Archive for March, 2012

My Big Fat Trip to Mali (not Greek, however).

Jesus sent a couple of disciples to borrow a donkey. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. It is the day we commemorate Jesus’ triumphal ride into Jerusalem. The people placed palm branches on the ground before him crying, “Hosanna.” Less than a week later, many of the same people would be yelling, “Crucify Him.” Tomorrow we begin a remembrance of the events of the holiest of weeks for Christians.

I have no doubt that Jesus was not as heavy physically as I am. I would break the poor donkey’s back if I were to get on it. The West Africans tell me that I am “billy, billy, ba.” (Pronunciation, not correct spelling). It means, ‘big and fat’, or at least that is how I interpret it.

The second trip I made into the village where we have planted a Church in Mali was as incredible as the first. We were planning to walk about three miles to an adjacent village where there had been great interest shown in the Gospel. It was April, and extremely hot. There was a major discussion among the Africans. Finally, the translator looked at me and said, “They are concerned you cannot make the trip.” A seventy plus gentleman was standing beside me, and I said, “What about him?” They are not worried about him. So I said, “Well, maybe I can ride in a donkey cart.”

Suddenly about five African men were rolling in the dirt laughing out loud (big belly laughs.) “What is so cotton pickin’ funny?” I asked. “They said, You are bigger than the donkey.” replied the interpreter. So if I am bigger than the donkey, I must be heavier than Jesus was. Life in West Africa always brings surprisingly funny moments.

By the way, you may notice the base of a cell phone tower in the background of the picture. And yet you see instead of a pick-up truck they use donkey carts. The women are shown walking with buckets of water on their head. There is no electricity in our village. There is no running water. Bathrooms are still “squatty potties” (holes in the ground.) But we now have two cell phone towers. Competition has come.

Malians Pay the Price

Posted: March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

Malians Pay the Price.

So I received an update from an American friend in Mali. She and a number of others have decided to leave the country, some to Senegal, and others to Burkina Faso. ECOWAS has decided to impose sanctions trying to force the military junta to restore democracy. The U.S and others have also imposed sanctions.

So what does this mean for the people? With the borders closed, fuel will soon become difficult to get. Food prices will begin to climb in a country where most are generally poor to begin with. Soon tempers will begin to flare, and violence increases. The question then arises, who do the sanctions impact the most?

Our dear African friends suffer, largely for no fault of their own. Please increase your prayers for all. It appears the soldiers in control have made little effort to negotiate.in the north Al Qaeda and the Tuaregs continue to impose havoc. What a mess?

The Bible says the king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord and like a river He turns it whatever way He desires. Pray God will restore peace and the Gospel can be shared freely.

Good News out of Nigeria

Posted: March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

Good News out of Nigeria.

In 2010, I traveled to Nigeria at the invitation of NIFES, and we saw thousands of college students put their “Yes” on the table so that God might put it on the map. All across the parts of Nigeria that I traveled I saw a tremendous openess to the Gospel, and it was amazing to see the commitment level of college students tha wanted to impact their world.

This morning I want to pose a question. What could the death of one Jewish man on a Roman cross have to do with me? Literally thousands of people died on Roman crosses. It was the most humiliating and painful form of capital punishment ever devised. Mel Gibson protrayed the physical aspects of it pretty clearly in the movie, The Passion.

Roman law forbade that a Roman citizen be crucified, except in the most extreme cases of treason. The book of Deuteronomy said, “Cursed is anyone hung on a tree.” But on that day approximately 2000 years ago, a carpenter from Nazareth was hung on a cross outside Jerusalem between two thieves.

So what? As I mentioned, thousands of people died on crosses, executed by the Romans. So what, if Pilate said, “I find no fault in this man.” So what if the trials he endured were based on trumped up charges and lies? So what that much of it was illegal? After all, throughout history many good men and women have been falsely charged and put to death for the name of religion.

This man, however, was different. He claimed to be God. He said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” He said, “the Father and I are one.” The Jewish religious leaders of that day accused Him of blasphemy, so clearly did He state His claims to divinity.
So was He Lord, as He claimed? Or was He a liar, or a lunatic?

The Bible says that God the Father, took the sins of mankind and placed them on God the Son, on a cross. The Bible teaches that Jesus did not die accidentally as a martyr, but intentionally as a substitutionary savior. So that I Cor. 1:15 would say, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”

If Jesus told the truth, if the testimony of history is accurate, if the faith of millions is testimony, then this was not just an ordinary man dieing a cruel death like thousands of others.
This man was as Josh McDowell has written, “More than a Carpenter”.