Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

My Personal Board Of Directors

This post first appeared on March 4, 2011. It is my most frequently visited post, exceeding all others by nearly 3 to 1:

I invite you to take out a clean piece of paper, and write the following at the top: My Personal Board Of Directors. (Yeah, I know it sounds like you’re back in school, but humor me. I think you’ll be glad you did this exercise.)

In the middle of the page, draw an oval to represent a large conference room table. Print your own name at one end of the table. Around this table, print the names of others who currently influence you the most, in a positive way. They may be living or deceased. They may be people you have not met, such as authors, media personalities, sports figures, or musicians. These are the voices you turn to, listen to, and learn the most from. These are the voices you take seriously when you want counsel, ideas, motivation, companionship, guidance, or a boost of confidence. Limit the number of Board Members to six or seven.

Now write a short description by each name that identifies the reason he or she is on your Personal Board of Directors. For example, “He always makes time for me,” or, “She never makes me feel like my ideas won't work.”

Finally, write a short personal note to one of your Personal Board Members (a living one), thanking this person and letting him/her know that he/she is on your Board, and why. Better yet, write a note to all of your living Board Members.

I was taught this wonderful exercise by my friend Dr. Kathy Koch (pronounced cook), Founder of Celebrate Kids, Inc. (http://www.celebratekids.com/). With her permission, I have shared it with many others.

Several of my Personal Board Members have sat at my table for more than 30 years. My wife has been on my Personal Board for over 40 years!

What a difference these people have made in my life! They are the vital friends I cannot afford to live without.

Who is on your Personal Board of Directors? Maybe you cannot limit it to six or seven. Get a bigger piece of paper. Thank at least two of them today, and be sure to let them know why they are on your Board. You will be glad you did, and they will be glad, too.

Oh...one more question: Did you include Jesus on your Personal Board?

He's been on mine for 55 years.

Thank you, Lord!

John Taylor (left) and Bill Laney (right) have been on my Personal Board of Directors for 30+ years.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Why The Church Is So Silent

The following is by our friend Darrow Miller, co-founder of Disciple Nations Alliance, from his blog, Darrow Miller and Friends, reprinted by permission: 

Jihadists have a slogan: “First the Saturday People, then the Sunday People.” That is, "First we will kill the Jews, then we will kill the Christians."

Today, Christians are being persecuted from Nigeria through North Africa and the Middle East into Asia. Their places of worship are being destroyed, their girls and women are being raped, their homes and villages are being savaged and shattered. Christians are being targeted for mass killings as well as individual assassinations.

And all the time, the world seems to care very little. Influenced by cultural relativism, the West too often denies Islamist evil, pretends there is no clash of civilizations. “We must not critique another culture,” they say. Because of the West’s dependency on oil, governments are loathe to condemn Saudi Arabia’s promotion of their own militant form of Islam known as Wahhabism. The Saudis have spent $2-3B a year since 1975 to build mosques, Wahhabi schools (madrassas) for children, and Islamic institutes at major Western universities. All of this is funded by oil money. Money spent by the West to buy oil is seeding the West’s own destruction.

But it is not just the cultural relativists and Western governments that are silent. The church in the West is virtually silent about the persecution and decimation of our brothers and sisters in Christ in much of the 10/40 window. (See Kirsten Powers’ condemning article in The Daily Beast titled A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent.)

The Jihadist vision is one of externally imposed law, legalism, and tyranny. They hate the Judeo-Christian worldview and the civilization of freedom it produced. I understand why Jihadists are opposed to Christians and Jews. What I do not understand is why the church is so silent. Why doesn’t the church in the West stand with her suffering brothers and sisters in Muslim countries? Indeed, we should side with Jews and moderate Moslems—our fellow sons and daughters of Abraham—who are being slaughtered by the Islamists. Even more, we should uphold and defend our fellow Christians. If we cannot stand with them in their hour of need, against what injustice will we ever stand?

Maybe Western Christians are silent because we are too comfortable.  Francis Schaeffer said that the two primary values of modern life are personal peace and affluence. Perhaps the church has been discipled by the culture. Perhaps personal peace and affluence have become the culture of the church. To challenge injustice and oppression might disrupt our comfort. Perhaps the church is silent because we want to be comfortable.

May God raise up a new generation of Christians whose god is not comfort.  May it be a generation concerned about injustice and oppression, a generation that will stand in word and deed with the suffering church.

In response to the question "What do we do?" see Darrow's follow-up post here.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

The Answer

For 30 years, starting in 1958, my Uncle Roy and Aunt Georgialee Mayfield lived with a group of 600-700 indigenous people in the Philippines, called the Agtas. They raised four children among this tribe, learned their language, put their words into written form and taught the Agtas how to read.

Why? Because the Agtas did not have the Bible in their own tongue, and the Mayfields wanted them to be able to read the Word of God, and know the Savior of which The Book spoke. In three decades, the Agta New Testament was complete.  

Roy estimates that by 1994, half the tribe had committed themselves to following Christ. “It was primarily through the Agta leadership and witness of individual believers that the Agta Church grew,” my Uncle tells me. “When the Agta New Testament was dedicated [in 1993], isolated Agta communities from a large geographical area were invited to participate for a two day affair. This experience motivated them to hold a gathering the following year. And for the past 20 years the annual Agta Christian Convention has been a venue where some find Christ for the first time, and others grow in their spiritual walk with the Lord.”

