Os Guinness On Globalization

In one of the sessions at the Lausanne conference Os Guinness argued that,

“…globalization, the process, represents the greatest challenge to the Gospels since the apostles and the greatest opportunity for the Gospel since the apostles.”

Os defined globalization as, “The process through which our human interconnectedness has now reached truly global proportions.”

This leads him to discuss what drives globalization and he concludes, “But the deepest driver today is information technology.”

This was all part of an introduction to further material that is captured in a 15 minute video where Os talks about why he thinks this is important. (I would have embedded the video here but there is only one size available and it’s way too wide for our blog.)

Being a missionary that deals primarily with information technology I was pretty happy to hear this from such a high profile leader. Especially when he says things like,

“If we had longer we could see how what’s happening in the global revolution centered on information technology has been described as significant as the rise of the wheel or the invention of the alphabet and of human writing.”

Very motivating to me and I hope to others who are interested in reaching the world with the Gospel.

He makes a statement later in the video that also really caught my attention, though it has nothing to do with tech. I agree with it, though I wont opine at length about the implications but rather repeat it here for any who read to consider. Os says, “The church in the west is in profound cultural captivity.”

Is it? And if so (like I said, I do think so) what can we do about it?

Burning the Qur’an

A full page advertisement was run in the New York Times today that was pretty simple. The top half of the ad, in bold letters reads, “Burning the Qu’ran does not illuminate the Bible”. There is a web address, www.FaithandRespect.com and below that, a list of people supporting the statement. That list includes the president of Campus Crusade for Christ Int., Steve Douglas. Steve also released the statement below.

September 10, 2010

Steve Douglass
Campus Crusade for Christ, President

Statement on Uniting with Christian Leaders of the World
In response to Possible Burning of the Qur’an

The burning of the Qur’an contemplated this week is inconsistent with the response to Islam of mainstream, biblical Christianity. The advertisement published in
today’s edition of the New York Times affirms that this act would not represent my personal views, the views of our organization, or, in my opinion, the position of the vast majority of the leaders of the Christian World.

With any faith, an extreme stance of one person does not necessarily reflect the position of the larger group.

I commend Pastor Terry Jones for the decision that he made not to burn copies of the Qur’an. I pray that he will stick with that decision. Burning copies of the Qur’an will needlessly place many lives in danger.

I don’t really have anything to add of my own. I agree that burning the Qur’an is wrong and does not reflect the teachings of Christ or the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Praying in May?

I like to pray. I like it even more when I know stuff that I can pray about specifically. I think I’m not alone and to help others to know how they can pray for what’s going on at CCCI, there are a number of resources. I’ll point out a couple here that are new for May.

The GTO prayer calendar is a list of prayer requests for our department (Global Technology Office) and Ingrid put’s together a new one every month. You can see this months by clicking on this link.

Crusade has a Prayer ministry that puts together a prayer journal every month that can be downloaded as a pdf file. Here is a link to the May Global Prayer Movement Journal.

If you really enjoy that – the home page for the Global Prayer Movement is a good one to know. They’ve got some great reports and prayer request up right now from all over the world that were put together for our Global Day of Prayer last week.

Outreach in Poland

This is a cool video for a number of reasons. It’s got good music, it’s ministry taking place in a country that was behind the iron curtain not that long ago and fits nicely with a Biblical admonition. I’ll leave you with that and the video below.

“Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
After all, everyone dies
so the living should take this to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us.
A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time.”
Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

While the loss of loved ones is sad, it is an opportunity to reflect on the nature of life and the things that really matter.

Sam

This is Sam Varghese. Sam is the IT leader for South Asia and lives in Bangalore India with his wife and sons. Sam shares a bit about himself, his family and his ministry. Sam uses a word that I think would be worth explaining and that is “capacity”. Sam is heavily involved in every aspect of ministry including the operations side of things. Building capacity means putting in place resources, systems or processes that help us to do more ministry. This is a very important aspect of the work that we do.

