Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bits December

Merry Christmas (a little late) and Happy New Year! (a little early). We have had a great Christmas season in the states. It was wonderful being around Sarah’s family, getting lots of cousin time for the girls and relaxing with the whole family. Now we are headed up to Michigan for a couple weeks to spend time with my family. Also, Sunday (the 3rd) we will be speaking at Heritage Baptist church, our sending church. We look forward to seeing our church family! 

This past month we were also able to speak a couple times in some small groups; both in the Chattanooga area. We always enjoy sharing about Brazil whether it be one-on-one in a small group or to a large group. We have answered some great questions about living and working on the mission field. 

In January we will be speaking at Yellow River Baptist in Atlanta area and then possibly a couple churches in the Chattanooga area. I am also planning a prayer night with some of the Pastors from Brainerd Baptist Church for January 15th from 9PM to 1AM at the BX in Chattanooga. It is open for anyone and I would love to see various churches from the area represented. We will be praying for our community, churches and outreach. These prayer nights have always been really good for me spiritually. Come check it out!

Our building has started in Arcoverde on the church property! They have started on the outside property wall and will then move on to the foundation of the building next; but we still need lots of funds! Please consider a special gift to this project! If you each give 100,000 dollars, we will be able to build 500 churches; but we don’t even need that much. Our total we need for this phase is just 120,000 and we already have at least a fourth of that. Give what you can whether it be $10 or $10,000, everything will help. I checked the exchange rate the other day and it had jumped over 4, which means your money doubles what it could normally buy! What a great opportunity!

We are excited about how God is going to use American football in Brazil and our influence seems to be expanding. From May 31st to June 6 there will be a mission trip to Recife to run a clinic for several teams in Northeast Brazil. There are still spots to help out with this clinic. If you have experience with playing or coaching football and are interested in this trip or know someone who might be, please let me know. Also, if you are going to be close to me in the next couple months, I would love to make some videos that show drills or explain certain concepts in football. These would probably go around to all Brazil and we could use that influence to spread the gospel. I still think it is crazy how God is using football in a soccer country for people to hear about His Story.

You all’s love and support is humbling to us. We probably had one of our best years ever (without me verifying the actual numbers) as far as giving to ABWE to support us on the field. We love being on the field and know that you all’s partnership has enabled that. Thank you!

All for HIS glory,
David, Sarah, my sweet lovely Evelyn who worked hard this year to get an American girl doll and was so grateful when she received it, and our Anna Claire who understood Christmas a little more this year and so was able to really enjoy it. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's a baby!!!

Parents hopefully don't mind as I stare when newborn babies are nearby. There is something so beautiful about new life. I remember when my first baby Evelyn Grace was born and I held her close to me. I remember my tears as her little hand held my finger while she received her first shots and I told her that the pain was actually for her own well-being. Walking down the halls with her I showed her to whoever would see her because I was so proud! A new baby is beautiful to behold.

God chose to send a baby as His love gift. He sent His Son as a beautiful baby; as a new life for us and that is what Christmas is all about. But with Jesus it is so much more than the new life as a baby. The gift God gave to us as represented by Christmas is not just about the new life of a new baby, it is about life for all! Jesus came as a baby so that we could have eternal life with Him forever.

Romans explains it using a comparison with Adam. The first man Adam came, sinned and brought death on all of us. That is, separation from a perfect, holy God. But Jesus came and just as Adam through sinning brought death, Jesus, through faith, brings life!

As much as we look forward to family, fun, presents, food and a day off on Christmas day, may we look forward to the new life that God has for us through His Son Jesus Christ. There will be no January after this gift of life; we will continue in joy in Him forever. There will be no more separation from this beautiful new life; it will go on forever.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jesus and Power Distance

A few weeks ago I heard a lecture on Power Distance. No, the term Power Distance does not refer to home run hitting. The given definition goes like this:
  • “Power distance is a term that describes how people belonging to a specific culture view power relationships - superior-subordinate relationships - between people including the degree that people not in power accept that power is spread unequally.” - Hofstede
  • Power distance refers to the extent to which less powerful members of organizations and institutions (including the family) accept and expect unequal power distributions. This dimension is measured not only from the perspective of the leaders, who hold power, but from the followers. In regard to power distribution, Hofstede notes, "all societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others."

I was intrigued by the lecture because I had never heard of it, yet it explained so much about government rule and how it affected the church. The USA has low power distance because supposively we elect our leaders, so essentially we elect what we want in government and that happens. (Again, this is in general; I have watched the news lately...) Countries with kings or dictators would have a high power distance because they say it and that settles it; the people have little control. 

High Power Distance     Low Power Distance

So Americans generally view organizations with a low power distance mentality and generally disagree with high power distance society's. Think of the family. I am serious when I say if I am the head of the family, my wife Sarah is the neck that pretty much controls the head. Women have fought for equality in society to the point where having a female president is a very real possibility. 

Churches also deal with Power Distance. I grew up in a more High Power Distance type church where the Pastor had a lot of control even though there was a board as well (deacons). Recently I have seen many churches go to more of an elder led Low Power Distance type governance. 

So when you study the family or government or church; what is the right way to go? The lecturer (whom I am not able to name due to security issues) talked about his experience in both settings, both in country and out of country where he served in a high power distance society where Americans were going in and creating unsuccessful church governing systems. 

He discussed how the Bible addresses both sides of the issue. Moses learned from Jethro to have people help lead, but that still didn't turn out too well. The New Testament encourages church members to submit to those who rule over them. (Hebrews 13:17) The Bible also emphasizes the Kingdom of God; meaning a land with a King who rules...

But it doesn't end there. Jesus says, "you call me teacher and Lord" and then says that He came to serve. So yes, Jesus is Lord! Jesus is King! But He says to use that power to get down and lift people up.

Personally I learned a lot from this lesson. I don't need to be afraid to lead and make decisions cause people look for that from leadership. But when I am making the decisions I need to serve people because that is Jesus' example. He uses His power to lift others up. I also need to submit to the leaders in my life. God has put them there and I need to follow their lead. (Of course, we need to be careful who we are following).