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Friday, July 31, 2009

Mission 2009 – Day five – Yippee! It happened!

Today starts with the customary wakeup call, “Good Morning Tijuana, this is NOT your Mama!”

That’s about as regular as the day is to be. When we get to site there is a new dynamic! Something changed overnight. We can feel the spiritual energy and the tarpaulin goes up on the basketball court in record time. There is a huge crowd of children of all ages at the court. Vacation bible School(VBS) starts off with the games and more children arrive.

Then we get to story time. Penny (my darling wife) is narrating as the rest of our sub-team (our MIG) is enacting David and Goliath. Makeshift helmets of folded paper and swords of paper and sticks are our props. David’s sling is a plastic bag with strings attached, and five stones are easily found. Penny narrates and Barb our translator translates. The story concludes with the killing of Goliath and the success for the Israelites. Then Holy Spirit starts to work through Penny. The children listen as she turns the story into an explanation of who God is, what Jesus has done for them and how God loves tham and wants to be with them if they want Him to be. YoungCommitments.JPGShe explains each person must make the decision for Jesus to come into their lives for themselves and nobody can do it for them, that a decision for Jesus means living their lives for him. Then she asks if anyone wants to ask Jesus into their lives.

Jonathan, a young Mexican who lives next door to the family for whom we are building the house, is first to respond, and it is as if the tide comes in. More than half the children get up one by one and are led to a different area of the basketball court where the translator and one of the teens again explain what they are about to do and get confirmation they want to pray the prayer of salvation. 21 young people come to know our Lord in the sun on that basketball court. Praise God!

Penny and Jessica then noticed that “Abuelita” (see previous blog) was standing watching everything and went over to her. It was apparent that she wanted to know more. There was no translator available! Pennyaboulita.JPGPenny couldn’t speak Spanish and Jessica could only just read a bit of Spanish (from high school training) and the two of them with the aid of an English and Spanish tract of the same message of salvation, stumbled through explaining what it meant to be saved. The group effort with the warm body language and love expressed in gestures and struggling Spanish got through to the dear old lady. She gave her life to our Lord. What a wonderful experience for those involved. We felt that we had been sent to this specific corner of Mexico especially for this lady. Now she can go to heaven with victory!

The Spirit was only warming up however. Soon the man who runs the local ministry to build the houses for the poor, arrives with his translator, helpers and a car full of bibles and discipleship books. Baja Bob as he is known joins us under our tarpaulin where we now have a group of adults and more children gathered. He splits our group into teams that go out to invite people to join in with those already here. Within about 30 minutes the group had swelled to a small crowd that can almost not fit under our tarpaulin. The speaker is set up and we are ready.

Baja Bob speaks for a while and then invites a few of us to give our stories of coming to Jesus. Three of us speak and each message seems to be specifically set to penetrate into the hearts of those present. Then with extreme care to make sure they fully understood what was being offered, Bob explained who God was, why he came to Earth, what that means for them, that God loves them dearly, and that God had sent us as missionaries especially to come and give them the opportunity of getting to know Him.  When after a fair amount of checking to be sure they understood what he was saying, he asked if they wanted to make a commitment.

BajaBob1.JPGToday over 75 people came to know God! The best of this is that they all gave their names for follow up ministry, took a bible and “purple” guide book with them and committed to work through the book over 3 months after which they would be able to get a diploma. They were all connected with local churches ministers that would help them along the way. What a pleasure to see the response!

As the people started to leave, a little old man arrived and asked if we would go back home with him to pray for his wife. A small group of us went with Bob. The “short” distance promised was a bit longer than expected and when we got to the home, we needed to descend through a steep stairway cut into the hill that zig zagged to try and overcome the steepness of the slope. We had to watch our footing or we could easily have slipped. When we got inside and met his wife it was all I could do to not be appalled.

This lady obviously had a medical condition that was causing her to become obese and unable to walk, her legs were bent out of shape and she was sitting watching a television that only showed green in the top half with distorted lines running through the lower half. She was very happy to see us and eager to have us pray for her. One by one, a few of us prayed. The thankfulness in her face drove anguish through my heart. I didn’t pray, I couldn’t as I couldn’t get past the thought that without God’s intervention she would never leave that room alive. My lack of prayer there has been made up by the amount I have prayed since. Anyone reading this, please pray for that lady!

