Friday, January 30, 2009

Colombian Coffee and Texas Pecan Pie

My wife Margaret, her father, and I have been listening to a CD of messages on the book of Titus. There is much in Titus about living out the truth of God’s Word. Phrases are used such as “being ready for every good work.” The phrase “good deeds” is used six times in the book. We are especially challenged to “show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:2, esv).

Last night I received a phone call from Nelson Reed, ACTION’s International Director, and Rex Carlaw, ACTION USA director and Latin America Coordinator. They had just arrived at the airport from a ten-day ministry trip to Nicaragua and Colombia. They wanted to make sure that we were at home because, even though it was evening and they were tired after a long trip, they wanted to drop off a gift.

These two men (with many responsibilities worldwide) still wanted to take the time to minister to others.

They had hand-carried a gift of some of the best coffee in the world (Colombian) and two pieces of fresh pecan pie from a restaurant in Texas, which they purchased as they traveled through.

Later that evening after the pie and coffee were delivered, I mentioned to Margaret how a small token of kindness to me blessed others. Yes, I was blessed and encouraged, but so were my wife and her father at the gracious kindness of these two wonderful leaders.

So, dear friend, perhaps you and I should buy a piece of pie and coffee for someone today to show appreciation and bless them in Christ.

Perhaps we could set aside 50¢ to purchase a meal for a street boy in Manila, 25¢ to provide food for a child in the garbage dump in Cambodia, $6 to send an orphan to camp in Malawi, or to prepare a box of homemade fudge for the man at the cleaners who has been rude. We could do this to show kindness which may result in an opportunity to present the glorious Gospel of salvation in Christ and in Him alone!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What will you die for?

Philip Yancey summarized the motivational power of the eternal in a Christianity Today column:

For years, all the New Testament talk about eternal rewards embarrassed me. Now, however, I see eternal rewards as the ultimate form of delayed gratification.

Why do missionary relief workers volunteer for hellish places like Somalia, Rwanda, the Sudan? I have inter¬viewed these workers, and among other motives they mention the prospect of reward. They hope to hear someday, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

A vision of heaven gives us motivation for great and sacrificial courage. The great pioneer against racism in the United States, Martin Luther King Jr., said, “No one really knows why they’re alive until they know what they’d die for.” We need a vision for our life that supersedes our desires for self-preservation. (Philip Yancey, "Why Not Now?” Christianity Today, February 5, 1996)

Six Dangerous Questions to Transform Your View of the World (Page 62) by Paul Borthwick

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Statistics Regarding Children in Crisis for Your Information, Prayer, and Action!

HIV/AIDS & Disease

Over 38 million people live with HIV/AIDS worldwide, with over 2.3 million children under 15 living with the disease. Every day, more than 1,000 children are newly infected.1

At least 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, most in sub-Saharan, Africa. It is estimated that a child loses a parent to AIDS-related causes every 14 seconds. By 2010, the number of children orphaned by AIDS globally is expected to exceed 25 million.2

War & Effects of War

ACTION missionaries have ministered to the child soldiers who have been kidnapped in northern Uganda. It is estimated that at least 250,000 young people under 18 are exploited as child soldiers around the world.3

Child Labor

Over 218 million children, aged 5-17, are engaged in child labor throughout the world.4

At least 126 million find themselves in the worst forms of child labor: slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, and other forced labor. Girls from northern India have been sold to families from the Middle East as home slaves. Many children are unseen, laboring behind the walls of workshops, hidden from view in plantations. Many are involved in trafficking of these young children to work as bonded slaves. 5

Sexual Exploitation

Over 1.8 million children are trapped in sex trades: prostitution, pornography, and other illicit activities.6

The sexual exploitation of women and children is the third largest illicit industry on the planet (just behind the sale of illegal arms and drugs). Even though it is lucrative for many, it is life-shattering for others!7

Poverty

More than one billion people in the world live on less than one dollar a day. In total, 2.7 billion struggle to survive on less than two dollars a day. 8 In these poverty-challenged areas, the population of children is often close to 50%.9

Street Children


ACTION has a special emphasis and concern for the street children of the world. Some estimate that 100 million kids live on the street, but they’re nearly impossible to count.10 ACTION and others estimate that there may be up to 160 million children who try to exist on the streets with no parents, no love, no care, no food, and no compassion.