At the end Sam mentions that he is involved in discipling students, and is trusting God that some of them would become “multipliers”. It is the goal of Campus Crusade for Christ that we not just build ministries but rather that we build movements. That new believers are discipled and become actively engaged in sharing the gospel and discipling others. This is what he means by multipliers.

I’ve worked with and for Sam remotely quite a bit, it was a joy to get to meet Sam face to face and spend some good time together working towards ways to fulfill the Great Commission.

I forgot to mention – that’s Steve Pierce in the background. He is undoubtedly doing something incredibly important during this break in the conference.

Super Bowl Breakfast

Every year, before the Super Bowl, there is the Super Bowl Breakfast. At the breakfast the winner of the Bart Star Award. The Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award is given annually to an NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. This is a very cool event with a lot of the top names in NFL football attending. But why I am I telling you?

This year the breakfast will be edited (to shorten up the time frame a bit) and broadcast over the internet. It’s going to be available by 6 pm Saturday, the 6th of February. (Eastern Time I assume.) I’m not sure how long it will be up, but this is a great opportunity for any men’s group that wants an opportunity to get together and watch. The Gospel will be presented. Or if you have a friend or neighbour that you would like to see it you could do that too. There is no cost to watch it. I’m assuming the video itself will be available right here once it is ready. You can get more information about it at the Athletes In Action page about it. I’m sorry for the late notice, I just found out about the web broadcast today. The AIA page has some video from last year if you want to see what it is like. I’ll be checking it out, I hope you do too.

Funtunfunefu-Denkyemfunefu

My wife lived in Ghana for a year before we met. She has some great photos and had some pretty unique experiences living without most of the modern conveniences we take for granted. She did without things like electricity and running water.* She has a pendant she bought there that she wears on a necklace. It is cut in the shape of the Adinkra symbol Gye Nyame. It means “except God” and represents the supremacy of God.
We’ve been married for over 11 years now, and I’ve always imagined that this was a local symbol peculiar to the village or region where she was living. Then last week I was looking at African Tees and saw it on a shirt. I did some digging, found the links I’ve put above, and others. I just started googling and following the links and it was a great time.** There are a quite a few Adinkra symbols and they have some great meanings. One that I found to be especially interesting is Funtunfunefu-Denkyemfunefu, Siamese crocodiles.
Siamese crocodiles have two heads, as shown in the symbol, but one stomach. It is in their best interest to cooperate yet they fight over food. This symbol represents the importance of democracy and unity in diversity. What an incredible picture of a concept that so few really grasp. That it comes out of Africa speaks volumes, in my mind, to the fact that even when humans can clearly see the right path, we are incapable of walking it on our own.

And of course on a smaller scale it makes me think about the Church and Christians. We are a diverse group, spread all over the world, called to one purpose. Yet often our greatest levels of conflict are with one another. This in the face of the fact that we are commanded to do the opposite and have been given the Holy Spirit to assist us in that regard. It seems in times of conflict and strife with one another that this ought to be a key indicator that has us stop and search our hearts and motives. Are we walking in the Spirit or in the flesh?

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
Ephesians 4:1-6(NLT)

Footnotes below the jump.
Continue reading

The Two Crying Women

I had one of those mornings a couple weeks ago, the kind of morning where I woke up a bit late, the kids were running late, it took Rachel forever to eat her cereal, I was late getting my morning coffee, but finally, Rachel made it to safety patrol for the school and I got in the van to drive Eddie and Hannah to school.  As I was driving, I was pretty cranky, but managed not to yell at the kids which is a miracle in itself.  In my head I was throwing a pretty good pity party.  Fortunately, there were no crazy people in the car loop honking horns or taking forever to make the left into the school.  I dropped Eddie and Hannah off at the front of the school and as I was driving slowly in line leaving the school, that’s when I saw this first mom.

