Tag Archives: love

The stalled car

Recently a friend shared this story with me. He emigrated to the USA from Norway as a young man. One day he was driving along a busy road in the Seattle area and his car broke down.

This occurred on a Sunday morning. He stood by his car, not knowing what else to do, and watched as car after car whizzed past him.  He could tell that many of those passing him by were on their way to church.

Finally, a car slowed down and pulled over. The driver got out. He was dressed in shirt and tie. His wife and three children, were also dressed for church.

That family spent several hours helping my needy friend. They missed church that day.

They WERE the church that day.

My friend and the family are still good friends after many years.

Love that is worthy of Christ is often inconvenient.

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The man in the dream

Some months ago a young woman from Iran named Hamideh became a follower of Jesus.  She wanted to be baptized in water as an expression of her new faith in Jesus. Her husband Kambiz attended the baptism as a courtesy, but he did not believe as his wife did.

Kambiz showed no interest in spiritual things until there was concern during Hamideh’s delivery of their baby. During the wee hours of that night when Hamideh was having difficulties in labor, Kambiz prayed to Allah, Ali, Hussein, and Muhammad and nothing happened. But then he saw nurses pray for his wife in Jesus’ name and Hamideh’s strength returned and she was able to deliver their baby 10 minutes later.  This began his interest in finding out why this prayer in the name of Jesus was effective.  He grew up in a religious Muslim family from Iran.

Months went by.  Kambiz and Hamideh accepted an invitation from Christian neighbors, Brian and Kathy, to a special service at their church. During the service, Kambiz leaned over to Brian and whispered that he wanted to be baptized just as Hamideh had been. Brian and Kathy were very surprised.  They followed up to find out what had happened between Good Friday (the day when Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ) and this Sunday in the church service. On Good Friday, Kambiz had walked away from the service with lots of questions, such as, “How could Jesus be God if he was praying to God on the cross?”

Brian and Kathy answered some of his questions, but they could tell Kambiz still had doubts, so they encouraged Kambiz to pray daily and ask God to show him the truth about Jesus.  He said he remembered to pray that several times, but became busy with his final days of graduate program.  One evening, Kambiz drifted off to sleep while worrying about his need to find a full-time job in a few weeks’ time.  If he didn’t find a job fast, he would have to return to Iran.

In the middle of the night, he had a dream.  In the dream, someone spoke to him and said, “Don’t worry. I will take care of you.”  Kambiz asked to whom he was speaking and these words came back to him, “I Am that I Am.”  The man in his dream spoke to him in his Persian language.  Kambiz was confused by the answer.  He had never heard those words before. In the morning, however, he did not remember the dream.

Several days passed when he had another dream.  This time, in his dream, the person spoke to him and asked him how he was.  After they chatted (again in Farsi), Kambiz asked him who he was and he answered the same way as the previous dream: “I Am that I Am”.  When Kambiz woke up, he not only remembered his dream, but he recalled his first dream.  He went and asked Hamideh who is “I Am that I Am”?

Hamideh replied, “He is Jesus.”

Kambiz asked for Jesus to reveal Himself once more.  Then, on that Sunday, Kambiz went to the church service, but was not following the song because he found it was too difficult to understand.  However, right in the middle of the song, he heard these words ring out clearly, “I Am that I Am.”  At that point, Kambiz felt that God was speaking to him and he believed that Jesus is alive, that He is God, and that He died on the cross for his sins.

With tears in his eyes, Kambiz told Brian and Kathy that Jesus spoke with him in Persian and when He called Himself “I Am that I Am” it meant that Jesus had always been and always will be!  Kambiz put his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He said, “I know Jesus is alive!” He asked to be baptized. And surely there is much rejoicing in heaven over this new member of the family of God.

On the following Monday, Kambiz was offered a full-time position at a job.  Jesus had indeed taken care of him.

This true story (names changed) took place in a city in the USA. This is why our ministry is called “Near Frontiers.”  And this story has taken you on another #NearFrontiersTREK to the mission frontier that is near. If you would like to explore a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, please email us at doorbell@nearfrontiers.org.

Photo credit:  WP Image Smart

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A higher purpose in hiring

My friend Don has a heart for refugees. As a Christian, he has told the Lord that he wants to be available to respond to needs which God brings across his path.

One day recently, Don was leaving a coffee shop and a thought crossed his mind. Acting on it, he asked the manager if he would consider hiring a couple young refugees from East Africa. “Sure,” was the reply, “have them fill in the online application, and bring them in next week.”
Encouraged, Don went to the next errand on his list, a printing company in town. Surprised by the positive response from the cafe, Don asked the print store worker the same question. Again, Don was amazed by the reply, “We would love to hire them. Come back next Tuesday to talk with the boss.”

The entire day unfolded in this same vein!

  • (At a car dealership) “Set up an appointment with the manager. We can always use young people to wash cars. Here’s the email address.”
  • “Does he have a license? (not yet) “Come back after he gets his driver’s license.”

