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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Opportunity To Invest

Loyal readers of this blog know that I'm a big fan of the Perspectives course.  It was instrumental in my life, and I've seen what it can do in others as well.  At the moment the honchos at Perspectives are trying to get all their materials translated into Spanish. When you consider that the Perspectives Reader alone is almost 800 pages, you can begin to appreciate what an undertaking this is.  Price tag: $136,000.  (details)

Wrap your mind around the idea for a moment.  What if the Lord were able to raise up thousands of believers from all over Latin America, committed to God's glory among their own people and among the unengaged?  Exciting, no?

Why, yes it is.  But being Christian missionaries, the good folks at Perspectives are not exactly flush with cash.  And that's where we come in.  By our donations to this most worthy cause we are playing a direct role in the spread of God's fame throughout the nations.  I'm going to do it.  Won't you join me by clicking here?

Idea: if you still have family members asking you for Christmas gift ideas, why not ask them to donate to this project in your name?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Good Word

In addition to our support of Southern Baptist missionaries, our church also supports about a dozen other missionaries directly.  One such missionary family is Alan and Sarah Good.  You can read their latest newsletter here.

It's A New Day

                                                                                                                                                                                         
What do you think of when you hear the word "missions"?  Perhaps some famous names, like Moon, Carey, Hudson, or Elliot?  Or maybe you're imagining a short-term affair, complete with fresh-faced teenagers in matching T-shirts, painting a church building or playing with kids. But are you thinking of your local university?

The reality is that we no longer have to cross an ocean to find people who know next to nothing about Christ.  Some of those people are coming here, to study, to work, to build a better life.  Opportunities abound, and here is a good article about it.

  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Noah's Flood

This sentence comes from Yahoo News: "An acclaimed underwater archaeologist believes that he has found evidence that the Great Biblical Flood of Noah's time may have actually happened after all".  In that one sentence you find all you need to know about modern attitudes toward the bible: we can't believe a word of it unless it is proven by "science".

This is something to keep in mind this time of year.  Every Christmas (and Easter) season we are treated to magazine cover stories, cable TV specials and the like where some scholar or another is trotted out to pronounce on the likelihood of biblical events.  Wise men?  A virgin birth?  Star of Bethlehem?  We can't be sure............let's ask Dr. Snodgrass about it.

It's not, as some would have it, that Christians don't believe in science.   Personally, I don't think the Christian faith has anything to fear from a pursuit of the truth in any discipline.  But why all the skepticism?  Why must we assume that the biblical record is false unless verified by something outside of it?  We don't use that same standard for other ancient historical documents.  Why this one?


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Charlotte's Web

Nowhere is good old-fashioned American excess on display any clearer than in our observance of Christmas.  Any though I am one of the many who complain about the spectacle it has become, I have to admit that part of me still loves it.  I've had 50 Christmases, and wouldn't take anything for the memories.

As a boy Christmas meant a trip to Granny's house.  It meant waiting in line at Sears or Dixie City to see Santa Claus.  It meant drinking Atlanta Dairies eggnog, and eating mom's fruit cake (no jokes - it really is delicious).  It meant watching Charlie Brown and Frosty and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (which I watched again last night).  It meant church Christmas plays, cantatas, and lots of pretty decorations.  And as a Southern Baptist, it meant Lottie Moon.

Charlotte Digges "Lottie" Moon was a SBC missionary to China, who died on Christmas Eve 100 years ago this year.  She was quite a lady, and it would do your soul good to learn more about her life's work.

If you'd like to know more about Southern Baptist missions, including Lottie Moon and the offering that bears her name, you can visit this website.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mexico

Enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend with the fam, and another good weekend is coming up.  This coming Sunday our church will get to see Benjamin Loera and family.  Benjamin is one of the missionaries we support.  He lives in southern Mexico, and operates the "Alas De Dios" children's home.  I visited the Loeras last year and can testify that they work hard at what they do.  They've more than doubled their numbers since I was there, and have begun a construction project as well.  This is no mean feat, considering that the "staff" is made up of Benjamin, his wife Magvis, and their daughter.

Mexico is a little hard to understand, spiritually speaking.  It is still overwhelmingly Catholic, but evangelical churches are doing well in many places (and so are cults, by the way).  But believe it or not, there are still people in Mexico who have no meaningful access to the gospel.  Mexico is a big country, and some communities are well isolated from the others.  In practice this means that they don't have lots of outside contact.  Their religious views go way back, are fervently held, and are very tough to crack..

I've grown to love the country of Mexico over the past few years, with its pristine beaches, majestic mountains, and untamed jungles.  There are small, rustic farming communities, and mammoth, ultra-modern urban centers.  I love the food, the culture....everything.  In Mexico you'll find some of the warmest, most giving people anywhere.  But the plain fact is that there is much spiritual darkness there, and much, much work remaining to be done.

If you're interested, here is a good fact sheet about it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DNA Test

How time flies.  It's been a year since I walked the aisle during the SBTC annual convention and committed our church to adopting an unreached, unengaged people group.  What followed was 12 long months of prayer, focused study, and in-depth conversations, and now we are finally seeing a path forward.  Some things are becoming clear to our FOCUS group, and the unity among us has been further confirmation that we are going about this the right way.

Part of this whole process has been identifying the "DNA" of our church.  What are our strengths/weaknesses?  Where might we best fit in?  And though we haven't decided where, exactly, we will serve, we all agree that we will serve, and that God will use us to accomplish His global purposes.

On another note, I've been spending lots of time lately planning the missions camp.  I just received my brochures that I had printed up.  If you'd like one (or more), let me know and I'll get it out to you post-haste.

As I write this I'm preparing for a little Thanksgiving merriment with my family.  I don't get to spend every holiday with them as I once did, so I cherish the times when I can.  There are very few things in this life that are more valuable than a supportive family, and I have it.  It's true: the best things in life are not things.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Status Quo We Can Believe In

So the elections were held last week, and I for one am really confused.  A majority of Americans think that we are on the wrong track, yet the president gets a second term, and the House and Senate remain under the control of the Republicans and Democrats respectively.  I think it's safe to say that we can look forward to 4 more years of posturing, finger-pointing, and a general lack of seriousness about the mess we're in.

(Did you know that the U.S. government adds another 1 trillion dollars to our national debt every 9 months?)

On a brighter note, this week our staff was in San Antonio for our annual state convention meeting.  I am grateful for our Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.  It is a great fit for me: theologically conservative, forward-looking, and mission driven.

The whole event was capped off by a sermon from Charles Stanley.  I so admire Dr. Stanley; he has had his share of hardship, disappointment, and harsh criticism, and still he soldiers on.  At 80 years of age, he is nearing the end of a faithful ministry.  The world is not worthy of men like that.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Change We Can Believe In?

