Thursday, March 06, 2008

Life in America: Questions to Ponder

Humorous questions my sister posed to me...

Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety-one?


If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea...does that mean that one out of five enjoys it?

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Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they ?just stale bread to begin with?

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If people from Poland are called Poles, then why aren't people from Holland called Holes? ?


If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?


Why is a person who ?plays the piano called a pianist, but a person who drives a racecar is not called a racist?


If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for? ??


If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, then doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?


If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP? ?


Do Lipton Tea employees take "coffee breaks?"


What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of ?bald men?

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I ?thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks, so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use. Toothpicks?


Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?

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If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?


Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* And finally...,

As income tax time ?approaches, did you ever notice: When you put the two words "The" and "IRS" together, it spells"THEIRS"?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Those Spiritual Gifts

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are?

My top three spiritual gifts seem to be:


Leadership is probably up there, too. But let's leave that aside for the moment. And I guess you could even add apostle, if you see it fulfilled through cross-cultural missions. No spiritual gift inventory I have seen to date asks questions that would reveal that.

As a missionary, I seek to work within the framework of my spiritual gifts. To do otherwise would be detrimental to the work of God. I also seek to form teams that best utilize their gifts. I think we fall short when we ask men and women to work outside their gifted areas. For example, to ask a person who is a strong administrator, but a weak teacher, to be a church-planter could be a misuse of that person's ministries, as given by the Holy Spirit. The converse would be equally true.

How do you carry out your ministry? What "form" do your teams take?

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Not-So-New Danger Lurks at Your Door

I just read a disturbing article on Worldnet Daily's website.

For those who do not want to click on the link above, the article warns of a new false prophet out there. Only this time, the false prophet is being puffed by none other than TV Celebrity Oprah Winfrey. That Mississippi woman has shown her true colors. Long ago I heard her deny Christ as the one true Savior. Now she uses her TV show to lead others into the path of hell that she has chosen.

I, for one, will not allow her garbage to air on my television.

Beware of false prophets! If possible, they will even lead the elect astray.

Guard your hearts, people. The enemy is out, gunning for you.

Pray for this Jungle Tribe

One of my colleagues in South America sent me the following. Please take time to read it and to pray for the Asheninka along this part of the Amazon Jungle. Unfortunately, the photos would not transfer into the article. You may see a number of them here.

Asheninka Team

The Río Negro flows beneath the misty hills of Sira.

March 2, 2008

The river at the base of the 7,000 ft. Reserva Comunal de Sira (Comunal Reserve of Sira) is a mysterious place. There's gold there. The cold waters of the river run with the glistening dust that has drawn men to is banks for eons of time. Their presence still hangs in the air and their wares in the ground. The evidence of the inhabitants of centuries is as easy to step on as it is to imagine. In the yard of our dwelling on a high bank the sandy soil was strewn with potsherds and no great effort brought up for us ancient clay pots that had been resisting the torrential rains of the ages. Stone implements, axes, lay on the ground nearby for the taking. Locals say these things appear regularly in their fields or upon clearing to raise a new house. These same locals make their way to the river early in the morning and return in the afternoon with a gram or two of gold dust, selling at about $20 per gram to local buyers.

This is the Río Negro (Black River). It's mysteries abound, but in the darkness of mystery also abounds a spiritual darkness that the glitter of gold cannot illumine. Here I spent the last two weeks with a team of Asheninka believers sharing the light of Christ with Asheninka people who have lived in the shadow of the Sira, just existing, panning gold, spending their lives with no aim but to simply get through another day; another year. In the midst of this, however, there is a tiny community of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who have now come back to Him after some years of spiritual wandering.

In the community of Pueblo Libre (Free Town) seven Asheninka adults recommitted their lives to Christ with a renewed passion to serve Him. Hyony, Alejandro, Justiniano, Luzmila, Ema, and myself called the people back to Christ and appealed to still others to turn to Him for eternal life. While others did not respond to the careful explanation of the gospel, those who reconciled with Christ came to life with a lot of excitement to know and experience more of Him. Santiago is middle-aged. He's also Ema's brother. He loves Jesus, sings to Him with passion, and wants to serve Him. He will be trained in May in the leadership of a new church as well as receive deeper teaching on the Christian life. Helping him will be Ubaldo, also middle-aged, Spanish-speaking Peruvian in charge of the school. What Ubaldo lacks of knowledge of God is more than made up for in passion. Both of these men have been invited to our May leadership training event at Yarina Isla on the Apurucayali River. Nights at Pueblo Libre brought large gatherings of the locals, filling the school building to hear biblical messages.

After a week of intensive teaching and evangelism at Pueblo Libre, our team moved back down the very shallow and difficult river to Tahuantinsuyo (Tah-Wan-tin-SU-yo) to offer the same grace of God that had impacted the Pueblo Libre believers. This community has very few believers and we encountered a resistance to the things of God. Most of those who said they would participate in our sessions failed to attend; others arrived late each time and missed much of the message. Yet three adults and two young people renewed their commitment to follow Christ. Alejandro's brother, Grimaldo, is a resident of Tahuantinsuyo and a believer. He rallied the people to attend the meetings and proved himself a faithful servant. Grimaldo is also invited to leadership training because he desires to spearhead the formation of an outreach group in view of forming a church.

