Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thai food delicacies: why I'd make a terrible missionary

I’d make a terrible missionary. Today at work, I was doing some research about Thai cuisine. I love Asian food (Chinese and Korean especially) and remember trying Thai once while in California. Unusual in that it can be sweet, but otherwise pretty good. Well, while reading on the Internet about the cuisine, I learned that the Thai people like to cook insects.
And not just any insects, but the ones that especially gross me out.

Water bugs.


I understand that in some parts of the world it’s considered wasteful not to eat things that are readily available. For me, since cockroaches and their water bug cousins have always terrified me, I think I’d probably vomit if I tried to eat one.

Makes vegetarianism seem appealing.

A college friend, serving in an area of the world that I can’t identify, told me of some of the unusual food items in the country he’s at. Yikes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What saith the Scriptures?

One former pastor of mine has said on many occasions that this is the best thing to ask when dealing with tough issues. In my life, I've found this to be great advice. However, be careful when dealing with an issue where Scripture is either ambiguous or silent. On those issues, pray for the Lord's guidance, go where He leads you and take it from there. If others differ, realize that godly people will differ on issues where the Bible isn't clear about them and move on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Getting encouragement in turbulent times

A Christian friend of mine has undergone an unpleasant divorce, one they didn't want. For some, dwindling bank account looks worrysome in the face of rising gas prices. Tensions in the Middle East are near the boiling point. Perhaps you have a child who has made some bad decisions in life: I am reminded of Carol Kent, a Christian speaker whose son is serving a life sentence for murder. Or perhaps you are a missionary worried about difficulties getting onto the field: you've been traveling to churches for two years and have only been able to raise a third of your support. Or, perhaps you're a Christian imprisoned in a country like China, Vietnam or Cuba. I am also reminded of a good friend of mine, Andy Knight, who survived a horrific fire and is working to get a church started in the Hartford, Conn. area.

What does Scripture tell us about our heartaches? The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:18: "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Bottom line: it will be worth it all.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pastors and Politics

Recently, Republican presidential candidate John McCain rejected Pastor John Hagee's endorsement of him. Hagee, who pastors San Antonio megachurch Cornerstone Church, said the endorsement was as an individual and not as a pastor. Apparently, McCain took issue to some of Hagee's comments regarding the Catholic church and the Holocaust. Hard to say. Bottom line is, McCain's people determined that Hagee's comments were simply bad for business.

Hagee, meanwhile, has announced his withdrawal of his endorsement for the Arizona senator.

The un-endorsement is fitting, since Hagee should not have given it in the first place.

I'm not saying it because I'm an independent conservative who has problems with McCain, but rather for these reasons: a pastor's job is three-fold: to evangelize (i.e., preach the Gospel), to edify or encourage other believers through discipleship and to teach the Bible. If anything gets in the way of these, they need to be halted.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Feeling frustrated in your walk? You might be onto something

It's easy to get discouraged in the Christian walk. I know that happens to me periodically. If you get the chance, check out Bruce Carroll's song "Something Good is Bound to Happen." Basically, the song talks about how the devil doesn't bother the inactive Christians. If you find a lot of things seeming to go wrong, it's possible the devil sees just how much you can do for God and is doing everything he can to hinder you. It's something to ponder and get encouragement from.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Horrible dream about hell

A few nights ago I had one of those dreams that made me so glad I'm a Christian who will never have to experience eternal punishment. In the dream (which, thankfully, I knew was a dream), I died and went to hell. I came face-to-face with this man who apparently was Satan. I remember soemthing about a red face, yellow eyes and horns. I turned away from him and in every direction I turned I came face-to-face with an absolutely hideous creature. The ugliness I saw terrified me, in a way that told me there was zero hope.

It makes me wonder what it's like for people who die and go to hell. I can imagine they find themselves praying someone will revive them while others will quickly pray the sinner's prayer in a vain hope that it's not too late.

As far as hell/lake of fire, here's what I know: It's an eternal assault on your five senses; you'll spend all of eternity reliving all the countless opportunities you had to escape; you grapple with unbelievable, unrelenting agony from extreme heat, thirst, pressure and suffocation.

In other words, hell is as terrible as heaven is wonderful. Do whatever you can to avoid eternal punishment.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pray for Huang Chuncai

He's a Chinese man who recently received the second of what will be many operations. Doctors are working to remove facial tumors (which originally weighed an astonishing 23 kilograms, or about 50.7 pounds). For Huang, the tumors have been growing since he was a child; he's in his early thirties now. My understanding is that doctors in China removed 13 kilograms in the first operation and have removed more of the tumors in the second operation. Once all the tumors are removed, the next step for Huang will be facial reconstructive surgery. The tumors have stretched out his face, knocked out his teeth and have even blocked one of his eyes.

This link is a recent one. CAUTION: The images are very graphic. If you have a weak stomach, you might want to skip this. I post this because this man's plight needs attention. May God work His way in Huang's crisis.