I deliberately try to stay away from partisan politics in this blog.  But on this, the eve of our presidential election, I will at least confess this much: I'm a bit of a political junky.  Talk radio?  Cable TV shoutfests?  Opinion magazines?  Yes, yes, and yes.

But this little indulgence of mine is often very, very frustrating.   As Exhibit A I give you the 2012 political season that (mercifully) will be over tomorrow.  Looking for serious discussions on the problems America faces?  Yearning for in-depth analysis?   Good luck.  Modern campaigns, especially presidential ones, are slick, made-for-TV productions that are scripted to a fair thee well.  Even the "debates" are largely just party talking points delivered live.  The result is a focus group tested, billion dollar beauty contest that, IMHO, is quite unworthy of the office.

Now, I could fire off several more paragraphs lamenting what I think is wrong with today's politics: the lack of civility, the dishonesty, the shallowness (not to mention those infernal campaign slogans!).  But what would be the point?  Politics has always had its ugly side, and that won't change anytime soon.  But it leaves me feeling queasy anyway, and ashamed that we aren't demanding better.



About The Election

A friend sent me this commentary about tomorrow's election.  Worth a listen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Retreat

Ever since I arrived in Brownsville, I have thought, "If I can just get past the next thing (whatever that was), I can breathe a little".  Silly me!

The week of October 15 our staff was away (sort of) for our annual retreat.  I barely turned on my computer, so of course I'm behind on my posting.  Last week was catch up for me.  I am spending a lot of time working on the missions camp.  It is coming together quite well; now I'm trying to get the word out.

I don't know if I've ever done anything at FBC that I'm more excited about than this camp.  We're able to offer it for only $200 per person.  That gets you lodging, meals, and ministry supplies for your projects.

And now a word about the speakers.  There'll be no dry lectures in our missions camp!  We've put together an impressive group of folks who not only know their stuff, but are actually living it.  You'll be stirred as you hear how God has used these men, often in difficult situations, for His glory around much of the world.

As is often said, some things are better caught than taught, and so it is with missions.  So we'll be doing, as well as learning from those who have done.  If you are a leader in your church, and would like to light a fire under your group, you may want to consider it. 

“Give me the Love that leads the way
The Faith that nothing can dismay
The Hope no disappointments tire
The Passion that'll burn like fire
Let me not sink to be a clod
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God” 

   - Amy Carmichael

Friday, October 26, 2012

Paul Kurtz

Does the name Paul Kurtz ring a bell?  Don't fret if it doesn't; it's not exactly a household name.  But it's fair to say that this man helped shape the world you live in.

Kurtz was a long time university philosophy professor, and is perhaps best known as the co-author of the Humanist Manifesto II, and editor of Free Inquiry magazine.  He was an atheist, and was widely admired by sceptics, scoffers, and "free thinkers" the world over.

Paul Kurtz died Saturday at the age of 86.

Not being a regular consumer of atheist propaganda, I had not heard of Paul Kurtz until I watched a debate a few years back between he and Norman Geisler, on the subject of secular humanism.  I later listened to another of his with William Lane Craig on the possibility of goodness without God.  I think Geisler beat him, but his performance against Craig was embarrassing (if you think I exaggerate, click here).

Now, Paul Kurtz was no ignoramus.  He held a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and authored or edited over 50 books.  But he suffered the same handicap from which all atheists suffer: the complete inability to account for the physical world without a Creator.  Or to give any compelling reason why your morality is binding on me (or vice versa), with no God to make it so. 

Atheists often congratulate themselves on their clear-headed, logical thinking, with dogged insistence that they are just following the evidence.  But the Biblical view is not so sanguine.  The atheist doesn't want God to exist; He can't exist.  That's why the atheist can look at the night sky, or the human body, or a thousand other wonders of creation, and solemnly declare that there's no evidence for a creator.

No, God does exist, and has made His existence obvious.  And that is why we do missions.  The world must hear that this God who made them loves them, and wants them to love Him in return.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Share And Share Alike

For several months I've been in discussions with another pastor here in the RGV who wants to use our HMC facilities to do some youth ministry.  The plan at this point is to have some rather informal meetings/activities once a week, with the hope that in time the group develops into a sure-nuff church.

I'm happy to report that the first meeting was held on September 29, and about 70 people were present!  This is doubly exciting, not only because we are next door to a large high school, but because there is no Baptist church in that immediate vecinity.

It's amazing how God blesses our ministries once we are prepared to give them away.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Summer 2013

Today I am thrilled to announce something brand new for summer 2013 at the Hendrick Missions Center.  From June 9 - 14th we will host our first ever world missions camp.   The idea is to offer campers (of all ages) a week that focuses on both teaching and hands-on ministry.  We'll cover things like
  • the Biblical basis for world missions,
  • Unreached People Groups
  • culture/worldview
  • what it's like to be a career missionary
  • doing short-term missions well
  • doing missions in your community
I have already received confirmation from several speakers that I invited, and can assure you that it is a top-notch, highly experienced group of folks who are simply getting it done.

But wait!  There's more!  We'll also be doing missions, through personal evangelism, work projects, and the like.  For the adventurous types, there'll be an optional ministry day in Mexico.

I'm in the process of putting together some promotional material for this event.  If you'd like to know more, just drop me a line, or call me at my office (956-542-5334), and I'll get it out to you as soon as it is available.




Painting The Town

Throughout my life I have rarely had absolute certainty about major decisions I have made.  Be it a purchase, a ministry move, or some other life-changing thing, I just can't seem to escape that one nagging question: "What if this blows up in my face?" 

When faced with a decision, I have a little process I go through: I pray about it, get some facts together, and talk it out with my wife.  But sooner or later there always comes a time to act....to "paint or get off the ladder", as they say.

When I saw this picture (quoting a verse found in Ecclesiastes 11:4), it made me think of the many times I have "painted", not knowing how things would turn out.  It can be unsettling, but what's the alternative?  Waiting, and waiting some more, for a certainty that never comes.

The picture also made me think of our *FOCUS group.  The truth is that this isn't a perfect time to be selecting an UUPG.  Our church is beginning a major construction project, the economy is bad, and church offerings for this year are under budget.  So, is moving forward a bold act of faith, or a reckless disregard for the facts?  I suppose honorable men could disagree about that.  But in my book it's better to try something and fail, than to try nothing and succeed.

Happy painting!


 *If you are new to this blog, you may not know that our church is in the process of identifying an "unreached people group", so that we can target them with the gospel.  Our FOCUS group is helping our church through this process.





Monday, October 1, 2012

You'll Just Have To Wait

Why is this girl so sad?  Because she just found out that there won't be a Perspectives class in Los Fresnos next year after all. BOO!!

I'm a little sad too, but I do understand. It takes a lot of work to pull off a Perspectives class. The ones who wanted to see it happen have their hands in many other things, and just don't have enough time to get everything done.

