Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

On My Mind #53: God’s Activity in Specific Geographical Areas

A few experiences I am reflecting on tonight:

1. In 2008, I went to Rwanda and experienced God moving in ways I had never experienced before. Hundreds of people came to Christ during the time we were there. God was moving all throughout Rwanda, and still is as that country heals from the wounds of 1994.

2. In 2009, I traveled with a group to Costa Rica for another short term trip. God did amazing things on that trip, although it was different than 2008 in Rwanda. Amazing stories to be sure, but on a different scale.

3. As anyone could easily observe, our culture as a whole is hardened toward God and truth. Christians are generally mocked. Churches are mistrusted. The Bible is regarded as hate literature by many. Many Christians fear the future of the United States is destined for ruin, seeing its moral collapse in progress.

4. In contrast to number 3, my home community (Kenmore, Akron, OH) is a place where it is tangible that God is moving. Spiritual warfare is abundant, but we are witnessing people choose Jesus over evil. Individuals are making difficult decisions to turn from past lifestyles or poor relationships and build new ones with committed Christians. Lives of drugs, alcohol, violence, and brokenness are being traded for faith in Christ.

To be sure, it’s not by the hundreds, but talk of God is something that is becoming more acceptable and common. There is a dedicated base of believers in local churches and missions organizations (such as First Glance and Project Shine) that is building trust and living and ministering in the community representing the truth of Christ in authentic ways.

In sum…
I believe God works in geographical areas. I don’t know all the dynamics, but committed prayer efforts and ministry intentionally can help areas awaken to the truth as He uses His people for His glory. I want to experience more of this and I’m committed to seeing what God will do in the future!

Monday Links and Bullets 2.25.13

Last Monday of February.  Hard to believe that is true. The Monday routine is this: I share articles I find interesting (links).  Then, usually totally unrelated to the articles, I share a few of my own thoughts below (bullets).  Enjoy, and be challenged!

WEEKLY LINKS

Link of the Week

Being in ministry is hazardous to your soul.  You do not have to be in full time ministry to understand and benefit from this article.  A good challenge.

Christian Faith

Do you worship the God of endless choices? How do you make decisions?  This is an article that will help you think through the process.

Jesus is better than self help.

A radical lesbian turned Christian.  If we’re “born this way”, should this be possible?

Technology

This is fascinating.  It’s the story of how an iPhone app literally saved a guy who ran out of money making a documentary that got nominated for an Oscar.  Check it out!

BULLET THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK

Oscars

  • I think I watched 3 or 4 movies in a theater last year.
  • Two of them won – Argo for best picture, and Anne Hathaway for best supporting actress in Les Mis.
  • Both were very deserving in my opinion.  I was not overwhelmed by the performance of the lady in Zero Dark Thirty.
  • The guy who hosted it seemed pretty stiff and mechanical in his delivery.

Baseball

  • Last week I pegged the Indians to win 86 games.  I’ll peg the Yankees to win 88 and miss the playoffs by one game.
  • The Yankees lost their starting center fielder (they wanted him to move to left) due to a broken forearm.  Granderson will be back in May.  He is one of my least favorite players, as his game had deteriorated to home runs and little else (his BA was all the way down to .230 range).
  • I hope the Dodgers and Angels are terrible and miss the playoffs like they did last year.

Life

  • Our daughter Alexa was drawn from a lottery to go to Akron’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) school.  It’s an option.  She auditioned for the public schools’ performing arts track and should hear something within the next few weeks.  We’re praying God will lead us to the right educational opportunities for all of our children.
  • I was finding puddles (of coffee) underneath our coffee pot.  A basic inspection revealed no leaks.  However I did find a drip where the coffee comes out (it is like a fountain dispenser and doesn’t have the normal carafe). Problem solved!  We’ll just put a small container underneath there and it can drip into there.
  • Our first month in our grocery experiment has gone well.  I think we’ve made less trips to the store and we’ve communicated fairly well throughout the month.  Hopefully this will continue.  We’re going to continue to attempt to buy more at one time rather than smaller trips.

Parenting

  • I have to remember I cannot control my kids.  Boy is that difficult.  It’s definitely increasing my prayer life!  
  • I mean this mostly in regards to what their interests are and what they’ll become.  We want to provide lots of freedom for these choices, and we believe prayer and openly discussing decisions (friends, schools, future, culture, faith, etc.) are great ways to help lead and guide without exerting control or stifling the necessary process of the development of independence.

Faith

  • I am pretty resolute that I am doing exactly what God wants me to be doing in this season of my life.  I pray He will use me.
  • Speaking of that, I have been sharing my faith with a number of people.  I desire that they would come to know Jesus, that He could set them free from so much struggle and hopelessness.
  • My soul continues to stir from the conference I attended at the beginning of February.  It seems so simple to say this, but I really am trusting in the Spirit rather than the flesh for growth, leading, ministering, and decisions.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday Link Highlight 2.22.13

Here is the most clicked link from Monday’s post:

http://www.drugfree.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/partnership_components_tool_revised_031612.pdf

To be clear, I’m not promoting that I think there are failsafe ways to prevent problems with kids, but this research based study is certainly intriguing.