Please research these statistics and share with others this need and pray especially that many will take the gospel and compassionate care to these children in crisis worldwide.

If you would like to help reach these children, please contact ACTION: www.actionintl.org.



_______________________________________________________
1UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 2008, 21.
2Ibid.
3Sylvia Foth, Daddy Are We There Yet? (Mukilteo, WA: Kidzana Ministries, 2009), 84.
4UNICEF, “Child Labor,” www.unicef.org (accessed June 20, 2007).
5Sylvia Foth, Daddy Are We There Yet? (Mukilteo, WA: Kidzana Ministries, 2009), 88.
6UNICEF, Annual Report 2007.
7United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “Briefing Note 8: Statistics on Human Trafficking in South Asia,” UN-GIFT – Global Initiative To Fight Human Trafficking, www.giftasia.in (accessed August 11, 2008).
8“Fast Facts: Faces of Poverty,” UN Millennium Project 2006, www.unmilenniumproject.org.
9Sylvia Foth, Daddy Are We There Yet? (Mukilteo, WA: Kidzana Ministries, 2009), 90.
10“Street Children and Homelessness,” CYC Online, 68 (September 2004). www.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Down-to-earth Practicality

A pastor said to me that he enjoyed reading the Puritans for three reasons; because they had a rigorous theology, warm spirituality, and down-to-earth practicality. Although the Puritans preached the wrath of God, they said the single emotion of a true Christian is a happy heart! Charles Spurgeon said: I have been charged with being a mere echo of the Puritans, but I would rather be the echo of truth than the voice of falsehood. The Puritan John Newton, in later life as an old man with his mind going, used to say, My mind and memory are going, but I do remember two things; first, I am a great sinner, but secondly, I have a great Savior!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Whitfield on Orphans

George Whitefield was one of the preachers of the first Great Awakening in America (1735-1742). Upon arrival in Savannah, Georgia, he was extremely moved by the plight of the many children who were orphaned as a result of the death of their parents who were settlers in the poor colony of Georgia from England, France, and Germany. Whitefield therefore started Bethesda — a house of mercy. During a severe financial shortage, Whitefield said, “I would rather sell myself as a slave on a ship in order to provide the funds for the orphanage than to see these children go hungry!” In serving Christ, are there those today who would be willing to give themselves as slaves, as servants, to take the Gospel and minister to the up to 13 million AIDS orphans in Africa, the 100 million street children and 150 million orphans of the world?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Affliction

Psalm 66:11-12: You (God) laid an oppressive burden upon our loins... yet You brought us out into a place of abundance. Charles Spurgeon said, We often forget that God lays our afflictions upon us; if we remembered this fact, we should more patiently submit to the pressure which now pains us.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Christmas Programs in Jesus' Name

Pastor, just a reminder that as you plan your Christmas programs for this year, 2009, that you remember the Lord Jesus Christ.

I would encourage you to not have secular plays, dramas, and skits, but simple portrayals of the Christmas story from the Word of God. You cannot improve on it (the majesty, glory, all-inspiring awe, music that moves the emotion and teaches the majesty of the glory of God in giving of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ)!

My wife and I attended a Christmas program where a secular musical was given. It had a Christmas theme, but did not speak of Christ at all. There was no mention of the giving of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus’ simple birth in a manger, waited on by shepherds or the angels. None of this was mentioned. It was a well-done program, but nothing of Christ and the Gospel in and through the simple Christmas story.

The world can offer all that are in its malls, shop windows, advertisements, Jingle Bell songs, but the church can use this time of the year to teach of Christ who came to earth to take our place for sin’s penalty to bring us into relationship with God. Now that it is Christmas!

Further insight: http://justbetweenus.org/current.html [Is the Grinch stealing your Christmas? By Elizabeth Greene]

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Slave Dying foe His Faith in Christ

Sarah Grimké recounts this incident, related to her by a close friend whose husband was a plantation owner on an adjacent plantation:

There was a slave of [well-known holiness]. A planter was one day dining with the owner of this slave, and in the course of conversation observed that all profession of religion among slaves was mere hypocrisy. [The master] asserted a contrary opinion, [saying], “I have a slave, who I believe would rather die than deny his Saviour.”

