Write Your Story

reflections on Luke 1:1-4

Luke was not the first to write the story of Jesus. In fact, there were many accounts floating around, many of them based on descriptions shared by eyewitnesses. But Luke wanted people to have a sense of certainty about what they had been taught about Jesus.  So he carefully investigated everything and carefully wrote his account of the story.

Today there are many stories about Jesus floating around. Aloof Jesus. Irrelevant Jesus. Domineering Jesus. Hateful Jesus. Genie Jesus. Insensitive Jesus. Golden Jesus.

Do we share Luke’s concern that people meet the real Jesus?

Are we willing to carefully read the story? Are we willing to carefully write our story about Jesus?

Truth is, whether I want to admit it or not, I am writing my story about Jesus every day. And so are you.

We write with our lives. Each encounter we have with people communicates to them our story of Jesus. Christians wear the name of Jesus. So what people see in us they attribute to Jesus. People form their understanding of Jesus by watching people who wear the name of Jesus. That means we need to carefully read the story. We need to carefully write our story — so they might see Jesus. Real Jesus. Caring Jesus. Listening Jesus. Reaching Jesus. Touching Jesus. Healing Jesus. Compassionate Jesus. Bold Jesus. Praying Jesus. Tender Jesus. Crying Jesus. Crucified Jesus. Resurrected Jesus.

People are looking. People are searching.

Write your story.

Let them see Jesus.

National Geographic: Into the Wild Panama Rainforest

This week I will be in Panama City, Panama for an equipping conference with a number of preachers who work in the Darien Province of Panama. The Darien is perhaps the most primitive region in Panama. Darien consists largely of rainforests and borders Columbia.

Over the last 10 years I have made many trips to Panama and visited many villages in the Darien. I have come to love and appreciate the people there. I have been amazed at the simple life many of the Indian tribes live. When we travel there, we take care to share the gospel of Jesus with them while respectfully leaving their culture intact.

The 5 minute video above is a clip form a National Geographic presentation on the Wild Panama Rainforest that allows you to see some of the beautiful animals, forests, and rivers like those our mission teams have seen over the years. My favorite part might be the leaf-cutter ants. I have seen lines of those ants stretching for as far as you can see.

One thing I found unrealistic – I have never seen a beautiful body of water that wasn’t filled with children playing! Those interested in Panama will enjoy this video journey into the rainforest.

Australia Missions

Skyline is so thankful to have a special relationship with the Gosford Church of Christ in Gosford, NSW, Australia. Gosford is blessed with a great group of leaders. Their shepherds and ministers have a passion for God and people. Gosford’s members are full of love and a desire to share God’s love with others.

We are thankful for Gosford’s vision in beginning STAMP and God’s grace in opening the door to allow Skyline to participate.

As a congregation Skyline has pledged to provide financial support for the next five years to help Gosford launch their STAMP ministry. We believe that STAMP can make a lasting impact on the church in Australasia.

What is STAMP? Their website is fiull of information, but let me share a few things to get you started.

The Short Term Australian Missions Program or STAMP as they call it, is a new and exciting program that offers a spiritual, educational, and service experience for young Christians in Australia and New Zealand.

STAMP is designed around three key components: Bible study, field assignments, and career training. STAMP will take the participants on a journey that brings them closer to God, deepens their relationships with others and helps them gain necessary career skills.

The first ever STAMP class is scheduled to kick off in January of 2008.

I want to encourage you to click on the above link and find out more about what God is doing in Australia through STAMP.

More than a shrubbery to appease sky god

Today I bought plane tickets for an upcoming trip to Panama. I have seen a lot of amazing things while traveling in Panama. I have flown in military planes and cargo planes. I have landed on jungle airstrips and have been in planes that barely cleared the trees on takeoff. I have seen dogs sleeping, children playing, and horses wandering around on runways.

But I have never looked out of the plane and seen the airline officials sacrificing a goat to appease the sky god. You have to read about it to believe it.

I have never been so thankful for the air travel in Panama.

A Call to Prayer

The title of the article caught my eye – What Iraq’s Christians Need. So I read the piece which included some good information about how the Christians of Iraq can be helped. While I enjoyed the article, the following lines brought me to tears.

“Last October 21, radical Muslim insurgents burst into an Iraqi workplace in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad. There they confronted 14-year-old Ayad Tariq and asked for his identity card. After noting his Christian affiliation and questioning him, they declared him a “dirty Christian sinner” and, according to media reports, beheaded him on the spot.”
From What Iraq’s Christians Need in Christianity Today


Can you even imagine?

They are so easy to forget, these Christians of Iraq. But we must not forget them and what they endure everyday. What do they need? Sure there are political considerations as we answer that question. But perhaps more than anything, they need our prayers.


Over the past couple of years Skyline has worked to plant a congregation in Wala, a Kuna village in Panama. Last Sunday a fire devastated the village. About 130 houses were destroyed. Our church building and the school building were spared. Please pray for the people of Wala as they rebuild.

Shopping for Crack Pipes

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.”
Matthew 5:13 The Message

This morning I walked into three randomly selected convenience stores in our community with a simple request. “I’d like to buy a crack pipe.”

The three clerks responded similarly.

“What? Really?”

“No way. Please, no.”

“Uhh . . . I don’t think we have any, we must have sold them all.”

Despite their reactions, they knew exactly what I meant.

I smiled and gently repeated my request: “Come on, I’d like to buy a crack pipe.”

All three clerks reluctantly turned to the “Love Roses” display, pulled out a glass tube, and told me how much it cost. The prices varied from store to store — $.99, $2.19, and $2.99.

It was striking – none of the clerks wanted to sell me the pipe. All were relieved when I told them I really didn’t want to buy the crack pipe, I was just seeing where they were available so I could encourage store owners and managers not to sell them. The clerks were outspoken about their desire for the stores to stop selling the drug paraphernalia. The three women eagerly wrote down the name of the store owner and urged me to please call them and ask them not to sell the pipes which have only one actual use – the smoking of crack, methamphetamine, or pot.

One clerk admitted when she and another employee are working the same shift they will hide the “Love Roses” display so they don’t have to sell them. “We don’t want to attract those people to this store. I get scared when they come in. I’m afraid for my life. But please don’t tell the owner I said that.”

Next time you are in a convenience store (especially one of those at a gas station) look around for a display of “Love Roses” or ask the clerk if they sell them. If they do, find out whom you can encourage to discontinue their sale. And when we do so let’s try not to come across like arrogant, holier-than-thou zealots (with a situation this serious, it would be very easy to do so). The best approach is described with words like gentleness, kindness, humility and love.

I hope the Tennessee legislature will consider banning the sale of crack pipes (“Love Roses”) as an amendment to the methamphetamine bill currently being considered.