Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Sacred Space

The camp facility that Abide Brazil ministries will use as our "home" for the coming years has a wonderful, yet sad history.
The camp was originally a hospital for Brazilians fighting tuberculosis.

Run as a cooperative effort among several evangelical churches the hospital received patients who were literally fighting for their lives. The cold mountain air gave hope for a cure, but the disease separated loved ones from their families for years at a time. To walk on the beautifuly camp grounds it is hard to imagine how many people spent day after day restricted to this small place in the world. They could not leave until they were healed.

The state of the human soul is also powerful enough to separate us from family and friends for years. Though we may live in the same house or even attend the same church, we can be separated by sicknesses of the soul and spirit.

I believe God is going to use this camp to heal people in a new way. People will learn to abide and then they will be free to go home and meet their families, the church family and society in a new and healthy way.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Open doors

The vision of Abide Brazil Ministries has always been to encourage Brazilian leaders to lead while enjoying a barrier-free relationship with the True Vine, Jesus Christ. From the beginning we have believed this kind of leadership teaching and influence can only happen if busy leaders stop their normal level of effort and get quiet enough to hear about a better way of leading.

For this reason we have searched for a place to meet with pastors in a mountain city about an hour from where we live. The original idea was to own a bed and breakfast location or invest in a camp property where accomodations for couples could be added. The cost of developing and maintaining such a facility has always been the sticking point.

Now the Lord has seen fit to team Abide Brazil ministries with an already existing camp facility with a proven track record for caring and encouraging leaders. The EBENEZER camp led by Josmar and Mariza has agreed to do several remarkable things to help Abide Brazil begin to influence and bless leaders. (Check out their website in portuguese at

First, they have agreed to develop more apartments for couples on the camp property. Abide Brazil will partner in the fundraising for these apartments but the main investment will be from the camp owners and their supporters. Second, the camp has offered Abide Brazil the use of a home on the camp property. This home will be remodeled and furnished by Abide Brazil Ministries at a cost of about $17,000.00 and will be used rent and maintenance free for at least 4 years.

The home sits at the main entrance to the camp and will give the ministry two offices, a conference room and a meeting area for up to 8 couples. The meeting area will be built on as an addition to the existing house and is included in the $17,000.00 cost.

The house is over 70 years old and was once used a part of a hospital complex run by evangelical churches to help patients battle tuberculosis in the 1930's and 1940's. Now the house will help heal souls!

The fundraising for this project is our number one priority as we come to the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007. Renting and maintaining this space would cost far more than the $17,000.00 remodel costs to update the house. The camp directors are allowing Abide Brazil to use these facilities because they believe in the abide message and they, too, believe the time is right to influence an entire generation of Brazilian leaders.

Now is the time to act on this great opportunity. Donations for this project can be sent to International Bible Baptist Church
17701 N.W. 57th Av. Miami, FL. 33055. Be sure to make checks payable to the church and clearly designate the gift---Camp Remodel Abide Brazil. All gifts are tax deductable.

You can make a difference right now in Brazil. We need your help and so do Brazilian leaders.

(click on photos to enlarge.)

Spiritual formation

We have just completed our first 16 week course on Spiritual Formation. The goal of the class was to equip people in our church to disciple people based on Galatians 4:19 where the Apostle Paul talks about "Christ formed" in us. We meet over a 16 week period for an hour and a half every Tuesday night. What a great and diverse group!

Thursday, November 30, 2006


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this one is worth even more. The joy of seeing over 103 people baptized in a single day was beyond words. Even the word awesome doesn't quite work.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Old and New

One of the amazing things about the Christian life is the incredible opportunity we each have to connect with people in the name of Jesus. I am convinced the key to friendships in to have a common interest with someone else. The common interest creates the opportunity for a friendship to develop.