Back at the site, the house was progressing and they had started dry walling and putting tar paper and shingles on the roof. The bus ride back to the ranch was more joyful than normal and despite the tiredness and heat, the songs were more energetic than normal. We had to praise God!

Fri, July 31, 2009 | link          Comments

Mission 2009 – Day four – Market Day!

Today as we arrive at site, we are amazed to see that overnight kilometers of tarpaulins have lined the street with shade and every trader in the area is out displaying their wares for people to buy. Hundreds of little stalls display commodities from fruit and vegetables to electronic chargers and well worn tires for people to buy. A garage sale in our home towns wouldn’t even put out for sale some of the items I see displayed, and in many ways I feel as if someone has raided my local town’s garbage dump for the items that are on sale. We don’t know how fortunate we are living in countries with sufficient resources for everyone. I find myself praying for the people in response to the inadequate situation these poor people find themself in.

I say poor, but the smiling faces and friendly conversations belie this fact. I do think that these Mexican people could teach us “first world” visitors a bit about human relationships.

We thread our way through the milieu to our freshly painted basketball court. Amazingly, the graffiti has not been re-introduced. Today we have a blue tarpaulin that we attach to the fences and Marley becomes a human pole for the fourth corner. He stands all morning holding up the tarpaulin and chatting to Mexican children who come over to try and understand why this gringo is willing to do this for them. His witness is superb even if his arms must have felt like lead!

Today the number of children has increased and the average age of the children also goes up. Our loud speakers draw attention to us from those at the market. Abuelita.JPG
At the periphery of the basketball court, we discover a 82 year old grandmother, “Abuelita” whose house had a leaking roof and who has no income and lives in poverty.

As the market concludes, everyone leaves within an hour.  Scattered around where the vegetable store was, is overripe and discarded vegetables lying in the dust and sun amongst the broken cardboard boxes and dirt. “Abuelita” calls to our translator who explains to us that she would like us to help her find food from the food lying discarded in the dirt. Immediately our teens start to clean up the mess and find the best of the vegetables that have been left behind. emilymike.JPGThe worst are put in one pile and the best in a broken box we find lying in the road. Surprisingly we manage to find a lot of usable food that we take across to the old lady.

She is amazed at the amount we have found and explains she cannot eat it all and perhaps we should keep some. Smiling we ask if she has some neighbors that could also use some of the food. foodbox.JPGShe looks surprised and then pleased, taking the box and explaining she will provide what she cannot use to others. The gift of so little keeps on giving! How much we learn in such a short time.

At the basketball court someone has brought a skateboard. The skill level of one or two of the American teens in this sport is significant. They wow the Mexican teens and show them new tricks. A bicycle arrives and Corvis shows them how to do bicycle tricks as well. The Mexican appreciation of our group is increasing by the minute. God is using willing hearts together with skateboard and bicycle skills to build His kingdom. Who would have thought this was a required skill for a missionary!

Later in the day we go in a group through the neighborhood. We help a lady at a local hair salon to move a huge heavy bag of materials and supplies up onto a higher storage point. Volunteering this help brings smiles and gets us chatting to the locals who are invited to come around to the basketball court the next day. A short while later we start talking to people through their fences and inviting their children to VBS.

“Mikey”, a lanky young man with a quieter disposition sees an old lady sitting doing needle work in the shade. I see her as well, and can see that the Holy Spirit has spoken both to him and I. We need to speak to this lady! The rest of the group misses her and goes by so he calls them back to speak to her. Soon we find out that she needs assistance as she is caring for children whose parents have gone away and not returned, with no income in an inadequate house. She gladly accepts our offer that we will look after the children for her the next day. We are also able to explain to her how she can apply for a home to be built for her by Baja Ministries. I am so proud of Mikey! He is a Christian warrior and if I can guess the future, he will become a powerful man of God as the years go by!

Exhausted we struggle to find our way back to the building site through the maze of dirt roads that seem to always be going either up, or downhill, but never on the flat for very long. Arriving at the building site we can see the roof is partially constructed.

