Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Get Ready, Put Your Feet Down It's time to Walk

I was traveling on a bus in New York City from uptown - down to my office on 44th between Broadway & 8th. I observed a woman who was taking care of her two daughters. They were probably in their late 30's -- they were twins and they were mentally and physically challenged. I observed the way this mom was watching them and also thinking about the sacrifices this woman must make, along with the rest of her family in order to provide care for her children -- not knowing if she has others as well. I thought about how these kids are pretty much dependent on her and their Dad, in order to survive. Some people could have made a decision to institutionalize children like this.......they will be with her their whole life......

It reminded me when I was in 7th grade -- I had a chance to volunteer and help the special education class and I was assigned to Billy & Diane who were physically and mentally challenged -- I loved being around them -- they made me feel totally comfortable with them and I felt like there was no pretense about them -- authentic -- childlike -- Billy always had someone chasing him as he constantly wanted to take his clothes off and he was trying to Kiss Diane at every opportunity -- Diane in turn was always running from Billy -- never a dull moment with those two.....I forgot all about the terrible peer pressure of trying to fit in -- they made me focus on the best part of who I was in 7th grade.......

back to the bus in New York ......just before the next stop the mom informed the girls, "Get ready, put your feet down.....were going to start to walk"

I thought of the care and forethought that this mother puts in for her kids and the patience at guiding them each step of the way --- it made me think of the thoughts that the Lord has about us........and what He thinks every morning just before we wake up.........."Get ready, put your feet down......were going to start to walk."


Peace
john

Sunday, May 17, 2009

SUNDAY - A DAY OF REST

It has been a bit since I last wrote on the blog -- but I have been immersed in some very deep areas of teaching and personal reflection. It is amazing to me how much farther we can go into delving into our lives when we "get away" if you will. I realize how privilged I am to experience this as those with families and other responsibilities can't always do this. Nonetheless -- I also think it ultimately has less to do with our responsibilities as much as the attitude of our heart and if we are going to let God be willing to have his way in our hearts. When it says in the gospel of John 6:66 "Many turned and followed him no more." There comes a point in all of our lives -- perhaps more than once, where we are personally challenged by something that happens in our life or we have a hard time accepting the teachings of Jesus and either in a blatant move of stubborness or rebellion we turn from Him -- or perhaps more common, it happens very gradually, we slowly cool in our response to His word, or the call of His spirit on our lives -- we allow the things of the world to slip back in -- we stop being so intense and lesson our attitude towards things that would be considered questionable and allow more "grey areas" to reign in our lives. I think when Jesus got away from the crowds and got alone with the Father - he gave us such a great example about how to maintain that connection in such a way where he could be strengthened by it and it would affect his choices that he made on a daily basis.

I am painfully aware of ways that I have let the "world" creep into that special place of relationship with the Lord and how easily things get watered down -- I am grateful for this time to face some of the harder issues -- head on in hopes that after I leave this place I might be more equipped to walk in a fuller way -- my true, authentic self -- that who I am in Christ Jesus.

Friday, May 8, 2009

FORGIVENESS - THE SPIRITUAL LAWS

Today at Ellel, we are learning about forgiveness -- a topic that has been taught many times before. Today an interesting point was brought up when they mentioned in the prayer Jesus taught the disciples to pray in Matt. 6, "...forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us...." There is a cause an affect in this prayer -- however not just the obvious -- we are not forgiven if we don't forgive those who sin against us and the laws of unforgivenes can still operate in our life -- those of judgement. We might not believe in gravity but if we step off a cliff -- it will operate and have its full affects on our life whether we participate in the reality of it or not -- so it is with unforgivenss. There are spiritual laws of cause and affect and judgement and curses and such that can operate in our life when we don't forgive.

It has opened up a new sense of reverence for me -- as I consider the holiness of God -- what He has done for me in forgiving me of my sins, past, present and future and how what a challenge I have to move in that forgivenes towards others. Sometimes this is a tall order --

Forgivenes is a decision of the will -- not a feeling -- feelings of mistrust, hurt, etc., can still be present in forgiveness. Forgivenes is a decision -- Healing is a process and a result -- but this can take time. Our job is to walk in the spiritual laws of forgivenes and look to the One, Jesus, who can heal us.

I have known much of this before -- but I feel I am looking at it in a whole new light at this point in my life. I am profoundly moved at the thought of the volnerability of Jesus and how he moved on this planet and what he must have felt, especially in regards to rejection and how he continued to be loving towards everyone -- how incredible is that -- when you really take that in -- what an example......

