Monday, October 22, 2007

Ask 15--China

"God orchestrates our circumstances to educate our faith." Oswald Chambers

From time to time the Lord opens our eyes to His ability to orchestrate circumstances over long periods of time.
Today was one of those eye opening days for me. Today, Oct. 22nd, was also my 40th spiritual birthday! It was a very good day.

I received word this morning from China that the new Satisfying LIfe course I prepared for use in English speaking churches has now been translated into Mandarin Chinese. The way this happened was a God orchestrated event.

Back in the early 80's Pam and I with our young family started the Bible Baptist Temple in the city of Sao Jose dos Campos here in Brazil. This is the same city where we now live and ministry through Abide Brazil ministries. A young couple named Shu and Cida joined our young church.

During our 1987 until 2005 absence from Brazil and this city, we had lost contact with Shu, Cida and their children. Upon returning to Brazil we met again and Shu took an interest in the Abide ministries. He has recently retired from an international career in business which included long stays in China.

When Shu and Cida recently announced they would be visiting their daughter who now lives and works in China, Shu offered to take a copy of the Satisfying Life material with him to see if it could be translated. Here are the two e-mails he sent. I hope you can see God at work.

Dear Pr. Bud,
It has been 3 weeks since I came to Shanghai, 3 blessed weeks. I found a church with some 4000 members, with morning and evening services in Chinese, and 2 afternoon services in English preached by an American pastor, the English service members have also small group meetings during the week. I gave the pastor one copy of the DVD to be used in his small group meetings, and asked him feedback for the material. I gave him the author's permission to make as many copies as needed to be used in the church or SGs, but not for sale.
I also found a young Chinese pastor from a city 4 hours by train from Shanghai, he is a college graduate and took seminary after college. He works in a local church as co-pastor, his English is good and his Chinese is excellent. He writes articles for the local Christian Journal, he gave me a copy of it with his article. So I believe he can make the translation of the booklet without difficulty, and he accepted the challenge. I also gave him a copy of the DVD. I do expect him to finish the work before my return to Brasil. Let's pray God that this happens. After the translation, another friend and sister in Christ will insert all the Bible texts mentioned in the book and put the whole work into digital format. If eveythings works out fine with the help of God, I may have a copy the the book in Chinese in a CD. As we last spoke and if you still agree, I will check the translation after the pastor delivers the work.
Trust that you are well and fine. Best regards in Christ,

Dear Pr. Carlos, (Bud)

Praise the Lord!! How wonderful God is!! I have just received the translation of the Satisfying Life in Chinese. I reviewed it once and am very happy with the translation, professional job. I have it in digital form and will review it once again in Brasil. I asked him to translate also the DVD, he recommends to use the legenda (words on the screen) instead of the dubing, maintaining the original voice, because most Chinese prefer to watch and listen in English with Chinese characters written on the screen. This should take longer time than the book, but my Christian friend here can take it and mail it to me in Brasil when it's finished.

I know that without God this job could never be done. He prepared the pastor and his heart, not in Shanghai as I originally have thought. I was also impressed by his willingness and readyness to help. God is great, praise the Lord.


As you can see, God has used a relationship of many years and a lifetime of business contacts to make this happen.
When God plans things and we cooperate, anything is possible.

The picture is of Shu, Cida and their daughter.


Monday, October 01, 2007


I am beginning to see that all of creation glorifies God by giving its "fruit" as it was designed by God to give. The fruit of the sun is light and warmth. The fruit of the rain is satisfaction of thirst. By being predictable and available, sun and rain bless everyone by simply being what they were designed to be. As humans, we were designed to be predictable in two ways. We are to be predictably loving God and predictably loving our neighbor. Jesus was the only human to ever be 100% predictable as love.

Faith is relaxing in the predictability of God. "He is.... and He rewards". This kind of rest in God's predictability creates rest for our souls (mind, emotions and will). A sign we are bearing fruit is that those closest to us can rest in our presence. We are predictable! We love. By being lovingly predictable, we are not a cause of more soul disturbances in the life of another.

To love is give the best of me and the best I have to others--including enemies-- 24/7 and moment by moment. This is why I must go the extra mile. I must give the best of me even when someone is only demanding one mile. One mile is simply what is required. The best of me is the Vine-Jesus. The best I have is the fruit of the Vine. I give what I receive--the best of Him and the best He has. "Without Me you can do nothing."

Think of all the things we have to deal with each day because we cannot predict how others will act toward us? We arm ourselves. We lock ourselves behind alarm systems and bolted doors. We erect defense systems emotionally to protect our feelings even from those who say they love us. We are prisoners of unpredictability. Possessing and protecting seem to be our only hope.

Abiding is to live in the predictability of God's love toward us moment by moment in the Vine. By abiding we are released from the prisons of unpredictability.

Think of the vulnerability of a vineyard. Its protection is in the tenacity of its life (Vine) and the eyes of its protector (Vinedresser). Think of the fruit that these two predictable and unchanging sources can produce. It is the branches that must abide in these predictable sources 24/7 and moment by moment. "Abide in my love (predictable) as I have abided in my Father's love (predictable).
Fruit is the visible manifestation of God's predictability received by us. "His mercies endure forever".
To bear fruit is to make God's predictable love visible and available to those in my world so they can rest.

When I am no threat to anyone and a source of love then I am bearing fruit. I can only become "no threat" if I can learn to live in God's predictable love in Christ.