Another successful day, but we are waiting to see souls won for Christ. We are concerned! No-one has yet even indicated an interest in making a commitment. Tonight as I pray, I feel sure my prayers are being echoed throughout the camp ground. “God, please enable us to help you change these people’s lives forever. Please!”
Fri, July 31, 2009 | link          Comments

Mission 2009 – Day Three – Let’s do it!

The bus ride bumps and shakes our bones as we crawl over dirt tracks that are pitted with rocks and furrows but which they call roads! The mood is upbeat and every few minutes someone leads a different song or chant. Improvisation is part of the act and laughter erupts at both failures and successes. The best lyrics are upheld and the others discarded as the miles roll by. “Corvis” a young black man with huge potential and charisma leads much of the song with the help a deep, genuinely compassionate young man “Marley”.

As the sound resonates inside the bus, the ramshackled huts and sundrenched Mexican homes are passed by and various people from young to old break into smiles and wave. Our teens enthusiastically wave back and strain for a sight of the site where we will be building the house for one needy family. After about an hour the bus comes to a stop on an incline alongside a shack that seems to have lost its will stand upright and has started slouching into the shade of a high wall on its right. Made of wood sheets nailed to one another with a rickety roof, it wouldn’t pass building code in any of the countries we have come from!

Site.JPGAs we pile off the bus, some of the girls want to use a bathroom (i.e the washroom as we call it here in Canada). Inquiries lead to an understanding that in this particular home it is a dug latrine which is surrounded by a blanket that can easily be accidentally pushed aside as people enter and leave the home. Needless to say this is a very disconcerting thought for our well bred young ladies, and so with a bit of discussion and a visit across the street to a neighbor, another dug latrine, this time with a door is made available to those in need.  

A visit to the back of the family shack reveals a concrete pad prepared by our contractor who is waiting for his willing workers. Our team is split in two, and we learn we are to be the second shift on the building effort so we start off our mission work by looking for a site to establish a vacation bible school (VBS) in the community.

A walk up a steep hill is accompanied with the smell of barbequed chickens being sold 2 for 75pesos! “Hola”, greets us and is used to greet others as we work our way up the hill. Our translator quickly identifies that there is a concrete basketball court on the other side of the hill that could be adequate. We feel a bit like the Pied Piper as we gather a following of Mexican children who part follow and part lead us to the potential VBS site.

We get there to see gang signs sprayed on the walls and a group of young adults longing against a wall under a painted picture of the Virgin Mary. Emily and Katy go across to talk to them followed by our translator as the rest of us move our supplies into a little shade provided by the wall surrounding the concrete pad. Wire fences, broken and mangled top the walls. Rickety tubing holds the remainders of basketball hoops. We find it strange that nobody is using the area for games but think nothing of it at the time. It’s only much later that we find out we have stepped into the heart of a gang's protected territory and they don’t let anyone use it except themselves.

Our prayers and the smiles of our blond girls in a Mexican world seem to have provided protection and we encounter no resistance to our takeover of the territory. Later in the afternoon we paint over the graffitti without any complaints.


TijuanaBasketballcourt.JPGPaintingPosts.JPG
“Thank God!” This is serious stuff!  I find out just how serious days later when our team leader shows me a bullet he found lying around. He knows I had military training and so he shows me a plated 9mm parabellum, drilled out and cross sawed to make it a very effective dum dum bullet! Those around us and supporting us have been praying, and when I understand how things have evolved, I can see their prayers both protected and guided us continually on this mission. Thank God for those who know the value of prayer and believe in it! Bless them!

Soon we are doing our games, songs, crafts and providing bible verse training. Our translator Barb is hard pressed to cover all the demands on her. Those who have a little high school Spanish are pushed to their limits as we struggle to communicate. Smiles and body language skills go a long way and the Mexican children are delightful, friendly and gain confidence in these newly found “Gringo” friends.

The sun is hot! So hot that some of us start feeling faint and queasy! We drink water that we carry around with us in Nalgenes which we fill from water dispenser bottles that we brought to the site. The water bottles get depleted quickly and by the time we pack up and head back for lunch, we need to get more of these.

Lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with some hot Mexican crisps is enjoyed in partial shade in an open lot that has rocks and remnants of some unfortunate house’s foundation.

