Archive for February, 2009

Hope for Africa

Posted in Culture, following Jesus, God, South Africa Stint with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2009 by rylanreed

I received an email a couple of days ago with this as the attachment.  Africa is in so much need of help from all sides; financial, political and spiritual.  Only living here for two months, I can see all around me that the people are hurting and wanting answers NOW!  I pray for them daily that they will find God, but like Paul says in Romans 10: 14 & 15, how will they hear the gospel and the sweet words of Jesus if someone is not sent.  There is a huge need for people that Love Jesus and has a heart from Jesus for the different people around the world, that might look different, but are all made in the image of God, to come and bring light to this dark, dark place….

The horror, the hope

Africa needs the transforming power of the Holy Spirit

AFRICA ISN’T CALLED THE DARK Continent for nothing. That title dates back hundreds of years, referring in part to a vast and unexplored geography. Known but unknown from ancient times, Africa remains sullen and seething while the rest of the world moves forward. What ails Africa? There’s an abiding resistance that colonialism doesn’t entirely account for (though colonial history plays a part). Nor does race. But looking at its history, all the way up to today, one could almost believe the continent is cursed.

Since her European overlords departed, Africa gains stability in one area only to collapse in another. Last year Kenya erupted; now the Congo. Slaughter continues in Darfur and the deterioration of Zimbabwe, which could get no worse, nonetheless gets worse. Africa-fatigue infects the world, manifested in the mechanical forking-over of money, most of which slithers on well-greased tracks into the hands of dictators.

Two days after Christmas, a commentary appeared in the London Times Online by Matthew Parris (see WORLD, Jan. 17), a regular columnist and an urbane surveyor of the contemporary scene. Parris was raised in Africa and had just returned from a visit to his home state of Malawi. He came to the opinion page with an uncomfortable conclusion, stated in his title: “As an atheist, I am truly convinced that Africa needs God.”

Moreover, Africa doesn’t just need God–Africa needs Christ, and the transformation of the Holy Spirit. Parris has seen it too many times to doubt: Faith in Christ sets captives free. “Anxiety–fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, or a tribal hierarchy, or quite everyday things–strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity.” The African Christians he knows are much more open, friendly, courageous than the non-Christians. They try new options, they cross tribal lines. They recognize evil and resist it.

Reaction to the article in the Times comment section was voluminous, and about equally split between agreement and skepticism. Most readers with African roots or experience seconded Parris’ conclusion. Objections were predictable: Africa doesn’t need more “superstitious nonsense,” having more than enough of the homegrown variety. Africa needs education, fair trade, contraception! Yes, “those who don’t have education need religion to guide them,” but Christianity is at best a “halfway house” for benighted natives to get up to speed before pressing on to modernity; funny how “Christianity carries with it, probably as a historical accident, the values of the European rennai-sance [sic] and enlightenment,” but if not curtailed, “religion is likely to increase passivity, leaving the corrupt free to take more.” And oh yes, do we really need to revive the “white man’s burden”?

In a key scene of Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina and his driver Gregory turn inadvertently, at night, onto a road that they gradually discover is strewn with corpses. “Why do these things happen?” Paul cries. Gregory answers, not too profoundly, that hatred has somehow broken loose. The unspoken question is, Why hatred?

The real question is, Why love?

We know by now where human nature often ends up: A wrong turn down a dark road, and suddenly we’re bumping over bodies in a late-model van. Africa is where chaos consistently chooses to rule these days, and the reason for that is too complicated for me. But Africa is the world, in that the veneer of civilization is thin everywhere, and what is not vigorously upheld will inevitably slide. Even hatred doesn’t last because it takes energy; once vented, it lapses into less muscular vices like resentment, covetousness, sloth, indifference–all of which are scarcely unknown in “the West.”

“Africa does need God,” wrote one respondent. “Unfortunately, I think God has given up on Africa.” God does not give up. And we, who know that transforming power Matthew Parris can only talk about, must not give up. Why love? Because He first loved us. ®

Will you help, will you free these people from the grip that so tightly has a hold on their lives.  Come with love, and be a light to this dark land!

People to meet

Posted in South Africa Stint with tags , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2009 by rylanreed

