Taking God Seriously

Book - These Words Changed Everything“My uncle’s new God is no different from the all the gods of our ancestors,” grumbled Mariano. “He demands perfection just like they do, and I cannot attain it!”

Reading Scripture in his Chamula language for the first time, he’d come across Mark 9:33:  “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands” (NLT).  The Ten Commandments were no more encouraging. “I can’t keep those laws!” he said to himself. Continue reading

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I’m Free!

Silence reigChamula Biblened in the room in southern Mexico where Wycliffe translator Ken Jacobs and a team of Chamula Bible translators sat waiting for their colleague Fortunato to close in prayer. They’d just finished revising Luke 8:26-39 where Jesus healed a demon-possessed man living in a village cemetery. Jesus worked on the “fringes” of society to include people who had previously been excluded, and this was a vivid picture of exclusion. Continue reading

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Tending the Seedlings

SeedlingsJacques, a Karang man in Cameroon, is blind, yet he weeds his soy field with confidence and skill. Amazingly, even without his sight, he is able to find the little soy seedlings among the many overgrown weeds. He gently and patiently pulls out the killer weeds that surround each plant, rarely hurting the precious seedling. Sometimes the plant suffers damage, but because the soil is now ready to produce growth, the seedling will recover. Continue reading

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Salt and light

Dallas and I saw this sign last week on a beautiful hike at Wallace Falls just outside Seattle. It struck me as a statement made by an honest seeker but someone who is rather confused, looking to creation rather than the author of creation for answers to life’s most perplexing questions. Continue reading

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God’s word is no longer at a distance

 Jean is a Karang man living in Cameroon. Translation advisor Bob Ulfers met Jean while testing translated Karang Scripture in his village. A frail old blind man, Jean would sit at a distance and listen as the Scripture passages were read and discussed.

Bob decided to start greeting him. “Soko ngernzuk! (Hello, Elder!)” he’d say to him. Soon Jean started sitting closer and even began contributing to the discussions, helping to provide feedback to the Karang translation team as they finalized the translation. Continue reading

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A seat at the table

Building on the teaching of Jesus, (John 3:3, 16-17 NLT) the writers of the New Testament continually refer to their message (the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus) as Good News because believing the message results in a new start—being born again—(1 Peter 1:23, 25 NLT) reconciliation, (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NLT) and a transformation of the way we think about ourselves and God…(Romans 12:2 NLT) Continue reading

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A life (continually) examined

After a friend sent me this link to a Cal Thomas op-ed, a couple of things came together for me this week.

Combining thoughts from four books: A Thicker Jesus, Vanishing Grace, Jouful Exiles and Faitful Presence I have no changed perspectives, just new/fresh words and reminders—here are a few reflections.

Two of these books point to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and what I think Thomas is encouraging…it’s what Dietrich Bonhoeffer promoted—it is the idea that by living completely in this secular world that we learn to love God…to have faith in Him…abandoning attempts to make something of ourselves and “living unreservedly in life’s duties, challenges, problems, successes, failures, experiences and perplexities.”

Developing a mindset of continual self-examination of my ideas and worldview that may be holding me captive, is important, looking for whatever is holding me back from bringing God pleasure. If I find something is not consistent with his Word, I repent. Continue reading

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