Saturday, October 30, 2010

Angkor Wat

I just got back from speaking in Bangkok, Thailand, and since I was so close to Cambodia, I had to take a couple of days to go to Angkor Wat.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Branded Faith

Check out this video from my friend and fellow pastor, Kumar Dixit.

Branded Faith Film part 1 from Dixit Media Group on Vimeo.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I thought you might find this interesting...I am not sure how I feel about some of the comments made...

Adventists Claim Credit for Chilean Miner Miracle
by Jared Wright

As dramatic rescue efforts continue in Chile, where thirty-three miners were trapped deep inside a San Jose mine for 69 days and counting, Adventists are vying for recognition as the ones responsible for the miracle.

According to a report from the Guardian, "Evangelical, Adventist and Catholic clerics are vying to stamp their own faith on the expected rescue of the trapped men."

The report notes that each denomination is taking credit for what many Chileans perceive to be divine intervention in the miners' two-month survival.

An Adventist pastor who oversees the northern Chilean district of Copiapo has claimed direct involvement: "God has spoken to me clearly and guided my hand each step of the rescue," said Carlos Parra Diaz, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor at the San Jose mine. "He wanted the miners to be rescued and I am His instrument."

On August 31, the Adventist News Network reported that Parra Diaz coordinated the delivery of small Bibles with accompanying magnifying glasses to each of the trapped miners.

Each Bible is labeled with the words, "We are praying for your return." [A Brazilian news] magazine also said that Psalms 40 is highlighted in each Bible. The passage reads, in part, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit ... and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps."

The church also gave a copy of the Bible to the ministers of health and mining, as well as to each of the families at the rescue site. Parra is acting as the camp's chaplain, local Adventist leaders said.

According to the Guardian, however, the Adventist minister has competition. A litte bit further up the hill of Camp Hope, the improvised settlement of miners' families, rescuers, government officials and media, an evengelical preacher, Javier Soto , wandered from family to family with a guitar and songs of praise. "He listens to the music," said the pastor, gesturing to the azure sky.

Still, the Advantage may belong to Parra Diaz, who was granted permission to speak to the miners' families on a regular basis, the Guardian reports. Diaz stole a march over his rivals by obtaining permission to give a 10-minute talk to the assembled 33 families before their nightly briefing by government officials. "I do macro work. I am pastor to all." The other churches, he said, did "micro" work.

A Catholic cleric on hand refused to be drawn into the competition for religious prominence. Bishop Quintana, after concluding a mass in which TV cameras outnumbered worshippers, declined to be drawn on the subject of competition but said he had received supportive emails from all over the world. "What matters is that God is acting through human ingenuity to rescue these men."

It seems evident that the successful conclusion to this crisis situation is a boon for religious organizations including the Adventists in the area. However, given the routinely high mortality rate of miners in Chile's extremely dangerous privately owned mines, perhaps the religious leaders involved would do well to expand the scope of their petitioning for divine intervention. To include the hardworking poor and unprotected in prayer would be no minor miracle.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hospital for sinners

"Church is a hospital for sinners, not a country club for saints."

Ever had that statement before? The truth is that in the church, everyone has a common problem, it’s a sin problem. It’s not just that we sin, the real problem is that we were born with a sinful nature, which means whether or not we are committing acts of transgression against God’s law, we are still sinners.
Unfortunately, many pretend they don't have a problem. In many churches stories are told about people who used to sin, and that’s OK as long as those people give testimonies that have happy endings, “I used to have a problem, but then I met God, and now I'm doing much better.”

Imagine seeing a counselor and saying, "I only want to talk about problems I used to have. Don't ask me to acknowledge having any current problems, okay? I mean, it's embarrassing. I'm afraid you might reject me." Why would anybody go to a counselor to try to convince him/her that they don't need a counselor?

Church is a place to come with your struggles, addictions, dysfunctions, doubts, fears, and victory over sin through Christ. The church needs to be the place of greatest safety and healing. The church needs to be a place where we enter into relationships that will encourage us and hold us accountable. The church should be a place where we can have conversations with other sinners, conversations that lead us to repentance, forgiveness, growth, healing, and change

So, let us do our best to remember that the church is a hospital for sinners. And, let’s extend God’s mercy, love, and forgiveness to all that come through those doors.