Friday, October 30, 2009

Pure Religion

I recently heard from two missionaries who founded and continue to run Christian World Adoption. Bob & Tomilee Harding’s note below illustrates how God is moving in Ethiopia.

We have just returned from our Ethiopian trip with our spirits and batteries recharged!

It was so good to visit the children’s homes and have the opportunity to see two new homes recently added to our growing list of locally run homes that we support. Some of this support goes to children who are able to stay in their homes with their families or guardians with some financial aid from us through the local centers.

The major thrust of our trip was to visit and approve finishing touches on the children’s home in our new Acacia Village complex. This building is nearing completion, and we needed to approve some final layout decisions. Thanks to all of you, this is becoming a reality. It will be housing children this coming year! This is a big project for us but God has been faithful to guide us. Several more buildings are about to start, including a mission outreach apartment building, a clinic, and an enrichment center (school).

We were honored to have another audience with the President of Ethiopia including a short photo opportunity where he offered his continued support and thanks for our programs in Ethiopia.

The trip was truly blessed. CWA’s future programs in Ethiopia look very positive and we will continue to place the rights and concerns of the children first.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Get Me My Hat!

In front of 65,110 screaming fans in Pittsburg, the 2009 NFL season got under way. The Steelers against the Titans, a showdown of powerhouse defenses on display at Heinz Field.

At the end of regulation, the score was a 10-10 tie. As the Steelers were about to get the ball, Ben Roethlisberger, the defending Superbowl champion quarterback, turned to a ball boy and said, “Get me my hat. I’m about to take us down the field for the winning score and I want to cover my sweaty hair when I do the postgame interview with Andrea Kremer.” That play yielded the game-winning drive in overtime.

Now I have to tell you that from age 5 to at least 23, if I wasn’t in class or church I had a baseball cap on. I had dozens of options. I had my St. Louis Cardinal caps, of course, caps of teams I played on, caps bearing the logos of banks, farming equipment and seed companies. I’m not sure why I wore them — security perhaps, or team pride. Or maybe cap-wearing was just a habit that made me feel more like others around me. What I do remember is that I never left home without a cap.

While I never will lead an NFL team or drive for a final score, I have a much larger task: Leading people to heaven. The Bible is quite clear about who will go to heaven. In Acts 4:12, we read: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Research shows that on our current course, America will be less than 14% Christian in the next generation. Christ followers need to be more aggressive in sharing the story of Jesus. After all, the opposite of heaven is hell.

Heaven = In God’s presence, joy, worship, peace, rest, celebration
Hell = Cut off from God, weeping and gnashing of teeth, fire and pain. See Matthew 25

The apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus will be returning soon in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 to 18:

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Are you ready to go?

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:37-38.

  • Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior?
  • Have you repented (turned from sin)?
  • Have your been baptized (buried in water)?
  • Have you committed to following Jesus even unto death?
We all want to go to heaven, yet most are unprepared for the most important trip they will ever take. So are you ready?

I guess what I’m saying is, get your hat!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Scripture Memorization: More from Romans

Here is another list of powerful Bible verses that would be good ones to commit to memory. From time to time, I'll publish others.
  • He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Romans 4:25

  • Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

  • But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Man Of My Word

This is an e-mail I received from my friend, Steve Jones, that illustrates the kind of obedience God desires from us. It begins with Jeremiah 35:5:

I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, but they refused. “No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine'...Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: "Go and say to the people in Judahand Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me.' "
Talk about a legacy! Here's a clan of families that were so zealous about keeping their promises that not one of their family members had drunk a drop of wine for TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS! And what does God say? "Learn a lesson about how to obey me." The abstinence from alcohol is not the point, (though that would serve you well), but the determination to obey God no matter what. Let's keep our promises, men. The Recabites prove that it can done. I pray that today you will keep your promises. Please pray that for me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Scripture memorization: Romans

One of the best ways to keep God's Word close at all times is to memorize Scripture. The Bible is full of truths that can help keep you on His path, as well as help you minister to others you know during the day.

Below are a few of my favorites. From time to time, I'll publish others. You might choose to write or type the verses on index cards or paper and tape them up here and there around your house.

Romans 1:16-17: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Romans 2:1: You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Romans 3:23: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Obeying the Call

Lysa TerKeurst, a nationally known speaker and author with Proverbs 31 Ministries, published an inspiring post about the joys of adoption and of obeying God. Check it out on her blog here.

While you're there, scroll down and check out the video of Lysa and her amazing adoption story that appeared on Oprah. Or just view it here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tacos, Anyone?

We received word from our missionaries in Mexico, Steve and Kay Carpenter. A team of nine from TCC are serving with them right now. Below is an excerpt of the letter.

It is great to have nine excited men ready to go to work. But first they will attend worship services at the Northside Church this morning and then, after tacos, we all head up to the Eagles Church for the afternoon service. They came armed with small wooden crosses to hand out and enough toys for over 100 children. That's a good thing because this last Thursday we had 85 children and adults in attendance with at least 65 of those being children. Looks like we're in for a good week.

The Northside Church is the main project for the team. They will be digging, doing plumbing and mixing concrete. They may also lay brick, put in some lights and do a small bit of painting. All the tasks they will accomplish will move the construction along its schedule and bless the church congregation in a big way.

The rain seems to be a big story right now in lots of places. We read about the flooding in the Southeast and pray for those people. There was a need for rain but now I think the need has passed. Hopefully we will have some clear days, at least during the hours that we are working at the church. As an update for those of you who read about the flooding near us due to a break in a huge drainage tube and a lot of runoff water, the city gave appliances and items to the victims of the flooding. Alejandra received a new refrigerator, her son received a new bed and they received new tile for their floors. Their house isn't back to normal yet, but it is getting there.

The community ministry known as Community Health Evangelism is set to begin with a Vision Conference with community leaders from the Eagles neighborhood this October. We have two nights set aside for the presentation to community leaders. It is our prayer that from this Vision Conference that momentum can be built for the ministry in the neighborhood. Please keep this conference and the community leaders in your prayers. We need to bathe this in prayer!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. You are the ones who make this ministry possible and we praise our Lord for each of you.