care more than some think is wise; risk more than some think is safe;
dream more than some think is practical; expect more than some think is possible


B.E.S. (II)

So, the last post I defined "environmental stewardship" and "Biblical environmental stewardship" as well. I cited Gen. 1:26-31 and Gen. 2:15 as two foundational verses for the case of BES. Further, I listed 5 principles gathered from the two passages...

  1. All men are made in God's image
  2. Man received, from God, the authority to "subdue" and rule" on earth
  3. A command to be fruitful
  4. Placement of man in the garden
  5. A call for man to cultivate and keep Eden's garden
Importance of Principles:

1) All men are made in God's image - God is ultimate. The Creator is the only one to be worshiped, for He alone is glorious, He is all that is righteous and He is all righteousness. To be righteous means to be all that is pure and good, it is the highest standard of what is notable and morally upright. To be all righteousness is to be the epitome of purity, goodness and ... rightness! As such, God is ultimate, in His own heart and in His creation, especially the epitome of His creation, Man. To be in God's image means, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that man - each individual man, woman, boy & girl - carries significant intrinsic value. Each woman sold into the slave trade, each orphan wrangled into rebels' armies, each prostitute, each drug addict, each Kindergartner, each widow, each middle-aged man in the middle of a mid-life crisis, each diseased, handicapped, and mentally handicapped person carries eternal value that cannot be measured or taken away, because that individual has been intimately created and woven in the likeness of the God of all. So, God is ultimate, and man is valuable. In light of God's worth & man's value, measures of many nature need be taken to provide for the poor, down trodden, and neglected peoples of the world. This does include BES. This point will be made further later.

2) Man received, from God, the authority to "subdue" and "rule" on earth - As the epitome of God's creation (see Ps 8:4-8 & Heb 2:6-8), He has seen fit to place the responsibility of subduing and ruling the earth under man's control. The Hebrew for "subdue" iכבש be (kabash), which means to subject; while "rule" is רדה (radah), meaning to subdue or rule over ... basically, it would appear to me that subdue and rule are to reinforce a central idea, God has given man dominion over animals and plants. We are to utilize - wisely - all resources given to us from God. 

3) Commanded to fruitfulness - This means we are to have sex! Of course within - & only within - the context and covenant of marriage ... but it means sex nonetheless. The "fruitful" command, literally means "to bear young" (פרה; parah). This is a gift of the Lord to man (and all for that matter as reproduction is necessary for ongoing life), but it is a special gift to man, for we love; after all we are made in the image of the Great Lover! But - and I may be taking some liberties - I think this means we must care and love for one another, that may not be explicit in the text provided, but it is explicitly stated elsewhere.

4 & 5) Placement of man in the garden and a call for man to cultivate and keep Eden's garden- Imagine it! Creation is not even a week old, and all the sudden life is! Once you were not, and now you are ... and what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear is perfection. Creation is perfect, and at the very center of it, is you, man! Calvin sums everything up perfectly ...
"Moses adds, that the custody of the garden was given in charge to Adam, to show that we possess the things which God has committed to our hands, on the condition, that being content with a frugal and moderate use of them, we should take care of what shall remain. Let him who possesses a field, so partake of its yearly fruits, that he may not suffer the ground to be injured by his negligence; but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated. Let him so feed on its fruits that he neither dissipates it by luxury, nor permits to be marred or ruined by neglect. Moreover, that this economy, and this diligence, with respect to those good things which God has given us to enjoy, may flourish among us; let every one regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses. Then he will neither conduct himself dissolutely, nor corrupt by abuse those things which God requires to be preserved."
What Calvin is getting at, and what BES is all about is that subduing, cultivating and ruling must be read and understood as a mandate of stewardship, not one of power, might, and free reign. We cannot desecrate and decimate our planet without insulting the Almighty!

And thats a wrap for now.


B.E.S. (I)

Over the last week I have had 15+ hours of lecture concerning Biblically based principles for Environmental Stewardship - or - Biblical Environmental Stewardship (BES).

