Sunday, June 30, 2013


Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that
“they may indeed see but not perceive,
    and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

Monday, June 24, 2013


“The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.”[1]  (For similar Charles Spurgeon quotes, check out this blog)

Spurgeon makes a great point here.  What should the focus of the pastor be when delivering a sermon?  Should it not focus on Christ?  I would like to point out a few passages of Scripture that speak to this issue.  First, the same passage that Dr. Spurgeon references.  “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”  (1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV)  When Paul went to Corinth, what did he focus his message on?  Was it not Christ dying on the cross, bearing the sins of the world?

Sunday, June 23, 2013


At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Friday, June 14, 2013


Half-life is a scientific term to describe the rate of decay of a radioactive material.  For instance, the half-life of Carbon 14 (C14) is  roughly 5730 years.   The material turns in to Nitrogen 14 (N14).  Suppose you have ten particles of C14, then in about 5730 years, you will have five particles of C14 remaining alongside five particles of N14.  Since C14 is present in organic life forms, this is how scientist determine the age of old dead things.[1]

Missionaries have been using English as a second language (ESL) as a means of missions for many generations now.  For some, it is a way in which they enter into a country that is closed to the gospel.  For others it is a way they can build relationships with a community in the hopes of spreading the gospel.  For the past five years, I have been a part of this dynamic, first in Chiang Mai and now in Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat for short).  I have seen the good it is capable of but also its limitations.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


So how do you preach to a culture that has no Biblical framework to begin with?  What is the best way to feed God’s sheep, when the sheep are all newborns?  In America, Western culture has given the modern day pastor an edge.  (though this edge is slowing going away as secularism continues to strengthen)  The pastor can come to his audience knowing pretty well that the people he preaches to have some type of basic Biblical knowledge. Even if many have never gone to church before, references to Scripture still abound in pop culture.

Watch a sporting event and you can learn about David and Goliath.  Watch Bugs Bunny, and you will learn how Satan tempts you with his lies.  Go to any hospital, and you will see the image of the cross.  And think about some of the sayings we have.  "Turn the other cheek."  "Be a good Samaritan."  "Take the plank out of your own eye first."  "The handwriting is on the wall."  All these come from the Bible.  While more and more Americans are losing their religion, it’s just too hard for one to isolate him or herself from the message of the Bible. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 

Friday, June 7, 2013


Recently I got myself entangled in a facebook debate over the issue of free speech in America.  Facebook debates are never fun.  It really isn’t the best forum for debating.  It’s hard to tell how people are saying things and what type of emotion they have behind their words.  Are they truly angry, or are they just kidding around, trying to get at your goad.  I’ll admit, I have done this at times.  Anyways, I’m not writing this to talk about facebook etiquette, but rather about the things Americans bicker over and how they compare to similar problems in the rest of the world.

Recently, a high school valedictorian tore up his preapproved commencement speech and delivered a new one where he recited the Lord’s prayer.  Apparently Christian prayers aren’t allowed at that high school.  The arguments go as follows.  Those approving of this young man’s tactic will say that in the United States, there is freedom of speech and he should be allowed to say whatever he wants.  Those opposing will say that there is a separation of church and state, and this young man cannot say anything religious in a public school setting.  Who’s to decide who’s right?  I’ll leave that up to the courts.  Personally, I don’t care how they rule. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”  (Acts 4:33 - ESV) 

Testimony is a legal term.  It is a witness’ account of an event that happened.  When you do a word study in the New Testament on “testimony”, you will find one of two things.  The word is either used as in a legal setting, such as Jesus’ trial, or it is used to proclaim the good news about Jesus.  Either it is a proclamation that He has risen from the dead or that He is Lord.  In the gospels, Jesus uses the word often to point to himself.  When questioned about healing a man on the Sabbath, Jesus points to John the Baptist’s testimony about Himself.  (John 5:31-35)  He then goes on to speak about his works that the Father has given him as a testimony.  (John 5:36)  He goes on to add that the Father himself bears witness to Jesus through the scriptures.  (John 5:37-39)  

Monday, June 3, 2013


Home is where the heart is, right?  What defines home for you?  Is it a place?  Is it your house?  City?  Country?  Is it when you are around family?  When you are around friends?  People who love their careers feel at home when they are at work.  Some people feel at home when they are eating the food they love.  Home can have a certain atmosphere or even a certain smell. 

For the missionary, home is a confusing question.  In one sense, home is where you came from.  In another sense, it is in the new country that you live in and minister to.  It’s not “either or”, but “both and”.  I can say home and mean Michigan or Ann Arbor.  I can also say home and mean Thailand or Korat.  To me, it has all become home and I would have it no other way. 

A new trend in missions today is to get rid of the word “furlough” and replace it with “home assignment”.  Furlough is an old army term used when soldiers would temporarily leave the battle and go back to visit family.  It is also used in the business world as a way to describe unpaid, temporary leave.  Why missionaries took up this terminology, I’m not sure, but it seems appropriate enough.  Comparing it to a soldier’s furlough is a pretty accurate assessment.