Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gabriel made his acting debut as baby Jesus in our church's Christmas program this year. It was done three nights in a row, and every night, he was perfect. I stood backstage each night praying that he wouldn't fuss or cry and be a distraction. Maybe God gives a special blessing to little babies who play baby Jesus to keep them quiet and happy.

I have always liked to imagine what Jesus might have been like as a baby and how it might have been to be the mother of a baby who would one day grow up only to die. Jesus' purpose here on earth was to die. Did Mary know that as she rocked baby Jesus to sleep?

Having a baby of my own now has given me a different perspective of the Christmas story. I've always heard about Jesus' great sacrifice in leaving heaven to come to earth as a man, but when I think of him as a baby, the sacrifice becomes even greater in my mind. Jesus had to submit himself to the body of a human BABY! That is amazing to me! People joke about how babies have it so easy -- all they do is eat and sleep -- but if given the choice, would anyone want to actually go back to being a baby? Would you want to become physically dependent on another person to take care of your every need? How humiliating! Jesus, the Creator of the universe, had to rely on Joseph and Mary to feed him and bathe him and teach him how to walk and talk. He had to have cried as a baby because that is the only way he could communicate with his very human parents. He was their first child and they made mistakes. After all, Mary didn't have Baby Wise to guide her in setting up a schedule for him.

All joking aside, little Gabriel, in his own little way has helped me to relate better to the Christmas story. He has helped me understand how very real Jesus' presence was here on earth. As I stood backstage watching Gabriel being held by "Mary" and seeing the choir dressed as angels, surrounding him and singing, Oh Come Let Us Adore Him, I actually got a little misty-eyed as I imagined heaven's angels looking down on their King in the form of a human baby. Did they wonder what God was doing? Did they know about God's plan to rescue man from his sin? I'm sure it didn't matter. I know they were excited to come down to earth and proclaim the arrival of the Prince of Peace.

So yes, baby Gabriel played the role of baby Jesus. Maybe when he is older, he will play the role of his namesake, the messenger angel, and announce to the world the good news of God and his Son who came to redeem mankind. For now though, he is being used by God to teach his mother some important things about the real baby Jesus.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Romans 5:9

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Read these lyrics to this new hymn and speak them to the Lord today:

The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend
The agonies of Calvary

You the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son

Who drank the bitter cup reserved for me

Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank You
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You

By Your perfect sacrifice I’ve been brought near
Your enemy You’ve made Your friend
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace
Your mercy and Your kindness know no end

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

Lord help us to be the most grateful today for your Son's shed blood removing the righteous wrath of God against us, justifying us before God for His glory and good pleasure!

If you're interested in purchasing the cd with this song on it go here

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cool Boy!

Alive and Well

Despite the popular belief that we dropped off the face of the planet, we are alive, well, and very grateful for many things.

First and foremost - the blood of Jesus Christ that has removed the wrath of God toward us and imputed to us the righteousness of Christ. This gift alone makes all others seem insignificant!

Second, we thank the Lord for our son! He is growing like a weed and is teaching us many lessons about how selfish and impatient we can be. The joy that comes from parenting is indescribable, though sometimes difficult to find in the midst of all the chaos. As of late however, the responsive smile has brought the most joy to our lives.

Third, we are grateful for the gift of friendships! This past weekend, we took off for a meeting in Asheville, NC and then decided to go up to Louisville, KY to visit our friends Josh and Gretchen. It is hard to communicate exactly what happens in our hearts when we see these friends. Sharon and I were commenting on our time with them in the car on the way home, so here are some of our thoughts - so as to avoid an actual thank you card!

Josh and Gret - you encourage us in ways that no one else can. Your zeal for the Lord is unmatched in that of any other friends we have. You know the Scripture and theology in a way that confuses and excites us - only because we are ignorant of the many facets of some of those truths. Our conversation simply stimulates us to get back home and search truth in a deeper way. Thank you for your obedience to Christ and your friendship with us. We eagerly anticipate the way the Lord will glorify Himself through you in ministry.

