EQUIPCambodia

Cambodia is a country in which many organizations have chosen to do ministry and training. I will visit Cambodia for the third time and be involved with Teaching English in restuarants and meeting places. EQUIPCambodia is an organization which is involved in Life Training, Teaching English, and Developing Life Skills in the young people of Cambodia.
As we go this time, we expect to see the great things that have been done since our last trip in March of this year. The Lord is opening doors and providing opportunities to enable us to make an eternal difference in lives of young people and in the nation of Cambodia.

Please remember me and the others who will be involved in this ministry this month.

 

 

Retirement Revisited

I remember 20 months ago announcing my retirement and looking forward to being involved in a variety of opportunities around the home and town.  One year ago I retired and became President Emeritus and began to travel and visit with donors and trustees in my support of the college and fund raising.  I envisioned being a fund raiser, an interim pastor, or speaking for the college.  And I did do some of that during the early months.

I now see what people who have retired before me were saying.  You need something to do.  I read Luke and the Lord says “Occupy Until I Return.”  And I desire to follow the Lord with my talents and “occupy until He returns.”  So I desire to be involved in His work whether it be fund raising for colleges, an interim pastor, or a consultant in higher education administration.  As a healthy, energetic person I have a strong desire to do the Lord’s work no matter what my age.

I trust the Lord to provide in His timing and in His way.  And when He does God will bless the work and give success.

Cambodia 2

Church service in Siem Reap

I accompanied three other people to Cambodia in March returning to the United States on April 1. We were there to assess the areas of need for Cambodian youth. The major need is education and job training so that they can have a better life. We talked

Ankor Wat

with many people and organizations and are now in the process of developing a new organization to meet the needs of these youth in Cambodia. We beleive the Lord would have us enable Cambodian youth the make an impact in their world. I am sharing pictures of the trip as well.

Cambodia

Six years ago I took a trip to Cambodia to view the work of Christian Organization with a ministry in Cambodia.  I saw the Women’s Center where girls had been rescued from the street and taught a skill.  We saw churches that have been built to minister to the spiritual needs of the Cambodian People.  We also traveled to the jungle and viewed a few of the many relics of the past.

I also saw the needs of the children of Cambodia.  Many were homeless, needy and looking for hope for tomorrow.  That day I committed to provide the education for a Cambodian young man who would come to the states, get his degree and go back and make a difference in his country.  That student has been enrolled in school for the last two years and will graduate in the next year.  This also prompted me to be in on the discussion by two other men to begin a new organization called, “Children Without Hope” which will provide care and education to those street kids I saw.  This organization has been incorporated and now the paperwork is being completed to obtain a 501 (c) 3.  Soon they will be able to make an eternal impact on the lives of children in Cambodia.

Let me share a few of the pictures I took while there six years ago.  Please pray that the Lord will give success and protection to this new organization as they make a difference in this country.

REUNION HIGH SCHOOL

This past Saturday I traveled to meet with 12 of my classmates of my high school.  We were meeting to begin the planning of our 50th High School Graduation Reunion.  For two hours we sat and I heard story after story of the football games and plays of years ago.  Finally we got on task and held a meeting.  I was the recording secretary and have the minutes out to all at this time.

We learned that out of 66 members of the class only 48 were still living.  Several of my friends had passed away during the last years.  We are now in a search mode to find all of our classmates.

Several things I learned at the meeting were as follows:

1.    When old classmates meet we talk about the things that happened almost half a century ago like it was only yesterday.

2.   We look around the table and see familiar faces but boy have they aged.  If we met them on the street would we recognize them?  And yet we don’t think we have changed at all.

3.   We all have the same health concerns and talk about them readily even when not asked.

4.   We still have that same friendship we had almost 50 years ago.  Things change but some things remain the same.

5.   You get a warm feeling about that ole group of friends that you had about 50 years ago.  And for those who moved away from the town you are still welcomed and appreciated.