Tentative plans are to offer it in 2014.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Streams In The Desert

Nothing compares to Facebook for sheer foolishness, but ocassionally one finds a jewel among the rubbish.  A friend of mine posted this article there about the state of the modern church.  I wish I could disagree with him.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Discipleship Misc.

Our Sunday evening discipleship classes are going full bore, and though it pains me to admit it, the participation has been better than I thought it would be.  We had 25 students in our ESL class last night, and the 2 "resolution" classes are doing well.  But the greatest surprise has been our Spanish language classes.  The women's class is having about 11 each week, and the mixed class (on the family) is having about 9.  While that's not exactly a multitude, it is a marked improvement. 

FOCUS I

Suppose you were in the market for a new car.  Let us further suppose that there is only one car dealer in your area.  You drop by the lot to have a look at the inventory, and learn that there are 3,800 cars to choose from.  How in the world would you decide? 

Of course, you could eliminate many of the cars right away.  Some would be too expensive, others the wrong color, still others the wrong size.  But once you narrowed the field somewhat, there would still be hundreds of possibles.  Now what?

Our church is coming to grips with the fact that there are around 3,800 UUPG in the world, and we must choose ONE of them.  Some of them are probably easy to discard (for various reasons), but we're still left with quite a challenge.

We've assembled a FOCUS group to help us wade through all of this, and Saturday morning was our first meeting.  There were 16 or so present; we talked about expectations, assumptions, and goals for our fall meetings.  It was a great session, and I was pleased as punch with how things went.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mercedes

This week has been a doozy.  I spent much of the day Tuesday in Mercedes, Texas at a lunch meeting.  Seems our state convention is considering putting a staff person down here in the valley, so some of the big brass from HQ came down to feel us out.  This is a great idea, and is much appreciated. 

If you are familiar with our ministry at the HMC, you know that it's "feast" for us during the summer months, and "famine" for the rest of the year.  Our staff has had a lot of conversation about how to best use those facilities over there, especially during the off-season.  We have several things in the hopper, some of which we'll announce soon.  It's just that, with the U.S. economy on life support, and the violence in Mexico continuing unabated, our HMC ministry has suffered quite a bit.  We've been forced to rethink our approach.  Honestly, that hasn't been all bad.

Speaking of the HMC, there is a group of students from First Baptist School over there now.  Our student ministers, along with other volunteers, are leading a weekend retreat for some of the students.  I pray that it'll be a blessing to all.

Last, but certainly not least, we will have our first FOCUS group meeting tomorrow morning.  We'll be discussing, in some detail, what it means to adopt an unreached people group, and how to do it well.  I'll be posting an update after the meeting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Read The Bible For Life

A classic, I once heard someone say, is a book that everyone has, but nobody reads.  By this definition, the Bible is a classic for way too many of us. 

So if the Bible is so wonderful, why don't we read it more?  Lack of time?  No interest?  Rather do other things?  I'm sure all of these are true.  But for many Christians, they simply don't know how.  No one has ever taught them that Bible reading is a skill, and that there are things one must know to do it to maximum effect.

Beginning tomorrow night we begin a series here at FBC called "Read The Bible For Life".  RTBFL was developed to address the very real problem of Bible illiteracy in the church.  It's deep, but not muddy.  You can read more about it here

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Institute

Tonight we begin the Fall semester of our Bible institute at First Baptist.  Once again there will be an English and Spanish version.  Yours truly will be leading the latter.  Most, if not all, of my students are coming back this semester, along with 2 or 3 newbies.  Subject: Old Testament Survey.  Please pray for us as we learn together.

FOCUS Updated

Our FOCUS process begins in a couple of weeks.  If you'd like to be a part of this exciting next step in our UUPG process, you should contact me yesterday.  I ordered 2 or 3 extra books, and I expect that they'll be spoken for very soon.

The ministry that produced the manual/book has just updated its website.  If you'll click on the video on the left side of their homepage, you'll get a good little summary of what they do there.

postscript: this is my 200th post!  Congratulations to me.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Shouldn't Take Long

Check out this article for a good chuckle.

My Friend Justo

Click to enlarge
While our mission team was in the Dominican Republic in June, we were usually accompanied by a Word of Life missionary named Justo.  I met Justo and his wife Anilsa last year on my trip there, and it didn't take long for me to grow to love them.


Justo works primarily with young people, traveling each week to several cities around the DR.  Then there's the occasional mission team.  It's often thankless work, but he does it with a joyful and generous heart. 

Like many missionaries, Justo and Anilsa are fully dependent on the financial support of God's people.  That's never easy, much less in this economy.  I know he would appreciate your prayers.

(Here is Justo's August prayer letter. If you'll go down to the 4th paragraph, and you'll see a veiled reference to our trip.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fall Discipleship

It's time to reveal our upcoming discipleship training schedule for this Fall.  Notice the two Spanish language options.

There is a strong emphasis on family this semester.  If you are in the area we invite you to plug in somewhere.

Here are the classes:

1. The Resolution for Men.
2. The Resolution for Women.
3. Principios Basicos (mujeres)
4. La Familia: Una InstituciĆ³n Divina (todos son bienvenidos).
5. Beginners Spanish
6. ESL (English) for all levels.
7. Prayer/Outreach Group.

Partner Connect

Click on image to enlarge
Last night I "attended" the online missions class sponsored by the IMB.  This series of classes is called Partner Connect, and focuses on the American peoples.  The class last night was a good introductory session on the lostness of man in general, and the state of the evangelical church in particular.  While there are many faithful believers in Latin America, there remains a number of unreached people groups there.  Throw in some tradition, mix it with a little syncretism, and you've got a worldview that is hard to penetrate.

You can still sign up for upcoming sessions by clicking here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Missions Training

If you would like to know more about Christian missions, and have an hour a week to spare, you should check out this link.  Starting tomorrow there will be free missions training offered online every Tuesday evening from 8 - 9 EDT. 

A Promise Kept

Saturday was a big day for one lucky little boy.  He was the winner of the grand prize from our Vacation Bible School.  The prize was a plane ride (in keeping with our aviation theme), so we "settled up" Saturday morning.  The boy and pilot flew over to South Padre Island and back; the trip lasted about 30 minutes.  I can tell you.....he was still beaming 20 minutes after touchdown.                                            
Now, what in the world will we do for next year?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Old Testament Survey

On September 6th we resume our Bible Institute classes (English and Spanish).  Preregistration is strongly encouraged (so that we can order the books).  The course this time will be Old Testament Survey.  If you or someone you know is interested in going deeper, please get in touch with us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A New FOCUS

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."  Yogi Berra 

It's time to announce the next step in our UUPG search.  This fall we are going to be meeting once a month to discuss, in depth, what exactly it means to adopt such a group.  To help us do this, we will be using a workbook called "Your FOCUS on The World".  It's a step-by-step guide to help us realize maximum global impact, and to avoid the pitfalls that we'll face along the way.

