Uncategorized

Simple, Yet Difficult

Hello everyone. Everything here in Bkk has been going great. We love living in this amazing city. Our work through the church has been going well. We have the most number of Thai adults coming than we have ever had. We are excited about the relationships God has given us. Any progress here is great because the spiritual climate here is very dark and confusing. People worship statues that are made by man. They believe in making merit to atone for whatever bad things they have done. This usually involves burning incense to a statue, giving the statue flowers and/or giving it food and drinks. It is sad to watch because they are putting their efforts, their thoughts, their faith in idols.

So why are we Christians here in Thailand? Very easy to answer, because we are the instruments God uses to make himself known to all people. Jesus’ method for building the church is simple yet difficult at the same time.  It is simple because he gave us one method, discipleship. 2 Timothy 2:2 is our strategy. We are to teach people about Jesus and then raise them up to teach others about Jesus. This is discipleship. My job here in Thailand is to disciple the people who want to know more about Jesus. I’m not here to persuade or trick anyone. I don’t want them to believe and follow Jesus because I’m a great salesman. I want them to follow Him because He is the truth. He is God. He deserves to be praised. So my task here is very simple, disciple people.

Yet this task can be very difficult. If I could come here and just walk around reading the Bible to people that would be easy. If I could be that guy that stands on the sidewalk preaching at people, that would be pretty easy. But teaching, leading, walking through life with someone over a long period of time, that is difficult. Discipleship is pouring all your knowledge of God, all your love for God and all your experiences with God into another person over a period of years. Not easy.  So why do we go through the trouble of discipling people? Because we love them. Because we know the cure to their disease. Because we want them to experience the love of God.  So I devote myself to these guys. I love them, I care for them and I want to see them grow closer to God.

Jesus commanded us to disciple, not asked but commanded. So start now. Make 2 Timothy 2:2 your focus everyday. Pick a few people and devote yourself to them over the next few years. Then when they are spiritually mature they need to start discipling.  Discipleship is the method Jesus used. It’s the method his original followers used and the 1st century church grew rapidly because of this. This can happen today if we all start to devote ourselves to making disciples.  We love you guys and are praying for you.

~Josh

Courageous Kids

So every time we leave to go somewhere we usually have to take a moto taxi.  Brittany and Brayden ride on one, Sharles and I on the other.  I still remember the first time I took the kids on a motorcycle taxi.  Brittany had gone on a girls night, and I had both kids by myself.  Well, like a good Dad, I fed them good healthy dinner of greens and fruits and kept them safely in the house.  Actually, I did none of that. I took them to Pizza Hut.  We took a taxi there, and when we finished eating, Sharles said she wanted to ride the moto back home.  I was like “YES! Let’s do that”.  So with Brayden strapped to me and Sharles sitting in front of me we rode on the back of a motorcycle home.  I got my phone out and took a video while we rode.  So Brittany was sitting at dinner with a group of ladies, and I sent her a message that said “This just happened.” with the video.  She was a little shocked, but not mad.

I ultimately knew that she would not be mad, because we want to raise bold, fearless, courageous children.  I do not want my kids living a careful and cautious life.  I want them to be fearless.  I want them to take chances.  I want them to push the envelope.  I want them to have these characteristics not so they will be wild and crazy, but because I believe following Christ with your whole life takes these characteristics.  I want them to count the cost of following Jesus and then to shake it off and say he is worth it.  That is my dream.  One day my children will be on the front lines of the spiritual battle for the eternal lives of lost people.  Not that they can save them, only God saves, but I want to prepare them to be ready when God wants to use them as His tools.  This is my dream.  I do not dream about a safe and comfortable life for my kids.  That produces nothing in your soul…no joy, no fulfillment.  I want them to devote their lives to loving Jesus; devote their lives to following and serving Him no matter what it cost.

The cost of following Christ is only going to increase.  The persecution is only going to get worse.  Their will come a day when Christians in America will be the most persecuted religion.  Obviously, after the last few days, we can clearly see that America is moving towards an atheistic country. Soon they will be threatening jail time for Pastors who won’t marry homosexuals.  Soon their will be punishment for kids who wear crosses on their neck or have Jesus is my Homeboy shirts.  This is the near future.  I can only imagine what it will look like in twenty or thirty years.  So we as parents need to prepare our children that following Jesus isn’t free.  It isn’t a cheap grace, but as Bonhoeffer wrote a very costly grace that will cost you everything.  So we as parents need to disciple our children and get them ready.

