Sunday, July 25, 2010

Out there

Okay, I am going to put this out there, even before I have discussed this with Luana just so you can hold me accountable. I don't know where it will lead but I felt like the Lord spoke to me through His Word today. More on that later. For some time Luana and I have been entertaining the idea of working in Uganda full time with Tim and Janice McCall at Restoration Gateway. There really has not been any movement toward this but it has been in the back of our minds and we have kind of been waiting to hear from God. There are several things that make that decision difficult. The first of course is grandkids. We are about to have our fourth and fifth and they are an immense joy. Luana especially is crazy about them and is even more amazing as a Mimi than she was as a mom. And I feel that it is an important duty for us to pour into them and I do not take that lightly or dismiss it. The second then is our kids who are pride and joy and our delight. They are older and out of school and are all believers and certainly understand and I believe would support us in whatever we do. The third is work. It would be very difficult to leave/ abandon my patients and even moreso to leave my partners who have been incredible to work with over the past 25 years. God is going to have to do an amazing work to work all of these things out. And lastly of course is Luana's illness and to a lesser extent mine. That is the background and how it has been for the past couple of years.

Then today I was studying Matt. 14 and I will show you my thoughts and then comment on what I feel God spoke to me and how it relates to Uganda.
5. The part of the story about Peter getting into the water is very instructive on various points.
a. First of all, Peter was not convinced it was really Jesus. He needed more assurance. This already shows that his fears were still up and his faith low.
b. Then he asks Jesus to command him to walk on the water. This is not how I would have asked Him. I would have asked Him to allow me to walk on the water with Him. Why did he ask it this way? I think he needed the force of the command to give him the courage to get out of the boat. Do we see God that way as well today? We tend to feel more comfortable with rules and regulations than with relationships. We would rather follow a command than to think we could simply ask Him if we could join Him in what He was doing. What if we asked our earthly father to command us to come sit in his lap, rather than asking if we could? Which would bring more pleasure to him? The idea of a command suggests that it is not something we want to do but will do it if you command, whereas a request suggests that it is the desire of the person asking to want to do what he asks.
c. Jesus, as He so often does with us, simply says for him to come. It is an invitation for all of us to get out of the comfort of our boat (even if it is fighting the winds and waves of life) and to follow Him.

My question for myself is whether I am in essence asking God to command me to go to Uganda, making it a duty and not a joy and privilege. It puts it as a rule and regulation for me to follow. Would it not be more appropriate for me to ask God if it is okay for me (and Luana) to go and serve Him in Uganda. It may seem like a fine line but it is a world of difference to me. I am anxious to see where he leads us and we are open to whatever, even at our age. Pray for us in this regard.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Feeding Time

I have been doing a study of Matthew and today I was looking at the story of the feeding of the 5000 and thought I would share the thoughts God gave me. Hope that it helps you as well. I also included some more pics from Uganda.

