Category Archives: Countries

Ode to Green and Irish Hymns

All Things Irish

Normally, I don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but I figured today would be a good day for green.

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March, 2010

Somewhere in my ancient past, somewhere beyond the reach of genealogy software, I know there must be some Irish blood. It’s not something I can prove, but I do look good in green and turnip greens are one of my favorite foods. I also like green grass, the beauty of a rainbow, pots of gold, and Lucky Charms breakfast cereal.

Irish Hymns

But if there is anything Irish that makes a chill run up my spine, it’s the ancient hymn, “Be Thou My Vision.” I consider it one of the “battle hymns” of the faith: every time I hear or sing it, I am encouraged to draw my Sword and wage war with the Devil.

I had not been pastoring long when in 1996 I went to the Promise Keepers Clergy Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a rare three-day event featuring a once-in-a-lifetime lineup of speakers; everyone from Chuck Swindoll and E.V. Hill, to Jack Hayford and Tony Evans, just to name a few. 40,000+ ministers came from all over the world to this event, including 200 Native American pastors who took 2 months to walk from out West. Believe me, it was incredible.

Towards the end of the gathering of all these men who had dedicated their lives to the service of the Lord, all 40,000 men stood to sing what was to be the first time I had ever heard “Be Thou My Vision.” The power…the chills…the call to do battle with the Enemy was nearly overwhelming. 40,000 pastors singing “High King of Heaven…” could make the deadest doorstop of a Christian stand to his feet and shout!

So, after searching YouTube, I found this video with a stirring rendition of the Irish hymn I love so much. Along with the song, there are pictures of great preachers and missionaries of the church. The only thing is that it ends with a picture of John MacArthur, so if you are not a MacArthur fan, just close your eyes, OK?

On this St. Patrick’s Day, please keep in mind something else…theology! Here’s another little video you should watch 😉

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Filed under Christian Unity, Countries, Faith, General Observations

2017, Here I Come!

My Short List

You knew it would come sooner or later, right? Well, this morning I wanted to throw together a short list of things I’d like to do in 2017. Don’t call them “resolutions,” just things I want to do or accomplish.

  • Read through my Bible more than once. Part of that will consist of reading through many of the books in a single sitting.
  • Finish reading some books I started last year… and the years before.
  • Pray “evening, morning, and at noon.”
  • Take my wife to Ruth’s Chris for the first time (maybe for her 50th birthday in February?). But that will depend on whether or not I find another job.
  • Lose some weight.
  • Build a bed frame for my daughter, Haley.
  • Change the brakes on every dadgum vehicle we own 😦 At least we have transportation, true? Well, as long as we can keep up the payment, that is.
  • Bring honor and praise to Jesus. The last thing I want to do is be an embarrassment to His name.

Some Video

Now, just to finish out this first post of the year, I want to leave you with some video moments from my trip to Zimbabwe last year (August). That was truly the highlight of my year, and I do appreciate all of your help getting there.

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Filed under Christian Living, Countries, Future, Monday Monkey, places, the future

I Saw and Perceived. Will You?

θεωρέω

The word is theōreō (θεωρέω), and it is translated as “saw” and “perceive” in two different verses in the book of Acts.

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw [G2334] the city wholly given to idolatry. … Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I perceive [G2334] that in all things ye are too superstitious. – Acts 17:16, 22 KJV

The Apostle Paul had not only been a spectator, but had discerned and considered the idolatrous condition of the city of Athens, and it broke his heart. That led him to take action.

Pray for Us

When I was in Zimbabwe I was able to see for myself what was going on. I was able to discern the painful conditions under which the people live. But even more, my heart was broken and convicted, for here was people who had a determination to survive, no mater what. Here was a body of Christians who were determined to share the gospel on one hand, and work for better conditions with the other.

Today more protesters concerned with unemployment (over 80%) and government corruption went to the streets, court approval in hand, yet were arrested by police. The people live in poverty because of leader who will not listen to the people of his country, and they are growing weary.

