Bits and Pieces, Here and There

“What? Seven months since my last post?” Actually the reality is, I have some 10 or 12 posts in my head that just have not seen the light of day. One of them stole some of my sleep last night!

“No good there! We have to see it in writing or we can’t get the benefit of it” you reply.

“I agree! So I am dusting off the keyboard once again. Let me do a “Captain’s Log” style post this time. Then I will begin to treat the issues and questions that relate to my theme: missionary life and ministry. ”

“So tell me, what has been happening since July?”

“I am glad you asked!”

Starting from the most recent and working backwards…

February saw the making of history in our ABWE family! The Spanish speaking missionaries of our South American countries gathered in Lima Peru for a 5 day “Regional Partnering Conference (RPC). Every day was packed with times of interaction, worship and study. An old friend and former intern from Calvary Baptist Church School of Church Ministries in Grand Rapids, Gil Thomas (also former missionary in Portugal with ABWE and now director the Good Soil ministry of ABWE), guided us through an enjoyable and dynamic training session called “Moving Beyond Lecture.” Highly recommendable! And our sincere thanks to all our ABWE family and leadership that made the RPC possible! But especially we thank our supporters who give so lovingly and faithfully. They are the real reason we could go to the RPC. THANK YOU, supporters!

January was also a history-making month. After years of prep and planning, the Editorial Crece (TM) (Grow Publishers in English) organized and hosted its first ever “Creative writing Seminar!” Held in Santiago at the New Life Baptist Church, and attended by a fervent and passionate group of seven people, the seminar was the first ever hosted in Chile by a national Christian publishers. Those who attended began to break down the barriers of fear and nervousness about knowing what and how to write well enough to be published.

As December rolled around the year 2015 ended with a splash! Our Church ministries at New Life concluded with yet another “first time event.” The Adult Bible Fellowship organized a Missions Fair. The purpose of the fair was to give “feet, hands and wings” to the priority of local church global missions involvement. From the work done to prepare and present the fair to the Church family four important goals were identified, each of which serves to mobilize people. Two of them have been met: our own missionaries in Mexico, Marcelo and Vicki Ramirez received financial help to come back to Chile for their 2 month home ministry stay. Also another national missionary serving Chile’s islands, Marcelo and Julia Henriquez, received a generous 50 pounds of staple food items for their family, and a brand new chain saw to cut their own firewood.

In November…and here we could certainly e-x-p-a-n-d on the events…it was our family’s privilege to welcome Joel and Sarah Rogers along with their little 1.5 year old, Anne, to spend almost 3 weeks with over Thanksgiving! We enjoyed being grand parents to Anne, since Joel and Sarah took 5 days to travel to the south of Chile. We also reveled in fun times of watching Anne plan  in our home. Joel and Sarah live in Raleigh, NC where they both work. This was their first time to travel to Chile with their daughter. Maybe the next time they come, they will have their second child! Sarah is expecting in June.IMG_6354IMG_6393

October was a month to travel, both for Ruth Ann and me. The annual trip required for Dave to meet with all the field team leaders of Spanish South America was held in Orlando, Florida. But, don’t draw any premature conclusions…we didn’t even see the world famous Disney world. The week there was dedicated to networking with other Spanish speaking fields. We met both husbands and wives, and we invested the majority of the time planning on shared goals and objectives.

Family needs are important solve too. So the trip to the USA in October allowed me to spend a week with Melissa, who lives in Fredrick, MD. God put me there just at the crucial time to be able to assist her in getting our family’s vehicle repaired. That very week the car’s fuel pump began losing fuel all over the ground my third day there. But previous to that, we already knew there were other major repairs that had to be covered. So, the last three days with her were spent repairing the car. Mely was grateful she did not have to work that out by herself!

In the month of September Chile celebrates her independence as a nation. The weekend of Sept. 18 and 19 are traditionally absorbed by cookouts, flying kites, visiting the city’s large parks and of course, remembering God’s graciousness in making a Chile a democratic and free nation.

This year we celebrated it as a church by obtaining permission to close the street in front of the Church building. This is a whole-church evangelistic outreach event! The Lord blessed us with about 200 people participating. The Gospel was preached at the mid way point through the program of games, folklore music and skits.