There remains no doubt that BES is overlook and neglected by the Church today. How often do you hear your pastor speak of Christians as being protective stewards of God great creation? My answer is never. I cannot recall a time I heard a pastor - not just encouraging not polluting the earth - but actually living in such as way as to help alleviate the groaning of an ailing planet! (Inset: Terrestrial biomes classified by vegetation.)

First, let us define "environmental stewardship" (ES). According to the EPA it is "the responsibility for environmental quality shared by all those whose actions affect the environment." Personally, I feel like this is a deficient definition from the EPA. Considering how "hot" a topic ES is, I expect a bit more from the Environmental Protection Agency. I find it quite peculiar, but moving on now...

BES then, can be defined as: "One the basis of a biblical worldview and ethics, as well as of sound science, economics, and public policy principles, ... sound ES celebrates and promotes human life, freedom, and economic development as compatible with, even essential for, the good of the whole environment" (from A Biblical Perspective on Environmental Stewardship, from the Acton Institute). Another definition states, "ES is an approach t the earth and its resources that attends both to the demands of human freedom and flourishing and to the Biblical call for human beings to exercise caring "dominion" over creation" (from Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship, from the Acton Institute).

The biblical basis for ES is broad, beginning in Genesis and ending, not surprisingly, in Revelation. According to William Johnson in his article, The Bible on Environmental Conservation: A 21st Century Prescription, there are some 2,463 verses within God's holy Word discussing the proper stewarding of His creation. Francis Schaeffer declares, "God's calling to the ... Christian community ... is that we should exhibit a substantial healing, here and now, between man and nature and nature itself, as far as Christians can bring it to pass." Russell E Train states, "I find it difficult to accept that it is the will of God that humanity should degrade, desolate, and ultimately perhaps destroy His creation on Earth. yet this is the corse on which we are embarked." Train is a founding trustee of the World Wildlife Fund, a past president thereof, a former board member, and currently a chairman emeritus with the WWF.

So, now that BES has been defined. I would like to briefly address two of the primary supporting verse for BES, both found in Genesis. See Genesis 1:26-31...

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 
 And Genesis 2:15, "Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it."

The key principles are: 
  1. All men are made in God's image;
  2. Man receives from God the power to "subdue" and "rule";
  3. A command to fruitfulness;
  4. Placement of man in the garden;
  5. A call for man to cultivate and keep Eden's garden


Are the 'civilized' people actually more barbaric?

I viewed a few minutes of a movie entitled "The Gods Must be Crazy" ( ... and just this little introduction to the video was quite interesting. It opens with a narrative of the bushmen who live in the bush of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. These people lead simple lives, with no thought of owning any single item, sharing all things with all members of their families. Of course, this movie is from 1980, so some of the realities of their living conditions may not be entirely true now ... but you must consider the chance that they are more civilized than we!

The point made was this. They have adapted to their single environment. They don't need money, they hunt never going hungry, and live in simplicity ... which in modern day society we have self-help books about leading more simple lives! They live in unity and harmony with each other, and their surroundings, instead of steadily destroying what resources they have!

On the contrary, we lead lives demanding adaptation to tons of environments - work, commuting, home life, weekend mentalities, work day mentalities, etc ... We are driven by some invisible force making us miserable and running for the most efficient and successful options, whatever they be. This force may be called 'pace' or 'materialism' ... is this not the driving force of American society? And the worst is that this "culture" is spreading all around the world! Increase commercialism and materialistic drives, and witness the misery upon misery on the faces and countenances you meet!

We, the "civilized," are no more driven by the rise and setting of the sun, than we are by some minutes according to a clock, according to "work days" ... Now I know God instated work and that work is good, but I don't think He meant it to be the way it is today!

So, I propose again, are the "civilized" people actually to barbaric? You decide!


Despues tres dias en Costa Rica ...

So, I have been in country now for just over three days and I have found that there are many differences than what I imagined I would find. Some disappointing, some wonderful!

