Archive for January, 2009

Books For Africa

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 31, 2009 by gospel2live

On Thursday, Luke Tamu (a pastor friend of mine from Kenya) and I were able to visit Books for Africa (BFA) in Saint Paul. They are a non-profit company that collects donated books from schools and Universities and ship them to Africa. Luke and I are trying to arrange for a sea container shipment of 22,000 books to Kenya for a library project.

Luke’s church runs an orphange for 200 children, and school for the orphanage and an additional 300 children, and a theological college for training pastors. Currently, they do not have a library for the orphanage or the theological college. We are hoping to raise the money that is needed to ship the container so that the books will be in Africa by later this summer.

Here is what needs to happen:

1) BFA needs $9,500 to ship to Kenya. They donate the books for free, we only have to raise the shipping costs. Conservative estimates for IRS purposes values a container of books at $167,000. Street value on such a shipment is probably closed to half a million dollars. So if anyone would like to ship a half million dollars to an evangelical theology college for native Kenyans who cannot afford other schools, we ONLY need $9,500. I hope to set up an account directly with BFA on Monday, so you can give directly and get receipts for tax purposes directly from them.

2) We also have an appointment with Desiring God’s international outreach people on Monday afternoon. Please pray that God would grant us favor and that they would consider a donation of theological books for the library project. BFA has mostly secular books (English, Math Science, etc) which would be useful, but we can also send our own books with the shipment if people are willing to donate. I am also hoping that we might be able to get contacts with publishers such as Crossway to also donate books and Bibles to the project. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could send a couple hundred ESV study Bibles to Kenyan pastors who have NO OTHER LIBRARY??? Please pray for this venture!!!

3) We might also be able to send books to the Theological College that might be donated by individuals or churches. So if there are commentary sets, theological books, or Bibles that are in good condition, send me a message and we will see whether thay may be helpful as well.

4)Finally, if you are able to be in or around St. Paul, MN, you can actually volunteer at BFA to help them sort and package books in their warehouse to be sent to Africa. This could be a really neat project for a church or homeschool group who would like to donate their time to this project. I will post more information as it becomes available on how you can give to this project.

Please pray as we seek to have a greater partnership with Pastor Luke and Emmanuel Community Center Churches. I will probably be posting more about this ministry in the future. Please pray with us as we consider a short term project to work with Pastor Luke this summer.

 

UPDATE — February 10, 2011:

This project was completed in the summer of 2010.  However, recent information from teams that have visited Luke Tamu and Emmanuel Community Centers have revealed that this ministry is NOT one that we will continue to partner with.  We pray that the books will end up in hands that are blessed by having them; however, it is apparent that they will not be used by Luke Tamu and Emmanuel Community Centers as we were originally told.  Feel free to contact me via email if you are considering partnering with Luke Tamu and Emmanuel Community Centers, for more information before joining in any of their “ministries.”

 

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The Death of an American “g”od.

Posted in accountability with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2009 by gospel2live

This afternoon, I am writing from a waiting room in Rochester, Minnesota.  The news today, from what I have overheard, is that Rochester is losing 800 jobs with IBM.  Target and Best Buy have also announced layoffs — primarily in their headquarters in the Minneapolis area.  Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty put forward a budget proposal yesterday that would have been inconceivably tight, even a year ago.

 

On the national scene, the congress is working on an economic stimulus package that is just shy of a TRILLION dollars, and still growing.  The package supposedly includes 335 MILLION dollars for contraception and family planning funding.  Perhaps the thinking behind that is that if the utilities and local governments all fail, we can have lots of sex to stay warm. 

 

Unless you live in a cave and NEVER talk to anyone, you can add all sorts of gloomy economic news to this list.  You also probably are aware that the range of reactions to this news ranges from cautiously optimistic about a short term recovery, to significant fear that we are on the verge of another Great Depression.

 

I think the bad news is far from over.  Back in 1991, Larry Burkett wrote “The Coming Economic Earthquake.”  At the time, I thought his reasoning made a lot of sense.  It seemed that we crawled out of the Great Depression with a system that was ultimately built with smoke and mirrors.  Fractionalized banking allowed banks to throw tons of cash into our economy that never existed in reality.  Therefore, our economic balloon grew, and grew, and grew.  The ultra-simplistic way to describe Burkett’s book is that sooner or later an over-inflated balloon will pop.  Burkett was EXTREMELY cautious not to predict times, but his argument was based on what I believed to be sound Biblical, historical, and economic principals.

 

In short, I think that what we are experiencing may be just the warning tremors of this coming earthquake.  I hope that Burkett and I are both wrong, but I would be very surprised if things don’t get a lot worse before they get better.

 

As we think about these things, we should first be reminded of BOTH the SOVEREIGNTY and GOODNESS of God.  God is sovereign not just over the big things in life, but even the path of a speck of dust, dancing in the sunlight, is under His sovereign control.  Additionally, His sovereignty is specifically designed for the good of those who love Him.  [Romans 8:28]   More specifically, the good that God seeks to bring to His people is that they would become more and more like Jesus — both through the wonderful victories of life, as well as through the trials and difficulties that we must face.

 

So how could an economic collapse be a good thing for American believers in Jesus?  As Mark Driscoll recently announced in a sermon to Mars Hill Church in Seattle, “…their god of money is dying.”  

 

As Christians, we know about Jesus, and are glad that he was kind enough to die for us, but we have LOVED our money and possessions.  Those who do not know Jesus are even more sold out to the god of money and possessions.  As a result, it is possible that the real God is about to kill the false god that his children have been drawn after.  When this happens, we will have to re-evaluate which god we truly love.

 

If we have worshipped the god of money, the death of this god will lead to one of two options.  Either we will despair over the death of our god, or we will repent of our false worship and throw ourselves on the mercy of the True and Living God.  The recent suicide of German billionaire, Adolf Merkel, shows what can happen to people whose god is dying.  They lose hope and they fall into despair.

 

We need to repent of our false worship and turn back to the mercy of the one true God.  Then, we need to be prepared to help those who have lost their treasure find the good news WORTH treasuring.  There are great riches to be found in being made right with the Living God, through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus.  We may not see it in material wealth, but we have the expectancy of an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us. [1 Peter 1:4]

 

May God do whatever it takes to draw the affections of our hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ!