Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Few Pennies Here and There...

Sunday was World Hunger Sunday. That's the day I collect my change (I do it about three times per year) from my "Bread Banks" and make my donation to Global Hunger Relief (GHR). GHR is a 100%, dollar-in, dollar-out way to make a difference in the world regarding hunger.

My "Bread Banks" sit on my dresser and desk at home. Anytime I find change lying around, I pick it up and put it in one of the banks. I especially look for change - quarters, dimes, nickels and even pennies - when I'm out walking, running or just around town. Amazing what you can find just lying around that nobody wants.

About every three to four months, the banks get full and I cash them in. I usually have about $15 to $20 to donate. Yesterday's haul was $20.12. Doesn't sound like much, does it?

Let's say I do this 3 to four times per year. That would mean I would glean about $75 in change that I can then turn around and give to global hunger causes. What difference does $75 make?

* Seventy five dollars could provide water and food for a day for 75 days for one person in the Philippines who lost everything after typhoon Haiyan hit their home
* It could provide almost 4 months of formula for a hungry infant orphan in Sub-Saharan Africa
* It would provide for a sewing kit for a young woman in India to be able to start a micro enterprise, earn money, feed her family and keep her away from sex trafficking to survive
* It could help provide 7 families in Bangladesh with enough seeds and seedlings to start a nutritious vegetable garden near their home
* It could provide 3 water filters for widows in the slums of a major urban center so that they could have clean drinking water
* It could also provide a pair of pigs to help a poor family in Central America have a better hope for the future

A few pennies here and there really do add up. They add up to helping people in need if they are redistributed back through good causes such as BGR and Global Hunger Relief.

If you would like to know more about these ways to help and how your pennies can make a world of difference, I would encourage you to visit:




As my parents used to teach me, "every penny helps." 

Friday, August 22, 2014

What I Saw Today...

(Note: These next few blogs are some that I wrote while on my Middle East trip this past week. I will be posting them this week)

Today was unlike any other day that I have had in a while. I travelled close to the border area of a war torn country, Syria. I went to a village that had more than tripled in size due to the influx of refugees. Makeshift tents were everywhere. Every crook and cranny was filled with people trying to find shelter. Animal stalls, garages and storage sheds had been converted to barely liveable units.

And I saw scenes…

I saw a young girl with her arm amputated and shrapnel wound all across her torso. She was still in shock and holding her arm up for any body who cared to see.

I saw a baby with shrapnel wounds constantly crying as a local doctor tried to treat her. She was writhing in her mother’s arms.

I saw a worn out man who had just fled his country two days earlier. He crossed over the border with his wife and five children. He is injured himself – bullet wound in his leg and lower back. He doesn’t know how they will survive.

I saw and old man who told us that he has not seen his two sons in over a year. He fears he will never see them again.

I saw babies constantly crying, literally screaming, and they cannot be comforted. They are traumatized and can’t recover from their fear.

I saw a little boy with scars on his face due to shrapnel. The scars stretched as he smiled.

I saw families being exploited in their grief. Many were paying $300 per month for the privilege of renting a filthy cattle stall for their family to live in. As bad as it was, they said it was better than living in make shift tents.

And you know what else I saw? I saw compassion. It was compassion in the hands and feet of our local workers as they were moving among all these needs, giving a word of comfort, offering help such as food and hygiene supplies and more than anything, taking time to listen to the stories of those hurting and then offering words of comfort and hope.

I saw hurt...I saw healing...I saw hope...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Funny Story...With a Moral?

I was standing in line at a local department store waiting to pay for some things I picked up for my mother's birthday present. I noticed a family (father, mother and two teen-aged sons) in front of me. They were speaking German and obviously weren't from Mt. Juliet, TN.

The department store had several cash registers open and you have to line up and wait for them to call you when one comes open. In not too many minutes, I heard one of the cashiers far down the aisle call out, "Register nine".

The German family looked perplexed and began talking in whispers among themselves. The cashier said a bit louder, "Register nine!" Their internal family discussion became a bit more intense.

Finally the father looked back at me and asked, "Register nine?" to which I replied, "Register nine".

This threw them into an even deeper family discussion. The cashier at the far end was starting to get a bit antsy. And then it hit me and I said to the father...

"Register number nine" to which he replied, with a smile, "Yah! Register number nine!" and proceeded to the cashier who had been waiting.