The start of February was when things actually started rolling on campus for my self and the other two that work with me in Pretoria.  A student came to the first weekly meeting that we had for Crusade becuase he had heard about it from the students that had came to South Africa last summer on the Summer Project.  It was amazing to see that someone, who probably was shared the gospel too by a couple Americans, decided to come to the weekly meeting that didn’t happen for another 6 or so months!  How crazy God works sometimes.  His name is Obk, short for Obaking (which is probably short for something else), and he is not a beliver, but he is thinking and asking questions which I am excited to talk with him about those things.  Please pray that God would open Obk’s eyes to His glory and that Obk would find out for himself the love and grace that God gives to those who believe.  I will hopefully put some pics up of him and others that I am talking to.  We also have two days during the week where we go out with the students and share our faith.  One of the students that has come to these I have been able to go along with and get to know him as we talk with other students.  His name is Muta and he is such a great guy to be around.  He likes to talk and we get along pretty well, which has helped me to be able to disciple him, becuase of the connection he feels with me.  I am hoping that both him, Obk and some other guys that Dan and I are talking to will be able to find a time to get together for a bible study.  It is hard with all of their schedules to find a time to work for everyone.  We (meaning myself and Dan, the other guy working with me on Pretoria) have been able to go to another campus in Pretoria where there is a male’s dorm (or rez as they like to say) where we can be able to go in and talk with the students and hangout with them as well.  Bogonie, Zek ( ezekiel is his real name, i just gave him that nickname), and Vincient are a few of the guys that we have met through Renier, our campus director, and have now been able to have a few bible studies with them and have been able to somewhat answer questions that they are having.  I have realized that mostly Blacks (some whites) really have alot of questions that keep running through their minds and it has been fun to be able to even think about those questions for myself.  Jimmy and Makhosi, are two guys we met as well over on the campus called Groenkloof (which is their education campus), who are sort of like our RA’s in the states.  Jimmy was the spiritual advisor last year and now Makhosi is this year, so it has been good to be able to talk to them and even have them help out in getting guys to come to different things and seeing how the students are doing in their walks with God.

these are just some of the students that I have been meeting with for the past few weeks, there are more, but I wanted to give a little perspective on what is happening with God and the guys that He is bringing into my life, so that He can work through me to see their lives changed.

If you could pray for these guys that would be so great! :

Obk — that God would open Obk’s eyes to His glory and that Obk would find out for himself the love and grace that God gives to those who believe.  That Obk would see that Jesus is the only way to Heaven and the party that is waiting there.

Muta — that he would continue in reading with word and seeing what God wants from him and how much God loves him for nothing he did or will do, but just for who Muta is.  That he would also strengthen in being bold in Christ and talk with his friends that need the gospel in their lives.

Bogonie / Zek / Vincient — That they would continue to seek God in everything they do and be bold to the other 300 or so guys living next to them in the Dorm.  That they would bring their friends to the Bible study and would share with them the wonder and glory of God and what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

Jimmy / Makhosi — That they would help the students in questions that they might have and that they would point all the students to Christ and His pament on the Cross.  That they would grow as well in their faith, so that they could be able to talk with the students and help them find the way.

Thanks!@

Silver medal for Jesus…

Posted in following Jesus, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2009 by rylanreed

So, I was looking on the Relevant magazine web page, and saw one of their posts talking about Jesus taking the silver… now that sort of bugged me because Jesus should always take the gold since He is the King and Lord over all.  Anyways I checked what they read and it sort of disappointed me, but then I remembered where I came from and where the United States is going.  The Chicago Sun-Times posted a Harris poll about who the top ten hero’s are for America (from about 2600 or so people)

I am not putting down Obama and what he has done for the country and history so far, but it hurts me to see that people are putting a man that has really done nothing (except change history which is pretty big and I am excited to see what he will do) for the country yet.  Jesus Christ came to this earth 2000 years ago and died on the cross for all our sins, so that we could be children of GOD!  We need, as Christians, to get his great and glorious story out to those that are lost, so that they can be saved (through Christ and not by us at all, becuase only He knows who is saved and not) and know what is waiting for them, than what is going to be waiting for them if they continue to live their live for themselves.  I pray for the heart of America that it would turn back to the days of old with our forfathers and what this country was made for and what it was all about!

Who in Heaven are you!

Posted in following Jesus, God with tags , , , , , on February 24, 2009 by rylanreed

Sometimes I wonder if God thinks this or talks back to us in this way when we question him or think something different than what God said in His Holy Word.  We ask why things happen when we really don’t need to know, all we need to know is that God is a just, loving God that Knew us even before our mother’s womb and knit us in her womb.  He choose us for His glory and what we are able to do is glorify Him through what we do.  That it would be God directed and God focused and that we would be able to grow closer to Him through what we get to do.

Who in Heaven are you! to determine what is what.

I am humbled everyday for what God has done for me and in me and through me.  I didn’t deserve anything of what God has given me and I thank Him everyday for it!  Everyday we need to keep asking are selves if we are questioning God with our thoughts and even actions.  I need to do that everyday as well.

Where is God?

Posted in God with tags , , , , on February 24, 2009 by rylanreed

There is an illistration that a friend said a couple nights ago that I really liked.

Put the back of your hand up close to your mouth and blow. Can you feel that?  Maybe you can lick your hand and then your can feel the coolness of the air you blow, right?  Well think of that when you feel lonely and you think no one cares for you or knows what you are going through.  God is closer than the feeling of air on your hand becuase he is all around you and loves you so much to never let you go!

