Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bits December

Tickets bought! And under budget by 103 dollars. We are a little behind financially than the ideal, but much better than we could have imagined a year ago when we were facing $1600 a month and a one time amount of $30,000. Now we are only short about $180 a month and have raised (and earned as I did work some odd jobs this year) around $21,000. Also since last year, the exchange rate has gone up which will make our money go further; so while we could raise more, we feel confident that our needs will be supplied as we return to Brazil. 

We spent most of December at home in the Chattanooga area and were able to speak a couple times. We enjoyed time with our family this holiday season. Sarah’s sister and her husband have been in China at an international school and church and she has been here for most of December. Reality is starting to settle in as we realize that family and friends will not be as close for a while. 

Pray for us as we wrap up final details. We will apply for Anna Claire’s permanent Visa in Atlanta next Tuesday. This can be really complicated; pray that their cuteness overrides bureaucracy! On January 15, I will travel to the Amazon where I will pack some belongings, sell much of the rest, and spend time with friends for 9 days. Then I will attempt a trip with 10-12 boxes to move them downriver to Manaus and fly to Recife, the capital city of the state in which we will be working. Sarah will leave Atlanta that day with the girls and her brother and meet me the next day on January the 30th. 

Please pray for all the final details, paperwork, medical tests and then for our adjustments to a new home and ministry. We have loved seeing so many of you all this year in our travels. You have been such a blessing and encouragement to us! Pray now that there will be a great harvest (after a lot of work) in Northeast Brazil.

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, an energetic, dramatic four year old, and a 9 month old vacuum cleaner who is close to walking. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Most people try to have (a) New Year’s resolution(s), so here are a few ideas. I am not telling you what to do, just giving suggestions. Some are serious and some are with a little humor; I will let you be the judge of that. 

Try avoiding gluten. I know, it sounds disgusting, but it is not that bad. You do not have to be fully gluten free, but look for other alternatives. I did it for a month before the marathon this year and I could tell I was not as hungry, did not have as many stomach issues, and I felt better. Other people have found it has helped them greatly with whatever health issue they faced.

Give more and see if you can do it anonymously. I know, you are already giving more to your health insurance agent, but try to give more overall. And try to save more! How do you do both? Spend less. Try the dollar menu, order water at restaurants, have an emergency fund so you don’t spend interest money on unexpected bills, stop buying the latest gadget cause the new updates may not be all you wanted anyway (ie. iphone 5), eat all your leftovers rather than tossing them, and don’t buy that gym membership unless you really will use it all year!

Don’t run a marathon; it hurts. But do try to exercise, even if it is just walking. Exercise helps you feel better, have more energy and sleep better.

Read. Read your Bible first of all, but think about studying a little theology; www.biblicaltraining.org has lots of free classes to listen to on all different subjects.

Serve in your local church; don’t just complain about the church; get involved. 

Be a missionary to someone in your neighborhood. Have them over to your house for dinner to get to know them. Don’t worry about preaching to them. Just ask them questions about their life. Eventually you might see that there is a great opportunity to talk about how Jesus has made a difference in your life.

Spend more time with your family. When you are home try paying 1 minute more attention to your kids or spouse than to your devices. 

Find one seemingly impossible prayer request to pray about for the year. Pray boldly for God to answer that request.

Floss more often than once a month and the full week before your cleaning.

Cross two things off your bucket list.

If you don’t have a bucket list, make one.

Forgive the one to whom you are bitter towards.

Try to break a world record. Guinness has allowed all kinds of weird things in their book. Maybe you can eat two pizzas upside down while hanging from a light pole. 

Check your spelling and grammar on social media. 

Pray for us as we head back to Brazil to plant churches. We are excited and hope you are too! Maybe even come with us! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Lessons from Christmas

In Home Alone we learn that family is important. As much as they bother you in little ways, it is much better having them around.

Frosty teaches us to enjoy your days while you have them!

Different people have much value as per Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. 

Christmas time news programs display perfectly that rushing for presents can get you in a fight!

The Grinch tells us that the reason we celebrate Christmas is much more than bags and boxes and toys; it is celebration in being together.

It’s a Wonderful Life shows us that there are more people around us that really care about us than we know! You do make a difference and you do matter greatly to others and to God!