And, unlike any year previously, we had some uncommonly good help! Brenda and Gordon McComb and their 2 year old son Alex came to work and serve with! Having brought along a couple of friends from their church, the Fairview Baptist Church in Statesville, NC, the work was lighter and the fellowship sweeter! Brenda, our oldest daughter, and her husband, Gordon have been serving at Fairview Baptist for almost 2 years, where Gordon is the pastor of music and worship.

Finally the month of August. What happened in August!? Well, I should let Ruth Ann tell you, but let’s just put it this way…she reached an exciting highlight in her life as she celebrated her ??? birthday! With a little “Scottish” flavor, friends from Church and our mission team, made the evening a memorable event for her.

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And here we are in February 2016! However, the issues and the trends of the United States continue to impact the work of missions world wide. Just one blip on the radar, but clearly an important matter: the Southern Baptist Convention’s “International Missions Board” (IMB) has “recalled” a significant number of missionaries that are between and 10 and 12 years from retirement. The reason? The IMB is facing critical financial pressures caused by the loss income for the Board.

Here in Chile, three families were faced with a tough decision to either leave their field of ministry and return to the USA to receive an early retirement package. Or, stay on the field and find employment! The large IMB employs over 4,500 foreign missionaries. But, due to the shortfall of over $210 million dollars in 2014 and 2015, the IMB has dismissed about 800 missionaries. Chile was one country touched in that difficult and urgent step.

I will share more about trends and concerns in the missions scene in my next blog! Thanks for going along for the ride on this compact 7 month summary! I would really love to know what you think about my blog, so if you have thoughts or questions, please submit them below.

Grateful for Grace,

David L. Rogers, M.A.Min.
ABWE, Chile

 

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On the Downward Slope, Continued

In my previous post (“On the Downward Slope”, posted April 18) I presented what I feel to be the fundamental truth upon which life and liberty are founded, namely this: all moral considerations and all ethical postures depend on the common ground of God as Creator and men as created in His image.  This truth has brought healing and renewed vision for the United States throughout history, and if we truly and objectively apply it in all realms,  it will open our eyes once again.

However, I regret to say that this foundational truth has been ignored, maligned, twisted and essentially rejected by the popular culture in the United States of America. Moving ever distant from this pivotal truth, the average person in the USA does not consider their very own children, let alone those living down the street, as persons of worth, persons whose heart and soul are precious and of unequaled worth in the sight of the living, personal Creator God. 

Let me illustrate this for you…

  1. June 17, 2015, a young man 21 years old sits for an hour in a prayer meeting at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. and then proceeds to open fire with an automatic weapon, killing 9 people, including a South Carolina senator and the senior pastor of the church.
  2. Dec. 14, 2012, a mass shooting of 20 children and 6 adults in the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School  illustrates the extreme cruelty and destructive tendencies of those youth that have come to hate others and then take out their anger on others.
  3. April 3, 2009, the Binghamton, NY shootings carried out by a Vietnamese immigrant that walked into the building where he was studying English, and opened fire killing 13 people.
  4. April 16, 2007, the Virginia Tech shootings was the deadliest attack perpetrated on a school campus in the history of the USA (33 people lost their lives). The killer was a senior at the University who suffered a mental disorder, but nonetheless was both intelligent and calloused enough to plan out such a terrible atrocity on his own, and successfully entered two separate classrooms, killing and wounding fellow students and teachers.

And on and on the list goes…the Columbine High School massacre, the Aurora Colorado theater shooting…there are more examples than I can list here.

According to the FBI records list 146 mass shootings since 2006 that matched the FBI definition of mass shooting, where four or more people were killed. (USA TODAY, article dated Dec. 2, 2013, “Mass Shooting toll exceeds 900 in past seven years.”) And this sickening total  represents only…1% of the total of all homicides committed in the United States. The total amount of deaths caused by firearms in the US in 2012 reaches over 65,000 people! Lives that were suddenly eliminated by killers who judged others just like Cain in Genesis 4 viewed Abel. That is, instead of seeing him or her as a person of worth, created in God’s image, Cain saw Abel as a competitor and as a threat. He killed his brother because he hoped by doing so, he would sooth his guilty conscience. All he did was bring God’s wrath upon him. Cain, like all murders, attack the image of God in man in an attempt to destroy or deface what they hate most: God himself.

