Monday, July 25, 2011
My Nissan SUV, like myself, is getting a little older, It isn't the beauty it once was. I'm a little sensitive about my rear end, or rather the SUV’s rear end. It’s a cosmetic thing!
You see I've been hit four times in the rear! Each time, for one reason or other, not one of the drivers could pay for the repair ... so being a logical and patient Christian, I'm just waiting for another guy to hit me and HE can pay for all five of the damages. Seems sensible. A financially sound perspective.
Well, today I got hit again!
I was slowly backing out of my parking space at a local market when, to my right, I saw this driverless black vehicle rolling down the tween-way gaining speed as it rolled. It was rolling toward me.
I was hoped the vehicle would miss me. I really don't like collisions, especially the driverless kind.
I tensed up, like I usually do when I'm being hit in the rear, and waited ... sure enough it hit the right rear of my car!
So as we men do on such occasions, I got out, walked to the back, put my hands on my hips ... and looked over the situation.
Praise the Lord! No damage done to my car or to the black grocery cart that hit me.
Now I've been hit by the best of cars and orneriest of drivers, but this is the first time I've been hit by an irresponsible out of control black grocery cart.
Well, now I'm waiting for number six!
Friday, July 22, 2011
The leadership at the Union Church in Bogota Columbia heard that a youth speaker from the States was in town. So they called and wanted to know if I would speak a couple of days to their Church teens and speak to the Church Sunday as the Pastor was absent.
O. K. by me. I met with the Church leadership to get a better take on the weekend. I was shocked to find that the Sponsors of their youth were agnostics. The Christian Deacon from the church was apologetic ... he sadly told me that they were the only ones willing to take the Youth of the Church.
I was to be housed with them. They soon heard that a Baptist Youth Worker was to be their guest.
That didn't go over too well.
I climbed the stairs to the double doors of the big house meeting the couple on the porch. Bogota’s weather is rather cold and humid and the meeting between us was as cold yet civil.
Once inside the house I noticed in their foyer lots of healthy green Marijuana plants. They showed me up to my room in the third floor. On the way up I was invited to join their big drinking party in about an hour.
I deferred and went the unpacking route.
The young lady was strong into women’s-lib, the young man had to do his share 50/50. As guest I had to cautiously side step around the constant arguments. It seems they each saw 50/50 differently.
At dinner the couple mentioned to me that the Pastor and his teenage son were out in nearby mountains searching out some special hallucinogen mushrooms. You might say they were on a "trip" of their own. (Sunday service was going to be a challenge.)
My three meetings with the kids went as well as could be expected under the conditions.
It seems that this couple were on a grant studying the effect of a poor diet on young children in poor areas of Bogota.
Our last time together was at breakfast. I remember breakfast well. The young man asked me a little of what I did.
I told him I was a missionary to the very poor street kids (Gaminos) in Mexico.
I'll never forget their surprised look.
The young man leaned over his plate, looking at me ... He stated a stinging question:
"You mean you're an Evangelical Christian, and you give a Damn about the poor?"
I'll never forget that shocking question he stated to me.
Ah yes, we Christians have a great reputation among those of the world! A reputation we well deserve.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Some years ago as I was driving down the road I started on a "pity party." Ever have one of those? No one is patting me on the back so it’s pity me time. I call ‘em "pity parties"
I had been working hard for months; as a result our church had a great youth program, large Sunday School and kids club of hundreds. Outreach ministries every week ... you name it, we were going hot! One of the hottest youth churches on the West Coast!
But my church leaders and pastor didn't give me any kudu’s. No pat on the back. No recognition. In fact my pastor said "Von, you are just the Pied Piper of kids, you snap your fingers and there they come".
Not true! I was working my tail off.
It seemed no one was grateful or could spare any encouragement!
I know! I know! I'm to be a humble servant working for the Lord, and that His "well done" should be sufficient.
My "pity party" continued for miles. Just the three of us: Me, Myself and I.
Then in a sudden and unexpected burst of honesty, I reviewed my own ministry and how I treated my own leaders. Those under me.
I was just as tough on them! They were working for the Lord, that should be sufficient. They could well be having their own "pity parties". I wanted tough hard working leaders, and I had them!
I actually felt like appreciation and encouragement from me were ... well ... a sign of weakness.
It took time for me, a hard working young activist, to understand just how important encouraging others was. I was hungry for it, but somehow I felt it was wrong!
