach, my pastor, is thrilled at what the Lord is doing.

We will be leaving Alaska next Monday, heading to the lower 48. We are looking forward to seeing family. My Mom can not wait to see her grandchildren!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Daniel's Example

(Dan 10:12) Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

I read Daniel chapters 9 and 10 for my devotional reading today in the Old Testament. The above verse really grabbed my attention. Two times in the two chapters Daniel is referred to as “beloved” by God. Daniel had a very close relationship to God, and much of this is seen in these two chapters. Many times we miss it because we concentrate on the prophetic aspect of the two chapters. In the verse I gave above, the angel was sent in response to Daniel’s prayer. I want you to notice the two things mentioned that Daniel did which pleased the Lord: 1) He set his heart to understand 2)He chastened himself before God.

Oh, how we need Christians to follow Daniel’s example today. Oh, how I need to follow Daniel’s example. How we need to set our heart on God and to seek to understand. How we need to “chasten” ourselves. Instead of seeking things of this world, we need to be seeking to understand God and what he has given us to do, seeking to draw closer to him, and seeking to understand His Word. Then deny ourselves and submit to God in all things. Perhaps if we had more of these attributes in our lives, we would see God moving more in our prayer life.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Furlough

I know it has been awhile since my last post. I do have a very good reason though. My family andf have started our first furlough.

We left New Ireland on June 13th and we arrived in Alaska on June 16th. I am currently sitting in a library making this update. This is my first oppurtunity to get on the net. It has been great to be reunited with my home church, IBCA.

We are adjusting to life in America again. It has been in the 60's and 70's (tempature) here in Alaska, and we have been freezing, but getting used to it. I am amzaed at how much has changed in the last 4 years. It has also been a challange driving with other cars on the road. Although it is great to drive on real paved roads!

I should be getting my own internet access this week. It will be through my cell phone! WOW!

I will post more later.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Work out, Shut up, Hold forth

This week I will be preaching from Phil 2:12-16. Here are some thoughts from my preparation. Here are the verses first:

Philippians 2:12-16 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (13) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (14) Do all things without murmurings and disputings: (15) That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (16) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.”

We can not remove these verses from the context in which they have been given. To do so we would lose WHY we need to follow verses 12-16. If we lose the WHY, in a short matter of time you will struggle to obey the verses, not realizing why you need to obey the verses. We see the why is the previous 41 verses. Let me summarize them quickly. We see in Chapter one Christ is our life and that in all that we do we are to magnify Christ. In chapter two, we see we are to do this with humbleness, allowing Christ’s mind to be our mind, understanding that one day ALL will bow before him and confess He is Lord of ALL to the glory of God the Father. In light of this we need to do three things. First, work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Secondly, do all things with out murmuring and complaining. Thirdly, we need to hold forth the word of life as walk in this world. As we briefly look at these three areas, remember, following these verses is not an option to the Christian, but a responsibility in light of the purpose of our life and what awaits us in our future.

First, we need to work out or our salvation. This verse does not say to work for our salvation as some would have you believe. You can not work for your salvation as Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:5 teach us. We are saved by grace through faith. If you are trusting in anything besides or in addition to Jesus Christ you are not saved and need to repent. However, if you are saved, you need to work out what God has worked in. The Lord has given much with our salvation. He has not just saved us from hell and that is all. No sir. He has given us power over the world with our salvation, I John 5:4. He has given us power over sin with our salvation, Romans 6:11-14. He has given us the key to joy with our salvation (I Peter 1:5-8). You have no excuse for living a defeated Christian life. NONE! God has given you everything you need to be successful and glorify Him with your life. You can not blame your pastor, your parents, your husband, or your wife, if you are not serving the Lord as you should. One day you will stand before God, I hope you have not run in vain!

Secondly, we need to serve him without murmuring and complaining. How dare we complain in our service to God as though it is unreasonable! (Romans 12:1,2) Our God has done everything for us and deserves everything we have. People have often told me how they appreciate the sacrifice my family and I are making as missionaries in PNG. I understand what they are saying and appreciate the kindness. However, to say this is a sacrifice is a stretch. No, this is my reasonable service for my Lord and God. How dare I ever complain about what the Lord has asked of me. Dear Christian, do not complain about the circumstances the Lord has you in. He is God and He is in control. Do not complain about the church the Lord has you in. Do not complain about the area of service you have. Maybe you only clean the church, rejoice and be thankful for the area of service God has given you. Then do it with all your might unto the Lord. According to verse 15 we cause great harm by our complaining. I never want a lost person to see me complaining about my Christian life. We need to understand we are to shine as lights in this world! We are to be blameless and harmless. Quit griping about standards you don’t like and love the Lord with all your heart. Trust in Him knowing he does know what is best.