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A BIBLE, A BED AND THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE



That is what I have been looking for -- a time to study the bible, learn more about what we can expect from God regarding healing and deliverance in our own lives and the lives of those that we would minister to -- I come to the 9-week School at Ellel Ministries with great expectations and a sense of excitement as I discover this wonderful physical part of the world here, the grounds of the building where this program takes place. It is in Lancaster which is a lovely little town that is about 50 minutes north of Manchester and very, very green right now and a bit wet as well.

I am with 31 other participants who represent 17 different nations. I am looking forward to getting to know them -- already had some great conversations. There happens to be two pianos in this wonderful Huge House and I have already enjoyed playing and singing -- something I have missed for sometime, having given up my apartment 3 years ago and giving my piano to my dad.

......I look forward to jotting down my thoughts as we go with perhaps a few photos as well -- I hope you take the journey with me.

peace
j

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

GOOD NEWS FM 105.1



I had a chance to do a live radio show tonight that went out to 3,000,000 (million) people. It is the only Christian Radio Station in Nepal and has been on the air for 2 years. This particular program was run by a guy from Pastor Bishwa's Church -- with commercials (by the way -- I was asked to do their new Radio Intro -- so I did a gratis Voice-Over for them.

I had a chance to share my story of living with AIDS and how the love of Jesus has strengthened me in my life. I was also asked about my time in Nepal and what I would hope to do in the future -- I think because I am really tired today -- I did not focus on how many people were listening or I would have been more nervous -- it is amazing to me that so many people can hear the same thing at the same time -- crazy.....

They announced the Youth Program that we are doing this Friday -- so who knows how many people will show up.....we shall see.


peace
john

KATMANDU SHOTS II



.... a couple more shots....some kids on the way to school and also a Temple square.

SOME KATMANDU SHOTS ON BACK OF SCOOTER






...... took some shots while on the back of a scooter -- very heavy traffic in certain parts of the city. Also there is what is called "load-sharing" which means that there are times during the day where electricity does not work -- that means even hotels -- that you pay to stay in -- don't have things that work - like the lights, or sockets, etc. they only work 4 hours during the day and it is usually when you have other things planned like between 12:00 noon and 4:00pm the power is on -- and also during 12:00 midnight and 4:00am -- the rest of the time -- it is on generator -- but phones don't work, light switches don't -- really hard trying to get stuff done -- I am staying in a hotel that is very cheap - about $20.00 US per night -- however -- it is weird to not have anything work -- it is like playing "hotel." I am growing in patience -- and loosing it all at the same time (God help me!)

some interesting shots around this very old city........I feel like I am back in time for sure.....

ARRIVED IN KATMANDU - OLD SCHOOL HAULING.......






I arrived in Katmandu on Sunday afternoon after a very busy Saturday with the Pastors Conference in Hyderabad. I was greeted at the airport by Pastor Bishwu and some other guys from the church and taken to the hotel that I am staying. I slept for 10 hours straight and was met the next day to go and visit a hospital to pray for some people from their congregation -- including a newborn baby that has 2 holes in his heart -- Afterwards I had to get some cash so I was getting ready to use an ATM -- a machine by the way that when I put my card in said, "Hello John Forbes" all the way in Katmandu, Nepal -- I then looked over my shoulder and saw this elephant coming down the road -- lucky to get some shots -- on one hand I was marvelling at technology and then I saw this.......



Enjoy
john

THE SEAT OF MERCY - PASTORS/LEADERS CONF.







The conference took place on Saturday, February 28th -- we had about 56 Pastors and about 6 volunteers attend the conference -- rounding out to a nice group. We had a couple stops and starts with the program actually going forward -- so with only 3 weeks notice and a go -- we were pleased with the group that attended. I was especially pleased that we had 30 Seminary/Theological Students attend. With them still forming many opinions and ideas about their calling and purpose it is a great privilege to speak to them at this critical time in the life of their vocational training.

The Conference was Co-Sponsored by Andrah Pradesh State AIDS Control Society, and its representative Prabhakar who works as a consultant with them. This is a new area of them working with "Faith-based" organizations -- so we were very pleased to get their support. Trevain from NeoLife Mission facilitated communication with the Pastors and Leaders in town and also helped pull together the administration of the event.

This event really confirmed this particular area of responsibility that I feel God calling me to and that is to bring awareness from a biblical perspective to Pastors and Leaders and the great opportunity for the Church to respond in Love to this pandemic that affects so many.

