Tuesday, July 31, 2018

PREACHING IN SPANISH

To learn a second language well was for me a much more difficult task than I had first thought it would be. When my family and I packed up our bags and headed for language school in Costa Rica many years ago, I thought that after eight months of having no other responsibilities other than learning a language, I would leave the school speaking Spanish better than I did English. My wife Vivian I think was a bit more realistic.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

KISII REPORT #9

Here is a neat little story—well, maybe not so little since it began when Vivian was a small girl, but I will leave a lot out so that the story is not so long. I came into the picture 42 years ago, when on our way home from the Rockies on our honeymoon, Vivian told me that we had to stop in at Union Center, South Dakota.

Not really knowing the importance of it all, but wanting to please my new bride; that is what we did. The result was that I became friends with a group of the finest people you would ever want to meet. Ranchers—most of them, or in businesses very closely associated with ranches. These are the high prairies and it is cattle country.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A SOLITARY PLACE


The Gospel of Mark is the shortest and fastest-moving of all the gospels. The author does not elaborate a great deal on each of Jesus’ episodes or on the disciples’ lives, but simply and quickly moves from one event to the next, often using the word immediately to connect two incidents.

It perhaps should not be surprising that Mark should write in this way, because he wrote his gospel from accounts given to him by the Apostle Peter (as it is commonly thought), with whom he traveled on his preaching circuit. Peter himself was a man who was usually very economical with his words and was, as we know from the descriptions of his activities, a man who quickly moved from one event to the next.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

KISII REPORT #8

I have written and spoken before about the very obvious physical needs of the orphans of the Log Church of Kenya:
 - Food is almost on a day-by-day basis, with some days the children having nothing to eat.
 -  Tattered clothing and broken plastic sandals for shoes, if any clothing or shoes at all.
 - Sleep for some of the children is on a dirt floor covered only with a thin cloth.
 
These are the things that were immediately apparent to me when I visited there.

As I have said to people on various occasions, “I lived in a village in rural India 45 years ago, and the living conditions  for the orphans of the Log Church are more rudimentary today than the children in my Indian village 45 years ago.”

Sunday, July 15, 2018

PAUL'S SECOND LETTER TO TIMOTHY

Here is some of what Paul said in one of his letters to his younger friend Timothy, as we have recorded for us in the book of Second Timothy: 

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. (2:1-6 NAS) 

…Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry…I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness. (4:2-3, 5, 7-8 NAS) 

Paul the Scrapper

These words are almost standard fare for the Apostle Paul: Words of admonishment, words of advice, explanations of clear doctrine.

Paul was a fighter. He fought his whole life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

SEVEN LESSONS IN GREATNESS


The gospel writer Mark talks about a time when James and John, the sons of Zebedee, said something that caused the other disciples to feel “indignant” toward them.

Indignant is a rather intense word. Some synonyms are outraged, incensed, angry and resentful.  What was it that these two brothers could have said to cause their friends and partners to feel this way?

The reason was because James and John had come to Jesus with a request. They approached him and said this: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you” (Mark 10:35 NAS).

Thursday, July 5, 2018

KISII REPORT #7

I have mentioned before the highland malaria of Kisii. Historically, this was an area of Kenya that was free from the illness. But with the increased travel between the eastern coastlines and the western highlands in the beginning of the 20th century, the mosquito-borne parasite made its way to the area.

For many years, malaria was treated in Kenya by Chloroquine, which reduced significantly the spread of the disease. However, the parasite that causes the disease eventually developed a resistance to this medication. Largely because of this resistance, there was a re-emergence of malaria in the 1980’s.

Unfortunately, this emergence came about the same time that other health epidemics arose in Africa, epidemics such as HIV-AIDS, Zika and Ebola. This has all put a large strain on the already fragile health care system of Africa, which has reportedly been decreasing in quality in the past 25 years.

I asked Pastor Joel what drugs are now used by doctors to cure the malaria, and he sent me an extensive list of different ones that they try: Artemether/Lumefantrine, Coartem, Malarone, Plaquenil, Doxycycline, Mefloquine…25 in all. Nothing works great, but they at least give the doctors a choice of options to try, that is, if the drugs are available.

There are also several drugs that can be taken as prophylactics, or prevention medications, but they do not actually prevent malaria from beginning in the body. Once the person has been infected, in the initial stage of malaria, it first affects the liver. It is from the liver that it eventually spreads to the blood stream. At least this is my understanding.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

WEARINESS

The Apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters, “Do not grow weary of doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13 NAS).

When one is facing extreme difficulties and is already weary of the effort, these are words that seem almost too easy to say.

It seems it is a bit like saying to a sad person, “Be happy.”

We cannot simply generate happiness, just as we cannot simply deny that we are weary. There must be reasons for a person to feel happy. In much the same way, for one to not be weary when he feels fatigued, something also has to be done. 

Weariness of a Different Color

Certainly in happiness, it is sometimes a matter of outlook. We become unhappy when we allow ourselves to focus on what is not going right and ignore or diminish the blessings that we have.

Can such a positive outlook in the same way enable us to overcome weariness?