reaching the world through Missions, Writing and Life

Life

A taste of our Mid-July Church Planting Expedition to India

Click on the link below to see the Video:

Ransom Demands

Advertisements

Driving a Forklift with a Master’s Degree

That’s right. I have a Master’s and I’m driving a forklift. Well at my part-time job that supplements my missions gig. But I absolutely put the suc in success, as Joel put it, at driving a forklift. Can missionaries say suc (suck)? I nearly knocked a whole rack of pallets down today.

I’ve known this for a while, but my job in the warehouse painfully seems to confirm it daily. I am fairly far below average when it comes to mechanical intelligence. I was always picked 1st or second on the playground when my buds from the neighborhood scrounged up a football game. But if we were to have some sort of competition involving driving forklifts or mechanical dealings, I’m sure I would be picked last.

My job has not been great for my personal pride. But the Lord works in mysterious ways. Maybe that’s His plan. Maybe I needed to be knocked down a notch or two. I mean I lead teams of Doctors and professionals to India and oversee church plants and pastors.

Positives: Whatever His plan, He’s provided a good and flexible job for me with decent pay. And I’ve picked up a few things here or there that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I admire the guys’ skills at work. I work with some great guys that aren’t just looking after themselves. I have a great boss in Mark Green and well, I think its good that I’ve been humbled a bit.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.


What are some of your favorite quotes?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

–  Sir Edmund Burke



What do you do when God asks you to do something you don’t want to do?

Ok, sorry its been too long since I’ve last posted. Now for the question of the day:

The question of the day: What do you do when God asks you to do something that you don’t want to do? So I really would love for everyone to respond to this one if you have a little time. You can respond with questions or your own experiences, etc…

See the biblical book of Jonah for reference. Now really maybe the first question is: How do you know what God is asking you to do? I don’t want to give you a formula answer because there really isn’t. However, there are some boundaries, though minimum on when you know that its God speaking. The main boundary being that God primarily speaks through the Bible. So if there is any other way outside of the bible that you think God is speaking to you, then you need to check the scriptures to make sure that what your hearing is not contradictory to the scriptures. That’s why its so important to read and know the bible!

Now otherwise, God speaks through circumstances, prayer, other Christians and sometimes non-Christians, dreams and nature. But again if you have a dream about having an affair on your wife, you can’t claim that the dream is God’s confirmation for you to have an affair. We know that the Bible speaks explicitly about adultery and how God does not condone it. Hence, the bible is your number one source for God’s will in your life above all of the others.

Now back to our question what do you do when God asks you to do something you don’t want to do? Well, basically my life is a mixed bag. Sometimes I feel that I am very faithful in obeying his call. But sometimes I really just don’t trust Him and I think that my way is better. That’s a crazy thought, but I behave this way sooooo…. many times. It reminds me of the song by Mainstay called BECOME WHO YOU ARE. It says, “I keep on chasin the wrong things and comin up empty. This isn’t who I’m supposed to be.”

Share one of your experiences or your thoughts. What do you do when God asks you to do something and you don’t want to do it?

Scott


Ron the Convenience Store Guy

I confess to not being frugal sometimes. Hi, my name is Scott and I’m a Convenience Store-aholic. That means instead of going the cheaper rout via the grocery store afflicted with long lines and longer waits to get a coke or a snack, I head for the local quickie. Ok, some of your minds are in the gutter right now. You can climb on out now. Well that’s what we called convenience stores/gas stations in Northwest Arkansas where I grew up. Ok, glad we got that straight.

My particular favorite Convenience Store is a BP where a guy named Ron works. I’m drawn to this particular one because their prices really are cheaper compared to most other gas stations and a guy named Ron with a magnetic personality works there. That’s right, you heard it correctly. And no, I’m not gay.

You see Ron may being missing a tooth or two and he may be a little overweight, and he probably has no or little education beyond High School, but the guy always has a great attitude. To the world, Ron really has nothing going for him. Its hard for me to understand. He works a dead end job and his appearance is definitely lacking at first glance. But he always greets you with a smile. He possesses an aura of positivity and fresh air. I just enjoy talking to the guy.

I’m fairly upfront with people. So I asked Ron what his secret was to being so, well, Ronish (positive and magnetic). He credits his great outlook on life to his grandmother. Evidently she was quite the disciplinarian, but I can tell by how Ron speaks of her, she truly spent time investing in and loving on him! Plus, Ron says, “What good does complaining and having a bad attitude do for me?” His answer, “…absolutely nothing.”

You see I’m guilty. When things are looking down for me and believe me, my problems are relatively miniscule to what many others face, I tend to have a bad attitude. I’m not the proverbial breath of fresh air during such times.

Of course, we need to grieve losses during tough times. We need to give our selves a pass when we’re not always seen as a ray of sunshine by others. But we need to realize that we’ve been given the gift of life. And we need to see the beauty in the small things. There is beauty even in the ugly or  difficult things in life (Romans 8:28).

How do we do this? Well, we need to know that we are loved. Love is the highest law and purpose (1 John 4:8-20). That’s the key! I know that there are many people who’ve had very difficult, even tragic lives with little proof that anyone loves them. If you’re one of those people, you must know that there is someone who loves you… someone who cherished you so much that He gave his life for you. Will He discipline you when you’re going the wrong direction? Yes. Will he allow you to experience hard times? Yes, but only to draw you to Him, to shape and mold you or possibly so that your story of love against all odds might be a witness for Him to others. But He loves you with an eternal love. His name is Jesus!