These homicides and all similar killings demonstrate the danger that comes when a person looks at another human being as anything less than worthy of just and honorable treatment. All such hate crimes, drug crimes, settling of accounts, armed robberies, assault and attacks on innocent victims, senseless shootings, and the like have one similar concept at the core: the one perpetrating the crime or attack considers the victim as less valuable than him or herself and therefore expendable. 

How did we come to this point? For that matter how do all killers (from the rogue dictators to the mafia hit man) come to see their fellow man as a disposable and useless, just “taking up space”? How does a killer become so indifferent to the fact that the same life blood that courses through his or her veins is in the body of the one that he/she chose to eliminate? They do so by sliding down a slippery slope of self-deification (“I can do what I want! This is MY life!”). Then by  dumping their anger and hurt on others (“You cannot do that to me and not pay for it!”). From there, the dominoes tumble steadily toward the attitude of vengeance or of unbridled hate and disdain for the chosen victim or victims. After all, they have been taught, that only the strong will survive. Only those with superior tentacity and intelligence will survive. He or she thinks it is only a cycle of the “survival of the fittest.” In other words a wanton killer or a heartless murderer sees himself a worthy of taking the innocent life (even of small children) because he is better, he is stronger, he is more powerful than the victim. He has the will to do so.

This is nothing more than a social version of evolution. This way of thinking has been deeply ingrained into our minds, since the mid 1960’s in the USA when it became the norm to teach biological evolution in public education. But evolution does not stop on the physical or the biological levels. It filters down into all areas: marital, parental, familiar, societal and even political or national. Evolution teaches us that we have to remove the barriers to advancement as a society by eliminating the weak, destroying the sick, manipulating the feeble.

evolution of computing

This is I believe, the inevitable result of the second major step downward in our culture in the west. This is true in Europe, in Canada and in the USA. People have now come to believe that those who don’t meet their standards of the”evolving conscience” are expendable.  If you don’t believe me, look at what was just approved in Europe recently: euthanasia, physician assisted suicide and up next on the playlist…infanticide!

In no uncertain terms, I am convinced that “biological evolution” (an unsubstantiated theory, NOT a scientific fact) has opened the door to a second slippery slope: the slope of believing that God is not active in the world, that humans are not responsible before God and that we have to “make our own future.” Because modern western culture has fully accepted the idea of biological evolution, he has now applied it to all of life and has come to believe that men can dispose of  other men, women and children at will.

Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer (deceased), a very respected Christian philosopher wrote this over 45 years ago:

“What should we say about out country? Of course, we should be glad for the freedoms we do have. But, having said that, should we not also understand that since our culture no longer has a Christian base, there’s going to be death in the city? Do you think our country can remain as it has been, after it has thrown away the Christian base?…In Jeremiah’s day God worked into history upon the basis of His character, and He continues to do so. Those people were going off into the Babylonia captivity not just for military reasons or economic reasons. God, as a holy God, judged them as they had turned away from Him. He will do the same in our generation” (1) if we do not wake up and turn back to God! We can only plead with God and lead the way by falling on our knees in humble repentance and confession. God will patiently respond, in love and grace. But time is running out.

Cain now dresses in a white lab coat and lifts his knife against all who stand for the Biblical truth of the dignity of man as decreed by the Creator God.

What is the next step on the downward slope in the USA? Stay tuned…

David L. Rogers, M.A.Min.

Citations: 1) Schaeffer, Dr. Francis A., “Death in the City”, L’Abri Fellowship, (c) 1969, pp. 30-31. emphasis mine.

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On the Downward Slope?

Are you concerned, agitated, worried about the future of the United States of America? If so, you may want to hear what I have to say.

American Flag Reflected on Vintage 1967 United States Nickel

I believe that history has a few things to teach us. First of all, those whose primary purpose in life is to chase comfort, pleasure and personal good at the expense of other higher values will eventually self-destruct. This was true of ancient Israel, and of every other major civilization since then. The most prosperous king in Israel’s history, Solomon, learned the hard way that “God-devotion makes a country strong; God-avoidance leaves people weak.” (The Message, by Eugene Peterson, Prov. 14:30, emphasis added). 