Arriving back at the building site our MIG group(a sub team of 5 to 6 members) is put to work building the framing for the house and by the end of the afternoon, the loft floor and supports for the roof cross beams are in place. Well satisfied, we head back to the ranch. The organic smell of cattle dung that we pass through on the way is a welcome reminder we are getting close to our cold water showers.

When we get back to the ranch there is a rush for the showers. The lack of hot water is not a problem and as the dirt of the day is sluiced away, energy flows back and we look with anticipation to our dinner, the praise and worship and meeting with our tent mates in small groups later in the evening.

It’s been a good day!
Fri, July 31, 2009 | link          Comments

Mission 2009 – Day Two– Training and Commissioning

“Good Morning Tijuana, this is NOT your Mama!” bellows from the speakers into our unconscious minds abruptly wakening us at 6am this second morning. Wow! What a way to wake up when it feels like you went to sleep minutes before.

 The day starts with worship a quick breakfast and then training. There is vacation bible school (VBS) training in drama, crafts, songs (Spanish), and games. Then we get given a few seconds to fill our water bottles and quench our thirst that was induced by the burning sun, before getting on with training by giving and receiving testimonies.

God’s spirit leads me to talk to two wonderful people,
a young lady who is a pastor’s daughter who is concerned she has not had a troubled childhood and so her story is simple, and a charismatic young man who has had an incredibly troubled childhood and who is starting to pull himself towards success and leadership with God’s guidance. It’s amazing how they both seem to undervalue their experiences, each wishing they had a bit of the other's life. Yet both are unique and special to God. Isn’t it always special to hear how others have interacted with God? This time of sharing closes with animated lessons on how to communicate the gospel effectively. 
 

Then, a highly enthusiastic Mexican man, Hector, uses a small model of the house we are to build to explain what we are to do. Tiredness and the heat diminish the impact of his energetic message. Nodding heads show that lack of sleep and the time changes due to travel from east to west coast are catching up with many of us. As the voices drone on and the heat increases, staying awake becomes a struggle! Thankfully, the heat of the day soon starts to subside as we have dinner and go into our evening praise and worship session.

 

Guitars, drumming and songs liven us up again! In the twilight under the stars our songs reach up to the heavens taking our spirits into God’s presence.

 Wow! There is nothing like having 250 teens packed together jumping, clapping, and power punching their energy into praise and song! The air becomes electric as the beat pounds out into the Mexican countryside, disturbing the cows in the field alongside. The vibrancy that fills the evening then slowly changes, dissipating into quieter reflections as the music and drum beat slow redirecting energy into worship. The stars twinkle overhead, and we, led by the team leaders, turn and walk into the Mexican night following dark avenues lit by candles in brown paper bags.  A bonfire provides a central focus to this beautiful ethereal experience. Amazingly 250 teens walk quietly through the subtle candlelight to different stations where dedicating prayer is layered over them in gentle waves of spiritual blessing. There is no question of God’s presence being there, only a peaceful awe of being part of this moment in time. “Glory must be a bit like this!” is a thought that touches my mind for a second.  

What a privilege to be part of this supernatural event in the Mexican countryside.
Fri, July 31, 2009 | link          Comments

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mission 2009 – Day one – getting there

4:30am! We’re up and on our way, having been woken to the shrill clock radio at 4am. As my little Hybrid Prius purrs its way down the highway towards the Toronto airport, I consider the adventuring we were starting.

Our little group consists of Kaila, a self confident, capable, and caring young women of 20 with two missions to Tijuana behind her already. Kaila would be looking forward to our next week. Courtney, another young woman at 18 years of age, is also on her second trip. Just as excited, she is nervous of public latrines and so will be apprehensively considering those encounters. She has a fair skin, fiery red hair and penetrating eyes.  Her smile lights up the world when she is happy, but her frown clouds it with stubbornness when she is displeased!

Then there the two younger members of our party! Emily at 16 has a beautiful smile, blonde hair (a Mexican delight) that frames her generally happy face. That face belies the depth of thinking flowing beneath the happy visage. Katy at 14 is the youngest and apparently the most self assured of the group.  Her hair is rarely the same color; she dresses impeccably, and is a young lady who has experienced more of the world than needed by a person her age. Her self assurance disguises deeper issues, but Katy has a wonderful heart, is easily moved, and always ready for adventure and activity of one or other type.