Roy and Georgialee are now retired. But not idle! Roy has been working on an English version of the New Testament, which sprang from his own desire for a "more readable translation." One that was "clear and flowing."

I can personally attest that Roy has succeeded in reaching this goal. I started reading Roy's translation about a year ago, and it is indeed "clear and flowing." I must tell you, it is my favorite version of the New Testament.

I am excited to let you know that Roy's translation of the Gospel of John, which he calls, The Answer, is now available in e-book form. I can't think of a more fitting Christmas gift than this remarkable translation of The Gospel of John, and I urge you to buy a copy for yourself and several as gifts for friends. You will not be disappointed. (At $2.99 per copy, you can buy quite a few!)

The Answer is Roy's initial publication of the Living Water New Testament, coming in due time. Roy says, "I am praying that The Answer will become an effective means of interesting more non-Christians in the hope we have in Jesus Christ."

Order here.

Roy and Georgialee Mayfield teaching Agtas to read their own language.

Roy (far left) and Georgialee with three of their four children and Agta friends.
Roy with an Agta friend testing his work. Roy was trained as a Wycliffe Bible Translator, doing graduate studies in linguistics at the Universities of North Dakota and Oklahoma, as well as Indiana University. He was trained to "translate in a way that does not read like a translation." As Roy puts it, "Any literary work calling itself a translation must be as understandable and idiomatic for the modern reader as the original was to the original readers of the content." After 30 years of applying this principle to the Agta New Testament, Roy has applied the same principle to his English translation of the Gospel of John, called, The Answer.
Roy and Georgialee are currently living in Carnation, Washington.
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Friday, November 8, 2013

Questions That Plague

In 2007, American artist Jimmy Grashow began work on what might be his "final epic."  Inspired by the great baroque sculptor Bernini, whose fountains grace Rome, Grashow set out to create his own "fountain." A "fountain" so intricate, exquisite, and so large, it was not finished until 2010. Grashow's "fountain," however, was not made of marble. It was constructed from cardboard. 

Grashow's work wasn't really finished until 2012. That's because his plan from the start was to set his masterpiece out in the open, so rain would turn it to mush. On April 1, 2012, Grashow set it outside, and six weeks later, he laid the dilapidated mess to rest in a dumpster.

In The Cardboard Bernini, film maker Olympia Stone follows Grashow through his creation's life cycle, from conception to dumpster. We watch as Grashow painstakingly carves details on a huge cardboard fish: "It's very important that you do this right," he says, while carving out the back side of the scales, which nobody will see.

Viewers are confronted with questions that plague postmodern artists like Grashow: "What is the point of art, or the creation of anything beautiful that doesn't last?" And, ultimately, as Stone puts it, "What is the point of our lives in the face of our mortality."

As I watched this remarkable film, I marveled at our Creator's design of human beings as image-bearers of Himself, capable of extraordinary works of beauty, as Grashow and Bernini demonstrate. Through this film, I celebrated Grashow's humanity, as he celebrated it himself. I was blessed by his loving and devoted relationship with his wife, by his adult children, by his joy in living and his warm encounters with friends.

Yet, I was saddened. Saddened to see Grashow's fear of death, his sense of emptiness, and the absence of divine meaning in the work of his hands. I was saddened, once again, to realize how great a thief the postmodern "worldview of nothingness" really is, as seen in Grashow's faith that "everything dissolves in eternity."

This faith would have been inconceivable to Bernini, whose favorite book was Thomas รก Kempis' Imitation of Christ. According to historian Paul Johnson, in Art: A New History, Bernini "believed that God had endowed him with unusual gifts and that, in return, he must make exemplary use of them to glorify his Maker and to make the world share his faith."

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Starting A New Tradition

Our granddaughter, Aria, graces the cover of my wife's book, Fun Family Christmas Devotions: Advent Guide for Busy Parents

I know it's just November 1, but sometimes thinking ahead is smart, especially when it comes to starting a new tradition.

Christmas is not a new tradition, of course. But it has become so highly commercialized, that keeping the real meaning of it before the minds of children (and our own minds, too) is not always a piece of fruitcake! This is especially true when parents are busy, which seems to be the case for every family we know.

One way to address the challenge is to create a lead up to Christmas Day after your regular family Sunday dinner times during the four weeks prior. This is a way to build great Christmas memories, nurture faith in children's hearts, and keep the significance of Christmas at the forefront of the season.

Several years ago, my creative wife, Kathy (the only one I have, actually), wrote a delightful little guide to help make this a reality. This full-color, illustrated book is full of simple dramas, Christmas songs, crafts, games, and food ideas to help bring the wonder and joy of Christmas to life throughout the four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas Day.

You may take a look at the content here.

This book comes with a CD of joy-filled Christmas music done mostly by family members. (Don't worry. It's far better than home movies.) If you'd like to get this book for 50% off, and free shipping within the USA, call toll-free 877-624-0230 within the US.

To get the discount, just say you're a reader of the Worldview Matters blog. [The discounted price is $10.]

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