Sunday, May 31, 2009

My goat meal - Nyama Choma

Read below for the description

Today is the Day!!!

There is always a love/hate relationship that I have with traveling. I love getting ready because it’s fun to prepare for the adventure. I also hate getting ready because it often becomes crazy and chaotic right up to leaving. Today is also a packed day with Church and our missionaries from India visiting. It will be good for the Church to visit with them and hear updates concerning the amazing ministry that have there.

Well, I haven’t had a chance to give you some insight into our African meal. We went to a restaurant in West L.A. called Ngoma. Funny thing is that when we walked up to the door, they had a banner out front that reads “Food from Obama’s Father’s House.” So my first thought was, did they ship it? I really did enjoy the food though so here is a blog shout out to Obama’s Dad…Thanks for the great food! Seriously though, I had Sambusa which is a fried pastry type thing with beef in it and it was GOOD. I also had for my main meal Nyama Choma which was roasted goat served with Sadza and collard greens. Sadza is Thomas’ favorite thing. When you look at the picture, its that doughy ball and it tastes like…..well it tastes like nothing. Thomas thought it a travesty that I put salt and pepper on it, but I’m a season kind of guy who likes things that have flavor. I really enjoyed the goat. Steph had a mix up with her meal and ended up with Mafe, which was lamb in a peanut sauce. It reminded me of Thai food. Overall, I hope the food in Zimbabwe was as tasty as Ngoma. I’d recommend trying the goat!

As far as an update on the trip, two days before we leave Thomas received a call to do a Pastor’s conference of about 70-90 pastors. So welcome to missions Thomas. We are excited. I’ll be doing Romans 12 (transformed thinking and living), Colossians 1:9-14 (Lessons from Paul’s prayer), and Galatians 5-6 (Spirit filled living). So please pray for us. I’ll update more as I can. Hopefully I can get on the Net. Ciao till then.

Food From Obama's Daddy's House

Friday, May 22, 2009

An African Airline Adventure

9 Days until we “fly away.” It is crazy how fast this trip has come into focus. We first fly to South Africa, to a city named Durban on the East Coast to have a meeting. The next day we flight to Zimbabwe which is just to the north. So here is a rundown of the flights in case you are wondering what it takes to get to where we are going. We leave Sunday, May 31st around 8 p.m. on a 10 ½ hour flight to London. Then, we have a 6 hour layover until our next flight. Then we get on an 11 hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. We’ll arrive at 8:35 a.m. and need to get our bags, go through customs and then wait for our next flight. That layover time will be about 5 ½ hours. Our next flight will be at 1:55 p.m. and we will finally arrive in Durban at 3:00 p.m. I wonder if I’ll be tired at all. So my calculations (and I am no math major) suggest that our travel time including airport time is roughly a 36 hour trip.

So I have been planning to bring some work in order to be productive. The funny thing is that I’ll be studying eschatology, end times stuff and after this travel experience, I might think I am in the Tribulation! I’ll be wishing we were on the Rapture flying plan of a “twinkling of an eye.” In all seriousness, I am excited for what God has in store. I would ask for prayer for us as we seek to gather information on how best to plan for Thomas’ future in Zimbabwe.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baba Beals - My new name from Zimbabwe

The countdown to Zimbabwe is just two and a half weeks away. There are so many things to do in the meantime with little time to accomplish everything. Part of the preparation is trying to understand the culture. Years ago Dr. Mark Tatlock showed a diagram of one person going from one culture to the next. I’ll use the description of culture “A” going to those in culture “Z”. The person in “A” is a block head (fitting for Americans, especially the ones I see overseas). The people in “Z” are round heads. “A” will never become “Z” but he/she can round off some of the rough edges in their “block head” to become more of an octagon head which is reminiscent of Paul’s desire to not let culture get in the way of the gospel seen in the often quoted 1 Cor. 9:19-23. Yet Paul never lost his Jewishness. While I see the importance of not letting culture stand in the way of ministry, one need to be careful to not let the other culture dictate life either. So in honor of this “A” type personality becoming more “Z”, I have a new nickname… “Baba Beals!”

Here is a little history behind the new nickname. In learning some cultural things about Zimbabwe, there is a great deal of respect for both men and women. It is seen as disrespectful to call someone older by their first name. Several “honorable” names can be used in conjunction with the last name to show reverence and respect. When addressing the women, the term “Mai” or mother is used. For the man, the term “Baba” or father is used. From what I understand, this is used for those older than you even if they do not have children. So, I am now “Baba Beals” and I kinda dig it. Soon I’ll give some insight into some African Cuisine or “chikafu” (food) because we’ll be going to an African restaurant in Hollywood.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

End Times or Last Thing On My Mind?