This past week Pam and I had a wonderful experience of teaching our new course on Abiding to Tsai and Elza who are "old" friends from our first church planting experience back in the 1980's. Tsai came to our church early in its existence and brought his girlfiend Elza. He was a follower of Jesus but she needed a little help seeing Jesus as her perfect Saviour. It was our privilege to help her see and she believed. Today they are faithfully serving the Lord as a couple and now want to teach the Abiding course to others.

I also travelled to a new Brazilian city and made new friends. The connecting point was our common interest in Jesus. What a wondeful benefit deep and lasting friendships are among all who find Jesus deeply interesting.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November update

Click on Update to enlarge

The Human Dilemma-the Human Solution

God's original plan for the world was human dominion through constant fellowship with God. This was plan "A" and there is no indication that plan "A" has been changed. There is no plan "B". All solutions that will ever reach this planet will come through humans cooperating with and enjoying God.

Jesus is the "second Adam". He is not a plan "B" because God's first plan was flawed. Jesus is the new face of plan "A". All plan "A" needs to work are humans 100% satisfied in God 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Jesus showed this new face of plan "A" and all who want to return are now free to do so with Jesus.

When Jesus said his disciples would do greater works than He had done, he was referring to the worldwide expansion of plan "A". Men and women satisfied in God are back! Loving, human solutions are back as we abide in Jesus.

The church is the bride of Christ. The church is the new face of plan "A" as well. Just as surely as the first Adam needed Eve, so, too, the second Adam needs his bride. As the church lives in love and shows itself loyal to the second Adam, the original plan of God begins to make itself more and more known in the world. Because of Jesus and his bride, plan "A" is working again.

The reason love is so important among the followers of Christ is because love is the mark of plan "A" back in action. Love solves problems that matter to those we love. God will not solve human problems without humans living plan "A" through Jesus who is God's visible commitment to his original plan. God will not intervene on earth apart from human participation. That is His only plan. That is why Jesus had to come was the Word made flesh. That is why each of is important right now.

Sometimes people think God had to send Jesus to earth because plan "A" failed. No, God sent Jesus to earth because God's plans will never fail. Once we know what God's plan "A" is we would be very wise to never suggest a plan "B". If the first Adam had understood the unchanging nature of God's plans, then plan "A" would be working as planned and he could have avoided death which was not a part of plan "A".

I am sure the first Adam is one of the second Adam's biggest fans. After all, the first Adam was the first to find out that plan "A" is the only plan. I know the first Adam never thought there would be a plan "B". He just couldn't figure out where the right man would come from to recover plan "A". We now know who that man is and so does Adam #1. God became man and dwelt among us and we saw the glory of plan "A" in action saving the world.

In Jesus, plan "A" never looked or worked better!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Southern Brazil

Pam and I have just returned from a couple's retreat in Southern Brazil. The First Baptis Church of Curitiba invited us to conduct the ABIDING EXPERIENCE course for 135 couples at their annual retreat. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and see a new part of Brazil.

The impact of the course was significant. The simplicity of the John 15 metaphor takes people by surprise. They are impacted by its simplicity and its depth. These words coming directly from Jesus on the last night of His life among His first disciples really communicate how the Christian life works 24X7.

Southern Brazil is beautiful. The entire region is heavily influenced by German culture. It has a European feel to it that makes it seem better organized and calm. We hope to return again.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


The original vision we had for the Abide Brazil ministry has been to very deeply influence Brazilian pastors and leaders to lead while abiding in the perfect life and presence of the VINE, JESUS CHRIST. We have always believed this would require a long and profound dialog about the life of Jesus that now is in every believer.

This dialog can begin by preaching sermons or writing letters, but it really needs to be shared face to face with no rush and no distraction. This goes against our normal plan for impacting many people, but it is the truest form for real discipleship. To disciple others we must share our lives with them and they must share their lives with us. This kind of influence is not easy, cheap or shallow. In reality, it is slow, painful and expensive. Still, it is the only way I know that truly produces an abiding follower of Jesus.