And Linus tells us the real reason for the season when he quotes the birth story of Jesus as found in the Bible. Philippians describes it well when Paul writes that Jesus humbled Himself from being in the form of God to being found as man, a servant, who was obedient to the Father even to the point of death. The greatest part of Christmas is Immanuel, God with us. It is the gospel! Christ was born, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose again, giving us the opportunity to receive the greatest gift we could ever receive; salvation. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas and Missions

The incarnation of Jesus Christ which we celebrate during Christmas time is one of the most beautiful examples of missions for Christians today. God left a comfortable heaven where He was worshipped to go to a place where He was largely unknown. Then when He was known He was beaten and killed. Jesus followed His Father’s will despite knowing it would end in His brutal death. 

Missionaries must also leave their own nation to go to a different culture and live amongst a people that are different from them. They must learn to be humble and learn from the people of the different culture even though they have learned a different way growing up. They must learn a different language and culture in which they have little previous understanding. 

The apostle Paul writes about being all things to all people, in other words, to relate to the people to whom you are ministering. Jesus benefited from His earthly trip in that as Hebrews says, He can now relate to everyone in their human feelings like thirst, hunger, pain, suffering and temptation. As missionaries go out and experience different cultures, their eyes open to the needs of the world as well as different cultural tendencies. 

As we celebrate the Christmas season, we can also be challenged by the mission minded heart of God. We can humble ourselves as we go out and relate to others whom we might not understand. In the spirit of giving, we can give of ourselves to others by the simple act of getting to know them. As you give of yourself, you will find that you grow in your own character and knowledge. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I might be in trouble; the holiday season still has 21 days in it. You know, the time when Cranberry Sierra Mist is available. I have already had it for a week straight and habits only take 21 days to stick. I guess my saving grace will be the holiday season ending and my lack of contacts in the black market.

When people think of addictions, they mainly think of the hardline drugs or alcohol, but we can be addicted to anything. Most of us are addicted to something and that something usually has consequences. We do not often think about them, but let’s ponder those consequences for a moment.

My first question is how much does your addiction cost? Do you realize what that means to you financially? I have been amazed at the Starbucks business. My brother now works there and he said there are people in there 2-3 times a day buying a mocha costalotofmoneycino. Let us just say you are not insane like that though and buy one a day; that equates to 30 dollars a week and over 120 dollars a month! 

Cigarettes at a pack a day; $180 a month.
2 cokes a day; at least $60 a month. 
Online porn site; I have no clue.
Gambling; the house always wins
Marijuana, cocaine, other drugs; pretty high up there.
Prescription meds; those are expensive too.

Those are just a few items;I know there are many more. 

After money costs; what about health costs? Smoking has serious diseases associated to it, but Coke might rank up there too due to obesity’s high risk problem in our society. Addiction to caffeine can also cause headaches.

Time could also be a factor if you talk about addictions like games, internet, smoking, porn, or gambling. Could you be doing something better with your time? Are you robbing your employer by your addictions (Yes, I saw you playing candy crush while your boss was on his smoke break). 

So if you are addicted and you think it may be having a negative impact on your life, what can you do to stop? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow0lr63y4Mw  You can try that; it may help. Or you can try to replace it with something good for you. If you cut something out, you are going to have to fill it with something else. Instead of looking at bad stuff, read a book (I know a really good long one that you can reread quite a few times and it still is interesting and good). Like to drink a lot, try water! Like to eat a lot, try healthier foods. Learn to be addicted to good things like exercise, volunteering, and healthy foods and drinks. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bits November

One more month to raise our support and it is definitely do-able! Several hundred dollars of monthly support commitment came in this past month as well as our accounts getting a good boost from all our faithful supporters and from some churches we visited. We now need around $460 a month and $12000 (this was at around 19k a couple months ago) in one time amounts. As long as the exchange rate stays where it has been lately, that one time amount has gone down some. It will depend mainly on how our moving goes and how much we can get a good car for. 

We spoke at Calvary Baptist in Red Bank, TN this last month. We really enjoyed that and it is neat to see how the Lord is blessing that church. I did run that marathon earlier this month and did not die somehow! It was really hard, but praise the Lord I finished. 

This next month we will be speaking in one small group meeting and then work on raising the rest of our support. Praise the Lord for the providential meetings He has given us so far. Two people this past month said they had given because it was obvious that God had brought us together. Please consider either giving a one time gift this month or pray about being a monthly supporter! We know that there are many who are praying as well and we appreciate you all so much!