So, who is invited?  Any member of First Baptist Church who will commit to doing 3 things:

1) buying the workbook;
2) attending all the sessions;
3) studying the material before the meeting, and coming prepared to discuss it.

The dates for said meetings are.........September 22, October 20, and November 17; we'll meet from 9 a.m. to 12 each time.

If you want a sneak peek of the material, you can click here.

English

We resume our English classes here at FBC on September 9th.  If you live in the valley, please help us get the word out.  We teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, and the only cost is for a workbook.  Prospective students can call the church office for more info:            (956) 542-5334.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Opportunity

I started this blog when I moved to Brownsville almost 2½ years ago as an simple way to keep family and friends up to date with my mission work.  From time to time, though, I have used this space to pass on information about other individuals/ministries that I'm familiar with.  We're all on the same team, no?

This morning I learned of an exciting opportunity for To Every Tribe Ministries.  Rather than try to summarize, I'll just refer you to this blog where it's all laid out.  If you've been looking for an opportunity to help some good folks, here it is.

Speaking of good folks........a quick update on April Kujawa (see my post from June 26).  April has arrived in Ecuador.  After a few days to get adjusted she'll begin her teaching duties at the Nate Saint Memorial School.  What an exciting opportunity for her;  I know she'll do well there.  Let's keep her in our prayers.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer 2012

Last week we hosted a group of 10 from Lane Prarie Baptist Church.  This church sent a team last year, helping a local pastor with a remodeling project.  This year, under a new leader, the team came to conduct VBS in 2 different locations.  In the first location things went alright, but the second ended up being a dud.  This was something of a surprise, since we had another VBS there just a few weeks ago, and the participation was great.  Turns out that another church was sending vans over there each evening to pick up kids for their VBS!  Not to be defeated, the group decided to spend their time instead doing some painting and whatnot at a local pastor's house.  You can see this group in the photo (standing on the porch they built); Pastor Blanco and wife Olivia are in the front.  Many thanks to LPBC for all they did.

As this week (and our summer program) drew to a close, I found myself a feeling a little pensive.  As always, this summer was filled to the brim with activities of all sorts.  The teams we hosted were wonderful, and every single one was complete pleasure to work with.  And though I don't take credit for what they accomplished, it is gratifying to know that I played a part in connecting ministry teams with opportunities.  Things got built, friendships were made, and lives were changed.  And that's not a bad way to spend a summer.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Catch Up

I'm way behind on my posting, so let's get cracking........

During the week of July 15 we held our annual VBS.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it turned out great.  The kids were seemed glad to be here, and the leaders were enthusiastic and positive.   

That same week we had a team from Criswell College with us.  This is a tradition for them, and we always look forward to seeing them each year.  Besides helping in VBS, they always are involved in some type of community outreach/ministry.  This year they were working with our college minister, as he prepares for the launch of our new church plant.  It was a very good Criswell team this year.  Many thanks to Professor B.B. Alvarez for his help in putting all this together.

During this same time we also had a team from San Antonio who were conducting their own VBS in a local trailer park.  This excites me, because we haven't worked in that community much.  The response was great....they were ministering to over 50 kids each night, and the parents seemed pleased to see the team there.

The week of July 22nd was the busiest all summer at the HMC.  We had 2 teams staying with us, totaling about 65 people.  Our friends from Village Parkway Baptist Church were back at Riverside Park again this year.  Another team from Houston was working with Pastor Roberto Blanco west of town.  This was a new community for us, and the reception was great.  Pastor Roberto is a good man, and is doing a good job at their new church near Olmito.  It was a pleasure to send one of our work teams to him.  They all worked hard, and did a great job.

As I mentioned in my last post, last week I was in Georgia to attend the Send North America conference.  There were over 2,200 people present, learning about church planting and related topics.  The main sessions were really good, IMHO, and the worship was inspiring and deeply moving.  There's a good article about it here.

That brings us to this week, and there are a couple of things I need to report.  Yesterday in our morning worship service we were happy to host Les and Saralee Tilka.  The Tilkas have served as missionaries in the Philippines for several years; they are stateside at the moment on furlough.  Les brought the morning message, and Saralee and son Brad sang a couple of songs.

Finally, this week we are hosting a small but enthusiastic group from Lane Prairie Baptist Church.  They are our last team for the summer.  They'll be conducting 2 Vacation Bible Schools this week, along with some construction work.  Pray for them as they minister.

Whew.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Send

I try not to whine much, but my schedule has been pretty hairy lately.  So hairy, in fact, that I haven't had time to update this blog.  I'll be posting some updates in coming days about some of our recent activities.  For now I'll just mention that next week I'll be attending the Send North America Conference in Woodstock (Atlanta), Georgia.  It's mostly about church planting, which is something our church is keen on.  

It just so happens that my mother's birthday is next week as well, so this year I'll get to be with the familia on her special day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Word About Numbers


I just checked in with the team from San Antonio, and they told me that they had 54 kids at the trailer park last night.  That's pretty exciting, considering they started with zero!

Last night at VBS we had a total of 251, which is about 50 more than we had the first night.  I'm positively copacetic about that!

I have long thought (and often said) that we can't judge the value of something based on how many people are involved in it.  I still believe that.  But I confess to being excited when I consider that this week we are exposing hundreds of adults and children alike to the good news of Christ.  Will they all become Christ-followers?  I doubt it.  But we sow anyway, with the confidence that the Lord of the harvest will reap some of the seed to His glory.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The First Rule Of Mission Work: Flexibility

In addition to having VBS at our church, we are hosting a couple of old friends this week.  For the past several years a team from Criswell College in Dallas has come to the valley each summer to do some project or another.  This year they are working with James, our college minister, who is in the early stages of a church plant.  They'll be doing some street evangelism, apartment ministry, and so on. 

The other group we are hosting comes from San Antonio.  A group of students from University Baptist Church, led by Jim Williams, has been coming to the MOC/HMC for several years; we are happy to see them again this year.

This morning they were to begin their own VBS in a local trailer park.  They arrived at the apppointed time to find exactly 0 kids.  They decided to change gears a little, and do an evening VBS instead.  Well, I just got back from that site, and am happy to say that there were about 35 kids there, having a good time, and learning about Jesus.  Go figure.

The First Night

Last night was the first night of VBS.  The crowd was kinda thin when we started at 5:45, but the kids kept trickling in for an hour or so.  By night's end we had 204 people (this includes workers), which is more than we had last year on Sunday evening!

By the way, it's time to reveal the grand prize that I talked about on July 9th.  Kids are receiving a ticket for each night of attendance (plus another for each friend they bring).  A drawing will be held at the end of the week.  The winner gets................a free airplane ride!  (A friend of the ministry has a plane, and will be taking our winner on a flight around the valley).  Pretty neat, huh?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

God Bless America

I received this letter today.  I tell you, it warmed my heart.