My goal: To be magnetic even during hard times. Thank you Ron for being a tangible example. Thank you Jesus for loving me.

Scott


Christianity Today: Finding Faith in the ‘Holy Wars’

{{desc}}

via Christianity Today Entertainment Blog: Finding Faith in the ‘Holy Wars’.

This is not meant to be inflammatory. Its a documentary where the producer follows the life of a fundamentalist Christian and a fundamentalist Muslim. Now I haven’t seen the documentary and I don’t know if the labels fundamentalist are true to either of the main character’s beliefs. However, the producer/director seems to have been impacted spiritually by it, at least more so than he originally thought. It seems very fascinating. Check out the link above on Christianity Today’s website for a description of the film and a trailer.


Muslims: Huge Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, TN

The Issue and the Contestants

Here in Murfreesboro, TN  a muslim community has been given permission by the city council to build a 53K Islamic Center and Mosque. (See this article: http://www.dnj.com/article/20100805/NEWS05/8050325/Planners+asked+to+research+mosque+issues). It seems that the city council pushed this through fairly easily and there was little public outcry due to the lack of significant reporting from local media. Now there is an enormous debate and public outcry in this bible belt town of mine concerning this issue after it was found out that the local commission quietly passed and allowed for the permit for the the building of the Islamic Center. By the way I don’t blame the council, by our very laws of the Constitution, people have the right to assemble and worship as they please. And the city council would probably be sued if they didn’t allow for the building permit.

But there is a notable exception to religious liberty. That exception is if a religious organization or their religious practice interferes with a compelling interest of the U.S. or State of the “highest order”, then the govt. can interfere. That would include religious practices or organizations that fund, practice or encourage physical harm against the U.S. govt or its citizens.

So we have the fearful fundamentalists protesting the last city commission meeting wearing anti-Islamic t-shirts. Then we had those (Christians, non-Christians, muslims) who claim this to be an issue of religious liberty and civil rights and they were protesting the protesters. Then we have those in the middle. I’m speaking from my experience at least because my intuition tells me that I’m a guy in the middle on this issue.

These people in the middle are mainly Christians. They believe Jesus called us to love our enemies and our neighbors, which He did. But they also fear the gradual implementation and influence of Sharia law, which if strictly followed would be antagonistic to the freedom of all other religions.

Without going into too much detail here, there are several different schools of thought concerning Sharia law among Muslim theologians, scholars and politicians. The Hanbali school, known for following the most Orthodox form of Islam, is embraced in Saudi Arabia and by the Taliban. This is the where most extreme actions occur from and the source of all of the horror stories about flogging, stoning, amputation, exile, or execution are reported by the media. But the majority of Islamic countries and political systems of the world are less strict. And those political systems, who have strict/literal interpretations and harsh remedies of punishments for those laws, such as Saudi Arabia, have such such a radical position according the what is written in their laws, but often resort to lesser punishments and restrictions when laws are actually broken and judgments  are rendered.

Here’s the most interesting thing. In a 2007 University of Maryland poll (PDF), more than 60 percent of the populations in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, and Indonesia (with less strict religious-political Islamic systems) responded that democracy was a good way to govern their respective countries, while at the same time, an average of 71 percent agreed with requiring “strict application of [sharia] law in every Islamic country.” What this seems to imply is that a good majority of Muslims agree with the strict rules and enforcements, as long as it doesn’t apply to them.

Here’s another thought. Those somewhat progressive more open and democratic Islamic Societies oppress people who practice religions other than Islam. The persecution is less in some of the more progressive countries and more in others, but the one unifying factor is that they all persecute and discriminate against the practice of religions outside of Islam.

Did you know that there are more people attending mosque services than church services in England? The birth rate of muslims in Europe is significantly higher than the birth rate of native Europeans. If this remains the status quo, the Muslim population may become a majority by the middle of this century: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/5994047/Muslim-Europe-the-demographic-time-bomb-transforming-our-continent.html  And if you can read the writing on the wall, the U.S. might not be too far behind, as more and more muslims have children and move to this country.

So as Christians, what do we do? Do we delve into fear and react with animosity and hate? Do we prevent American Muslims the same right our forefather’s provided us, that is the freedom to worship as our conscious leads us to worship? Do we ban Muslims from building mosques because Islam can SOMETIMES instigate violence and persecution against people of different faiths?

These are difficult questions to answer. But or the most part I have to say no to all of the question. For those of us who are Christians, I know of only one solution that Jesus calls us to undoubtedly to be a part of . We are to love Muslims to the point where they come to know who Jesus is. We are to share the gospel in a loving way! I know, I know… it seems counterintuitive. But we aren’t called to follow our intuitions over Jesus’ calling. But this means that we have to become friends with Muslims and we have to reach out to them.

What if Muslims start coming to Christ in droves because we are fulfilling the Great Commission. If so,  Sharia law will have no opportunity to gain a foot hold here or anywhere. Yes, its uncomfortable and a huge sacrifice. But were the brave sacrifices of our soldiers in WWII not worth it? Is freedom (spiritual and physical) freedom not worth it? And as Christians, we should know that the price for freedom is always sacrifice.

What are your thoughts? Are you willing to sacrifice your comfort zone and reach out to a Muslim not to convert them, but to love them? If so, you just might love them to Jesus.

Scott