The first standing ovation given me, left me completely frustrated. Being a conduit for God’s ovation felt, well, uncomfortable. It was to be a God thing, not a von thing.
I learned that changes in my perspective were necessary. I made changes based on the following verse.
The Word of God indicates that appreciation and encouragement are essential to a smooth running ministry.
"Encourage each other..." The Word says. (I Thess 5:11) Can't be more specific than this!
I found encouragement in ministry plays the important part of oil in a powerful, smooth running engine.
Oil in an engine isn't an optional liquid. Oil is essential to the smooth running engine ... and I needed to learn that the oil-of-encouragement ... kept the friction down and the ministry /engine lasting longer! Great lesson and so simple.
Brother, check your oil! It’s so easy to forget the need to regularly encourage one another.
The Holy oil of encouragement!
Hopefully each of us is growing in an attitude of gratitude and encouragement.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
"In that you've done it to the least of these, you've done it unto me ..." ~ Matthew 25:45
What did Jesus mean by "the least of these?" "Who did Jesus mean by the least of these?" Are we talking losers here? Worthless individuals. Someone who is simply poor or handicapped? A worthless fool who deserves his consequences?
We can talk about Jesus incognito, and that's an interesting concept, but to make that statement come alive we must be honest enough and courageous enough to define 'least'.
The way I read it, each of us will be judged on how we treat Jesus by treating 'least' people.
If that's true we need to know how God spells 'least'.
Are we who dedicate our ministry to working ground level with losers; the few and fallen ... are we but hopeful fools?
Am I Christian enough to look at a staggering drunk with compassion ... even love?
Are we simply fools, wasting time and money on the worthless.
Little Pepe with no working hands or feet is on one side of worthless ... and then Marcos, an unloved ten-year-old street kid addicted to his spray paint is the other side of worthless.
In a sense both are worthless ... but how does God look at our term "worthless?"
For that matter how many Christians are willing to give to a ministry to the ... worthless?
Scripturally, is there a worthless person in God's sight? For that matter is there a worthy person in God's sight? The answer to both questions is ... no.
We'll continue walking the streets mingling with normal sinners ... along with prime sinners; pimps and prostitutes and addicts to the pill, bottle and needle ... the unlovable, unloved and unlovely.
Our calling is to walk and talk with sinners on the smelly dirty streets of Zona.
Somewhere I hear a divine echo from 2000 years ago ...
"I came to minister to the sick and needy, not to the healthy or righteous." ~ Matthew 9:12, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31
Today's lessons: 1. Go, learn what this means. 2. Come, join us.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Last night twenty teen boys and I watched a rather uncomfortable video. Un-natural. Awkward.
In the film a half dozen skimpily clad and oh so shapely girls took on the world of ugly evil men, in high heels no less.
This film was obviously created and financed by a group of women's libbers, and /or homosexuals add a few metro-sexuals.
The action packed video played out with an obvious agenda; Estrogen will ultimately win over and dominate testosterone!
I'm sitting there watching this fiasco with a room packed full of testosterone! Weird feeling.
These petite girls went up against ugly metal manlike robots three times their size and with little or no weapons they deftly skirted every deadly ray and sword swipe. Hurled and slammed around by these angry red-eyed giants the girls didn't suffer a scratch.
Whiz! Bang! Boom! Action Packed.!
Then the scene changed ... now the girls are facing men at war along with their powerful weapons. Up and down the trenches these girls went, in their high-heels ... dodging bullets bombs, hand-grenades and knives. Mercilessly shooting and bashing in the faces of hundreds of male soldiers. It was slaughter, it was bloody ... and these girls came out the obvious winners.
The spin of the video was so obviously Feminist that the boys groaned ... girls in, boys out. Mr. testosterone, we can do anything you can do and do it damn sight better!
Men, we don't need you!
Estrogen will be the winning hormone. It's testosterone that rapes, kills and fills our jails and prisons. It's testosterone that produces wars. It's testosterone that hunts and kills innocent people and animals. Out with testosterone!
Estrogen is an innocent baby pink, while testosterone is blood red!
Caution Feminists and Woman's Libbers! Caution Unisexers you're playing with dynamite!
When you mess with God defined genders there's trouble ahead.
Gender benders produce gender blunders!
Watch out girls, that you don't cut yourselves in your race to penetrate the "glass ceiling."