The fourth thing is in fact one of the greatest worship experiences in my life. We joined Josh and Gret at Clifton Baptist Church this past Sunday. Josh and Gret help in the Junior High Sunday School class- so that's where we went for S.S. - and I know what you may be thinking. What could be learned by two adult Christians during a time such as this devoted to kids - and out of the book of Judges? The teacher actually read through the entire first chapter and went through an excellent exposition of the text. The kids followed along and interacted in a very real way. The teaching methods included a simple white board, an atlas, and God's Word. The teachers careful preparation was visible and at the very least extremely helpful. If I return to Clifton - I believe I'll join the junior high class.
After an hour of good teaching and application we progress to the auditorium just in time for the service. The choir begins with a piece directing thanks to God. This piece is sung several times woven with lengthy portions of Scripture that are read from the pulpit. We sang a hymn and were followed by a church member who prayed at length with great gratitude. We sang a couple choruses mixed with some congregational sentence prayers of thanksgiving. In conclusion we were blessed with some expositional thoughts from I Corinthians 10 on grumbling. Bruce Ware turned our attention to the Israelites and their grumbling by using several Old Testament passages as sub-texts. What a challenge as thanksgiving is up on us. At least 1/3 of the congregation stuck around in the auditorium simply to fellowship even though it was now 12:15. My heart was so stirred and uplifted. Why you might ask! Scripture reading, corporate prayer, thankful worship, and Biblical expositional preaching. May all our churches be characterized with these indispensable elements.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Gabriel David Taylor
Born: September 23, 2007 at 7:52 P.M.
7 pounds 9 ounces
21 1/4 inches long
3 1/2 inch long feet
dark hair, dark eyes
Glory to God!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

2 Simple Joys

In the past week a couple things have happened that brought great joy. You might think these are rediculous and that's fine if you do. I felt blessed and encouraged through these circumstances.

First - I quit my job at Papa Johns! You might think that the joy is in quitting my job. Certainly that is a small part of it. But there was greater joy in resigning my work there. God has given me an opportunity to be a light at work. Many co-workers heard the good news of the gospel. God allowed me to have good friendship with both of the head managers during my time there. God provided an income for us in the midst of deputation. The greatest joy though came in my explanation to co-workers as to why I was leaving! Everyone was curious. "You are having a baby and you don't have another job lined up - why quit now?" The response is obvious but makes no sense to someone who is lost in their sin. My response: "I am quitting trusting God to provide for our needs and our support level." The looks on people's faces - priceless! Hopefully this would draw their minds to think: "who is this God?". You will not be suprised to know that the day I quit my work - we received news of an increase in our support. God is faithful!

Second - The soccer team I coach won their first game of the season yesterday! You may be thinking: so what! To put things into perspective - this is the team who lost every game and tied one game last season. The look on those guys faces at the end of the game - again - priceless! We started the game down one goal and I was getting that feeling I had the whole season last year. By the end of the first half though - we had tied the game. It was neck and neck for most of the game until there was about 4 minutes left and one of there players slapped the ball with his hand in their box! Penalty Kick! Sam shot and scored the winning goal! We barely held them off until the end of the game, but we won! We lined up to shake hands with the opposing team and for the first time coaching we shook hands as the winning team!

I am grateful for the simple joys God brings into our life. Joys that point to Him and magnify Him. I'm certainly not saying that we prayed to win the game and we won -so praise the Lord. But I am thankful for the simple joys that God allows us to experience.

Hang tight - in 2-3 weeks you'll be hearing about an astronomic joy - Baby Taylor.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Teen Girls Camp

Praise God for a wonderful week at Mt. View Bible Camp in Virginia. We had the missionary time each morning which proved to be an excellent time. We spent some time sharing about Brazil, teaching a song in portuguese and most importantly sharing what is at the center of missions - namely the glory of God!

We were responsible for an activity every day - so I enjoyed using some of my games from years past as an activity director! They seemed to be a hit!

Thursday night there was a camp fire service. I took the opportunity to challenge the girls on the public confessed commitments they made. All to often I remember making decisions at camp that fizzled about as quick as that fire. That evening as I read from II Cor.3:18 (conformity into God's image) my encouragement for them was that they might stand and give testimony in 2008 of how God had given them grace to be faithful the entire year and not waver. I know it is difficult, but I believe we need to hear more testimonies of victorious Christian living. May God help us!

Thankfully, Sharon has felt very good throughout the whole pregnancy with the exception of some swollen feet. She was a great help to me this week and I thank God for her. On Thursday Sharon shared her testimony and a brief challenge with the girls and it was quite encouraging - especially since I rarely get a chance hear my wife speak.

Please pray for us this next week as we have missions conference locally.

Be sure to thank the Lord for an additional 7% of support - putting us at 57%!

Thank you all for praying - God bless

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

About Grandpa Mac

My grandfather died last week. He was 89 years old and had been anxiously waiting his turn to go to heaven for years. If funerals can be good, Grandpa's definitely fell into that category. Of course there were tears and sadness as Grandpa's six surviving children mourned the loss of their father, but overall, his funeral was a celebration of a life that pleased God, a life not wasted.

