Whole Faith

We began our study by exploring Whole faith: essential ingredients for a life of complete faith. Using Richard Foster’s book Streams of Living Water as a launching point, we began by examining what it means to live a Christ-centered life. We then reviewed the major traditions and practices of the Christian faith including:

  • the Evangelical tradition (with its emphasis on the Word),
  • the Social Justice tradition (with its emphasis on compassion),
  • the Holiness tradition (with its emphasis on personal character),
  • the Charismatic tradition (with its emphasis on the Spirit),
  • the Contemplative tradition (with its emphasis on prayer), and
  • the Incarnational tradition (with its emphasis on being light in all spheres of life).

Our conclusion: we are often people who have “holes” in our faith because we neglect one or more of these biblical emphases in our lives. However, as people of “whole” faith, we should embrace them all. 


We follow the Lamb

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” 1 Peter 3:15

Today in our country, there is a lot of debate about what type of society we should have. Wrangling among political parties and their supporters is often loud and vociferous. Competing views are critiqued by pundits and pollsters.

In thinking about what type of society we should have or what initiatives we should support or oppose, we Christians need to heed the warning of C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.  There he writes:

“Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says:  we are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party. We are looking for an ally where we are offered either a Master or a Judge.”

In other words, our decision-making is often wrong-headed.  We settle into the view of our favorite political party and then seek to justify it, arguing that surely “God is on our side”. But the real issue is whether we are on God’s side. With God, we have two opposing options. We either yield to Him as Master or face Him as nothing but Judge.

So, as Christians, our positions on issues of the day should not merely mimic the positions of a particular political party or prattling pundit. Our support for or opposition to an issue should never stand or fall on whether the issue is supported by the Republicans or the Democrats, by the “conservatives” or the “liberals”. In fact, no party should have our undying allegiance. That’s called idolatry. Our undying allegiance is to the Master. We are to care first and foremost about what He thinks and wants. We are to seek after the type of society that He desires, applying biblical principles to our decision-making. The positions of political parties or politicians or the results of opinion polls do not set the standards by which we live, vote, or take action. 

For, you see, as Christians, we follow neither an elephant nor a donkey. We follow the Lamb who is the Lion of Judah.  May we think, speak, and act like it. 


All You Need Is Love, Part 2

Part 2: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

One important lesson of love is illustrated by Christ’s story of the Good Samaritan. Here, a man from an ethnic group often despised by the Jews, is the only one in the story to exhibit agape. He alone stops to help an injured man who, as implied by the story, is Jewish. Yet, the Samaritan gives of his time, his effort, his possessions, and his money to help this Jewish man who is ethnically and religiously different. He demonstrates agape, unlike the “religious” people who simply passed by, offering no aid to the injured man.

You see, agape, rightly understood and applied, is revolutionary. It is never self-centered, but is self-sacrificing. It always desires what is best for the other person and works to make that best a reality. It is patient, kind, and keeps no record of past wrongs.  Agape is not so much about how we feel but about what we do. It is a love that is to be extended not only to our friends but to our enemies, to the unlovely as well as the lovely, to the worthy and the unworthy. Agape always protects the beloved and always perseveres, even when love is not returned. Agape is unfailing and unending. It is best illustrated in the life of Christ who died for us.

In a world often fractured by physical violence and verbal attacks, divisive hate and destructive behavior, we, as Christians, should be a healing balm.  Do you want to change the world?? All you need is love (agape); all you need is love; all you need is love, love; love is all you need.


All You Need Is Love, Part 1

Part 1: “Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

It happened June 25, 1967—the first ever live television show to be broadcast globally using satellite transmissions.  400 million people in 31 countries viewed the 2 hour production that featured various artists and musicians from around the globe performing live. The broadcast opened with the Vienna Boys Choir singing a song in 22 different languages. But the highlight of the evening was the appearance of the Beatles performing a new song for the first time for this international broadcast. The song—All You Need is Love—became an instant hit.

Understood rightly, All You Need is Love, provides an excellent theme for our lives and relationships. Now the Beatles, I would submit, had some wrong-headed notions about real love. But biblical love—agape—is the central ethic in the teachings of Christ and the New Testament.  It is a virtue that should pervade our lives.


When children fare best

Madeleine L’Engle, author of Walking on Water and other works, was once asked, “What do you think you and Hugh (her husband) have done which was best for your children?” She responded immediately, “We love each other.”

