Thoughts on Thanksgiving 2010

Hey y’all-

Haven’t dropped a line on here in awhile, but I’m feeling a little froggy. I thought I’d reflect on Thanksgiving a bit.

First thought:

A year ago, some friends and I were throwing a party this week in Banciao, Taiwan. We wanted to get together with some college kids we knew and tell them about the American holiday – Thanksgiving. As we told them about being thankful and our American traditions, it was very natural for us to tell them about our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Here’s a shot from that great night:

Truthfully, country music, Starbucks, and flip-flops (three things I am thankful for on a regular basis) are great, but true thankfulness comes when one realizes the gift given by God in his Son, Jesus Christ. And, once you see and receive the gift given by God to free you from your sin, pain, darkness, and hopelessness, then it is very easy and joyous to be thankful in all circumstances. I call this conversion and so does most of Christian history.

So, I am thankful….for Jesus and his love for me that enables me to be cleansed of all unrighteousness and made whole in the eyes of the Father. Can you say you are thankful for that type of love, freedom, joy, peace, and righteousness? If not, message me and let’s talk. This is too important to pass over…..

Second thought:

The holidays make me a little lonely. I see all the adverts on the telly (kinda Brit, right there) and think, “Man, I’d like a hot tamale to snuggle with in front of the fire.” Then, I go hang out with married friends and see the stress and hear the arguments and I think, “Man, I’m glad I’m single.”

Having said that…if anyone has any connections to a hot tamale with low self-esteem and even lower standards, let me know. She doesn’t have to be perfect, but close would be nice….

Third thought:

My Mom makes a mean sweet-tater casserole. It may be wrong to look too forward to a dish, but I look forward to that every year. I missed it last year when I was overseas, so I’m doing a double helping this year. Mom, hook a brother up!

Final thought:

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope and pray that 2010 has been a good year for you. I pray that your family and friends are well. I hope you have peace with God through a relationship with Jesus. I would love to see all my family and friends in eternity…I’m selfish like that.

Blessings.

Livin’ the dream,

Uncle Jeff

A Wild Year…for me….

Hey y’all-

A lot has happened in the last year. A year ago today, I landed in Hong Kong with four friends as part of a bluegrass band called “The Long Run Players.”

Sarah, Matt, Paul, Jeff, and Cameron..confused in HK.

We were stopping in Hong Kong for a few days of orientation before heading to Taiwan to serve with IMB personnel doing outreach and evangelism for six months. What happened in the 5+ months in Taiwan?

1. We met some really cool Taiwanese people like Amy, Gayo, Erin, Eva, Example, Stacy, Ifan, Ice, Slash, Joyce, Rain, Brian, Frank, Shelly, Chocolate, Patrick, Douglas, Wayne….etc…..

Some friends....

2. We ate some cool (and interesting) food.

3. We drank some great drinks like Black Pearl Milk Tea.

Black Pearl Milk Tea from Crazy Sue's

4. We played over 60 bluegrass shows.

5. We were featured on a national TV show on a Christian network (Good TV).

6. We told hundreds (even thousands) of people of the love of Jesus Christ and His desire to have a relationship with them.

7. We met some great M friends in Taiwan. (You know who you are…)

8. We ate some great apple pie (thanks, Patti!).

9. We traveled all over Taiwan playing music and seeing the sights.

10. We came home.

What has happened in the six months since landing back in the good ‘ol USA?

1. The band has continued to play and tell people about the people of Taiwan. (Over 25 shows since coming home…)

2. I graduated from seminary (SBTS) in May with my Master of Divinity degree.

Beauregard, Joe, and Me.....hotness

3. I was accepted to the doctoral program in Christian missions at SBTS.

4. I have sang and preached in churches in OK, TN, KY, MO, NC, and NY is to come….

5. I am getting ready to move to a new home here in KY.

6. I have snorkeled and sea-kayaked in Puerto Rico.

Playa Flamenco Culebra, PR

7. I have hiked in a rainforest.

8. I have told a lot of people about the love of Jesus Christ.

9. I met a girl in HK and we’re seeing if it’s gonna work……

It has been a great year. Here’s to the next one…..

Livin’ the dream,

Uncle Jeff

To My Taiwanese Friends

Hello 你好 –

  It is a cold, rainy day in Kentucky and we are expecting some snow this weekend. I have a great desire to be back in Taipei with my friends in the warm weather. I think a trip to Mr. Donut for some coffee and conversation would be very nice.

