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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.