Thirdly, we need to hold forth the word of life (verse 16). Many Christians are doing many things for the Lord, but it is all for nothing. Yes, that is right, all for nothing! It is not just that we work for the Lord and serve Him, but that we work and serve Him according to His Word. It is not just sincerity that pleases God. It is sincerity with truth. All that we do must be according to God’s Word. I don’t care how great or wonderful people think you are, if your work is not based on God’s Word and done His way, it is for nothing. I do not want to stand before Christ and have all my works burned up in the fire because it was nothing more than wood, hay, and stubble (I Cor 3:11-15). Examine yourself now, are you holding forth the word of life in your work for the Lord, or are you doing what is right in your own eyes?

So here we have our responsibility in light of the truths given. We are to work out our own salvation, do so without murmuring or complaining, and hold forth the word of life in our service to God.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Past Few Weeks




The past few weeks have been pretty eventful. Ministry wise, things are going well as one more person has made a profession faith. My wife wrote an email to her Mom, talking about what has been going on for that last few weeks and she said I could post it here. So here is her email to her mother:




Dear Mom,

I am glad you emailed because I have been meaning to sit down and update you on life in PNG for awhile. The last month has been hectic for us. Levi has had malaria twice, and everything we own is just breaking. Except for the new truck which is doing great. We just returned from a supply run to Kokopo, where I had a tooth pulled, and then it became infected. I also contracted some kind of virus at the same time. Beth got cellulitis again, and our air conditioner broke yesterday. Now THAT was the last straw and I just cried. But I have joy that all of the kids are well and healthy, and the Lord knows all about it, so I'll try to please Him and be content.

About a month ago, we had another missionary family here for a special Sunday. Levi played hard in the water and sun, and that night started a fever. By the next day he was having up and down fevers, the up being 105, and the down 103! No other symptoms because the shakes hadn't started yet. Then at bath time he became cold and started shaking and we knew it was malaria. I had already tried to give him the medicine, but it wasn't working and neither was tylenol for his fevers. So, I went to the haus sik, because they treat malaria all the time. They gave me Fansidar, which I didn't want to give him, because it is a strong sulfa drug. So I tried soemthing else, but it didn't work. So, I gave him the Fansidar and the pediatric cloroquine chewables. He threw them up. He was only keeping breast milk down at this point, thank the Lord he wasn't weaned! THEN I was finally able to give him the Fansidar and Artusenate, (a good chinese drug for malaria). That finally stayed down. He also had antibiotic shots and fever reducing suppositories. It finally worked and we were so glad when his fever went down to 101! So, we finished the treatment, only to have it came back two weeks later. Malaria isn't actually cured until you kill the parasite. It is just suppressed and lives in your liver, until you get weakened and it comes out again. (Basically) This time we used the same treatment and went longer and he is doing great today. I am still trying to find out if it is possible to give him the medicine to kill his malaria. It is a radical treatment, so I am not sure if I should. There is a hospital in London that is best in the world for tropical medicine. I looked them up on the internet and they reccommended the treatment that I gave him. So, I feel more confident that I gave him a good treatment. Today he is doing good and back to his old self and playing with his guns. We have a picture of him taken after his second treatment and you can see how worn out he looks. It just broke our hearts. So, there's the Levi story.

We went to Kokopo this week and got some good groceries we can't get here. I also got some new medicine for Levi so we are prepared if he relapses again. They have a good Philippino dentist there right now, so I went to have a tooth pulled. I had a temporary crown that broke and the whole top of my tooth was gone. Just the roots in there! So he pulled them out and did a good job, I thought. When he saw the roots he said wow, big tooth! They were HUGE roots. I was shocked. Well, then I had a humungous hole to heal, and it is just hurting really bad. The next day I went back and he cleaned it out again and I srarted antibiotics. It is getting better, but I can't sleep without pain killers. It's great having the tooth out, I don't miss it, but I wish this spot would heal faster. On top of that I got some kind of flu! So in the middle of this I had to shop for supplies and all that. Terry wanted to let me stay there and go back to the dentis, but I wanted to come home.

