Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Someone passed this on to me I thought you would like to read it on this Memorial Day weekend in the USA.

"I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.
'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time...

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base.'

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'
'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.

'This is your thanks..'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.
A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base.
I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base.. It will be about time for a sandwich.
God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.

As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

e-devo. Sinless


Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds..."

Every day we live among creatures that do not sin. These remarkable creations of God have never stopped glorifying God. They did not follow man into sin. Thank God!

These creatures are moment by moment doing exactly what they were doing in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve fell short of the glory of God through sin.

Among these sinless creatures are my favorites, the birds. Their simple presence and profound beauty surely explain why Jesus chose them and told us "Look at the birds..."

It is heartbreaking that Jesus could not point to a single human being except Himself with such confidence.

One of my favorite ways of considering the birds is to see how long it takes me each day to either hear them or see them. It never takes long. They are everywhere.

The birds seem to have this incredible ability to rise above mankind's cruelty and ugliness and simply be themselves. They seem to be able to find exactly enough satisfaction every day in order to never rebel, panic or accumulate out of fear. How different they are than we are!

They thrive among us and in spite of us. They are living proof that there once was a world at peace in the presence of God. Surely they miss the garden, too.

As I watch the world's stock markets rise and fall with every rumor and trend, I also watch the birds go about their daily existence without fear or lack. Their economy has outlasted all of men's best attempts because they truly are satisfied one day at a time.

Look at the birds. As you do, you will find yourself longing to sin less and abide more in the satisfaction that Jesus is each day.

Campo Grande

I have just returned from a trip to Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul. The Brazilian city is located just a few hundred miles from Bolivia and Paraguay. Like most major Brazilian cities it is in a phase of rapid expansion and development. Brazil is on the move and so are its churches.

Pastor Claudio and his wife Eloar were my hosts for an Abide Conference. What wonderful people!
I was treated like a visiting celebrity and the 90 people that attended the seminar could not have been more gracious and open.

God is at work in Brazil in amazing ways. The people of this relatively new Brazilian state and this growing city are cooperating with Jesus. They are abiding and it shows.

Monday, May 17, 2010

E-devo. The extent of His love

The Extent of His Love

John 13:1 "He now showed them the full extent of His love."

Discipleship rightly understood is a process of revelation. It was never intended to be a process of accumulating information. To miss this distinction is to confuse the useful resources about Jesus with the essential revelation of Jesus.

By the time we reach John 13, the disciples have been led from revelation to revelation about Jesus. A day at a time God had revealed through Jesus the existence and quality of His love. As the final moments with Jesus physically among them arrived, it was time for Jesus to reveal the "full extent" of His love.

Jesus rises from his place of honor and leadership at the Passover meal, dresses as a slave and begins to wash the disciples' feet. Peter reflects the shock of all the disciples by saying emphatically "No. You will never wash my feet." This is not humility. This is blindness.

Peter speaks for all mankind when faced with the extent to which God's love must stoop to do what only God can do for mankind. We do not want God to go as low as our feet because we do not really know who He is and how far removed we are from Him. We are prepared to be loved but not to this extent.

Sometimes I hear Christians celebrating Jesus' death on the Cross because His singular act of love forgives us and will take us to heaven. This is good! It is, however, an entirely different thing to have revealed to us the full extent of God's love on Calvary. This includes foot washing. Included in His death was the washing of our feet for all eternity. We do not want to see Jesus go as low as our feet. To forgiveness by grace we say "yes," but to touching our feet we say "no."

If Jesus had started the discipleship process with the revelation of foot washing I am almost sure no one would have followed Him. What we have in mind for our Lord loving us is not washing our feet. We want His love but we also want to retain some sense of our own worth and dignity even if it is just our feet. We want to be loved but not to that extent.

Have you received the revelation Jesus gave to Peter? "Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me."

Most of us have been with Jesus for some time, but you can be sure we will all need to have revealed to us the touch of His love on our feet. When He finally touches your feet, be prepared to weep. Weep because His love had to go so low. Celebrate because He did go so low. Obey Him when He sends you to do the same for others who will not understand. The kind of love they need from you will also be a revelation that is hard for them to accept and hard for you to deliver.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Too busy

When you are too busy to blog does that mean your are too busy? It seems to me that I am busier than I have ever been. That is good and bad. It is good in that it means doors are opening. It is bad in that I can't seem to keep up with all my "social networking." I didn't even know that "social networking" existed until a few years ago. Oh well, enough complaining. Busy is good and bad and God gives grace to know the difference one day at a time.

Here are a few pictures of the most recent "busy" in southern Brazil. It was a very good kind of busy as I ministered to students and church members in the beautiful city of Londrina. What precious people one meets here in Brazil. They are so open and so hungry for God's word and God's will in Jesus.

I am honored to have met Pastor Carlos, his family and the students at the seminary.