Monthly Archives: September 2013

Bible Translation Day

Today is Bible Translation Day with Wycliffe Bible Translators

This video details the current status of translations around the world.

Historically, whenever the Bible is made available in a new langauge, it motivates educational transformation. Regular reading and application of the Bible has also renewed love in marriages, restored health to bodies broken by bad habits (both mental and addictions), ended civil conflicts, and changed economies as people became increasingly productive and stopped busybodying about everybody else. But most importantly, the Bible communicates the way in which we can be restored to God.

God has revealed His plan for humanity. The Bible opens with, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth …” and closes with, “the grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints. Amen.” This is my favorite Scripture, the section between and including those two blessings.

I am thankful today, that I not only am alive, but I have Bibles in several languages to tell me why and portable on my phone to remind me regularly. I am thankful for those languages that are getting the Bible into them even as I write. I am thankful for God’s promise to complete the work He started. I am thankful that His promises never fail. I am thankful that I have enough access to the original languages and critical editions of the Bible to know that the Bible is trustworthy and reliable transmitted down through the generations to today. God’s Word has not failed.

We have failed often to obey God’s Word, but God will accomplish His Word and His Work in our lives. The Law & the Prophets prepared for it. The cross & resurrection of Jesus guaranteed it. The Apostles proclaimed it. More and more, the nations are believing it. Do you believe? What are you thankful for? Have you read the Bible lately? What encouragement did you receive from the Bible lately?

I have been encouraged that Jesus ate with taxcollectors and sinners. This means that God loves government agents and anti-government forces alike. He loves you. He loves you so much He has been thinking about you all day long. He is hoping you will take up His love letter soon. Read. Relax. Relate.

Yes, this is the call of God’s word. In relation to God and others, it is a simple message: Learn. Let go. Love. God Himself will hold you close if you will reach out to him. …

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A Final Message

Divest yourself from the things of this world. Follow Jesus.


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Thanksgiving: A Rare Fruit

The other day, I was sharing the good news with a person at the bus stop. Others milled about and listened, a gentle dialogue ensued as I tried to direct the conversation away from the theories of good and evil or neutrality of all morality to the facts that we have all sinned.

Just then, a young man I had seen and talked to early, a couple years earlier, walked up to me and said, “Do you remember me? My name is D. You had asked me if I was saved. Well, now I am saved. I am going to [name omitted] Church. I just wanted to tell you.”

Oddly enough, even though the person had interrupted the conversation that had been happening, even though the earlier conversant had become a little antagonistic, when the young man said that they had been saved, the person with all the “hard questions” said, “Yes, that’s good.”

It reminds me of this story from the Gospels in Luke 17:11-21

To paraphrase: 10 lepers (a disease like AIDS) had been sent by Jesus to show themselves to the priests. The lepers were all healed. But only an ethnically diverse healed leper returned to thank Jesus. One in ten. So if only ten percent of those who are born again, ever thank those who witness to them, there are likely others who are now attending church who never took the time to contact me. In fact, I know of others who have taken steps of faith after being challenged.

Have you ever taken the time to thank those who bless you? Have you ever taken the time to thank those whom you ask to pray for you? Have you ever taken the time to thank Jesus for healing you? Are you glad you are alive? Tell Jesus today. He’ll be glad you did, and it will be recorded in the scrolls of eternity.

What am I thankful for today?
A new friend took a book of John and started reading it.
A co-worker was challenged to re-consider a public confession of faith for Jesus.
I can carry on an ordinary conversation yet smell like Jesus with many people.
The word of God is reaching more and more students at the local community college.
Time with my wife.

That is what Peasant Perfume is all about.

Simple words, meaning discovered,
truth discerned, kindness shared.
A dance of lives around the tree
and then reaching out to enjoy wisdom
from on high that brightens heart and opens eyes
… yet is full of integrity
and harmless but for the reminder to get dressed.
Tree of life or tree of knowledge of good and evil?
you may ask.
Yes, the knowledge of good and evil has been chopped down,
life takes root in those once confused.
Leaves from that tree cover souls
and soften steps across holy ground.
Do you hear the sound?
The Lord is walking with us now.
We have crossed the bridge,
there shall be no turning back now.

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Comfort, Comfort, My People Jerusalem

Right now the Middle East remains in an uproar: Egyptians are in an uproar, and Palestinians are raging against the state of Israel. Jordan is facing a flood of refugees. Bethlehem may soon have a few tourists. But I find that the “Jerusalem Syndrom” or “Stendhal Syndrome” to be most interesting of all this: people go to the “holy” city only to find that there are a bunch of sinners there. Sinners needing to be evangelized, so they evangelize them, or at least attempt to, in their own religious versions.