As a nation, the Israelis had peace, prosperity and power. The country flourished for over 100 years! But it came crashing down when their own king and leader became swallowed up in the mire of hedonism and entertainment. Because their king chose to not see the inevitable end in sight after years of willful blindness, both he and Israel saw their “perfect dream” crumble when the country was divided over trivial causes. The people of Israel have never known the productivity and the power that was theirs under King Solomon. Not even today is their country close to that level of achievement. But they squandered it all away on the altar of personal comfort. It opened them to danger of civil war, blame casting, and eventually, of political suicide. Israel’s greatness was sacrificed in the civil war that lasted for generations which pulled the nation apart. The last straw on the camel’s back was not an attack from a neighboring country or an ambitious king who led them to war (although God did send two nations to attack then and finally lead them into national captivity). Israel fell prey to her own blindness to see the real reasons for her crumbling culture: namely weak character and lack of spiritual leadership.

Secondly, not only does history have something to teach us, but morality does too. What enables a people like the hodge-podge, rag tag, scrapping tough and often careless people like the early settlers of the “New World” that was once the United States to come so far from their humble roots? One undeniable truth central to the strength of the nation was the dogged commitment to honesty, truth and hard work. But it was not always this way at the beginning.

The very first settlers of the New World where people seeking religious freedom because their minds were made up about the rights and responsibilities of every human being in the eyes of their Creator. But the experiment that we now call the United States of America was highly unlikely to succeed as it first started out. That all changed when the preaching of God’s Word during the period right before the Civil War and especially the period after it. Many citizens yearned to know the truth. Not the truth about a nation politically but the truth about man: what caused brother to kill brother and neighbor to kill neighbor (the Civil War saw more casualties than the Revolutionary War)? Because of a lie that many had come to believe. What lie is that? It is a lie about man’s dignity before his Creator and about who we are as people, no matter what our race, skin color or ethnic heritage.

The United States needs to hear the truth once again, because once again we are a nation that is deeply divided. This is the fundamental truth: human dignity and equality before God bridges the gap between peoples and in turn makes them people of great worth, both temporally and eternally.

I am not ignorant that many well meaning, and some not so much, used God’s Word in a manipulative way, trying to get the upper hand on a people or a race. Some found what they believed to be good reasons to further their personal preferences and their prejudiced view of others different than than one’s self. But those kinds of ideas were eventually silenced by the bare bones truth that God “has shown me not to call any person common or unclean” (in the words of the Greek historian Luke, in his book called “Acts of the Apostles” ch. 10, vers. 25). In other words, this text shows us that Peter, a highly prejudiced Jew one with an ingrained bias against other nationalities, finally understood God’s perspective on the issue. Equality is part of God’s original design for all nationalities and races and skin colors and genders.

Therefore a view of equality of all persons comes from the truth that God Himself makes all men equal. All moral considerations and all ethical postures depend on the common ground of God as Creator and men as created in His image.  This truth has brought healing and renewed vision for the United States throughout history, and if we truly and objectively apply it in all realms,  it will open our eyes once again.

What I fear, however is that central truth has been readily disposed of on SEVERAL major turning points in the United States. In my humble opinion these were several key touchstone moments in recent history:

Number ONE> Roe vs. Wade, January 22, 1973. Human life in the womb was relegated a position as second class and in turn, because of the purported “mother’s rights over her body” all embryos and fetuses have become disposable property of one person: the pregnant mother. Today I read on the Newsflash, “Urgent” category of Dr. Albert Mohler’s blog this statement: “For me, I´m the mother of three children. For me, life began when I delivered them. They’ve been probably the most important thing in my life ever since. But that was my own personal decision.” Who made this uncommonly brash and direct statement? None other than Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, the United States’ most famous abortion machine. Maybe it’s time to change their name to “Planned Parent Elimination.” The death culture has grown to unimaginable dimensions in the USA since the January 1973 Supreme Court decision. It is unlikely we will ever see that decision reversed.

Number TWO> what might this be? I will share it in my next post.

Stay tuned.  More about the downward slope of morality in the USA.

David L. Rogers, M.A.Min.