The Pics are of the Banner which hung over the stage, Trevain, Vijay & Praveen who helped with registration another shot of some of the registrants, a shot of Trevain Raj Kumar (left) NeoLife Mission Trust, Prabhakar, APSACS, (ctr) Myself (A.G.A.P.E. - A Global AIDS Perspective Enterprise).

THE SEAT OF MERCY - CONT'D






.... in this group of photos you can see one of myself and Solomon, my translator, and myself doing a session called LIVING WITH AIDS, one with Prabhakar from APSACS - Andrah Pradesh State AIDS Control Society along with some other attendees, another session and then Lunch with some of the group -- and closing out with the final session "The Seat of Mercy" where I share a biblical perspective and responsiblity for Christian Leaders. We ended with a time of prayer and repentance for not fulling walking in love in response to the HIV/AIDS community and then rededicated our time and resources to this end!

THE SEAT OF MERCY - PASTORS/LEADERS CONF.





.....In these photos we were handing out Certificates from A.G.A.P.E., APSACS & NEOLIFE MISSION for the attendees, and also there is a shot of the seminary students and myself -- they were a great group of young new leaders!

New Friends


Saji & Priya - are working with YWAM Hyderabad and taking care of ministry to those infected and affected by HIV. I had the pleasure of meeting Saji last year and got to spend the day with he and Priya and also do some in home ministry with a couple women on our way back to where I was staying. I thank God for them and look forward to getting to know them even more in the future. In the photo -- I am on the left, Saji in the middle and Priya on the right!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CONCERT/AWARENESS PROGRAM






....here are some more shots from the concert on Friday Night -- it was outdoors -- the description is in post below!

peace
john

WESLEY CHURCH





Earlier I had posted some pics from a church that had some really interesting architecture -- this was the location for the outdoor concert on Friday, Feb. 20th. It was an evening event that started at 7:00pm with a worship team from YWAM Hyderabad. I had the pleasure of meeting them earlier in the week. They shared about 5 songs to start off with and then the "Formal" welcome happened where I was presented with a "Prayer Shawl" and also some flowers as is customary for this part of the world. Trevain from NeoLife Mission Trust was introduced and then he introduced me. You can also see a picture of Pastor Weston and his wife and kids and myself. He is the main pastor at the church. They are trying to construct a very large "Mega Structure" that will last them for many years and allow for growth. We had a good crowd -- some sound system problems -- many things that challenge you when you are pressed for time and also when it is "live" -- ultimately I think God touched hearts.

Peace . . . .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

HYDERABAD BAPTIST CHURCH YOUTH MEETING






Another evening with Hyderabad Youth at the Baptist Church. I spoke there the night before at the English Service and was asked back again to address the Youth. I was a bit tired before I got started and a bit at a loss of what I was going to speak on, having shared my story there, preached there 2 other times as well -- so as I sought for direction I was lead to John 15 about Abiding In Christ -- and how "apart from Him we can do nothing...." a life lesson and a launching point of sharing. We had a great time -- great question and answer time and also a time of re dedication to God's plans for our lives.

YWAM - HYDERABAD






I was invited by Saji & Priya from YWAM to come and speak at the Base. Paul (his last name escapes me right now) was the one who translated for me and we had a really good time. It was interesting as there was a group of about 15 from North Carolina who were on their DTS (Discipleship Training School) and so I was not used to speaking to Americans and Indians at the same time -- a bit of a brain warp -- but the Lord got me through it. I was invited back next time to partner with them in the work they are doing locally to Schools, Colleges, etc. Saji & Priya are heading up the HIV/AIDS initiatives for YWAM in the area. Saji is the one looking at the camera and smiling -- his wife Priya is just next to him looking the other way.......

WESLEY CHURCH






We had a chance to meet Pastor Weston of the Wesley Church (I am doing a concert/sharing this Friday Night in an outdoor area). You can see him in the photo with Vijay and myself. Vijay is a part of that congregation and is the one organizing this Fridays event. There will be a big draw from the local colleges. You can see the outside of the Original Church which was constructed in 1927. This was actually a matter of meters from where the King of the Muslims was located -- so you can notice in the architecture that it incorporated many aspects of the local flavor and the Cross was added later. I loved the stain glass windows on the inside. They are going to construct a new church and hope to build something that will last for the next 50 years -- seating capacity of 10,000. I suggested it would be great to keep this original building as part of the cornerstone if at all possible -- it is a great building. Looking forward to this Friday.....