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The Finish Line

Stories of hope through the lens of Bible Translation—Scripture in the language of the heart. All Scripture points to Christ, the author and perfect or of our faith. The Finish Line is insight when everyone will have some access to the Good News message about Jesus in a language they understand best. Also available as a download for Kindle.

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He is risen!

The next day, [after Jesus' death] on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it. (Matthew 27:62-66 NLT)

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. (Matthew 28:1, 6 NLT)

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:26-29 NLT)

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Hope For The Nations

“Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. And his name will be the hope of all the world.” (Matthew 12:18, 21 NLT)

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Celebrating the reality that more people have more access to this Hope than at any other time in history.

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Faithful Presence

I spoke at a missions festival last weekend using Luke 15 as the basis.  In this passage Luke says that tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach–he was even eating with them!  A paraphrase says Jesus was treating sinners like “old friends.” Using the story Jesus told of the prodigal or lost son,  I found myself saying to the audience, “God goes to extremes extending grace to people who need it.  Am I extending this kind of grace?” Exhibiting grace–unmerited favor–should be one of the things that sets me a part. Continue reading

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Discipline, Accounbability & Company Culture

Changing corporate culture is never easy.  There are many theories about how to go about it including a popular theory articulated by Peter Drucker, “Company cultures are like country cultures.  Never try to change one and work with what you’ve got.”

In relation to our company culture at Wycliffe, one that started long before our founding in 1942, and rooted deeply in The Greatest Generation that experienced WWII, I can see what Drucker might be referring to: change, if it’s possible at all, does not come easily to an organization the size and age of Wycliffe.  It’s a process taking time, making huge demands on leadership and on every member of the staff. Continue reading

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Am I a bumper sticker Christian?

Too often I’m afraid I am, and it’s not winsome–but it sure is easy because if I use them I’m probably not wrong!  Of course “Jesus is the Answer” but to what?  And is it really that easy?  It’s easy to say.

My sister posted a link to an article on her FB page strongly suggesting every Christian should read it–3 Phrases Christians Should Quit Relying On.  Never heard of the blogger, and apparently it’s not a new post, but I’m now following him on Twitter.  In one Tweet he mentions seeing a bumper sticker on a car, “I’m Pro-life.”  He says, “Prove it by not texting while driving” (as if talking to the driver of the car who was obviously texting).  Ouch.

I don’t want to get off-track with this post–I’m not talking about hypocrisy. I am quite sure if you look closely at my life you’ll find the inconsistencies.  I am talking how I express what are probably very well-meaning things that get lost in the moment because I don’t know what to say, or I use catch phrases at the wrong time to express accurate theology but it has a negative impact.

Not sure why I decided to reflect on this today, Sunday morning, and it’s far too complex to solve in a blog post, but it hits home with me–apparently does for followers of this blogger, too–he refers to this post as having one viral.  Too often I am a hostage to the Church culture I grew up in.  I was ‘socialized’ in ways of saying things that have, in some circles, lost their meaning–even in the subculture I grew up in.

The clichés just don’t work for me anymore.

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A Boy and His Treasure

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In the Andes mountains of Peru, in a town called Abancay, a 12-year-old boy has just received one of the greatest treasures that he will ever receive – the Scriptures in his mother tongue. My wife, Dallas, and I had the privilege, along with several friends, of traveling by bus from Cuzco up and over two mountain ranges and down into Abancay to attend the celebration of this boy’s Eastern Apurímec Quechua New Testament.

One of the friends with us was Johnnie Moore, Vice President for Communications at Liberty University. Johnnie was sitting in the back of the room during the long, exuberant celebration when he noticed a copy of the New Testament on the plastic chair in front of him. That was his first glimpse of the Book, and since the 12-year-old owner was quite engaged in the worship service, Johnnie decided to reach down and grab the Book and take a look at it.

Out of the corner of his eye, the young boy saw him reach for the New Testament. He turned around and gave Johnnie a stern look. Then he pointed his finger at Johnnie and waved it from side to side, clearly meaning, “Don’t you mess with my Bible.”

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Johnnie says, “He didn’t speak my language and I didn’t speak his, but the message was loud and clear. That was a precious jewel that he had been given. I sat there and thought, ‘Who is this kid going to be one day? What is he going to do for God, what is he going to do for his country, and what can he do now that he can read those words?’ He was one of the first children in all of history to own an Eastern Apurímec Quechua New Testament. I will never forget the experience.”

After the song service ended, the boy sat down, and Dallas happened to be sitting next to him. The boy held his shiny Bible quietly on his lap, not fidgeting or squirming. When the pastor instructed the congregation to turn to 2 Timothy 3, the boy started turning the pages from the front of the New Testament. Dallas leaned over to help him. He let her find 2 Timothy, but then he gently moved her hand aside and searched for the chapter and verse himself. He began to follow along with the pastor, his finger moving under each syllable of Quechua. People behind him leaned over and followed along with him.

This boy was equipped to start using his New Testament immediately because of a literacy program run by AIDIA*, a Peruvian-run organization focused on transforming the Apurimac region through the translation and application of God’s Word in Quechua. In fact, he was even conducting a literacy class of his own, his little finger running under every syllable, with Quechuan grandmothers and Johnnie Moore leaning over his shoulder, learning to read as they compared the audible word with the printed word.

Clearly this was not the boy’s first encounter with the Good News, but on that day in May 2013, Jesus sat down beside him in that row of plastic chairs, and gently, clearly spoke into his heart in a whole new way.

*AIDIA is an acronym for “Asociacion Interdenomicacional Para el Desarrollo Integral de Apurímac.” In English, that’s “Interdenominational Association for the Integral Development of Apuíimac.”

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Serving the whole person–it starts with Bible translation

photo[1]“Bible translation is reconciliation work—bridging the gap for those who have long been marginalized educationally, spiritually, economically, socially, and politically. To have access to God’s Word in your mother tongue is to not only have access to God’s truth, it is also to have access to education and information…Wycliffe’s work because it serves the whole person and the whole community.”

Shamelessly ‘borrowed’ from Ruth Hubbard.