Glancing alongside to my own beautiful wife, Penny, I wonder how all these women would be adapting to the coming heat of the Mexican days, sleeping on the ground without mattresses, using dug latrines, showering in cold water, and working hard in the sun and dirt while building a home for the destitute Mexican family we're going to help. I pray fervently that God would enable all of them to endure the hardships easily, and with good attitudes.

At the airport my own attitude is tested when Katy’s father decides to bring her late (being a pilot and male, he probably couldn’t understand why it took much longer to get a group of teenagers through the process than he would take) This impacts the whole group adversely and then an accident on the highway delays Courtney, adding to my anxiety. Officious airport personnel trying to get the group to use self check in (against my ignored advice) screw up the check-in process totally, delaying us even further. Time shrinks and we start to get concerned that we will not make the flight on time. Finally with most of our boarding passes correct and the luggage loaded onto various conveyor belts, we get to the gate were they are boarding and soon our group is seated. Emily on her first flight of her life!

After a short stop in Chicago and an uneventful flight, we land in San Diego. Disembarking to unfamiliar warmth, we encountered the contagious excitement of a crowd of similarly attired teenagers milling around the baggage carousel. Our team leaders Teri and Jim surprise us by meeting us at the carousel and joy fills our hearts as we anticipated the next few days of working together with them. Teri has a never ending smile, a shock of blonde hair, and an exuberant disposition that complements the more thoughtful, quieter and equally caring disposition of Jim, the man she loves, showing this love with PDA’s, (Public demonstrations of affection) that delight and embarrass teens.

Palm trees gently sway in the breeze as we board our bus, driving past shipyards and the ships of the USA Navy on the way to a church where we are to complete our adminstrivia before heading to the border.

The first of our trip challenges arrives.

Everyone has to climb off the bus, walk to the border crossing, go through customs and then stagger about another quarter mile up the dusty Mexican street in the heat to where a renovated school bus that would be taking us the rest of the way. We are going to a Mexican cattle ranch where we will be staying.  Many girls and boys have brought far too much luggage of the wrong type. As I sweep for stragglers around the rear of our complaining column, I am continually picking up luggage and handing it to some red faced person with two bags more than they need. They are trying to trundle them with one hand while carrying another and holding a sleeping bag under the same arm. The lack of swearing is only due to this being a Christian crowd, but from the red faces, strained looks and complaints, it appears as if that is the only difference.

The bus is an experience. A few slaps of a spanner are required before the engine splutters into life and eases into the traffic that seems to have a mind of its own. Sometimes vehicles stop at the stop sign’s and other times they go straight on through without a pause. Puffs of black smoke erupt from the rear of many buses and trucks making me wonder why those of us from more advanced countries waste time trying to be "green". Painted lines on the road seem to be ignored as we sway from side to side and the bus trundles onwards periodically veering uncomfortably close to the ditches at the side of the road. The ramshackled houses on either side enthrall teens whom have never seen such poverty before. The depth of the work we are about to undertake starts to sink in and nervous excited comments pepper the conversations. Smells that hours before have caused us to reach for air freshener, turn on extractor fans, or throw out food, flow in wave after wave in through the open bus windows assaulting our senses and wrinkling noses.

Soon the houses give way to mountainous dry arid landscapes. The valleys have white house’s splattered in the brown dust. Sparse patches of vegetation and course dry grasses fill in the detail, accompanied by rocks and stones. The road snakes its way through the terrain. Cattle farms appear from time to time with a stench of dung that announces them to those not paying attention. Looking around I am amused to see some people trying to avoid this smell by pulling up the front of their t-shirts over their noses. These elegant prima donnas of a few hours ago are already casting aside those artificial embellishments in favour of the reality of existence. Sweat versus dung! Adaptation is apparently strong capability of our human species!

Finally, the bus slows and turns in at the “Rancho Almo Bonito”, proclaimed on a green and white signboard imbedded in the dirt at the side of the road just ahead of where a sand track leads away from the road. Every eye strains to see our new home. Bright vivid green buildings appear out the dust with orange and grey tent cities on three sides of them. Cattle pens are in the distance, and the grounds around the builds are stark, lacking any vegetation or rocky outcrops. Dust, dirt, and hot sun seem to be the predominant themes evolving from our inspection. Behind the neat rows of tents, we see some smaller green huts that are soon understood to be the outhouses standing sentry over the dug latrines.

