Category Archives: Countries

I Went to Pakistan (Part 5): Toilets Without Paper

There must be a list somewhere in the blogosphere that keeps a record of the least-covered or strangest topics. If there is, I am almost certain toilets would be at the top of the list – or should I say bottom? See what I did there? HA!

Well, before you flush this post, let me get to the point: I think the Pakistanis have the right idea when it comes to toilet hygiene. And considering the fact that 99% of all eateries there would never place on a “restaurant report card,” much less pass, that’s saying something!

So, what’s so special about the toilets in Pakistan? The spray nozzles!

You see, the only thing they use toilet paper for in Pakistan is drying your tush, not wiping it. And when you use the toilet paper, you don’t flush it, either; you put it in the trash.

When I was first told what to expect, that I wouldn’t be flushing my toilet paper, it disgusted me! My immediate response was imagining stinking, poopy paper beside me in some trash can. But in reality, it was nothing like that. Thank the Lord!

Actually, beside every toilet – unless you go to where people only have a hole in the ground – is a spray nozzle attached to a long, metal hose. In most cases, it is attached to the wall beside the toilet paper, but not always. Sometimes there was no paper, only a nozzle.

An “executive” restroom in Pakistan

At first it was a little awkward. I mean, it was like taking the spray nozzle from your kitchen sink to your behind. But let me tell you, I got used to it really quickly!

Just the other day I saw a commercial for a particular toilet paper brand, the one that uses animated bears. It talked about how that specific brand of paper had ridges that left you cleaner . . . cleaner than the competition, that is.

But tell me, how to we call something we’ve simply wiped with dry paper “clean”? Does that really make sense? When you wash your hands, do you simply rub them with a dry paper towel until nothing shows on the paper? Would you call that CLEAN?

All this leads me to another thought, one that might not be the safest to contemplate. How did our societies develop such different ways of summing up number two? Europe and Japan are far closer to this way of cleaning one’s rear end than America is. Why? Is there a toilet paper cabal? A cardboard tube syndicate?

So, what’s the moral of this story? How can we benefit from what we’ve learned?

Don’t assume your way is the always the best way. Somebody may nozzle more than you. See what I did there? Know/nozzle … HA! I crack myself up! Ahh! I did it again!

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Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons, Countries, Pakistan

Not as Formidable as You Thought

Am I the only one, or does it seem that Russia is not as formidable as we thought?

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I still believe Russia is a powerful force with which to be reckoned. If nothing else, they possess a massive nuclear arsenal which still poses a threat to all nations.

But how many of you remember the movie Red Dawn (not the remake, but the original)? Remember how Russia and Cuba were thought of, at least in Hollywood, as capable of mounting an invasion of the USA, splitting the nation in two? Scary stuff when I was young.

As a matter of fact, what is NATO but a reaction to the fear of conflict with Russia? NATO was created in order to solidify a unified defense against a monolithic existential threat which seemed unopposable on one’s own.

Yet, what do we see happening right now in Ukraine? What was supposed to be a cake walk for Putin and the well-equipped, numerically superior, immensely intimidating Russian military has turned into a classic example of “pride cometh before a fall.”

Recent stats released by Ukraine detailing Russian losses so far.

Years ago, shortly after the fall of the communist part in Romania, I visited there for about a month. One of the things I was able to do was explore much of the country via automobile, stay in Romanian homes, and talk candidly with those who had once served in the military, both Romanian and Russian.

Even then, all the way back in the early 1990’s, what became evident by what I saw and heard was that propaganda had built a much scarier enemy than what actually existed. I can still remember the exact words that came to mind as so many truths began to be exposed: “We were afraid of this?”

What Putin as done, and what the people of Ukraine have shown, is that Russia is not only completely incapable, but inherently unmotivated to conquer the West through conventional military means. In other words, despite what we have been led to believe, the Russian military is no more capable of rolling over Europe than a high school bully is able to stand up against a scrappy kid who’s decided not to run.

You know, there are spiritual parallels to this story. There are even stories in the Bible which teach us that numerically and technologically superior foes are often given more credit than deserved, especially in the face of indignant, defiant, and Spirit-led resistance.

