Wednesday AM Update: Manizales

Good morning! Our leadership conference got off to a great start yesterday. We had around 15-20 preachers present along with several women from the Manizales church join us. I taught both morning lessons, the first one on the Biblical pattern for how New Testament churches were organized, and the second on the role of the evangelist in appointing elders.

During the lectures, I was so impressed with the type of questions we received. It is evident that our Colombian preaching companions are not only interested in the issue, but that they take it very seriously. You can tell they truly want to learn more about this subject. It’s such a humbling experience and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to share.

We had lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. And then spent the afternoon in a question/answer session led by Carl McMurray. For over an hour, he led a great discussion on the appropriate age for elders, adopted children and the eldership, and how to inspire men to want to be elders. I wish you could see just how interested they are, and the way that they are taking notes. It’s wonderful.

In the late afternoon, before heading to Chinchina, we spent a little while at Jaime’s home and visited with each other. Then, it was off for the evening service. Chinchina is about 20 km S of Manizales, and the congregation there numbers around 30. Brothers Jason Schofield and Carl McMurray led the service last night. Jason spoke on the need to respect God’s word, and Mac spoke more on the aspects of the eldership. The brethren are just so thankful for our being here and they show it so many ways. I wish you could see the smiles on their face and the genuine appreciation in the way they communicate.

After we finished the service, we drove back to Manizales, where we all had dinner together before retiring to our hotel.

As always, my heart just goes out to my brethren here. Some of them live in incredible poverty and have no idea where their next meal will come from. In Chinchina and Neira, some of them have never left their small town and a trip just 20 km away would be a major thing. But, they are so happy. So humble. And, so loving.

Today, we’re back at the Manizales church at 9.30 to continue day 2. Jason & I will be teaching today, with Mac helping on a panel session we’ll be conducting toward the end of this morning’s study period.

Thanks again for your prayers and for giving us the opportunity to be here.

Tuesday Morning Update: Manizales

We are just starting day 2 on the ground here in Manizales. Most of our time thus far has been spent getting here. Our travel has been very smooth and comfortable. We got in to Manizales around 11.30 yesterday morning and were met by Jaime and Carlos Julio. After getting settled in the hotel, we had a few hours for lunch and to walk around a little. 

Late in the afternoon we were invited to Jaime’s home were a number of preachers have gathered for the week. Some have traveled as much as a day and a half to get here. Some of them are, Rafael Amaya from Ibague, David & Henri Jerez from Bogota, Wilson Valbuena from Villavicencio, Carlos Julio from Cali, and others.

We traveled to Niera for a service. This 20 km drive takes around an hour to cover. Mauricio Zapata serves as the minister for this congregation. Before things began, we were invited into their home for snacks, etc. It was great to spend time with this family & enjoy the hospitality of their home.
The meeting place was packed with guests and local church members. Mac & I spoke on the need to be progressing toward spiritual maturity, congregational unity around Christ, and the need for elders. It’s hard to describe just how warm and friendly everyone is and how appreciative they are in our being here.
The girls are doing great. Excited to have Natalia Restrepo with them helping in translation.
We’re excited for this day to begin. We appreciate your prayers and support while we’re away.

The Proliferation of Profanity

This morning as I took part in my fifteen-minute walk to and from a class I’m taking at a local university, I was in earshot of several male and female students dropping f-bombs. These words weren’t spoken out of anyone’s anger or heightened frustration. It was just a part of normal conversation between young people. No thought was given to the usage of the word. There was no shame whatsoever. And, there was absolutely no regard for those who heard them speak. Lest I sound too aged here, in the circles I ran with, in my day we would have never thought of speaking in such a way. Times have certainly changed. Continue reading “The Proliferation of Profanity”

Go the Second Mile

“And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles,” (Matthew 5:41, ESV).

Are you familiar with the background of this statement? This, of course, is in the middle of one of the sections of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5.38-42 Jesus challenges His followers to be initiators of peace. Contained here are a few core principles of Christianity: Continue reading “Go the Second Mile”

Young Preachers and the Pursuit of Higher Education

I read someone’s recent Facebook post regarding young men being talked out of preaching at a young age so they can pursue a secular education as a “backup plan.” They claimed that 90% of potential young preachers interested in pursuing the profession before college, change their mind upon graduation. One case was cited where parents insisted their 17-18 year old son go to school instead of preaching. Now this person has left the church all together. Well, that’s tragic. And, I certainly hope that this young man returns to the Lord. But, I believe this case is an exception rather than the norm.

Continue reading “Young Preachers and the Pursuit of Higher Education”

Our God Reigns!

It’s been quite a week. ISIS burned a Jordanian soldier alive. Then the President lectured us on his viewpoint of Christianity and Islam being morally equivalent. It’s been obvious for sometime now that he does not know God. He may not even believe in God, because he is god. Probably at no time in our history have we had a leader so hostile to Christianity.

The subject at this years Florida College Lectures could not have been more relevant. The message that God reigns came out over and over again. God reigns. God wins. He has clothed us in garments of victory. Instead of hiding in the shadows, He has equipped us to stand in His strength and take the battle to the enemy. As the world crumbles, our opportunity to shine for Him grows by the day. Dare to be different. Seize your holy calling and stand up for Him.

As we sang Wednesday night….

There’s no God like Jehovah…
There’s no God like Jehovah…
There’s no God like Jehovah…

Live with confidence… Because… Our God reigns!

Embracing God’s Design for Family

P lease read and compare the following passages:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, ESV)

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6, ESV)

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4, ESV)

What principles for the family can we mine out of these passages? Continue reading “Embracing God’s Design for Family”

Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

Afew weeks back, my wife and I got out to see the new movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. We watched in 3D, which was amazing. The graphics and sound were really well done. If you’re into that kind of stuff, this movie will be a real treat. But, I know you’re wondering, Is the movie worth the money to see? Well, if you go in with an expectation of it remaining true and consistent to the Biblical text, you’ll come away disappointed. The producers have added their own twist – some of which will make you raise your eyebrows and go “hmmm…..” Continue reading “Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings”

Catching Up and A New Blog!!!

After a fifteen month hiatus in the blogging world, I’ve decided to begin writing again. Between 2010 and 2013, I posted something 5 days each week. This was on top of my weekly Bible classes and preaching responsibilities. My blog at attracted quite a following. Some of the articles were published in the local Dayton newspaper, and the vast majority of them were part of a daily devotional I wrote Monday-Friday called Minute in the Word. In October 2013, the website had a serious crash. I decided to rebuild everything from scratch. As fall and winter came on, pressing family issues kept me from getting things back to the way they had been before. Continue reading “Catching Up and A New Blog!!!”