But what did I hear from the people I met? “Pray for us,” they would beg. “Pray for peace, for a peaceful election, and a change for good.” They want better relations with Western countries, not North Korea or Russia. They don’t want a coup, but fair and honest elections. But things are getting very tense, so they beg for us to pray.

Real People

It’s one thing to read about it in the news, but something totally different when you know the people involved. I went there…I met them…I lived and ate with them… The people of Zimbabwe are real people, a people of whom many love God and want Zimbabwe to be a Christian light on the continent of Africa.

I saw. I perceived. Now, will you take just a moment and look a little closer? Would you please intercede for this nation and our fellow believers caught in the middle of such turmoil?

All they want us to do is see them, and pray.

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Filed under Countries, current events, places

Oppressed?

Please forgive me, Mr. Kaepernick, but I find it hard to understand how a group of people who are allowed to openly protest, disrupt with near impunity, obtain special status in nearly every institution, have the freedom to speak whenever and wherever, and are allowed to openly dinigrate other groups as a whole can rightfully claim to be oppressed by their government and/or police forces who protect their said rights.

I guess spending some time in Africa gave me a different perspective.

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Filed under America, Countries, current events, General Observations

Anthony’s Appetite (Zimbabwe Edition)

My Appetite

Several years ago I started writing posts about food, but I haven’t done any for a long while. The “Anthony’s Appetite” segments were meant to give me a reason to play an amateur food critic in hopes of getting free meals 😉 Well, I never got any free meals, but I did get to eat some interesting dishes.

*Speaking of several years, I just learned from WordPress that today is my 7th anniversary for blogging! Cool, huh?

Anyway, I will eat a lot of things at least once. I’m not as brave as Andrew Zimmern, but I am adventurous for an American. Therefore, it’s a little easier for me to travel to new places and eat food I’ve never seen before. My wife, on the other hand, would die of starvation.

Zimba-food

The average food I ate in Zimbabwe was chicken. This was the main staple meat. However, the main food of Zimbabwe is a thing called sadza.

One day I was the guest for lunch with a high-ranking professor at the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT). That day he took me to one of the small hotels that the university had acquired for its hospitality program. There, right in the open, food was prepared in an iron wok over an open fire and served buffet-style. Beef tips, fish, “vegetable,” and sadza was on the menu.

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What is sadza? Well, think of grits, only ground finer, then the consistency of heavy mashed potatoes. It’s made from corn meal, is designed to be eaten with your hands, and has the taste of grits with no salt or butter.

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Speaking of open fire, most all the food I ate in Zimbabwe was prepared by some lady in a mud hut. If it wasn’t made in a mud hut, it was made in an open area, but in every case there was a fire. And speaking of fire, I was terribly impressed with the way the folk in Zimbabwe were able to cook with such little wood! Where we in America would need to fill a fireplace, these people could cook a whole meal over three little limbs!

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The Taste Test

One night we decided to try a Zimbabwe version of a truck stop diner. Frankly, it wasn’t that bad. The only thing that stretched me was one of the little foods I was told people drive for miles to get – to eat with their sadza. It was called dried Matemba (kapenta).

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You know, Google it if you’d like, but whatever this fish was…I only ate one. One of these chewy little critters tasted like concentrated fish  – the kind of taste you try to cover up because it “tastes like fish” – and river water (river water around here tastes like fish). I about gagged. I can’t imagine eating a whole meal of these things.

Pizza Heaven

Our number one most frequently visited eating establishment of the trip was a little pizza place in Chinhoyi called Pizza Inn. Actually, it’s a combo type of place with a Chicken Inn, also (“with the flavor you’ve loved since 1987!”).

I’ve eaten a lot of pizza, but let me be very honest…Pizza Inn makes some seriously good pizza! And let me tell ya, Peri Peri Chicken pizza is da’ bomb!! Yessir! The pizza in the picture below was from the last night we ate there. It was four different types of pizza in one. AND, on Tuesday nights you could get two for the price of one!