We see the persecution here in Thailand too.  When Thais become Christians many times they are disowned by their families. They are cutoff from their heritage.  They in some ways are considered traitors of their country.  There is a chance they will lose their jobs.  They really have to count the cost of following Jesus.  Is he worth it?  Is gaining a relationship with Christ worth me losing my relationship with my family, friends and country?

So if persecution continues to increase, which it will, then what kind of Christians do we need to try to train up.  What is the spiritual warfare going to look like in the future?  Parents, we must be ready for this future.  We must prepare our children. I feel like America is raising up a generation of soft children.  Children who are given everything. Children who are coddled and babied.  I mean seriously, every kid gets an award in sports now.  Really? This is ultimately going to produce a generation of nominal, comfortable Christians.  Christians who are not willing to pick up their cross daily.  Christians who are going to say lost souls in the Middle East are not worth their own comfort and security.  No, we need to be raising up an army of missionaries and pastors.  People who will take Jesus to their families, workplace and across the World.

I want to encourage every parent out there to think about the kind of adult you want your child to become.  If you want a courageous, tough and bold adult who is willing to follow Jesus with every ounce of their being, then start parenting that way now.  Take the steps to toughen and embolden your children.  I understand its tough.  I want to protect my children and keep them safe also.  Everytime my kids do something courageous and fearless I am holding my breath, but I have to let them go on because they need these characteristics. We are parenting for a result.  We know the type of adult we want to produce for God.

So I want to encourage you guys to love and take care of your children, but start raising them to be disciples of Jesus.  To be able to take on the costs, whatever they may be, of following Jesus.  Start now and one day you might have the next great disciple of Christ-the next Billy Graham, the next Mother Teresa, the next Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the next Jim Elliot, the next Paul.  These are the types of people we need more of.  So start raising bold and courageous children for the sake of Jesus.

For His sake,

Josh

Uncontainable Joy

I was reminded this week of the story in Mark 1:40-45 about the leper who Jesus healed. Jesus heals the leper and tells him, “See that you say nothing to anyone…” But the leper is so overcome with joy that Jesus healed him that “he began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town…” 

To me, this passage is two-fold. First, brothers and sisters, can you see how if we are to share about Christ how it can spread like wildfire? If we are so excited about Christ that we cannot keep quiet about Him, how much further would our reach be? If we shared our joys and credited God for them, wouldn’t other people be more open to hearing the Gospel?

Second, there is a warning. Jesus told the leper to “say nothing to anyone” because he knew others would miss the true message. The leper was telling others Jesus had healed him, but they were seeing the effects and not the reward! Let us not forget to preach the Gospel in all that we do. Let us not be afraid to talk about God’s glory in all aspects of our lives! 

Friends, let us go out boldly with a joy that cannot be contained and share the love of God in everything that we do! 

Happy Songkran

We had a really fun week last week. It was Songkran, or Thai new year. Generally, Songkran means lots of water-water guns, buckets of water, and water hoses-coming at you as you walk down the street, ride a moto taxi, take a bus or ride in a truck! They even have organized water fights if getting randomly sprayed with water isn’t enough for you during the 3 days they celebrate Songkran! Haha! It’s lots of fun though!

We had a friend, Mickie, who we know from the states, but now lives in Chiangmai, Thailand, here for Songkran, so we managed to stay away from most of the water fights! We also have little kids, which helps too. And we heard there are tons of people at the organized water fights, so we stayed away from there this year too!

Josh was off for the week, so we managed to visit several new places and managed to enjoy our own water activites. We went to a waterpark on top of a mall! It was awesome! I didn’t feel like we were in the city or on top of a mall. I didn’t even feel like we were in Thailand for that matter. Well, except maybe for the swimcaps we were required to wear. Josh and I even managed to sneak away from both kids and go down one of the big slides by ourselves! Yes! There was also an amazing view at the top of the slide of the entire city! It was pretty amazing! Sharles loved it, and Brayden seemed to enjoy himself too! We also stayed here several days and went swimming at the pool at our apartment. Josh hasn’t been able to go swimming with us during the day yet because we are all always so busy, so he and Sharles especially loved these days!

Mickie and I also experienced Chatachak Market! It is one of the biggest markets in Thailand! It is said to have over 8000 vendors and 27 buildings housing those vendors. I think we made it to about 4 buildings! And if you know me, you know I love market shopping!