Lately, I have recalled the face frequently in my mind.  The cheeks on her face were red and splotched as tears spilled down her face.  Her hair was thrown back in a quick pony tail with hair coming out of it in many directions.  Three kids were in her car, two little ones in the back and one that was dressed for school.  She wiped her face several times as it was evident she was trying to put herself together.  Fortunately, she never noticed my stupid stare in the few seconds her image imprinted itself in my brain.  The child in the front seat had brown eyes and was staring openly at his mother with a face filled with concern.  I had never seen her before and I’m not sure if I will again.  I have been there before, in her situation.  The times where you are overwhelmed and the tears are hard to control.  My heart was filled with empathy.  After seeing her and then driving by her, my pity party vanished as I realized how good I have it.

That same night, my kids and I were riding bikes through the neighborhood delivering invitations to our neighbors for a cookie exchange we were having in our neighborhood.  As we rode our bikes by a particular townhome, a women stepped out holding a small child, most likely under the age of one.  We were a bit of a distance away from her, so we crossed the street and rode our bikes up to her.  The kids stayed on their bikes, and I got off of mine so I could give her the invitation.  As I approached it, I saw the tears on her face as well.  Tears were actually on her eyelashes and she quickly wiped her face as I drew nearer.  I invited her to the event and talked with her a bit.  She is new to the neighborhood and speaks excellent English, but profusely explains how she needs to learn English, when I don’t know but about 12 phrases in Spanish.  She explained to me her loneliness for others.

These 2 women in my mind represent so many people in our society that perhaps go unnoticed, but yet, they are hurting.  JR constantly reminds me, “People’s lives are usually worse than what we can imagine”  I’m not really sure why I am sharing this.  You see, I am reading this book called The Reason For God and I am so impressed at the authors ability to tell us, quote is mine because it’s how I interpret it “Hey, we’re all screwed up – the only goodness we get is simply an act of God’s grace – don’t think you are better than you are, don’t judge people, love them, be there for them, help them, reach out to them.  Don’t ignore them.”  So, I think of these 2 women.  I met the one woman, because she did come to the cookie exchange.  Join me in prayer for both of them.

Weekend to Remember

In June, Ingrid and I had the privilege of working as volunteers at the Family Life Weekend to Remember conference in Orlando. It was a really great time. Family Life is a CCCI ministry that focuses on the family oddly enough. The Weekend to Remember conferences focus on marriage and are a time for couples to come together, learn more about how to build up their relationship and they also have time to start the process of doing so.

There were 740 in attendance and the conference was a great time. Though Ingrid and I were working, we got to sit in on all the sessions and take advantage of the great speakers and materials, just like all the other attendees. We recommend the conference to anyone who is married (or about to be) and we found it to be incredibly helpful.

At the end of the week-end people had an opportunity to share their thoughts in an open mic type forum. Ingrid tried to jot down a few of the comments that she heard, and here they are:

“After 8 years of separation and this conference, God has worked on us and is now restoring our marriage.”

“I filed for divorce last year and we are separated, but God did a miracle in my heart. I realized it’s not all him (her husband of course). We have discovered each other in a new way.”

“Me and my wife have been married for 30 years and i don’t think we would have made it anymore with out this conference.”

“After 7 years of marriage, we have never talked as deep as we have talked until this conference.” (from the husband)

“We have very busy lives and we never find time for each other. This has brought us a lot closer together.”

“My wife and I have been married 17 years. This has been a tremendous awakening. We became soul mates last night.”

“I’ve been asking God for children for 13 years and I forgot what gift I had from God sitting right next to me.” (this was very emotional, I wish you could have heard it in person)

“We have been married 4 years and have 3 children. The one question I had for God before coming here was, ‘Why God do you make men so different?’ They (the differences) allow us to build each other and become holier to God. I’m excited for the first time to be that daughter of God.”

The conferences are held all over the country, throughout the year. If you might be interested, check out the links above or let us know.