Happy bunches of shouting people welcome us as we drive up. They form a corridor on either side of us as we disembark. Their arms linked over our heads to make a human tunnel. As we emerge, others give us “high fives” welcoming us with gusto!

Dinner is Pizza! Yay! This moment of familiarity and pleasure is welcome before we get to take our kit to our tents. Boys go to the city of men, girls to the tent rows for women, and we are told that crossing the boundary means being sent home. No-body considers “that” worth the chance and so everyone complies and music fills the air as Christian rock, drum beats and guitar chords give mood and excitement to an already excited crowd. Then it’s into worship time and we gather in the fading sunlight in the front of the ranch house where a makeshift platform has been placed. Speakers shout into the twilight and as the band “Holy Fire” starts to play, conversation dies away. The star’s start to twinkle over our heads, and a spirit of worship fills the place. Slowly the self absorbed teens turn their hearts towards God, losing sight of each other and their own importance, as His spirit starts to touch hearts. I pray and thank God for what I see. Truth pervades and stripped of common interferences, the young people turn towards the truth. Worship flows into a message. The challenge to run towards the love of God instead of away from doing wrong things, taps on the hearts of those who have perhaps been following rules instead of having a relationship with God. In the vibrant alive darkness of the Mexican night people commit and re-commit their lives to God.

I unashamedly break into tears when I see one of the teens from our group going forward to re-commit her life and have God’s Spirit sweep over her life. Another stands there, tears in her eyes as the power of God touches her soul.

For me the hours of painstaking fund raising, hard work, frustrations, and difficulties are paid for in that instant. God knows how much it meant to us all.

And this was only day one!

 
Wed, July 29, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Religions are many - Here is how I choose and why . . .

Let’s have a quick look at the past of “religions” with the purpose of finding and connecting with a “true” god.

 

Firstly why look at the past? Why not just take the latest and greatest discovery of god that perhaps has no history at all? Well, if we are going to connect with a god, we want to connect with a god that is interested in us and wants to connect with humans. If that’s the way it’s going to be, that god should have been interested in us as humans from the time we started walking around this earth. If that’s the case, that god would have been there in the beginning and would still be here now. I guess what I am saying is a true god doesn’t die so they would still be around! So they or he/she will have been around no matter what, into the future as well! This means that only really ancient relationships with god that still exist can have the true answer. So, let’s get it straight, modern or “new” perspectives can only be a new look at an old god if they are to be valid.

 
A new “god” cannot be a “true” god!
 

So this means going back into time. This is a problem, because most of us aren’t interested or qualified to do this. So I will just give a quick summary to give us a picture that can later be researched onwards to your hearts content.

 

Firstly, civilization or cities have only been around for about 11 000years. So if we are to believe in a god, the god should have been known to men at that time. One of the oldest (if not the oldest) cities on earth is Jericho. It is mentioned in the bible associated with bible characters of the old times. The bible goes back in time to before where that city is mentioned. The start of the bible was before the pyramids, before the Asian religions formalized into streams like Buddhism or Hinduism. In case you don’t know, Christianity grew from the ancient Judaism. These early years of this God are faithfully reflected in the Jewish Torah which is now also incorporated into the Christian bible.

 

There was also a lot of worship of nature related gods in these early years as well (sun, moon, star’s, etc.). One of those religions that got into this and then distorted it into human like animals, were the Egyptians. However don’t believe the Egyptians were the first worshipers of these types of gods. There were others before them. The Egyptians are just the best known because their public relation department was so good! The pyramids have been great branding for their religion from ancient times. They still are! However, they built their first pyramid only about 4700years ago. So the Egyptian religions are a fairly young group of religions as religions go! Also they are not one religion, but many, with lots of conflicting pieces. Hinduism that is also old is also not a single religion but a group of them. This collection of religions in an older in more impure form, was present about 7500 to 4600years ago, but it only got organized 3700years ago and to date there is still no consistent understanding of single god. This religious grouping covers many god’s.

