Wednesday, July 14, 2004

July 14, 2004

10:54 PM Tonight Roger Krenzin of JAARS gave a stirring report on how airplanes and helicopters aid the work of Bible translation in Papua New Guinea. Roger is one of the finest missionary reps I’ve ever met. He would be the first to tell you that his real love is flying. His father was a missionary pilot for Wycliffe and Roger followed in his steps. More than once this week he has mentioned “slipping the surly bonds of earth” to soar in the clouds. He and Regina represent JAARS at conferences like this and at Christian colleges across the country. They are wonderful people—kind, gracious, authentic, down-to-earth, and passionately committed to the missionary cause. Roger tears up when he tells about villagers hearing the gospel in their own language for the first time. He is eloquent the way some men are when they aren’t public speakers but simply speak from their heart. Marlene and I both have been deeply moved this week, and tonight we sat down afterwards and said to each other what we’ve been thinking for some time. We want somehow to get closer to the front lines of what God is doing around the world. I’ve never felt called to fulltime missionary service, and I don’t feel that way now, but this week has rekindled a fire that has burned inside me for decades. It hasn’t always burned on the surface, and for the last few years I have been busy with other, worthwhile goals, but that missionary vision has always been there. I think we are at a place where we want to do something more intentional in the missions area in the future. That’s a clarification the Lord has given us this week at Maranatha. I hope that in the future we can travel more to visit our Calvary missionaries and to do whatever we can to get involved firsthand in God’s work around the world. Recently JAARS bought a brand-new helicopter to train missionary pilots in the US before they ship out to remote regions of the world. The helicopter has been at the Muskegon airport for the last two days. Tonight it was on the lawn in front of the tabernacle. After the service, we gathered round the helicopter, joined hands, and I gave the prayer of dedication. That was a deeply moving moment for all of us. 6:11 PM Here’s another sign of a good conference week: When you are having so much fun, you don’t have time to blog. Things continue to go well here at Maranatha in Muskegon, Michigan. Marlene and I just got back from a 10-mile bike ride. So far this week I’ve ridden 106 miles. I think I could hit 5000 miles in a year if I lived in a place like this. Of course, they get lots of snow here but so does Oak Park. Today we rode along Black Lake Road and had a wonderful time until we turned around to go home and ran into the teeth of what felt like a gale-force wind. We staggered back to the conference as best we could. A few notes from the last 24 hours: 1) “You can’t pick lice with one finger.” A Liberian proverb, shared by Roger Krenzin, the JAARS representative. 2) God seemed to move in a powerful way last night after my message on “Judge Not!” from Matthew 7. One couple stayed behind to talk about an issue lingering unforgiveness and bitterness relating to a builder who cheated them and refuses to own up to what he did. Several others talked to us about the message today. 3) We met the woman to taught Erwin Lutzer how to dive. Her name is Leona Hertel and she worked as the secretary to the late M. R. DeHaan, founder of the Radio Bible Class. She said she taught Dr. Lutzer how to dive many, many years ago(I couldn’t say how many) at Bibletown in Boca Raton, Florida. 4) We talked with a couple today whose church went through a bitter split and they are struggling with what to do next. 5) A number of the older folks remember Merrill Dunlop who came to Maranatha for many years to play the piano. 6) During my message last night I pointed out that when children break the rules and we ask them why they did it, they often say, “I don’t know.” That’s not just an excuse, that’s a profound theological truth—we don’t know our own hearts. So this morning we met a woman who said that after the service, one of her children had scattered toys all over the room. When she asked the child why, he replied, “I don’t know.” “After what you said in your sermon, I couldn’t be very mad at him,” the mother said with a smile. Tonight I don’t have to preach so I’m relaxing a bit. Right now the sun is shining and all is well in our corner of the world.

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