I have, for instance, found both smooth and crunchy JIF peanut butter! I have found Smuckers sugar free jelly! The coffee is wonderful (no surprise, just a great and frequent delight) ... Coffee seems to be available almost at any given time! I may end up being wired forever! An ice cream chain called Pop's! My access to internet is wonderful. I am not going to lie. I love the internet, I am staying so much more connected with friends and family than I imagined, this helps with the adjustment to a new lifestyle.

Some disappointments ... please don't think I am complaining ,,, just stating things that are a little disappointing in terms of expectations:
- A huge mall, surrounded by fast food (Taco Bell, Wendy's, McDonald's, Burger King, etc... )
- The degree to which American culture has infiltrated and defiled Tico culture! Boo! On you conquering American culture ... driving consumerism, materialism, etc ... Thats all I will say.
- Our proximity to the city. The base is much closer than I expected, but it is nice that we can walk to a local store, actually run by a Chinese couple, go figure. Yet, at the same time, we are close enough to the mountains to walk to get to the rainforest, we are right at the edge of the cloud forest!

Other things that are just different than America are numerous. For instance, no TP in the toilet ... it goes in the garbage, kind of gross, maybe ... but no big deal at all. All the food (at least almost all of it) is fresh - fresh eggs, fresh vegetables, almost nothing is processed! Its wonderful. Pinto gallo, rice and beans ... AMAZING!!!

And as today is Saturday, I am actually leaving shortly for the higher highlands! A staffer named Copito, and I and one of my EARS school peers, Laura (from England) are going hiking for the day! According to Copito, its is entirely green, no building, just the wild Costa Rican rain forest and mountains! 

You can trust that pictures will be posted at

Other things I have found, in relation to my walk with Jesus Christo, is that the Enemy has been attacking in the form of doubts and complaining which leads to discontentment! The doubts have been in the form os doubting why I am here, doubting that how things are working out (somewhat different than what I expected) are right, doubting that this form of ministry is the best, doubting, doubting, and doubting! Yet, the promises of Christ overwhelm Satan and his feeble attempts to trouble my heart and soul ... when the doubts come, Christ answers! When worry strikes, Christ slays! Christ is victor, and I am experiencing HIm in that way. It is very enthralling and exciting! (The picture is my quiet time location!)

As for complaining ... that has come in the most ridiculous of forms. Those just have to be fought with tooth and nail! There is no reason ... things are amazing! No room for complaints, for Christ has provided more than all I need

Anyways, its time now for me to go hiking! Adios amigos!


Thoughts 1/11/10

When God - Yahweh, the One who redeemed Israel from Egypt, by drying the Red Sea, by leading with a cloud and fire pillar; the One who consumed the water soaked mountain and altar at Elijah's cry, the One who raises the dead, the One who has once and for all has damned sin, death, and Satan for all eternity by conquering death - when this God is on you side, truly we may ask with expectation of no answer in reply, "If God be for you, who can be against you?"

The first verse of Ps 27 makes me think all that, "The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?" The same answer can be expected here ... the answer is, not a one! No foe be they human or demon, no sickness be it mental or physical, no degree of separation from loved ones, no form of suffering or torture is to be feared or dreaded. There is literally nothing to be feared or beheld with dread when Christ Jesus is your light and salvation!

David goes own to answer his rhetorical questions in v3, "My heart will not spite of this (evildoers, enemies, adversaries, & war) I shall be confident." So then, the logical question is what is the source of such bold and unwavering confidence? Let's continue in v4, where David expresses that his one desire is to seek the LORD, and to dwell in His house forever, to see the manifest beauty of the LORD, to dwell and meditate in God's temple.