When Grandpa was a teenager, he hitchhiked across the US during the Depression in search of a job. He made it out to California from North Carolina by hopping trains and had many adventures along the way. He wrote a book about it, and if anyone is interested in having a copy, let me know and I will send one to you. Grandpa wrote several books after he retired and would give them out as a personal ministry.
In his early twenties, he married my grandmother and the two of them prepared for ministry at Moody Bible Institute. He missed serving in the war because of this, but he was preparing for battle to be waged in a different war. He and Grandma served in the West Indies for forty years as missionaries. I don't know how many churches were started under their ministry, but I know some of them are still thriving today.

My grandparents may have retired from the mission field in the Caribbean, but they definitely did not retire from serving God. Their pastor who spoke at Grandpa's funeral said that if a church were filled with people like my grandparents, the pastor of that church would be like the Maytag repairman -- nothing to do. After Grandma died in 2005, Grandpa moved into a retirement home. He said that God had placed him in another mission field, and he was very open and vocal about his testimony and about the Gospel. In fact, because he was known as Gene and his room number was 316, he earned the nickname of Gene 3:16.

As I grew older and got to know Grandpa better, I was reminded of the rich spiritual heritage God has blessed me with. Grandpa loved God and His Word, and this fact defined his life. He loved to study and there are boxes of books from his library that he left behind. My dad mentioned that some of the books were dated after my grandparents' retirement, and he was challenged by the fact that Grandpa never stopped growing spiritually and studying God's Word.

My sisters and I liked to take Grandpa out when he was living at the retirement home. He loved good food and ice cream and we loved to laugh at his very blunt statements. One thing that was said about him at his funeral was that he understood the balance between being a missionary, a husband and a father. He definitely loved his family dearly and he liked to tell people how many grands and great-grands he had. My baby will be great grandchild number 26, and a couple of my aunts told me that they watched Grandpa get a smile on his face when he saw me and my growing tummy the last time he was at a family function, just two weeks before he died. I think he was happy that his family would go on after he left. As part of the family he left behind, I pray that I will honor his legacy by telling my children of this great man who was their great grandfather, who loved God with all of his heart, who was always kind and humble, who longed to be with God in heaven and lived his whole life as a testimony to that truth.
My mom found this statement written in one of Grandpa's Bibles, and David and I were both challenged by it: "I have no personal plans for the future except to teach and preach the Gospel to more people in more places, villages and islands." That he did to the very end of his life.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I Love My Family

We just spent a few days with my sister and brother and family. How fun to be able to surprise them for a five day visit. Interestingly - they were on the road at the same time we were. I called and spoke to my brother for an hour - only a couple hours away from each other. One of my last comments was: "I wish we could just be able to chat in the same room!" We arrived about 20 minutes before they did and were waiting for them upstairs at Christen's parents home where they are living. When they showed up - they were extremely surprised and we were very excited! James and Christen are headed to Brazil soon, and we wanted to spend some well needed time with them. Our intention was to show up and do whatever we could with them and that's what we did. James and I spent some time at the consulate taking a stab at getting some visas. The trip there gave us an opportunity to have good spiritual conversation. What a blessing to have talks like this with my own brother. That evening we went for a 6 mile jog - something we have done individually, but rarely together. The next day we took off to the beach in Galveston. This was a fun time all around. Feeding birds and ... well that's mostly what I remember about that. On (Wed - nes -day: inside joke) we watched "The Last Sin Eater" - an excellent Christian new release! That afternoon in talking with Rachel a bit - we decided we needed to stay in Texas another day and help her purchase a laptop as she was in desperate need of one. We were successful and Rachel is the proud owner of a laptop computer. These events stand out in my mind, but not as much as just the simple times on the couch or around the table talking and fellowshipping. This is a gift from heaven that I'm sure many families would covet. I love my family and I love God for drawing our hearts to Him which has produced edifying and encouraging conversation and fellowship. I thank God for Rachel, James, Christen, Daniel, Hannah, and little Jeremiah, as well Christen's Godly parents - Albert and Patty Armitage. They treated us as family and we are grateful for their hospitality - something that cannot be repaid.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Journey to Victorious Praying - Bill Thrasher

I was reading through this book given to me by my friend Josh.
The following thoughts were helpful:

"Thy typical evangelistic prayer focuses on praying for the lost. This is certainly appropriate, but the clear emphasis in Scripture is to pray in a different direction. Jesus' burden for the lost multitude resulted in His instruction to pray that the Lord would send laborers into the harvest field (Matthew 9:38). In His deep burden for the unsaved He commanded prayer for the saints instead of the sinner. Likewise Paul requested prayer for both the opportunity to witness (Colossians 4:3) and the courage to present the gospel (Ephesians 6:19-20). To pray for our lost friends is a naturally loving instinct, but it is God's Word that guides us how to do so."