Hi,
     My name is Peggy D******.  I visited your church on June 10th, 2012..........We stayed at the Hendrick Missions Center..............I had such a good time and experience at the Missions Center that I want to support Mrs. Connie's work.  I am enclosing a check for $400; it is my first Social Security check.  I hope it will be the first of many to come your way.
     Mrs. Connie told me it only cost $400 to put in a complete bathroom, so I thought, why not send my S.S. check?  After all, it is the first one, so I won't be missing something I've never had.  I hope this will help a family in some way.


     Yours truly,
     Peggy D.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Amazing Wonders

A highlight of my summer when I was growing up was getting to attend Vacation Bible School.  I don't really know why I loved it, but love it I did.  Cookies and Koolaid always tasted best when served by little old ladies in the old fellowship building at my home church.

Now I'm bearing down hard on age 50, and I still like VBS.  It's a hard week, to be sure, but there's an energy that surrounds it that's just not there for much of the year.  We always get to meet new people, and the memories last for years to come.

VBS 2012 will begin Sunday at 5:45.  There's an aviation theme this year, so it should be a hoot.  I hope you can make it.  Bring a friend!  Bring two!

p.s. One lucky child is going to be very glad he attended VBS.  We have a prize to award this year, and it's pretty special.  More details soon!

The Summit

Last Monday and Tuesday I attended the __________ summit in the Dallas area.  The summit was a time for networking, learning, sharing, and celebrating with people who are working with the _____________ people in Southeast Asia.    It was at once uplifting and discouraging.  Uplifting, because of the good work that is going among these people, but discouraging, because there is just so much to do, and so few willing to do it.

Definitions vary from agency to agency, but an unreached people group is often defined as a population that is less than 2% evangelical.  They remain unreached, in large measure, because they are hard to get to.....physically, culturally, and religiously.  Thankfully, more and more believers are catching the vision for reaching them, and good work is being done.  But it's a drop in the bucket, and the bucket is very large indeed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Warning Signs

Here is an article that every church leader needs to read.

UUPG Summit

This weekend I'll be leaving for Dallas, where I'll be attending a summit on reaching the __________ people in Southeast Asia (name omitted for security reasons).  Our church is in the process of selecting an unreached, unengaged people group (there are about 3,800 of them around the world), so that we might help reach them with the gospel of Christ. We don't yet know if we'll adopt the ___________ or someone else, but it'll be nice to meet folks who have done the same thing that we are wanting to do.

Please pray for our church as we go through this process  We don't want to choose an UUPG willy-nilly.  Choosing a group means making a multi-year commitment, so we want to do it wisely.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

April

Soon after our family arrived in Brownsville we met a young lady named April at our church.  April is from the Chicago area, and had just moved to Brownsville herself to teach at a local school.  She ended up helping in our ESL ministry, and was quite skilled at it.

In a few weeks April will be moving to Shell, Ecuador to teach at the Nate Saint Missionary School, where she'll be teaching missionaries' kids during the 2012 - 2013 school year.  We'll sure miss seeing April around, but are excited that she has such a wonderful opportunity.

I think it was Rick Warren who said that we shouldn't judge a church by its seating capacity, but by its sending capacity.  In other words, a healthy church is not one where lots of like minded people puddle up to bask in the glow, but one that is actively sending folks out to impact darkness.

April won't receive a salary in this position.  She'll be totally supported by the financial support of friends, and will need about $1,050 a month to make it.  If you'd like to help April Kujawa (even if it's just a one-time gift), you can do so at the HCJB website (account # 128832).

What Now?

Our team has been home from the DR for several days now, but we are still rejoicing over what we experienced.  We gave a trip report to the church Sunday, and everyone seemed to enjoy the update.

It's important to note that the medical clinics (like we conducted) are just a part of a larger strategy to reach the DR.  To see what I mean, visit this website from SCORE International.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

DR - Nursing Home

The Monday of our trip was part food distribution, part nursing home ministry.  This particular nursing home is next door to a church, and the pastor serves as the administrator.  As with so much of what we saw, the Dominicans do the best they can with what they have.

On this day we took our medical clinic to them.  The doctors went from patient to patient, diagnosing as best they could, and giving prescriptions to those who were sick.  Here I am explaining the evangelistic bracelets that we had given to them, and offering to pray with them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What We Did

You already know about our medical missions trip.  But you may be wondering....."what, exactly, goes on during a medical clinic"?  It's a simple system, really, but it works in a missions environment.  The patient first goes to "triage", where his name, weight, age, and blood pressure etc. are taken.  Then he waits until the doctor is free.  We had 2 physicians with us, so we could shuffle them through without too long a wait.  Once the doctor finishes the examination, the patient waits at pharmacy while his prescription is being filled (every patient got something, even if it was just vitamins and a toothbrush).  Once the patient receives his meds, and instructions on how to use them, he is free to go.

I've given a lot of thought to what medical teams like ours do.  Sure, it's a temporary fix in many cases.   But is it a waste of time? 

Try this thought experiment: you are living in one of the communities we served.  It's a hot, dry climate; there is no running water or indoor plumbing, and you can find every disease imaginable.  Everyone's hungry and dehydrated.  You make 3 dollars a day, and 2 dollars of that goes to rent a squalid little shack.  Needless to say, there's no access to good medical care.   Wouldn't you be happy to see the team of Americans coming into your neighborhood, offering free medical care in Jesus' name?


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The D.R. And Answered Prayer

If you've ever planned a mission trip, you know that there are lots of things that can go wrong: lost luggage, missed flights, car accidents, sickness, customs issues.......the mind boggles.  With the exception of a couple of team members who got held up in Atlanta, we had none of this.  This is a big deal to me, because we had a ton of medication with us.  I had visions of some zealous customs official, his brow furrowed, telling us that, no, we couldn't bring our meds into his country.  Then what??

But I worried for nothing.  We were not only able to bless the people of DR with what we brought, but we also left quite a bit of stuff for the medical clinic that operates regularly there.  And that's feels pretty good.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dominican Republic

Many, many thanks to those of you who prayed for our mission team.  We got back in town Friday evening.  There is much to report, but for now I'll just say that the trip couldn't have gone much better.  I'll fill in some of the blanks in coming days.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It All Comes Down To This

After over a year of planning, church luncheons, and about a bazillian e-mails, our mission trip to the Dominican Republic officially begins tomorrow.  We had our final team meeting last night.  It was a night for prayer and for going over some last minute details.  We also had to parcel out the medication that we'll be taking (wish I had taken a picture).

If you want specific things to pray for, I'd like to ask you to pray that
  • the medication we are taking, some of which is prescription, would pass through customs w/o any problems; 
  • our team members would remain healthy;
  • the people we come into contact with will be touched, physically and spiritually, by the ministry;
  • God would watch over our loved ones while we are gone.
One of the best things about short term mission work is that there is often a strong bond that develops among the team members, and one that lasts long after the trip is over.  I'm already seeing this happen with us.  If you've ever experienced this, you know how sweet it is. We have a great team assembled; I know it'll be a great trip.