In God’s divine order, other than our relationship with Him, no relationship is of greater importance than the one we have with our spouse. My children will fare best--educationally, socially, emotionally, financially--when I love their mother and my wife more than I love them.

As a lawyer who once did family court work-- dealing with divorces, custody disputes, visitation issues, and other family crises--I often heard one spouse say, in effect, “I love my children and want what is best for them, but I cannot stand my husband (or wife).” Such a statement reveals a fundamental misunderstanding about family dynamics and child-rearing.  If we truly, sincerely love our children and want what is best for them, we will intentionally, desperately, and resolutely love our spouse, the other parent.

On the other hand, if we dislike, despise, or hate our spouse, we communicate a harmful message to our children, often unintentionally. For you see, if what produced our children is unlovable or unworthy, then we imply that our children’s own lovability and worthiness is in question.  In other words, if I view the mother of my child as a “bitch”--a term I have heard on more than one occasion when spouses are at odds with one another--then my child is a “son of a bitch” or a “daughter of a bitch.”

I know.  That’s not what people usually intend to communicate to their children. But our children get it. They know instinctively what we should know by thinking clearly--a father who truly loves his children will also love their mother. A father who despises their mother can say all he wants about loving his children and wanting what is best for them. But our children know the truth. They get it. So should we.    


A prayer for all of us who fail

Lord, teach me when I fail. Remind me of my imperfections. Remind me that apart from You I can do nothing. Remind me that humility is a great virtue. Remind me to trust in You more completely. Remind me that, even in my failures, You are at work in and through me. Remind me that You are MYShepherd who walks with me through every failure. Remind me that You will lift me up when I fail. Remind me that to love You above all else--above my success, above my pride--is essential and necessary at all times, in all places, before all people. 


Starvation That Brings Life

The part of our nature that inclines toward sin must be starved--starved until it dies. We must not feed it with unholiness or impurity at any time. This part of our nature is tenacious. With only a little feeding, it is infused with continuing life. Lord, help me to be strong enough to deny myself, to starve to death the sin within me so that I may truly live. 


What Is Best For Us

This is what the Lord says--your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:  "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea."  Isaiah 48:17-18

God's commands are always best for us. We ignore His commands at our peril. If we truly desire peace, wholeness and well-being, we will listen to him and obey His moral will. So much of the pain, hurt, degradation, frustration, depression, anxiety, and failure in our lives are the direct results of our disobedience toward God. 

God has not given us His commands and statutes to make us miserable. He is not a cosmic killjoy who wishes us to have no fun. In fact, it is just the opposite. God loves us and want us to enjoy life. But, like any good father or mother, He directs us in ways that will result in healthy and joyful living and that will avoid the deep pitfalls that threaten to harm us.

God's commands are like an early warning system. When heeded, we avoid problems that so often result in injury and suffering. When ignored, we expose ourselves to pain and perplexity, sadness and sorrow, frustration and failure.

Let us learn to listen to God's voice and to obey His commands. For, you see, God, our Father, really does know best.

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

God's Glory

"I (God) will not yield my glory to another."  --Isaiah 48:11b

Why does God so emphatically assert that He will not yield His glory to another?  I submit that there are several reasons. 

First, God alone is the Supreme and Sovereign One.  He is the LORD Almighty.  If God yielded His glory to another, it would imply that somehow the "other" has status above Him.  It would be to deny the reality of who God is.

Second, God will not encourage idolatry.  If God yielded the praise that is due Him to another, then God would be encouraging idolatry, at least indirectly.  Our worship should go to the highest and greatest being that exists.  God will never allow us to live in the fantasy that another is higher or greater than He and somehow more deserving of praise than He.

Third, God loves us and wants what is best for us.  Our best is found in a relationship with Him.  God will never play second fiddle to anyone, for He wants us always to realize that our highest and best in life is found in Him and Him alone.

Fourth, God's emphatic refusal to yield His glory to another is a warning to us.  We must never elevate ourselves above God in our own minds or hearts.  We must never seek the praise of others that rightly belongs to God.  We must always recognize that whatever skills, strengths or gifts we have are the result of God's grace and mercy toward us.  We should constantly remind ourselves of this reality and verbalize it as we minister in the name of Christ.

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.


Ordination , Part 3

My Pledge: 

It seems that one ought to take some kind of pledge when one is ordained.  So I wrote out a pledge that I make tonight in your presence.  It is not a pledge I make to you.  It is a pledge that I make to Christ.  Here is the pledge.