  How are you? 你好馬? Last night, I had dinner with Paul, Sarah, and Cameron and we talked about our friends in Taiwan. We miss you! We also played some bluegrass music. It was a fun night.

  I hope you are all enjoying your winter break and having fun. I wish I was there to practice my Chinese and tell you more about Jesus. We are praying for you and hope that you will come to believe and trust in Jesus as your Savior.

  We came to Taiwan to tell you about Jesus and we hope you come to know him like we do. 耶穌愛你我們也是.

  I wrote a blog about my belief and trust in Jesus. Here are some things I believe about him and his sacrifice for us. Click here. Important to know and believe.

  Your friend 好朋友,

  Jeff – 火雞

Christmas List – Part II

Hey y’all-

Merry Christmas from Taiwan. Yesterday, I posted my Christmas list. Why? Well, to see if people would buy me stuff. Or, to show the super-expensive stuff I can tend to want. Or, just for fun. (Or, all three….) Anyway, the reality is Christmas is not about gifts to me. It is not about getting stuff from others. It’s not about buying, buying, buying….Christmas is much more than that.

Here’s Christmas to Uncle Jeff (in a nutshell): God gives the greatest gift of all time to man. His name is Jesus and His desire is salvation for sinners.

Salvation: It cannot be purchased. It cannot be bargained for. It cannot be stolen. It cannot be earned. It is a gift. A free, simple gift that God offers to man. John 3:16 tells it all.

God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (that’s Jesus) so that whoever believes in Him (again, Jesus) would never die but have eternal life. (This is my rough interpretation of John 3:16, but I think it is accurate.)

The Bible goes on to say if you believe in Jesus, if you trust Him as Lord and Savior, if you worship Him alone, you will be saved (Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 3:11-24).

What an awesome, awesome gift. Will you believe? God offers you the greatest gift of all. Will you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

Thoughts?

Uncle Jeff

Taroko Gorge – Thoughts

Hey y’all-

We went to Taroko Gorge National Park in eastern Taiwan this past weekend. It was beautiful. In reality, there was so much to see and experience, that it is hard to process it all. So, I thought I would post some thoughts about the trip (and pictures) and leave it there for now. Then, I will post more as the week progresses and I think it through. Cool? Here goes:

1. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” Yes, He did. And, He did an awesome job.

Taroko Gorge

Taroko Gorge National Park

2. It is good to travel with people who know the way. This is our friend, Wei Lin, and her family. Our guides, hosts, and awesome friends…

Wei Lin, her sisters, cousins, and aunt....the locals.

3. Sometimes you just have to break out in praise of God’s creation. Well, at least, I do…..Jesus said, “I tell you, if these [His disciples] were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19:40).

I love to watch the rivers run....

4. God says that the creation praises Him even if the people do not. I want to praise. Why be silent? “Worthy are  you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

Beautiful

4. Sometimes people will climb a mountain to worship a false god when the real God is right there. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock . If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and him with me” (Revelation 3:20). These people were walking up three steps at a time and kneeling to pray. Such devotion…misguided as it is…..

Worshippers on this mountain. Praying to a false god.

5. God says, “I am the Lord your God. . . You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3). He also says humans are not to make any image or created thing and bow down before it. “You shall not bow down before them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God. . . ” (Exodus 20:5).

A false god high on a hill...

6. I worship the One, True Living God. I believe His is who He says He is in the Bible. I have my “hope set on the living God” (1 Timothy 4:10). John says, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). This is true.

God is bigger than this idol. God created the mountain where this idol was placed by human hands.

Trust in the living God.

Confess your sin.

Turn from you sin and believe Jesus is God.

He came to earth to live and die for our salvation.

He accomplished what He set out to do.

Jesus will come again and gather His brothers and sisters.

Live for Jesus. Worship Him. Be saved.

Thoughts?

Uncle Jeff

Salvation

Hey y’all-

I sent this message to a few friends of mine here in Taiwan. The backstory: we have been hanging out and talking about God and salvation. So, I wanted to give a clearer picture of salvation and that can be done through email better than in person. Why? Because a lot of our Taiwanese friends read and type English better than they speak it. Plus, they can ponder, reflect, and respond…

So, my buddy Paul and I gave a Bible to two of our friends. They shall remain nameless. I decided to send them a message and reference the Bible. They have no real concept of a Bible, so you will see some page numbers. The Bible we are using is a Chinese/English New Testament that has been produced for us to use in Taiwan. It is an NLT/CNLT translation for you theology nuts who want to know that kind of stuff…..