 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

4,000 And Counting

Faithful readers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of Casas Por Cristo.  CPC is a Christian ministry that builds houses for the poor in Mexico and Guatemala.  I worked with them in August of 2007; it was a trip I enjoyed immensely.  Anyway, CPC just completed its 4,000th house!  That number is even more impressive when you consider that almost all of those homes were built in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, which has been a veritable war zone for the past several years. 

There's a nice article about CPC and the milestone in the El Paso Times that you can read by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Have An Intern, By George!

This weekend our summer intern arrived in Brownsville.  His name is George Lovegrove, and he will be working with me at the mission center.  George has just completed his first year of medical school.  In fact, he will be going with us to the DR in a couple of weeks to help with the medical clinics.  George lives in West Virginia, and is a long time friend of Mr. Roberts and family from First Baptist School.  George was looking for an opportunity to serve this summer, and maybe practice his Spanish a little (he's in the right place for that).

The summer months can be a little hairy down here, so I'm thrilled to have him.  Welcome George!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Now I Get It

We hear a lot about the national debt these days, but the numbers are so unimaginably huge that it's hard to make sense of them.  Well, I read an illustration of this today and thought I would pass it on.

All we have to do to get a better grasp of the mess we're in is take the national figures, remove 8 zeros, and pretend it is a household budget. 

So in other words, if your finances were like those of the federal government, they would look like this:

Annual income: $23,400
Money you spend each year: $35,900
New debt added to credit cards: $12,500
Outstanding balance on credit cards: $154,000
Total cuts you made to the family budget: $385.

What does this have to do with world missions?  A lot, actually.  What the federal government does affects each of us, because we all have to play by the rules that it sets, and live in the world that it creates.  When the economy is weak, as ours is, there's lots of fallout.....missionaries that don't get to the field, mission trips that aren't taken, supplies that aren't bought, financial support that isn't sent, and ministry that doesn't get done.  All because there just isn't any money with which to do it. 

If your income was really as shown above, there would be only one thing you could do to avoid financial collapse: cut spending......drastically.  So why doesn't Uncle Sam do that?  Because there are lots of people receiving those federal dollars, and few people will object to policies that they are benefiting from.  And so we continue our reckless ways, speeding toward the abyss, hoping that somehow everything will turn out alright. 

If you have a minute, you should visit the U.S. debt clock.  Prepare to have your mind blown.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Plenty Of Notice

Last night was the final night of the Perspectives class.  It was actually a celebration of sorts, with a dinner featuring lots of international dishes.  After the meal we sat around and reflected on the course, about what we had learned and what it had meant to us.

The good news: I found out last night that the course will be offered again next year in Los Fresnos.  Like this year, it'll begin in January.  I post this now in the hopes that many who wanted to take it this year, but could not, will be able to carve out some time in their schedule for it.

Exact dates TBD.  To find out more visit the Perspectives website.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Weekend

Last Saturday night we held our second DR mission trip team meeting.  After a wonderful meal (typical DR fare), we talked for a couple of hours about preparations for the trip - nuts and bolts kind of stuff.  After over a year of planning, it's really wonderful to see this trip come together.   

On Sunday morning at FBC we presented the musical "Into All The World".  I'd never participated in (or heard, for that matter) an entire musical devoted to the theme of world missions before, but it was nice to be a part.  In song after song we were encouraged to take the message of Christ to the ends of the earth, even as He commanded us to do.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Topical Method

Tonight is the next to last class in our first semester at our Bible institute.  At this very moment my students are doing a brief Bible study on their own on a topic that I gave them.  We've been talking about Bible study methods, and now it's time to practice.  I'm so proud of them.  They've worked hard, and only missed class when they had to (I gave one student a night off to give birth.  I know.....it was big of me).

In any case, rightly dividing the word of truth is a skill, and how I wish more Christians would devote themselves to it.

Into All The World

This coming Sunday our adult and children's choir will present our spring musical entitled "Into All The World".  As you may have surmised, the theme is world missions.  This is most appropriate, given that we are in the process of adopting an unreached people group.  If you plan to be in the valley this weekend, I hope you'll consider joining us (10:45 a.m.) as we celebrate God's greatness together.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

SENT

As I write this I am sitting on my bed in my luxurious hotel room in Dallas.  I've come up to the Big D for the "Sent" missions conference sponsored by our state convention.  I hope to spread the good word about our HMC ministry while I'm here, and take in some workshops along the way.  There are about 2 dozen young people from our church, mostly college students, who will be attending as well.  Pray that this will be a life-changing week for everyone involved.

And So It Begins

Our DR mission team is now finalized, and a good team it is.  We have 2 physicians, 1 nurse, and 13 regular folks.  We held our first official team meeting Monday night.  I talked about mission work versus "Christian tourism", and the importance being physically and spiritually prepared for what we are about to do.

The day before, we held another fund raising luncheon after the a.m. service at FBC.  The food was Mexican this time.  We got a lady in Mexico to make us 57 dozen (!) tamales, and they arrived hot and fresh Sunday morning.  The meal was rounded out with beans, salad, and arroz con leche for dessert.  The food was deliciosa.  (If you think Taco Bell is good Mexican food, you need to pay us a visit).

Many thanks go to Laura Cavazos, a member at FBC.  Even though she is not going on the trip,  she is always glad to help us.

We leave on June 7th.  We would appreciate your prayers.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Hatchet Man

Chuck Colson has died.

If that name doesn't ring a bell, you should know that Colson was a senior official in Richard Nixon's White House.  He was dubbed "Nixon's Hatchet Man", which should give you a hint as to his character back then.  He was later sent to prison for his role in the Watergate scandal.  As it happens, it was the best thing that ever happened to him.  For there, in the depths of humiliation and despair, Chuck Colson met the Lord Jesus Christ.

If there was ever a vivid example of the power of the gospel to change a man, Colson was it.  Released from prison in 1975, he never stopped going back.  He began a ministry called Prison Fellowship, which now operates in over 115 countries around the world.  He was a tireless advocate for prison reform, and he loathed bureaucracy.  His "Angel Tree" ministry touches 1,000s of inmates' kids each Christmas.  Put simply, he had lots of good ideas, and the results to prove it.

But Colson did more than just try to change a bloated and inefficient penal system.  For years he produced a 5 minute radio spot called "Breakpoint".  It was provocative, and unfailingly intelligent.  Colson would mention some cultural trend or other, and then, with the skill of a surgeon, explain the worldview behind it, and the likely results of embracing it.

I had the privilege of hearing him speak live at a couple of conferences.  He was an engaging speaker, but more importantly, a prophetic voice to a church weakened by bad theology and distracted with trivialities.  He knew, perhaps better than most, that ideas have consequences, so it is vital that one have the right ideas.  For no President, or political party, can save a nation that is intent on destroying itself.

