5 May 2021
Yes, I know — the phrase in the newsletter title is usually “an open and shut case.” I'll explain in a moment but first I have a…
Newsflash for “Somebody,” the Intercessor
Our COVID vaccine shots don’t open doors,
but Jesus does!
I want to thank the Lord and somebody out there. I don’t know who. You may recall the last newsletter took on the theme of my “oomph-lessness.” I managed to hit the “send” button around 8 pm local time and I went to bed.
Somebody received the newsletter that same night and prayed for me. Dark and early, right at 04:00 the next morning (my preferred wake-up time, a schedule that allows me to spend over two hours in research and writing on [continue reading…]
Resting on the Rock(ing Chair)
3 April 2021
I’m so dog-gone tired that cat-naps won’t suffice.
I find myself envying ol’ Rip Van Winkle
just a bit!
This is what an idyllic vacation dream looks like for me; but it doesn't hold a candle to the Secluded Place where “He restoreth my soul.”
Yes, this newsletter is a bit late, and it’s a bit different. I just haven’t had the internal oomph to write it and get it published. Oh, don’t worry. External circumstances are going well, the blessing of God seems to be on our activities, the path ahead looks bright, and we are healthy. We had our Finest of the Wheat annual board meeting this past week, and we were all giving thanks to God for His goodness and blessing over the last year.
But having acknowledged that, I also realize that I’ve reached a point of temporary burnout. It happens now and then, since I usually go nonstop, and I’ve learned through experience that it’s nothing that should raise alarm bells. Experience has also taught me that it’s rather futile to harness the remaining “fumes” of my willpower in order to “blast through.” In burnout times, the most fruitful response, yielding the quickest recovery time, is to listen to Jesus when He says, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
My idea of a [continue reading…]
28 February 2021
For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4:8-10 nkjv
Prepping for a new teaching season!
My next-door neighbor, despite being Virginia born and bred, is a lifelong New York Yankees baseball fan. This morning he and his family left for Florida so that he can fulfill a long-held dream of watching the Yankees during their Spring-training camp. (Of course, there’s also the small matter of visiting a Florida-based great-grandchild — their first!)
My neighbor’s neighbors (that would be Denise and me) are in “spring training,” too, but it’s not nearly so glamorous as swinging bats, snagging line drives, and signing autographs for fans. Yes, assuming we can [continue reading…]
30 January 2021
If “speed kills,” then VW bug owners should live a long time!
Denise and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary yesterday, and I am reminded that when we got married we owned a high-mileage black 1965 VW “bug” as our first car. Though loved by economy-minded VW owners, that model more than deserved its nickname of “gutless wonder.” Did you ever get stuck on an uphill freeway on-ramp behind a “bug” that was reciting “I think I can, I think I can” as it strained up the incline? If you did, you probably got close enough to read the bumper sticker that only a VW bug owner could fully appreciate:
I’M [continue reading…]
Copyright © 2020, 2021
Several times a year I drive down a long stretch of highway in my home state of Virginia. While traveling westward on this road, I pass a church which hardly ever changes the message on its marquee. It nearly always proclaims that congregation’s motto:
Training for Reigning
Even though that probably doesn’t leave much to the imagination as to the typical content of their preaching and teaching (I’m guessing topics like prosperity, positive confession, and “living like a king’s kid”), it always makes me wonder if they teach anything about God’s minimum [continue reading…]
19 December 2020
On December 25th we celebrate missions. Missions!? You probably thought I’d say, “Christmas” or “Jesus’ birth” or even “the Incarnation.” All of those are valid answers, of course. But have you ever thought about all of those as very important sub-topics under the topic of missions, specifically the Great Commission?
The One who said, “Go” was sent.
The Great Commission? Isn’t that the mandate Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20? That’s when they became full-fledged apostles, right? “Apostle” — apóstolos in Greek — is just the noun form of the Greek verb apostéllō, to send someone out, to send a message. So the word apostle means nothing more — and nothing less! — than [continue reading…]
23 November 2020
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him, all creatures here below!
Praise Him all above, ye heavenly hosts!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Ocotál, Nicaragua: Blessings flowed into this man’s life via that bag.
Those words from the hymn which we call “the Doxology” actually represent the very last verse of a much longer hymn. It’s a summary, as it were, of Thomas Ken’s greater work Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun.
In the same way, a “summary” of God’s many blessings over the last six weeks is about all I can share in one newsletter. And the Latin American leaders have sent me so many photos that I can't share a tenth of them with you.
27 September 2020
Channels to Latin America
How I praise Thee, precious Savior,
That Thy love laid hold of me!