I’ve been there and done that! In 1994, I was a short term worker in Washington, DC. Enjoyed my time, but got a little too isolated from the group and my mind started to wander away from the mission. I started to peregrinate and preach. I dare say, it was fun. I thought the world was going to end in 3.5 days. (Times, time, and half a time, you know.)

Well, it didn’t, and the Lord forgave me for my false prophecy. So I am no prophet. Big deal.

But that does not mean I am not an evangelist. I may not be called upon to bring a final serious message of judgment, but I can bring a message of joy to the world. That joy is found in Jesus. Moral reform is good. Preaching is good. But all cities need this preaching. All souls need the good news. I am not much of a church planter, though my efforts to disciple others have resulted in a small disciplemaking movement.

The reality is though, that my life is marked (or some would say marred) by something else: suffering and disappointment with the worldly and the temporal hopes dreams. I work part time for a government agency that works among the least and among of those in the worst circumstances as a certified peer support specialist. In other words, I’m not just certifiable, I’m certified. I have a plaque to prove it.

That sits at my desk like the the Plaque I once received as a Distinguido Guesped used to at my dorm in college. I was a Distinguished Guest of the governor of Sinaloa State or Mayor Mazatlan there in Mexico, or something like that. Yippee!! Distinguished guest. All I had to do was do a little dramatic interpretation and travel with a bunch of choral members to a podunk, persecuting part of our Southern Neighbor and have a good, clean, moral life as I honored Jesus. The Bible says, those who honor God, God will honor.

What if the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Centre in Israel, were to not issue a certificate of insanity, but of honor to these guests, who like Saul (i.e. Shaul) had a few chips shy of a full bag, with a certificate for their intense interest and compassion for this city of conflict. Imagine how you would feel going on vacation to Hawaii only to find all the natives working in gray suits and ties and all the land given over to the chaos that happens on Wall Street … Doesn’t sound like a vacation.

Just because you went to such an advertized “tropical paradise” that had been corrupted and spoke out for a little common sense, would you want to be called a fool? No.

But Hosea said that the prophet will be called a fool (Meshuggah). When a nice person meets a wicked world which has been worshipped with wonderful words, that nice person might get a little upset when they find out the reality. You would … Right? I hope you would.

So, back to the issue at hand. As these prophets / religiously fanatical tourists recover, why not give them a certificate for wanting the city of Jerusalem to be morally pure and peaceful?? Honor them for their ability to cope again with a sinful world. Commission them in Jesus name to preach peace to all nations.

Use those with Jerusalem or Stendhal syndrome to become Fools for Christ … people who don’t fit in with the world because they love God. Let us be a little loony for the Lord! Let us give him our minds and let us give the world a piece of it too.

Maybe those that the world calls misfits are simply called to fit into another world, a world yet to come. A world that is perfect.

In this world, we will have trouble. BUT, TAKE HEART! Jesus conquered the world!!! He is alive! He’s not dead. He’s not crazy. He’s not lazy. HE really is LORD and HE really dead get up and folded the grave clothes at the tomb. Now, he is busy building a new Jerusalem.

The old Jerusalem is like Sodom and Gomorrah: it distresses the righteous lot who try to live their so much that they can’t stand staying there forever, they run for their lives. Distressed and dispirited. But Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He takes care of souls who go to great cities like Mecca, Rome, and Washington, DC and New York City, only to lose their grasp on “normalcy.” He comforts us with the hope of His return. He is the Messiah. We are not.

Now, what about those who think this world is all there is? I feel sorry for them. They may be in animistic tribes wearing animal parts or they may be in the ‘hood wearing hoodies or they may be businessmen wearing ties and going to fine restaurants or they may be on a campus wearing a backpack or they may be taking care of a posse of kids whom they hope will grow up to be “normal.”

Let’s get real. It is OK if dreams are shattered and illusions are exposed. It is OK to be different. It is OK to preach outside or in the streets. Let the prisoners free! Let the slaves go free! Let the fools go free! Maybe if Jerusalem had tolerated the most Divine Fool she would be a cultivated city today, instead of a city where the past is nearly all that there is to celebrate about it at the present.

Blessings on all who go to Jerusalem to comfort my people: the mentally ill and non-conformists. May God’s people surround the saints restrained with comfort and friendship.

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