Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fast Track Christianity

I am re-posting this blog from Alpha Omega Publications' Daily Focus for Homeschoolers.
God has been working on me this past week to not give up. Taking shortcuts is like giving up on the perfect plan God has for your life. I don't want to take any shortcuts or give up on the best of what God has prepared for me. Perhaps you have the thought that there is an easy way or a shortcut to finding the perfect life of God. There is only one way to go through the course of this life, the one that strips away everything that is not of God. That takes time and lots of painful work. Don't be deceived into thinking there is another way.

ShortcutsSeptember 23, 2012

"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

Life is full of shortcuts. High-priced technology has changed the way we live and made shopping so easy we can get what we want with a simple click or a wave of a debit card. Although technological advances have also made homeschooling easier, there is one aspect to teaching our children at home that can't be fast forwarded — your children's spiritual growth. Developing biblical values and godly character requires a daily, concentrated effort in building God's truths precept upon precept. Money simply cannot buy instant access to Christianity or purchase shortcuts in learning God's lessons in humility, obedience, and submission.

Trying to "fast track" Christianity has been a problem since the Lord returned to heaven. In Acts 8:13-24, Simon, the ex-magician, thought he could bypass the disciplines of being trained in righteousness. Wanting to impress the crowds and perform miracles like Peter, Simon offered money to find a shortcut to the Holy Spirit's power. Rebuking him for his fleshly attempts to control God, Peter said, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God" (Acts 8:20b-21).

What about you? Are you guilty of looking for shortcuts in your spiritual growth? Quick prayers and short devotionals are not enough. Spend time alone with the Lord today in prayer and Bible study and let the Holy Spirit reveal those changes that need to take place in your life. "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection" (Hebrews 6:1a).

Lord, forgive me for being like a child and looking for the easy way out of Your lessons. Help me to walk with You today and not run ahead of the disciplines that teach me Your truths. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jesus Looks Beyond Politics

I have voted every year that the presidential elections have come about. I've not always liked my choices and struggled with what to do about it.

This article helped me with the attitude that develops around this time of year. More so an attitude of disdain and feeling trapped by voting for one of two or three choices that I didn't want to place my X of approval on. I struggle with the process and feel totally disconnected from the reality of who is really in control. I hope this will help some of you also.

-extracts by J. Lee Grady.

People didn't vote in ancient Israel, nor did they put "KICK THE
ROMANS OUT!" bumper stickers on their chariots. But there was
plenty of political anger seething in Palestine, even without Fox
News, CNN and MSNBC around to stir the pot.

Jews especially abhorred tax-collectors, since (1) tax-collectors
were usually thieves, and (2) they worked for the hated Roman
Empire. Yet when a chief tax-collector named Zacchaeus showed
up to hear Jesus preach in Jericho, Jesus did an unlikely thing.
He called Zacchaeus down from his perch in a sycamore tree
and proposed a meeting at his house.

I´m sure the crowd was shocked that a holy rabbi who honored the
Ten Commandments would fraternize with one of Caesar´s cronies.
They probably expected Jesus to give Zacchaeus a stern lecture
on the evils of embezzlement. But the Bible doesn´t say Jesus
talked to him about his fraud or the injustice of Roman occupation.
Their meeting was not about politics.

After one visit with Jesus, the infamous Zacchaeus, who was
"small in stature," experienced a great big conversion. He repented
of his crimes and pledged to give half his possessions to the poor
(see Luke 19:1-10). Jesus´ act of kindness led to a total heart change.

This was Jesus´ style. He looked beyond race, class, social labels
and sectarian divisions. He was as comfortable talking to prostitutes,
drunkards and condemned criminals as He was to synagogue
officials, high priests and Roman centurions. He looked into men´s
hearts with a piercing laser beam, not so He could judge their sins
but so He could shine the light of His mercy.