So often the Church stands by and cowers, never moving forward and never making a stand, for fear that the Enemy is too powerful and the cost for victory is too high. Yet, even in the face of seemingly overwhelming military strength, the average citizens of Ukraine have taken up arms with a will to fight and have exposed the internal corruption already eating away at the gut of the Red Bear.

Remember what a ragtag group of rebels accomplished against what was then the most powerful military in the world, the “redcoats”? It took a change in tactics and was fueled by an undying hunger for freedom, but the American colonies eventually won their freedom from England.

My question to you is this: Is the struggle you face worth fighting for? Many times, the biggest enemy of freedom is our faulty perception of the foe.

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I Went to Pakistan (Part 2) “Knowing”

There are always going to be people who question your plans. Not even the Apostle Paul was immune from the naysaying that came not from enemies, but from his most trusted companions. That’s not saying I’m anything like Paul, but I can sympathize with him.

When I made known my desire to go to Pakistan, as I said before, not one single person within my circle of friends and family approved. No, it was more like, “Yeah, riiiight.” And when they were not laughingly questioning my sanity, they were outright warning me that I would probably be killed or kidnapped – then killed.

But like when Paul knew that it was God’s will for him to go to Jerusalem, even though everyone advised against it (Acts 21:12-14), I knew that it was God who was opening the door for me to make this trip.

But how did I know? This is a question that deserves discussing.

How was I so sure that God was leading me to visit Pakistan? How could I be sure that it wasn’t my own desires, my thirst for adventure, or some deep-seated need to prove myself? Granted, the adventure was compelling and there was certainly a need to prove something about myself, but I also wanted to “prove” God!

As a pastor, people look to me for spiritual guidance. They look to me for answers regarding the Bible and how one’s faith can be applicable to life. Yet, when the rubber meets the hot asphalt, most Christians forget from where I power comes. The average Christian keeps the battle-winning Captain of the Lord of Hosts relegated to the cute stories told in Sunday School and forgets that He is still the Conquering King. Therefore, it’s no wonder they were worried for me – they were forgetting Whom they served!

I’ve been forced to put my God to the test in the past, and He was faithful as He promised. I’ve also witnessed Him supernaturally deliver me from a would-be killer who had planned to put a bullet in my head (while I was delivering pizza in Hopkinsville, KY). And, honestly, it’s because of these things, and others, that I kind of felt like young David when he was questioned about going up against Goliath (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

Friends, do you serve the living God that delivered David from the lion, the bear, and Goliath? Do you serve the God who delivered His people out of Egypt? Do you serve the God who opens prison doors? Do you serve the Mighty God who told Joshua, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:9)”?

If you do – if you serve the God of David, Daniel, Moses, Joshua, etc. – then maybe you can understand the frustration and indignation I felt. If this trip was being orchestrated by the true and living God, then I believed without a doubt that He would take care of me.

But once again, was this trip put on my heart by God, or was I just seeking a thrill?

I guess the answer is simple to me, but unless you know what it’s like to walk with the Lord for a while it might sound crazy. What it amounts to is a legal term I learned when my youngest daughter competed in mock trial – “preponderance of evidence.” In other words, knowing the will of God for one’s life rarely comes down to one thing or another, but a combination of things, even a culmination of affirmations.

Consider the following points:

  • There was definitely a need in Pakistan
  • I have been supporting a ministry for years, even risking my own reputation
  • A plea was made for me to come
  • There was a clear and distinct objective my going would accomplish
  • There had been much prayer
  • My original feelings were a big “NO!”, but my heart became burdened over time
  • A sense of urgency existed
  • Not going would only serve to relieve me of danger, but the ministry abroad would only suffer
  • Now, more than ever before, my position and reputation could prove invaluable to others in need
  • People were willing to give generously when they knew I was actually going.
  • My going would have a direct impact on life and death circumstances involving hundreds of children.
  • I was never, ever, not once afraid or intimidated, nor did I doubt that God would provide the means to do everything that needed to be done.
  • I wanted people to see the God we serve is still the God of the Bible and Joshua 1:9 still applies!

It wasn’t one thing; it was multiple things! And on top of all that, when we seek to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh, His desires become our desires.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. – Psalm 37:4-5 KJV

But there’s one more thing. God could have stopped this trip many times. I even asked Him to stop me from moving forward with it if it was against His will. Yet, doors kept opening and I could do nothing less than walk forward till they closed.