Please pray also as we apply for Anna Claire's permanent Visa. God bless you all!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, our energetic four year old who is grateful for her family and all her toys, and our crawling, pulling up booger bear that has had a month long runny nose.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marathon post #5- Completion

I could not believe I crossed the finish line. Maybe that was why I was crying. Yeah. I was crying. That was not the first time that day either. It was the last though, at least for that day. I first cried after mile marker 20 or something like that. My legs were not the most comfortable they had ever been. I am not sure if I did not train enough (cause I thought I had done pretty well) or if my knees are just not marathon knees. Around mile 23 I called my wife who greatly encouraged me, and then I asked to talk to my four year old Evelyn. She said “you can do it daddy, you can do it.” Then I felt the estrogen kick in again and started crying. Now these were not big cries, I think the water in my body was being used elsewhere, but I felt pretty emotional. I asked them for prayer and went on (slowly).

Marathons are just too much about life to not point out some comparisons. There are too many times in life that quitting is an option. Quitting your marriage, your faith, school or vocation may seem like the best option. But it is not. Obstacles are momentary (though those moments seem more like eternity). In the last two days I have talked to a man whose wife had breast cancer, a guy who just went through drug and alcohol rehab and a married man who got a girl pregnant. Each of those situations could result in quitting; easily. Life is not for the faint of heart. 

We must live for so much more than comfort during difficult times. God allows difficulties in our life to mold us into the image of Christ; if we deny that molding process, we deny God’s hand in our lives. 

Saturday I was all set up with my flights to be at my brother’s in the morning and be able to have a nice relaxing day, but fog in Charlotte meant I had to reschedule and wait some. Through that I met a couple people that I know God meant for me to meet. During the marathon it was my plan to run with the Ethiopians up front, but God had me slow down and meet Dave, Dan, Gary, and Peter. God is providentially working in our lives and we can either reject that and get frustrated or accept it and marvel at His goodness. 

At the end of the race I received a medal. But you know, the medal is just a symbol of the completion of the race. I did not run the marathon so I could be honored with a medal. One day we will go before the Bema seat for an account of our life and we will receive a prize. But life is not about the prize; it is about giving God glory; it is about honoring Him. We walk and run, laugh and weep, live and die for His glory. What does God want you to do for His glory and how are you doing? Don’t quit. “Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God that is in Christ Jesus!”

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Encouragement and Man in the Arena

Encouragement is a huge part of running races. Spectators and runners alike are encouraging during the races. Many of you have been very encouraging to me, especially my wife. Last night I was talking to my friend Joe about my nerves going into the marathon. He showed me this quote by Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

As I eat my pasta and baked potato and drink my gatorade doing my best to be ready for tomorrow, Joe and others have helped me realize that the biggest accomplishment in all this is stepping into the arena. That applies to many areas in life, not just sports. What is daring to you that is out of the ordinary? What preparations/training do you need to make in your journey towards reaching that goal? 

12 more hours!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bits Beyond Brazil October

We just unpacked from our last scheduled meeting in which we have a decent distance to travel. On November 17th we are at Calvary Baptist in Red Bank Tennessee all day, but that is really close to home. 

October has been our busiest month for meetings as we started out in North Carolina, went to Alabama and then just arrived from Indiana. We have been so blessed by the sacrificial giving of these churches. I entered 13 new emails from Calvary Baptist and we were overwhelmed by their love and friendliness. 

We are waiting to hear from a couple churches about support, but it looks like we are needing around 700 dollars a month. We are looking for some supporters to raise their support as well as new churches to start supporting (hopefully we will hear about two new ones). We also are looking for new supporters. You know, God has infinite resources and although common sense tells us to worry, I am confident that God will provide for our needs. We have been humbled by gifts from a little girl that had saved money for a doll, a Gideon in a Chik-fil-a, new friends and old that have money or don’t, a seminary couple who does not even buy all the groceries they want, and so many more of you that are faithful. We do not take you all for granted! Click here to give!

Our goal to leave for Brazil is January and we would love to buy tickets this month. Our Outfit and Passage account has been going up, but is still lacking quite a bit, so if you do not think you can do monthly support, pray about a one time gift!

In a couple days I will be running a marathon! Pray for me! And send me your prayer requests as well as I will have about four hours to pray! I have been praying for God to receive glory through this crazy thing I am doing, mainly because it is on my bucket list. (Also look at previous posts for thoughts on the marathon).

This last month in Northeast Brazil, the church from Recife (the capital city) took a group to Arcoverde, the gateway to the Outback, and did an event for children’s day. Partnerships are forming and outreach is happening! We are praying about going to this city for a year or two. 

This month I read the Circle Maker, a great book on prayer that has given me much confidence in the power of prayer. God loves to answer bold prayers. My bold prayers have been for the missions blog, missions real estate idea, our financial support and our family. 