Good Observation!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It's a Miracle!

Ultrasounds are the show! I'm going to be a daddy for sure! Unbelievable! It's amazing to wake up in the morning and to feel Sharon's tummy lopsided - all hard on one side! I am appreciative of the cravings that pregnancy produces. The way that works is that if I crave something and suggest it - Sharon craves it too - and you gotta get it. The emotions are a bit goofy right now. We can't wait for Sept. 14th, but then again...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tears of Sorrow - Tears of Joy

Brazil Missions Trip

Thank you all so much for your prayers and financial contributions! The past two weeks were very encouraging and once again reaffirmed God's call on my life!

13 members from various churches went down to Fortaleza, Brazil for 2 weeks. While there, we were involved in 4 ministries: manual labor, public school evangelism, soccer evangelism, and local church ministry. God used the team mightily despite the language barrier for most.

My part specifically on this trip was to serve the team by translating. I had opportunities to work, preach, and even play - but God used my MK (missionary kid) background for His glory.

There were two events that struck hard in my heart on this trip. One involved tears of sorrow, and another tears of joy.

One Wednesday during prayer time at church - Sr. Chico began to share his testimony. This man had come into the church in a drunken stupper - and God used that first service in this mans life. Chico proceeded to share the things that had happened in his life to build his faith. My heart was sorrowful - because this mans faith was so strong. I was jealous for his faith minus his trials. God showed me a truth from the book of James - but in living color - Chico! His testimony moved me to tears. Oh God - build my faith!

The tears of joy came late in the trip. God gave me a neat friendship in the bus driver - Kleber. He and I talked several times while riding to our next ministry. I shared the gospel with him and things made some sense to him. He told me had chosen to leave the Catholic church because it seemed foolish to him to have to pray to a priest and not directly to his Creator. I preached one Sunday evening and he heard the evangelistic message. After the service he had questions about the Trinity. I told him we would get together to talk about it, but things didn't seem to work out. Two days before we are to leave he hurts his ankle and cannot drive the bus! Oh, Lord - what now - we didn't get another opportunity - was what I was thinking.

On the last night we are there - Kleber gets in his car with his wife and his Bible and drives 20 kilometers to where we are staying! Everyone on the team greeted him with joy. He caught my attention and said: Can we sit down and talk? Uh - Yeah!!!

We went through John 14 - Great chapter on the Trinity - Great chapter on the Gospel!!! As we wrapped up I asked Kleber if he had repented of his sin and put his trust in Christ! His reply was: I think I have done that this week. I encouraged him to talk to the Lord about this and so he prayed with me. His wife was listening - but I could sense she was not where here husband was. I encouraged Kleber to continue to share these verses with his wife and wait on the Lord for his work in her life. Will you pray for Kleber, Lucianna, and Leticia - his 15 year old daughter. His new life has just begun! He needs to grow! Tears of Joy!!!
The picture is of Kleber, his wife and Joel Johnson - our group leader.

Praise God - What a cap on the end of this trip.

Thank you all again,

God Bless

Friday, March 9, 2007

When Believers Die - It's Different!

This is lengthy, but just start reading and you won't stop!