Stay tuned! Next time I will address the actual objectives this trip to Pakistan was meant to accomplish.

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The Brink of Unthinkable?

As I sit here tonight, there are a host of stressors giving my gut something to complain about. Heck, I just ended a sentence with a preposition! It’s getting bad.

Things as petty as my dog whining because I’m not playing with him (petty, that’s funny), all the way to thoughts of nuclear war (that’s NOT funny), are making me feel like huddling in a dark closet until the monster gets through trashing my house looking for me.

Then again, how do my stressors compare to those trying to stand their ground in Ukraine? Do my problems involve trying to find more ammo for my AK47? Hardly. The most I’ve got to be concerned about is not screwing up tomorrow’s sermon or missing Monday’s flight out of Atlanta.

But there’s one stressor that should be challenging the most iron-like intestines – the genuine threat of World War. . . even nuclear.

“Oh, come on!” you say. “There you go with all that fearmongering that’s so typical at times like this.”

Times like this? What kind of time is this, exactly? It’s crazy, if nothing else.

Think about it. Nobody thought Hitler would keep marching through Europe after Germany annexed the Sudetenland, the ethnic German territory lining the periphery of western Czechoslovakia in September of 1938. Yet, in September of 1939, World War II began when German tanks rolled into Poland.

Ironically, what Hitler claimed as the reason for annexing Sudetenland sounds extremely similar to the accusations Putin has made about Ukraine.

Denigrating the ethnic German population to “immigrant” status, the Czech government instituted a policy of “rapid de-Germanizing” in Bohemia and in the Sudetenland.

Richard Tedor, “Hitler’s Revolution”

Hitler wanted to annex the territory around him because, as Putin claimed about those of Russian heritage in Crimea, the ethnic Germans were being disenfranchised and abused. Now Putin is saying the same about Ukraine and expecting the West to stand down.

However, looking at today’s news, it seems the western nations are not sitting idly by; it seems like we are ramping up sanctions (which hurst all of us, eventually) and upping troop numbers in nearby countries.

Does this mean that there is light at the end of this tunnel? Maybe. But the weapons in the hands of THIS madman are potentially catastrophic. Therefore, what may have been unthinkable at one point, much like what Europe believed in 1938, could be just around the corner, that is, if Putin’s pride is more valuable than human life.

Are we on the brink of the unthinkable?

Something to think about. But God is still God.


Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matt. 6:34 CSB

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. – Psa. 55:22

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It’s a Sad, Sad Day for Afghanistan…and the Whole Region

Let’s get straight to the point without worrying about font size, layout, or pictures.

I think it’s a sad, sad day for the people of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it seems the sorrow is only going to deepen and spread thanks to the IDIOTIC and FOOLHARDY announcement that our soldiers are going to leave, and when.

What are we doing? Are we wanting a THIRD conflict? Do we need to bring this one to an end so that the current administration can get their street cred for declaring their own moral outrage?

I can’t help but think of all the blood that has been pour out and splattered across the sands. What a waste! A WASTE! What will have been gained? What will have been accomplished, especially if the Taliban goes right back to their old ways of hardline Sharia law and befriending those who want to bring Western Civilization to its knees?

As I watch the whole country succumb to the Taliban, I can’t help but wonder why and how? Not only why would we let this happen, but how on earth are they still capable of regaining so much so quickly?

Whatever the case, the re-implementation of radical Islamic rule will bring uncertainty and instability to the whole region – again. And what I fear is that neighboring places like Pakistan will find themselves having to deal with increased threats, more emboldened radicalism, and the inevitable loss of innocent life.

Because who’s gonna stop them?

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We Preach Jesus! (Revival In Africa – and Needed in Georgia)

The following post is not new, but one from a year or so ago, maybe longer. But here are the basics…

  1. It’s been around 5 years since I went to Africa (August, 2016) and I’ve still not gotten over it.
  2. I was supposed to go to Jamaica this time last year, but then you-know-what happened. Nobody went anywhere.
  3. We are now praying for revival. The Church of God, the Body of Christ, but particularly we Southern Baptists here in Georgia, need a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, a move of God among our congregations!
  4. Sometimes we need to go to other places, like Zimbabwe or Pakistan, to be reminded how big our God is and how powerfully He wants to work in our lives if we’d just let Him.
  5. Having a fired-up preacher serve as your interpreter can rock your world! And shake the Devil’s!!

