Thursday, November 25, 2004

Sudarsun, A New Brother In The Lord

Last month I wrote about one of our friends from Nepal that had been attending our collegiate ministry at McKendree College in Illinois. He grew up Hindu and moved to the US to attend college this year. His name is Sudarsun. He had come regularly to our Bible studies and worship services and was trying to understand the commitment we have to Christ. We prayed for a month that Sudarsun would come to understand the faith we have in our Lord.

Then 2 weeks ago, while I was on a business trip, I received the news that Sudarsun had trusted his life to Christ. Praise God!!! Sudarsun did what many of us have never done. He trusted his life to Christ without growing up in a Judeo-Christian (or pseudo Judeo-Christian) society like ours. When we that have grown up here in the West make a decision to follow Christ we might be ridiculed by our friends and family, but most likely not suffer any real persecution for our decision. When Sudarsun made the commitment to Christ it required a shift in the foundations of all that has been taught to him. When you grow up a Hindu it starts a huge change in your life to now proclaim to be a follower of Christ. His friends and family in Nepal will probably have a harder time understanding his decision than any of us will.

Throughout this whole process Sudarsun has kept a remarkable online journal. I think each of us can learn so much from his writings. It is located here. Link. I get excited every time I read it. His approach to Christianity is so fresh and different from most of us who have grown up in the West. We grow up knowing all the facts about Christ that have been drilled into us from attending church and then have our Christian friends try to persuade through reason or emotion to turn our lives over to His Lordship. It only requires a very minimal level of faith to become a Christian in our world. Sudarsun's journey, though, has been just the opposite. He stepped out in faith and dedicated his life to the Lord before he knew all the facts and answers. His decision took a level of faith that most of us have never seen. With fewer and fewer people being exposed to "Christian" principles in our increasingly postmodern society I think Sudarsun's experience is one that will be repeated time and again among our friends. The old method of making a decision to follow Christ with your head and following it through with a decision to follow from your heart will give way to more people stepping out in faith to follow from their heart and then letting their head follow. I think this puts a huge new emphasis on the value of discipleship in the lives of new Christians.

Sudarsun was kind enough to let me link to his journal. Please keep him in your prayers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ephesians 3:14-21:

(14) For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (15) from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, (16) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, (17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

(20) Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (21) to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Thank You Lord for the opportunity to know You and Your only Son Jesus Christ. And thank You that You know and give more abundantly beyond all that we could ever ask or think. We give You the glory Lord. Amen

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

What Are We Thankful For

Thank you Donald Sensing for this post on Thankfulness in your One Hand Clapping Blog. Link.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Taking Away Our Condemnation

Another quote from John Piper. This time from The Passion of Jesus Christ (An even better book than his Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ):

The world will bring its condemnation. They may even put their sword behind it. But we know that the highest court has already ruled in our favor. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). No one successfully. If they reject us, he accepts us. If they hate us, he loves us. If they afflict us, he refines us by the fire. If they kill us, he makes it a passage to paradise. They cannot defeat us. Christ has died. Christ has risen. We are alive in him. And in him there is no condemnation. We are forgiven, and we are righteous. (Piper, p. 43)

The world does everything to try to make Christ's death powerless, but they cannot succeed. God has already made it powerful and we are his testimony to the world through our changed lives.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Out of Sync

I just finished reading Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, by John Piper. Pretty good book. He had a quote that I liked very much.

The glory of Jesus Christ is that he is always out of sync with the world and therefore always relevant for the world. If he fit nicely, he would be of little use. (Piper p. 93)

Jesus Christ is always relevant because he is out of sync! I like it.

Back Home

It has been a long 2 weeks. The software training went pretty well and I am back home now, but only temporarily.

Next Monday I leave again for 2 weeks of work in Hawaii. We will be teaching airlift mission planners how to use our software during a military exercise in the Pacific. It is an incredible chance to introduce a large military audience to our software and to show them what it can do. And, most people would love the opportunity to be able to go to Hawaii during the cold months of late fall and early winter, but I guess I'm just tired of traveling. Our work schedule will be very busy without much time to enjoy being in Hawaii. We will arrive in Hawaii and spend a couple of days with a normal work schedule and then we will go on 12 hour shifts for about a week and a half straight. One of us will work from 6am to 6pm and the other will work from 6pm to 6am. I don't imagine we will have a day off the whole time we are there. Sounds like a dream job doesn't it? At least there are lots of billable hours!