As you might have guessed, he had heard, "Register, nein!" or "No register." And I had confirmed it for him that there was no register.

I suppose the moral of the story is that real communication can be a tricky thing.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

But What Will I Tell My Children...?

Several years ago, I was traveling in the southern Philippines, headed to a community where we were going to help with agricultural projects. Along the way, we passed through a village where a prolonged drought and an armed conflict had forced several families to take refuge in a local school.

We stopped to see if there was anything we could do to help. We were overwhelmed by what we saw, but did not have with us what was needed to help. When we told the people at the school, one of the older women said, “But what will I tell my children? We have no food.”

There are almost 1 billion people in the world today that are wondering the same thing. The majority of these are women with children. Where will they get their next meal? What with they tell their children when they come home with no food?

Isaiah says, “…and if you offer yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted one, then your light will shine in the darkness,…” (Isaiah 58:10)

James says, “If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15, 16)

And Jesus says, “I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat…I assure you: Whatever you did for the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” (Matthew 25:35,40)

So, what will you and I do about that hungry person who asks what to tell their children? More importantly, what will we tell our children about what we have done for the hungry of the world?

Sunday, October 12, is our Southern Baptist World Hunger Day. You can start now praying for the hungry of the world. You can also start saving – a few pennies here and there – to give an offering on behalf of those in need.

You can even do something right now by visiting our Global Hunger Relief website and making a contribution at:

What will we tell the children?...

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Definition of Faith…(Numbers 9:23)

The word "faith" is only truly expressed when it become "faithfulness". To say you have "faith" is evidenced by actions. James knew it when he said, "You say you have faith?... Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith from my works." Furthermore, he says, "You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe…" (James 2:18-19)

Faith is a great thing. Or should I say faith is a "grace" thing. It really is a gift from God that we give back to Him and is evidenced by how we choose to live our lives - for Him or apart from Him.

In the Old Testament in the book of Numbers, while the people of Israel are being formed into a nation in the crucible of the wilderness wanderings, we find a simple yet poignant definition of faith…

"They camped at the Lord's command, and they set out at the Lord's command. They carried out the Lord's requirement according to His command through Moses." (Numbers 9:23)

The people inhabiting Canaan and the surrounding countries must have watched with awe as this mass of humanity seemingly wandered aimlessly closer and closer to their lands. They had evidently heard of what God had done - the parting of the seas, the defeat of Pharaoh's army, the provisions of food and water. They saw the massive army of 600,000 plus men, all armed for battle. And they watched them move for a day, camp for one day or maybe one month, and then set out again. This would go on for forty years - seemingly random, wasted movements.

But it was not random and it was not wasteful. It was faith in action - faithfulness.

They camped when God said "camp". They set out when God said "move". The carried out the Lord's command whatever He asked of them.

Faith - expressed in faithfulness.

We would do well to do the same...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The First Three Laws of Holiness…

"The Lord spoke to Moses: 'Speak to the entire Israelite community and tell them: Be holy because I, Yahweh your God, am holy.' Each of you is to respect his mother and father. you are to keep My Sabbaths; I am Yaweh you God. Do not turn to idols or make cast images of gods for yourselves; I am Yahweh your God." (Leviticus 19:1-4)

This whole chapter is an interesting passage. It has to deal with God's laws regarding holiness. There is much to the chapter but I want to look at the first three things that He says He requires from His holy, set apart people…

1. Respect your parents. It is the first commandment with a promise (e.g. so that you will live long in the land). And it somehow plays prominently in what God desires for His holy people to look like. Those who respect, care for and obey their parents.

2. Keep God's Sabbaths. Note that He calls them "His" Sabbaths. They are not ours (although we greatly and wonderfully benefit from His Sabbaths). We keep them and keep them holy because they are His and He has commanded us to.

3. Have no idols and make no cast images for yourselves. In other words, we are to have no thing, no possession, no position, no "toy" to come between us and our total love and devotion to God.

Here's the thought I had. When we think of "holiness" today, we think of piety, of righting living. We think of personal holiness and devotion. I, errantly, think of mystically sitting in the woods and just spending time with God. While all these things are not bad, I am struck that God's idea of holiness has more to do with positive actions and practical implications in our relationship with Him and with others.

Respect your parents…Keep God's Sabbaths…Don't let anything come between you and God…

Kind of redefines holiness in our current age, doesn't it? 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Abundant Life has a Face...