I have been studying Isaiah and Romans this last semester as well as going through 1 and 2 Peter on Wednesday night Bible Study and have been hit with this reoccurring theme of the End Times. Isaiah is filled with Millennial Kingdom references. Romans deals significantly with God’s plan for Israel in the future. 2 Peter, well if you haven’t read chapter 3, then you have missed an amazing account of God’s future plan. All of this has pushed, or maybe even shoved me, into an End Times study, which we will do as a series in the Wednesday Bible Study in the summer.

In part of my reading, I came across this quote by Paul Benware in his book, Understanding End Times Prophecy. He states, “The attitude exists among many of God’s people that, ‘when Jesus and the end times come, they will come, but in the meantime I have to live my life in the real world.’” I quickly thought of myself and said…sad but how true is that of me! Why do you think that is? Why do we go about our own things, in our own little world with the End Times the last thing on our minds?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rightly quoted or Wrongly referenced - the context conundrum

The other day, Stephanie and I went to the movies and were given free popcorn. I am not much of the popcorn type, usually preferring something chocolate but it was free. One of my dislikes of popcorn is that it gets caught in my teeth and I have to use my tongue to work it out. It’s just stuck there, annoying me, not going away. This blog entry, which is a departure from my thoughts on thinking, is just that….something caught in my own thinking, irritating me a tad but wondering what others think.

So here it goes. Is it okay to misquote Scripture but in misquoting you actually discuss sound biblical teaching, just not from that section of the Bible? I would assume that most in conservative Christian circles would think that misquoting the Bible is frowned upon, even joked about. Remember the old saying, “Judas hung himself”, strung along with “go and do likewise” and “what you do, do quickly”. One of the most obvious out of context verses is the reference in Matthew 18:20, “where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst” and refer to it in prayer but in reality it is in the context of Church discipline, not prayer. At least those were the ones I remember being the talked about ones in college. Most would rail against such inappropriate use of God’s Word, especially since the most often misquoted scriptural references tend to go against biblical teaching. But what about quoting Scripture that is done out of context but reflects biblically sound ideas? You are probably wanting examples, so I’ll give one from Romans and if you want more, just ask.

Romans 10:9-15 is probably one of the most “evangelistic” passages that most turn to in order to show the gospel and the need for “preachers to be sent.” How many times have you heard the old saying, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, but how will they call unless they hear, and how will they hear unless there is a preacher and how will they preach unless they are sent? Sound familiar? It sounds good and is biblical when you remember Jesus’ words of in Matthew 9:37-38 which in summary state that the workers are few, the harvest is ripe so pray for more workers. But is this what Paul is saying? Not if you read the whole chapter! Romans 9-11 deal primarily with Israel and God’s future plan. Currently Israel has rejected Christ, they have “stumbled over the stumbling stone” (9:32-33). Paul desires for them to be saved but Israel tries to get to God on their own righteousness (10:1-3). Paul then quotes Deuteronomy to show that even that generation had the message (v8 – Word is near you, in your mouth) and they could respond by faith (v8 – in your heart). Moses’ generation had God’s Word and could respond to it, obey it and did not need for it to be brought down to them for they had it. Then comes our section, Romans 10:9-15 showing the content of the message that God has given in Christ, namely those who believe and confess will be saved. When Paul says, how will they call on Him in whom they have not believed (v 14) he is pointing to Israel who has rejected. Remember the context of chapters 9-11. The point that Paul makes is that they have been sent messengers with the message and Israel has failed to believe! Look at Romans 10:16-18, they did not all heed the good news. Paul then quotes Isaiah 53:1. In verse 18 Paul asks a question, they (Israel) have never heard have they? Then he answers, “Indeed they have.” The rest of chapter 10 show that even Moses predicted that God would save the Gentiles and make Israel jealous.

So what is my point, my point is that Romans 10:9-15 is not a request for missions. It is not a section that deals with commissioning preachers to be sent to far off lands with the gospel. It deals exclusively with the fact that Israel had the message preached to them and they rejected that message. Good news were brought to them and they stumbled over Christ, refusing to believe. Messengers have been sent and they were rebuffed.

So is it right to quote, clearly out of context, Romans 10:9-15 and apply it to missions? I’ve done it! This is what I have been struggling with because clearly missions and sending those to preach the good news is a biblical concept. But is it right to use sections of Scripture for things that are true biblically but not according to the specific context. What do you think, all two of you who read this? Please comment, I’m interested in hearing from you.