 

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Work Teams leave a legacy in Lives

If you have ever wondered what it is like to be a part of a repeated and a long team ministry team, perhaps this video will give you and idea. One of several churches that have faithfully partnered with us for over 5 years in the construction of the New Life Baptist Church and Ministry Center is Bethel Baptist Church of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Back for their fourth trip to serve the believers, they have put their “hand to the plow” without looking back! This group of brethren did jobs they never imagined and in so doing touched hearts with the love of Christ.

Pleaase take a minute to watch this video. It will give you a clear picture of the value and the reason to serve on a missions trip: that is, to INVEST IN LIVES!

Click on this link to see the video.

To God be the Glory!

David L. Rogers, M.A.Min.
Santiago, Chile

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A Fresh Start

Read about one of the lives changed through the ministry and outreach of the New Life Baptist Church, located in center city Santiago, Chile. Please visit the link below to read about how God is changing lives through the message of Christ!

A Fresh Start.

Like Marta, there are over 30,000 college and university students just 8 blocks from the New Life Baptist Church and Ministry Center. Our focus is to reach those students through counseling, through friendship evangelism and through Bible Studies.

Please pray for God to open the hearts and minds of many more like Marta!

Serving the Savior,

David L. Rogers
ABWE-Chile

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Families and Missions

It was a fun and eye-opening weekend staying with some “new” friends in one of our supporting churches. The family was not only hospitable, but down-to-earth. Plus they knew what a missionary faces while traveling. They were formerly missionaries as well to a Latin American country. Their home was full of novel surprises because of all the travels they and their family had done. In addition, I stayed in an old farm house rich with character and homeyness. One funny thing about the house was the bathroom on the second floor. Obviously an addition to the facility, the shower was just tall enough for me to stand it (at 6 foot 2 inches I am not that tall). But standing in front of the toilette was not quite so successful. The ceiling was too low!

We talked about places in Peru that my hostess knew, and some of the places I too had visited. She detailed the strange things she had seen in Guatemala at the ruins of the pre-Colombian civilization. One of the most startling was the many old convents that were abandoned and left for foxes and beetles. The city people of Quetzaltenango use the abandoned convents for weddings. After all they sure look romantic. At least no one will bother you there during the ceremony. The rich Hispanic culture in Central and South America provides hours and hours of material for conversation!

In the lengthy conversations, there was a more interesting point that surfaced. It had to do with their children and their grandchildren (of course, grandma’s bragging rights!). The point that got me thinking was this: those who choose missions as a career do so hardly ever in spite of their family. On the contrary, many choose missionary life as a career with encouragement from their families. While not a hard and fast rule, that factor became more evident in the conversations and the visits made during the past weekend to families and friends in the church. If God’s plan for missions in the local church is to thrive, we need not only a pastor and a missions committee standing behind the missionary and the future recruit to the mission field. In addition, the concern and the knowledge of missions passed on in the home, by parents who are sensitive to God’s will for the cause of missions world wide becomes a watermark in their choice to serve Christ overseas.

Today the cause of world missions seems to get lost in the shuffle of church life and family pressures. Many families rarely take time to talk about, to learn of or to pray for God´s world wide cause. Could it be that this trend makes choosing a career in missions a less favorable option for our youth today? If the opposite is true, that parents and grandparents who encourage a world consciousness and a missions awareness, foster young adults pursuing life time overseas and missionary involvement. Then the lack of interest in the cause of world wide evangelization leads to teens and young adults being fearful, disinterested or passé toward the same.

Allow me, as a parent and as a missionary, to challenge moms and dads with the value of highlighting God´s work around the world. This means we need to spend time ourselves reading about missions. We need to ask substantive questions of visiting missionaries. It should be part of our family prayer time and our family devotions that we pray for not only missionaries but missions causes. Prioritizing the cause of Christ world wide fosters a healthy environment for more missions expansion. More importantly, it leads to the moving of the Spirit of God to stir hearts and minds and imaginations of young, would-be missionaries.

After all, if God´s Church will ever fulfill the task that lays ahead, BOTH the church and our families must be involved. Children learn to prioritize and to value those things that their parents do. Start young with the joy of seeing God at work not only in your back yard, but across the street and around the block. A vision for the world starts at home.