Thou hast saved and cleansed and filled me
That I might Thy channel be.
Channels only, blessèd Master,
But with all Thy wondrous power
Flowing through us, Thou canst use us
Every day and every hour.
It’s not just a song; it’s an evangelistic lifestyle!
Praise God for His wonderful supply! This month He presented us with an unexpected opportunity to send COVID-19 relief funds to five Latin American countries. A few of you became “channels of blessing” to make this possible. My heart has been singing Mary Maxwell’s lovely hymn Channels Only all month. “Channels” is a song Denise and I have come to sing together when we prepare to minister at a certain location here in [continue reading…]
3 September 2020
Was Gravity “Extra Heavy”?
I know for certain, because I performed a “random gravity check!”
I appeal to your imagination: Tell yourself, “This is the August newsletter, and it’s late because of gravity.” Yes, really! I had a bad fall four weeks ago, and the incident reminded me of a story Denise tells about her childhood friend, who, after a bad day of repeatedly dropping things, exclaimed, “Gravity is extra heavy today!” That’s my alibi.
Was anything broken in my fall? Well, yes — my pride, and over three weeks’ worth of meaningful productivity. Besides about eight hours in the emergency room, it has taken me considerable time to get back to normal in terms of daily routine, early-morning writing, our publishing schedule, and so forth. So my quick personal report is: “I fell down, got up, got patched up, and now I’m finally better.” (Oh, and the doctor tells me that there’s no miracle cure for [continue reading…]
27 July 2020
Make it your steady diet!
One of the rarely mentioned and little appreciated joys of being a follower of Jesus is that we get to celebrate two birthdays every year — one biological and one spiritual, the latter being the day of our New Birth. In salvation terms, I’m coming up on my 52nd birthday on Friday July 31! I give thanks to God for the night of my salvation… and for the promise I made to Him when I was only three hours old in the Lord.
Testimony of My Salvation
29 June 2020
It’s encouraging to look back on God’s visitations in history as we go about our Kingdom-assigned daily tasks.
(A bit more on Cane Ridge below)
As the world continues to deal with this far-reaching wake-up call from God which we label “COVID-19,” I find myself walking more quietly in the fear of the Lord (which I consider a good thing), seeking God’s face (as opposed to just “seeking God for something”), thinking about revival, and desiring to be led by the Holy Spirit in order to spend my time in the wisest and most profitable way.
So teach us to number our days
That we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Cold Revival Ground
Big Milestone: I Turn 17 (for the Fourth Time)
28 May 2020
In Guatemala, the birthday boy gets to help
pass out the cake…
…but sometimes they make him wear
a small silly hat on his large pointy head!
A fondly remembered special birthday lunch
with Atilio and Gladys Chávez
This feels… odd. I’m spending today, my birthday, at home. Why is that so strange? Well, usually at this time of year, I’m in Latin America, most frequently Guatemala, and some hermanos wind up singing “Feliz cumpleaños a ti.” I’ve got birthday-party pictures from multiple years to prove it. Just to change things up a bit last year, I spent 20 hours of my birthday flying from Guatemala City, Guatemala to Lima, Perú by way of Atlanta. (Shortest route? Absolutely not! Cheapest? You bet, and we’re all about making donations stretch as far as possible.)
I haven’t traveled now for nearly two and a half months. Am I disappointed? No way! Do I miss the [continue reading…]
29 April 2020
Being “stuck indoors” could be
a blessing in disguise…
Yes, yes, but what about your spiritual
Often God’s blessings come in disguise — the disguise of a closed door, financial reverses, the loss of a loved one, the termination of a job, a move away from friends. Usually it’s only in retrospect that we see the Lord’s hand working in us through what transpired. It’s then that we see afresh that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 nasb). That’s one of those verses that is easier to quote “after the fact,” and much easier when someone else is “going through it”!
Do we [continue reading…]
27 March 2020
God is still on the throne,
Almighty God is He!
And He cares for His own
Through all eternity.
Leadership potential aplenty in Trojes, Honduras
“El Salvador declares a national
in-home quarantine for 30 days.”
We were able to leave El Salvador and Honduras just in time, before the borders closed!
Thank God that not all the news is “coronavirus news.” The King of the Kingdom is still in control and carrying out His purposes! I bring back good news of blessing from my recent missions trip. I got home from Honduras not a moment too soon — praise God for His sovereign timing! Less than a week after my return home, the infamous coronavirus started closing borders, first El Salvador and then Honduras. Another mercy: Although I left on the trip with a head cold, I came back healthy, and have continued so.
“Shelter in place”? “Shrinking economy”? “Social distancing”? God used this trip to grow [continue reading…]