Ancient Words

Posted in following Jesus, God, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2009 by rylanreed

I’ve been listening through my music to see what I still like and what I would want to take off of my computer.  I came across a Michael W. Smith song that I hadn’t heard in a long time.  It got me thinking about what the words to the song really meant and it all points to God and the Bible.  The song has such a good melody and one that is easy to remember and sing to, but the truth of these words can be grasped with great joy, knowing that God is calling us home and he is helping us along the way through life with these ancient words called the Bible.  But the really cool thing, is that those ancient words are still living and active TODAY!

Ancient Words

Holy words long preserved
for our walk in this world,
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh, let the Ancient words impart.

Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.

CHORUS:
Ancient words ever true
Changing me, and changing you.
We have come with open hearts
Oh let the ancient words impart.

Holy words of our Faith
Handed down to this age.
Came to us through sacrifice
Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world.
They resound with God’s own heart
Oh let the ancient words impart.     Michael W. Smith

Words of Life, words of Hope / Give us strength, help us cope / In this world, where e’er we roam / Ancient words will guide us Home.”  Let us rely in the hope that these words say, about a wonderful God that is continually bringing us to himself and to where we belong, which is not on Earth, but up in Heaven with HIM.

Holy words of our Faith / Handed down to this age.  Came to us through sacrifice / Oh heed the faithful words of Christ.”  Let us not forget what Christ did for us, so that we could be children of God and have eternal life with our creator, in a place that will never have tears or sorrow, but everlasting JOY!

Let thee ancient words impart — let us a Christians, impart which means to give a part of share; to communicate the knowledge of; to make known… the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the glory and majesty and love of GOD, to those that are seeking something to fill the void in their souls that only God can be able to fill.

— definition from  en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Impart

Thunda CRACK!

Posted in God, Random with tags , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2009 by rylanreed

So, I am sittin here, watching as lighting is being brought now from Heaven in incredable patterns and big bolts of light and interesting designs, and it brings me back to God.  He is in control of the weather and gives us spectacles to watch at different points in time.  A God that is powerful enough to tell the rain when to come down, where the lighting should strike, and where the winds should blow, would choose someone like me, that never loved Him to begin with, but that He choose me first and is directing me where he wants me to go as I walk through life loving Jesus as my savior.  What a WONDERFUL GOD!

I also wish I had one of those big cameras the top notch photographers have and be able to have their skill to catch these amazing sights!

School gets rolling

Posted in South Africa Stint with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2009 by rylanreed

School (or as they call it College) started Wednesday the 28th here, and I have come to the realization that students here care more about studying than most college students in the United States do.  Not saying that Students in the US don’t care at all, but just that they usually have more things on their mind than school and studying.  That first week, or I guess half week, was a good time of being on Campus and seeing how things would work there.  Pretoria has around 40,000 students or so, which makes it a pretty crowded place when everyone sticks to one section of the campus or when it is totally down pouring (that has happened more than sunshine) and everyone runs for the cover of buildings.  I was able to talk to a few students and shared the gospel with a couple, but most of them were busy with the first few days of classes and RAG that they had that week as well.  I don’t really know what RAG stands for at all, but the main focus of it to raise money to give to charities and to join along with the school spirit.  Over the past few years though, it has turned into more of a time for drinking than really trying to have good school spirit.  On that Saturday, they had a parade to show off the floats that all the “rezes” or what we would call Greek houses, and that was when they collected all the money for charity.

The next week was the first full week of classes and we were able to have our first Crusade meeting that Thursday night. It was really good to see who might come on a regular basis and get into somewhat of a routine.  It has been hard for me and I think a few others on my team, becuase of the fact that there isn’t really a strong direction in what we are doing and it does get tiring sometime, to be sharing the gospel all day long.  I was able to meet a guy whose name was OBK and the cool thing about his story is that someone from the summer project shared with him last summer and he remembered them saying when the weekly meeting was going to be, so he came and we were able (myself and Dan) to talk with him a little bit.  He really wants to be discipled and has a lot of questions, but we came to figure out that he isn’t a Christian, just wanting to see and learn more about what all this is, which is so cool to see.  The next day on Friday, we had a brie social (brie being their term for cooking out or grillin’) and we were able to play some games with the students that came.  There were about 40 or so students that attented, mostly girls, but that is common I think where ever you go.  I was able to play a little rugby and sort of heard some of the rules on that, interesting, and I also played some cricket which was a tone of fun and learned the rules in that, so when I watch it I’m not looking retarded trying to figure out what is going on.  That afternoon was so good for both myself and Dan, because it felt to us that we actually did something.  Not saying that anything else we had done before Friday didn’t count, but I definitely connected with more of the guys through playing sports with them instead of just trying to talk with random guys here and there on campus.  We were men, playing the sports that men play and we’re have great fellowship together through that.