David L. Rogers, M.A. Min
Missionary Pastor

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A family that lives and emphasizes missions, Kipp and Katie Krigger, who served two years in Chile.

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The Results are in…and Missions Reading Loses!

I have kept you waiting to know what reading I would recommend. I hope the wait has not been too aggravating! In the meantime, maybe some of you decided to go searching for some good reading on your own. That would just the thing that I would hope for. But, if you are not yet motivated to read some good books on missions, then perhaps this list will tweak your interest. I will start with books I have read and highly recommend.

The joy of discovery in a book!

The joy of discovery in a book!

1.  Wanted: World Christians, by J. Herbert Kane. Published by Baker. This book will challenge your priorities and place you on a different footing. This author brings to his pen many years of teaching missions and a long history of writing on and teaching on the subject of missions. You will not be left indifferent toward the work of world missions if you read this book.

2.  Cities: Missions’ New Frontier, by Roger Greenway and Timothy Monsma. Published by Baker. If you live near or drive through a major city with any frequency, you cannot help but notice that the cities are almost entirely abandoned by the church. These authors write with urgency and poignancy that the evangelical church, the bible preaching church, the missionary minded church has overlooked the most fertile mission field around it: the inner cities of our United States. Read and be amazed at the mission field at your doorstep!

3.  Serving as Senders, by Neal Pirolo. Published by Emmaus Road International. A veritable treasure of practical and personal recommendations for the person who would help a missionary reach his or her destination, this book dispels the myths of the “rugged, self-sufficient missionary” who can do it all himself. The author explains in clear terms that a missionary must have support, not only financial support, to reach the field. He or she must have a team of people supporting to get them there.

4.  Everything You Want to know about the Mission Field, but are Afraid you Won’t Learn until you Get There, by Charles Troutman. Published by IVP. The subtitle of this book is “Letters to a Prospective Missionary.” That pretty well sums it up! Almost any question that you, or a new missionary might have, is answered with direct and practical wisdom in this readable and interesting book. A bit old (printed in 1977) it might only be available as a used book on Ebay or Amazon.

This should be enough to whet your appetite! I would be glad to make specific recommendations if you looking for a book on a particular aspect of missions. I have purposely avoided recommending any technical or deep theological titles and have focused more on the day to day issues of missions.

From what the simple poll shows, as much as 82% of the readers who responded have NOT read a book on missions or related to the topic in the past 1 to 6 months. It is not surprising then, that many believers in the churches we visited recently have little or no knowledge of the topic. That being the case, can we expect our churches to be more interested and more involved with missions? It is not very likely that the churches of the United States will see beyond their immediate need if 8 out of 10 Christians have practically no working knowledge of how God is carrying out His Great Commission!

The local church is faced with a need: How do we mobilize more missionaries when the developing world is breaking all previous records in sending and training new missionaries? The answer comes in part, by educating the local church Christian about the trends, the needs, the obstacles and the amazing advances that the Church is experiencing around the world. We cannot leave it up to chance or just “hope” that somehow our youth and young adults will find the matter of carrying out the Great Commission in our generation. As the saying goes, “quality starts at home.”

There remains the challenge to get youth to read, to investigate (not passively but with personal interest) the mission field trends that are shaping our world today. I propose that the reading circles of our Christian schools include missionary biographies (I will not take the time to list those that have impacted me, but  there are many). I want to stir the minds and hearts of our youth leaders and youth pastors to include in their yearly Bible study plan the matter of missions trends and missionary life. I encourage our pastors and preachers to refer often to those titles and resources for missions (there are many outstanding web sites where you can find news, data and comments) that can help dispel the fear, the ignorance and the indifference toward the Cause of Christ.

Let us not leave the subject behind as though it were some dusty old tome buried in the stacks of books in the library. The missionary cause is being documented, it is being reported and it is being transmitted in a powerful way every day. Read and digest these truths. Meditate on and evaluate the work of God around His great big world. Let the facts and the reality of the need for thousands more missionaries be made known…before the great, black hole of secularism and postmodernism drowns out the light in the darkness.

Read about missions, and you will soon care (more) about missions. Ignore the matter, and it soon fades into our daily routine of busyness, of family life, of church calendars.