 

Maybe there are many god’s, but I think we want to be sure to connect with the god that has been interested in people from the beginning, and if this is the case, its unlikely many different and conflicting stories would be told. If a person wanted to get to know you, and you to know them, they would try and keep their name the same or use similar names each time they met you, wouldn’t they?

 

Generally a person has one or two names and a few nicknames, not hundreds! It makes sense that a supreme God would want to do that as well doesn’t it? The God would want to make sure we would understand, right? Also if the God was powerful, there wouldn’t be too many others that would disagree with such a God. I know I am giving you a simple argument, but think about it, we don’t vote for multiple leaders of our country and they don’t tolerate parallel leadership do they? Somehow someone always ends up in control to look after the country and people. You may disagree, but I think that a super being with super power would be supremely in control. I just can’t buy many god’s all being in control at the same time. To me it doesn’t make sense! For me, a god that’s in control, and probably one that would like to be in control and dislikes the first seems to be the logical way I can understand things. Probably there are more runners up, but the basic concept seems right, doesn’t it?

 

Then there is Buddhism. Buddha died about 2400years ago so Buddhism is also very new. Well, that’s enough history for now, you can check out more if you want to, but these are some basics.

 

So, if you want to go back to the time of first religions, you will find the Hebrew (and now also Christian) God mixed in with the gods of natural things. People made mounds as altars, carved stones into images and worshiped these representations for many decades, first as families, and then later as tribes, and still later as nations. The Hebrew God of the time was different to all the others in that they didn’t make objects to represent their God. In fact, those that claimed to know this God seemed to indicate the God was so amazing and mind boggling that he was impossible to represent in any form. This was the radical thinking of the time! Now, that’s a God I would want to get to know. I’m not into totem poles or pet rocks!

Let's think about that! Have a great day!

Thu, July 16, 2009 | link          Comments

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MEXICO MISSION - Coming soon!
Time ticks bye! The “final frontier” according to our Star Trekkies! I don’t really believe that but hey, each to their own!

This Saturday well before the sun gets up high enough to wake all those bleary eyed people who partied well into the night before, a group of young eager people will climb aboard American Airlines and be boosted into a new life of service for a week in the hot sun of the Mexican Baja peninsula. They are excited and don’t know what they are getting into! I am excited and do know!

Not being as young a person, I probably will find the ground harder to sleep on, the showers colder, the music louder, and the early mornings more challenging, but I wouldn't miss it for anything. Eager energetic lives will be drawn to a single purpose as we start out into the unknown! 

We are going to build homes for the homeless in Mexico. Tijuana to be exact! Amid the dust and sun we will all encounter hardship, love, and the power of humans working together to help others both physically and spiritually.

How do we prepare? Particularly those who haven't ever been on aircraft or left the country before?

I suggest prayer, courage and a sense of excitement in penetrating unknowns should be our attitude. Compassion, gentleness and a sense of camaraderie added to this will oil the activities and penetrate the hearts of everyone involved. Who will gain from our service? I can’t wait to find out!

Of course, over the next few days we will be buying hammers, paint brushes, and all the paraphernalia that goes with building houses. Our packing and lugging of suitcases will be part of building our enthusiasm.

Wish us well and keep us in your prayers!

It's going to be quite a ride!

Tue, July 14, 2009 | link          Comments

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday morning, a new week! Yay!

Ever notice how "new" anything seems to make us feel better about the current circumstances.

Well! Monday morning is a new day, AND a new week, so it's just got to be good! Unless, the late nights on the weekend have already stolen that joy.

Well let me continue where I left off last week....

This blog is written to give’s it to you straight from a Christian perspective.

 

“A Christian perspective”?

 

Whoa! Biased, no good, and narrow minded, let’s keep away from this!” many could be thinking.

 

“Really?”

 

If so, what causes us to jump to that conclusion? What media, schooling, and social brainwashing could we have encountered that would make us react this way. Is our reaction valid? Maybe, and then maybe not!  Why not find out for ourselves? Let’s be honest, I have to agree that the word “Christian” is not always a word people enjoy hearing. But to react without understanding is not really the way to go either is it?