(I received this story from a BGR field partner and thought I would share it with you)


Mr. G, aged about 45 years, is a married man with two school going children aged 12 yrs and 9 yrs. He belongs to a Hindu family but recently he has adopted a Christian life. He stays in a house provided by his farm owner where he worked as a watchman.

Mr. G was dependent on alcohol and spent all his earnings on drinking. His wife worked as a coolie (e.g. hauling of heavy loads) to support her family financially. He lost his job. He was socially boycotted due to his erratic violent behaviour and abusive language. 

An alcohol awareness program was being held in his village. He was encouraged by his wife and neighbours to attend the de-addiction camp and he agreed to do so.  The de-addiction camp was organized by Bangalore Baptist Hospital (BBH).

Mr. G turned over a new leaf after the camp. He completely gave up his drinking. He and his family were given regular counselling and encouragement by the BBH field staff.

Gradually he started concentrating on his work and the money was spent on his family. His physical appearance and behavior changed. His co-villagers his new, positive attitude. It has been more than a year since Mr. G stopped drinking.

The pastor/counselor visited his home regularly and, over a period of time, shared the love of Chrsit with him and his wife. They both committed their life to Jesus and he is now a transformed man.

He requested support to improve his economic. BBH and their outreach program helped him obtain a cow. He bought it on a loan and paying back the principle. He has imrpoved his family income and livelihood through this cow project and regularly remits the money advanced to him in weekly installments back to BBH. He is also a change agent to other alcoholics in his village and refers several of them to the de-addiction camps.


Jesus said, "I come that they might have life and have it more abundantly".

Isn't it great that we serve a God who cares about all aspects of our lives? I know Mr. G thinks so! 


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jayne's Story…Gone Home

In April, I wrote a blog about Jayne and told you about her and her battle with HIV/AIDS. We had delivered a BGR "hospice" bucket to her and her family and she smiled as our BGR COO Rick Funderburk showed her the contents and explained what they were. She also shared her testimony about knowing Christ as her Lord and Savior when she was asked if she knew who Jesus was. 

We got word last week that Jayne has gone home to be with the Lord. Pastor Patrick sent this note…

"Hallo Her Name Was Jane Wanjiru She Has Let Two Chidren The Who Have Join The  Form One And Three Old Girl Who Are Now With Glandmother . We working out how can assist the family we visit them this afternoon."

I remember Jayne's smile at the kindness of those who prepared the bucket for her. I remember the big smile as she shared how she could bear anything because she knew Jesus. 

Her name was Jayne Wanjiru. She has gone home now.

Please pray for her mother and her two children left behind. Please pray for Pastor Patrick and his ministry as he helps Jayne's family and hundreds of others like her in that community.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Her Name Means "Flower"...

The other day, we visited Manang (Mrs.) Bulac. Her name means "flower" in English. She is 90 years old and lives in the Philippines on the island of Bohol. She is a widow who has a hard time getting around especially up and down the wooden steps to her small house.

She's survived many years, seen many joys and hardships as well. A few months ago, she survived the strong earthquake which shook her island. But her house didn't do as well.

Ninety years old, a widow with no one to provide for her and in need of a home. 

We visited just in time to see the local carpenters putting the finishing touch on a small but new, sturdy and accessible home. It had a cement floor and no stairs to climb. It was sturdy and cool with part cement, part plywood walls. 

Mrs. "Flower" had tears in her eyes as she said, "Thank you so much for my new home." And we were there. We were there to tell her that people on the other side of the world cared enough to help her have a new home. We told her that people cared enough to come and help her build that home as well. And we told her that the true provider of the home and the true provider of all things good is God the Father. 

We had a short prayer of thanksgiving and dedication for her home and then got in the van to visit some other project sites. We told her that we would tell the people in the USA who gave for her to have a new home, "thank you" for her.

Her name is Mrs. Flower and she wants you to know that she says "thank you" for blessing her life.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Fruit of His Labors...

Let me introduce you to my friend, a pastor named Patrick. He works in the slums of a large city in sub-Saharan Africa. He works with the poorest of the poor and as you can guess, he doesn't receive much in terms of compensation for his church work outside of the love and gratitude of his congregation. But that doesn't stop Patrick from preaching and ministering to those in need.

