God Makes the Difference – Psalm 23

 The 23rd Psalm is a favorite of many people. I read it often at Memorial Services and when ministering to the sick and dying. I ask people to say it with me. Many of us memorized it when we attended Sunday school as youngsters.

Phillip Keller wrote a book many years ago entitled A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. Phillip Keller owned sheep and worked as a shepherd for many years. Keller discusses what he calls the “butting order” of sheep. Usually, an old, domineering ewe functions as the boss of the flock. She won this position by butting other sheep out of her way. Below her in the “butting order’ other ewes vie for position and power. Because of this intense competition for status and position, constant tension exists within the flock.

Keller noted that something interesting happened when he or some other shepherd came into the sheep’s view. The sheep would stop their foolish and petty rivalries and stop butting each other. It seems that the shepherd’s presence made a huge difference! The shepherd’s presence calmed their fears, stopped their petty rivalries and reassured them that they were protected, cared for and loved. His presence provided great security and love!

David communicates this same truth in Psalm 23. He writes of the Lord being our shepherd. He shares that God’s presence makes a huge difference in our lives! God’s presence can make a huge difference in your life!

Jesus’ presence in our lives provides a constant source of love, security, care, and peace. The Lord is always present to help us and direct us! As you reflect on your life, can you honestly say that Jesus is present in your life? I hope so! If not, ask Jesus to come into your life to be your Savior and Lord.



Harvest Festival 2014

Friday October 31 will be our 21st Annual Harvest Festival. Please see the poster below for details.
We look forward to seeing you there!!

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God owns Everything and Everyone! – Psalm 24

 Few of us brag about our assets or accomplishments but we often take subtle pride in them. Since our names are on the titles of our homes, cars, stock portfolios, etc. we believe we own them.

Psalm 24 provides a corrective to this type of thinking. Psalm 24 humbles us for it states, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it”.  The psalmist teaches us that God owns everything and everyone! We are not the owners of our things but the managers of them.

Let that truth sink in for a moment: God owns everything and everyone! Can you imagine? What should be our response to this truth? Worship and Praise! We should worship the Lord with spiritual and moral integrity (vs.3-4) worship with heartfelt desire and intellectual passion (vs.6), and recognize God as the victorious King (vs.7-10). The fact that God owns everything and everyone should inspire our worship!!

It should also inspire good stewardship of the resources God has given us. Since God owns everything and has called us to manage it, we must do the best job we can. One day we will have to give an account of our stewardship. God will review how we managed our kids, time, spiritual gifts, environment and money. We read in Romans 14:12 “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God”.

Sally and I take this teaching seriously. We tithe to the church from our gross income and also give regular offerings to several missionaries and mission groups. I hope and pray that you and your family will participate in our 2015 pledge campaign. Pray about what you will give and make a commitment to it by filling out the pledge card and returning it to the church.

I hope after God reviews my book of deeds He will be able to say to me, “well done, thou good and faithful servant!” I hope this will happen for you, too!



Weekly Devotional – 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 – Collection Direction

As Paul comes to the end of his first letter to the church at Corinth, he gives some very practical advice on the subject of giving financial resources to the work of the Lord. As we look at these 4 verses we see 4 clear steps that are still true today in our giving.

V1 Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do.

Firstly we see that our giving increases our unity with other believers. Not only are we called to give to those of the body who are in need but also that we do so along with other Christian Churches. The aim is not only to alleviate physical suffering but to spread the gospel abroad.

V2a On the first day of every week,

Next we are instructed to give regularly on the Lord’s Day. To see our financial giving as a part of worship, giving not only to support the work but in response to what God has done for us is vital.

V2b …each one of you should set aside a sum in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

Paul continues by making sure to include everyone according to their income. None of us is excused from the need to give to the Lord’s work. Although Paul does not mention an actual amount he makes it very clear that the amount we give is in direct proportion to that which we have been given by God.

V3-4 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.

Finally Paul insists upon careful administration of the funds that have been collected before he arrives. We must therefore continue to have in place accountability and guidelines that ensure the way we handle, that which is after all not our money but is in fact God’s. As in Paul’s time we give to the church for the benefit of others, but make sure that the resources are used for the work God intends.

All of these points can and should also be applied to our personal spending and saving habits as we are called to be stewards of that which God entrusts us with.



Reflections on 2 Weeks in Honduras

We worked very hard on two storage rooms while in Honduras. We also were able to tour some different places, like the children’s center and the river. It is so easy to see how hard God is working in this area. The hospital is in much need of support. So glad we are able to help. Praise God.

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Final Few Days in Honduras

I will add some photos covering our last couple of days in Honduras.

Dr. Rich finished up a busy surgery week. In all he did approximately 10 important surgeries. Many of them were on children. He saw patients right up until it was time to leave for San Pedro Sula on Friday afternoon.

Greg donated an important unit of blood on Thursday that will be used on Monday for a boy needing surgery to remove a large tumor. He will need 3 units of blood. Thankfully Greg was a match and eagerly made a donation.

