Evangelism/Discipleship

Several years ago, a Muslim background believer told me that God had shown him my face in a dream. In the dream it was revealed to him that I was the one who would lead him spiritually when he came to the USA. I was naturally skeptical of such visions, understanding the parameters, which Scripture provides for walking with God. Still, knowing that many phenomena off this sort had been occurring in the Muslim community, yet being committed to the sufficiency of Scripture, I sought too disciple this interesting person. Now, after years of Bible study, counseling and prayer with him, I am more skeptical than ever about extra biblical visions, and remain totally committed to Scripture as our guide unto God. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Being the focus of such a vision is a temptation to pride. What Christian minister does not want to be an answer to a person spiritual needs. Yet, we must keep firmly in mind that we are not ultimately the answer. God is the answer through Christ, energized by the Holy Spirit and communicated by means of the Scripture. We simply point individuals to Christ through the Scripture.  
  2. Being the focus fo such a vision may create an unhealthy reliance. If an individual focuses on you instead of the Savior, they will become dependent in an unhealthy way. Rather than finding answers in the Word of God and comfort in their relationship and communion with God, they depend on you. This is ultimately destructive on every level.
  3. This kind of relationship tends to take time away from other people and other areas of ministry, as the dependent person demands attention and desires to be the focus of your activities.

I remember desiring to be with the person who led me to the Lord without interference from others. I wanted my spiritual father to myself. Thankfully, he did not allow this and immediately eased me into the larger community of believers. The teaching of the New Testament is that ministry happens best in community– in the body of Christ with each of member doing their share.

So while evangelistic ministry is best done one on one, discipleship is best done in community.

Urban Peaks

Recently I began working as a coordinator for a non-profit organization called Urban Peaks. Urban Peaks has the same ownership as Metro Rock Climbing gyms. Deb and I originally asked the owner of Metro Rocks if I could work part time in-order to pay for our membership at Metro Rock.

The way this all worked out is interesting. The owner asked me to work at Urban Peaks rather than Metro Rocks, which still pays for our yearly membership at Metro Rock. Actually, Deb was granted, basically, an honorary membership since she is known as the gym mother. She was granted this status as a result of her practice of brining home made baked goods each time we go to Metro. What I thought would be a mundane job that allowed us a membership at a workout gym, turned into a coordinators leadership position at non-profit designed to help underprivileged children.

There are several reasons why it is good to work at Urban Peaks: 1) working there provides some financial assistance, which helps our budget 2) We are becoming more of a part of the Metro family, which allows us to share our life in God more effectively. 3) Being an employee of Urban Peaks allows me to travel more easily to non-access countries. 4) The purpose of Urban Peaks is to help underprivileged youth experience rock climbing. Like any athletic discipline there are many benefits from participation. 5) There will be the opportunity to engage many Christians groups in Boston, who are ministering to at risk kids, and to help them use Metro Rock gyms as part of their ministry plan. 6) This, in turn, helps me to become better acquainted and to engage with all parts of Boston. 7) Part of my fund raising efforts for Urban Peaks will involve me with various climbing clubs across Boston including universities and college climbing clubs. A good thing for Deb and I and the Boston and Beyond ministry.

It is interesting that what started as a financial hardship resulted in a strategic partnership with a secular non-profit. God had a nexus of reasons to bring a financial need upon us. Solving that need is opening new avenues of ministry, and causing me to think through other ways of engaging in ministry.

Good Morning

Deb and I have been going to bed early, so it was not hard to arise at 4:30am. I am longing to write more, and, for the time being, early morning may be the time.

I desire to write to be a blessing. At 64 I have observed a bit of life. I have learned lessons, which I hope to pass on to all, but especially to those whom I know and love.

It seems to me, it might be easier to communicate life lessons by writing than by speaking them. Some folks will read advice more easily than listening to advice.

So, what do I have to say today? I don’t know, but I can say this, at 64 it seems good to be alive. I am 6 weeks into hip replacement recovery. Received the news yesterday that it will be another 6 weeks before I should rock climb–not happy about that. Also, probably will need to cancel a summer trip to climb the Grand Teton. It’s not so much the climb but the hike through a huge boulder field on the way to the climb. Still, I am alive and well with plenty of reason to love life.

