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Location: MInneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am now a simple Grandpa who's life is made richer as each grandchild is born. My wife and I have raised five children and the 30 year love labor of raising them has begun to yield sweet fruit..... And then there are fruits of 30 years in ministry ... I am a satisfied old man full of the joy of the Lord.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Residents Loot Instead Of Thanking God

I am going to post some of my "inside thoughts" about New Orleans here. If you don't agree, please just ignore me. If you do agree, please just pray accordingly.

In the early hours of the hurricane, before it hit Florida and while it was still pretty harmless, I thought to myself, what if this one becomes the "big one?" We have all been expecting the "big one" for some time. Somehow hurricanes "feel" like the judgment of God and God's judgment is long overdue. He still sits in heaven and is over all of the affairs of man.

When I awoke the next morning and realized that the hurricane was a category 5, I sensed the presence of God. When I saw it take direct aim on New Orleans I began to pray. I knew that the city was very unprotected. I know only a few people in New Orleans and I asked for their protection. But as I prayed I felt that the Lord was moving me in earnest to pray for Him to relent and turn the full fury of the storm. To give mercy.

I even posted this "turn" in prayer to my blog hoping others would join in. When I went to bed I was apprehensive. When I awoke, I was overjoyed to see that God had directed the hurricane to the east just a little and at the last moment. I had been especially concerned for the people in the football dome. If the storm came at full fury and hit that dome I was not sure it would stand. And it was full of people. The poor and the lame.

The small diversion of the storm sent it up over Mississippi and Mobile, Gulfport, and other cities were now in its path, but it had dropped to a category 3.

I thanked God for His mercy and wondered at His unfailing love. What had seemed to be a disaster of the worst proportion had been mitigated and was dying out. But then the reports of looting broke out. Instead of all of New Orleans stopping and taking a breath and thanking their merciful God for His grace, the people broke out of their houses and began looting other abandoned homes and businesses. This was a symptom of why God allowed the hurricane in the first place and it was the cause of the current misery of flooding.

That the dikes held at all was amazing but now the increased pressure on the system finally brought about a breach. The levee broke and the pumps could no longer keep up. The depravity of man brought about its own destruction. All of New Orleans is under water. The power is out. Lawlessness is in the streets. Disease is next. This is not over.

It is hard to get good photos of what is going on right now but you can see some of the photos at WWLTV a local news station. Click on their "Katrina streaming video" area and specifically on the second link "aerial photos" The whole city is under water. Tomorrow it will be a giant stagnant pond with floating debris and coffins. A toxic mix of disaster. And the waters have nowhere to go. One Parrish (county) is demanding that residents stay out at least the next 30 days.

The levee burst in one location and they hope to plug it with some huge one ton sand bags but it is a break of over 200 feet. First the levee has to be plugged and then the water has to be pumped out. This could take weeks. In the meantime, people everywhere have been forced to live in their attics.

Please pray for New Orleans. There are many believers in the midst of the depravity. There is opportunity for revival or disaster of the worst proportions.

Monday, August 29, 2005

New Orleans Dodges Bullet

Just about everybody was predicting disaster but God's mercy prevailed. The predicted breach of the levee never happened and the floods never came. I don't know about you but I was very concerned about the 20,000+ people in the shelter of the dome. If the dome went then they were all in trouble. But the dome held. Yet it came so close that there were at least two 6 ft. holes torn in the roof. Now that is too close for comfort.

At this time Katrina is just a very bad storm and its potential to kill is being downgraded by the hour. Thank you Jesus. I, for one, am certain that this is the hand of God.
His mercies never come to an end.
Amen !

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Pray For New Orleans

Lord Jesus,
We pray now for the people of Louisiana. We ask you to reduce the force of the storm. We ask that you protect your people. We ask that you cover that area with your mercy. We pray for the emergency forces and supplies to be released and mobilized. Give wisdom to the authorities who have this responsibility. Hold back the fury and protect the innocent.
Give your people the grace to look to you and not fear. Give your people the grace to stop what they are doing and intercede for those in the path of this storm. Remove any desire to be spectators to disaster from your people. Give them a heart for the victims.
Let the levees and pumps hold. Let your hope for tomorrow reign in the hearts of the church.
We ask this in the name of Jesus,

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Burundi, Africa's President Is Born Again

Burundi has sworn in a new president and he appears to be a born-again Christian. This is good news. This continent suffers more than almost any other and needs good solid leadership. Pierre Nkurunziza is a Hutu and stands against tribalism and understands justice. There is now some hope for the region. My God grant peace to the Hutu's and Tutsis.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Indecency Complaints Drop

This is from the Washington Times

The number of complaints to the FCC about indecency and obscenity dropped from 317,833 during the final three months of 2004 to 157,650 during the first quarter of this year, according to the agency's report.
The data, included in a report the agency published this month, suggests broadcasters are being more careful about what they air, according to officials with the Parents Television Council (PTC), the conservative group that has crusaded against racy programs.
But the head of a group that opposes stricter industry regulation said the numbers have another meaning: Anti-indecency forces don't feel as compelled to complain to the FCC because they have tightened their grip on the agency's leadership.
But I also read today that the massive increase in fines that were proposed has bogged down in Congress. There still is no great increase. There is a battle for the moral soul of America and the war rages every day as we go about our normal daily affairs. The pornographers now have huge war chests to fight with due to the profitability of porno. The end result of this war is the massive increase of sexual freaks in this country. As the saying goes... First you peek, then you sneak, finally you freak.... ! The dangers of this trend cannot be overstated.

I think we need to keep the pressure up. When you see something that offends you on TV you should write the FCC. I, for one, have not seen any changes yet. Remember, the standard for decency is known as "community standards."