Scott Benedict took us out along with 14 children from the bilingual school and children’s center Thursday afternoon to a hot spring near the hospital for an afternoon of swimming and fun with the kids. It was great to see the Honduran children having so much fun swimming and sliding down the water slide that Scott invented.

Friday morning the team enjoyed a detailed tour of the bilingual school and children’s center before heading for San Pedro Sula.

Richard did a great job driving us safely the 5 hours to San Pedro Sula. Rigo accompanied us to make sure that all went smoothly.

Our three flights were all on time, smooth and uneventful. We arrived back in Medford late Saturday night, right on schedule.

The Lord blessed the entire mission trip. We had no serious injuries, the team bonded and thoroughly enjoyed our work and each others company for two weeks. Our mission was accomplished. Lives were changed and improved. The hospital was blessed. We deeply appreciate our wonderful hosts Dave, Marina Jo, Maria and Ben Fields. They were with us every step of the trip.

A few photos from our last three days-

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How to Reduce Family Stress – Psalm 127:1-2

 

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman guard in vain”.

Sally and I selected this verse for the front of our wedding invitations which occurred thirty-nine years ago. Right from the outset of our marriage we wanted the Lord to build our home! We did in 1975 and we still do today.

Who’s building your home? A good test to answer this questions is to ask these questions: “who’s in charge of our home?” “who has control over its most important decisions?”. If we were honest, many of us would have to admit that we want to be in charge, we want to maintain control of our home. But Psalms 127:1 tells us “unless the Lord builds the home, its builders labor in vain”. If you are trying to build your home with your own wisdom, energy, common sense, experience, intelligence, etc. you will only build it in vain!

To let the Lord build our home we must submit to the Lordship of Christ. Let go of everything that relates to your home: your children, family decisions and plans, relationships, etc. Let the Lord build your home through prayer. Ask the Lord to build your home and He will! Finally, let the Lord build your home by taking time for each other. Make time for family building activities such as family raft trips, playing board games together on cold winter nights, taking bike rides together, etc. Avoid too many social and recreational activities, too much time on mobile devices, and negative criticism of each other. Attend worship together as a family.

Let’s be a church where every family in our church is striving to let the Lord build their home!



A Break in the Rain

This afternoon I got a break and hung out in the hammock. It started to rain buckets. You can see it in the pics a little bit. Then our team (minus Dr Rich who was in surgery) headed with Scott and 14 kids from the children’s center and bilingual school to the hot springs/river. It was a blast! Never been there before. Kandee Henness McClain brought popcorn up for their snack and Scott had soda. The kids swam, jumped and laughed lots. Scott also made a water slide out of a tarp that you throw water with a little soap on and it makes a water slide. Going to be sad to leave the hospital tomorrow. Miss my kids and will be happy to see them.

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Babies being born and Boy's Home in Honduras

Some pics from two of the deliveries I have helped with. The first baby I was called at 0630 to help. The nurses were super busy with the in patients and ER. The baby delivered at 0838. 9# 6oz!!! 2 lbs bigger than her last baby. Had a shoulder dystocia which I had reviewed in my classes these past 2 weeks. Cinthia got to see first hand all 3 steps we do. I even had to climb on the bed for the supra public pressure . Then a baby resuscitation. The great thing about babies is they come around really quickly. The second baby pic is the twins from the other day. 2 girls.
Cinthia is the gal in the pic that helped me today. She is the one that received the scrubs from our church. Thanks JPC for all the prayers and donations that make such a difference in the lives here.

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Pictures of Lisa Graham Bradley’s ministry here in Honduras. She has gone on her own to help boys that are drug addicted, in gangs or just in terribly unsafe living situations. She is working on the farm that was donated to her for a boys home. As you can see it needs lots of repairs and to be finished. She also continues her own ministry to the people that live in the La Ceiba dumb. Feeding, given basic medical care, and most of all loving them. She goes atleast 2 times a week for the past 8 years. She is well loved by all.
If anyone would like to support her, she now has her own nonprofit. You can just let me know and I’ll direct you. She also is in great need of a new 4 wheel vehicle. Hers is old and in bad shape

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A Busy Day for Dr Rich in Honduras

Rich’s day began at 8am and finished at 7pm. His first surgery of the day was on a four year old girl. Her Tibia was badly infected and had broken. Dr. Rich removed some of the bone as stage one surgery and placed antibiotic beads inside to knock down the infection. The girl will need more surgery during his next trip.

During his second surgery he did some tendon grafts on two young boys with Cerebral Palsy. Today’s surgeries will save a little girls life and change the two boys lives for the better. God is good and uses Dr. Rich, Dr. Jeff and the others here at Loma de Luz in a mighty way that saves and changes lives!

Between surgery Rich is busy meeting with patients to discuss their options for surgery during his next trip or later in the week.

I am posting photos that show a typical day for Dr. Rich at Loma de Luz-

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