Here is what I wrote to them:

Hey J___ and P____ –

Last night, Paul gave J___ a Bible. (Not a “bubble”, J___.) Now, you and P____ have the same Bible. So, I thought I would send you a message and tell you a bit about what we believe from the Bible. So, here it goes.

Last night, J___ and R___ mentioned the word “salvation” from the Bible. Here is what salvation means to Christians. Salvation is God’s desire and plan to save sinners from their sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let me explain….

In your Bible, there is a book called “Romans.” Turn to Romans chapter 3 verse 23 (it is on page 312). That verse says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” What does it mean to sin? Well, P___ and I have talked about this quite a bit and we use the term “unclean heart.” Sin is a difficult concept to understand, but I will try to explain it quickly and we can talk about it more if you want….

Sin is anything you think, do, or believe that is against God’s plan for your life. Sin is disobedience to God. God tells us how we are to live in the Bible, but we sin when we live our own way and not God’s way.

Turn to Romans chapter 6 verse 23 (page 317). The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” What does that verse mean? The term “wages” means payment. Wages are what you earn at work. It is payment for working at KFC, or Welcome, or anywhere else. Well, the payment you will receive for your sin against God is death. By death, God is telling us that if we are not in a personal relationship with Him and our sin paid for, then we will spend eternity away from Him. The place for that eternity is Hell.

The Bible teaches that Hell is a real place for people who do not worship God alone (the One True God) through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Hell is not a place you will go and have a chance to get out. It is not a place of comfort or ease. It is eternal torment and pain and sadness away from God.

So, how do you have a relationship with God? Through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Turn to Romans chapter 10 verse 9 and 10. (Page 324). The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” That is salvation to a Christian!

You must trust in the Lord Jesus as your only Lord and Savior. You cannot worship Jesus and other gods. You must make a decision to follow Jesus, live for Him, trust Him, and be obedient to Him.

Why do I tell you this? J___ and P___, I tell you this because this is what I believe. This is a decision I made to follow Jesus. It has changed my life for the better. I am in a right relationship with God. When I die, I will not go to Hell. I will be in Heaven with Jesus and all the others who have trusted in Jesus and lived for Him.

I also tell you this because you are my friends. I want to be in Heaven with you. I want you to have the peace and joy in your life through God’s love that I have. It is the greatest thing ever.

See you soon. If you have any questions, you can email me back or ask me in person. I am here to tell people about Jesus. Your friend, Jeff

Thoughts?

Uncle Jeff

The Movie 2012 – The Questions

Hey y’all-

I posted about the movie 2012 yesterday. We are going to see the movie this afternoon in Taipei with some friends of ours from a local college. So, since we are going to see such a big movie with a big theme, I thought I would ask some of the “big” questions.

Here they are: (with my answers in bold)

1. Do you believe the world will end? Yes, I do believe the world as we know it will end someday. The Bible teaches us that God created the world and he will destroy the world in the future. How will He do it? Read on…

2. How will it end? I read in the Bible (and believe with all of my heart) that God will let the “first heaven and first earth” pass away (Revelation 21:1) and He will create (or re-create) the “new heaven and new earth.” So, the world will end someday.

3. Are you afraid of the possible end of the world? No, I am not afraid of the future end of the world. I expect it to happen and it may happen during my lifetime.

4. If you are not afraid, why not? I am not afraid of the end of the world because I have a relationship with Jesus Christ that secures for me a place of security, protection, and peace.

The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ came to earth the first time as a man to live a perfect life, teach about God, select disciples, and die on the cross as payment for the sins of mankind. He rose from the dead three days later to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He walked on the earth for 40 days after His resurrection teaching and strengthening the disciples. Then, he ascended into Heaven. He went back to Heaven to be with God the Father. But, He promised that He is coming again.

Since Jesus did all of the things he said He would do, then I believe He will do the things He promises He will do in the future. I believe He is coming again to gather all of His followers. Why? To pull them out of this world, to defeat Satan and the powers of evil for a final time, and to re-create the heavens and earth into a perfect place for all eternity.

Why would God do all of this? To show His glory, His power, His majesty, His love. In other words, God saves sinners because He wants to…not because He has to.

So, the movie 2012 will be interesting. I’m curious to see how the Hollywood special-effects people envision the end of the world. It might be fun to see, but it will not be scary. Why? Because I’ve already read the end of the book and I know who is really in charge of the end of the world.

Thoughts?

Uncle Jeff