After an intensive and intentional process of connecting with Brazilian pastors and leaders, we are pleased to say that our first Abiding Experience retreat was a wonderful fulfillment our dream to bless Brazilian leaders. Even though the retreat was for only 24 hours, it was life forming and life changing. I believe these pastors and leaders are committed to leading while enjoying a barrier-free relationship with the living presence of Jesus in them. They see and believe that it is the presence of Jesus that provides them with life, identity, satisfaction, capacity and opportunity. They see and believe that they must set the speed of their lives and ministry in accordance with their ability to be quiet before God moment by moment. They want to abide because they hear Jesus saying "without Me you can do nothing."

For all who have prayed and sent the funds that make this ministry possible, we rejoice with you for what Jesus has done and is doing here in Brazil.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The harvest

For over 25 years I have read almost on a daily basis from the daily devotional book MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST. The 365 readings based on the teaching of Oswald Chambers has been food for my soul, spirit, mind and heart.

This morning I was reading the devotional once again and saw something I had never truly seen and understood before.
In the reading for October 16th Chambers draws attention to the verse in Matt. 9:38 which says "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." He goes on to make this statement "He (God) owns the harvest that is produced through distress and through conviction of sin. This is the harvest for which we have to pray that laborers be sent out to reap."

What caught my attention is what produces the harvest--Distress and Conviction--and who is the Lord of this process--Jesus' Father. Jesus clearly says God is the Lord of the harvest. God wants what distress and Conviction produce in human lives.

A harvest is something one wants and is willing to invest in. For the harvest God desires to come in, men and women must be put into distress and conviction. God uses pain to prepare the harvest. God is the Lord over pain. Pain is not a mistake on God's part. It is a strategy of harvest.

Perhaps the laborers are so few is because we do not want to go in the direction of the world's distress and conviction. Perhaps we do not like to think that God is involved in such things. It seems to me that the natural direction for most humans is away from distress and conviction. Yet, that is where the harvest God wants is waiting to be harvested.

God is the Lord over human distress and conviction. Jesus certainly went where the distress and conviction left people ripe for His message. Going in the direction of the world's distress and conviction is the right direction for those who can see what God is after. God wants souls that are ripe to be saved from their lives without Him.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Metaphors of a Happy Marriage

Pam and I have just returned for four intense and wonderful days in the city of Goiania in the interior of Brazil. A group of 33 couples from a wonderful church invited Abide Ministries to teach our new course "Six Metaphors of a Happy Marriage." This six hour course is being wonderfully received here in Brazil and I am translating it into English for future use.

I believe that the best way to change behaviour is to change the metaphors that we each use to hold life "still" long enough to make decisions and adjustments. Jesus gave us the metaphors for living and the Bible is filled with God's metaphors for life.
For instance, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden was the easily seen image Adam and Eve were given to consider concerning how to live or die in God's creation. They picked the tree as their metaphor for living and we all died. Metaphors are powerful. We should all check our metaphors to see if they are from God before deciding anything.

Travel here in Brazil is tiring and even dangerous at times. Even so, we know "The Lord is our Shepherd...."

Thursday, September 28, 2006


The hardest part about returning to Brazil has been the miles that separate us from our family. Though each of our children gave us their blessing to return to Brazil, the time apart is hard.

That is why it has been such a blessing to receive Rachel, Mark, Reese and Rylan here in our home for the past 10 days.
Reese and Rylan may be too small to remember this trip but Pam and I will not forget the joy they have brought to us.
Mark has been filming the ministry here so we can give an update to all of our current abide partners and future partners.
He is a real pro!

Rachel is expecting their third child and our 7th grandchild. Are we blessed? We certainly are!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Reality Check

Life in Brazil is much less cosmetic. Reality here is more "real". Material wealth and cultural customs allow some nations to put a less shocking spin on reality. Even so, the reality remains the same even under the cosmetic cover and cultural attempts to blunt reality.

