Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The same old me or a new me?

"I am stubborn and hard to deal with; that is just how I am; if you don't like it, don't deal with me." Beautiful words to use when you want to talk about yourself. I still cannot wrap my mind around the mentality behind these words. If you are annoying and know it, why not change?

I have many faults, but I try to work on them and improve my personhood. Some think they do not have a choice when it comes to what kind of person you are, but that is completely false. What separates people who are what we would call successful and the rest? While there are thousands of correct answers to this question, I am going to say that the most successful people invest in themselves. You have many decisions and actions to take in life and you prepare for those by what you put in your mind.

When someone buys a car they look for value. Is the car new? Does it have problems? What kind of trinkets does it have? When we bought our car the DVD player with screens in the back added a lot of value. So when someone looks to hire, they look for value as well. What kind of person are you? What trinkets (or good characteristics) do you have that add value to you as an employee? Maybe you don't have any! Surely that is not true. But certainly it is true that you can add more value to yourself.
How do you do that? Be proactive with yourself. Look for ways to learn (reading being the primary method) and start putting good material into your mind.

Reading a book yesterday I learned new information (and old). I noticed that at some point in life I had learned some good insight in my relationship with my wife and others. Had I read the book sooner I might have saved a few battles with my wife. It is funny cause we will spend time learning lessons through negative experiences (like fights with your wife) or you can learn them by prevention done through reading. If you need me to tell you which of these is easier send me an email and I will let you in on the answer!

This process can happen to anyone, but Christians can have a great advantage. You see, we have the Holy Spirit in our life who often works through the Bible to help us out. My grandfather and parents have been great examples of putting the Bible into their minds. They consistently read every morning. The bible says this is being transformed by the renewing of your mind. We are more like Christ!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tim Tebow

I am one of those people that reads all the articles on Tim Tebow. Not because I was ever a Gators or Broncos (or Jets) fan, or cause I think he is the best unused talent around (I don't think that), but because I want good to win. I often look out for Christians who are not ashamed to say they are Christians and silently root for them.

The world needs good role models right now. With all the wrong things going on, it is nice to see people trying to stand up for what is right without an in the face approach. Wherever Tim Tebow has gone he has won over people. I am pretty sure that most people that have really known him and talk to him have ended up respecting him and that is the kind of guy for whom I want to root.

I follow his foundation on Twitter and it is really neat to see all of the stuff his foundation does for the needy; especially Timmy's playroom where sick kids can get away. Who can't love that? Tim Tebow is an example of someone genuine. I don't think you can question his motives because you know he is for real. I think we can all be genuine as well if we put our mind to it. Love God and love others as yourself. We all mess up, but we can admit it and try harder (meaning depend on God more).

This year I am hoping he can get in the game and make a few plays and maybe even shut a few people up, but if he doesn't, I hope he knows he can come play for our team in Brazil, take over my position and help us with our church plant!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A victim of circumstance

July, August and September all have important dates for me as far as my Christian life. I was appointed an ABWE missionary in July of 2005, saved August 12, 1987 and then we arrived in Brazil for career missions September 26, 2008.

All of them represent God's sovereign work in my life in making me who I am. We do not control where or to whom we are born. God placed me in a loving Christian household where the gospel was displayed to me since I was born. I don't know the percentage on that happening, but I imagine babies have less than a 5% chance they will be born into that type of home.

The year I was saved we lived in a house behind a church where we simply had to walk across the parking lot to get to church. After taking that short walk back home one night after church I talked with my mom about salvation and decided to follow Christ. When I was still a child my parents highlighted the importance of missions by going to Mexico for a couple weeks for health clinics (my dad is a doctor) and then two month and six month trips with their 7 children to the Amazon in Brazil. It was not hard to see that earthly riches were not my parent's life goal. They showed by their actions the importance of serving God no matter the difficulty or cost. Being a missionary is because I am a victim of my past and God's sovereign work in my life.

I love preaching on Philippians 1:6; God is completing a good work in us! I cannot forget that He is doing that in my life as well. If it were up to me I probably would have many hurt relationships due to anger problems, but fortunately God has placed people with wisdom in my path to point out my faults and how to correct them. God has grown our circle of influence by leading us to many different places whether they be churches for a day, internships for a couple months, or some cities for years. Deep relationships have developed that have taught me so much.

Different missionaries have been in my life that have taught me what to do and what not to do and they continue to be there as I continue to learn. Ed Gibson was a popular speaker for missions conferences and taught about being Jesus to the people; simple missions. Roy Seals and Doug Hodges were my missions profs in college who taught me so much and who never really left the mission field even though they were still in a position to influence college students. They both constantly re-think how we do missions and are passionate about more people hearing of God's glory. In South Brasil several missionaries showed us what starting churches looked like. I especially liked their sport's ministries. Al Yoder is a machine that goes non-stop. Chip Philips is as well and has shown me to never stop learning. Lloyd and Athena Peace have shown me true love and friendship. Now we are with Roger and Marcy Smith who have given us much wisdom in church planting. They have had to have patience with us and have calmly shown us what church planting takes.

God never intended for us to live the Christian life alone. He places a cloud of witnesses around us that show His path. We can do and do and take credit or we can listen, learn, grow and give glory to God for what is accomplished through us. I praise God that He has allowed me to be a victim of my surroundings and has sustained us where we are at today.

Never take for granted what God is doing in your life. He gives us difficult times, different mentors, and unusual ways of spiritual growth, but is present through it all with the goal of our conformity to the image of His Son. Praise the Lord for His work in our lives!