It’s worth your read if you have any exposure to children and teens at all.

Here are a few of my comments:

1. This is not rocket science.

I am sure we could have given an average group of parents 20 minutes to come up with the top ten ways parents can help prevent drug and alcohol problems, and these six would have been on their list.  There is nothing here that is earth shattering.

This should make us happy.  However complicated we tend to make parenting, the basics are still the basics.

2. This is NOT a spiritual study.  PRAYER should be at the top of the list.

Save me the email complaining about why prayer isn’t on the list.  It’s number one for me.  Parents modeling real gospel faith and living have a pretty good shot at navigating their children’s upbringing.  Couple that with fervent prayer, and you’re not going to go wrong.

3. Boundaries.

I think this article hits the mark with reasonable boundaries (and tips to avoid unreasonable ones). Boundaries are a way to build trust and help the parent evaluate how to grant more (or less) freedom.  I also wonder at times why parents don’t enact these reasonable boundaries.  So what if your child is upset with you – they’re not supposed to be your best friend.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday Links and Bullets 2.18.13

Hey all.  I’m excited to get today’s links and bullets posted.  So, without further ado . . .

WEEKLY LINKS

Link of the Week

PARENTING: Here is an article that contains some researched based ways to avoid drug and alcohol problems in teens. (Disclaimer: I know nothing is foolproof, but this article is definitely food for thought).

Christian Faith

BELIEF: What a nifty little article to help you think about belief.  Definitely worth your time.

FOLLOWING JESUS: Don’t look to someone else’s plan, and get serious about it!

LOVE: In a word, display it “ridiculously”.

ABORTION: Oh how powerful these pictures are.  Please take a look – this is LIFE!

BULLET THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK

PERSONAL:

  • Took a chance on the chocolate Chex cereal.  Great stuff!
  • Seems like being up early on Monday might become part of the routine.  The early morning hours are enjoyable, I do confess.
  • It’s about 1:30 p.m. and I feel like my entire day is complete.  I’m sure I’ll get a short nap this afternoon.  Being up early makes it seem like two days in one (not that I plan to make it an every day habit).
  • Wisdom is an ongoing need.  No doubt about it!
  • I am trying to get into shape.  Going ok, just want to run a 5K in May for a decent time.
  • Why on earth are the schools off today, Friday, and then again next Wednesday?  What a weird schedule.

FAITH:

  • This is definitely  a season of life where I feel stretched. I know I’m growing, and I don’t know where it’s leading, but it’s exciting.
  • Our local community (called Kenmore) took a stand against violence on Saturday night.  Here’s an article I posted today to our church’s blog with some of my thoughts.  The article includes a link to a news piece a Cleveland news station did after reporting on the event. What an excellent event to be a part of!
  • How much is prayer a part of your life? If the answer is “not much”, how are you trying to live without it, especially if you’re a believer? You do not have because you do not ask.
  • The end times: more for your knowledge or for application to daily living?  There should be balance here.

SPORTS:

  • Not much to say on sports this week.  Kinda slow.
  • A friend and I both guessed 86 games won by the Cleveland Indians this year. Interesting.
  • I love the rumors about the Browns stealing Flacco from the Ravens.  I don’t think it would happen, but it would be awesome to think about!
  • It’s a little early to make a pick for baseball, but I’m close.  Give me a few more weeks and I’ll make my prediction for the World Series winner. I know this: the Yankees won’t be in my thinking!

Link Highlight 2.16.13 – A straight forward article about gay marriage.

I posted this article in Monday’s links and bullets.

Out of all the articles I posted this week, this got the most interest.  Take it or leave it, regardless it’s a challenge for believers to think.

I generally think the approach of a lot of Christians to gay marriage is awful.  Most don’t have any knowledge at all of the issue.  This article gives us some good insight, whatever our exposure to the issue.

PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE. (click on the link above)

Then, here area few of my own thoughts.

1. Love is absent in the Christian church’s general response to this issue.

When you don’t know something, you fear it.  And, fear drives people to do and say lots of stupid things.  The second point of this article is love.  How do you love?  Here is a good example from someone who was made famous this summer for “hating” gays.  He doesn’t.  And this is exactly how Christians should respond.  (I encourage you to read this article also).  It MUST be possible to disagree and love at the same time.

We are called to overcome evil with good.  We should be prepared to do this kind of good.

If you’re a Christian and you’re commenting about gay marriage and you’re not prepared to do something like this, then shut your mouth.  You’re making the Bible and your Savior look horrible.

2. Be open and honest about the topic, especially with your family.

It’s not a bad thing to teach your family appropriately about this issue.  I think parents should want their children to hear God’s truth from them, not get their information from a bunch of other sources and then compare it to what you have to say.  When appropriate, be proactive.  Communicate the difficult issue.  Do so in love.

Have a great weekend.  As always, be challenged!