Hello, My Father Just Died
By John Piper March 7, 2007

The following is John Piper’s journal entry narrating his father’s death on Tuesday, March 6, 2007.
The big hospital clock in room 4326 of Greenville Memorial Hospital said, with both hands straight up, midnight. Daddy had just taken his last breath. My watch said 12:01, March 6, 2007.
I had slept a little since his last morphine shot at ten. One ear sleeping, one on the breathing. At 11:45, I awoke. The breaths were coming more frequently and were very shallow. I will not sleep again, I thought. For ten minutes, I prayed aloud into his left ear with Bible texts and pleadings to Jesus to come and take him. I had made this case before, and this time felt an unusual sense of partnership with Daddy as I pressed on the Lord to relieve this warrior of his burden.
I finished and lay down. Good. Thank you, Lord. It will not be long. And, grace upon grace, hundreds of prayers are being answered: He is not choking. The gurgling that threatened to spill over and drown him in the afternoon had sunk deep, and now there was simple clear air, shorter and shorter. I listened from where I lay next to him on a foldout chair.
That’s it. I rose and waited. Will he breathe again? Nothing. Fifteen or twenty seconds, and then a gasp. I was told to expect these false endings. But it was not false. The gasp was the first of two. But no more breaths. I waited, watching. No facial expressions. His face had frozen in place hours before. One more jerk. That was all. Perhaps an eyebrow twitch a moment later. Nothing more.
I stroked his forehead and sang,
My gracious Master and My GodAssist me to proclaimTo spread through all the earth abroadThe honors of thy name.
Daddy, how many thousands awaited you because of your proclamation of the great gospel. You were faithful. You kept the faith, finished the race, fought the fight. “Make friends for yourselves with unrighteous mammon that they might receive you into eternal habitations.”
I watched, wondering if there could be other reflexes. I combed his hair. He always wore a tie. The indignities of death are many, but we tried to minimize them. Keep the covers straight. Pull the gown up around his neck so it looks like a sharp turtleneck. Tuck the gappy shoulder slits down behind so they don’t show. Use a wet washcloth to keep the secretions from crusting in the eyelashes. And by all means, keep his hair combed. So now I straightened his bedding and combed his hair and wiped his eyes and put the mouth moisturizer on his lips and tried to close his mouth. His mouth would not stay closed. It had been set in that position from hours and hours of strained breathing. But he was neat. A strong, dignified face.
I called my sister Beverly first, then Noël. Tearfully we gave thanks. Get a good night’s rest. I will take care of things here with the doctor and the nurses and the mortuary arrangements. I will gather all our things and take them back to the motel. “I wish I had been there,” Beverly lamented. Yes. That is good. But don’t let that feeling dominate now. In the days to come, you will look back with enormous gratitude for the hundreds of hours you gave serving Daddy. It is my turn to be blessed.
The nurse came to give him his scheduled morphine shot. As she walked toward me I said, “He won’t need that any more.” “Is he gone?” “Yes. And thank you so much for your ministry to him.” “I will notify the doctor so he can come and verify. I will leave you alone.” “Yes, thank you.”
The doctor in his green frock came at 12:40 and listened with his stethoscope to four different places on Daddy’s chest. Then he pulled back the sheet and said, “I must apply some pain stimuli to his nail base to see if he reacts. Then he used his flashlight to test Daddy’s eyes. “The nurse supervisor will come and get the information we need about the mortuary.” Thank you.
Alone again, I felt his cheeks. Finally cool after the fevered and flushed fight. I felt his nose, as though I were blind. Then I felt mine. I thought, very soon my nose will be like your nose. It is already like your nose.
The nurse came. No thank you, an autopsy will not be necessary. Mackey Mortuary on Century Drive. My name is John, his son. My cell phone is . . . . “You may stay as long as you like.” Thank you. I will be leaving soon.
Now I just look at him. Nothing has changed in his face here in the darkness of this dim light. Just no movement. But I have watched his chest so long—even now, was that a slight rise and fall? No, surely not. It’s like sailing on the sea for days. On the land the waves still roll.
He has four-day’s beard and dark eyes. I lift an eyelid to see him eye to eye. They are dilated.
Thank you, Daddy. Thank you for sixty-one years of faithfulness to me. I am simply looking into his face now. Thank you. You were a good father. You never put me down. Discipline, yes. Spankings, yes. But you never scorned me. You never treated me with contempt. You never spoke of my future with hopelessness in your voice. You believed God’s hand was on me. You approved of my ministry. You prayed for me. Everyday. That may be the biggest change in these new days: Daddy is no longer praying for me.
I look you in the face and promise you with all my heart: Never will I forsake your gospel. O how you believed in hell and heaven and Christ and cross and blood and righteousness and faith and salvation and the Holy Spirit and the life of holiness and love. I rededicate myself, Daddy, to serve your great and glorious Lord Jesus with all my heart and with all my strength. You have not lived in vain. Your life goes on in thousands. I am glad to be one.
I kissed him on his cold cheek and on his forehead. I love you, Daddy. Thank you.
It was 12:55 as I walked out of room 4326. Just before the elevators on the fourth floor in the lounge, a young man in his twenties was sitting alone listening to his iPod with headphones. I paused. Then I walked toward him. He stopped his music. Hello, my father just died. One of the greatest tributes I could pay to him is to ask you, Are you ready to meet God? “Yes, Sir.” That would make my father very happy. You know Jesus is the only way? “Yes, Sir.” Good. Thank you for letting me talk to you.
As I drove out of the parking lot, I stopped. The moon was a day past full. It was cold—for Greenville. I looked at this great hospital. Thank you, Lord, for this hospital. I will probably never lay eyes on it again.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Missionary Christmas