What to do with the money problem?

Posted in Culture, Politics with tags , , , , , , on February 15, 2009 by rylanreed

So, I received an email from a friend of mine that he had received from other people regarding the Nation’s problem with money and the deficit.  I don’t like to send on emails that go with a chain of some sort, so I decided to put it on here, since I think it is a good idea.  It is a long read, but I think to some this will be intriguing.

“The Proposal”

When a company falls on difficult times, one of the things that seems to happen is they reduce their staff and workers. The remaining workers need to find ways to continue to do a good job or risk that their job would be eliminated as well. Wall street, and the media normally congratulate the CEO for making this type of “tough decision”, and his board of directors gives him a big bonus.

Our government should not be immune from similar risks.

Therefore: Reduce the House of Representatives from the current 435 members to 218 members and Senate members from 100 to 50 (one per State). Also reduce remaining staff by 25%. Accomplish this over the next 8 years. (two steps / two elections) and of course this would require some redistricting. Some Yearly Monetary Gains Include: $44,108,400 for elimination of base pay for congress. (267 members X $165,200 pay / member / yr.) $97,175,000 for elimination of the above people ‘ s staff. (estimate $1.3 Million in staff per each member of the House, and $3 Million in staff per each member of the Senate every year) $240,294 for the reduction in remaining staff by 25%. $7,500,000,000 reduction in pork barrel ear-marks each year. (those members whose jobs are gone. Current estimates for total government pork earmarks are at $15 Billion / yr)

The remaining representatives would need to work smarter and would need to improve efficiencies. It might even be in their best interests to work together for the good of our country? We may also expect that smaller committees might lead to a more efficient resolution of issues as well. It might even be easier to keep track of what your representative is doing. Congress has more tools available to do their jobs than it had back in 1911 when the current number of representatives was established. (telephone, computers, cell phones to name a few)

Note: Congress did not hesitate to head home when it was a holiday, when the nation needed a real fix to the economic problems. Also, we have 3 senators that have not been doing their jobs for the past 18+ months (on the campaign trail) and still they all have been accepting full pay. These facts alone support a reduction in senators & congress.

Summary of opportunity: $ 44,108,400 reduction of congress members. $282,100, 000 for elimination of the reduced house member staff. $150,000,000 for elimination of reduced senate member staff. $59,675,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining house members. $37,500,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining senate members. $7,500,000,000 reduction in pork added to bills by the reduction of congress members. $8,073,383,400 per year, estimated total savings. (That’s 8-BILLION just to start!) Big business does these types of cuts all the time.

If Congresspersons were required to serve 20, 25 or 30 years (like everyone else) in order to collect retirement benefits there is no telling how much we would save. Now they get full retirement after serving only ONE term. Another, Congresspersons should be on Social Security Rules and NOT their slush fund. The Social Security Fund would be corrected overnight !!!

Jesus…

Posted in books, following Jesus with tags , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2009 by rylanreed

Jesus, what a beautiful name that is and one that needs to be given glory and honor everyday of our lives.  When you hear or speak His name, what feelings flow from that? When His name rolls off the tongue it should be sweet to those who hear it and a comfort to us who speak it.  I’ve been somewhat behind in my reading of Spurgeon, so I have been trying to catch up, but one of the readings that I read today I wanted to share with you.

‘Thou shalt call his name Jesus’

Matthew 1:21

When a person is dear, everything connected with him becomes dear for his sake.  Thus, so precious is the person of the Lord Jesus in the estimation of all true believers, that everything about Him they consider to be inestimable beyond all price. ‘All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia,’ said David, as if the very vestments of the Saviour were so sweetened by His person that he could not but love them. Certain it is that there is not a spot where which those blessed lips have uttered – which is not to us precious beyond all price. And this is true of the names of Christ – they are all sweet in the believer’s ear. Whether He be called the Husband of the Church, her Bridegroom, her Friend; whether He be styled the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world – the King, the Prophet, or the Priest – every title of our Master – Shiloh, Emmanuel, Wonderful, the Mighty Counsellor – every name is like the honeycomb dropping with honey, and luscious are the drops that distil from it. But if there be one name sweeter than another in the believer’s ear, it is the name of Jesus. Jesus! it is the name more charming, more precious than another, it is this name.  It is woven into the very warp and woof of our psalmody. Many of our hymns begin with it, and scarcely any, that are good for anything, end without it. It is the sum total of all delights. It is the music with which the bells of heaven ring; a song in a word; an ocean for comprehension, although a drom for brevity; a matchless oratorio in two syllables; a gathering up of the hallelujahs of eternity in five letters.

‘Jesus, I love thy charming name,

‘Tis music to mine ear.’

Let us today, when we think of His glorious name, to give honor and Glory to Him who hast saved us from our sins and one who loves us dearly!