Patrick grows vegetables and raises chickens. The food and income generated from his projects help him to feed and support his family as well as be a blessing to those he ministers to. Patrick is a preacher who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty. He uses those hands to hold a Bible and share about God as well as teach others how to make a living from vegetable gardening and small animal raising.

Patrick is one of those unique individuals that loves God, loves people and loves working with his hands. And he is one of those unique individuals that cares about people - spiritually and physically. I have had the privilege of walking alongside Patrick and seeing how he has a passion for the souls of those in his community and a compassion for their physical needs - hunger, poverty, HIV/AIDS.

Patrick reminds me of Jesus who went about doing good (Acts 10:38) and how He went all over Galilee, "teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people." (Matthew 4:23)

Patrick is a talented farmer and a loving pastor. He is truly a man who enjoys the fruits of his labor...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Seven Words that Changed the World...

This past weekend, we celebrated Easter. On Friday, we celebrated the death of Christ (called Black Friday by some) and traditionally, the Christian faith remembers the seven last sayings of Jesus from the cross. These sayings reveal His humanity, divinity as well as his purpose for eternity.

While most of us are somewhat familiar with the the seven last sayings of Christ, we often overlook the seven words that were spoken on Easter which changed the world forever…

"He is not here; He is risen!"

The women who went to the tomb saw angels inside…

The two disciples who ran to the tomb (Peter and John) saw grave clothes…

When we go to the tomb, we see nothing because…

"He is not here; He is risen!"

That's why we sing…

"I serve a risen Saviour, He's in the world today.
I know that He is living, whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer.
And just the time I need Him, He's always near!
He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today.
He walks with me and talks with me, along life's narrow way.
He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!"


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jayne's Story...

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege along with several of my BGR teammates to visit some homes in the slum areas of Nairobi, Kenya. We were visiting homes of HIV patients and delivering BGR "hospice" buckets.

We visited one home where a fairly young lady lay wasting away due to full blown AIDS. Her elderly mother was caring for her and her two school-aged children. She barely had enough strength to sit up as we came into her home but greeted us with a weak smile. Her smile became even stronger and she even chuckled a bit with joy as one of our BGR team members began opening the bucket and showing her the things that were inside that could help with some of the problems that she was experiencing. The contents of the bucket couldn't change the fact that she was dying but it could give some hope and dignity to her as she struggled with her last days on earth.

Her name is Jayne. And her story if not uncommon. In fact, it is too common. Over 35 million people are living with HIV and to date, about that same number have died from AIDS.

It was obvious her life on earth was not going to be much longer. So as we shared the hospice kit with Jayne and her family, one of our team members asked her if she knew who Jesus was. That was when Jayne really smiled. She had smiled slightly when we came into her home. She smiled a bit more when she saw the bucket filled with hope, but when she heard the Name of her Savior, she literally beamed.

Jayne said, "I want to live to see my children grow up. But I am weak. I am weak but Jesus gives me strength."

We went to that place to minister to Jayne and her family. We came away feeling that we were the recipients of God's blessings.

I don't usually do this in my blog, but I would like to give you a challenge. If you are interested in helping people in need like Jayne, I encourage you to visit our BGR website. You will find more stories about people like Jayne who are in need and are being helped through our efforts at BGR. And you will find opportunities of ways you can help as well.

The weblink is…


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

You Never Know What Might Happen...

I just finished once again reading the wonderful story of Esther in the Old Testament. It's a great story of how God uses a young Jewish girl to change the course of history for her people and for pretty much the known world at that time. It is about a young lady who comes to a royal position just in time to save her people from destruction. It is a good story.

But a new thought occurred to me this time through. Looking at the dates of King Xerxes reign (Esther's husband) and the date of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, I thought, isn't it interesting to know that both Ezra and Nehemiah were probably young men or children during the time that Esther was queen of Persia? And, little did Esther know, but her actions possible saved the lives of Ezra and Nehemiah who later became key figures in the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls and reestablishment of the temple and priesthood for Israel? 

So, the thought is: "You never know what might happen." 

Esther struggled with her decision to approach King Xerxes with her request to save the Jewish people. But she did and it set in motion a whole chain of results. I do believe that God could have raise up salvation for the Jews even if Esther had not been obedient in the moment. But she did choose a right course of action and, even though she probably didn't live to see the eventual results, God used her faithfulness in a  mighty way.