Charles Wendell "Chuck" Colson was 80 years old.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Because You Gave

Our friend Abraham just posted a video showing the new restrooms that he built using money received from our kids during VBS last summer.  Check it out here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Late To The Party

I think most people would agree that the New York Times is reliably left of center when it comes to political opinion.  Not even the most deranged among us would ever allege that "The Old Gray Lady" is part of the vast right wing conspiracy.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I read this article today.  Seems like some people are just "discovering" what the Lord has been saying all along.

Monday Musings

Last Friday a group from the Houston area came down for a little reconnaissance.  They'll be bringing a team to the HMC this summer, so they wanted to have a look-see in order to plan better.  I took them to meet Pastor Roberto, whose bus driver salary doesn't permit a lot of frills.  It looks like the team will be helping with some renovations at his house/church.

I'll be doing something similar next Monday with a team from Corpus.

On a completely different subject, yesterday we started a 6-week prayer emphasis at FBC.  We are wanting to adopt an unreached, unengaged people group, and with about 3,800 of them around the world, it can get a little confusing.  (For definitions of the terms used above, go here).  Please pray with us as we try to discern the mind and heart of God in all of this.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mythbusting

How many times have you heard someone say, "Christians divorce at roughly the same rate as the world”?  Turns out, it's not true.  For those who seriously practice their faith, there is a marked difference in the divorce rate, as compared with everyone else.  Check out this article.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Luke 24:5 - 8

Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’  Then they remembered his words."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Having an Impact

I just now received an e-mail from Jenny, who was one of the leaders for the outreach effort in McAllen (see post from March 19).  It's an update on how everything turned out, especially the Team Impact event that was held Sunday.  Here is what she wrote:

I hope this message finds you all doing remarkably well!  I just wanted to take the time to share the great outcomes of the Team Impact Event, held this past Sunday, April 1st, 2012 at the State Farm Arena, Hidalgo Texas.  During the event, there were over 100 working volunteers, the arena staff estimated 2,300 persons in the facility with 2,095 pure attendees through the doors. In addition, we recorded 403 professions of faith in Jesus.  In the month leading up to the event, there were 80 thousand tickets,  108,000 gospel tracts and local church Easter Invitations distributed in partnership with at least 15 local churches and 6 missions teams.  Lastly, in the week prior to the event Team Impact conducted 25 local school assemblies and connected with approximately 13,000 students. 

Aftermath

Yesterday Captain (our children's minister) and I went over to McAllen for a day of disaster relief work.  Last week a small section of town suffered a pretty bad hail storm.  There were lots of broken windows on cars and houses; the trees didn't fare too well either.  The roofs of houses in these neighborhoods were simply pummeled by the storm.  I am still sometimes amazed at nature's power, and how helpless we are when a disaster like this strikes.

We ended up helping a widow lady who suffered lots of water damage.  She was a bit of a hoarder, so you can imagine what our day was like. But even though DR work is always hard, and usually nasty, it's deeply gratifying to help those who, through no fault of their own, are having to cope with sudden tragedy and loss.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Report Card

As promised, last night was the premier of the Kirk Cameron project called "Monumental".  This movie, if we can call it that, is basically a documentary on the founding of our country.  Who were the pilgrims?  Why did they come to America?  What kind of society were they trying to establish?  And what about the founding fathers?  Were they attempting to establish a secular government, free from the influence of religion, as we're often told?  And lastly, why has the American experiment gone so horribly wrong?

Nobody can make a 2-hour documentary that covers all of these subjects adequately, but Monumental does an admirable job of at least hitting the high points.

In short, last night was a most enjoyable night at the movies.  And more than a little frightening.

FYI: Monumental will be available on DVD in July.

post script: if you attended the event last night, you know that there were some technical difficulties at the very end (at least in our area of the country).  It turns out that you only missed about a minute or so.  If you'd like to view that portion, click here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Anniversary Redux

Today the church gave me a gift card during the morning service in honor of my work anniversary.  What a joy to work with such a loving congregation.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Anniversary

2 years ago today I left my humble abode in South Carolina, on my way to Texas.  I tried to think of something profound to say in honor of this momentous occasion, but there's not much to add.   So I won't. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monumental

I don't consider myself a "glass half-empty" kind of person, but I admit to being distressed about what I'm seeing in our country.  I believe that the America I grew up in is fast ebbing away, and if we haven't yet reached the point of no return, we're darn close.  Believe me....I hope I'm wrong.

With that cheery introduction, I want to invite you to participate in a live event called "Monumental".  This will be held on Tuesday, March 27 in over 550 movie theaters around the U.S.  As best as I can tell, "Monumental" is a mix between a documentary and a pep rally.  It will explain the ideals that made America great, and what we must do to make our way back.

The closest location for those of us at FBC will be Harlingen.  A van will leave the church at 5:30; the event starts at 6:30 (Central time).

To learn more, or to find a theater in your area, go to the Monumental website.

Monday, March 19, 2012

That's A Relief!

Even gang members have their scruples.

Door-To-Door

Even though it was spring break last week here in the valley, it was a busy time nonetheless.  On Monday a group of 7 of us went over to McAllen to work with Cornerstone Church.  The idea was to pass out information packs throughout the community.  Inside the packets there was, among other things, an invitation to a Team Impact event to be held April 1.

Last week we hosted a group of over 30 at the HMC.  The group had its own project, but the leaders reported that all went well in their outreach events.  Their goal in all of this is to establish home Bible study groups in the areas they worked in.  It was a joy to work with these Hispanic churches; we wish them well.

Yesterday was part 3 of my series on church membership.  We talked about the importance of sound doctrine.  If you need an illustration of why this matters, you need look no further than this article.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

McAllen

On February 2nd I posted a few comments about a spring break mission opportunity in McAllen. Here are the details:

In order to keep costs at a bare minimum, we will be commuting each day. The plan is to leave FBC at 8 Monday and Tuesday morning, and to be back around 5. Just bring a few bucks for lunch and you're all set.

You can read more about the effort here. Please let me know if you'd like to help.

All In Favor Say "Aye"

Our pastor was out of town this past weekend, so I filled in for him Sunday morning. I started a series of what will be 4 messages on the subject of what the New Testament teaches about church membership. As luck would have it, this morning I opened up my new edition of On Mission magazine and found an article about this very thing (you can find it on page 7). The long and short of it is that about 60% of Christians disconnect from the local church either permanently of for an extended period time after the age of 15. Needless to say, this does not bode well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In The Shadow Of His Wings


"How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings". Psalms 36:7

Monday, February 20, 2012

Embrace

This weekend my wife and I went to San Antonio for the weekend. Our church is researching what is involved in adopting an unreached, unengaged people group, and our state convention was offering a workshop on the subject. As of this moment there are about 3,800 UUPG in the world, and the challenges to reaching them are substantial. I hope to be posting much more about this in coming months.