I enjoyed the meeting, the remembering of the old times, the sorrow to hear of those who have gone before us, and the blessing of having friends who have lasted through the years.

China Today

This past Fall I was invited to go to China to see the ministry of Global Partners and assist in teaching Servant Leadership.  I left on November 18 and flew to Beijing.  Here I met my friend and began an awesome week of ministry.  We taught 32 young Chinese business people about Servant Leadership.  We talked about goals, keeping our lives in balance, and writing our life plan.  Of the 32 students all but 6 were Christians.  I was able to teach 3 sessions of Servant Leadership and share personal experiences in my life.  The students were in their 20s and 30s.

During this time I was able to see some sights around the city and go to the Great Wall, climb it and walk on the wall for about one half mile.  It was a trip of a life time.  I rode in the subway with thousands of my closest friends, (it was very crowded).  I road a bus where I stood all the time, and I was able to make friends, who have contacted me since I have been home.  I found the people in this 22 million person city friendly, helpful, and with desires and needs just like me.  I found a large group of Christians who are meeting in a variety of places to worship the Lord.

God is doing a great work in China and the Lord is being worshipped and praised.

A highlight of my trip was the opportunity to preach in a church on Sunday morning.  The church had started in June with 5 people and now had 65.  At the service that morning we had 6 non believers in the congregation.  It was a wonderful way to share what Jesus had done in me and could do in each person in the room.

The trip was a wonderful opportunity to share the Jesus Christ with people in China.

 

Change in Life

Change is inevitable I have been told.  If we don’t change we die.  Good comments as we come to those milestones in our lives where we see changes happening.  That happened to me this year.  I retired from the presidency of  Toccoa Falls College yet I continued as a fundraiser for the college, which was one of my previous roles.  I found that even though I have been at the college for over 28 years I am viewed differently because of the job change.

In church on October 16 our pastor spoke on Matthew 22:15 – 22.  His topic was being the Image of Christ in our world.  As he delivered his sermon he made a statement that captured my attention.  “Our identity is defined by the Lord, not by our successes or failures, our position, or other things.”  I reflected on others sermons that I had given and the theme of Jesus living His life through you rang true.  If we are allowing Jesus to live His life through us our identity is certainly defined by Him, not by any thing that we do or accomplish.  It is all about Jesus and not about us.  I had learned that and preached that but needed that statement at this time to reinforce this fact.  As Jesus lives His life through me, my identity is defined by Him.  My purpose in life to to grow and be like Jesus.  And those changes are life giving to me and to all who do the same.  Let Jesus live through you each day.

Christ Formed In Me

Preparing a sermon several years ago I came across the following quote which meant a great deal to me and continues to impact my life. The quote is by Chris Browning.

Father, I have been so slow to acknowledge the worth of life’s unpleasantries, disillusionments, discouragements, rejection. Rather than releasing them all to Your capable care, I have relived over and over again, the pain and failure of the past and the frustrations of the present.

Today, Father, I can finally see how You are sweetly, patiently showing me that I must learn to die. Die to my fretful childhood, to unfortunate circumstances, to irritations and inconsistencies in myself and others, to sadness, pain, depression and loss, to all the every-day dealings of life. To look beyond the immediate drudge and see the ultimate glow of Christ formed in me.

Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

 

Giants of the Faith

I believe that our lives have been shaped many times by men and women of faith who have been giants in their day.  As we look back on their lives and their examples we should never criticize or make fun of stands that they took.  We should learn from their faithfulness and dedication to the Lord and go forward to do greater things than we could have on our own.  In other words we are all standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us and as we learn from them and their ministry we can do great things as the Lord strengthens and directs us.

A few years ago I spoke in chapel at TFC and referenced the following illustration about our founder, Dr. Richard A. Forrest.  The illustration of the “ragged little boy” challenges me to stick with the task that the Lord has given me.  Let me relate the story to you now.