What decisions in your life merit standing firm and doing the right thing today? What do you need to go out on a limb for because it is the right thing to do? 

You never know what might happen…But God does.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Where Does Success Come From…?

There is a great story in 2 Chronicles 13. As the setting, recently the northern kingdom of Israel and southern kingdom of Judah have split into two. Jeroboam is over the north (Israel) and Abijah, son of Rehoboam, is king of Judah. Jeroboam mobilizes Israel for war; over 800,000 choice men. Abijah rallies 400,000 from Judah in battle formation against them. Abijah calls out a challenge and says that Judah will win the war because they are depending on God and have not forsaken Him.

The battle ensues and Judah, by the grace of God, routs Israel and Jeroboam. Even though Judah was well outnumber and outmanned, the victory went to Judah and Abijah. Then the writer of the book makes the conclusion…

"The Judahites succeeded because they depended on the Lord, the God of their ancestors." (2 Chronicles 13:18)

Where does our success come from? Does is come from our natural, inborn talents? Is it a result of our own design and cunning? Is it because you and I have some sort of special favor?

Likewise, where does the success come from for the impoverished, hurting and hopeless families and communities we are called to work with? Does is come from our remarkable ability to lead and inspire people? Does it come from our lofty knowledge of community development techniques and tools? Or is it something else?

As a person called and working with an organization that seeks to help those in poverty, hunger and seemingly hopeless situations, I am always constantly amazed at the small successes that come. And if I am truthful to myself and others, those successes are best realized when I totally depend upon the Lord. They usually are not a part of one of my grand schemes or carefully planned efforts but they seem to come more out of faithfulness than even my best best efforts.

Moreover, when we help a poor family or community have better access to food, a better income, or a better chance at life, we can claim a bit of "success". But when we help a family or community to know and learn to depend upon God, we have a greater chance at not only a temporal but eternal success.

Where does my true success come from? I pray that I succeed today by depending on the Lord.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I Will Never Lift My Hand Against the Lord's Anointed...

You have to love the story of David in the Bible. He is a man after God's own heart but yet shows his humanity in falling for Bathsheba. He is one of the greatest kings ever in Israel's history but starts his career with a band of discontented and disillusioned men. He is the shepherd boy who slays the giant Goliath and yet takes time to compose songs and praises to God.

One of my favorite passages regarding David, however, is when he gets a couple of chances to seize the kingdom of Israel and wrest it from Saul by force. He is (in King Saul's estimation) already more popular than Saul himself but he chooses to flee and even go into hiding with the enemies of Israel instead of taking opportunity into his own hands. During his time of fleeing from Saul, he actually is given at least two chances to strike Saul down. It would have been easy. The nation would have followed him. But in each of these cases, when given the chance to run Saul through with a simple sword thrust, David refused and said…

"I will never do such a thing…I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord's anointed."

I don't know about you but I am one to quickly lean to my own understanding and my own interpretation of things, people and situations. I am fast to evaluate as judge and jury people's characters which actually are subtle ways that I tend to justify my own actions, promote my own goals and place me (at least in my own mind) looking pretty good. I am much slower to look and try to see things, people and situations from God's eyes. I tend to miss the things and people that God has anointed being content to simply interpret from a self-centered perspective.

I wonder what would be if I were to slow down a bit and try to understand before judging? I wonder if there would be times and places that my decisions and judgements would be altered if I believed that God had anointed that particular moment, place or person? I wonder how many "Sauls" I have put to death when God had grand designs and plans for accomplishing a greater purpose?

More importantly, I wonder what God could have or would have done through me if I had at critical times refused to lift my hand against His anointing, simply trusting Him in confusing situations that I could not understand?

God is in control. Let me say it again (more for my sake than yours). God is in control…in everything.

"I will not (and dare not) lift my hand against the Lord's anointed."


Thursday, January 23, 2014

In 1948, The United Nations Said This...

At the infancy of the United Nations, the group came together and made a declaration of what it saw as universal human rights. Now whether you or I agree or track with the current UN leadership, I thought that the original thoughts/intent of the UN bore sharing. Basically, the six rights were…

1. Life is better than death
2. Health is better than sickness
3. Liberty is better than slavery
4. Prosperity is better than poverty
5. Education is better than ignorance
6. Justice is better than injustice

Not bad. In fact, I could get behind an organization that would live by/promote these very issues. Too bad that time changes things, people and values change and cultures drift.