I haven't had a lot of opportunity to post much here during the last couple of weeks and probably won't have a chance to post much over the next couple of weeks. It has been a mixture of a lack of time and a wireless internet connection that hasn't worked well. But, it doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about you all. I appreciate your prayers and although I haven't posted much I have tried to read your blogs anytime I get near a computer.

Take care and God bless you and I hope to be blogging with you again soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

It's Been A Long Trip, But The Rewards Are Great!

I'm 3/4 of the way through a 2 week trip. I spent last week in New Jersey and this week in Northern California teaching a software class at a couple of Air Force Bases. The class has gone pretty well, and the pay is good, but my heart hasn't really been in it. I can't imagine how people get fulfilled from doing this. There is so much more to life than being on the road and making a lot of money.

Although I have only been gone for a couple of weeks I have thought a lot about my family. I appreciate and love them more than I ever have and miss them alot. It is so touching to hear my wife, son, and daughter on the phone when I'm away. You really learn not to take them for granted. The year I had to leave them behind when the Air Force sent me to Korea was a horrible one and being away from home again really helps me to think out my priorities and decide what is important in my life. This is the longest I have been gone since Korea and I guess I don't like being gone any longer, but it is rewarding to know that they can function so well when I am gone. It makes me feel like a successful husband and father to hear them doing so well.

My other family, the ministry to McKendree College, seems to be able to go on well without me also. In the 2 weeks I have been gone my students have had the privelege to lead 5 new believers to Christ. They are such an awesome group of students and I don't know why God has chosen me to lead and mentor them, but when I leave for a couple of weeks and they are so faithful for the Lord and bold in their faith it makes me feel successful as a leader and mentor.

I hate being gone, but I know that seeing how the Lord continues to bless those at home while I'm gone makes it seem like the effort while I'm there is well worth it. I am not boasting, because it is the Lord who is blessing. And praise God he continues to bless us!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I Always Miss The Best Times

I received an E-Mail today from one of my students at the McKendree College Ministry that one of our Hindu friends from Nepal has come to know the Lord. He has been attending our ministry for about a month and a half and when I talked to him after our Wednesday night Bible study I felt he was very close to making a commitment to Christ. He has been tediously searching out the Word of God, spending time in prayer, and thinking out the cost of what it will mean to him to know the Lord. Anyhow, this week he chose life.

For any of you that have been praying for him, thank you so much. But, please don't stop now, continue to pray. He will face horrible persecution from his fellow Hindus at college and back home in Nepal. Pray that the Lord will fill him so much that they will see it is futile to presecute him. Pray that he can be a strong witness for the Lord to his friends and family and that rather than him coming to know the Lord being the end of your prayers that he will only be the tip of the iceberg to come. I truly sense that he will have a significant impact on his family and friends.

It has been a great week. Last Sunday another of the students led her roomate to the Lord. We have some incredible Christians at our ministry who are affecting everyone they come across. They are so bold in the faith that it excites me what the Lord is capable of doing on the McKendree Campus through them.

I am sorry to be on a business trip this week and sure would like to have been there when this happened. But, if it takes me leaving town for a few days to have students make commitments to the Lord then I am willing to live my life on the road!

Take care and God bless each of you.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Not Much Sleep Last Night....

Need sleep.....tired.....happy with election results......must lead Bible study tonight on John 17 & 18.....long day at work......bad chinese food for lunch......Blogger slow all day more time, must go!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I Voted!

Thanks Rob for the great logo!

The Illinois Republican Party

I am very upset today with the Illinois Republican Party. As many of you have probably guessed, I am a registered Republican. When I voted this morning I came away very disappointed. Illinois is a state dominated by Democrats with strong ties to labor unions. I understand that electing a Republican Senator or Congressional Representative is a hard sell sometimes. But, I don't think the Illinois Republican Party is even trying.