The day we got to Kokopo, beth started swelling up huge. Thankfully I already knew what it was. I boughtsome antibiotics right away, and she is all better today.

Well, I better get going, but Terry will be emailing with the thingie you needed.



Talk to you later...
Love
Mariann


The two pictures are of Levi and I on the boat heading to Kokopo for supplies. At the time of the picture he was well into his recovery. The second picture is the one my wife referred too in the email. He looked 10 times worse during the height of his Malaria.
----- Original Message -----

Monday, April 23, 2007

For Me To Live is Christ!


I am currently preaching through Philippians. It is a great book. In chapter one, we see Christ is our life, in chapter two Christ is our mind, in chapter three Christ is our goal, and in chapter four Christ is our strength! Of the 103 verses, Jesus is mentioned over 70 times! He truly is the theme of this epistle.

This last Sunday, I preached in chapter one verses 12-30. (Please read those verses.) Here are some thoughts from the message:

Within our text, we have a very powerful statement, which sums up the entire reading, or even the entire epistle. The statement says, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” The Apostle Paul truly lived this. In the previous verse, verse 20, we see Paul’s purpose for his life, which led to this statement. Paul’s purpose was that in whatever he did, or whatever happened to him, he would magnify Jesus Christ. If we have this same purpose in our life, we too will be able to say “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” The only way you will be able to say this is if the truth of verse 20 is true in your life.

Now, before we look at this purpose in Paul’s life, I would like to ask you, what is the purpose for your life? What is it that you live for? Some live life without purpose and this is a waste. They simply live for whatever the day brings, without any real direction to their life. Many today are hedonistic. They live for pleasure. Their sole purpose is to do whatever pleases them. They live for sex, money, bigger houses, boats, cars, etc… This too is a wasted life, which is vanity (Ecclesiastes). Some live for pride, to build a name for themselves. This too is vanity. For the Christian our purpose is to be that same as the Apostle Paul’s. Even in our text (verses 27-30) we see Paul’s life purpose was to be the purpose for all those who named Christ.

Consider Paul's circumstances. Paul was in prison and more than likely had a guard chained to him 24/7. Other preachers were talking bad about him. Some preachers were trying to elevate themselves, since Paul was in prison (12-18). Yet, Paul shows no bitterness, no anger, no malice, and no disappointment! Within the text, we see he is filled with Joy! Why? How? You see his life’s purpose truly was to magnify/glorify Jesus Christ. As long as this was being accomplished, he had joy. Why? Because magnifying Christ truly was his life’s purpose. Let's look at verses 20,21 and think on these words in relation to Paul’s current situation:

Philippians 1:20,21 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.



That Christ would be magnified was his life’s purpose! (To magnify here means to make bigger, glorify, honor, or to increase.) Thus, as long as Christ was being magnified, as a result of his life, he was willing to endure hardness, to suffer, to endure persecution, etc… What is it that you live for? What is your purpose in life? What are you willing to suffer for? What are you willing to endure for? Many will work 80 hours a week to buy that new car or boat. They will endure the long hours to fulfill their pleasure. What are you willing to endure for Jesus Christ? Is Jesus Christ your purpose in life?

When your purpose in life is to magnify Christ you learn:
1) To have joy in suffering.
2) Christ name means more than your name.
3) Christ’s ministry is more important than “your” ministry.
4) Life is about God!

Today, as we see the purpose in Paul’s life, you need to ask yourself, if Paul’s purpose is your purpose for your life, if this is what you are living for. Magnifying Jesus Christ, is the only purpsoe that matters on this earth. There is no other purpose that can be compared to it. I would like for all of us to determine to make this purpose of glorify Christ our life’s purpose. That we too can say with all boldness, “for me to live Christ and to die is gain.”