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Every night after our individual revival service meetings, the three of us preachers and our driver, Agayi, would stop in for pizza. For crying out loud, a loaded medium was only six dollars! And that could literally feed two people! Good stuff.

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The other things was that Pizza Inn was the only place open that late (after 8 pm), and it was consistently clean.

But I Did a Bad Thing

Now, before I end this I must tell you about the worst thing I did while in Zimbabwe (except when I filmed myself in an area in the capital – who knew doing so was punishable by death?)…. I turned away some food.

Yes, I know it. How could I, right? One of the worst things you can do in a foreign country is offend your host by saying, “I’m sorry, but if I eat any more of this I’ll puke on your pretty table.” Well, that’s not exactly what I said, but it was close.

Most of the time when we think of dessert we never think of questionable contents, only sweet stuff. I mean, there’s usually nothing gross in dessert to offend the Western palate, right? Well, this time I ran into a culinary brick wall, one I could not get through or go around – I had to say “NO!”

What was it? What made it so hard to eat? How about I just show it to you and list the ingredients.

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The above dish didn’t look toooo unappetizing, especially since I recognized sliced bananas. And since I’d been to the Luck’s Bean factory and eaten desserts prepared with beans (like pinto bean pie which tasted like pecan pie), I was ready to give this food a try, even if I’d never thought of banana and bean going together.

But then the rest of the ingredients had a hard time going down my throat – in combination with the bananas and beans: Onions, leeks, yogurt, and a thousand island-like dressing.

One spoonful was all I could handle.

Fellowship, Not Food

But really, it’s not about the food – it’s about the fellowship…something of which we’re in short supply in the States.

Sitting around at lunch or dinner – or even around a table in a pizza joint – would be nothing much to write about had it not been for the great people we ate with. Our hosts and friends in Zimbabwe treated us like family, even royalty. It really didn’t matter what food was served, the fellowship with these dear brothers and sisters in Christ was the sweetest parts of every meal.

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If nothing else, anything is better than airline food!

 

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Filed under community, Countries, Food, places

We Preach Jesus!

Revival

The main reason I went to Zimbabwe was to preach in a series of revival services in two different Baptist churches, both of which were started along 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.

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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

Monday Monkey in Zimbabwe

I’m BACK!

On Friday afternoon of last week I felt the wheels of the Boeing 727 (I think) hit the Atlanta airport runway. It was the final touchdown that came after a long, long trip back on Ethiopian Air from Harare, Zimbabwe.  Seriously, the worst part of my trip to Africa was just getting there and getting back home – too many hours in airplanes!

Nevertheless, I made it back, and I’m happy to be back in the USA.

So many of you prayed. Others were able to lend financial support. No matter what you did, if you helped in any way, the trip to Africa was more than a success – it was a victory! And all of you had a part.

Monkey in Africa

If you know me at all, you know that I could not pass up an opportunity to take Mr. Monkey to Africa. I mean, if he couldn’t fit in there, where else could he feel at home? A zoo?

Mr. Monkey went out with me to several places, not the least of which was to church. But before we went to church, there were times when he was able to climb real African trees…image

He got to visit a real African kitchen made out of mud and thatch…image

And he got to ride in a mini-bus with the local praise team from Chinhoyi Baptist Church.image

Mr. Monkey got to make plenty of friends, too. So many children were drawn to him and amazed with expressions. Even one of the pastors had to try his hand – literally – at bringing Mr. Monkey to life.image

Who’s Unique?

The message of the video I’ve attached is that Mr. Monkey (Buddy) was not entirely unique, for he was made in a Chinese factory on an assembly line. The children, however, were most certainly unique and one-of-a-kind.

The following video was filmed with my iPad Mini 2. The camera woman was the pastor’s wife, Mary. More about these dear folks in a later post.

Oh, by the way, there were 367 people who prayed to receive Jesus Christ on this evangelistic trip. If that doesn’t qualify as an unmitigated success, I don’t know what does. And more about that later, too.

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Filed under animals, Countries, Monday Monkey