06 April 2011

Here I go again!

After a pretty extended absence I think I'm ready to try it again.  No guarantees that my second attempt at blogging will last - time will tell.

Life has continued in the past 5 years and over time I hope to write about some of the changes that have happened.

22 July 2006

What is "missional" anyway?

Saw this a couple of days ago and thought I'd link to it. Then someone came in the office and you know the rest of the story. Anyway, check out what Adam has to say about missional ministry - read the whole series (the links at the bottom)

11 July 2006

3 Stooges in Action

Back in April, I wrote about the 3 Stooges. At this point, I still have not met the 3rd Stooge - he might be a fig newton of somebody's imagination - even if he is, Ronnie does a lot of the work......

I mentioned to Sam back in April that I had read a lot about teams and how to lead them, etc. Many books and such talked about effective teams, but I had never seen one work well until I saw the 3 Stooges in action. We got to see more on this trip. Not only did we see 2 of the 3 Stooges, but we got to see the interaction between them and their pastor. Three very strong personalities, all with different outlooks on life, all focusing on the same goal - pretty powerful. Watched conflicting goals, ideas be resolved not in an explosive way, but in a God honoring, peaceful, restorative way.

Their example has given me a lot to try to emulate. Two other men from Morenci went with me on this trip. Dennis is a man who never met a stranger. He is a Supervisor in the Research department at the copper mine. Jeff drives one of those small dump trucks (only 240-300 ton per load) for 12 hours a day, and he is pretty quiet most of the time. Both of them are leaders! I found that out on this trip.

Following the example of the guys from Stone Ridge, the team and the pastor, I tried to deflect as much of the decision-making issues to Jeff and Dennis, for many reasons. I want God to do things with us that are not limited by me. These 2 guys went on this trip and saw everything that I saw. They were impacted and want to make a difference in the lives of other people. They took the lead in talking to the local missionary and leaders of the churches. I tried to stay out of their way. It's a different way of operating that will take some time for all of us to be comfortable with, but it has been a good start.

This coming Sunday, Dennis and Jeff will present their views / impressions / etc on the trip, and then will tell the church where they think we should be involved with 2 different churches / missions in the DR. Should be a lot of fun.

10 July 2006

The power of vision

It is amazing how fast the schedule takes over when you get back from a trip. Spent a couple of days last week arguing with Montezuma, and it has already been a week since we got back. Oh well.....

We visited 32 different churches/missions from Friday night until Thursday night. We spent a lot of time in the wawa (Dominican for bus). Days were sometimes quite long, and showers quite "refreshing" with the humidity a bit higher than most of us were accustomed.

Everywhere we went on the island, we saw the power of a God-sized vision. The leader of the Dominican Baptist Convention has a vision to reach the entire nation for the cause of Christ. He has been the pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Puerta Plata for 28 years and he is 48 years old. Many men in that church are missionaries to their own people. Many other men in that church are preparing to become pastors or missionaries. It appears that they are approaching planting churches in much the same way that Guy posts about here. Not exactly the same, but similar.

We saw many people who are sold out to the cause of Christ. They work full time jobs, serve in the main church, and work to start missions, holding Bible Studies, developing relationships with other people.

We heard strategies that are well beyond the capabilities of the people who are working them. I made the comment to a seminary friend who was there that what they are doing made our Practicum course look weak in comparison. These men and women minister in impossible situations and God is magnified, lifted up, people are served, and the impossible becomes possible through His means. People are being set free from the bondage of sin regularly. The church is growing and flourishing.

Enough for now. More later.

07 July 2006

Reflections on fireworks

Fireworks this July 4th were different. The sound was the same, the colors were the same, the smell was the same, I am different.

In years past, I would hear the song "I'm Proud to be an American" and feel my chest swell with pride and gratitude. This year pride as an American was not at the forefront of my emotions. The overwhelming thought that ran across my mind that night was "Why me?"

Having recently returned from the Dominican Republic, and having met many brothers and sisters in Christ, I realized anew that I contributed nothing to my being born as a citizen of the United States of America. Only by the grace and will of God am I here, at this time, in this place.

Americans enjoy many privileges because of our place of birth. We also suffer some of the drawbacks of that same status. Of all the physical things in life, we enjoy the best. Of many of the spiritual aspects of life, we are poverty stricken. We have traded our spiritual life for an extravagant physical existence - a very poor choice on our part.

Our once strong spiritual vitality has been sapped dry for the most part in America. Yes, there are pockets of spiritual life here, but not like it is in other parts of the world where God has the hearts and minds and entire lives of His followers. He is working in other lands, with other peoples in ways that we will not allow Him to work in the States with us. For that, my emotion is not one of pride, but one of loss.

Am I blessed that God chose to give me life in the United States of America in the late 1900's / early 2000's? Yes I am. Did I have anything to do with that choice? No.

I'm not sure fireworks will ever mean the same to me again - at least I hope they won't.

03 July 2006

Tranquilo Bobby!!

We're home!!!! After a 25 hour of day traveling, we are all safe and sound, all 11 of us from Az who went to the DR. We had 4 legs on our journey with breaks (layovers) between just about each leg.

The best comment I have heard about the trip so far came from my beautiful bride. She said "You seem peaceful after this trip, not all keyed up like you usually are."

We heard many times on this trip - "Tranquilo Bobby!" Our Dominican host was very gracious and had a great sense of humor.

For some, it was a stretch to not have a schedule other than what someone else thought needed to happen. I kinda enjoyed it. We could see that God was leading us as we looked backwards....

I'm hoping to reflect a bit on some of the experiences we had, attitudes, questions, etc in the coming days. Suffice it to say that many more questions were raised than answers given, although many answers were discovered. Recently Guy commented here about something that I had no understanding when I replied. I now have a somewhat better understanding.... not complete by any means, but better.

I'm blessed to be home, where the electricity works all 24 hours of the day, along with water coming out of the faucet/toilet/shower whenever I turn it on, toilet seats (and toilets...), paper, etc. We Americans are very spoiled and tend to be fat and lazy.

21 June 2006

Trip starts tomorrow

Tomorrow we leave for the Dominican Republic. We are going to help church planters do whatever they want us to do. The only definite on our itinerary is when our planes are scheduled to depart and arrive, Sunday School is on Sunday morning, and Worship is on Sunday evening. Other than that, we are going to serve those we will be with.

Eleven of us are going from 4 different churches (and not all of them are Southern Baptist.....) I'm looking forward to seeing what God is doing there. From what I understand, He is working in ways there that we do not see Him working here in the States.

I have no idea whether I will have Internet access. If so, perhaps an occasional entry will show up. If not, I guess we will see how much makes its way here after we return.