Athiests Get It - The Church Does Not

Here is a email I recieved from my friend Aaron Siver in Mankato. I think it is a great insight for all of us to remember. The evolution/creation debate really is vital to Christianity.
I don't know if like it or dislike it when an atheist has a clear and accurate grasp on the central theme of Christianity from creation to kingdom-come, more so than many Christians. I guess at least that means that somehow we got the message out accurately.

Below is a very consise and true explanation of why our faith stands or falls on how we respond to the creation/evolution debate. This is a fact that has not been grasped by a variety of Christian college professors in the science department that I have endured who compromised out of fear of their Darwinian coworkers and turned caustically anti-creationist over time.

For some of you I know that this is a no-brainer, but pay attention to what this atheist has to say:

"Christianity is - must be! - totally committed to the special creation as described in Genesis, and Christianity must fight with its full might against the theory of evolution. And here is why.

In Romans we read that 'sin entered the world through one man, and through sin - death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned.' ( 5:12 )

...the whole justification of Jesus' life and death is predicated on the existence of Adam and the forbidden fruit he and Eve ate. Without the original sin, who needs to be redeemed? Without Adam's fall into a life of constant sin terminated by death, what purpose is there to Christianity? None.

Even a high school student knows enough about evolution to know that nowhere in the evolutionary description of our origins does there appear an Adam or an Eve or an Eden or a forbidden fruit. Evolution means a development from one form to the next to meet the ever-changing challenges from an ever-changing nature. There is no fall from a previous state of sublime

Without Adam, without the original sin, Jesus Christ is reduced to a man with a mission on a wrong planet!"

"The Meaning of Evolution?", "American Atheist", September 1979, p. 30.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Short Term Missions

I am a huge supporter of short term missions. Over the years I have led teams of Americans on missions to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Singapore, Malaysia, and Cambodia.

I am no expert and I have no formal training in missions but I can say that it has been positive in many ways. Yet I have heard many opinions to the contrary. Mostly from career missionaries.

Most of the missions trips have been imagined and implemented through relationships that have developed here at the University of Minnesota. Ministering to international students yields big rewards. Relational missions is really all that I know. I have to have a reason to go to another country other than just sightseeing.

This sort of modest missional undertaking has resulted in many churches and works that continue on their own with indigenous leadership. But that is not the greatest reward. The greatest reward is in the changes in the people that we take with us from the US. For the first time they see how the rest of the world lives and they are changed forever. These same changed people are then seeded back into their local churches and bring positive growth to their own families. This is why I have taken my children on these short term trips. To help them grow up.

Truly, not much work gets done in the missions project. A little construction help, a little help in evangelism, a little help financially. But the main work is done in encouragement of the people who are laboring there and in the growth of the individuals who came on the trip.

Literally ten of thousands of these trips leave out from the shores of the US every year. They go to every place imaginable. The result is that the world becomes a little smaller. Your neighbors not so far away. Your growth in sanctification is assured.

This is one of the most positive things imaginable and brings me much joy. God's kingdom advances and the increase of His government will know no end.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Scientists Manipulate the Speed of Light

Scientists are not very forthcomming about the fact that the speed of light can be manipulated and changed. It was conventional wisdom among them that the speed of light was an unchangable constant. Now things are changing. If the speed of light can be manipulated by changing circumstances then it follows that the age of the universe (determined mainly by the laws of physics as referenced to the speed of light) is suspect and uncertain.

What if the universe is not 14 billion years old? What if light could travel much faster or slower than it does now ? Answer... evolution becomes instantly suspect. It has always been interesting how the age of the universe was always connected to the suspected time it takes for specific mutations to occur and thus allow for species development.

Simply stated, to me, the only idea that makes evolution viable, is if you could provide enough time for it to take place. Time is linked to the speed of light. Einstein said, E=MC2 Now it seems that C (the constant of time) is suspect. Hmmm ? Things just get curiouser and curiouser.

Take a look at this article. You can find a lot more about this subject simply by doing a Google search for articles about the speed of light. (faster/slower)

I'm back

Well, after a long 45 day delay, I am back. My # 3 child, my youngest daughter's wedding was last night and it was glorious. Not to mention just a ton of fun.

I did the ceremony and all I can say is, what a joy it is to be a father who is a pastor. The wedding went off flawlessly. The presence of the Lord was there and the word of God was preached. We had fun, we laughed, we cried.

The reception was off the chain. Everybody was dancing like it was 1999. The D.J. was just perfect for the crowd. The chicken dance was enthusiastically welcomed and heavily participated. The caterer never did run out of food. I even saw some Baptists dancing ! And all of this without alcohol.

To change the subject let me say that the wedding happened just 4 days after I returned from a missions trip to Costa Rica. Eight of us went down there and we saw some great things happen. Construction projects and evangelism were the agenda and both were very successful.
My favorite memory was a trip up the side of Irazu volcano to a small meeting in the living room of a typical Tico house where we celebrated mothers day with many families that had never seen an evangelical witness before. The local priest refuses communion to anybody who speaks to an evangelical. We talked about the difference between religion and relationship. You could see the lights come on in the eyes of the people as I spoke about how nobody is justified by the law. It was great. The ride back down the mountain (11,100 feet) in the moonlight and above the clouds was spectacular.

The only bad thing about the trip was the journey home. It took 23 hours due to an 11 1/2 hour delay in the waiting room of the airport in Costa Rica due to the ineptness of Delta airlines. For this we were given a can of coke, a very small tuna salad sandwich, and about 8 grapes. Thanks Delta. I won't be traveling Delta anymore.

I hope to post regularly now that these events are behind me. July / Aug. 05 has been really special. Thanks for checking back in and I hope you join me daily again as this year progresses into winter. Blessings and agape, Bruce