Yesterday in the morning I passed a smiling brother in Christ working on our church property. Less than 8 hours later I was passing his still body in the church chapel. A heart attack had taken him from this world to our Lord's presence. Only his body remained to create a reality check in all of our lives.

I have done hundreds and hundreds of funerals in the USA. The American culture and wealth have allowed us to make this reality check called death slow down and seem a little less shocking. Here in Brazil bodies are not embalmed and by law the burial must be within 24 hours of the death. So much for trying to lessen the impact of death. In reality we can't.

What is interestiing is that in this 24 hours Brazilians do more about the death than we as Americans often do in four or five days. Brazilians stop everything immediately and face death. Brazilians spend the entire night with the family and with the body of the one who has died. Brazilians weep deeply and immediately. In 24 hours the entire public process is over and the reality of life and death has left its mark for each to deal with privately.

I am not sure which way of facing death is better, but I can certainly say that death here gets one's undivided attention for 24 hours. I think that is a good thing because it allows for no cosmetic answers or money based rationalizing. Death is really here, but so is life in Jesus.

The death of my Chrisitan brother Ricardo at 48 years of age has left me with two images. One is the smile he gave me in the morning. The second is the stillness of his body in the evening. Both are real. The smile I will see again. The still body I will never see again. The next time I see him it will be with a smile and an eternal body. That is real and the past 24 hours made me face it more quickly than I am accustomed to.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


This morning I had the privilege of addressing a group of people receiving food baskets through the ministry of the church here. I find these kind of moments a mixture of joy and discomfort. I continue to find deep poverty to be one of the most challenging issues this particular American faces while living in a country like Brazil. Speaking to this group of deeply poor people really made me deal with the apparent differences between their life and mine. That is not comfortable but it is good.

I asked the Lord to give me a message for them of faith, hope and love. He did. Here is the essence of what He gave me.
I wish you could have been standing their with me looking into their faces and seeing their reality. You, too, might have felt joy and discomfort.

God led me to tell them....

1. Appearances can fool us. When we look at society it seems that only some (like the poor) need to receive in order to live.
That is how things appear, but the reality is all of us live each day by what we receive. We are all equally dependent before God for all we have. It is an illusion to think there are people alive today who do not need to receive what they do not have in order to live. Faith is about receiving from God. We all live by receiving or we will surely die.

2. Appearances can fool us. When we look at our lives we think only some people can be truly happy and joyful. We think people who live in certain houses and in certain neighborhoods can be happy today. That is how things appear, but the reality is that no one lives anywhere but within their own inner life. I don't live in Brazil. I live within the boundaries of my own soul. This is true of all the people in the world. With Jesus in my soul I can be happy anywhere.

3. Appearances can fool us. When we look at the day that is stretching out before us we may think we have nothing to give anyone. We think that our life has nothing to give unless we appear to have something to give. No, we all have something to give. What we have to give may be as simple as a smile or as profound as forgiveness. We may have no house or no transportation, but there are things God is giving us that we can give. We all must be giving because that is what love does.

At the end of my words, the group of about 75 applauded. I think they were being polite but they gave me something very special. They accepted me and they accepted the words God gave me. They gave me their attention. How small our food baskets seemed to me when compared to what they gave me out of their poverty!

Truly we all live by receiving. Truly we all can rejoice right where we live-in our souls. Truly we can all release something today to someone who really needs it-even in our poverty.

Don't let appearances fool you. People are the same all over the world. Receive--Rejoice---Release!

Monday, August 21, 2006


For the first time ever in our journey of abiding, Pam and I were able to teach what the Lord has taught us in the form of a careful and full explanation of what it means to abide on a daily basis. Praise the Lord the 140 women from the First Baptist Church in São Jose dos Campos received the teaching with open hearts. It was wonderful!

The range of Christian experence was from new converts to very, very mature believers and leaders. Even so, the metaphor fit each life just as Jesus said it would. For those who doubt the power of His words, just try using them exclusively for a while in your teaching and preaching and you will see that what He said is the final word in every life.