Ten years after the founding of Toccoa Falls College, Dr. Richard A. Forrest went to Los Angeles with the hopes of meeting Lyman Stewart, the man who was the founder and president of Biola University.  Through a God arranged appointment, Dr. Forrest met Lyman Stewart.  And within a short period of time Richard Forrest and Lyman Stewart, was also the co-founder of the Union Oil Company, became very good friends.

It doesn’t take long for the character of a man or woman to show through the clutter of the world.  Dr. and Mrs. Forrest had a reputation for commitment even in the most trying circumstances.  Soon, Lyman Stewart began to support the work of Toccoa Falls College.  He and his brother helped pay off the original mortgage and even gave money toward the completion of the offices above the Paul and Mary Williams Chapel.  Then their interests towards Dr. Forrest took a different turn.

During a later visit, Mr. Stewart asked Richard Forrest to meet with him.  They talked about family, life, and the two schools.  Near the end of the meeting Mr. Stewart asked Dr. Forrest to leave Toccoa Falls College and come to Biola.  He offered Dr. Forrest the position as superintendent of a school, which by the world’s standards, was much more successful.  It was a tremendous opportunity.  It was a life-defining moment for Dr. Forrest.

Dr. Forrest knew what God had called he and his wife to do, but he struggled with his answer.  Over the years he had watched his wife painstakingly rework donated clothes that had been give to her.  He knew the times she had stayed up late at night in order to complete lesson plans for the next day’s classes.  Her days were always filled with solving one problem after another in his absence.  And there was always the lack of and the need for money.

What would you have said?  Would you have been tempted by the increase in salary, the prestige of the position, and the opportunity to go to a larger city to work in a better environment.  Many wrong decisions in life are made as a result of frustration, personal disappointment, and fear.

The following day the two men met again and Dr. Forrest had the answer to the offer.  He said, “I hope you won’t misunderstand me and think that I do not appreciate the magnificent offer you made, but last night I happened to see a picture in a magazine of a little boy dressed in fine clothes.  On the page next to him was a boy dressed in rags, but his mother was with him.  The article posed the question, “which one would you rather have?”  The mother said, “I’ll take the ragged little boy, because he belongs to me, he is mine.”  That’s the best way I can answer you, Mr. Stewart.  Mr. Stewart turned to a friend that had accompanied them and said, “I told you that’s what he would say.”

The next day as Dr. Forrest was preparing to leave and return to Toccoa Falls he received an envelope in his hotel mailbox.  In it was a check for $1,000 and a handwritten note, “for the ragged little boy.”  It was signed by Mr. Stewart who remained a faithful supporter of TFC until his death.

As we obey the Lord and follow Him and remember that God’s call on your life you must also remember those men and women upon who’s shoulders we stand.  We should never make fun or negative comments about their work and their dedication to the calling of the Lord during their time.  I truly believe that God will bless us as we bless those who have gone before us.

Bear Your Cross

Recently our pastor at church spoke on “Cross Bearing”.  An interesting topic for me at this point in my life.  Jesus says Matthew 16 and  in verse 24 “If anyone desires to come after Me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”

His words that followed spoke to my heart and mind.  He said, “even when you are abandoned and forgotten by friends and co-workers, follow Jesus.”  It is tough to go through times of suffering where very few people  talk with you but instead they talk about you.  It is tough when your good is negativity spoken of and your life is turned upside down.  But Jesus says, “take up your cross and follow Me.”  If I desire to follow Jesus, I must deny myself, my feelings, my aspirations, and follow Jesus.  It is in following that we learn that Jesus will never turn His back on us, never leave us or forsake us.  He will always be there to listen and give us peace and comfort and guidance for the days ahead.

In my life from this point on it is “all about Jesus” and not about me.  I wish to follow Him closely each day, and when I fail, I know that He is there to pick me up, dust me off, and put me back on the right path.  In Psalm 147:11, “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His Mercy.”  Amen.