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...."