In one of the pictures I have chosen to show this wonderful moment in our lives you will see two elderly sisters with their hands raised and fingers folded down into the palm of their hand. One of them said to me, "When we stand up as individuals (open hand) we are very different. When we all bow together before God we are all equal" Try it and you will see that even our hands preach spiritual truth.

Finally, I am beginning to see how all things truly work together for good to those who love God and are called accordiing to His purpose.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Abiding Experience

Pam and I are happy to report the "birth" of the course on Abiding we have worked on for many years!
Today we will head to the mountain city of Campos do Jordão to teach the 7 hour course to 140 women from the First Baptist Church of São Jose.

The course is designed to be used in retreats, small groups and in individual discipleship. The course is based on John 15 and walks a person through the metaphor that best describes how the daily Christian life can and should work.

Pray for us as we teach the course and continue to develop the other tools that will help people enjoy "The Abiding Experience" of the life of Jesus 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

We hope to have the english editions of both the marriage course and the abiding experience course by January. Our goal is to train church leaders to use the courses effectively in the life of the local church.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Surprise--Back on the radio

Once again I have been surprised by God's attention to detail. Why is it I cannot just expect Him to be so perfect at what He does?
I am ashamed to admit my faith is so small yet I am happy to say He continues to work with me. It is amazing.

The latest surprise is the opportunity to speak by radio to over 100,000 listeners in a southern Brazilian city. This also may lead to putting the Abide program on similar stations all over Brazil. God brought our friend Edson Bruno back to Brazil to lead a new radio ministry. Edson has introduced me to the media team in the city of Joinville and they have embraced the abide ministry and its message.

I have just returned from two days with these dear brothers in Christ. We recorded the marriage seminar for broadcast and we prepared 12 new programs for immediate use on the air. Radio programs are a lot of work to prepare but the impact is worth it.

Pray for all of us in this project. God has other surprises in store.

In the first photo I am with leadership team at the new radio station in Joinville.
In the second photo I am with Pastor Antonio Siqueira who is a man that God has touched deeply concerning the need to develop intimacy with God 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
In the third photo I am with Edson Bruno in the new recording studio.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Real Problem

I recently spent some time with a dear friend who has been deeply offended in two very diferent ways. My friend had been treated terribly by a person in business here in our city. The business person took money and never delivered the services promised. This caused a huge delay in a project and the cancelation of an important trip. Needless to say, my friend wanted nothing more to do with the person who failed to deliver. My friend's conclusion was that this was a person with a severe character flaw. My friend is right.

A little while later the unethical business person entered into a deep business partnership with my offended friend's best friend who is also a relative. The friend and relative did this already knowing the story about the failure to deliver. So, the unethical enemy was now a close associate and friend of my offended friend's friend and relative. Can you follow the pain? If this has ever happened to you, you can follow it and feel it. My friend could not believe that their friend and relative became so close with their enemy. it was as if the first pain was small compared to this second pain.

My friend decided to stay completely away from all involved. My friend asked me how a friend could do such a thing. Since I could follow the pain, I said it was much more common than most people believed. It happens all the time and God permits it and does not explain exactly why. At least He has not yet explained it to me.

I guess we all wish our closest friends would stay away from anyone and everyone who hurts us. We hope that others will feel our pain, make a judgment and stay away. People who have gone through a divorce or have been fired from a job know this feeling. When this has happened to me what I wanted was for my enemy to be isolated from those who were my friends. That is what I wanted until I thought a little more deeply about this everyone staying away thing. On the surface it may be good for me but it may not be good for everyone and God is about everyone not just me.

Jesus was certainly God's friend and we (all of us) were God's enemies. Jesus could have stayed away from us with good reasons. Instead, He came and lived among us as a friend. God wanted Him to. God sent Him. Perhaps therein lies the difference. God and Jesus trusted each other with this being close to an enemy thing. Something in God reaches out in ways that are still very strange to me.