And today Jesus calls His followers to love everybody* that way.
*NOTE: "Everybody" includes Democrats, Republicans, bleeding-
heart liberals, Tea Party conservatives, Jesse Jackson, Rush
Limbaugh, left-leaning journalists, right-leaning journalists,
President Obama, Mitt Romney, Joe Biden, Paul Ryan - and,
yes, Clint Eastwood!

I´m saying this now (and preaching to myself) because too many
of us are losing our religion in the current presidential campaign -
which promises to grow more divisive before Election Day. It´s not
just political commentators who are screaming at each other like
banshees on Sunday-morning talk shows; Christians are unfriending
each other on Facebook because campaign rhetoric has grown so
hateful. We can´t even eat a chicken sandwich without triggering
a war of words.

I propose we make some attitude adjustments so we can reflect
Christ both during the campaign season and after Nov. 6 -
regardless of whether Obama or Romney wins.

1. Love people regardless of their political views...
How can I be a vessel of Christ´s love if my heart is full of hate?

2. Quit making politicians into gods. At the root of today´s angry
rhetoric is the mistaken idea that politics can solve our moral
problems. Christians in the United States, especially since the
early 1980s, have embraced an unhealthy infatuation with
presidents and political power. We clamor for a King Saul to
save us when God wants us to trust Him alone.

News flash! Ronald Reagan didn´t save us. Neither did Bush
No. 1, Clinton or Bush No. 2. Neither Obama nor Romney will
deliver us. And let´s not forget that the greatest spiritual revival in
this country in the past 100 years occurred during the presidential
terms of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon - one Democrat and
one Republican!...

3. Frame your words with kindness. In our culture it has become
in vogue to be hot-headed. Candidates and commentators throw
vitriolic barbs like grenades, and when the discussion is moved
online, everyone starts dropping F-bombs to prove their point.
There is no such thing today as civil debate. In modern American
politics, we thrust, jab, kick, punch, skewer and impale each other
with our words. And this is equally true of Democrats and Republicans.

There is a higher way for people of faith. The apostle Paul called
us to season our conversation with grace (see Col. 4:6) and to put
on a heart of compassion, kindness and gentleness (see Col. 3:12).
But we can´t express kind words if our hearts are full of judgment,
racial bias, hatred of certain people or organizations, or anger
toward those we disagree with. If you hold judgments in your heart,
they will become like buried mines in a battlefield. When someone
walks near them and pushes your button, you will explode.

We must speak the truth, but we must say it in love. It would be
better for us to keep our mouths shut if we can´t say what Jesus
is saying with His tone of voice.

-Please comment on Lee Grady's article at our website below-

-Original source-

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Golden 16th Birthday for Zachariah

It is Zach's 16th birthday today. His Golden Birthday. His mom embarrassed him quite well today as we were in our gathering with the whole of the church present. Zach was hesitant to get up in front of everyone but he finally did. This link will take you to the video on YouTube of the event. The song is an original birthday song by Mala and in her usual style of blending the characteristics of the birthday person with music ,she did a superb job. Thank you Mala! It was a great gift for Zach that he will have for the rest of his life.

Here is the link:


I'll put the words out here as soon as we are able to get them from Mala.

UPDATE: Here are the words to the song.

Oh How We Love Zach!!!
How we all love Zach
And we're so glad he's back  from Africa.
He is one great kid with a heart SO BIG
And that's a fact y'all
We love you Zach- so glad you're back...dear Zach!!
Abba and Amma miss Zach
Wish that he'd come back to Africa!
He was such a help to them
Did the work of 50 men in Africa!
They love you....and we do too!!! Dear Zach!!
And it's your golden birthday,
And we just want to all say,
Happy Golden Birthday to you Zach!!
Yes it's your Golden Birthday,
And we just want to all say
Happy 16th Birthday Zach!!!
Zach's a popcorn addict
and a chocolate chip cookie fanatic
in case you didn't know
He has a servant's heart
and gives with every part wherever he does go.
He's got a heart so big
we sure love this kid....Zach!!!!
Zach loves babbies and toddlers too
There's just so much this young man can do.
And he willingly shares his room
With 4 little Sonic Booms
Andrew-Noah-Eli-and Brandon
Zach you're one amazing young man!!!
And it's your Golden Birthday!
And we just want to all say.
Happy Golden Birthday Zach!!!
Yes it's your Golden Birthday
and we just want to all say,
Happy 16th Birthday Zach!!!