As a servant of Christ, my Lord and King, I pledge to Him my highest love, my utmost loyalty, and my complete obedience at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom.

No one, especially me, will keep this pledge perfectly.  But that is my intent and desire and, with God's help, I will do the best that I can to keep it.

If I truly intend to keep this pledge, then there are certain things that I will need to do, certain attitudes that I must have, and certain things that I must remember.  Here is my list.  There are certainly more things that I will need to do, and if you think of other items I should add to the list, please let me know.  But here is my list.

  • If I intend to keep this pledge, I will delight in God first and foremost and will never forget His amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.
  • I will always remember how God turned my grief at the loss of Joshua into dancing. So I will laugh more and celebrate more and dance more because God is good and His love endures forever.
  • I will go to more parties and make new friends like Jesus did--a great way to spread the message of hope.
  • I will enjoy the unique wrinkles of God's image in every personality.
  • I will take more walks with Louise and gaze in wonder at all of the colors of the setting sun.
  • I will do less in order to do more of what truly matters.
  • I will be kinder and gentler, less judgmental.
  • I will figure out how to teach God's truth while reflecting God's love and grace.
  • I will pray more about everything.
  • I will engage in acts of compassion to help the poor, the sick, and the disadvantaged like Jesus did.
  • I will feel the pain of the approximately 30,000 children who die every day in our world because of malnutrition and related causes and will do something about it.
  • I will grieve more about the roughly 50,000 people who die every day without Christ and will do something about it.
  • I will point people to the Prince of Peace and will work for the day when nations will train for war no more and will beat their swords into plowshares.
  • No matter how deep the valley, no matter how dark the day, I will always trust in God, remembering that one day He will set all things right.
  • I will never forget that there is a Name that is above every name and that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Until that day, we will invite all people to bend the knee to Christ in this life.

Glory to God.  Amen.

Ordination, Part 2

My cup overflows. 

It particularly overflows in the relationships God has given me in life.

 Louise:  If anyone should be recognized tonight, it is my wife Louise.  In our marriage, she is the spiritual giant.  I hope to have a small shack next to her mansion in heaven.  Without her, my work at Joshua's Way would have been almost impossible.  Not only has she helped there in so many ways, she has continued to work outside the home so that I could step away from a full-time law practice to devote time to Joshua's Way.   For over 32 years, she has been my closest confidante and friend.  She is the artist in my life.  She helps me to see all of God's colors in every beautiful sunset and in the ordinary events of life.   She has been God's instrument, smoothing my rough edges, and displaying a wonderful spirit of gentleness and grace throughout our marriage.  Our journey has had a number of unexpected turns--you never thought you would be married to a pastor did you, Louise--, a few dark valleys of death and disease, but an incredible depth of joy and happiness that has been absolutely exquisite.  I cannot imagine life without her.  No husband could ask for a better wife.  As a small token of my love for her, I have some flowers.

 Caleb and Kate:  How about my children who participated in this service?  Half a lifetime ago, God, for His own divine purposes, took our son Joshua, but then God gave Louise and me a double measure of joy by sending us Caleb and Kate.  They are not only my children; they are also my friends who I now often call on for wise counsel and advice.  They are both strong Christians who have been so supportive of me and Joshua's Way.  No father could ask for better children. 

Paige:  And then God gave us a third blessing when Paige, Caleb's wife, came into our lives.  Tonight, she is saving lives in the intensive care unit at Greenville Memorial Hospital.  She too has been so supportive of me and Joshua's Way.

 The entire Rogers' family:    I thank Paul, my physical brother who is also my spiritual brother, who prayed for me tonight.  Many of you know how much time he has devoted to Joshua's Way.  His assistance there has been invaluable. 

Mom and Dad have given us a rich legacy.  You know the Rogers' family is a big family:  six children in all.  The great thing about a large family is that when you need assistance, there is a small army ready and willing to go into action.  I am indebted to all of my family for their encouragement and support, not only of me, but of Joshua's Way. 

Some of my brothers are still a little confused about which brother is the best-looking, but you can ask my sister Rosemarie about that.  She will tell you the truth.

The entire Sullivan family:  When I married Louise, I got another blessing in another large family, the Sullivan family.  Frank and Jo, thank you so much for all that you do, and especially for Louise.