Next week, Boston and Beyond will become an official part of the life and ministry of Baptist Mid-Missions, and, on April 2, Deb and I move into a tiny Brownstone 250 feet from the Back Bay Station in Boston. Both of these happenings brings joy and hope to my heart. Joy in that we sense God’s firm leading hand. Hope in that we realize God still desires to use us into our old age.

Around 43 years ago, I realized my desperate need for God and responded to Him in faith believing that Jesus is the Savior. Since then God has taken care of me. He has preserved me, refined me, made me.

The life lesson is this: Walk with God and you will not regret it.

Christmas 2018

Recently, I wrote about our financial need as missionaries. I am concerned that my letter may have sounded like Deb and I were having a tough Christmas. So, it seems important to tell you that we feel mightily blessed by God this Christmas of 2018.

The week before Christmas, when it looked like I would have hip surgery, four of our five children made plans to fly to Boston in order to be with their mom during surgery. They were coming from as far away as Jackson, Wyoming, Chicago and Simpsonville, South Carolina. They were willing to drop everything and come at a moments notice to make sure mom would be alright. We have 5 children and 11 grandchildren. Our children love each other and desire to spend time together and even inconvenience themselves to do so.

Not only has God blessed our family, He has also given us a strategic part in the building of His church. Boston and Beyond a globalized cities initiative is almost vetted and ready to go. The purpose, plan and procedures for B&B have been thoroughly explained in a number of our prayer letters, so I won’t repeat that here. However, I do want to emphasize that we sense God’s presence in this endeavor and are extremely excited about joining our Savior in the Great Commission mobilized cities of the world.

In addition to these things, Deb and I have each other. We have been married for 40 plus years now, and I can honestly say we continue to fall more deeply in love each year.

Beyond this, we have a wonderful close knit church family that is living the gospel in East Cambridge Massachusetts. Our plans/dreams are biblically correct, and our fellowship is helpful to each other and pleasing to God. We are making progress.

I have not taken the space or time to write in detail about the meaningful friendships we have outside of Boston, our extended family, of our faithful supporters, or of our missionary team, which is growing both numerically but more importantly organically (we are becoming one in spirit). Suffice it to say, all these relationship round-out the blessing bestowed upon us by God.

In conclusion, it is true, Deb and I have some financial and physical challenges to face in 2019–so what, you do probably as well. The point is this, God is blessing our socks off. Our Savior is continuing to save us, and we have no doubt that 2019 will be more of the same.

So, this Christmas 2018 is a blessed Christmas all the way around.

Bill

Edmo-Christmas 2017

Don’t be Self-Centered

October 8, 2017

Jude 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.

This is an odd place to renew my devotional diary, but I just felt it was time. I desire to help, in any little way I can, my many friends made through the years.

The word translated worldly minded in Jude 19 refers to a person who is not spiritual or overtly sinful. They can converse intelligently about the world around them and may be quit friendly, but they are self-centered. Their world revolves around themselves. Self-satisfied, they are actually shallow individuals who have a small universe consisting of self.

The self-centered life is actually a miserable existence. True life, abundant life, meaningful life is one spent for others. This kind of life is based upon a true knowledge of God’s intention for us, our failures, and God’s redeeming love.

We are created to be caretakers for our world and the people in it. We have failed at this, but Christ has redeemed us, building in us the desire to serve Him by helping others.

Let’s enjoy the life God has given us by helping each other and not being worldly-minded.

 

 

Ken Davis

Proverbs 20:24 Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way?

This Sunday morning I received news from Ken Davis that his cancer has become much more aggressive–it doesn’t look good. He has diligently worked holistically to treat his stage 4 cancer, and he has, until now, had remarkable success. I am praying that God will put Ken’s cancer into remission.

At the same time, I am reminded that, at 63, longevity is not guaranteed. I can and should be diligent to maintain my health, but, in the end, God will tell me when it is time to go. Until then, I will pursue God and His desire for my life and calling.

As I think of my many friends, I am prompted to include another verse from Proverbs 20. Verse 9 reads, “Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin”?

