Archive for the 'Unassigned' Category

Dogged Importunity

Don Cormack, in his book, “Killing Fields, Living Fields” recounts a powerful illustration of determined and effective prayer:

“One day, as I stood interpreting for one of the only two doctors at a place called Klong Wah where thousands needed immediate attention, a little lad of about eight came up to me calling, ‘Uncle, uncle, please come and help me carry my older brother over here where he can be given medicine.’ The boy explained that the brother, about twelve, was lying a good two kilometers away in the bush, unconscious in a malaria coma. But I could not just walk away from my responsibilities as interpreter and the enormous task I already had on my hands trying to care for hundreds of dying people right here…. How could I justify going so far and using up so much valuable time for just one?

The boy, however, would not be put off. He persisted in crying out after me, till I finally steeled myself and ignored him…. After about an hour of pleading, he fell silent, deep in thought. He knew that I was the only lifeline there was to save his brother’s life. Next thing, I felt a pair of sinewy arms grip me round the legs, and a pair of ankles lock around mine. And there he clung like a leech… His lips were sealed. He clearly was not going to let go his vice-like grip on my legs till they followed him to that place where his brother lay dying. I was thus compelled to go with him… His dogged importunity had gained him the victory.

I reflected as I pursued him through the trees that this was surely what serious believing Christian prayer was all about.

The older brother’s life was saved.”

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16b NASB)


Total Eclipse

About 10 minutes ago, a spectacular total solar eclipse blackened the sky, just minutes before sunset. Maya took these excellent photographs right in front of our apartment. The second one was taken only a minute or two after the first. After the eclipse, the sunset was beautiful, though a little eerie.

Update 30-03-2006: In the comments, Alissa passed on a pretty cool analogy from her friend who witnessed the eclipse in Turkey. I am posting it here for those who do not normally read the comment pages:

In a nutshell: The light shines so bright, but is diminished by sinful men. As the darkness grows, we try to do other things to illuminate our way. During the eclipse, this was turning on porch lights, car lights, and other man-made devices. But none could be as bright as the sun (son?) when it returned in all its glory.

When the sun returned, many people clapped and cheered. Just as we all cheer knowing the real light and the real truth.

Iotas, Dots and Bytes

A question that came up recently prompted me to begin researching the doctrine of preservation of Scripture. At one point, I wanted to see how and where it is mentioned in the books of my Libronix library. This is why I like Logos software. I started with a general (simple) search: “doctrine of preservation”. Depending on how I keyed it in, the hits were either too scant or broad to be helpful. Another problem is that people refer to this teaching in different ways: preservation of Scripture, biblical preservation, preservation of the text, divine preservation, etc. So, I created a query that would find me what I needed, taking into account the varied terms. The graphical query looked like this:

I then applied the query (while adjusting the word-interval rate, ignoring the order and adding and deleting some terms) to certain books and journals like Bibliotheca Sacra and gradually to the entire library. I think that the query found most of the articles that touch on the topic, and the accuracy of the hits was very high. Most of the results were relevant. The best part is that all of this took about 15 minutes to complete. How long would that have taken with a print library?

The last time that I looked into this doctrine was in college almost 15 years ago, when some teachers purported a version of this teaching to promote one group of manuscripts, the Majority Text, above others (and by extension, one English translation). Now, it seems that that distracting controversy has waned. And what is really cool is that God continues to preserve his Word, every dot and iota.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35 ESV)

The Peripeteia

My little winds of change rant sounded a bit disjointed. I wrote it after hearing the news that our team is shrinking by three: i.e., three of our teammates are quitting. They have their reasons, and we have no doubt that they are moving in the direction that they believe is best. For the work, the happy news is that three of us remain to carry things on, and three more plan to arrive sometime during the summer.

Still, we had to make some significant adjustments. We were planning to host a summer team from the West to help us run the three camps. We decided that it would be unwise to continue with those things with so few hands. So, we called off the team and two of the camps will get their official pink slips by the end of this week.

Not all is gloomy, though. The B. study will continue as it has. We are thankful for the fruit that we are seeing there. For the summer, our new plan is to host only the B. Seminar, where we hope to finish the teaching with the supremely good and glorious news. After that, we will focus on spending personal time with folks in the city and in their villages; mostly with those who attended the study, but also trying to make contact with new people. And for a week or two, I plan to help Ermen build his house here in the city (working like that is stellar for relationships).

Thank you for pr-ing for us (especially now) in all these things: for His wisdom and for continued fruit; for interest in the teaching and for patience and trust during transition. It is a good thing that we know Whom we have believed.

Update 02-04-2006: Two of the teammates that I referred to in the first paragraph did not appreciate my choice of the word ‘quit’. In fact, I was merely going for precision, and I meant nothing negative towards them personally. Something great for them is beginning. I should have been more sensitive and settled for the softer (though overused) phrasal ‘moving on’. We love and appreciate them very much, and we will surely miss them here.

Snow, Sleep, Rain and Teeth; I’m Rambling

We woke this morning to a spectacular view: a thick blanket of white stuff covering everything! Several inches fell last night and this morning and it is still snowing now. I did not get my camera out to snap a few for you, but I had my handy-dandy cell phone (which has a wee little camera on it) and, well, maybe these poor quality pics will, at least, give you an idea. The building pictured left is where we live.

Yesterday, we enjoyed our family day. Because of the rain (yesterday rain, today snow!) outside we played indoor kids games all morning, and then came time for family devos where we focused on “Love your neighbor as yourself.” David kept saying, “Who’s my neighbor?” (now that is actually a good, biblical question). But, then he would follow that with, “Can I go play now?” I guess it went over his head. But, hey, you gotta try, right? Hannah just gnawed on her teething toy the whole time. She is cutting her second tooth. We had a great day, from start to finish.

Today, I met with our local administrator and Mark and then did some other community-development related tasks for the rest of the day. The really great news is that our registration is almost complete. That should free up a lot of time.

Tonight, our group for married couples went well, except that one couple could not make it. Our theme was; Man’s Role in the Family. I taught the lesson, so I can be critical. The next lesson needs to be more interactive.

Now, I need to sleep.