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Archive for July 2010

Axioms from life

I heard Bill Hybels during the 2008 Leadership Summit talk about having life axioms. Webster Dictionary states that an axiom is “a statement generally accepted as true or a proposition regarded as a self-evident truth.”

Bill then encouraged us to write up our own axioms. Statements that have helped us gain clarity in a delicate or difficult situation. Meaningful sentences that guide us in leading, counseling or confronting. Most of them are from books that I have read or believe it or not, came from my brain! I will try to acknowledge the source whenever possible.

Allow me to share them with you. I hope to expound on each axiom when time allows.

  1. We have stress because of our blessings [paraphrase from a Max Lucado book which title escapes me]
  2. Right people in the right seats [Jim Collins-Good to Great]
  3. Say no to good things [a counselor that I was meeting with during a difficult time in life]
  4. Who will cry at your funeral? [Pat Morley-Man in the Mirror]
  5. We’re a team!
  6. I am a child of God – my identity is based on what God says about me in His Word and what He did for me in sending His Son to die for me. [Neil Anderson – Steps to Freedom]
  7. I can be considered wise by listening a lot and talking little [Proverbs 17.28 “Even a stubborn fool is thought to be wise if he keeps silent. He is considered intelligent if he keeps his lips sealed.”]
  8. God is still on the throne!
  9. Publicly praise and privately critique
  10. Being critical is just complaining with no solution. Critiquing is affirming the person, giving your input along with solutions and suggestions [loosely paraphrased from Bob Thune, Sr.]
  11. It is spiritual to say no. [same counselor as in #3]
  12. Down hill, no brakes, only steering [Irving Malm]

I’m sure I’ll think of a few more. For now, I’ll take one or two of the axioms and explain the circumstances behind them. Go ahead and think of your own axioms and share them with me.


report from the Guatemala short-term team

Hello Everyone,

We can hardly believe that tomorrow morning we will be leaving the orphanage. It seems we are just getting comfortable helping wash the babies and making tortillas and getting to know the children by name.

Preach the word, and if necessary, use words – St Francis of Assisi (James 2:18) The team has been especially great in doing this at every opportunity and have worked well together. We are so proud of them!

Sunday, on the spur of the moment invite, we went to a community center and share the gospel and testimonies with the kids there. Monday morning we went to a Kiche village school and washed, cut and styled hair for the teachers and kids. We shared the gospel and some testimonies with them as well. It was well received and they asked us to please pray for their community.

Tuesday morning we painted the outside of the village church and Wednesday morning the inside. This morning we are painting the orphanage workshop.

Last night we had the privilege of presenting an audio Bible to Brother Mateo who preaches to the Kiche people. The Bible has not been translated in the Kiche language. Brother Mateo can understand the Spanish language but cannot read it, so the Spanish audio Bible is a huge blessing to him to hear word of God so he can pass it on to the Kiche people. Previously his children would read the Bible to him so he could preach. We also had the privilege to pray for him and his family to lift them up through some difficult times they are going through.

Every afternoon and evening we have enjoyed loving on the kids. Yesterday after our Bible time, we got out the parachute and beach balls. Since is had just downpoured it was extra great fun as a shower of water would come out of the parachute on every swish up and as the kids would chant each other names and take turns running under the wet parachute. Everyone who was around joined in the fun. Tonight we plan on giving out the clothing gifts we brought for each child on behalf of the church as we share time with them around a bonfire roasting hot dogs. We will also pray a blessing on Sebastian and Oralia, the orphanage directors.

Even though the team has been passing around a flu bug, we are having great fun. Your prayers for our health as we begin traveling home would be appreciated!

ESL Team Update (Middle East)

by Bob (team leader)

I can’t believe our first team is just a few days from finishing our part of the trip. The time has just flown by, but each day has brought new ways of seeing God work in both our lives and in the lives of the students. We had asked God to give us connections with the students. That is happening — maybe not always in the way we expected — but God is honoring those requests. And he is helping us in our teaching.

The curriculum for the advanced classes is very spiritually based and almost every class leads to the focal point of Jesus. In addition, a lot of cross-cultural learning is taking place.

Two days ago, the 2nd Circle Church broadcast the World Cup Soccer Finals. Spain, which was the crowd favorite, won. There was a large crowd and one of my students also attended with me. We talked and he asked me a number of questions about where I was staying and who paid for the trip. I explained that we either paid for it ourselves or asked our friends to donate money. He was surprised because he thought the people at the Center paid for us. Then he asked why I came to teach. I was able to explain that I came for two reasons — to help him learn English and to be a representative of Jesus. These informal conversations happen all the time and provide great opportunities to share our faith.

It will be hard to leave. The more we are here, the dearer the people become. “May the Book of Life never close ’til the whole world knows…”.

Update from the CCC ESL Team in the Middle East

CCC currently has a team in the Middle East teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at a community center that reaches out to Muslims. For security reasons, some names and locations have been left out of this blog.

by Bob (team leader)

Things are going well here. We’ve started our ESL teaching and have had some good interaction with students both at class and while watching the World Cup Soccer games in the coffee shop.

God is definitely at work here. Each morning our devotional is just what we need to hear — so exactly. And God is definitely using the Center and all the volunteers. Many friendships are happening, and there are opportunities to share and to show love and concern.

Today we went with Matt to the weekly prayer meeting with the believers from this country, which was at a local pastor’s house. So encouraging to pray together in Arabic and English, to share our lives, and to see their faith. The weekend is coming and already some of us have arrangements to meet outside class with some of our students. That is our desire and prayer — to spend personal time with them.

God Room

I love to read books from other people who God has used to do great things in the Kingdom. I recently read the mid-90’s autobiography by Franklin Graham called “Rebel with a Cause.” Franklin is the son of Billy Graham and after a number of tumultuous years has been the guy who runs the ministry called Samaritans Purse.

It was an interesting book for many reasons, but there was one small thing in the book that really impacted me. Its the concept Franklin calls “God room.”

To give you some background, Franklin did not start or found Samaritans Purse, he was simply asked by the founder Dr. Bob Pierce to come run it. It was actually Bob who passed on the idea of “God room” to Franklin and it has impacted his ministry ever since.

The idea is very simple . Dr. Bob taught that you need to let God do His work in His time. “God room” occurs when man does everything he possibly can, but failure or moderate success is the apparent result — then something unexpected happens. A miracle occurs. When God wants to accomplish something that man can not do on his own, no matter how hard he tries or works, God brings the impossible to pass. This is “God room.”

What is the point of “God room” as applied to missions at CCC? Simply this: if we want to accomplish some good things for the Kingdom, spread the good news to maybe thousands of people, and generally consider ourselves a mission-focused church, God may actually bless that.

But if want to see the good news thrive in places like China, Afghanistan, Mali, Tunisia, and many other difficult places, He is going to have to do the impossible. Nothing less than God’s action is needed.

So what does this mean for you and I in very practical ways? Quite frankly, I’m still trying to figure that out, but here is one observation. When God taps on my shoulder to do something, and at first I am excited but then I come up with 20 reasons why I can’t do it or it won’t work, perhaps that’s the best time to forge ahead. There is nothing better than being at the end of our human rope so that we can then watch God work. We have to make room for God, and that room is usually when we have reached our own limits.

In future blogs I am going to share what I think are some success and some failures in this arena. Some times where room was made for God and He worked, and some times when room was not made for God, so the results were more human oriented. Stay tuned.