NOTE: Today's gender war started a few years back with a simple door! The door was titled "Women's liberation" ... women's freedom! We gentlemen stepped aside and opened the "Women's Liberation" door for you, as gentlemen do.
Our mistake? Big mistake!
We didn't see the sign on the other side of the "Women's Liberation" door that plainly read ... Men's Domination"!
Now the war is on, with what few "real" men we have.
Friday, July 08, 2011
Years ago, while working in the "private sector," Convair Aircraft Corp. I learned a lifetime lesson ... WORK!
I've had the privilege of working both the "Private sector" and the "Public sector" as they are called now.
In the "Private sector" it was obvious we were there to make money for the company. It was in the old days where if you didn't cut it, you were fired. You were "Given your notice" as they put it. So within your eight-hour shift you were to put in eight hours of work ... by their definition!
Our Boss would walk around the area in which we were working singing his little song while smacking his hand with his fist; Go! Go! ... Go! Go!! Go!!! Translated WORK!
I remember the times our Company hired outside "Efficiency Experts" to come in for a few days and "observe us."
I remember them well; dressed in suits looking very intelligent and businesslike; they carried clip-boards and watches ... they stood back for hours studying us and writing notes.
Have you ever been studied? It's a weird feeling.
None of us liked them or wanted them around, but there they were, standing quietly, and observing us. Watching our every move, including how many times we went to the bathroom as well as how long we stayed in the bathroom. If we went to get something, how long did it take; was it the quickest route.
To the efficiency expert it was always about time! Were we wasting Company time?
Then they would compile a report ... an evaluation; which went to the Company. After being evaluated, there would be changes based on their report. Changes!
No doubt, as much as we didn't like them, they made the Company more efficient. They knew their job and did it well. We became more competitive. Produced more dollars for the Company.
Now when the same Company entered into a Government contract there was a world of difference. Ah! There was money, manpower and employment ... and waste.
A time of relaxing.
In all my time working for the Government I never saw an efficiency expert. Of course not! On more than one occasion in fact, our boss would say, "get lost" or "look busy" ... take a hike. Too many men and not enough jobs.
Why is it our leaders won't look into the obvious? (The answer to that question reveals the degree of corruption in our leadership)
Why would they admit to making the dirty mess, let alone investigate it. (City, State and Federal )
The inefficiency, duplication, paperwork, waste and corruption in our Governments is legion. We've all experienced Government at City level, State level and Federal level.
Why won't we see the obvious?
We're tight on money?? Simple solution!
Bring in a few thousand efficiency experts and watch the money roll in as heads roll ... off and out.
Mr. President, maybe we should start by bringing an efficiency expert into your Oval Office. You up for it!
Saturday, July 02, 2011
This Fourth-of-July Weekend, I had the privilege of attending a grammar school graduation. The little auditorium was packed with squeaky clean Graduates and their proud parents and friends.
The ceremony began with everyone being asked to stand while eight kids on the right of the stage, with the flag held high, marched up the stairs and onto the stage. With military order they did a left face, and then took a few steps toward the center; the kid in the middle holding the big flag. The flag was then presented as everyone saluted and voiced together the salute to the flag.
The National Anthem was played and once again everyone saluted and sang together the anthem. They didn't just sing the anthem; they belted it out!
We were still standing, while another group of kids on the left marched down the other side of the auditorium, up the stairs and onto the stage to face the first group of flag bearers The second group received the flag, about faced and marched back down proudly holding the flag, while the first group on the right marched back into the auditorium.
We all were asked to be seated as the ceremony continued.
Indeed the Forth of July and patriotism go hand in hand in our great red, white and blue weekend! Or is that so?
I took the privilege of giving this story a little twist!
This graduation wasn't in our nation. These kids weren't saluting our flag or loudly singing our national anthem! Kids don't do that any more in our nation.
They were saluting the Mexican Flag and singing the Mexican National Anthem!
Standing proud, they sang and saluted with all their hearts!
Mexicans are patriotic! All year, 24/7, little Mexican flags are proudly waving over the humblest of shacks.
Isn't it a shame that I have to go to another nation to experience patriotic kids that are proud of their nation!
Our Fourth of July here in America simply means another Holiday! Barbecue, fireworks and sunburn.
If you don't believe it, just ask an average American kid.
Oh, I might add ... Mexicans don't come over here to be Americans, they come here to be Mexicans in America.