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, a happy four year old with many new toys who is learning to share, and a crawling seven month old who loves anything that goes in her mouth and darts for whatever shouldn’t go in her mouth.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ideas or dreams play out like marathons

Ideas seem to turn out to be marathons. If you are close to me you know that I have a lot of ideas turning circles in my head. Sometimes they pan out to be reality, sometimes not. I seem to dream big though. Going to the mission field started as a big dream when I was in eighth grade and has been playing out into reality in my life. The Christian culture of mediocrity and a big lack of mature disciples always bothered me and so I thought of writing a book. Before we left for Brazil I wrote that book (though few people read it). Fortunately Francis Chan, David Kinnaman, David Platt and others saw the same issues happening and wrote books that have been turning the Christian culture. (To my knowledge, none of them read my book).

Ideas are constantly generated and sometimes I have followed through with them. But they are generally a marathon. They take training or brainstorming, much work, much help and lots of diligence. A marathon is obviously not a quick sprint that our fast-food culture really enjoys. Some of these ideas are not too enjoyable as well.

In July I started a blog called Trends in Biblical Missions as a means of organizing ideas to implement in churches that will improve our mission’s system in our churches. To go along with the missions theme, for the past six years I have had an idea for a fund for these missionaries using real estate that will generate money to offset missions’ costs. These are some of the major marathon ideas I have had that are still in the beginning stages. Running a marathon helps me to realize that the process cannot just happen with the wink of an eye; it takes much time and work, but it can be done.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Marathon and Accountability

I am not running this marathon with anyone I know. I wish I were, but that just did not happen. But accountability has played an important role in training. My sister and dad are running a half marathon in December and some other people I know ran a marathon a couple weeks ago and then some others are running one the week after me. Knowing that has helped me in my training. Just being able to send them a message or text has kept me accountable to my training. My wife also told me; “if you do this, you can’t just do the big runs, you need to get out and run during the week as well.” Without those challenges, it would be very difficult to finish the race.

Sports are not the only places where we need accountability. We also need it in our workplaces, churches and for our spiritual lives. Without people around us, we will not as easily accomplish our goals. I am not saying things cannot get done without it, but it sure makes the process much harder. 

In which area do you need accountability? In the offense of growing spiritually like someone to check on your Bible reading or to pray with you? Or maybe the defense of making sure you stay away from places that cause you to sin or actions that are not pleasing to God? In both ways, accountability can greatly help. 
6 more days until I am a cripple for a few days.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Marathon! Post #1

Legend tells that the marathon was born out of the run of a warrior named Pheidippides, a Greek messenger reporting the result of the Battle of Marathon.  He arrived at the assembly and said “we won” before collapsing and dying. 

When the Olympics were developing in 1896 they wanted a race that would have history with the ancient Greeks (probably in addition to one of the first sports known to man, wrestling). So they developed the idea of the marathon with a length of somewhere around 25 miles. It became pretty popular.

I have always had a marathon on my bucket list, but have only done the River Bank Run in Michigan which is 15.6 miles. I have never put the training on my priority list before. With the River Bank Run I trained a little and did a 10 mile run once before the actual race. After the race I could barely walk for a few days. With the training this time I have done six runs over the 10 mile mark, the highest being 18 miles. Hopefully the race day adrenaline, rested legs and a bit of food and gatorade will get me to the 26.2 mile finish line. 

On the 18 miler I did not eat anything. Pheidippides probably did not eat anything and he fought in the battle before he ran! Sometimes I think I need to man up and go for it! Then I realize that he dropped dead after he ran his. My new life insurance policy has not kicked in yet, so I think that I will eat and drink a little during the race. 

While training I have had plenty of time to think and pray. More on this in the next marathon blog! Countdown to marathon. 8 days. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bits September

Traveling has been the name of the game this month. We started off going to the beach with Sarah’s family. Every year for the past four years Sarah has been depressed when she hears about her family’s beach trips, but this year we were able to take a weekend and go down with them. We had a good time and the girls loved the time with their cousins. 

We followed that week with a couple weeks of illness. That was fun. On the 15th Sarah made Brazilian food to take to a Spanish church in Chattanooga as they celebrated some latin American countries’ independence days. It was different being in a service in a foreign language again! I was thinking about Brazil the whole time as my brain strained to understand everything. The food and fellowship was good!

On the 18th-22nd I went to Prattville, Alabama for Fountain City Baptist Church’s missions conference. The girls were still sick and recovering and so the church received the lower end of the deal but were very gracious about it. It was neat meeting other missionaries, sharing at the church, eating and talking missions. At the end they decided to double our support! What a blessing.