Friends:  I have so many friends here tonight.  Some of you are long time members at Greer First Baptist who may have changed my diapers.  A number of you taught me and trained me over the years.  Then I have other friends here:  Joshua's Way board members, workers, volunteers, supporters.  Some of you, even before the formation of Joshua's Way, kept asking me when I was going to stop talking about spiritual things and thinking about spiritual things and do something.  Kent Satterfield, for example.  He actually badgered me to take action which is exactly what I needed.  Eventually, Joshua's Way emerged.  Thank you, Kent.

Rick Ezell and the ordination council:  Many thanks to Rick Ezell and the entire ordination council.  The entire process was an excellent process.  I deeply appreciate the affirmation of this ordination.  I also appreciate Rick and the council taking a chance by ordaining a lawyer.

Ordination, Part 1

Ordain: To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on.

On January 17, 2010 I followed God's call to the next step in my journey of obedient serve to Him by becoming ordained.  The following series of blogs are my remarks from that evening.

Why am I now seeking ordination?  Why didn't I do this a long time ago?  Well, God needed to chip away at a lot of rough edges in my life.  But understand, I did not just get the call from God tonight.  I got it a long time ago.  This ordination is an important step in the journey, but the journey with Christ began years ago after the loss of Joshua.

Over the last year, I have been asked to do some things in a more pastoral role--marrying people, baptizing, counseling.  And last year for the first time in Joshua's Way's history, our Board decided to offer a Bible study on Sunday mornings.  Last year the owners of Trio Restaurant offered the restaurant as a location for a Joshua's Way Community Bible Study on Sunday mornings.  The JW Board enthusiastically endorsed this idea.  The Community Bible Study began last Sunday and things are going well.  We will see how God leads in all of this. 

War and Peace – Christian Perspectives

"War is one of the constants of history, and has not diminished with civilization or democracy.  In the last 3,421 years of recorded history, only 268 have seen no war."  -Will and Ariel Durant in The Lessons of History (1968)

In our Stellar Bible Study this fall, we took an extended look at Christian Perspectives on War and Peace. There have been differing views in the history of the Church when it comes to war and peace. Here is a quick overview. 

The predominant view of the early church was pacifism; i.e., Christians were not permitted to wage war or even serve in the Roman army. Early Christian leaders argued that the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount (e.g., "love your enemies"; "turn the other cheek") and Christ's own example ("When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate." 1 Peter 2:23a) prohibited Christians from bearing arms.  In addition, because Roman soldiers had to swear allegiance to Caesar, to worship Roman gods, and to engage in cruel acts such as crucifixion, Christians were admonished not to serve in the military. Today, Mennonites, Quakers, and the Amish still embrace pacifism.

A turning point in the history of the Christian faith occurred in the 4th century A. D. when Constantine became the first Roman emperor to endorse Christianity. Given this seismic change in the Roman government, church leader St. Augustine taught that Christians could engage in a "just war". He developed a number of specific criteria for determining when it was permissible to go to war. For example, the war must be waged for defensive purposes, not for revenge, greed, or power. The war must be a last resort. It must be authorized by the duly constituted public authority. The war must also be waged "justly". For example, unnecessary killing should be avoided. Civilians, wounded soldiers and prisoners must be protected and treated humanely. Just war theory is the predominant view among Catholics and Protestants today.

In A.D.1095, Pope Urban II authorized the first of approximately nine Crusades-"holy wars"-to retake Jerusalem and oust the Muslims. Acts of mass slaughter occurred during the Crusades. The first Crusaders, upon re-taking Jerusalem, killed virtually every Jew and Muslim, including women and children, in the city. Such actions were clearly inconsistent with the idea of waging war justly. In our Stellar Study, we concluded, as have most Christians today, that "holy war"-a religiously motivated war to eliminate mass groups of people, including non-combatants-is entirely inconsistent with the teachings of Christ and the New Testament.

In recent years, just peacemaking has gained traction as a focus for Christians.  Instead of asking should we fight or not, we should first ask how we can foster peace. To be sure, peacemaking efforts may fail, and one may then have to determine whether to fight or not, but, as Christians, we should first be peacemakers. Thus, in the schematic (left), all Christians should be within the boundaries of the triangle. Some Christians may lean toward pacifism, others toward just war theory, but all of us should be near the top of the triangle seeking to promote peace. 