How does dwelling in God's temple secure David's confidence? Verses 5 & 6 fill us in, "For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. And now my head will be lifted up above y enemies around me." Confidence is built upon the solid rock foundation of an endlessly faithful God, One who never falters or stumbles, but by the ongoing word of His mouth ceaselessly upholds the entire universe! This is the same God that David is seeking after, who he desires to dwell with for all the days of his life, for he knows in the hour of trouble, in the day of the plague God will secure him for His own purposes, and that he would see the entirety of his days, even if that meant the full term of his days be tomorrow or 50 years later. David did not fret over death, or pain ... for God was his delight! He even tells us of his delight in God, for after the LORD preserves him, he declares, "I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD!" [The exclamation is my own addition, I think David was probably so stoked when he wrote these words!]

But verses 7-14 make me think maybe this desire was not always his natural response to hardship and the attack of his adversaries. I say natural meaning, maybe at times he had his doubts just like you and I ... the great Man after God's own heart had doubts? Yeah I think so. But I also feel confident that he battled fiercely against these doubts, forcibly calling to mind and meditating on the promises of God! Check out verse 8 and following, "When You said, 'Seek my face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.' Do not hide your face from me, do not tun Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!" In Joshua 1:5c, states, "I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you." Now, I don't know if this is what David had in mind when he cried out v8, but its what I think of ... remembering the promises of God, and that He is faithful to carry out His promises! This is great news!

I am sort of changing my mind as I continue, maybe David is not expressing doubts, but the real battle of faith that must take place for faith to be refined. For, in v14 he calls his readers to "Wait for the LORD, be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD." It sounds more like an exhortation to remain faithful to trusting God, for He never shrinks back from His children's foes ... even if we cannot make out how things will work out.

This is all encouraging in light of leaving for Costa Rica here is just a few days. I am truly not worried, fearful, or dreadful of anything ... but I also am not naive, I know well that there will be more hardship than I expect - so I keep trying to expect more and more, I know the enemy will throw every flaming arrow he has stock piled against me - loneliness, culture shock, home-sickness, physical hardship, mental hardship, spiritual trials, temptations, and hardships ... I know well that he will definitely be prowling around my encampment seeking like a lion to devour me! yet, Christ too shall be encamped with me ... and with such a Lion as Christ, the mere and feeble Satan stands no chance ... and in Christ's name he will have to flee, and as such I will seek to continue to call on the Lord of Hosts, and as I do, by His great grace I shall wait, patiently expecting His rescue and restoration!

I go on my way to CR, fully confident that Christ is not only going to reveal Himself to me in ways I cant imagine, but that I will once again and in new ways meet Him again as the great Victor!!! And no, He is not safe, but He is good!!!

WHOA! I can't wait!!!



I heard a few, what I considered, beautiful clarifications today at church about evangelism.

When Jesus is preaching, teaching, illustrating in parables the Gospel ... it is, proclaiming the Gospel (preaching), it is explaining the Gospel (teaching), and it is painting the Gospel (illustrating). The last bit is kind of my own take on the explanation I heard.

It seems to be a very clear, concise and logical progression. First people must hear the Gospel ... it must be proclaimed to them. They must first hear that there is such a thing as the Gospel (How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? Romans 10:14b). Second, after they hear, it truly must be explained, for it makes no sense to our lowly human minds and hearts (For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God 1 Cor. 1:18). In fact, in many cases instead of being good news, the Gospel offends. People do not want to hear that they are sinful and hell bound (literally), that is offensive. That is why we must explain the Gospel, as Christ did ... not simply proclaim it. Evangelism includes proclaiming and explaining. But also, it helps if we can paint a picture of the Gospel. Thats why Jesus illustrates the Gospel and the Kingdom of God with so many parables. How many times has an illustration helped you grasp a theory or a concept, much less the most bewildering, seemingly backwards "religious" jargon you may have ever heard (refer again to 1 Cor 1)? My answer is, a lot. His parables are not stories, nor mere metaphors, but they are nuggets of Gospel Truth, wrapped in an earthly covering to help us understand heavenly truths!

I think that is an awesome & beautiful description of evangelism!!!



Call me naive, or whatever you may want ... but on the verge of spending 5 months overseas for mission work - ie: ideally, serving the Lord - one might be led to think that I was near or already riding high on some spiritual high ... 