This past weekend we drove to North Carolina to be with Calvary Baptist Church in Raleigh. On Saturday night we had a cookout where I took a pineapple with cinnamon to grill and give them a little taste of something we learned in Brazil. We then shared about ministry and gave tips for their different short term trip opportunities. On Sunday Sarah taught the kid’s SS class while I taught the youth. We both had a great time teaching and throughout the day ministering and being ministered to! We are currently in waiting for next weekend’s meetings and Pastor Frye found us a missions apartment on the coast of NC which we had never been before.

We are still targeting a January departure date even though our support has not gone up too much. If you would like to commit to partner with us, click here. If you would like to just start giving either a one time gift (we need a lot of those) or monthly (I guess we need a bit of this as well!), follow this link

The Trends in Biblical Missions blog has been going well as I have heard of several Pastors who are reading and thinking about these ideas!

We have been chatting to and hearing about interest in partners for the field this month! Keep praying! 

Thanks and God bless.
All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, our big FOUR year old!!!! and our little crawler (barely) that seems to have more personality every day. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bits August

“We need to pray for ministry partners for David and Sarah,” someone said from our home church a week after we had been there. So neat to hear that people are praying for our greatest need right now. We are looking for partners to go with us. We will need partners who work well with youth or children, partners who are people persons who enjoy meeting others, and partners who enjoy teaching. If you think you may fit into one of those roles or know someone who does, please contact me. If not, please pray that we would find workers for His harvest. 

This month we went up to Michigan where I was able to speak at a lifelong friend’s youth group in Kalamazoo. They were very attentive and afterwards I talked to a young man and his mother for about 45 minutes about his life in missions. I have done this several times this year and really enjoy it. 

The next day I went to a staff meeting at my home church where I was able to share a couple of things. My home church is in a transitional period and are looking at a couple different areas. I enjoyed seeing the ins and outs of their staff meeting. I was also able to speak at a Sunday School class in which I talked about the Amazon and the Outback and drew a horrific map. 

This past week I went to a mobilization conference with ABWE where we learned about short term trips, internships and how we can better counsel people interested in missions. Hopefully it will come into play the next couple months as we travel to several churches (Alabama, North Carolina, and Indiana). We are looking still for around 700 dollars worth of monthly support. Pray that need gets met soon so we can buy our plane tickets for January. 

I spent a lot of time working on the new blog http://trendsinbiblicalmissions.blogspot.com/ this month and if you have not checked it out, please do. My goal is for lots of pastors and missions committees to be able to look at it, discuss, and understand some of the trends in missions that we do not always think about. 

Thanks to all for their prayers, love and support. 

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, the jumping girl that calls all her food delectable, and the smiling, roller who loves walking outside and anything that she can hold and goes in her mouth. Here is a little raw video in celebration of the start of football season:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qflLbC5zM0c 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another blog?

Well, as bad as I have been at having one blog, I now have two blogs. Before Brazil I could blog a lot more, but with bad internet in Brazil, blogging died down. When I was redoing my website for missions, the background went white and so I lost our website. I then decided to use the blog for our website. So I am trying to maintain this blog pretty regularly.

There are several friends who would love to work on our dialogue about missions. We got together and thought about doing a blog where that dialogue could happen. So yesterday I launched http://trendsinbiblicalmissions.blogspot.com to work on that dialogue. If you haven't visited it, would love to have you stop by and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bits Beyond Brazil August

We didn't get fired! Of course, we didn't expect to. This month we went to ABWE headquarters to have our board interview. This was our first interview with the board besides candidate class back in 2005 and 2007, so we were a little nervous. But the board is so very kind and gracious and everything went very well. We were also up north for the Missionary Enrichment conference. We enjoy seeing our Brazil family and ABWE world family so much. There seemed to be a fight at every meal as to who would hold Anna Claire.

While in Pennsylvania and Virginia (the conference was in Arlington) we were able to see cousins of Sarah and I. My cousin Melanie drove down and I was able to meet her family (she has four kids). Then we stayed at Sarah's cousins Mike and Maria and the two kids that Sarah used to hang out with during some summers, Hannah and Matthew. A big thanks to both for their effort in seeing us!

I am working on a blog for missions. We already have one for our family, but this one is called Trends in Biblical Missions and is intended to open conversation about how we can improve the missions system we now have in the US. I wrote today on Crucial Conversations and how it is easy to take the "sucker's choice" when it comes to having a conversation that is difficult. We like to take the easy way out, but we shouldn't. Pray that this blog can do something for God's glory as sometimes I get discouraged about these little projects I have. If you are interested in being involved in it, please email me.