This was ridiculed, and the master was urged to prove his assertion. He accordingly sent for this man of God, and ordered him to deny his belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The slave [was shocked, and said he could not], constantly affirming that he would rather die than deny the Redeemer, whose blood was shed for him.

His master, after vainly trying to induce obedience by threats, had him terribly whipped. The fortitude of the [beaten and bleeding slave] was not to be shaken; he nobly rejected the offer of exemption from further [beating] at the expense of destroying his soul, and [so] this blessed martyr died [being beaten to death for the love of the Saviour].

As Lord Acton once observed to his friend Bishop Creighton, “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It is hard to imagine power more absolute than that which a master wields over a slave. The hideous thing about absolute power is that the one possessing it remains unaware of the corrosive effect of it on his soul. The slaveholders whom the Grimk√© sisters have described would have been shocked at their (and our) reaction to them. For more than a few southern planters, the power they wielded dehumanized them, without their realizing it.

From Sea to Shining SeaBy Peter Marshall and David Manuel
Page 256--257

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Books Read in 2008

by Doug Nichols

Key
* = Excellent!
√ = Good
- = Partially Read


- A Godward Life by John Piper*
√ A Godward Life (Book 2) by John Piper*
* April 1865 (The Month that Saved America) by Jay Winik
√ Beyond the Soiled Curtain (Project Rescue’s Fight for the Victims of the Sex-Slave Industry) by David & Beth Grant
* The Bible (English Standard Version)
* The Bible and Black Slavery by Dr. William L. Banks
√ The Bible Answer Book by Hank Hanegraaff
√ Biblical Charity by Robert Smith
* Bitesize Theology by Peter Jeffery
- Bound for Canaan (The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement) by Fergus Bordewich*
- Bury the Chains (Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves) by Adam Hochschilb*
* The Call of the Master Fisher by Dr. Roger Greenway
√ Character Counts by Os Guinness
* Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia McKissack and Frederick McKissack (Illustrated by John Thompson)
* A Crime So Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner
* The Courage to Be Protestant by David Wells
√ Dressed to Kill by Rick Renner
√ Eric Liddell—Pure Gold (A New Biography of the Olympic Champion Who Inspired “Chariots of Fire”) by David M.C. Casland
* The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Dr. Steven J. Lawson
√ Fit Bodies Fat Minds by Os Guinness
- From Sea to Shining Sea (God’s Plan for America Unfolds) by Peter Marshall and David Manuel*
√ George Muller by Miller Basil*
- God is the Gospel by John Piper √
Gracism by David Anderson
√ Heaven by Randy Alcorn*
- The Hidden Smile of God by John Piper
√ Just Courage (God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian) by Gary A. Haugen
* The Law of Kindness by Mary Beeke
√ The Leadership Dynamic by Harry Reeder
- The Light and the Glory (Did God Have a Plan for America?) by Peter Marshall and David Manuel
* Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
- The Minister as Shepherd by Charles Jefferson
- The Missionary Call by M. David Sills
- Never Beyond Hope by JI Packer
* On Being Black and Reformed (The New Perspective on the African American Christian Experience) by Anthony J. Carter
* Pathway to Freedom (How God’s Laws Guide Our Lives) by Alistair Begg
* The Prayer of Our Lord by Philip Ryken
√ The Skeptics Guide to the Global AIDS Crisis by Dale Hanson Bourke
* Slavery and Christianity (Paul’s Letter to Philemon) by James Robbins
- Sounding Forth the Trumpet (God’s Plan for America in Peril, 1837-1860) by Peter Marshall and David Manuel*
Standing for Christ in a Modern Babylon by Marvin Olasky
- Standing for God: The Story of Elijah by Roger Ellsworth
* The Truth War by John MacArthur
√ Too Small to Ignore (Why Children are the Next Big Thing) by Wes Stafford
* Under His Wings (Protected by God in China – The Story of Walter and Helen Jespersen) by Agnes C. Lawless
* Voices Against Slavery (Ten Christians who spoke out for freedom) by Catherine House
* War of Words by Paul David Tripp
* What is the Christian Worldview: Basics of Reformed Faith by Philip Graham Ryken
√ Where Have all the Leaders Gone? By Lee Iacocca
* Why We're Not Emergent by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

Friday, January 9, 2009

Christmas Stories

Greetings this New Year. I trust you are looking forward to a year of serving our Lord Jesus with the gospel and compassionate care for His glory.