I have had to ask myself, what would it take for me to be O.K. with my friend being the friend of my enemy? I think I would need to know that my friend trusted me enough to believe what I said really happened and and agree that it was wrong. I think I would need to know that my friend would never knowingly add to my pain by agreeing with or enjoying what was done to me while in the company of the one who hurt me. I think I would need to know that my friend was motivated by something more than self interest in the relationship with my enemy. I would hope my friend would understand my pain enough to reassure me that they were being led of God to be a friend to my enemy and they would stay away the moment God said they should.

As I listened to my friend speak of the enormous pain that was washing over their soul, I remembered my own experiences of seeing friends enjoying people who had been and still were enemies to me. I told my friend to take their eyes off the friend and the enemy and put their eyes back on Jesus who had been their friend when they were God's enemy. I told my friend to ask Jesus what they should or should not do toward the friend and relative. I honestly don't know of a set way to handle this situation except to seek Jesus each day and be willing to let Him teach us how this can work for good in all of our lives. I do believe there is a combination of some going toward the enemy and others going away. Jesus knew when to go toward and when to move away. He still does and He still guides His children.

Jesus has already been clear about our enemies--Love them and bless them. I think the reason for this command from Jesus is based on the fact that the only hope for our enemy is to get at the root of what drives them to be an enemy. What drives any of us to sin or be an enemy is the a failure to receive God's love deeply into our lives so we will not need to hurt others to get what we want. As far as I can tell, Jesus gave no specific word to us about what to do with a friend who is a friend to our enemy. He gave no word but He certainly lived the example. He stayed close to them unless they tried to turn Him against His Father. He would have none of that and His friends and His enemies knew it. If I knew my friends were still that loyal to our relationship it would certainly help.

I now know that what my friend and my enemy need from me is to wish them well in real and tangible ways. The only true "wellness" comes from receiving from God and His love. Most of the time that receiving must come from someone close to the one who is not receiving. My enemy needs someone close who loves God deeply. Since most of my closest friends are deeply in love with God, it would make sense that God might ask one of my freinds to stay close to someone like my enemy.
it makes sense if I am thinking "big picture" and not just "my picture."

My enemy will only be my enemy for as long as they fail to receive from God what they need to stop. The day they receive from God in Jesus what they lack which caused their behavior toward me, they will not want to be my enemy any longer and they, too, will hear Jesus say "Love your enemy."

Maybe my friend needs to be close to my enemy so that moment can be made easier if it happens. If it never happens and my enemy ends up forever God's enemy then I am sure I will be glad my friend was close-- Close enough to my enemy to speak of God's love because I was not able to be close enough to say it myself.

There will be a day when there will be no enemies to love and bless. There will be a day when there will be no friends who hurt us by staying close to those who hurt us. For now we will have to allow our friends to make their choices for good or bad reasons.

It is never easy to be a friend in the world. It was never easy for Jesus.

In John 15 Jesus calls us friends and then sends us out into the world to love people who still hate him. This is hard thing to do and we must be careful never to agree with Jesus' enemies about essential things about Jesus. We must, however, be close enough to Jesus' enemies to gently and clearly say "You really don't understand Him and you did mistreat Him and so did I. I admitted I was wrong and you need to do the same."

In the end what I want from my friends is to know that the enemy cannot manipulate them away from the relationship with me. I need to allow my friends to be wrong because I , too, am often wrong in what I do or do not do. I need to know my friend is really a friend and the enemy cannot change that. If the enemy tried to change that fact, I would hope that would be the line my friend would not cross. It was certainly the line Jesus would not cross.

I hope my offended friend can find the strength from Jesus to love the enemy. I hope my friend can find the strength from Jesus to love the friend and relative who may or may not be making a serious mistake in joining in a close relationship with someone who really does hurt people and has a character flaw. We would do well, however, to remember Jesus kept Judas close to the end and even Judas played a part that God controlled for good.