That would be the wrong assumption. I am not. 

And if it not too presumptuous, I would submit that the Enemy is attempting to capitalize on this "opportunity."

How? Well, lets just say I woke up at 4:48 am this morning with several things running through my head.

- A prayer for diligent pursuit of Christ over the next several days
- A prayer for a close & brotherly friend in CR
- A prayer for my future wife, whoever she may be.

Initially these were just thoughts. But as God is good, gracious and merciful ... they became prayers, not worries or simply thoughts. But rather they became a cry to the Almighty!!! (A fancy way to say prayers.)

More so however, as I lay praying, with the thought that at nearly 5 am, I would quickly drift away to sleep again. WRONG. I couldn't. No more sleep was to be had this morning, and I am surprisingly well rested and ok without going back to sleep.

It turns out, that this is possibly not the Enemy at all, but a merciful nudge by God for me to wake up (spiritually, and as well physically) to have the most quietest of times with Him at this the crack of dawn. And I mean it was quiet, there is not a lot of noise at 5 am. Its been wonderful and quite refreshing. An answer to one of the prayers on my heart upon waking.

Colossians 1 came to mind. 
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (1:13-18)
I encourage you to explore the depths of this passage. It is amazing. 


Thoughts 1/6/10

So tonight puts me at about 6 days (give or take) until I leave for Costa Rica for 5 to 6 months.

Now, I know people travel  for much longer than 5 or 6 months, but this is a big deal for me and my family. Trying to pack and plan for this is nearly driving me crazy. I have no idea how to properly pack ... ! Ugh.

Anyway, I asked a friend yesterday in Auburn how she felt before she traveled abroad for about the same amount of time ... cause I really couldn't quite find the right word to describe how I feel. The best I could do was "Not worried or nervous ... but kind of antsy."

She said surreal.

That is exactly how I feel. SURREAL. Life is just very surreal right now. I can tell myself I am moving to Costa Rica for 6 months, but I cant grasp that mentally. Think about it, its kind of insane!!! So, all day yesterday, saying goodbye to friends in Auburn, I told them (as they asked) that it just seems surreal. I guess another answer would have been, "Ask me when I get there!"

Having now mentioned "goodbyes" I must admit, only two made me sad. Even saying goodbye to several of my best friends was actually really easy. I mean its not like I won't see them in 6 months. Well, I am traveling home briefly for four days in April to be in the wedding of one of these best friends ... so, I guess that ones obviously not sad. The other best friend I said goodbye to was easy, I guess cause I am in his wedding as soon as I return. For another, it just was not sad. The other two don't live in Atlanta or Alabama, so its hard to have an actual goodbye. But I think you get my point.

But for two of my many goodbyes, I felt quite sad. It nearly took me by surprise. One was a friend of mine who I have spent so much time with over the last semester, who has grown to be one of my closest friends. During a semester of craziness and overwhelming stress, she and a few others really helped me to maintain some sort of sanity ... although she and the others may argue against that! The other sad goodbye was with a dear friend of mine who I spent absolutely no time with over the last semester. He lived in Africa during the fall. I got to see him for 4 hours yesterday. It was precious time, and I am grateful for the quick visit! Thanks be to God for it. But as I said goodbye to these two, I felt the unusual pang of sad in my heart. I think its because these two have had such a major influence in my life over the last several semesters. Conversations revolved around heart matters, we acted like silly kids together, and in general just shared life ... and when that happens, people grow dear to one another. These two are dear to me. I love them and I thank God in heaven for them. I shall miss them, perhaps more vividly than most.

Anyway, as I contemplated the sad in my heart, it occurred to me that I haven't taken time to try and evaluate where I am personally as I consider the major goodbyes soon approaching, of course I mean my family, as well as these other goodbyes just described.

I hope to be able over the next week to share some of what I am feeling, how Christ is preparing me, the times with my folks and little brother, etc...

In the meantime ...