Last February it was my privilege to hear in person Gracia Burnham (co-author along with Dean Merrill) of the gripping book called “In the Presence of My Enemies” (Published by Tyndale). The true story of her being kidnapped, along with her husband, in the Philippine Islands, Gracia tells how she and her husband struggled with health and sanitary issues. How they were forced to flee gun fire. How they saw their fellow hostages suffer and even break under the extreme conditions. But the message that stands out even more powerfully in the book is the one she trumpeted so clearly when she spoke at the Global Ministries Conference of Baptist Bible College (Clarks Summit, PA).  And that message was that the hardest lesson to learn was that the enemy was not the ones toting the guns and the belts of ammunition. The enemy was the doubt, the fear and the questioning of God that she, and others, carried in their hearts. God wanted to teach them how to overcome their biggest enemy, and that enemy was inside.

Missions stories like that of the Burnhams will uncover the fundamental struggles of the Christian’s life. For that reason, and a host of others, it is worthwhile reading to dig into missions texts and biographies.

Let me encourage you to make it a point to read more and to read broadly in the area of missions! You will be glad you did. Your church will be glad you did. And for sure, when a missionary comes back to visit your church, she or he will be truly encouraged when they hear of what you are learning about missions in today’s world.

David L. Rogers, M.A. Min.

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Pardon My Directness…

Recently, while talking with some people at a church in New Jersey, I was interested to know if they had ever read a book on missions. That includes biographies, history or just a general informational book about the work of missions. I was surprised to hear that these folks had yet to read ANYTHING about the work of missions! And they have been members of a church for over 20 years.

As Christians do we read about this subject? I would like to know what you, our reader and  blog enthusiast, have read about missions. Please take a few seconds and answer the question in our simple poll above. I would like to know what the average Church-goer has read in area of missions, missiology, or the work of missions.

I think the results might prompt a healthy self-examination of what we are thinking about a Christians today. After all, many of us would admit that we need to be aware of what God is doing around the world. And we would at least nod our heads to the value of the lessons learned through the lives of missionaries, both past and present. Let’s see what priority global outreach and spread of the Gospel has in our reading!

After this poll has been up a few weeks, I will post some books I have read and would suggest you read too!

Thanks for taking part.

David L. Rogers

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Dangers in the Acropolis

The education of our children could rightly be classified as the top issue on the tidal wave of cultural debate. While reading a post that a cousin put on Facebook, I could see the undercurrents of secular humanism and the deification of man growing stronger and stronger. What’s the core cause of the decline in our educational system? Is it discipline and class control? Or is it the swelling tide of premature adulthood as teens are served with unbridled rights on a silver platter? Could it be the problem of educational disadvantage in those schools that lack quality educators or safety in the halls? I dare to say that the weakness and the decline of our education has at the root of the problem the very same subject matter we are teaching our children. As I see it, the grave dangers in our “Acropolis” (the learning centers of the day) lay in our wholesale abandon to the philosophy of life that we have come to know as the “evolutionary model of science and philosophy.”

Let’s begin by considering your typical science class in school. The danger our children are facing in our country today is the subject matter that the state and federal government now calls “science!” The teaching in our public school systems of a naturalistic model of science is not only counter enlightenment, but is also the very means that the educational system is using to stifle religious expression and thought! And, as Ken Ham has clearly stated on his blog (see this link:  http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2013/04/30/atheists-attack-christian-school ), some atheists are on a seek-and-destroy mission to eliminate any teaching about creation and a Biblical worldview, even in private Christian schools!

This matter will not go away and we as believers in the authority of the Scriptures need to take note of what we are already facing in the field of education.

The Creation-Evolution debate. Does it belong in elementary schools?

The Creation-Evolution debate. Does it belong in elementary schools?

Education, like all disciplines, leads us toward certain undeniable consequences. If I discipline my body as an athlete being meticulously careful about diet, exercise and training, I can expect, in normal circumstances, to reap a healthy and well-toned physique. If I follow a regular regimen of physical training and body strengthening, I can expect to improve my body’s stamina, strength and toning. What makes us think, then, that we as a nation can systematically and progressively inculcate the belief (and it is a religious belief, the religion of evolution) that man is highly evolved animal and then wonder why our teenage boys go out and treat young girls as if they are in pack of wolves by demanding sexual gratification? It goes with the mental and spiritual training intrinsically inherent to the evolutionary view of mankind. Animals beget animals. Spiritual human beings beget people of personal worth and dignity. Take your pick. You cannot have both!