I told my friend I understood this pain. I do. I told my friend that only Jesus could direct through this kind of complexity. I told my friend to abide and ask for wisdom. My friend and I were drawn together by this challenge of faith. This kind of pain leaves one with a kind of weariness and hurt that is hard to describe unless it has been felt. If there is any hope at all for any of us it is that God still loves us when we complicate things and cause pain. There is always hope because no one can manipulate God away from us and the day will soon come when this enemy thing will be over.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Miami Connection--Global focus

Once again I am amazed at how God is continuing to connect our lives with people we thought we were "leaving" in the USA.
This past week I was privileged to be a part of Brazil's first GLOBAL FOCUS training with Dr. Larry Reesor and Dr. DIno Pedrone.
Larry is the founder of Global Focus and Dino is the Senior Pastor of the New Testament Baptist Church in Miami, Florida.

Global Focus helps local churches live out the vision of Acts 1:8 where Jesus said his followers would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. It is a wonderful new way of doing missions through the local church. We hope to develop a partnership between Abide Ministries and Global Focus.

New Testament Baptist church is one of our supporting churches. It is also the home of Dade Christian Schools. I graduated from Dade Christian in 1969 and Pam's family was supported by New Testament as far backk as the 1950's.

Being with Larry and Dino was a blessing. Three men from New Testament church also came down to teach and launch the Global Focus ministry.

It was a good week. The connections that God is engineering for us continue to amaze me.

The first picture is of Dr. Dino Pedrone preaching in the evening Global Focus service.
The second picture is of the Global Focus team from the States.
The last picture is of Dino, me and Larry just before an evening service.
(Click on the photos to enlarge them)

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Pleasant Surprise

Oswald Chambers once observed "God orchestrates our circumstances to educate our faith." For that reason I am always alert to the seemingly small details that tell me God is at work all around.

For the past four days Pam and I have been in the mountain city of Campos do Jordão looking for our future home here in Brazil.
From the very beginning of our call to return to Brazil this mountain city has drawn us back again and again. In human terms the city seems to be out of the way and not in the middle of the big things God is doing in Brazil. That is just not true.

We stayed in a wonderful mountain hotel in Campos named "Leão da Montanha" which means "Lion of the Mountain." The hotel was built 25 years ago by a Jewish man who survived the Holocaust. That Jewish man is now 84 years of age and the running of the hotel is now in the hands of his grandsons Fabio and Elan.

The amazing detail is that Fabio and Elan have both accepted Jesus as their Messiah and they want to work to help the Abide Ministries in Campos and among the Jews of Brazil. The chances of this kind of contact is amazing. My faith was educated once again! God is at work in His way in every place.

A year ago we dreamed of having a place in the mountains where we could bring leaders and learners to clarify what it means to abide in Christ 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Now we have people willing and ready to help who own a camp and a hotel. We also have extremely sharp Jewish believers ready to introduce us into the Jewish community.

When we left South Florida with its huge Jewish population, it never dawned on us that we would be sent to a mountain city to continue to work with God's chosen people scattered here in Brazil.

One picture is of Pam and me with our Jewish brothers in Christ Fabio and Elan. The other picture is of Fabio, Elan and another young Jewish believer named Raphael.

Don't miss the surprises in your life. God is educating your faith.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A thought on the demonic

Here in Brazil there is a tremendous emphasis on the unseen, demonic world. Yesterday at the church we attend there was a seven hour couse given on "Spiritual Warfare". The young pastor who taught the course did an excellent job with the Biblical material. I was amazed at his depth of experience and Biblical knowledge.

One thought that struck me as he spoke came from the words of Paul in Ephesians six where he says "We wrestle not against flesh and blood..." What struck me is that we all wrestle with demonic forces. Life is like a wrestling match for all of us but we think it is people who are behind the struggle. No. There are forces opposed to life in God that create the force we feel resisting us. To fight people is to miss the point of the real struggle. There are powerful forces behind the visible against which we "wrestle"

Human beings are not sources of anything. Human beings are receivers. Remember when Paul said "I am what I am by the grace of God"? He said his whole life was the result of receiving from God. If Paul was what he received, so, too, are all humans what they receive.

