Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ethiopia 2015 - what a start

Hello friends and family! I just wanted to write a short blog post to let you know thigs are going very well here in Addis Ababa. I have not had the internet connectivity I would have liked so this is my first post. And since the clock just struck midnight, it will be short. But I did want to let you know the wonderful things the Lord is doing.

First, our team is meshing and has already become an amazing group. Their selflessness, love for Jesus, love for the people of Ethiopia, and joy is evident. They are fun to be with, which helps to fill the work with enthusiasm. I can already tell this week will be way too short.

One way that spirit showed up today was when the OA staff asked for our help in moving some beds. They are moving some of the children from one location to another and today it was bed moving time. So without hesitation, our team jumped right in and carried these beds a fairly good distance. All with an attitude of wanteing to do whatber they could to serve the local workers - the ones who are with the children all year. God is working through these friends.

So here they are moving the beds:

And just a few more pictures from our first couple of days. Hope you can sense the joy:

Well, that's about enough - gotta get some sleep. Thank you for all your prayers. It's an awesome privilege.

Good night!

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Yesterday at noon, I was privileged to be part of something that can only be described as transcendent. In the aftermath of the unspeakable tragedy in Charleston this week, Christians from across our city gathered to pray. To pray, to sing, to worship, and to join out hearts together. Citizens of Montgomery from across multiple churches, in a rich mixture of black and white, gathered to come before God as one. There was no message being sent. And that's what makes the message so powerful. If you are in God's kingdom - part of God's family - nothing else matters.

Over the course of an hour, we were led in prayers by ministers from across our city:

  • A prayer for the nation by Rev. Lawson Bryan of First United Methodist Church
  • A prayer for our state by Rev. Claude Shuford of Mount Zion AMEZ Church
  • A prayer for forgiveness by Rev. James Turner of the Victory Through Faith Worship Center
  • A prayer for the Church by Rev. Farrell Duncomb of St. Paul AME Church
  • A prayer for reconciliation by Rev. Emmanuel Williams of Resurrection Catholic Church
  • A prayer for the family by Rev. Brian Miller of Aldersgate United Methodist Church 
  • And a prayer for unity by Rev. E. Baxter Morris of First Baptist, Ripley Street
And then our mayor shared some remarks leading into the singing of Amazing Grace.

You should have heard it!

The focus of the day was of course the victims of the Charleston shooting. It was not about us, not about our city, not about our problems. But I have to admit that I could not help thinking about those things. I saw hope, springing from the only place hope comes from.

From the the only answer to the madness around us - the gospel of Jesus the Messiah.

We have seen it in the way the victims' families have responded to their loss. (If you've ever read a link from my page, read this one!) And I saw it yesterday in the prayers of my fellow believers.

Love. In the face of hate. That's what we saw in Jesus at the cross, and it's a big part of what makes the Gospel different from religion.

And it's why evil will not win.

For that I'm thankful.

And hopeful.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Channels of water

The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever he wishes. (Proverbs 21:1, NASB)

Have you ever gotten frustrated at the brick wall? You know, the brick wall. The seemingly unbreakable tide of public opinion that goes against what's right. 


Sexual permissiveness.


Approval of all lifestyles as equally valid.

Double standards.


It seems that the momentum is squarely in the court of evil these days. We lambast those who have sinned and turned to Jesus for redemption and a new start, while praising those who have the "courage" to set their own standards for happiness. We shout down anyone who expresses that there is an objective standard of truth...all in the name of tolerance. Which ironically is not very tolerant.

So should we fight these battles on Facebook? Twitter? Should we try to outnumber those whom we see are having strayed from the path? Is the answer in the court of public opinion? Or even in court?

That's where the Scripture at the top of this post comes into play. In his book A Hunger for God, John Piper talks about standing up for the little ones who have no voice. His particular issue is abortion, but it could be one of many other current hot buttons. So in the book, is he hanging his hopes on our ability to argue? Our ability to change things by voting for the right politicians? 

No. It's all about prayer. Prayer and fasting. The fact is, we serve a sovereign God. He is there only one who can turn the hearts of our leaders. Proverbs 21:1 says he does just that. He has done it before (read the book of Ezra and note what it says about kings Cyrus (1.1), Darius (6:22), and Artaxerxes (7:27)), and he will do it again. We can't change our culture, but God can. Here is how Piper put it:
I appeal to you to seek the Lord with me concerning the place of fasting and prayer in breaking through the darkened mind that engulfs the modern world...This is not a call for a collective tantrum that screams at the bad people, "Give me back my country." It is a call to aliens and exiles in the earth, whose citizenship is in heaven and who await the appearance of their King, to "do business" until he comes. And the great business of the Christian is to "do all to the glory of God," and to pray that God's name be hallowed and his kingdom come and his will be done on earth.
Prayer. Appealing to God to change hearts. For him to direct the "channels of water." This is our hope. Let's get to it.