Several times over the years, I’ve been in sticky situations. In jail in Saudi. In Jail in Lebanon (twice). Taken at gunpoint in Iraq. Threatened with a gun in south Lebanon. Kicked out of Lebanon twice. Had our van windows broken out by an angry mob – when we were in the car. My wife has been spit on and cursed at. We know what it feels like to have an enemy want to hurt us.
The other day when I was driving to the post office, there was a young guy on a motorcycle in front of me with a Hell’s Angel jacket on. Right away, my mind thought of John, the beloved disciple. You are probably thinking – Huh!? As you recall, John and his brother James were referred to as Sons of Thunder. I love this because it reminds me that Jesus didn’t choose people to follow him who were completely refined, but he chose people who were willing.
Billy Currington has a country song with that title. Is it true? The first part is for sure – God is Great! And personally, I think there’s not much better than a tall cold one on a hot day as you watch the football game with friends! But is it true that “people are crazy”? Well, have you ever known any? People, that is. I’ve known a few, and….well….uh…it MIGHT be true.
Do Christians own exclusive rights on prayer? Does God only hear those of us who have submitted ourselves to him and follow Jesus? Or would He hear, and even answer, the prayers of a sincere unbeliever?
I saw my Muslim Arab friend sweating as he talked to my other friend, a fine conservative-minded evangelical Christian. It looked like the two had locked horns and were in a battle to the death.
Our oldest has left the nest and is learning to fly as she begins her first year at Taylor University. She is attending the university that I went to so that is quite exciting. Since Taylor is located in Indiana and she is a girl with a lot of stuff, we loaded the car and took off for a nineteen hour long journey. We arrived five days early because she received a cultural diversity scholarship which is part of the international student program. I was invited to be part of the program and it was an amazing time. I would like to share with you some of the emotions I experienced while walking around the campus. It took me back to my initial days of arriving on the same campus thirty years ago.
You knew it, right? You’ve been wondering – has Carl crossed over. Now he finally admits it. I can hear it now – “See Ethel, I told you the boy had lost it. He’s gone and converted. Became a Mohammadan. A jihad-er. Darn, we lost him. And he was such a nice guy.”
One of the “concerns” people often have after they hear me share goes something like this: “It seems that your focus on befriending Muslims and others clearly outside the faith, waters down the gospel. The real gospel. The hard gospel. I mean, Jesus wasn’t just “Mr. Nice Guy” like you seem to suggest.”
This morning I had a terrifying cross-cultural experience. I ate breakfast at the 1st Street Diner in Cleveland Tennessee. I’m here to do a wedding and Chris and the kids haven’t yet joined me, so I was left alone to make these difficult decisions – like where to eat.
I was talking to our oldest, Anna, the other day about college scholarships (what else). I mentioned that Taylor University might have some scholarship money for MK’s – Missionary Kids…She had no idea what I was talking about. “Why me,” she asked, “we aren’t missionaries.”