Later in the day Don shares the good news of these job possibilities with his two young friends. They are thrilled. One  sent a text message: “Thank for encouragement. I graduate next year. Thank you for helping me to learn.”

Refugees are on a long journey. Their future is unknown. They have great courage. When they find helpers along the way, it means a great deal.

Let’s ask God to give us eyes to see them, and ideas for helping them find opportunity. We can do this in Jesus’ name, and provide a loving witness that won’t be forgotten.

And if you manage a business, consider hiring with a higher purpose!

Photo credit: WP Image Smart

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The tired traveler and the taxi man

I heard a cool story today and want to pass it along to you.

A man flew in from a country in Asia. He was a Muslim. He had flown many long hours and was exhausted when he arrived. He was supposed to be picked up at the airport by someone, but when he landed there was no one looking for him. He waited for a long time, wondering what to do in this strange new land.

A member of the Ethiopian church in Seattle was driving taxi that night. He saw the stranded traveler. Approaching him, the Ethiopian asked the immigrant if he could help, even offering to give him a ride and let him stay overnight at home.  The traveler gladly accepted, spending not just one night but two. The next day, the Christian helped the visitor contact his friends, who came for him.

Some while later, that visitor decided to visit a church in Seattle. When he entered, he looked up on the platform and who was preaching that day but the very taxi driver who gave him transport and lodging! He soon declared that whatever that taxi driving preacher believed is what he wanted to believe also. And he placed his trust in Christ.

Let’s keep our eyes open for ways we can welcome the stranger. Our loving actions, even when small, send a clear message!


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Intercultural unity, good for church health

Intercultural unity — when people of different cultures fellowship deeply together in unity — is good for the health of the Christian community. Let me share some of my thinking:

  • Intercultural unity can expose unhealthy ways in which our culture can become one and the same with our faith — as if there is no other valid way of worship that pleases God other than our way.
  • Intercultural unity can expose ethnocentrism, a cultural arrogance that assumes our way is the right way.
  • Intercultural unity can expose syncretism, the merging of absolute truth with optional cultural practices.

This is what the Jerusalem Council (in Acts 15) accomplished. The Jewish leaders, under direction of the Holy Spirit an at the uncomfortable assistance of those ministering to Gentiles, realized that their customs were not essential for pleasing God.

When you think of all that the Jewish leaders laid down at the foot of the cross, and what little they retained, you have to admire their sacrificial obedience. But what a benefit for the kingdom of God! Their gracious conclusion (Acts 15:28-29) unleashed exponential growth among the Gentiles for centuries to come.

jerusalem councilBut the tipping point had to come. The weight of Gentile acceptance of the gospel had to, at some point, overpower culturally Jewish dominance of the Way. So it was to their credit that the pillars of the Jerusalem church saw the inevitability of change and cooperated with the Spirit’s new wine skins.

Such changes have continually happened ever since, and in our day the rising tide of immigration is pressuring the dominant church to yield. If leaders will take a lesson from Peter and James, we will see what the Spirit is doing in our generation, one in which no ethnic group will hold a majority, one in which people from all nations now call the U.S. home.festival

Like the founding Jewish apostles, we can view this as an opportunity to be seized. Rather than retrenching in the fortress of cultural Christianity, we can take an honest look at our syncretism and take gradual but courageous steps to pare down the things that are “essential” and welcome into the fold a broad spectrum of expressions of following Jesus.





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All Lives Matter – John Perkins

Thanks to Mosaic Church in Little Rock Arkansas for sharing this video clip. Dr. John Perkins is a statesman and a prophet for today’s church in America. His suffering as a black man in a white man’s world, his encounter with the love of Jesus Christ, and his calling believers to long-haul reconciliation make him one of the great leaders of this time. Here is a 6 minute segment well worth watching. Please do

2016-01-10 Dr John Perkins Clip from Mosaic Church on Vimeo.

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Tutoring at the mosque

Today I met a former high school math teacher who began to feel the burden of God’s love for all peoples.  Near his home in an American city was a mosque, so he began to pray how he might bring the love of Jesus there.

After an extended season of prayer, he decided to go to the mosque. He was invited to meet the imam. The visitor told the imam that he was a follower of Jesus, and had a heart to help people. He wondered if there might be a student or two who was struggling with their mathematics. Could they use some free tutoring? The imam not only accepted the kind offer, but encouraged all the children from the mosque to come for tutoring.kids at mosque

That was eleven years ago. The teacher has not only continued the tutoring, but has brought many volunteers to the mosque to help out.

Opportunities for showing the love of Jesus abound right in our towns. May God give us hearts to serve, and commitment to pray for direction and open doors!

Tweet This  This Christian math teacher offered to tutor children at a local mosque and found a welcome reception. #NearFrontiersTREK

Photo credit: alamy.com

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Refugee Hemorrhage (a prayer)

definition: hemorrhage = an escape of blood from a blood vessel, especially when profuse.