What if we took those six items above and applied them to say an evangelical Christian "spiritual" declaration of human rights? We of course would acknowledge that the greatest right (as well as privilege) is to know our Creator God through His infinite mercy/wisdom in His One and Only Son, Jesus. Along with this we would declare…

1. Life is better than death…and He came that we might live life and live it more abundantly.
2. Health is better than sickness…for we are to fear the Lord, turn away from evil so that healing will find our bodies and strength given to our bones.
3. Liberty is better than slavery…and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
4. Prosperity is better than poverty…He has set before us a choice of life and prosperity over death and disaster.
5. Education is better than ignorance…but the Counselor, the Holy Sprit will teach you all things.
6. Justice is better than injustice…and what is it the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness and walk humbly with your God.

Maybe I have to rethink my opinion of the UN. Or maybe I have to think of the UN in a Kingdom perspective. 

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What to make of wealth...

I took this past year to read several books on development (e.g. wealth and poverty of nations) and mainly those from an economic model background. I re-read Adam Smith's 1776 classic, "An Iquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of the Nations." I also re-read David Lande's excellent book, "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations". I then read a book recommended to me written by Barry Asmus and Wayne Grudem, "The Poverty of Nations."

In this last one, I ran across a chart cited from Lawrence Harrison (a purporter of socio-cultural causes for development/lack of development). It showed the standard measure of wealth (Gross Domestic Product or GDP) per major faith and religious backgrounds. The chart showed the following:

Religious Background to Culture of Nations Per Capita GDP (Annual)

1. Protestant - $29,784
2. Jewish - $19,320
3. Roman Catholic - $9,358
4. Orthodox - $7,045
5. Confucian - $6,691
6. Buddhist -  $4,813
7. Islamic - $3,142
8. Hindu - $2,390

What does this mean? Some would use this to show the wisdom and practicality of living life according to God's mandates thus resulting in His blessings. Others might be tempted to use this as an illustration that the prosperity gospel works. I think Harris (the original compiler of the info) would point to the social-cultural values (e.g. hard work, honesty, fairness, etc.) underlying Christian/Biblical teachings and their resulting effects on a particular group.

I think that we should look at it from a different angle. I propose that we don't look at it and try to dissect it to the point of prescribing a formula to wealth or blessings. While I do believe deeply that God's plan for life as revealed in His scriptures does carry subsequent blessings, I think the main point here is not how we got there (or tell other how to get to financial welfare) but what do we do with what God has blessed us with.

If God has blessed me (and He has a million times over) because I have committed my life to Him and His principles for life, the main question is, "what am I going to do with that blessing?"

Abraham in Genesis 12 was told that he was to be blessed by God and then that blessing, through him, would become a blessing to all the nations.

God' way and plan for life is by far the best. God's blessings on His children are amazing. But if that blessing stops with us, we miss the point.

Your thoughts?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Year...And Remembering...

Regina and I took down the Christmas decorations yesterday, New Years Day. It always seems to be a lot more fun to put them up rather than take them down. Especially the Christmas tree with the seemingly thousands of ornaments. However, what started out as a necessary chore became a rather fun time and walk down memory lane.

Our tree, most likely probably like yours as well, is filled with ornaments that have a history and a story. As we took each off, we began telling remembering where each of the ornaments had come from and its story. Some had very little significance. Others are a part of our family lore.

There is the one that Regina got for me when we had just started dating. It is a little tarnished but still in good shape and stamped with the date of the first year that we knew each other.

There were the ones that we had of the children when they were smaller. They were pictures of when they were smaller. It seemed like they should still be those very ages.

There were those who had been sent to us by friends through the years. We lived overseas for more than twenty years and each year, it seems that someone or some church group would send us a special ornament. It was nice to see those and remember where we were and who sent them.

Then there was the Christmas nail. It is one we hang near the trunk of the tree and is a family tradition. It is a simple 10 inch nail that reminds us of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us and the true meaning of Christmas. 

As we start the New Year 2014, we have a lot to look forward to. But we also have a lot to remember and be thankful for. I am thankful for God's blessings through Jesus Christ in my life, family and ministry. I am also thankful for the wonderful partners and friends who help to make our work through BGR possible. 

I look forward to this new year - the challenges and the blessings - and the memories of what God will accomplish through our work.


Jeff Palmer