We opened our accounts today and saw our Outfit and Passage account had doubled! We are now over a third of the way to our one time needed funds for returning to Brazil. These will go mainly towards a car and will also cover passage and moving funds. I checked tickets and found great prices for us for January, but we are looking for people to partner with us financially before we are able to buy tickets. 2 partners at 150/month, 3 partners at 100/month, and 4 partners at 50/month and 4 partners at 25/month should do the trick!  Would you pray about being one of these partners? If not a financial partner, the least you can do is come with us! We are still looking for ministry partners for the Brazilian Outback!

This month we head up to Michigan where we will get some family time as well as speak at a friend's (Jeff Selph) youth group. Jeff and I grew up together at Heritage Baptist and it is always neat to continue to serve together! I am also planning on going to Pennsylvania again later in the month for a two day conference for mobilization.

Thanks so much for your continued support of us. God bless you all!
All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, the energetic runner that sometimes gets car sick and our little roller with a very cute smile.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mission boards

A recent trend in missions is for missionaries to be sent out of their local church without a board. Very biblical, I like it. I wish sometimes we just had one church that is really behind us pushing hard, investing in our lives. But we don't, and I am in some ways glad. We go through ABWE, the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. Yesterday we had our board interview in which the board loved and encouraged us. They made us know that they are behind us. I told them that we loved ABWE cause their structure kept us on the field.

You see, a mission board understands missionaries. Churches probably do to some degree, but it is not their specialty. ABWE specializes in training missionaries, taking care of missionaries, mobilizing missionaries, counseling missionaries and networking in missionary resources. When we had way too many bad boat rides and were ready to give up, our administrators told us we were not bad people for feeling that way. They told us they loved us and we were doing a good job. They told us to take breaks when we needed breaks. They loved us so much. 

ABWE does not take the place of our home church, it aids our home church. The home church is the sender and the board is the facilitator. When one is sent out of a home church with no board, they do not have the networking resources. ABWE has a structure all set up to help with accountability and support on the field. They are also able to get international health insurance at a group rate. They have developed high quality internationally friendly evangelism and discipleship material. They understand how different cultures work and how to prepare for the life of a missionary. 

Before we arrived on the field we were required to attend several training seminars. We were told what to expect. That understanding can save the life of a missionary who will face daunting cultural challenges. 

So yes, be a great home church; and sure, support them for 100%. But make sure that you are connected to the resources you need to make your missionary as successful as he can be.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July Update Email

People often ask us what we are supposed to do while we are in the states. Brazilians know about furlough and used the word vacation to describe what we are doing during this year of furlough. While vacation is part of it (we are in a cabin in the smokies with Sarah's family this week), it is a small part. Our goals are these:
1. Rest
2. Report to supporting churches and friends
3. Training for future ministry
4. Recruit for the Outback, Brazil and ABWE and missions!
5. Spend time with family and friends
6. Plan on the next step
7. Raise more support

While I much prefer the ministry in Brazil to home assignment, there is much value to what we are doing here. Of course, resting is biblical, as hard as that is to do sometimes. I was challenged by a Pastor last week to take rest more seriously as tough family circumstances have taught him that lesson lately.

We have spoke at several of our supporting churches as well as some non-supporting. This last month we went down to the Atlanta area with our good friends Mitch and Christa Norman and spoke to their youth group. We still have openings available if you would like to have us there. (We can't guarantee the cute ones of the family will be there as traveling has been slightly difficult). We also will report to the ABWE board on July 18. Pray we do alright and the girls behave!

This last month I was gone for two weeks up at ABWE in Harrisburg, PA for training in Good Soil courses.  I took both the OT and NT Roots of Faith courses which were really good. I am now certified (not necessarily qualified) to teach these courses and will hopefully be able to do that upon returning to Brazil. Should you be interested in these courses being given in Chattanooga, go ahead and contact me. I have thought about doing it, but it would be difficult, but I am willing to give it a try if there is some interest. You can follow this link www.goodsoil.com
to get more info on the courses.

We are spending time with Sarah's family right now and have seen my parents several times since arriving home. We also go up to Michigan next month for a week or so to spend time with them. 

We are in constant planning for our next step of going to the Outback. Right now I am reading Church Planting Movements by David Garrison and it is really catching my attention as far as planning goes. There is much strategy in church planting, as well as much prayer needed, which makes me happy to have you all by our side! You all are such a great blessing. 