Demonic forces are substitute sources that attempt to attach themselves to the human spirit. Most may never manifest a deomonic presence as we think of demonic possession. Yet, all of us reflect through the fruit of our lives the source or sources that feed our spirit. There is no such thing as a human spirit that is not receiving from some source of thought or intent.

The word "sorcerer" means one who seeks the source. Make no mistake. A source of some kind is trying to reach your spirit and feed it . Truly, we wrestle not against flesh and bone. Humans are not the source our spirits was wrestle against. There is a spirit world and it will make a connection if it can and its fruit will appear over time.

This is why the blessed Holy Spirit of God is in us. If we rest in the Holy Spirit and resist the Devil and his counterfeit sources
we win. To fight humans is a waste of time. The battle is behind the fruit in human lives.

In the end it is always about the source from which we drink and eat. Thank God Jesus is come into the world as our daily bread and water!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Time Team

Pam and I are busy leading a group of young people from the USA. It has been a long time since I have been surrounded with such energy!

The team is made up of young people and their leaders from Massachussets, Daytona, Florida and Miami, Florida. The International Bible Baptist Church of Miami has developed a wonderful summer missions outreach for teens and young adults called TIME. The team uses drama presentations to preach the message of Jesus. It is very, very effective.

Got to run! Pray we can keep up.

Bud and Pam

Friday, June 23, 2006


One of the small, but interesting differences about living in Brazil is the absence of airconditioning and screens on the windows. This combination makes for a much more direct contact with sounds, smells and nature. What is normally kept outside in the USA can often be found inside in Brazil.

This morning at breakfast two "outside" things came inside. One was the smell of a nearby factory. This smell normally does not come inside unless there is a lot of fog and the temperature drops. When fog and temperature are just right it smells like the factory is right next door instead of across the river. The second was a small bird that came into the window by mistake and then could not get out. This small bird is normally one of the first things we see each day when we look out the window of our ninth floor apartment. These small sparrows always remind me of Jesus' words that the Heavenly Father even takes great care of the little birds so He will most certainly will take care of us.

The sparrow came in through the open window and flew right into a large mirror we have on one wall near our dining room table where Pam and I were having breadfast. He hit the mirror really hard and then flew to the ledge near the window where he stopped and made no movement at all. I waited to see if he would try to fly out the window again but he did not move. He was too stunned by what he had done to move.

Slowly I approached him thinking he would panic and try to fly away from me. He did not move at all. I put my hands over him still expecting panic. Instead, he let me hold him in my hands. I lifted him to the open window and he flew back to his normal world.

I could not help but believe God has done the same for me over and over again when I am stunned by life--even when I was the one who flew into a world that was never meant for me. The key when one is stunned is to sit very still and wait for God to come. To fear His hand when we are stunned by our own decisions is to misunderstand who He is our lives. Truly His mercy endures forever.

To struggle against His hands is to only make matters worse. Letting God hold us is the beginning of a return to the life He has made for us.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

May-June Update


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A special moment

This past week Pam and I experienced a very special moment in our lives. I was invited to speak at the church we founded nearly 26 years ago here in Brazil. The special occasion was the tenth anniversary of the current pastor of the church. I was one of his seminary professors many years ago and we have enjoyed a good relationship over the years.

It was a wonderful moment to be standing behind the same pulpit I left back in 1987. To see the church doing so well was a wonderful moment. God is so good!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Six Metaphors for a Happy Marriage

Our marriage course entiltled "Six Metaphors for a Happy Marriage" is being received extremely well. People are the same all over the world. Marriages suffer the same kinds of stress in Brazl as they do in the USA.

This past weekend we offered the seminar for couples in our church and we had 65 couples attend. It was truly a remarkable opportunity.