30 March 2013


In the late 80's I was enrolled in a discipleship group called Master Life, focused
on being a committed disciple of Jesus. Having renewed my devotion to Jesus, I
especially wanted to serve him in Russia, since daily I had been reading about Josh
MacDowell's ministry to orphans in Moscow and the reports were exciting. Not only
that, but I had studied Russian and had developed some fluency. I was "chomping at
the bit" to go to the former Soviet mission field.

But one day during my quiet time a verse pierced me like a well-aimed arrow: "Wisdom
is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of
the earth." (Prov. 17:24) Jesus was saying, "Quit all your vain imaginings that you will
do great things for me in a far away land. Come follow me right where you are. Right
here where I am Wisdom in your sight. Be my disciple here in your local church and in
your neighborhood."

I heard his call loud and clear. I followed him. Five years later, when I was truly
enjoying my ministry in our church's Sunday school, leading discipleship small groups,
and doing street evangelism, the Lord cracked open a door for a short term mission
trip to Crimea, Ukraine.    It ended up our family moved to Ukraine two years later.  That
was nearly 21 years ago and we are still here.

29 March 2013


This shot is one of the youth in our church, Bethany in Bucha.  I caught them while they were waiting on the Sunday school teacher to come open the door.  They weren't real happy about me taking their picture, but I convinced them and thus the goofy smiles.  For those of you who have followed this blog for years, the tallest one in the middle, Andre, was the child who got hit by a car in Kyiv when he was about 8 years old.  He suffered some head trauma. I asked him one time if he felt like he made a full recovery.  He said he wonders about his memory sometimes.  Otherwise he seems to function pretty well and gets a long with all.  Please pray for this group and those who lead them.  This is the future of every church and we want this group to grow.  Your prayers are highly coveted.

26 March 2013


How is our nation today "post-Christian"?

I am a Viet Nam era vet and have always been a patriot. Lately, though, The Lord has
convicted me of making an idol of my beloved country. I share the actual mourning of
my brothers and sisters over the decline of our nation, and it is apparently on the verge
of an implosion along every possible line: financial, moral, political, cultural, and what
have you. Nations have life cycles, as many authors (Toynbee, Gibbon) and studies
have noted. But all these works show a common thread in the stage of decline, the
widely shared belief that "My well-being is someone else's responsibility." We are
clearly in that stage. What is not to be sad about?

But there is an element of sadness as if over a fallen idol, as if our one goal would be a
righteous USA, fogetting our "great commission" to make disciples of all nations. Those
who first followed Jesus' command surely mourned over the fall of Jerusalem and the
destruction of the temple in AD 70. Yet because of Jesus' warnings in Mt 24, they were
not devastated, because their love of Israel was no longer idolatrous, if it ever was, but
was directed toward Jesus and making disciples of Him in all nations. I am trying to see
beyond the fall of USA, which is no less inevitable than the fall of Jerusalem in the first
century. Is repentance possible? Yes, for a "remnant", but I think we have long passed
the "tipping point" to avert devastation on a national level. I want my sorrow over this to
be more now about the Lord Jesus than about the idol of my patriotic past.

18 March 2013


Three cousins sitting together in Sunday school. 

Just wanted to share these darling little kids I do crafts with every Sunday.  Am I blessed or what?  For those of you who send craft supplies just look in their eyes and know you are doing a good thing.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I couldn't do it without your loving and generous hearts.  I love these little ones, but I know God loves them even more than I.

14 March 2013


Though it is March, it is still very much winter here in Ukraine as you can see by all these ladies bundled up.  This is the widow's ministry.  A couple times a year the church gives a big bag of food products to the widows.  The pastor also comes in and talks to them.  These are sweet ladies that play a very important role in the life of the church.  That is that they pray.  And as all churches are, there is much to pray about.  The table in the background are the bags they take home when they are done.  Thanks for stopping by and I really like it when you leave a message.