So, the following post is about my trip to Zimbabwe, but the best part is the audio of the final sermon preached. I am amazed that the Lord could even use someone like me, especially back then when I (capitalized) was the one in need of revival (that’s really why I went on this trip in the first place). But if you want a real blessing, scroll down and click on the link to the sermon.

Be sure to listen to the sermon at the end!


Revival

It has been [five] years since I went to Zimbabwe. I went there to preach in a series of revival services in two different Baptist churches, both of which were started along with several others by Chinhoyi Baptist in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. Of course, preaching wasn’t all I did; I went with different pastors into various villages, visiting and praying with Christians, evangelizing those who’d never heard the gospel.

The other reason I went to Zimbabwe was to get revived myself. I needed this trip! And, praise be to God, it was life-changing!

Here are some photos from different services.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member's front yard.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member’s front yard.

image

Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

The Final Service

The final service in which I preached was at Chinhoyi Baptist Church. It was a celebratory farewell service where all of the churches which had hosted our team of three (Dr. Eddy Rushing, Marshall Kellett, and myself) came together as one. And man, was it a service!

The honor was mine to be selected to preach the final service, and what an honor it was. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett were responsible for personally leading scores of people to Christ during this trip, so who was I to be the one to preach? Nevertheless, they asked me, and I jumped at it!

The beginning of the service was full of extremely lively music and dancing – not something the average Baptist in America is used to 😉 When all of that was over, the music shifted to hymns. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett both gave stirring testimonies before the final hymn “Higher Ground” (sung in the native language of Shona) set the tone for the sermon to follow.

Oh, Rev. Luckmann Chiasaru was my interpreter for this service, and man was he good! He even sang with me! Awesome!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They're well on their way!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They’re well on their way!

The following was recorded on an iPhone 6s, then edited on Audacity. I wish it could have been a better recording, but it was all I had. I pray it is a blessing 🙂

CLICK HERE for link to the audio of “We Preach Jesus!”

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Preaching for the EARLY Service in Pakistan

I hope every one is doing well on this sunny Wednesday afternoon in Georgia! I know some of you have snow and rain, but for now it’s in the high 40’s and bright and sunny where I am at.

I just wanted to take a moment to share some photos of what I did this past Sunday morning – I preached in Pakistan!

For those of you who don’t know, I do my best to help support a worthy ministry in Pakistan and my pastor friend, Victor Sammuel. I will tell you more in a future post.

Anyway, this past Sunday morning I was able to speak to Victor’s congregation during their morning worship service – at 1 a.m.! Talk about an “early service”!

And what is awesome is that I was asked to preach each Sunday morning the rest of this month!

But this is more than simply live-streaming our regular services at church. This is me speaking live to a group of Christians in a Muslim nation where persecution is common (even expected) and the average wage of a teacher in a Christian school is $60 a month (more about that later, too).

I would just encourage you to pray for me and for this congregation as I preach and teach God’s Word to a congregation who genuinely want to hear whatever I have to say.

And the topic they want to hear me speak on the most? The Rapture.

At 1 o’clock in the morning?

Praying for the congregation at the end of the sermon. The microphone is close to the phone.
Pastor Victor Sammuel interpreting.

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It’s Not a Platitude: God Is Still in Control

The events of this week led me to change what I was going to speak on Wednesday evening. I hope you will take the time to hear what God put on my heart.

As an added bonus, my sister plays the piano and sings an original piece to start things off.

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Filed under Abortion, America, Christianity, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, Preaching

June 6th… Would We Do It Again?

d day

Seventy-six years have passed since the pride of the Allies, 156,000 strong, stepped out of landing craft and jumped out of airplanes into the mouth of a monster ready to eat them alive.

Seventy-six years have passed since young men from America, England, and Canada (and we must not forget Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland) landed on beaches called Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

Seventy-six years ago, long before the fancy rock-climbing walls which are so popular in today’s health clubs and gyms,  the 2nd Ranger battalion “led the way” up the 100 ft. cliffs of Pointe du Hoc.

