Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reflections on Approaching 60

The arrival of another Groundhog’s Day signals the completion of another year of life for me.  This one holds a bit more significance for me as it’s one of those birthdays that marks the passage of another decade.  I don’t remember getting very excited about turning 10 or 20, but the next 3 decade markers each seemed a bit more momentous.  Anticipating turning 60 is a bit more sobering still.  Where has the time gone?  It seems that just yesterday I was saying “I do,” witnessing the arrival of our firstborn son, finishing up my formal education, heading off to the mission field, etc.  There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since each of those milestones occurred.  I’m left wondering, “What will the next decade bring, assuming the Lord allows me to reach 70?”  An even more pressing question to answer is “What would He have me do with my life in these coming years?”

The Bible is abundantly clear that we walk by faith and not by sight.  God doesn’t give us a detailed roadmap for the entirety of our earthly journey.  Rather, He expects us to trust Him with each new day He allows us to experience by His grace.  That certainly doesn’t rule out making plans or dreaming dreams about things we hope to accomplish.  It does mean that we must hold those dreams loosely in our hands, recognizing that life’s circumstances can suddenly and radically alter our best-laid plans. 

One thing I am committed to doing in whatever time I have remaining is serving the Lord wholeheartedly—giving Him my best efforts.  A great way to accomplish that is to live out our church’s mission statement: Love God, love people, make disciples.  I want those priorities to characterize my life in the years ahead.  How about you?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Great week in Guatemala

I had a great time this past week in Guatemala.  Had a very close connection in Houston after being delayed out of Kansas City due to a dead battery on the plane and then the need to de-ice the wings and tail due to the cold temperatures.  It was much more pleasant in Guatemala, though the evenings in the mountains in Quetzaltenango can be pretty chilly at times.

We had 76 pastors and lay leaders present for the 2-day training conference led by Bill Miller, pastor of the FBC of Farmington, MO and David Holman, a deacon of his church who earns his living as a pharmacist.  Bill shared about sermon preparation, sermon series, planning a calendar of preaching, and some general information about pastoral ministry.  David shared about the importance of a men's ministry in the local church and gave some guidelines about how to begin and administer such a ministry.  I handled the translation duties for them. As always, the folks there were very gracious and hospitable, as well as very appreciative of Churchnet's ongoing support for this ministry. 

After returning to Guatemala City on Wednesday, we visited the Tabitha Ministry on Thursday and were impressed to see the good progress they are making on their facility.  They're up to almost 120 children that they are educating and feeding five days a week.  They've also begun a new church that is meeting on as-of-yet unfinished third floor of their building.  Some workers were installing windows the day we visited--a step made possible by the donation of funds from a team that had ministered there the previous week from the Parkade Baptist Church in Columbia, MO.  They still need to finish the floor, walls, electrical installation, and bathrooms on that level.

I'm including a photo below of a recent gathering on the unfinished third floor of the Tabitha Ministry.