God is Able

2017 has been a tough year for me in many ways. Perhaps you’ve felt it too. Some days it seems that the bad news never stops coming, and that the darkness of politics, social divides, violence, fear, and hatred will suffocate us. On top of that, poverty, human trafficking, gender-based violence, and all kinds of injustice seem to only increase around the world. And now comes Christmas, and all these songs about “Peace on Earth.” But I see no peace. Upon closer examination, I think a huge part of the heaviness I feel has to do with looking to the wrong things to bring transformation. The government and human leaders were never going to save us. Non-government organizations cannot heal our brokenness. Wealthy corporations, technology, [...]

By | 2017-12-12T09:33:37+00:00 December 5th, 2017|Categories: Pray, Learn and Apply|Tags: |

Snacks, Security Tags, and Sam’s Club

This blog was originally posted in August 2014. John has added a quick update on Palash and his family at the end of this post. We met Palash, Dawa and their family through Lutheran Social Services in November of 2014. They came to the US after having lived in a Nepali refugee camp for over 20 years. Their son Gopal was born there and Dawa had only seen life outside the camp for 1 year. They spoke no English and had no idea what I meant when I told them (demonstrated to them) that the winters in Sioux Falls would be very cold!!! The family is of Bhutanese descent but had been relocated, for several reasons, as refugees to neighboring Nepal. With little physical resources [...]

By | 2017-09-05T20:04:57+00:00 August 15th, 2017|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: |

Jesus in the Face of the Poor

This blog was originally posted on July 30, 2014 A few months ago I was talking to an acquaintance who owns several rental properties in town. He mentioned to me that one of his homes was open and that he was fielding phone calls from those interested in renting his property. I asked him how it was going and if he had received many calls. His response was something like this: “Yes, I have had lots of calls. However many of them are from people who hardly speak English… so I really only have a few potential clients.” […]

By | 2017-09-08T10:12:42+00:00 July 18th, 2017|Categories: Learn and Apply, Focusing on the Vulnerable|

Pray: Refugees

My earliest memory of being aware of refugees even existing simply involves sitting in a living room with a family I couldn’t talk to (because we didn’t speak the same language), and being served my first cup of Turkish coffee in a beautiful, tiny demitasse cup. I was about 16, and I had no idea what this family had experienced or how they had landed in a town near me. I still don’t, not specifically. But they changed my life with their hospitality, at a time when my world was very small. Over time, God has provided more and more touch points for me with refugee families. Opportunities to help set up apartments, welcome families, and walk with them for a time. Opportunities to hear [...]

By | 2017-09-08T10:13:00+00:00 June 6th, 2017|Categories: Pray, Learn and Apply, Focusing on the Vulnerable|Tags: , , |

The Local Church

There is undeniable dissatisfaction with church among Christians around the world these days. People leave one local church for another or even stop gathering. The reasons could be worship music, length of sermon, leadership style, facilities…but I believe the underlying reason is that we misunderstand some fundamental things about the local church. One of the truths that God used to open my eyes and affirm His call for me is the centrality of the local church. As I understand more about this truth, I learn to love and serve His church more. Let me share a few things with you. Who owns the church? Pastors often have a habit of saying “my church” when they talk about the congregation they pastor. Most don’t mean to [...]

By | 2017-09-18T19:21:04+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|Categories: Core Principles, Partnering With Churches, Learn and Apply|

Jehovah Adonai – The Sovereign Lord

This past month I’ve had one of those experiences where one name of God seemed to jump out at me from every direction – when I read my Bible, when our pastor talked on Sunday, when we sang worship songs, when I talked with friends, in blogs I read… sometimes 3-4 times a day…eventually I got the hint that God is wanting to show me something about Himself. The Sovereign Lord. I guess I have an issue with authority, control and trite, religious comments. Because I admit that I’ve actually avoided focusing on this attribute and name of God. It seems like people typically say, “God is Sovereign” when they can’t answer the question “why?” or when something bad happens. So, saying “God is Sovereign” [...]

By | 2017-05-16T05:30:41+00:00 May 16th, 2017|Categories: Learn and Apply|Tags: , |

Overcoming the “Me First” Mentality

This blog was originally posted in August 2015. Entry one of a six-part series. “Imagine for a moment how you would feel if you were in their shoes…” It was a phrase I heard many times as a kid. I remember vividly the birthday party that really helped me grasp this concept. […]

By | 2017-04-04T05:30:45+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Categories: Learn and Apply|

Love Your Enemy

Recently, we had friends visiting our place and we had good conversations about ministry and life in general. Somehow the topic of loving your neighbor came up, and one of them said that this is one principle he struggles putting into practice the most. I appreciate that he admitted it publicly and, even though I teach this idea everywhere, I have to say that this is also my struggle. We define ‘our neighbor’ in different ways, but in general, we agree that they are people we encounter everyday, acquaintances and strangers. Interestingly, in the ‘Sermons on the Mount’ Jesus raised this truth to the next level. He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But [...]

By | 2017-09-15T12:36:34+00:00 March 14th, 2017|Categories: Learn and Apply|

International Wholistic Missions Conference 2017

As we travel around sharing about the amazing way God transformed hundreds of communities out of poverty, the response is most often, “How can my church/ministry/program see transformation like that?” We regularly lead TCT orientations in Asia and Africa to answer that question. But those of you in the U.S. have been left wondering. We’re excited to let you know that this year at the International Wholistic Missions Conference (IWMC) we will run a track that covers exactly that—a slightly shortened version of the orientation that we run in other nations. While the Truth Centered Transformation (TCT) program is primarily designed for rural churches in the majority world, the transformational principles that undergird the program are universal. Those principles, what we call the Framework for [...]

By | 2017-02-28T05:30:18+00:00 February 28th, 2017|Categories: Learn and Apply, Truth Centered Transformation|
Reconciled World