7. Here is what I see as the take home points from this:
a. Jesus was not on a schedule; He looked at needs as they came up and was not concerned about meeting His own needs.
b. Jesus invited the disciples to participate in the miraculous that He knew was coming. He did not have to do that. Likewise He often invites us to participate with Him in the work of His kingdom.
c. The disciples saw only what was physically obvious, not what was possible in the Spirit. It was not so much a lack of faith as it was just not being able or willing to look beyond the possible. We do not need Him to do the possible. Thus He works in our lives when we are weak and in desperate need. It is not fun to be in a place of need, but that is where we meet God and it is worth it in the long run.
d. All He asks of us is to bring to Him what we have and He will use that to bless us and to bless others. It does not have to be a lot and in fact He can work mightily when it is not much – He only asks that we give all of what we have and not hold back. What do you think would have happened if the disciples had held back a couple of loaves for themselves just in case; after all they deserved it didn’t they? And this refers to more than just money or food – it applies to everything we do for Him, our time, talents, giftings, ect.
e. Jesus took what they had and gave thanks from whence it came and asked the One to whom could to bless what was not enough but what was given freely.
f. He then involves the disciples again in doing His work. This is a pattern which continues for us. Jesus gives to us so that we in turn can give to others. We are not to be reservoirs of God’s grace but conduits so that it flows freely from Him to them.
g. The people ate their fill. When Jesus blesses He does not just give enough to tantalize us, but He fulfills our needs. The problem with the bread is that in a few hours they are going to be hungry again and in need of more. But Jesus offers to us Himself, the bread of life, so that in Him we will be fully and completely satisfied forever. We can abide in Him and through His Spirit live in constant communion with Him.
h. Just as Jesus needed to break the bread so that it could spread and satisfy every one, His body (the bread) had also to be broken (death on the cross) so that He could satisfy the needs of all of us (the forgiveness of sins).
i. Lastly it is interesting that He had them pick up the pieces left over, and I think He did it for reasons other to keep the ants away.
1) One was simply to not be wasteful of the resources God gives us.
2) Another is to show the disciples the overabundance of His grace for us.
3) Then I think as well He did not want people to hoard and store away the blessings of God, much like the Israelites were not to try to take more manna than they needed. For us it means that we need to stay in constant contact with Him (abide in Him, John 15) as we cannot store Him up for a rainy day.
4) Lastly was to show them that He will continue to provide for them as long as they give their all to Him.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Yesterday we got back from our trip to Uganda and by all accounts it was an amazing time. Our purpose (which we feel was God’s purpose) was to bring the love of Jesus to the people of northern Uganda through a holistic approach. We did this by meeting their practical needs with medical care while at the same time meeting their spiritual needs through discipleship and evangelism. Here is how it went.
For the first 6 days, this was our routine. We met with the Restoration Gateway workers for devotional time at 7:30 AM and then had breakfast and met as a team for worship, devotions, vision casting and practical stuff for the day. We then had an hour or two of free time before an early lunch and then off to a local village for a medical clinic (three days in Mon Rowsh and three days in Kamdini). Dr. McCall had bought a semi truck and had it reconfigured so that its sides could be lifted up by hydraulics and we drove that to the sites and held clinic inside the truck. The first clinic was out in the middle of nowhere along a dirt path, as Dr. McCall jokingly says is 50 Km past the great commission! I was the only doctor but we had two nurses and we would see 50 – 60 patients before it got dark. There was all sorts of pathology and very challenging as we had no diagnostic capabilities. We did bring medicines and medical supplies for wounds and other needs. While that was going on, the rest of the team was busy with a lot of other stuff. They kept the throngs of people organized, had teams praying for healing (more on that later), gave testimonies, shared the gospel, played with the many kids (including soccer, face paining, teaching them songs, doing Bible story skits) and developed relationships. It was amazing to see how everybody pitched in to do their part, using their giftings and talents as none of this was scripted beforehand and we were the first to use the truck. Then, once it got dark, we hung a screen from the top of the truck and showed the Jesus film in their own language of Lwo. After a time of invitation, we would pack it all up and head back, getting in at 10:00 PM.
Needless to say that by the end of those 6 days we were exhausted but God did some amazing things which is what kept us going. Medically what we could do was limited but we were able to truly help a lot of people and they felt really blessed because we were there. Those we could not help medically or could not get to due to time constraints, we prayed for. And God was gracious as our team saw Him heal 10 – 12 people and three major healings. One was a man who had an old hip fracture and could barely walk with a crutch. He left without the crutch walking on his own and left us the crutch. Another man could not hear or talk. He left with partial hearing and speech, but even more importantly left with a new life in Christ. A third lady came in having not walked in 5 – 10 years and left able to walk with only a little assistance. Praise be to God! A number of other people gave their lives to Christ as our team shared the gospel with them. Several of our team developed relationships with some of the older teenagers who spoke English and were able to go over some discipleship lessons with them. Four of them even walked to the RG site on Sunday and wanted to be baptized which we did. The Jesus film is very powerful and after seeing it, many others responded to the gospel message (well over 100). I’m sure some were not real decisions, but we tried to get as many names as possible and Winnie from RG will be following up on them.
The last few days we slowed down a little and spent most of our time at the RG site doing various things to help them. This included working on broken equipment, shredding the grass, teaching them how to do Excel spreadsheets, developing relationships with the Ugandan workers, encouraging the long term team staff and catching the vision God has for RG and northern Uganda. Our team was really incredible. I could not have hand picked it any better. We had 5 older adults (all from out lifegroup) and 5 younger adults and we needed each one to do all that was needed, including their individual skill set. We all got along famously and nobody complained about the long hours. We reviewed the prayer points we had sent out and all were answered!!!