As Christians, our views regarding war and peace should first be shaped by our relationship with and supreme allegiance to the Prince of Peace. We should never glorify war, even a just one. Instead, we should remember that His blessing is upon the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). So let us pray for, work for, and long for the day when the nations will beat their swords into ploughshares and will train for war no more. (Isaiah 2:4). May it be so-soon.

 David Rogers

New Humanity

Here there is no Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.   -Apostle Paul, Colossians 3:11

It was true in Paul's day. It is true today. Differences can so quickly become divisions, even in the body of Christ. Those differences can be national or racial-Jew or Gentile.  They can be unimportant religious differences-circumcised or uncircumcised. Cultural differences can divide-barbarians, who could not speak the Greek language, and Scythians, a particularly uncultured group from what is now southern Russia, exemplified cultural differences in the early church. Then there are socioeconomic differences-slave or free. In today's context, Paul might have written, "Here there is no American or Chinese, black or white, Baptist or Methodist, educated or uneducated, rich or poor..."

As Paul wrote to believers in Colossae, he urged them to set their hearts and minds on heavenly things (Col. 3:1-2). They were not to view life from an earthly perspective for, as believers, "Christ is all and is in all." In other words, Christians have a double unity that transcends all earthly differences. There is a horizontal unity for the Spirit of Christ is now "in all" believers, binding them together. Believers also have a vertical unity, for Christ is "all". Christ is the living Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father, to whom believers have pledged their ultimate loyalty. This loyalty transcends all earthly differences and shapes everything that we are and do. Jesus is the centerpiece of our lives. As Mother Teresa said, "Jesus is everything."

In this passage, Paul is contending, I submit, that there is a new humanity, a new ethnic group called Christians-bound together not by race or national identity or socioeconomic status, but by Christ.  

As a follower of Christ who views life through a heavenly lens, how should I primarily identify myself?  For example, what is my true nationality? Not American or Mexican or Chinese, but Christian. My race? Not white or black, but Christian. My primary religious identity? Not Baptist or Methodist, but Christian. My political party? Not Republican or Democrat or Independent, but the Jesus party. My occupation? Not a plumber or a teacher, but a disciple who serves Christ. My home? Not South Carolina, but heaven.

You see, the Apostle Paul did not ultimately sacrifice his life for a nation or a particular racial group or a denomination or a political party or an economic system. He gave his life in the service of Him whose name is above every name-the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the world looks at us, whose flag do they see us flying at the top of our flagpole? If it is not the flag of Christ, then it is time for some rearranging. Until that rearranging occurs, the body of Christ will never be what Christ intended it to be. This lesson is important for Christians in America, particularly for those of us who live in the South.

So let us always remember: "To live is Christ." Everything else, yes everything else, is secondary.

-David <><

Genuine Faith

Joshua's Way is in its 10th year of existence. When we were just beginning this ministry, a leader of another non-profit organization with whom I consulted advised that JW could not be both a teaching ministry and a mercy ministry.  He believed that the demands and requirements would be too great to do both. In some respects he was right. It is indeed challenging to structure a ministry "to teach and to do".  On the other hand, what good is teaching if we ignore the repeated admonitions of Scripture to put our faith into action and, in particular, to help the  needy among us? Here are just a few samples:

  • If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 1 John 3:17
  • Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Isaiah 58:6-7
  • The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7
  • He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. Proverbs 19:17
  • Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. Ezekiel 16:49

Then consider the compelling words of Christ in Matthew 25:31-46. His teaching here ought to make us both tremble at our lack of concern for the needy and, at the same time, motivate us to action. For you see, Jesus reminds us that, when He  returns, there will be an unerring separation of all humanity. Some will be sheep who inherit eternal life. Others will be goats who do not. The sheep are those who responded in  this life to the needy around them-for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat;...I was in prison and you came to Me. The goats are those who failed to respond. 

Now, remember, we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. But if our faith is genuine, if indeed Christ is our Lord, our actions (including how we treat the poor around us)  will show it.  See Matthew 7:21 and James 2:17.   

Am I a sheep or a goat?  Am I helping the needy or not?  How we answer is important-now and forevermore. 

-David <><

No Vile Thing

"I will walk in my house with blameless heart.  I will set before my eyes no vile thing."  --King David (Psalms 101:2b-3a)

Our homes should be havens from the world's influence.  Nothing that enters our homes--TV, internet, CD's, DVD's, books, magazines, conversations--should be vile in God's eyes.  Nothing that enters our homes should entice our hearts or minds to be anything but blameless before God.  To this end, we should carefully screen and, if need be, eliminate harmful influences.  Such an approach in this world will be viewed by many as unrealistic, backwards, reactionary, foolish.  But our preeminent concern is not what the world thinks.  Our concern is what our holy God--who sees and knows all--thinks.