Friday, April 13, 2007

Youth meeting - "Sak"


Sorry I have not posted sooner. I should be back now to posting at least one post a week, Lord willing. I have had many things going on the past few weeks. I preached a youth meeting, in which one made a profession of faith. The meeting went pretty good with around 35 youth attending, most of whom have already made a profession of faith. The youth here have a very difficult time making a true commitment to Christ. There are many things pulling them. I preached a series of messages on being resolved to serve Christ.

The last Sunday, I had an interesting event occur. I was dropping off a family at the end of the village. The man asked me to stop at certain location so he could get a “sak.” In the tok pisin language he asked. “Stapim ka, mi laik kisim wanpela sak bilong mi.” I assumed he meant some type of basket, but I was wrong, very wrong. I stopped and let him out, and I could not see where he went, as he went into the bush. A minute or two later he returns with a SHARK! It was not a sak he was going to get; it was a shark! He was trying to say the English word, and I thought he using the village language, when he first told me what he needed to get. The shark was a black-tip reef shark. The man, who caught it, caught it standing of the beach with a fishing line wrapped around his hand. The villagers do not have “fishing poles.” They just wrap the fishing line around their hand, a bottle, or a small plastic device designed for it. The man was simply throwing his line into the ocean from the beach when he caught the shark. Our waters are very plentiful so there are many sharks in the waters.

The shark of course was dead. He had gutted it, and then cooked it whole in the ground. They call this a “mumu.” When they cook here, almost all of their cooking is done in this “mumu” style. They dig a hole; light a fire, then put big rocks on top of the fire, many big rocks (rocks about the size of a softball). They then wrap the food in banana leaves and place it on top of the rocks and then put more rocks on top of the food. A few hours later the food is ready to eat, and it is cooked thoroughly. This shark was going to be the family dinner that night. Since there is no electricity, thus no freezers, everything will be eaten in one sitting with others in the village.

Every week brings something different here. I never know what to expect next.

(The picture is of Levi trying to “help” Heather with her school work.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Two Tires!

Yesterday, my family I and headed out for literacy class and mid-week service. It ended up being a pretty eventful trip, but none the less normal for PNG. We had to leave a little early as this was the first day of the literacy course for the Christians at Bible Baptist. Many of those who have trusted Christ can not read or write. This is one reason why spiritual growth is some what impeded. They need to be able to read the Bible for themselves. (This is the second time we are going through a literacy course.) However, we would never make it to church for the class or services. As we left, the weather was not good. It had been raining for almost one full day, and I knew the rivers would be high. During rains like this the rivers can become impassable. Two of the rivers have no bridge at all and I have to drive right through the river. I was not to the river yet, and was asking the Lord if we should just turn around and go back. About that time, a tire went flat. I pulled over and as I got out I noticed it was not one tire that was flat, but two tires! Both my back tires took nails. (Many of the youth put old nails in the road as a form of entertainment. I really need to introduce a baseball and glove to the young people!) Now I had a problem, I only have one spare tire and I am 10 kilometers from home and it is pouring rain. As Daniel and I were assessing the situation (by the way this day was Daniel's sixteenth birthday) the villagers began to come over. I was in a village called Namarodu. They all knew I was the missionary and wanted to help if they could. One of the ladies there was a lady whom I had witnessed to a few years ago. I met her and her husband in the haus sik. They were their with there baby who had malaria. I prayed with them and gave the gospel. Daniel and I decided to change the "worst tire." The Lord allowed for one tire to have a little air remaining. I had a gauge with me, and there was not enough air in it to move the gauge, but the rim was not on the ground. Since the rim was not on the ground, that was the better tire.We changed the one tire, and headed back. Daniel and I were soaked and muddy. I prayed the Lord will allow us to make it back. We took it easy, and the bad tire held all the way home. I was amazed. I did no damage to the tire or rim either. The Lord allowed us to return without having to walk back in the rain. The rain still has not stopped and that was 24 hours ago. I was able to get the two tires repaired at one of our “tire shops.” Getting a tire repaired here is an adventure in itself, as there is no real equipment to do it, but they fix tires everyday.

