- Mimi, always so vibrant and full of life, at left, with her mother and older sister.
Because Mimi was born with two spinal cords, her parents came from the countryside to Guatemala City for successive surgeries. First doctors saved her life. Then they helped her to walk. Eventually she gained control of her bladder. She would have been identical twins but the zygote only partially split.
Pastor Ludving leads the church and school heroically, at great personal sacrifice.
Ludving and Nelly wound up attending my church. Ludving was about to buy some alcohol to drown sorrows when he heard the praise music and came in. He didn’t get saved. He had already accepted Jesus. The worship exhilarated and lifted him out of despair. They came to the church.
The Door Church in Guatemala City
When he decided to do something, Ludving never did it half-way. Right decision after right decision led the couple to hosting, then pastoring, a pioneer church. When thugs chased me off, the Holy Spirit pointed to him as the man to take over.
Pastor Ludving with Mario Artiga
To my way of thinking, Mimi should be gloriously and completely healed by now. She is not. On Thursday, she is submitting to her umpteenth surgery, this time to correct kidney failure (she has four kidneys, but only one completely developed and only one works). Urine backflow from her bladder is poisoning her one good kidney.
Faith is not always a snap-of-the-fingers miracle. Faith is grinding out the healing over the long haul. I like the instantaneous variety. But not everything is quick like a fire-cracker. Mimi’s miracles have drawn out inexorably for 16 years, her age. The battle is
raging dragging on, and the faithful keep mustering faith.
Ludving and Nelly
It’s pointless to ask why. Blaming God like an atheist solves nothing (although I suppose he feels high and mightily justified in his bitterness). That’s not what we want. We want final and complete healing for this precious girl.
Mimi is a spunky girl. Despondency affects her parents, her sister, me — but not her. Thanks for helping us pray for her. Let me know how I can help you pray for your needs.
Posted in Financial Talk, prayer
Tagged Christianity, church, Faith, God, Guatemala, Guatemala City, Holy Spirit, how do I pray?, how to pray?, inspriation, Jesus, missionary, missions, pastors
With my daughter, Rebekah, another would-be actor. Here she’s in her Jewish peasant girl garb. In another scene she seconds as a Moabite.
Ruth is a story about high returns. By going to Israel with her ex-mother-in-law, Ruth faced racial abuse, sexual predators and 15-hour days stooping over under the blistering sun only to pick up enough grains for one meal (that’s the mechanics of “gleaning;” talk about “abject poverty.”)
With my son, Hosea, an 11-year-old “old judge of Israel.” LOL!
Instead, she hedge-funded her way to vast fame and fortune.
Why are so many people willing to risk on finances or with sexual indiscretions but not for God? Just because you can’t see God, Heaven or an immediate return, you are unwilling to go to church, spend time in prayer, serve His kingdom. Just like Ruth couldn’t visualize any realistic benefit when she abandoned her native Moab: Your God will be by God, and your people will be my people, she pledged to Naomi.
Our church, the Lighthouse in Santa Monica, is staging the story of Ruth.
With Pastor Ralph Bowen, missionary extraordinaire, church-planter in three African nations. He played Elimelech.
I’ve dreamed of being an actor about as much as I’ve dreamed of being a Gold’s Gym poster child. (Wild fantasies tend to proliferate in LA!) For the previous plays, I waited faithfully for Sister Pam, the director, to call me up. With this play, I broke down with despair and begged her to let me have a part! I’m Jobab, the money grubber who wants Ruth’s property without Ruth. (Co-Director Eric Photenhauer says I look like a Dr. Seuss version of an Old Testament Jew).
Come Sunday night 7:00 p.m. at 1220 20th Street, Santa Monica, California. It’s free!
- How do I pray?
- Prayers from the Bible
The best sluggers only get 450. That means more often than not, they get out.
With prayer, no one bats 1000. Not every prayer gets the answer you want. Sometimes the terminally ill patient dies. And because a prayer-warrior doesn’t bat 1000, the atheists don’t believe in God. (Do they believe in baseball?)
Well, I think that if you’re batting 350, you’re doing well. If only a small fraction of your requests get answered, you’re doing well. Let faith arise in your heart in your heart for just 1 0f 10 answered requests! Because as faith arises, so will your batting average.