Request. Would you mind sending me personal stories or stories that you have heard that are true of specific ministries in Jesus’ name to others during the Christmas season?

For example: friends of ours, Ron and Laurie, who are on a limited income, became friends over the year with the residents of a retirement home. Over the last several months, Ron and Laurie have saved funds and began to purchase gift items for the 105 residents of the retirement home. They purchased items such as socks, gloves, and scarves.

Ron (a Gulf War veteran) has limited use of his hands and personally wrapped all 105 gifts, which were distributed to the residents during Christmas.

This is a powerful witness of God’s grace and love to these residents through Ron and Laurie. What a tremendous opportunity of sharing the Gospel at this time.

Would you mind sending me one or two stories that you, or some you know, were personally involved in. I would like to compile these to share with others next year, especially as an example of ministry to the glory of God.

You can send these to me through e-mail or regular mailing.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Rat Attack

My wife and I lived in an old house, built years ago by her father and volunteers. Recently, we have been hearing the scuffling of one to two rats. A friend of ours came over on New Year’s Eve to help us put out a couple of heavy-duty mouse traps. As he came in the house, he said he had “official permission” to do this from the judge.

He gave us a piece of paper that read as follows:

“This is a writ for a rat (or rats), as is the case. This authorizes the carrier to serve such writ, as deems necessary, by such carrier upon as many rats as possible. Thus terminating their ratly residence at the Nichols' residence, by sending said rats to ratly heaven. Duly sworn, notarized, and signed by Judge Asa Bodnar”

I do not know if we are going to catch any rats or not, but it was sure entertaining to watch this man dance around trying to set the traps that kept swinging shut!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chance Meeting After 15 Years

In a severe snowstorm during the Christmas season, Margaret and I lost electrical power for about seven hours. It was especially cold so we told our neighbors who had generators to call us when the power came back on, and we went to a large bookstore to work and be warm. Margaret knitted while I worked on various projects and correspondence.

I became very tired, so relaxed in a large chair to take a brief nap. Just at that time, a man walked by the table where all my papers were spread out and, seeing one of our newsletters, stopped and said, “Action International Ministries!” He then turned toward me and said, “Are you Doug Nichols?” I stood up and said, “Yes, have we met?” He responded, “Yes, we met 15 years ago in Costa Rica when you spoke at a conference for organizations working with children in crisis.”

As we talked for awhile, I noted a real sense of sadness and concern in his voice. He finally said, “Can I sit and visit with you for a few minutes? I need to ask some advice.” He then began to share some concerns on his heart for future ministry. I sought to encourage him from the Word and we prayed together. After 30 minutes or so, he said he had to get to a Christmas program and thanked both Margaret and me very much for the time spent together, saying he was greatly encouraged.

In thinking about this wonderful “providential meeting” later, Margaret and I both realized that the only reason we were at this particular bookstore at that specific time was because our electricity went out. It was very inconvenient at a time of the year that has so many things to do, yet God used the situation to put us in His appointed place to encourage this dear brother in Christ for the glory of God.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Booze, Gambling, Prostitution and Drugs -- We're Still Buying

It is interesting that a headline article in the Seattle Times of January 2, 2009, was titled “Name Your Pleasure: It’s Probably Recession-Resistant.” The article stated that even in these tough economical times, people are still spending big bucks on liquor, gambling, smoking, prostitution and drugs.

My wife and I laughed at the fact that wine is taxed heavily, and the tax is referred to as “sin tax.”

It is too bad that many Christians come so close to the world and justify drinking alcohol, and those who do not know Christ, the world, refer to alcohol as sin and Christians refer to it as “freedom.”

Free Street Children Manual

ACTION Children in Crisis ministry offers free copy (or copies) of the 92-page condensed street children manual "Restoring Children of the Streets." Contact Candi in USA [candi.arveson@gmail.com]. Only available to ship to USA addresses.