The Lord is good and we rejoice in his care and protection over us. I think the Lord was making sure I did not try and cross any of the rivers!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Tsunami

We had a Tsunami hit us this past Tuesday night. It was a series of three waves that hit back to back. By my estimations each wave was around 35 miles long, with a possible fourth wave about half that size. I live in a place called Namatanai. My house is less than a quarter of a mile from the ocean, but we are on top of a hill. The village next us had several houses destroyed. These are bush houses so it does not take much. The village where I started the church was hit hard, and had three houses taken into the ocean. The church sits close to the ocean as well and the ocean did come into the church but only a few feet. Had the ocean went another 30 feet inside it would have carried our pews away. The picture, to the left, shows how close our church is to the ocean. The picture was taken three years ago when I had several men from my home church come and help build a church house. Our church house was not damaged but our church ground was changed. Parts of the ground are no longer there! The ocean swept it away! Where I used to baptize, it is now nothing but sand. It was chest deep water!

There has only been one death reported from the three waves. A small child was taken out to sea. There were other children who needed to be rescued though. Some lost their live stock, pigs. The tsunami was very small compared to the major one that hit our neighbor Indonesia two years ago, but it was still destructive. It was a reminder to the people on the island how fast life can end. I preached in a village Friday night called Wilo, where I started a mission work. There were two who made professions of faith. This village was not hit by the Tsunami, but they were only a few miles away from where the tsunami had hit.

Praise the Lord for his protection. When you live on a small island that is only a mile or two wide in most parts, you often think about tsunamis. For the Christian, though, we know that God is in control, and that nothing happens to us without his permission. Romans 8:28.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Update On "Truck Trouble."









Back On January 8th, I blogged about "Truck Trouble." My truck is still out, awaiting a new head! However, several of my supporting churches sent funds to help me purchase another vehicle. Without the Lord using them, I would not have been able to get another vehicle. I wanted to say thank you to them and to those who prayed that the Lord would help us. The picture is of the 1993 Land Cruiser we were able to purchase. Here is a list of the churches that sent funds to help us.





Independent Baptist Church of Anchorage AK (My home/sending church)
Bible Baptist Church - Fairbanks, AK
Pilgrims Baptist Church - Wasilla, AK
Homer Independent Baptist Church - Homer, AK
Valley Baptist Tabernacle - Wasillia AK
Landmark Baptist Church - Lineville, Alabama
South Side Baptist Church - Tampa, Florida
Harvest Baptist Church - Hagerstown, MD
Faith Baptist - Misawa, Japan
Immanuel Baptist Church - Kenai, AK
Grace Bible Baptist - Leesburg, Florida

Now that the Lord has blessed us with another vehicle, the ministry is back to full throttle. During the time we had no vehicle, I was only able to preach on Sunday's. (On Sundays, I would hire a vehicle from a trade store owner.) All other ministries had stopped. (Discipleship, Bible Institute, mid week, village visitation, etc...) During that time we were praying the Lord would supply us the funds for another vehicle, and, after talking with my Pastor, I sent out a prayer letter about our situation to our supporting churches. The Lord met our need in an amazing way! My family and I were amazed at the funds the Lord provided. I knew we needed around $18,000 to find a decent used 4x4. Vehicles here are very expensive. We were praying for $18,000 and a little over $18,000 came in!

With this new vehicle, my family we will have seats now as as well! That was not the case with my truck.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Nakedness and the Bible

(I have been doing a lot of traveling on the island as of late, so it has prevented me from posting. I hope to be back on track now.)

I was asked in the comment section on my last post about nakedness and the Bible. I have also been asked the same question, about my post, from another person as well. Here is a short answer to that question, but none the less, an answer that gives Bible truth to the question of nakedness and sin.

Gen 3:7, 21

Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.


In verse 7, because of sin, Adam and Eve knew they were naked for the first time. They felt shame. Adam made an “apron” out of fig leaves. From the word apron we know Adam only covered the groin area. (The word means “loin covering.”) It was not enough though. In verse 21 God makes a “coat” out of animal skin. Death has entered the world. An animal had to die to cover their shame. Notice it was a “coat” God made. The Hebrew word implies robe/long garment. God covered their nakedness. He did not cover their nakedness with just a loin cloth, but with a “coat,” or long garment. God has set the standard here for us to follow. (First mention principle) God covered Adam and Eve with clothes. We, too, need to be covered with clothes. Allowing others to see your nakedness is sin, except for your spouse.

Lev 18 is a good chapter for seeing we are not to look upon each others nakedness.