1. Our Republican primary Senate candidate dropped out of the race after he won the primary election due to his soon to be ex-wife accusing him of pressuring her to have public sexual encounters. Did we replace him with the candidate who came in second place? No, we replaced him with Alan Keys, who is from Maryland. I ranted and raved over New York electing Hilary Clinton as their Senator when she didn't live in New York, and in the same light I think it was wrong for the Illinois Republican Party to select someone from outside our state as its candidate. I voiced my opinion by voting for Barak O'Bama, the Democrat candidate for the Senate. I don't think the Illinois Republican Party gave me an alternative.

2. I was even more upset when on about half of the lines on the ballot the Democrat candidate was running unopposed. That is stupid. I had no alternative and I don't like the fact that my party didn't give me a legitimate choice. And, the ones that were on the ballot weren't highly publicized. Erin Zweigert was running agains the incumbent long-term Congressman Jerry Costello. She is a great candidate, but I don't think many people have heard of her. We have got to do a better job.

My answer? Rather than abandon the Republican party I will make a commitment to it. In some form or another I will be on the ballot when we vote in 2006 (the next time we elect our Illinois and US Congressional Representatives). We have to give the voters of Illinois a choice.


A couple of weeks ago we had the privelidge of hosting Bethany Dillon in concert. It was so good! I was the totally impressed with her. She showed love with abandon and it came through her music. Here's one of the songs she did called Beautiful. It speaks of her love for God and what it means have God be the beauty in our lives. It was amazing to hear her:

I was so unique, now I feel skin deep,
Count on makeup to cover it all,
Cryng myself to sleep, because I cannot keep their attrention,
Thought I could be strong, but its killing me,
Does someone hear my cry, I'm dying for new life

I want to be beautiful, and make you stand in awe,
Look inside my heart, and be amazed,
I want to hear you say, who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love,
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me,
Fighting to make the mirror happy,
Trying to find whatever is missing,
Won't you help me back to glory,

You make me beautiful, You make me stand in awe,
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed,
I love to hear you say, who I am is quite enough,
You make me worthy of love,
And beautiful

This is a pitcure of Bethany from her album

Pretty incredible lyrics, even better voice and instruments. Hard to believe this was written and performed by a 16 year old! You've got to get her CD. She speaks to my heart every time I listen to it.

Rick's Travel Plans

I'm going on some business trips with Northrop Grumman over the next couple of weeks to teach some software classes. Here's what my schedule looks like:

November 5-10: Wrightstown, New Jersey (at McGuire Air Force Base) about 45 minutes from Phildelphia.

November 13-20: Vacaville, California (at Travis Air Force Base) on the north edge of the San Francisco Bay Area

If you live in either of those areas and would like to get together please leave a comment below or E-Mail me at

Monday, November 01, 2004

Happy Reformation Day!

Thanks to Rob Willliams for his post on What October 31st means historically to Christians. Link. Halloween isn't the only thing celebrated on the last day of October. I've been looking for something besides Halloween to celebrate on this day and I think I may have found it!

President Bush and Vice-President Edwards?

Thanks to One Hand Clapping for directing us to the following post in U.S. News and World Report. Link. The report tells us what could happen if the electoral college Presidential vote ends up tied...

Under the Constitution, if no candidate gets an absolute majority of the electors, the president is elected by the House, with each state's delegation getting one vote. Currently, Republicans control 30 state delegations in the House, Democrats 16, and 4 are tied. That means that if today's House were voting and George W. Bush and John Kerry each had 269 electoral votes, Bush would be elected. But it is the House to be elected November 2 that votes. Will the Republicans still have a majority of state delegations in the House?

The answer is almost certainly yes....My prognosis: Republicans are very unlikely to lose more than two delegations. That would leave them with 28 delegations, a solid win for Bush.

One more thing. If the electoral vote is 269-269, the vice president is elected by the Senate that assembles on January 3. If Democrats have a majority, they will elect John Edwards. If Republicans have a majority, or 50 senators plus Dick Cheney as the incumbent vice president, they will elect Dick Cheney.

Wow, is this ever a call to play well with others? The possibility exists for a Bush/Edwards White House. Incredible!