 

Quite a long time back many people agreed that Christians were the scum of the earth. In fact, they tried to eradicate them like Hitler tried to eliminate the Jews during the Second World War. Those folk were not successful or there wouldn’t be any Christians today. In fact one of the main guys trying to kill them off finally became a Christian. Now that is kind of “weird” isn’t it? Rather like Hitler becoming the King of England, or the President of America! Almost impossible to comprehend isn’t it. Also, the world power of the time (perhaps like America is now) then tried to eradicate Christians. In those early days it was the Roman Empire under a guy called Caesar. Maybe you may have heard of Nero, who burnt Christians to give light along the roads at night, but maybe even worse was a guy they called Domitian.

 

In the long run God seems to have won that fight. Nowadays Rome is run by the Catholic Church. Many of the Caesar’s of the ancient world became Christians, and the Roman Empire finally collapsed while Christianity endured! In short, many powerful people have tried eradicating Christians from this earth but none have managed.

 

One reason they failed to eradicate Christians is that Christianity is not just a religion. It’s a relationship with a special person. Would you reject your friends because others thought they were unacceptable? I hope not! The Christians felt the same way even though it often cost them their lives. Are you aware that in Africa and other parts of the world today (Yes, on this very day!) people are still dying because of refusing to reject that relationship? It’s really important not to reject our friends just because others don’t want us to be with them. People are important aren’t they?

 

So let’s try and think straight about this “Christianity”. If you have the relationship already with Jesus, the super-dude of all time, that’s cool, if not, you probably want to figure out if it’s worth having. Ok, before we meet someone, we have to find out where they are. For example, if we wanted to meet a film star, we would need to find out where they were going to be. To understand that, we would need to know about their past and how they do things in comparison to others, and we would search out the media to find out where we would be able to find them today.

 
Mon, July 13, 2009 | link          Comments

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Let's get it straight - part 1

Let’s get it Straight

 

Circular reasoning doesn’t really please anyone! Ever had an argument with someone where they argue for the sake of arguing, and finally end up arguing against their own argument. Did you point it out to them? How did they react? How do you react in the same circumstances?

 

None of us like to have our inadequacies shown to us, but let’s be honest  we do respect, those people who do tell us off when we are out of line, but do so in love because they care for us. Well… mostly we respect them! Sometimes we are so deep in lying to ourselves that we just get real angry and blame them for our own inadequacies. That’s nasty, but I guess we have all done that at one time or another!

 

This is written to clean up some of these things we have bent out of shape within ourselves. Sometimes we blame it on our parents, on friends that lead us astray, on our siblings, our boss, our peers, the government, or on terrible things that have happened to us in life.

 

Let’s get it straight, none of those are responsible for us continuing to damage ourselves!

 

We are the ones responsible and without help, we could carry on for years until the embarrassment we now feel starts to fade, to be replaced by a sad acceptance of pain. A pain that is similar to that of putting on shoe that’s way much too small for us. It hurts, but we do it anyway! We do this because we think we have no choice! We may argue that the shoe belongs to us and that others have their own shoes. Maybe we think we are disadvantaged and blame that. We probably don’t want to make a scene because then everybody will see we are inadequately caring for ourselves. If they do notice, maybe we blame someone else! Perhaps we argue the burden is ours to endure; we have no money for those new shoes.

 

Not at all! Those are lies from the pit of Hell! The shoes are free!

 

We are able and capable with help from God to overcome pain and the gain new shoes, ones that fit perfectly, are custom made for us, and perfect quality as well. The only thing about getting the shoes is that we have to get the facts straight, and make the decision to accept the shoes as ours! We also need to put them on and throw out the old shoes. To do this means we have to be careful about lying to ourselves.

 

Please be honest with yourself! Make up your mind to give yourself that break. Stand on your own feet and don’t get pushed around by the crowds, and if you do, make sure you go in your chosen direction, the one that brings you to safety and not simply going with the flow of those in the crowd around you. They could be human lemmings about to walk off a cliff. To be wise you must find the right inner voice, and listen!

Thu, July 9, 2009 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

  • Published: September, 2010
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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
Click here to order Rift in Evil (ebook or Paper available)
  • Published: September, 2010
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781450250894 

Available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, iUniverse. Chapters

 
  
you can email me at Author@KenXBriggs.com
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