And just because you strike out on a majority of your prayers requests, don’t get discouraged. Only God knows why He sometimes says no. We can trust that in His economy, we’re batting 1000.
You should always be encouraged to pray and never be discouraged from it. Ignore the faith-slayers who (wrongly) say that prayer doesn’t work unless you bat 1000.
Posted in prayer
Tagged art, Bible, church, Faith, God, how do I pray?, inspiration, Jesus, life, lifestyle, prayers from the Bible
Better than throwing salt on his wounds, better than mocking him, better than washing your hands of him, better than saying “He had it coming,” express confidence to the person who’s floundering. It will lift him out of his funk.
Sir Alex Ferguson believed in Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United forward had gone 9 months without a goal. Pundits were sharpening their knives: wash-out, has-been, flash-in-the-pan. Coach Ferguson, who’s had an extraordinary knack for winning teams, kept believing in Rooney until the mercurial players found his winning ways again — with a overhead backwards kick that left the world gaping and shut up critics.
from Ben Rogers blog
Believe in someone.
You may “win” the rat race, but you’re still only a rat. You may get to the top of the crab pile, but you’re still only a crab. If you help someone out, you’ve made a friend for life. And that is worth more than pounding your chest and shouting the tired I’m-the-best rant.
It’s what Jesus did. While everybody hated the odious, turncoat tax-collector Zacheus, Jesus dressed him with dignity, sharing a cappuccino with him. While accusers had stones in hand ready to hurl at the adulterous woman, Jesus defended her and didn’t accuse her. He touched the leper, ate with prostitutes, hung out with drunkards. Jesus was really into the business of accepting people.
Give love freely. Expect nothing in return.
Give and don’t stop giving. And though you may be the most unloved person on the planet, if you give love freely, you will find 10,000 people at your funeral wanting to honor your memory.
Instant friendship — because we have Christ in common. On outreach in San Diego.
The handshake communicates affirmation, human warmth. A real smile always beats an emoticon. You can’t turn off the preachers just because his message is not exactly to your liking.
My colleague, Teacher Kathy Payton, holds her granddaughter in service.
In spite of futurists’ predictions, the e-church will never overtake the real church. As much as I enjoy “fellowship” on the blogosphere, I still crave that which only the local church can provide. I have yet to drink a coffee with a fellow blogger*
I’ve attended church for 33 years and haven’t found anything as vital and relevant as the living, breathing body of believers, despite its drawbacks and imperfections. The lifeblood of the church is its people — sometimes annoying, sometimes comforting, always interesting. The church is suffering no demise, even though outsiders forecast doom (but as
Everet liked the laser sound I can make. As we walked door to door inviting people to service, we cracked jokes and became friends.
“outsiders,” they simply don’t “get it” that the church is founded on Eternal Truth, not the shifting sands of popular opinion).
Here in Los Angeles, restaurants boast they serve “real food,” not processed, chemical-injected, nutritionless, unhealthy products. Yeah, get “real church.”
*If you’re ever in Santa Monica, let’s down a veinte at Starbucks!
Posted in Christianity
Tagged Bible, church, church relevant?, community, Faith, God, Jesus, life, love, why church?, why go to church?
No sooner had we remodeled our home in Guatemala than we fled to America. A run-in with criminals forced us to leave. The trauma of the robbery at gunpoint took the foreground; the irony of our “lost investment” sat in the background.
The stylized ceiling and modernized kitchen seemed like a good investment. We had lived in Guatemala for 15 years and did not foresee leaving our beloved missionary life. The threat of kidnapping changed that abruptly. The money already spent proved pointless.
Our stay in Guatemala was NOT permanent. It was temporary. So too our life here on Earth is short. Moses called his son Gershom, which means foreigner, because he felt like he didn’t belong in Midian. Peter says we’re only sojourners here on the globe. Our true home is Heaven.
What we invest for pleasure here is… well, it kind of seems pointless.
Was that what God was telling me? Whatever you do for eternity — even if it’s only five minutes of prayer today because that’s the best you can do — stands forever. We are here only briefly, so if all your effort is focused for this earth, try to enjoy these fleeting moments as much as possible. My recommendation: Work for eternity.
Posted in Financial Talk
Tagged Bible prayers, Christianity, church, eternity, Faith, how do I pray?, how to pray?, inspiration, ministry, pastors, pray, prayer, prayers in the Bible