Why do we look with bewilderment when we have, for over 50 years taught in our public high schools the philosophy of the survival of the fittest (the core of evolutionary thinking) and then observe with helplessness when a man destroys his own family through choosing to dump them for a 25 year old woman that fulfills his sexual fantasies and makes him feel more viral and manly? Do we think, that as a nation with our massive public school system that we can take the millions students and indoctrinate them with thinking that says we are the produce of evolutionary processes and then hope they have any sense of dignity and of spiritual and psychological understanding? We stack the deck against our youth by training them to think of themselves as mere “humanoids.” What goes around, comes around.

In the article link above you can see by the attitudes of those against such activity and the statements made against the action of teaching creation in a school, many are vehement opposed to teaching and promoting a Biblical worldview. Let this be a first of many warnings that must be given. Our friends and fellow citizens who choose to deny that there is even a possibility of a Divine Being who designed and orchestrated the origins of life and the formation of the universe in which we live are not our enemies. They are human beings with a rational and logical bent that they feel must be fulfilled in order to define our existence.

But that rationality and logic is limited. It is restricted by and often colored by the underlying presuppositions that mankind can explain everything and can understand everything. Such a thought process soon leads one to make major leaps of irrational ideas that cannot be sustained in a world of cause and effect or a world of physical laws. We have information that we must firmly and convincingly present to those friends who willfully reject the spiritual dimension of life. The facts are not all on the table for our evolutionary scientists and our humanistic philosophers and I believe that creation science will help bring that reality to a more balanced position.

Knowing that the struggle has only begun, let us who trust in and accept God’s written Word as the infallible and authoritative answer to man’s origins speak up now! If not, we may lose that privilege.

David L. Rogers, M.A.Min.

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A simple way to show God’s love

Let me tell you about a man I met at a Marc’s store in Brecksville, Ohio.

While checking out at the Customer Service counter, the man who was next to me heard me say that I was from New Jersey. He laughed out loud and commented, “How does someone from New Jersey know about Marc’s? This is a local store that we Ohioans like to shop at.” I responded that because I have family in the area, I was very familiar with the store. Then, we shared a few more comments and I went out to the car. When I got there, because I had stopped to look at something else on the shelf, the same man was already at his car, which was parked right next to the car I was driving.

That opened up an opportunity for a lengthy conversation. His situation as an unemployed technical manual writer left him struggling to make ends meet. He shared about his neighbor who is a truck driver (partly because I mentioned I have a brother who is considering driving trucks). He talked about his friends and family who are struggling also to make ends meet. The conversation soon turned to my “line of work” (as he put it) and so I shared about living overseas as a teacher of the Bible. He found that very intriguing. Then I asked him, “So, do you have a Bible? And have you ever read the Bible?” His answer still rings in my ear: “No. I don’t have one and never have read it.”

Wow! I thought, right here in “Christian America” (or post-Christian), a person who is blind to the truth of the Word of God! I offered a couple pieces of literature to him, which he agreed to take and read. And then I encouraged him to get a Bible and start reading it. “After all”, I said, “now that you have been forced into early retirement, it’s time you read the Owner’s Manual, the Bible, that God has given us. He is the One who made us and knows what it is that makes us the best we can be. It’s time to look into the Bible, because the Lord himself wants to show you how to know Him and how to be with Him for all eternity.”

May we as believers open our eyes to the fact that our very own neighbors and people we see every day are blinded to God’s love. He has left you and me here to demonstrate that love to them. Start today by showing it in simple ways, like talking to the person next to in the line at the grocery store.

After all, even people who shop at Marc’s (or Wal-Mart or Aldi’s or Save-a-Lot) need to know that there is a God who loves them too, even in tough times.

Remember how the Apostle Paul stated it:

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Cor. 5.14-15, ESV)

David L. Rogers, M.A. Min.

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