If we are honest with ourselves, we will need to admit that we are not pure from sin. All of us have done things which we know are shameful and which deserves God’s judgment. The questions is this, How can I make things right with God? The answer is by admitting our guilt and trusting in our Father’s provision for our sin–Jesus Christ. Jesus, our Savior, has never sinned, yet he died as our sin bearer. He took our gross part upon Himself, so that He could offer us forgiveness and life with Him.

Undoubtedly, we will need to make things right with people whom we may have injured. We may need to ask forgiveness from them as well, but it all starts with being right with God who is our ultimate judge.

This all began for me years ago on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa. My life with God began when I confessed my guilt, my record of hurting people, and accepted Jesus as my Savior. Since then, it has been all about learning to live with and for Him.

Living for God is not a chore for me but life itself. I have come to love God whom I know through Jesus Christ. He knows me and accepts me even while He changes me. He is my constant companion. He will see me through death into His wonderful presence.

I hope this helps a friend.

Gaining Competence

Proverbs 18:1-2

He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom. A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.

During my time with the Lord today, I read Proverbs 18. The first two verses of this Proverb has always caused me to pause, reflect and adjust my actions and attitudes.

My paraphrase of  Proverbs 18:1-2: To isolate myself is selfish, doing so (isolating myself) runs counter to all successful thinking. I need others to gain competence.

My Path

During my devotion time today, I read from Psalm 142 and Proverbs 2. In Proverbs 2, as is true throughout Proverbs, great emphasis is placed upon choosing and remaining on the right path.

Years ago, God’s grace and mercy led me to follow His path, the path of life. For me the path started while gazing at the starlit sky of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.  I was just a young guy, from 10-14 years old.

About 25 years ago, my sons, my brother, and his son, took the path up the side of the Grand Teton mountain range to camp in the “way up”. Today, I will make the same trek with my sons and two grandsons.

My prayer is that my God will make Himself known to them just like He did to me all those years ago. That they will learn to trust  You as I have–to follow the path leading to life.

Proverbs Chapter 2
The Pursuit of Wisdom Brings Security

1 My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 Discretion will guard you,
Understanding will watch over you,
12 To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things;
13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
14 Who delight in doing evil
And rejoice in the perversity of evil;
15 Whose paths are crooked,
And who are devious in their ways;
16 To deliver you from the strange woman,
From the adulteress who flatters with her words;
17 That leaves the companion of her youth
And forgets the covenant of her God;
18 For her house sinks down to death
And her tracks lead to the dead;
19 None who go to her return again,
Nor do they reach the paths of life.
20 So you will walk in the way of good men
And keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will live in the land
And the blameless will remain in it;
22 But the wicked will be cut off from the land
And the treacherous will be uprooted from it.

 

Jose’s Ridge

The last time I entered a post was on Saturday, July 29. Much has happened since then. Deb and I are staying with my son’s, Rob, family. My daughter, Christine, and her family arrived late last night. Rob’s family of four, Christine’s family of five and Deb and I make quite a crowd.

Deb and I put up a tent in the backyard as will Johnathan (Christine’s husband). Tent living in the city of Jackson is great even though the neighbors seem to be up very late.

So far, I have written and sent an email prayer letter, worked through some important correspondence, counseled from long distance, and worked on my biblical Hebrew and Greek. I could fill each day with such activity, but then this would not be the spiritual retreat it should be. Still, I have responsibilities that can’t be ignored. I think what I can do is designate sometime each day and then shut down the computer.

Deb and I have walked up to Jose’s Ridge the last two days (11/2 miles very  steep). Today we were up at 6:00 am, but Deb has told me that we need to leave earlier in order to get the optimum pictures:-)

While enjoying the sights, Deb listened to the song, “God in Heaven.” It was pretty cool, enjoying God’s creation even while enjoying His music.

A Month Away

On Our Way

Deb and I are sitting at Logan International Airport waiting for our flight to Salt Lake City. From there we will fly to Jackson, Wyoming. Fifty years ago or so, during a family camp out in Jackson Hole, God first spoke to my heart–the beauty of the star filled sky caused my thoughts to go heavenward. Each year I return to Jackson Hole to be reoriented and refreshed for the journey ahead.