For a good summary of the subject visit this website. To see what Southern Baptists are doing to reach UUPG, go here.

Winter Texans

Every year multitudes of folks from the north come to the Rio Grande Valley to spend the winter months. Happily, some of them attend our church while they are here. So, each spring our church holds a banquet to honor these guests. This year the event will be held on Saturday, March 3, and the focus will be on world missions. Some of the ministries we have going, and some that we support, will have displays set up. It promises to be a good evening. Everyone, not just Winter Texans, is welcome to attend. The fun begins at 6 p.m in the FBC gym.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ravenhill

Revival services begin Sunday morning at FBC Brownsville. The guest speaker will be Dr. Gene Williams.

My all-time favorite quote about revival comes from Leonard Ravenhill. Ravenhill was a British evangelist, who cared not a wit for political correctness. The quote is as powerful as it is short. "As long as we are content to live without revival, we will".

Friday, February 10, 2012

Forever Ruined

I've been a little remiss in updating the blog....humble apologies.

Last weekend I towed our water purification trailer to the disaster relief training in Corpus Christi. We ended up with close to 200 people at the training, including about 10 newbies from FBC. As practice in using our feeding unit, we had to serve lunch to everyone. Menu: brisket and fixings. I'm not sure where they got the brisket, but it was really, really good. I got back in town about 7 Saturday night. All came off without a hitch.

The Bible Institute continues at FBC, and it is going well. Pastor Steve has at least 25 signed up in the English class. Last night we held the first Spanish class. We had 7 in the class, including me. The first curso is Bible Study Methods and Rules of Interpretation. Everyone seemed eager to learn, and there was lots of interaction. And they didn't laugh (much) at my Spanish!

I must say a quick word about the Perspectives class. We continue to meet each Tuesday, with a different speaker each week. Each class is like a mini-revival. I'm never more at home than when I'm around others who are zealous for God's glory, be it here or somewhere else.

I once heard someone say that when a person gets in on what God is doing around the world, he is forever "ruined for the ordinary". O' God, may You ruin many more for your name's sake. Amen.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spring Break

What are you doing during spring break? Well, if the idea of getting plastered every night at SPI doesn't appeal to you, then perhaps you'd be interested in taking a little excursion.

Last year you may recall that a group from FBC went over to Laredo to help (SBTC missionary) Chuy Avila blanket that city with information packets. These packets contained a gospel presentation, information about a local church, and a free ticket to an evangelistic event. Well, that same idea is being used in McAllen this year, with the big event to be held April 1. And again, they are needing teams to come over and help.

So, we are planning to leave Monday, March 12. Watch this space for more specifics.

(What exactly will we do? Just hang the packet on the door or gate, and go to the next house. It's incredibly easy; the trick is finding enough people to do it.)

By the way, the SBTC newspaper has an article about it here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

DR In The News

There's a good article about a disaster relief feeding unit from North Carolina in this week's baptist paper. So impressive is this unit that it was featured in a recent episode of Modern Marvels on the History Channel.

YOU too can be a disaster relief volunteer. Training will be held this weekend in Corpus Christi, and it's not too late to sign up. I can't promise that you'll ever be on TV, but you will be ready to make a difference when needed. And that's pretty marvelous in itself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Instituto

Last Wednesday I posted an announcement about our new Bible Institute that kicks off tomorrow night here at FBC. Today I am happy to announce that this same material will also be taught in Spanish (also at FBC). These classes will begin February 9th, and I'll be heading them up. So, if you have any amigos that may be interested in this kind of training, have them call the church office, or write to me at fbcbmissions@yahoo.com. ¡Gracias!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Preparation


"The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining." — John F. Kennedy

As much as we may wish it were not so, natural disasters are a fact of life. One day there WILL be a major hurricane to hit the gulf coast. One day there WILL be massive flooding, or an ice storm, or a wildfire, somewhere in the US. And when there is, Southern Baptists will be among the very first to respond. But to respond, we must be prepared. And preparation must take place before disaster strikes.

On Saturday February 4th our SBTC will offer disaster relief training in Corpus Christi. This will be Phase 1 training, which is required of all DR volunteers. If you've ever thought about getting involved in disaster relief, or if you'd like to further your training, this is the perfect time to do it.

If you would like to know more, please get in touch with me.

Bible Institute

Do you have a desire to serve the Lord, but don't feel equipped? Do you enjoy your Sunday School class, but wish you could go deeper? If so, help is on the way! We are about to launch a new initiative here at FBC with just such people in mind. It's called The Institute of Biblical Studies at Brownsville.

So, what is the IBSB? It is a 10-course church leader training program designed for those who can't attend a traditional Bible college or seminary. The institute covers things like Bible study methods, Bible survey, church history, missions, doctrine, spiritual life, and much more. Pastors, Sunday School teachers, deacons, would-be leaders, and motivated laymen are all welcome to attend.

The first session, "Bible Study Methods and Rules of Interpretation" will begin Thursday, January 26th, and will be taught by Pastor Steve Dorman. Click here for more information, or call the church office at (956) 542-5334.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Definition

Missionary: someone who leaves his family for a short time, so that others may be with their families for ETERNITY.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Regrets

I once heard a psychologist (who had worked for a time with hospice patients) say that when people get to the end of their lives, they often regret the things that they DIDN'T do instead of the things they did. Interesting, huh? So I ask: if, God forbid, you found out today that you only had a few days to live, what would you regret? What are the things that you never got around to?

The Bible tells us to "number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom". In other words, go for the gusto. We get one shot at life, and there are no dress rehearsals.

Starting tomorrow a few lucky souls will begin a journey called "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement". It is a 15-week study of that thing that God most wants: that His name be made known among the nations of the earth. If you live in the Rio Grande Valley, I urge - no, beg - you to consider taking the journey too. Don't you want your life to matter? Take the course. You won't regret it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Discipleship

This week we begin a new slate of Sunday evening discipleship classes. When People Are Big And God Is Small, based on the book by Ed Welch; Known (what does it mean to know God?), led by Stephen Porter; a Spanish-language ladies class; Mercy Triumphs, a Beth Moore study of the Book of James, also for ladies; Beginners Spanish; English as a Second Language; and for kids there's AWANA. The youth group meets in the Freeway. Why, you could say there's something for everyone! Nursery provided. Come join us, won't you?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Trying It Out

If you've read this blog regularly you know that I've been actively promoting the Perspectives class that is coming up very soon. I took the class 4 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It had been a long time since I had taken any class or study where I learned as much as I did in that one. I honestly think every Christian (and definitely every Christian leader) should take this course. But if you're still not sure you're ready to commit, here's something you may be interested in. On January 17th the first night of teaching will take place (January 10th will be registration, introduction to the course, etc.). You can sit in on this class FREE, with no strings attached. If you then decide that Perspectives is not for you, you can walk away, no harm done.
Visit the Perspectives website for more information.