We also have more support to raise! We are waiting on confirmation from one church about a significant difference. If that happens, we will be lacking about $850 a month in support. That is only 2 supporters at $150 a month, 3 supporters at $100 a month and 5 supporters at $50 a month. If you feel like you could be one of those, please let me know or just go straight to www.abwe.org/give and get it set up! We also are in need of about $25,000 of one time gifts in order to buy a car, plane tickets, and other moving expenses.  

Thanks for everything; we love you all!
All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, the super-duper big sister helper to the full of smiles little bug 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rescuing the Christian Image-Speech

The Christian image has obviously suffered lately. You could say the US is turning anti-Christian and it is partially our fault. Yes, Jesus said that they hated Him and so they will hate His followers as well, but some of that hate is because of our own sins. We can do better and should do better. But how?

One way is because of our speech. We just don't speak properly to others. The Bible speaks up on this issue to Christians. First of all, remember the golden rule. If you would not someone to talk to you with the tone you are using on them, then don't use it!

A soft answer turns away wrath. Such true words. How often have you yelled at someone and seen progress? Usually when my wife and I have a heated discussion, it just gets us madder. Not until one of us apologizes do we see much progress. When someone yells at you, or challenges your belief, a harsh answer will get you no where.

Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edification, that it may minister grace to the hearers. Edification means to lift up. In a newer phrase, if you don't have anything good to say, don't say it. Encourage people.

Let your speech be seasoned with salt. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Care for people, everyone. People have feelings. Love them. Whenever you want to yell at someone, think about what they are going through. Walk a mile in their shoes and then walk with them another mile.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Traditional Marriage Debate

-LGBT people are not ignorant.

-Supporters of traditional marriage are not ignorant.

-LGBT supporters are not stupid.

-Traditional marriage supporters are not stupid.

-We all get our bias from our values and when people do not live within our values, in this society, we think the other is both stupid and ignorant. 

-Everyone has feelings. 

-The prefix anti- cannot be trusted. Christians (in general) do not hate gays because they are “anti-gay marriage.” Many LGBT do not hate Jesus or the Bible.

-Christians have failed to love others as they should.

-Christians are hypocrites in the general sense of the word. We try to be perfect, be we aren’t, nor must we be to be Christians. That is the point of being a Christian. We don’t have to be perfect because we know someone who was perfect so that we don’t have to be. But most of us have honest intentions to try to live as Jesus would. 

-Christians are scared that our rights will be taken away. If gay-marriage is legalized, the next step for legislation (in our eyes) will be to close down or take away tax-exempt status for churches who will not perform these weddings because it is against their personal convictions. Things like this are already happening in school Bible clubs.

-In a Christian view of history, homosexuality has been a sign of a decrease in morality. In one Bible story, God destroyed a city in which it was the main sin. The book of Romans clearly shows the depravity of a society in which homosexuality is prevalent and the end result is that God gives that people over to themselves. God’s hand has been on the USA in its history and Christians do not want his hand of blessing taken away. (Not that this vote will be a determining factor, but is only a sign of where this country is morally). 

-Divisiveness is killing America

-Media cannot be trusted.

-This is a serious issue for LGBT because it is their identity as a human being.

-This is a serious issue for Christians because they feel their religious liberty is at stake and they do not want that liberty revoked. 

-The point of me writing this is so that when you do make your posts or statements or whatever we can be considerate of the other side. No matter how strong you feel, the solution to your problem is not going to come by hateful, inconsiderate speech. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Service idea

In January we will be returning to Northeast Brazil to plant churches. In the meantime we are on furlough ministry, which means we travel to churches, look for speaking opportunities, see family and friends, rest, get more training, etc. When I was in Michigan I went to a couple of prayer services. They were great and when I came back down south I organized one here. On Friday someone else did a variation of the prayer service and it went well.

Then I started thinking about doing this same style of prayer service for normal church services. I have been listening to a Church planting movement class online and the Professor talked about key ingredients to a church planting movement. Some of those elements are prayer, indigenous bi-vocational leadership, and something that can be copied without outside resources.

The format of the prayer service is something like this: worship, 5-10 minute devotional, 15-20 minutes of prayer and then repeat all those. Time has flown in every one of these services I have been in and people have gone away blessed. There were various speakers and so it did not depend on one person's dynamic message. There is a huge focus on the Word, Worship and Prayer; specifically prayer. The prayer time promotes application to the message and can be divided up into large group prayers, popcorn praying, small groups, pairs, alone, etc...

So what if I use this format in starting churches in Brazil? I would immediately start using nationals in the service. They would learn to pray starting with simple phrases (which is probably what God prefers anyway) and they would learn to teach as well. They would not start out preaching 45 minute services, but rather would start out leading a prayer time, then move to teaching a short devotional, then being more involved, get more training, and then leading a service somewhere else as a national Pastor/leader.