At the end of two weeks our crew navigated the river back to its mouth, pushing and pulling the boat in numerous rushing shallows. The peque motor barely got us into the port at Yuyapichis (YOU-yuh-PEE-chees). The next morning at 3 AM I returned over the muddy road to Pucallpa while my team remained to fight the swelling current of the Pachitea, Pichis, and Apurucayali Rivers. Last night I received a call from Hyony at their final stop, a small village with a phone. They had waited three days on the swollen river until they had to leave. He reported that they almost lost the motor in huge swirl of current at a place called Guacamayo (a macaw parrot). Praise the Lord all were safe, among them our preciouis twelve year old Berta returning home to Yarina Isla with the team after a month-long visit to our home in Pucallpa.

What a blessing to see believers who have been unshepherded for a long time return to Christ with glowing faces. Most of the faithful at Pueblo Libre followed our team by 2-hour trail in nearly knee-deep mud to Tahuantinsuyo to soak up more of God's Word. And that they did! You are urged to pray for these precious people on the Río Negro so that they will grow in their faith. They need to begin to meet together and read the Bible and talk about it and pray. They need to express their faith unashamedly to other Asheninkas in their communities. They need to grow into a deeper commitment to serving the risen Lord no matter what kind of opposition they face, and there is a lot of it out there in the darkness. In the darkness of an Asheninka night the frequent sound of the "lechusa" (owl) holds dark meaning for those who fear and who hold the traditions of the local people. But there are devils in the night to be feared above a sleepy owl as the evil one roams seeking whom to devour; and if not devour, to mislead and to hold trapped in misunderstanding and supersticion. As the locals dig and wash their gold in the flowing river, how they need to come to understand that the Lord wants to wash the dirt from their lives until they glitter with a brilliance beyond gold. And to learn that His Truth is of infinitely greater value.

Pray for believers on the Río Negro and for Santiago, Ubaldo, and Grimaldo who have the potential to lead them in a growing faith in Christ.

It is time for the Lord to act; for they have broken your law. therefore I love your commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold. Psalm 119:126-7
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts. Proverbs 17:3

Marty McAnally
Strategy Coordinator
Asheninka People Group, Peru
International Mission Board, SBC

If you wish to contact Marty, do so at

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Offense of the Gospel

Last week a young man attended his religion class at a local college. Interestingly, his teacher is agnostic, if not an atheist. What would an agnostic have to say in a religion class? That sounds, to me, something like Osama bin Laden teaching on democracy.

The good unbelieving teacher assigned this student--the only Christian in his class, by the way--a paper, asking him to defend the uniqueness of Christianity over the predominant views of the class and the atheism of the professor. So the young man wrote a paper on the uniqueness of Christ and his salvation. As the young man presented the paper, his professor stopped him. The professor was irate and asked him when he was going to realize that his belief in the gospel was offensive and intolerant. The young man was wise and very bold. He asked the professor when she was going to realize that the gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive to those who do not believe and when was she going to take up her cross and follow Jesus. The irate, unbelieving, agnostic-if-not-atheistic professor asked him to leave the class.

Kudos to the young man! The truth is that the gospel offends when presented in its purest form. There are those out there now who would do all they can to make it palatable for today's unbelieving world. You can gather a crowd around most anything and call it successful. But if you want to be successful in the work of the kingdom of God, you will have to use the pure and, yes, offensive gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Anything else creates the church of Jesus-plus.

And just in case you think I am pointing only to America, there are some out there who would tell Muslims they can be followers of Jesus as well as Mohammed. There are "Christian" missionaries who actually begin their teachings with such statements as, "There is one god; Allah is his name and Mohammed is his prophet." If any man preach any other gospel than that preached in the Bible, let him perish in the fires of hell. Such belief is the church of Jesus-plus.

There are others who claim to be Christian, yet teach us to follow the mother of Jesus, upholding her as co-redemptrix. To be sure, Mary was a chosen vessel of God; but even Mary had to repent and believe in the saving power of her son, or she would have spent an eternity in hell. Mary is not the way to heaven; Jesus Christ is the way to heaven. Again, such belief is the church of Jesus-plus.

Whatever you add to Jesus is one more way of diluting the gospel. Whatever you take away also dilutes the gospel. Some would remove the sexual sins from those habits that God says will keep one out of the kingdom of God. The lifestyle of homosexuality, receiving "sexual favors" from homosexuals (that is called effiminism in the Bible), pre-marital sex, adultery, and the like are sins listed in 1 Corinthians 6. And God says those people will not inherit the kingdom of God. Yet, there are those today who would soften the Bible's stance on purity and morality. The truth is this: no practicing sinner has eternal life. Those who have the true hope of seeing Jesus will purify themselves, even as he is pure (1 John 3).

Yes, the gospel offends. The gospel wounds and cuts. But the gospel of Jesus Christ also is the saving power of God to those who believe.

Let's proclaim a pure gospel, even if it is offensive.