Last week, David and I were at a missions conference in Fayetteville, NC. While the entire conference was very refreshing, I want to focus on the gifts that the church people lavished on us. The church we were at was 40 years old and had never had a missions conference before. They decided they would like to have Christmas for the missionaries who would be there, and each of us received a wish list to fill out several weeks in advance. Honestly, David and I sat looking at the sheet of paper trying to decide what to include on our list. We didn't want to seem greedy or selfish, but the missions pastor had said to give plenty of options so that the church members could shop. We wrote things down thinking, "well, we probably won't get this, but you never know, so we'll write it down anyway."

Let me tell you, we were blown out of the water by this church's generosity. There were four of us missionary families and each of us had a designated table on the stage in front of the church for our gifts. One of the pastors led the congregation in singing "Joy to the World" and while we sang, anybody who had a gift was to walk up and place it on the appropriate table. I could not believe how many people walked up to the front of the church carrying STACKS of gifts.

We were called up front to open our gifts in front of the church, and each family's table was piled with gifts. As we opened box after box after box, I could only shake my head in disbelief. Every single thing we had asked for and more was on that table. I'm talking big ticket items too, like a digital camcorder and a printer and a very nice felt Bible story set I've been wanting to take to Brazil. There were sports coats for David, Pampered Chef stone bakeware for me, nice sets of towels, gift cards, cash and on and on. An anonymous note from a 12-year-old boy had a $20 bill taped to it. In the note he wrote that he had bought something for each of the missionaries, but couldn't find something for us. He thought we might like to have lunch on him instead. I thought, "Wow, a 12-year-old boy bought presents for all the missionaries? That is so awesome!" So even the kids were involved in our shower of gifts.

We went home with the back seat of our car packed tight with all of our gifts. It was almost embarrassing because there was so much stuff. We've tried really hard not to live up to the term "moochinary", so in a way, it was a humbling thing to walk out of that church with all the gifts we got. I know many people gave out of the abundance of their finances, but I know other people gave sacrificially and I hope they know we don't take what they did for granted. Believe me, these days more often than not, missionaries are treated as pests or nuisances. "They just want our money" is the attitude that some churches and pastors have. Yes, we need money to do the work God has called us to do in Brazil. "Oh great, another missionary presentation tonight." We are EXCITED to tell you about how God is working through our lives and we want to share that with you!

We were blessed and encouraged by this display of love from people we didn't even know. Did I tell you that most of these presents were purchased before anybody in that church had even laid eyes on us? Being a full-time missionary is great. It really is. But there are times when it's challenging and disheartening. I try not to look for the praise of men, but when God reveals Himself through the generosity of His people, I am blessed.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Breakfast This Morning

A Light in the Darkness
Al Braca was a beam of hope for people trapped on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center Tower 1.

...Reports trickled in from friends and acquaintances. Some people on the 105th floor had made a last call or sent a final e-mail to a loved one saying that "a man" was leading people in prayer. A few referred to Al by name. The Bracas learned that Al had indeed been ministering to people during the attack. When he realized that they were all trapped in the building and would not be able to escape, Al shared the gospel with a group of 50 co-workers and led them in prayer.
This news came as no surprise to Jeannie. For years, she and Al had been praying for the salvation of these men and women. According to Jeannie, Al hated his job; he couldn’t stand the environment. It was a world so completely out of touch with his Christian values. But he wouldn’t quit. He was convinced that God wanted him to stay there, to be a light in the darkness. To that end, Al freely shared his faith with his co-workers, many of whom sarcastically nicknamed him "The Rev."
"They mocked him," Jeannie recalls, "but when horrible things happened in their lives, they always asked Al for prayer."
He prayed with them and shared the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For the entire article click here

Sharon and I are at a missions conference in Fayetville, NC. The pastoral staff invited us missionaries to breakfast. The time was very encouraging. This story of this man was mentioned and the pastor made a wonderful observation! He affirmed that the most beautiful part of this story was this man's obedience with the gospel. You might say - well what about the the fact many were saved? Well, honestly we do not know if many, much less any were genuinely saved. What we do know is that our Sovereign Lord is responsible for salvation and He has called us to be obedient with the gospel as John says: "I am a voice..."

2 Tim 2:24-25
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth..."