Some think nakedness is just the groin area. That is not true Biblically as we seen in Gen 3. A coat covered much more than the groin area. When we compare Gen 3 with Ex 28:42, we see we need to be covered from our chest area to at least our knees. Our thighs need to be covered. This is true of both male and female.

Many times nakedness in the bible is associated with sin rebellion, shame, peril. One verse to see this is EX 32:25

Do a study on nakedness in the Bible, not in light of American culture, but solely based on what you read in the Bible. I believe many Christians will be surprised!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cultural Differences



(This post I originally wrote in response to a question on how to handle cultural differences. The person asking wanted to know how a missionary determines what is right or wrong in a culture and how does one go about changing something that is not right within the culture. I thought it would make a good post here.)


I am in a missionary working in a jungle village on a small island in the south Pacific. The culture here is incredibly different then what I am used to as an American. When I first arrived the culture shock was incredible and almost paralyzing.

After some time, I began my first church plant. When preaching and teaching on Sundays, I would have some women with no tops on. These women were usually breast feeding mothers who did not cover up after feeding their children. The children here breast feed until two to three years old. The children would be running around while I was teaching, and then run to their mother to feed. I am in a culture where fornication is rampant and expected. Most youths have lost their virginity by fourteen, especially if they’re female. Rape is against the law, but none the less it too is a cultural norm. A wife is almost property here and husbands beating their wives is common. Having more than one wife is also common. All of these items are clearly against Scripture. (Not the breast feeding of course, but the nudity, which occurred in between feeding the children.)

Now, my primary mission was not to end the nudity, remove the fornication, or stop the rape and wife beatings. My primary mission is to preach the gospel and as a result establish local churches. However, if a true church is established those things will change. The more who truly trust Christ, the more the local culture is affected and changed.

Let’s remember as Christians, in any part of the world, we will be different. We will be strangers and pilgrims on this earth. The people should begin to reflect the culture of heaven instead of the culture where they physically live. The missionary does not change the culture, but the Holy Spirit does as He changes lives. It is not up to the local people to decide what is culturally right or wrong either, it is up to God and His Word. Based on the authority of God’s Word, not my own authority, I teach against the unscriptural practices. There is something wrong in any part of the world where people make professions and yet there is no change.

“If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The Lord

As a missionary my focus is not on what part of the culture is wrong, but on drawing the people closer to a holy and righteous God. As a result, a new culture is formed in the church. This is not a western or village culture, but a heavenly one!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

How is Your Vision of God?

Isaiah had seen the Lord as he never had before in Isaiah chapter six. The event forever changed his life. He saw the Lord “high and lifted up.” He saw a holy God with amazing strength. He saw the true “King” and “Lord.”

Today, many see God wearing a Hawaiian shirt and wearing flip flops, as one popular preacher described him in a book. They see the “man upstairs,” or their “buddy.” How we view God is very important, because it is directly tied to how we serve God. Yes that’s right; your view of God does determine how you will serve God. The devil has done a good job at painting a distorted picture of God, and it has affected Christianity today.

So, how do we get a proper view of God? Has God revealed himself to us? Yes he has! First through creation and second through His Word. In creation we see an all powerful God, who is remarkable. In His Word, we see a special revelation of God. We learn of his attributes. We see how He works, and what He desires. We see, first, a holy God. A just God; a perfect God, a righteous God. We also see a God full of mercy, love and grace.

As we get a clearer picture of God through His Word, this affects how we serve Him. You see in His Word, God is not my buddy or the man upstairs. He is not sitting down on a beach some where in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. He is HIGH and LIFTED UP! He is holy! As you get closer to the Lord you realize, as Isaiah did, that you are “undone.” That you are a wretched sinner in need of grace and cleansing. The closer you get to God the more you realize how far from being like God you really are. The devil paints the opposite picture: one in which leaves off the holiness of God. The holiness of God is what drives me to try and be holy. Did the Lord not say, “Be ye holy for I am holy”?

This in turns affects our standards such as dress, music, social standards, and others. Our music is less holy, because we do not see the Lord as we should. The same applies to the other standards as well. Too often, standards in fundamentalism are solely based on what the preacher says and not a vision of God. When this happens people simply conform to where they are. This is why you see some people change their standards when they move to a new location and change churches. Their standards were not based on their view of God, but on the preacher. In other cases, their standards ARE their god. It is here where they judge their spirituality. This, too, is because they lack a clear picture of God.