Zach at the Sunday Gathering

Zach in Nairobi at the end of June - Java Cafe

Zach, Nikki and Suzie at the Danish Mission

Zach helping with Patrick and Christine's move

Zach sitting on the swing he made

Zach at Nakumat Saturday morning Devotions

Zach being cute at the house

Zach & I with Patrick and Christine's family

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Needing Income and Looking for a Job

Good Friends in Kenya
Looking for a job is a daunting task. I have helped a lot of people find jobs but, not be on the search myself. I have always seemed to have something to produce income, so as not to worry about making a living. However, in the past year I have had to trust God for my income more and more.

My needs are not huge with respect to finances. We have no real debt other than back rent for two months. I have been able to make ends meet for quite a while. Usually I sell some things on eBay, help on the farm, do computer repair or take up a position with one of the businesses here in the village for a while. So far that has been able to meet my obligations. That is not the case any more.

I just returned from Kenya, where we were for the past two months and having a job wasn't a priority there. We had saved up for the trip and Tara was able to help on the farm to provide for the very basic needs we had here at home. Mostly some bills, gas and living expenses for her and the kids. She was awesome, in spite of her Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever attack and diagnosed Rheumatoid Arthritis pain and inflammation. As well, the men in our clan came to the rescue and helped supplement our needs during my absence. My sincerest thanks and appreciation goes to every single man here for helping us and being available to assist my wife during those two months.

2011 Kenya Mission Trip
But now, I am back and need to find a source of income that doesn't center on donations from clan men and my wife working her arms and legs off. I need to hear what God has for me and find work to provide for my family as a part of the Church here. I believe every man would agree that a husband and a father should be about taking care of his family. Providing for the needs of my wife and children is paramount right now. So the search is on.

In this new age of technology driven information exchange, there seems to be a new vehicle for locating and applying for a job. It is based on the internet and carries it's own set of protocols. You still need a resume and cover letter, styled and geared for the particular job or career opportunity you are applying for, but there is an even greater need for being connected that come into play. Facebook, Linked-In, Google, YouTube and every other point of social networking is used to find and secure a job. Somehow, I am not plugged into those venues. Imagine that?

Well, I have applied for 5 or 6 jobs in this immediate area so far. I applied at Kimberly Clark, Fred's, AT&T, Bed Bath and Beyond, All-State and  Wal-Mart . I got rejected from Wal-Mart as a prospective internal investigator but I'm not too upset about that. I was thinking that being a greeter was fun, but I hear they aren't doing that any more. At least not here, in this area. I like meeting people and helping them so I'm a bit disappointed with that. Oh, well.

I'm on for the next round of applications and looking at how to get this social network going. I'm not sure how that will help but it seems to be one of the things I am being told to do by the recruiting sites I have visited. Any thoughts on that?

I'm trying to think of jobs that could fit into some of the areas of expertise I own, such as whistling, driving to  Wal-Mart,  talking to people, putting together schedules, drinking coffee and eating hot dogs. I don't seem to find any of those jobs out there. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places. Maybe a bus driver? or a taxi-cab operator? Policeman? Hot-dog Vendor? I'm gonna check those out as soon as I am done with this blog. The Internet is a fascinating tool for research. Google can tell me almost anything I want to know. It just hasn't told me where my next source of income is at.

I'm looking so if you can think of something or have some ideas, let me know. It will be much appreciated.