“Look among the nations and watch. Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.” (Habakkuk 1:5)

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27)

suriye-syria-refugeeIn light of the unprecedented refugee crisis of these days, due to the war in Syria, I have written this prayer of lament.

Violence! Cry violence!

Brother against brother, king against people. Syria ruptured, her families bleeding into nations unknown and unwelcoming.

I see from a distance that we, the human family are in a time unprecedented. If God determines boundaries, and the times appointed for people to dwell in them, then He is surely doing something never imagined. How, O Lord, should your people pray? How does the gospel instruct us?

Jesus wept with Mary and Martha at the death of a friend. Jesus agonized in Gethsemane, pouring out His heart, even throwing himself down, for violence and treachery were near.

I join in that prayer so sad. I lament the violence brought upon families — yes, Muslim in culture and belief — yet members of God’s creation, made in His image and loved. The evils of power, prestige, greed and hatred have consorted together in demonic violence, have disregarded the desire of dads and moms to raise their children and care for their aging parents in peace. Evils have conspired to kill and destroy. What sadness!

How long, how wide, O Lord, will the blood spill out? When will the masses grow weary of fleeing, of drowning, of being herded into camps?

Only You, O God, can redeem something from this tragedy. Only You can balance judgment on evil and falsehood, with mercy and truth. My lament is not hopeless. It is not despair. But may my sadness be of some worth, of some sympathy with refugees I will never meet. And may a brother in a distant land meet them, and give a cup of cool water in Jesus’ name to help their thirst.

Tweet This  Here is a prayer of lament over today’s refugee crisis.


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5 Daily Disciplines for the Devotee of Jesus, Nepali version

I unashamedly swiped this post from the Trinity International blog found here. I believe learning from others in this way reminds us that God is at work around the world, that the Spirit is giving wisdom, that God speaks every language, and that we all need a learners heart.

पञ्चमहयजन(Maha Yagna): Five Daily Disciplines for the Devotee of Jesus

By mikaku

What follows is the Nepali version of the “Five Daily Disciplines for Devotees of Jesus”(पाचवटा प्रतिदिन् अनुशासन). For the one who has given their life to the Lord Sri Jesus, these yagnas are acts that can be done daily as an expression of devotion (bhakti) and faith (biswas).  I will include below the Nepali and English translation.

[Five Great Sacrifices / Disciplines]

१. इश्वर यजन [Discipline of God-worship] 

तपाईंको प्रेम जीवनभन्दा श्रेष्ट छ, यसकारण मेरा ओठले तपाईंको महिमा गर्नेछन. (भजन ६३:३) [Your love is better than life, so my lips with glorify you. (Bhajan 63:3)]

२. शास्त्र यजन [Discipline of Scripture Study]

तपाईंका वचन मेरा गोड़ाका निम्ति बत्ती, र मेरो बाटोको निम्ति उज्यालो हो. (भजन ११९:१०५) [Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path (Bhajan 119:105)]

३. पितृ यजन

[Discipline of Honoring Parents and Elders]

आफ्ना बाबु र आमालाई आदर गर, कि जुन देश तिमीहरुलाई परमप्रभु आफ्ना परमेश्वरले दिनुहुन्छ, त्यहाँ तिमीहरुको आयु लामो होस्. (प्रस्थान २०:१२) [Honor your father and mother, so that you will live long in the country that the Lord your God gives you. (Prasthaan 20:12)]

४. मानुष्य यजन [Discipline of Service to other People]

समस्त व्यवस्था एउटी वचनमा पूरा भएको छ, “तैंले आफ्नो छिमेकीलाई आफूलाई झैँ प्रेम गर्.” (गलाती ५:१४) [In one word the entire law is completed, “Love your neighbor just as yourself.” (Galaatee 5:14)]

५. सृष्टि यजन [Discipline of Creation Care & Stewardship]

आफ्नो निम्ति पृथ्वीमा धन-सम्पत्ति नथुपर, जहाँ कीरा र खियाले ती नष्ट पार्छन् र जहाँ चोरहरुले गर फोरेर ती चोर्छन्. तर आफ्नो निम्ति स्वर्गमा धन-सम्पत्ति थुपार, जहाँ कीराले वा खियाले नष्ट पार्दैन, र चोरले पनि चोर्दैन. किनकि जहाँ तिम्रो धन हुन्छ, त्यहीँ तिम्रो मन पनि हुन्छ. (मत्ती ६:१९-२१) [Don’t keep treasures for yourself on earth where insects and rust can destroy and where thieves can break into your house and steal.  But keep for yourselves treasure in heaven where insects and rust cannot destroy and where thieves do not steal.  For where you treasure is, there your heart will also be. (Mattee 6:19-21)]

Tweet This What would you say are 5 daily disciplines for the Jesus follower? Look what the Nepali version says.
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