Asia

Mr. George Muller was an incredible man of faith and trust. He ran an orphanage and cared for over 10,000 children in his lifetime. He never begged for money, yet the money to care of the orphans came in miraculously time after time. He would let the need be known, and pray, asking God to provide. Simple Ministries is going back to Asia, site and exact purpose of the ministry is under wraps because of the sensitivity to government demands. Bibles will be given out, pastors will be trained to study and prepare to teach and preach the Gospel, and for the first time, the Gospel for children will be shared. We are looking to have $20,000 in the next 6 weeks. We are asking God…will you ask with us? http://www.provesimple.comFullSizeRender 80

We need some AC/DC

acdcI have been an AC/DC fan for 36 years. Those Aussie dudes crank out those driving guitar sounds that fuel my 4 mile runs, and when Angus Young saws down on that Gibson SG…I punch it into overdrive! Lately, I have noticed my son, now a college sophomore, buying AC/DC on iTunes! But none of that matters…today (9-8-15) on ultimateclassicrock.com, the lead singer, Brian Johnson, when asked if the band was considering retiring, said these words…

“We don’t know what we’re doing. I mean, we literally don’t know what we’re doing, except what we’re doing is we just play 100 percent every night and give it everything we’ve got. If that’s the secret of success, we’ll pass it on. But we never expect the crowds. We never take anything for granted…You’ve just got to keep doing what you’re doing, basically, and just hope they come back for more.”

Incredible! They don’t know what they are doing??? Just Youtube AC/DC in South America and look at the sea of people at one of their concerts! The allegiance, the faithful, the deranged, the derelicts, by the hundreds of thousands…they are all there bowing down…and AC/DC says they don’t know what they are doing? Are you kidding me?

I’m a pastor, and we at Fresh Church (Columbia, South Carolina) know what we are doing. We are building the Kingdom of God. It’s time we kick it into overdrive! We need to be faithful to God, being 100% loyal to Him, and not taking Him for granted, but worshipping Him every day.

No…I don’t have time to debate the lyrics of AC/DC and why I listen to them while I run.

Mercy!

A man went to the pastor and said, “I’m done with church and you Christians…all you ever talk about is give, give, give!” The pastor, not shaken, but stirred to respond, said with a smile on his face, “Thank you! For years I have been trying to summarize and define what a Christ follower really is and you have done it for me!”

In Matthew 9, Jesus is eating with the “riffraff” and the self important super spiritual folks are upset because He is hanging around blatant sinners. Scripture says they spoke it within earshot of Jesus and the Lord responded, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’

Here’s what it means: Religion requires me to look at myself and come up with something to sacrifice or give up (usually something I am throwing away) …not bad, but certainly not the best. Mercy says that you will give. Jesus is looking for His followers to show compassion and mercy, to give because Jesus lives in them. I challenge you today to give, give, and give.

China Summer 2015

China 259By now you have discovered that giving out Bibles in China is a signature project for Fresh Church. My wife and I started Simple Ministries last year to organize our passion for giving out God’s Word all over the world. God has allowed me as pastor to lead distributions in central Asia over a dozen times now. I plan to go back many more times, God permitting.

For hundreds of years mission work on the other side of the planet was reserved for a select called few. To learn a foreign language took almost a lifetime and the traveling was a nightmare. However, the world has gone “glocal”. Local churches and her people can go global very quickly. Not only can we hop on a jet and get to Shanghai in 18 hours, but via the phone and Internet you can communicate instantly. Relationships can be formed, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is shared.

Follow me as I lead our church to do incredible missions by simply being fresh. Sometimes the freshest thing you can do it is to make it where people can read and study God’s Word. Let’s continue to make an impact and contribution to the Kingdom of God by going and giving. China 2016 is right around the corner for us! http://www.provesimple.com

Practice what you preach

 “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”                                                                                                                                  -Matthew 7:26

Allen Iverson, arguably one of the greatest NBA players ever, and at the same time went bankrupt, was captured on video ranting about practice years ago. Evidently he missed an important practice session and the coach and team were upset at him. He kept repeating to reporters who questioned him insistently, “It’s not a game, it’s just practice….we are just talking about practice!” Iverson was convinced he was so good he didn’t need to practice, but only needed to show up for the game. Youtube it…it is priceless!

