Tuesday, October 24, 2006


There is constant tension in orphan care over the question, “Do we go wide and save as many little lives as possible, or do we go deep and give 24/7 total care for only a few?

Mostly it’s a matter of resources.

Both needs are real and heart-crushing.

At Children’s Cup’s level of resources it has been an easy decision to go wide and save thousands of hurting little children. We know this is the best use of our resources. Currently we take care of as many as 5,000 children daily in Africa.

But anybody who has understood what happens to the children that live in the slums at night cries for a home to put those hurting children in where they won’t be raped and made to do heavy work for the abusive adults who dominate their nights.

‘Cup’s 5000 AIDS orphans and vulnerable children (OVC’s in UN parlance) get food, medical care, education and the Gospel. Almost all of them have accepted Jesus as Savior. It can’t be wrong to go as wide as we can.

But neither can it be wrong to strive to go just as deep as we can and find or provide 24/7 care for our precious kids.

There is always the cruel truth that when you decide which lives to save you are also choosing which children you will let die. That agony never leaves our hearts.

“Wide or deep?” is not question of “either/or.” It’s a matter of “both/and.”

Can’t help but remember the delightful kids’ chorus out of my childhood: “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there's a fountain flowing deep and wide…”

We’ll go as deep and wide as our partners’ dollars will take us.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


We just came back “home” to Swaziland, Africa, after spending a few weeks in wonderful America—land of over-choice.

What a feeling to hug necks at the airport and to embrace the rest of the family and ‘Cup Team at Ben and Susan’s house. The grandkids hugged us long and hard.

We know the challenges and risks these courageous and industrious people have faced while we were gone. Jean and I wept and laughed and thanked God for the privilege of ministering here.

Then as we toured the AIDS orphans CarePoints hundreds of kids came running, giggling, and singing to us. Kids that are alive because we do what you help us do here. Try to describe that feeling.

And then it sneaks up on you. You begin to look past the giggles and into so many fevered eyes. It wrings your soul.

Some familiar faces are gone. New ones have come.

And then it all seems to center-up with a young lad at Mangwaneni. 'Cup Nurse Sister Teresa shows us the sores in his mouth and throat and on his body. He has AIDS. His guardians will not let us take him to get the ARV medicines that can improve and extend his life.

I struggle against unholy feelings toward the cruel ones that have told us to just let him die.

The newspapers tell of raped children, little ones thrown into toilet pits, and some deliberately scalded with boiling water--precious little lives Jesus died for.

How do you deal with the feelings that brings?

Maybe it’s more than a grammatical curiosity the “suffer” in the verse that says to suffer the little children to come unto Him is a homonym for pain and travail.

You already know I’m crying as I write this. I’m crying out to God to please help us do all we can to reach every child possible .

What a wonderful, horrible place Africa is.

God, please let me be a missionary to Africa the rest of my life.

Friday, October 06, 2006


October 5, 2006--yesterday--was the 48th anniversary of my first date with Jean.
It's been a great journey!

Marriage can work.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


If I don’t hold onto something, I’ll let go of everything.
What is there that I will refuse to let go of?

If I don’t stand for something, I’ll fall for anything.
For what will I stand and never back down?

If I don’t predetermine boundaries, how will I know when I’ve gone too far?
What line will I never go past?

When Jesus said, “Come,” He meant all the way. I dare not hold back.
When He said, “Go,” He meant all the way. I dare not stay back.
Do I believe the heathen will know Jesus if I don’t go?

Do I excuse my lack of spoken testimony by calling it, “silent witness”?
Do I shun my neighbors of another race even though I weep over the foreign mission fields?
If I truly believe that the lost will go to hell how can I not tell everybody—especially my loved ones?
How can I go to sleep tonight knowing that I did not do all in my power today to reach the lost?

Do I love God enough to…? Or not to?
Do I love my wife and children enough to…? Or not to?
Am I man enough to…? Or not to?
Do I have God’s permission to…? Or not to?

Do I trust God with my checkbook as much as I trust Him with my soul?

Is there any need that will move me to action?
How do I choose what needs to meet?
What kind of needs am I willing to ignore?
Can I look away from hurting children’s eyes, or close my ears to the little ones’ cries?
What does it mean to me when a mother dying of AIDS asks for help for her children?

Do I trust Him to meet my needs in the future like He has in the past?
Do I trust Him to guide my family even as I trust Him to guide me?
Do I trust Him with the rest of my life on earth even as I trust Him with my eternity?

Am I really grateful for all He has done for me? For my family? For our ministry?

Is my trust in God strong enough to obey his gentle request rather than surrender to the blaring, heated demands of the enemy?

Do I really believe the safest place to be is in God’s will? For my family as well as for me?
Do I always believe God will take the worst thing that could happen to me and make it the best thing for me?

Would I be willing to die for what I live for?

Am I willing to trust again after betrayals?
Am I willing to forgive others—even forgive others for not forgiving me?
Can I stay in Christ-like silence in the face of other people’s lies about me?

What does it take to make me cry?

Since God holds me and only me responsible for doing His will in my life, doesn’t that mean that no decision by another person can stop me from doing His will?

My role as father and head of my family is likened to Christ’s role as head of the church—does my treatment of my family do violence to the image of Christ?

Do I live in daily expectation of His return?
Who do I want to see first in heaven after I see Jesus?

Do I audaciously believe that good things come into my life on my own personal merit rather than the mercy and grace of God?

Is there anything the devil could offer me that I’d trade my soul for?

Is there anything God could ask me for that I would not give Him?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Read the words as the poet pens them onto the parchment.
Feel the parchment come alive as the poem is born in the inkwords.
Fear not, though the haters would slash and torch the parchment, and the inkwords become but ash upon ash; and though the ashes be scattered or buried; fear not, the poem will live on.

It’s clear, the ink and parchment had no life until the scribe shaped the words. Words brought the life.

And so it is that the parchment that is my body was given life by the Word.
Though haters would slash and burn this parchment of my life, like the poem, that part of me that is alive will never die!

Glory to God!


It is the most priceless gift God could give man-the blood of His begotten Son.
Waste it?
Squander it?
How could we even think about such a slap on the face of God?

No higher price has ever been paid for a gift. No gift has ever been so perfect and powerful.
No gift has ever been so rejected and mocked.

Had we been there we would have pleaded with the lashman, "Lay down the whip."
"Throw the thorn-crown into the fire," we would have urged.
We'd have wept and shouted to the crucifiers, "Forget the nails."
"Put down the spear," we would sob.

But, no amount of pleading would have stopped the crimson flow from Redemption's arteries-it was God's plan. Our minds would have reeled at the enormity of the price the Nazarene paid.
We know why He did it.
We acknowledge its worth.
We know there is healing and forgiveness and deliverance in that shed blood.
We sing about it, write lofty poems and soaring prose telling about its power and its reach.

However, what do we do about His Blood in out daily lives?
No, it would never be our intention to belittle and mock His gift. We would never want to demean it or waste it.
How could we ever squander it?
But, we do.
Like just today.
Did we let old guilts that were covered by His Blood long ago claw at our minds?
Did defeat and depression, fear and anger and greed and habit control our actions?
What about the loved ones we didn't talk to about how much His Blood could do for them?
What about the lost ones He told us to go to and we held back?

Consider this. We who name the Name of Christ are the only ones who can stop Golgotha's saving flow from reaching the hurting, needing world.
The devil cannot.
Hostile laws cannot.
No barrier can stop it-except the silence and unwillingness of the Body of Christ.

Bleeding Savior, forgive us for demeaning your priceless gift to all of mankind. Help us, Crucified One, lest we squander your atoning blood.