From the monthly archives:

September 2010

Leaving Home to Go Home

September 30, 2010

People are everywhere

Looking out of the wall of windows, the runway is a constant flow of huge planes that are filled with travelers either on their way or ending their journey.  Eventually, they pass before me once again on their way to their final port.  Thousands of people.  Thousands of stories.  Thousands of lives who congregate for a brief time in this hub of travel called Houston International Airport.

In another few hours, I and my team will also board the plane now being prepared on the tarmac and head across time zones to our final destination literally half way around the world.  After the 15 years I have traveled to India, there is certainly a “second home” quality to it.  Though my heart certainly holds a love for the country, I am also soberly aware that the second most populated place on earth is woefully unaware of the Gospel of Peace. Though the good news was first preached by Thomas in the first century, the roots have remained shallow and the resistance strong.

the slums of India, the roots have remained shallow and the resistance strong.

For these next 10 days, we will be teaching, preaching, and sharing our lives with the graduate students of India Bible College and Seminary in Kumbanad, located in the southernmost state of Kerala.  Each of the 250 students are training at different levels to impact their country and beyond with the Gospel.  Many will plant churches while others will work with existing churches throughout the country.  Over the coming years, churches will be planted, countless souls brought to salvation, divine healings, deliverance, transformation and restoration will result partly because of your investment in this mission.  And that is why I need you to pray earnestly as we go.

Depending on my internet capabilities, I will update this post regularly with bits and pieces of India.  My prayer is that it will cause you to pray for this great country as well as your brothers and sisters in this vibrant yet persecuted church.  Please pray, won’t you?  It is prayer and prayer alone that will turns the heart of the Father as well as crush the hand of the enemy.

More later.  It’s time to get on board.


How Holy is Sunday?

September 22, 2010

Pure heart... Pure worship

“Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.”  Psalm 87:3
“You are a city set on a hill.”  Matthew 5:14

Sunday mornings in south India Christians separate themselves from the Hindu and Orthodox in an outward display of solidarity.  You see them throughout the early morning walking on the roads and in the little yellow and black cabs that scoot like fat water bugs on the maze of narrow village roads.   What sets these true believers apart is the white garments they wear and the properly worn bibles they carry prominently in their hands.

There are not a lot of Christians in India.  Generous estimates run about 2.3% of the entire 1.2 billion population in a country 1/3 the size of the U.S.   That’s a small percentage in the second largest population in the world, most of who live in the southernmost state of Kerala.  Walking along, bibles displayed, dressed in resurrection white.  Indian Christians know the path to the church and eagerly set themselves against the wild colors and thick green of the jungle roads as a living demonstration of Isaiah’s words,

“Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths…”

In a country who heard the gospel in the first century and yet has never been captured by the message, the outward display of Sunday commitment is a reminder to me how different Christianity is.  It takes an opposite to contrast.  White is never as bright until it is set against darkness.  Right is never a defined direction until dissected by a clear left.  Faith is not a reality set apart until an opposing belief provides fruit that can be compared to the life lived according to God’s Word.

While the dead and dying Hindu plies the karma of his gods,  Sunday remains holy to the Indian Christian whose roots trace to Thomas.  Unlike everything else in the land of idols, Sunday belongs to the Lord.

So who does Sunday belong to in the U.S.?
H.E.B., Walmart, soccer, football, sleep, time alone, hunting, the coast, the river, the water park, the family, work, money, sleeping in, staying out too late, washing the car or the dog or the boat or the deck… hundreds of other things.  Almost as many as the Hindu gods worshipped in India.

Sunday has become just another day that belongs to me to do what I choose and, please, no condemnation needed or received… thank you very much.  Western Christianity has forgotten why Sunday is important like so many other great truths.  Let me explain.

The Jewish Sabbath began in the dark on Friday evening and waited for the sun to rise.  The last day of the week was to remind God’s people of His provision and authority.  Like the tithe, obedience to it was the practical demonstration of faith in God.

But Jesus allowed the old Sabbath to pass by, honoring the day as He rested in the tomb… never moving, never changing, honoring the old covenant even while His body lay breathless and cold in the tomb.

But then came Sunday….

  • He arose at first light and declared the New Day of the Lord… “Arise and Shine for your Light  has come!” Isaiah 60:1
  • He began the new and ended the old, turning the pages to the new covenant that reigns supreme.
  • He began the week with new life instead of ending it with Sabbath rest.
  • He began the week with hope and a reason to worship instead of ending the week in darkness and inactivity.
  • He greeted those who loved Him most with instructions for service instead of a command to do nothing.  (see Matthew 28:10)

Churches today make a big mistake in trying to “sell Sunday.”  Like the old Catholics, Sunday has become a day of obligation, as if three hours out of the week pays my dues to the God who saved my soul.  Sunday should never be sold and church should not be an apology.  Children should be taught that Sunday belongs to the Lord…. period.  Believers should shine before their lost neighbors as those who begin the week with purpose, commitment and honoring God.  After all, we, the Church of Jesus Christ, are a City set on a hill, a glorious City of God, a City of Refuge from the avenger of blood, the new City of Zion whose gates open wide to receive the King of Glory.  It is our day to remind the world that we begin the week with offering God the first fruits and not the leftovers.

It will not become easier but harder to make Sunday holy.  Here is what will help you keep your thinking straight.  The reason we celebrate on Sunday is because it is the day the Father chose to raise Jesus from the dead.  That is so important, friend.  He did not do it at the end of the week which was the day from creation onward designated as the final day of the week and the day of rest.  He chose to declare a New Day, a New Covenant and a New Worship in the first hours of the first day of the week.  Sunday was declared holy because the earth was finally righted on it’s axis.  Sin and death were defeated and now man could be righted as well.

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”  Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!  Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together, where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to the Testimony of Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord…
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.”  For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.” Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.  Psalm 122

Come celebrate the day with me.  I promise you, Jesus will be in the house.


Promises for the Day

September 16, 2010

“He is intimate with the upright… He blesses the dwelling of the righteous… He gives grace to the afflicted…”  Proverbs 3:32-35 (selected) This is what I want this early morning.  Before the darkness is done I want these promises to shake me with wonder and Godly delight.  The psalmist states a fact, “O God, thou […]

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On Salt and Light

September 9, 2010

You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver melted in a crucible. Psalm 66:10 ___________________ When God’s children become attached to all of the wrong things, the push and prod of divine discipline begins.  It has been this way since time began.  A long history of the discipline of holiness punctuates […]

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