Tag Archives: serving

Why I refuse to be ‘promoted’

Lighthouse Church School

With some youngsters at the Lighthouse Church School

I was the senior pastor at Guatemala’s Door Church. We had a school and four churches. Still I taught a grade.

Why? Because daily contact is daily discipleship. You’re not winning anyone to Christ, you’re not forming any leaders by pushing paper. The generals may devise strategies, but the war is won in the trenches. So I continue where the war is won.

Santa Monica Christian school

It was a water balloon war day

Another school year is ending. I teach at the Lighthouse Christian Academy and coach soccer for the counterpart Lighthouse Church School. These Santa Monica Christian schools are a safe place in a topsy-turvy world of moral confusion, in which kids are encouraged to try all sorts of sin and to stop calling it sin. My kids attend Lighthouse.

And it is my joy to be winning souls to Christ there. Young ladies are rescued from cutting, and boys from rage. Hopeless kids turn from drugs to happiness. How could money be better?

Christian primary school | Santa Monica

With my young friends Mosie and Josie.

I don’t earn any money. I do this for free. And it’s worthwhile. Because it’s what Jesus is doing. It’s revival.

By the way, nobody is even asking to promote me. A promotion would be a demotion if it removes me from human contact and making disciples for Christ.

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Open your eyes. See need.

groceries for the needyShowing the love of Christ must be more than just shaking hands and handing out tracts.

We must be Jesus’ ministering hands and feet to reach a lost world in a practical way. “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, and one of you says to then, ‘Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,’ but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it?” — James 2:15-16.

America’s rugged individualism needs to melt away before the word of God. We have a responsibility before God for each other. If you look around you, you will find genuine need.

Personally, I don’t give to the homeless. I give to the divorced mother of five with the deadbeat husband. I give to the missionary just returned off the field trying to make ends meet. There’s nothing wrong with giving to the homeless, but my resources are limited, so I want to give them where they won’t go to alcohol. There are some formerly homeless people in our church who need food, and I always make it a point to offer them whenever I can.

Sorry, but I’m a bit skeptical of people who are in an ecstasy of love with Jesus, and then they have not practical outlet to show their love. Remember, Jesus so closely identified himself with the needy, that He said that we render service unto Him when we clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned, etc. If you love Jesus, love people.

 

True joy

Shoes for Guatemalans

Shoes for Guatemalans

To my young mind, there was no doubt about it. Christmas was all about getting — as much as I could. A funny thing happened, that toy that looked like so much fun on the commercial… well , you know…

Helping One Voice divide up fruits and vegetables into bags for their Christmas baskets.

Helping One Voice divide up fruits and vegetables into bags for their Christmas baskets.

Something happened in the intervening years. I discovered the joy of giving. Disneyland was fun because it was fun to see my kids have fun. I gave even my life to the mission field — 16 years in Guatemala.

I just sent down a bunch of shoes. Poverty is such that shoes are among the hardest thing to come by for the natives (who work in our school and get paid a pittance because it is semi-self-supporting). My daughter is expert at firing through size, sex and price so that it didn’t become an hours-long ordeal.

My daughter played in the Scrooge drama put on by the Lighthouse Church in Santa Monica

My daughter played in the Scrooge drama put on by the Lighthouse Church in Santa Monica

Giving is more satisfying that getting. Try it this year. Instead of begrudging the lack of Christmas presents, volunteer at a food distribution center. We helped One Voice in Santa Monica prepare food baskets.

Jenny, at right, with my daughter. She's so shy that she doesn't smile in front of the camera.

Jenny, at right, with my daughter. She’s so shy that she doesn’t smile in front of the camera.

I just got off the phone with Pastor Ludving in Guatemala. His daughter, Jenny, has some problem with her eyes, but he stopped treating it with the doctor because of lack of money. All donations in December and January through my Donate option (PayPal) will go to her.

Find happiness. Serve others.

Jean Paul Sartre

Jean Paul Sartre wanted to be remembered fighting for causes of humanity around the world. This is quite ironic because he and his cohorts espoused existentialism, a philosophy which can affirm no other reality other than self-existence and self-affirmation.

Our modern world, without even knowing the profundities of philosophy, has basically adopted the existentialist outlook. But people largely haven’t caught on to helping others. You see, if all you can really know is between your ears, then you can live for yourself, please yourself, serve yourself, because you don’t even know if others exist, much less God.

existential despair

existential despair

The Bible is antithetical to all this non-sense. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. — 1 Cor. 10:24 NIV. If you exist, you DON’T exist for yourself but for others.

When I was in high school, my teachers indoctrinated me with existentialist teaching. It troubled me. As a youngster, I still didn’t have depth or perspective to see through the veneer of sophisticated arguments. I’m glad I held on to Jesus through the years.

Not so, many friends. The onslaught of teaching evolution, Marxism, existentialism and the like was the fusillade they didn’t survive. Those authors and teachers pointed students to a “reality” void of any purpose other than self-actualization.

Christianity does many wonderous things for you and to you. But eventually you are to mature and join Christ’s work in helping others. When you get to that point, you will discover the greatest happiness humanity can know: the satisfaction of serving God and people. Stop focusing on your self.

Combine faith with faithfulness

Students today in the Door Bilingual School

Despite my lack of faith, God has used me. When I dared to become a missionary in Guatemala, my measly faith could foresee no more than 25 people attending church. But God raised up a thriving church that planted churches. A vibrant Christian school was also raised up.

Then gunmen forced me to leave the country. After these robbers stole our money and our information, I realized they would be back for kidnapping. After 16 years, God moved us back to the States. I am currently teaching in a Christian school, praying and blogging — teaching others the secrets of ministry I learned in so many years “in the trenches.”

What’s the secret? God will use you. He’ll make your ministry grow — if you’ll just keep plodding on. I think I’m a plodder. I’m not an overnight sensation. Combine faith with faithfulness, and you get a potent mix! It has been enough to raise up a powerful work in Guatemala.

The great satisfaction of my life is to visit and see smiling kids still serving Jesus.