We could do this service once a week, probably on a Sunday morning or night and include a meal together. So they could arrive at 10:30 in the morning, have lunch at 12 and continue until 1:30 or 2. Or a night service could start at 5:00, have service for an hour, then a snack/meal and finish around 8:30.

The service would cover different topics each week as well. In 3 hours there is time for 4-6 devotionals. So each week you could possibly have a salvation part, an OT story, and several different topics that would give them a variety. The prayer part really focuses on the application of the devotional as we ask God to help us put into practice a certain principle, worship God, confess sins, or learn to trust Him.

Time available on the weekends or during the week could be used for further training for your leaders or whoever was interested.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Revival- Why it could happen

In November I arrived back to the US from a 4 year term of missions in Brasil to what I thought would be a post-election depression that would worry me about the spiritual state of the union. How could God be working in our nation when things are so bad?

Since then I have been believing that the time is ripe for a revival and that the pieces are in place.

Passion- the college age kids have a lot of passion. Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio no doubt have part in this age group seeking God through vibrant worship. A Liberty convocation service where 8000 students worshiped God really inspired me. My youngest brother is that age and is searching diligently for God's power.

Doctrine- There are great seminaries and colleges doing a good job of equipping Pastors. Even music is starting to revolve more around doctrine.

 Christ centered preaching- Tim Keller is listened to by many preachers around the world and is a great example of how to point others to Christ through sermons.

 God's love- Christians are figuring out that God's word revolves much more around love than it does rules.

 The Holy Spirit- This new generation is seeking the Holy Spirit. Baptists are generally scared by the Holy Spirit because of the possibility of erroneous doctrine, but the college age kids want to see God's power worked out through His Spirit.

 "God's not dead; He's surely alive; He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion." Our God isn't going anywhere. He wins in the end. He is calling people and people groups to Himself and the church is excited about it. Missions movements are happening all over the world and will continue to happen as long as the church shows a passion to reach the lost.

 But I am not sure that we will see a revival until we are more serious about prayer. The hunger is growing, but we need more dependence on God through prayer.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


"If I wished to humble anyone, I should question him about his prayers." CH Vaughn. My prayer life can attest to this. I constantly need boosts to my prayer life and they often come. Through trials, through decisions, through good sermons, through good worship, and other circumstances. Recently my prayer life got a boost after a couple of prayer meetings. I was in Michigan for Christmas and my cousin organized a prayer meeting at my home church. The youth praise team did a bunch of music and then we broke off and prayed. The service lasted two and a half hours and seemed much shorter. It was great to have worship right beside prayer. They go together. Worship is prayer; or at least it should be. The second service was at my brother's Joe and Jeff's church. They did an all-nighter from 10PM to 7AM. They did sing some, but mainly did some devotionals and broke it off for prayer. I didn't think I would last too long, but the time flew and I left after 4AM really blessed. What this has done for me is boost my prayer and worship life. In our return to the USA we have found the country as a whole in sad shape spiritually. However, there seems to be a generation that is excited about God and unity through prayer. I heard about a college/church (not Baptist) that actually has a 24/7 prayer service. I think they rotate every 2 hours and they always have something going on. They are praying for revival. That is amazing and I hope that this spreads because prayer works! So we are going to do a prayer meeting here in Chattanooga at Brainerd Crossroads on February 22nd from 9PM to 4AM. We are calling it a Spiritual Renewal Prayer Service. We have three area Pastors that will be speakers (Jeremy Wallace, JC Groves, Rusty Mckie), one police officer (Jeremiah Cook) and one missionary (David Carrel). We will have music from some area music leaders. I am excited about the spiritual boost this meeting can give me. I guess that may be selfish, but on the unselfish side; you are invited. Message me for more info or if you would like to help and please RSVP so I know how many snacks to get.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bottled up

It is easy to hide our struggles; to pretend we do not have issues or problems with which we are dealing. It stems from our false perceptions of people's response. Sadly, bottling up our problems only causes more problems. When we share with others, we release all the pressure built up from keeping things within. Today for lunch, a new friend shared some issues in his life and I told him I was in the same boat. Many times people are in the same boat and usually it is comforting knowing someone is sailing with you. You are not alone. I find much encouragement in that. We miss so much potential growth when we do not share our life with others. James says to confess your faults one to another and you will be healed. When we bottle up our faults, we show how prideful we really are to not let others see any weak areas. But God uses us most when we are weak; for when we are weak, then He shows His strength.