I think that is us! Every day we get up there is a game and it’s called life. Problem: We never go to practice. Yes we go to church, or read the Bible, and/or pray…but how many of us live it? Schedule a practice round today. Select something Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5,6,7] and do it. I think I am going to select “peace” today (Matthew 5:9). I am going to show peace to others, be peace, do peace, and be generous about my peace. I’m going to give it a chance! Jesus says when you do, you are called a child of God.

Get in the game today…PRACTICE makes perfect they say.

China 2014

Friend Church at the Connie Maxwell Children’s Home

This is how Friend Church spent part of our Christmas holiday. We do stuff like this all of the time!

Buddy

Discipline is the key to living a successful life. I suppose my working definition is doing the right thing in spite of feeling like doing what you want…then after a while it becomes normal, natural and feels right. For me, going to church is a discipline. When Sunday comes, I am in church…period. Two weeks ago, I was in China and I was in church. This past week I was on vacation, and when Sunday rolled around, I was in a local church. I can’t skip! If I even entertain not going, then everything in me rises to the top to attack my laziness. Something always, always happens when you go to church. There is an encounter with almighty God and when that occurs your life is altered to right living.

This past Sunday at Jekyll Island Baptist Chapel, there were 75 folks, mostly blue haired and well into retirement. Ten past the worship hour, trudging down the middle aisle (really the only aisle), came Buddy. Buddy was bent over, having a difficult time putting one foot in front of the other, and he finally made it to the 2nd row while the rest of us were singing some ’80’s praise song. The pastor transitioned to the announcements and like most small Baptist communities, he recognized the upcoming birthdays. Buddy’s birthday is in late August. Pastor Bill asked rather loudly, “Buddy, how old will you be?” And Buddy said, “96”. 

I kept my eye on Buddy the rest of the service.  As the soloist got up to sing an old hymn, I watched Buddy mouth every single word. When the pastor got up to preach, Buddy followed him in his Bible and listened intently. Then when the offering plate was passed, Buddy didn’t just drop in some money, no, he had an envelope prepared, I couldn’t see clearly what was written on the outside (it was none of my business), but Buddy had decided before he got there how much he would give. Perhaps I will never see Buddy again on this planet…but one day…one day I will see him on the other side.

Buddy, even at almost 96 lives a disciplined life.

Family Bible

It’s hard to explain, but I have a passion to see the Word of God placed in the hands of poor Chinese living in rural China. I believe God’s Word changes the world…period. We could give them food with our money, but after they eat it, then it’s gone. We could use our money to provide them the stuff that we think is important in America…like the latest fashions (my goodness they need clothes!), the latest technology, our love for entertainment, or some of our religious views (they had that and God got rid of it). No…the Bible is God’s Word and it’s sharper than any two-edged sword and it never, no never returns void. In other words, it produces, it convicts, it changes, and it will always be TRUTH.  I’m begging you, as friends, soon to be friends, heck, I don’t care if you don’t like me….but please give to buy Bibles for people in this world.

Here’s my latest attempt to convey my thoughts and heart…it’s a short video with The Blind Boys of Alabama with Willie Nelson singing an old time song. For more information on our next trip please see our website at Friend Church. http://www.friendchurch.com  

Upcoming Trip

Tomorrow I will travel 28 hours to the other side of the world to give out Bibles in Asia. Because of the nature of the trip I cannot disclose my travel itinerary or with whom I am traveling. With less than 24 hours until I depart, I have started thinking of the purpose of the trip. I have begun asking myself why I go? Why do I spend this money? Am I having a bout of  travelers remorse? Does this trip and trips like these make me super spiritual? Maybe they elevate me to a new level of religious nirvana? Nooooooooo!

However, pride does creep in and….well you know what that does. God has given me a heart for the Word to be put into the hands of hurting, poor, and lost people.  My only prayer is that others catch this burden and desire and that you too will go with me and see what happens when give yourself away and more importantly when you give God’s Word away. It is more life changing than chasing more money or chasing that perfect job.

Give your life away…quit being selfish…open your eyes to the needs all around you today…I promise,  you will find exactly what you need!

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