Seventy-six years ago, on the 6th of June, 2,499 American and 1,914 from the other Allied nations, a total of 4,413, gave their lives for the sake of freedom.

Seventy-six years ago men were stepping on the backs of their comrades as they sloshed through red water, breathed in the mist of war, and wondered if they would live to see the ground only yards (meters) in front of them.

On June 6, 1944, seventy-six years ago, it was said of those who landed:

They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio broadcast, June 6, 1944

It is the 6th of June, 2020, but are we still a people with the stomach to liberate? If we were the ones living seventy-six years ago, where would we be today?

Ask those who take a knee, or hide in a locker room when the anthem is played.

Ask those who protest the same American flag that their African-American ancestors fought and died for – the same ancestors who fought in segregated units, but were still ferociously proud to be Americans. What did the pilots of the Red Tail Squadron do when the flag was raised and the anthem was played?

For that matter, what did Tuskegee Airmen Dr. Harold Brown, a pilot with the renowned 332nd Fighter Group in World War II (an all-black squadron) say when asked the following question during a recorded conference call: “Why [when the slavery trappings, the discrimination was all there] would you raise your right hand and swear to defend this country?”

“Oh, that’s very, very simple, in my opinion. I was a citizen of the United States of America! This was my country, too! Even though it had some shortcomings, it was still the greatest country in the world. There is no other country I would ever trade for it.” (Feb. 28, 2018)

Ask those who are burning the American flag because “America was never great.”

Ask the socialists in Congress, or the mobs who attack anyone who wears a red hat.

Ask the millions as they enjoy their legalized weed.

Ask the rainbow-painted parade attendees as they throw glitter at each other.

Ask Antifa, the group of thugs who can’t tell a real Nazi from a urinating dog.

Ask those who burn their fellow man’s business and take away his livelihood, thinking this will somehow make our nation stronger.

Ask the protesters who don’t even know why they protest.

image

The reflection pool at the WW2 Memorial in Washington, D.C. Each gold star represents 100 Americans who died or remain missing during the war.

It cost a lot to buy seventy-six years of freedom. Would we do it again?

They would have to be willing to fight to defend something, and too many no longer believe what was purchased with the blood of others is worth fighting for. We’re too busy fighting each other.

Would we be willing to do it again?

I seriously doubt it. God help us.

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Filed under America, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials, World View

We Preach Jesus! (Revival In Africa)

This week I was supposed to be in Jamaica preaching in revival services. Of course, as you are aware, nobody is going anywhere for a while because of COVID-19 and closed borders.

So, since some of you may have not read this, here is the story of my trip to Zimbabwe. Be sure to listen to the sermon at the end!


Revival

It has been four years since I went to Zimbabwe. I went there to preach in a series of revival services in two different Baptist churches, both of which were started along with several others by Chinhoyi Baptist in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. Of course, preaching wasn’t all I did; I went with different pastors into various villages, visiting and praying with Christians, evangelizing those who’d never heard the gospel.

The other reason I went to Zimbabwe was to get revived myself. I needed this trip! And, praise be to God, it was life-changing!

Here are some photos from different services.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member's front yard.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member’s front yard.

image

Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

The Final Service

The final service in which I preached was at Chinhoyi Baptist Church. It was a celebratory farewell service where all of the churches which had hosted our team of three (Dr. Eddy Rushing, Marshall Kellett, and myself) came together as one. And man, was it a service!

The honor was mine to be selected to preach the final service, and what an honor it was. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett were responsible for personally leading scores of people to Christ during this trip, so who was I to be the one to preach? Nevertheless, they asked me, and I jumped at it!

The beginning of the service was full of extremely lively music and dancing – not something the average Baptist in America is used to 😉 When all of that was over, the music shifted to hymns. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett both gave stirring testimonies before the final hymn “Higher Ground” (sung in the native language of Shona) set the tone for the sermon to follow.

Oh, Rev. Luckmann Chiasaru was my interpreter for this service, and man was he good! He even sang with me! Awesome!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They're well on their way!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They’re well on their way!

The following was recorded on an iPhone 6s, then edited on Audacity. I wish it could have been a better recording, but it was all I had. I pray it is a blessing 🙂

CLICK HERE for link to the audio of “We Preach Jesus!”

 

 

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Filed under baptist, Countries, Preaching, worship