How do you view God? Your view God will affect how you serve Him! I, for one, am sick and tired of the irreverent views of God portrayed today. Is it any wonder why sin is so rampant today! The media portrays Him as a God who makes homosexuals; as a God who if exist has no absolute standard for man. Religion paints him as a God of no judgment; a God where there is no personal accountability. Most people only know of God through what they have seen in Hollywood or liberal “churches.”

I suggest we dive into His Word and learn of Him! It will forever change your life!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Books I am Reading

Here is a list of books I am currently reading or have just recently finished:

The All Sufficient Christ, studies in Colossians by Theodore Epp.
Flyboys, Non-fiction about WWII flyers
Becoming A First Century Church, Clarence Sexton
Teaching to Change lives/Seven ways to make teaching come alive, Howard Hendricks
Deadline, fiction Randy Alcorn

Monday, January 08, 2007

Truck Trouble




Sorry it has been awhile! I appreciate the faithful still coming and reading.

Last week was a very trying week. Tuesday, I headed to Kavieng to get supplies. It is a five hour drive from where I live. We finished getting supplies for the month and headed back home Thursday morning. About one hour down the road, my water pump went out in my truck. The pump went out in the same area where three years ago my entire wheel flew off my truck! There is a bush mechanic right there in that village. This man let me use his truck to go back to Kavieng and get a new water pump. I went back and, praise the Lord, they had a water pump for my truck available. We decided we would head out Friday morning again. However, this time the starter went out and seized the engine! This happened before I left town, right at the work shop. They fixed that problem in about four hours. They did not have the needed part, but they did get the truck working again to where I could drive it until the part I needed arrived.

After I picked up my truck, we decided to try a third time to get back home. This time, about 30 kilometers outside of Kavieng, a welsh plug blew out of the side of the engine block! I left the family at the truck (we had supplies in the truck) and I headed back for Kavieng. Once there, I found a friend to come and tow my truck back to Kavieng with his vehicle. Other problems also occurred: my truck blew out the head gasket at the same time, the glow plugs also fried the day before, and I was leaking power steering fluid everywhere!

Saturday morning, I hired a vehicle to take my family and I home with our supplies. We arrived home late Saturday afternoon. However, because I have no truck I could not head out to the two churches and preach on Sunday. The workshop in Kavieng tells me they will need at least a week to make the needed repairs to my truck.

When we arrived back home, I turned my generator on. Two hours into that the generator broke down! I also have a small back up generator, which is good for lights. I turned that on Sunday afternoon, and it, too, broke down, after only fifteen minutes of use!

Today, I was able to rig the generator so it is working. I simply bypassed the circuit breaker by rewiring it, and that got it working. Hopefully, by the end of this week I will have a new circuit breaker for my generator. My truck, though, is a bigger concern, please pray about that. The truck has almost 300,000 kilometers on it, and has constant problems. (The month before, on the trip to Kavieng, four wheel bearings went out!) My truck gets a lot of abuse because there is no real road here. It has to go through rivers everyday, and what road we do have is just dirt and filled with holes that are bigger than Rhode Island. Truly, the Lord has kept this truck running. I do think it is now time to get another vehicle. I can not have my family stranded on the side of the road and the ministry comes to a stand still while I wait for parts or repairs on my truck. Please pray about that. Vehicles here are very expensive and getting a vehicle loan is not an option. A decent, used, four wheel drive, diesel truck will cost 17,000 to 18,000 US. And this would be a truck three to four years old, the size of a dual cab Ford Ranger.

My family and praise the Lord for looking after us each time the vehicle broke down. It truly was amazing. We broke down once right by a bush mechanic’s house, the second time I was at the work shop in Kavieng, getting ready to leave, and the third time I was only about 20 minutes outside of Kavieng and it made it easy for me to go get help. Had we broke down two or three hours down the road, we would have been sleeping in a PNG “haus boi” for at least one night.


Pictures:
The one picture is of my truck broken down on the side of the road outside of Kavieng, waiting to be towed. The other picture is of the from the first breakdown. In that picture my family was loading up into the bush mechanic’s truck, so I could take them to Kavieng and get the water pump.