Apparent Bad News

I guess it shouldn’t surprise us that good news is quickly followed by bad news. Shortly after an angel declared, “I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people,” and the magi came from the east asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews,” Herod was moved with jealousy and lied in an attempt to remove the King he thought to be a threat to his throne.

I’m sorry to have to report that in similar fashion, the good news we received from Haiti has been followed by what appears on the surface to be bad news. I wouldn’t even share it with you during this time of year, but everyone who is supporting a student at Haitian Christian Ministries has probably received a letter that makes serious charges against the current leadership of the mission.

Shortly after we started supporting the mission, the founder, Manno Laguerre, unexpectedly passed away. For a time the leadership passed to his widow, Prisca. When the board noticed a lack of transparency and accountability in the finances of the mission, Prisca was asked to make some changes. She refused to do so, and was eventually asked to step down from leadership.

When Mark and I met with the chairman of the board and the two lead pastors a couple of months ago, we were thrilled to hear of the progress the mission was making. Not only are more children being served, but new churches are being planted in Northern Haiti. We were impressed by the straightforward answers to the questions we asked by the chairman and Pastor Paul, who is now heading up the mission in Haiti. We are confident that the mission is in good hands.

The letter that many of you received from Prisca is apparently the result of hurt and bitterness, and after conferring with Mark Zimmerman, who is on the board, we can assure you that the accusations are a misrepresentation of the facts. We are very thankful for the opportunity to be supporting a very effective ministry in Haiti, and appreciate your confidence in the elders who oversee the generous mission giving of our congregation.

God Bless, Rick

An Offer That’s Hard to Believe

I have an offer for the first eleven people who take me up on it. And of course, like every offer that gets made on TV, this one comes with strings attached. But unlike the free offers on TV, there are no handling and processing fees hidden in this offer. All it will require of you is a commitment of 15-20 minutes a day for the next year.
If you haven’t guessed what this is all about, it’s about reading through the Bible in a year. But even more, it’s about reading through a Bible that I will personally buy for you. I know that’s hard to believe, especially the “that I will personally buy for you” part, but it’s true!

A couple of years ago Marilyn, Nikki, and Grace all read through The One Year Chronological Bible and really enjoyed it. This year I’m doing so, and I really love it…even though it isn’t in my favorite translation.

A chronological Bible is one that attempts to put the books, chapters, and even verses of the Bible in the order that related events actually happened. It puts everything in chronological order so you can follow the flow of history and see how everything fits together. It also means that accounts that were recorded more than once can be read together, the psalms that express what David is feeling are placed in the midst of what he’s going through, the prophetic messages are pronounced in their historical context, and the epistles are integrated into the book of Acts.

Like the girls, I am really enjoying reading through the Bible in this way, and I can’t wait to start again. Only this time I won’t be reading it in the NIV! It’s not available in the NASV, so I will be reading it once again in another translation, which really isn’t a bad thing. The additional options are the New Living Translation, which I like even less than the NIV, and Tina’s favorite, the New King James.

I’ve ordered a dozen copies in the NKJ, and they should be here this Sunday. The first eleven who ask for one, and promise to read it, will be given one. In case you were wondering why only eleven, the twelfth one is for me.

God Bless, Rick

Preparing for Possible Bad News

I’m not sure it’s the best way to prepare for possible bad news, but I tend to go to the worst possible scenario first. I don’t want to live in denial, and then be devastated. I’d rather think through how I would deal with really bad news, and then be grateful if it doesn’t come to pass. A case in point has been my recent vision problem.

I’d noticed the newsprint was getting blurry in the mornings, and had started rubbing my eyes a lot, thinking they were having a hard time getting cleared in the morning. Then I noticed that the sight picture on my pistol wasn’t a sharp as it should be. I figured it was just bad lighting at the range. Then, while waiting for Anna’s basketball game to start, I noticed faces weren’t as sharp as they should be across the court. For some reason I covered one eye, and then the other, and discovered that my right eye was the culprit. Once that was discovered, I started closing one eye and then the other while trying to read road signs. The left eye was clear, the right not so much.

I had had an eye exam and had gotten new glasses in February, so I went back to see if things had really changed as much as I thought. The optician was shocked by the change in just one eye, and after examining it and seeing nothing wrong in the eye itself, suggested I go to my medical doctor to see if there was a problem behind my eye.

When I went to my doctor and explained the situation, he ordered blood work and an MRI. Thinking something might be wrong behind the eye took me places no one wants to go. I started thanking God for the privilege of preaching as long as I had, and thanking Him for a great life. I prayed that He would give me the strength necessary to deal with whatever might come, in a way that honored Him and accomplished His purposes.

When I shared that with the elders, Jack said he would simply pray for healing. The next morning I remembered Jesus saying we had not because we asked not, so I covered my bases and asked. I didn’t want to hear Him say in heaven that He would have healed me, but I didn’t ask.

Whether He did or didn’t, I don’t know. But the tests all came back normal, and, contrary to the opinion of some, there is nothing wrong with my brain. I still don’t know what caused the change, but a new lens seems to be working pretty well. Whether the doctor will want to look further or not, I don’t know. All I know for sure is that I’m very thankful.

Now it’s on to another challenge; a prostate biopsy scheduled for January because of an elevated PSA.

God Bless, Rick