Our Stories

Our stories really only make sense when they are connected to the Grand Story--to God's Story.  The bits and pieces of our stories can seem frantic, disjointed, even meaningless when disconnected from the Grand Story.   But when our own individual threads are sewn into the Grand Story, they make a beautiful tapestry--dark threads and all.  We must learn to see our individual stories through His eyes.

Early Morning in Pawe

It was quiet. The sun had not yet risen. I climbed from my bed, dressed quickly, and then walked out into the hospital compound. Only Mulu, our cook, was already up and at work, preparing breakfast that was yet a few hours from being served. I walked slowly down the dirt road through the hospital grounds, enjoying the cool breeze, the early stirrings of the small birds, and the remote solitude. 

As I exited the hospital gate, I emerged into the small, rural village of Pawe, Ethiopia, located in the Benishangul-Gumuz region-the western part of the country bordering Sudan. A few early morning residents were walking along the dirt road. Several looked inquisitively and nodded politely.  They were not used to seeing a white man in their village. A few children called out, "Ferenj"-foreigner--to which I replied with a nod and a "dehna nachu?"-how are you?

As I walked, I prayed for Pawe-the people, the work JW is doing there, and for change in this place where there is so much darkness-literally and figuratively. 

Literally, during the 3 days that we were in Pawe, we had no power, except for 1-2 hours each day when the hospital generator was turned on. We ate by candlelight each evening. We showered and prepared for bed using our flashlights. Figuratively, there is also much darkness in Pawe. One of every 5 children dies before the age of 5. There is no ready source of pure drinking water. The hospital does not have enough equipment or supplies. Nursing students in the nearby nursing school have no textbooks. There is much spiritual darkness as well. 

Among the four, small evangelical churches in Pawe, there are no pastors. Elders provide oversight at each church, but there is not a shepherd for each flock.

The challenges are so great in Pawe that they can overwhelm, causing one to  wonder if our feeble efforts can really make any difference.

It was at that moment, as I was thinking these thoughts, that the early rays of dawn began to filter through the trees, invading the dark spaces around the mud huts, sending streaks of light down the dirt roads.  Within minutes, the darkness was gone. The light had come. 

As the light surrounded me, I was reminded that the Light of Christ has already come into the world. The darkness has been defeated. There is no place on earth where the darkness is so dark that it cannot be overcome with the Light of Christ.  

As I turned to go back to the hospital compound, I prayed that the Light would overcome the darkness of Pawe and that I would be a faithful bearer of that Light.  -David

I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness-  Jesus

The Disciple's Way

The way to live and believe in 2009

I vow to live a life of love and holiness for God's glory and the advancement of His kingdom.

I pledge to live in obedience to God's holy Word, the Bible.

I know that there is only one true God who exists eternally in three persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and will live each day conscious of His faithful presence. 

I thank God the Father for sending His Son to save me from my sins.

I commit my life to the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only Son, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  I know that He suffered for me during the reign of Pontius Pilate, that He was crucified, died, and was then buried.  On the third day, He miraculously rose from the dead, conquering death.  He ascended into heaven and sits at the Father's right hand.  He will one day come to judge the living and the dead.

I am filled with the Holy Spirit who regenerated me and enabled me to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith.  In the Spirit's power, I serve Christ.

I know that all who follow Christ as Lord and seek to advance His kingdom are my brothers and sisters.

I believe that all human beings are sinners by nature and by choice.  By faith alone in the Lord Christ alone are people saved from their sins and inherit eternal life.  All true believers in the Lord shall live forever in God's glorious presence.  Those who die apart from Christ shall be forever separated from Him.

I thank God that I will one day be resurrected from the dead with a body that is spiritual, glorious, powerful, and imperishable.



"There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment...By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.


But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century."



"Well, I don't know what will happen now; we've got some

difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me

now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't

mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life - longevity

has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just

want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the

mountain. And I've looked over, and I've looked over, and

I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you.

But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will

get to the Promised Land. And so I'm happy tonight; I'm

not worried about anything; I'm not fearing any man. Mine

eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. "