We also visited Chinatown, another market shopper’s blissful adventure, but is also known for its food. Again, we were only able to see a portion of this as well, and weren’t able to taste as much food as we wanted either, but nonetheless had an awesome experience in this part if town as well. And several of the shops were closed because of the holiday, so I can’t even imagine what it and Chatachak really look like on a normal business day!

Speaking of food, I introduced Josh and Mickie to a delicious Mexican restaurant, La Monita, which is probably the closest authentic Mexican food we can find here. It was so good, we may have even eaten dinner there 2 nights in a row! Yum! In our defense, we were trying to eat at a different Mexican restaurant, but they were closed for the holiday!

We had a great time seeing Mickie and having her here with us in Bangkok! Now we are looking forward to traveling to Chiangmai to see her and all her city has to offer!

Praises All Around

It has been a crazy, fabulous week! A team of high school students just stayed here in Bangkok with us for a week! We had so much fun getting to know them, showing them the city and serving along side them.

So many things have happened last week it is hard to even know where to start…

We had many first over the course of the week as we experienced many new things alongside our first short term mission team visiting. We visited our first temple, which opened up good conversations with Sharles, who wanted to sit with the other people as they were praying at the temple. We explained to Sharles that we believe in Jesus, and were able to explain to her right there in a Buddhist temple who Jesus is! Praise God! We also rode in our first Tuk Tuk, which is a 3 wheel motorcycle with a 3 person seat on the back…We visited a couple of different shopping areas we had never gotten to visit… Sharles and Brayden experienced their first boat rides too… Josh attended his first funeral in a Buddhist temple…Sharles and Brayden experienced their first moto taxi ride with Daddy also…We visited the tallest building in Bangkok for dinner with a spectacular view…Sharles participated in her first Easter Egg Hunt…This last week has been packed full of excitement!

We also have a true story from this past week of why we Live Sent here in Bangkok! As I mentioned earlier, Josh attended his first funeral here in Bangkok. Pada, a lady who has been at just about every event our church here in Bangkok has put on, including Sunday worship and hanging out in our Cafe throughout the week, passed away this past Tuesday. Anyone who ever met Pada, was a friend of Pada. She was so giving and generous. Our first Sunday here in Bangkok, she went out after church and brought Sharles back some cereal. It is the cereal Sharles still prefers to eat here to this day. But there is something you should know about Pada…Pada was not a Christian as she attended all of these events. Pada was a Buddhist, and she really didn’t want to hear anything about Christ. When she came to Sunday worship, she did everything she could to distract herself from the message. But now here is the beauty of Pada’s story…One Saturday, 16 days before Pada died, our entire staff was at the church. Pada entered LifePoint Cafe and claimed she wanted to follow God! Hallelujah! God grabbed ahold of Pada’s heart that day, and her life changed forever! At the funeral we began to realize how much of Pada’s life had changed. Pada’s family noticed a difference in Pada. In 16 very short days Pada’s family noticed a change in Pada! How amazing! If we lived like Pada in our everyday, how much of a difference can we make? We are sad Pada is no longer with us, but we rejoice that she became our Sister in Christ, and she entered into the Savior’s loving arms last Tuesday! Praise be to God!

We also had an amazing Easter service at LifePoint BKK. Five of the youth decided to make God the Lord of their life that day too!

We want to encourage you about the things God is doing here in Bangkok! We want to thank you for your prayers and supporting us being here! We know God has big plans for this city, and we are ready for Him to use us as tools for His glory! Please continue to pray for us and for this city!

The Turn Around

As we are getting ready to start our Easter sermons series here at LifePoint BKK, and I have been reading in Mark, and we are smack dab in the middle of the Lent season, I thought I should write about repentance.

But first, I mentioned Lent, so let’s talk about that for a minute. If your like me, you thought, “I’ve heard that word before, but I don’t really know what it means.” I have never really observed Lent because I didn’t really know what it meant. Lent is returning to God, repenting of our sins and remembering that Christ died for us, so that we will not ever be separated from God again!

And no, I didn’t give up sweets for Lent! Honestly, I didn’t give up anything! But in all reality, I gave up everything! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

I have been following along with the ladies at She Reads Truth, and they began a Lent series. At first, I thought, “I won’t participate in that one.” because, again, I didn’t really know what it was about, but I am so glad I did! If you haven’t done one of their studies, I would highly recommend it, ladies!

As I began to research what Lent was, I realize it is not exactly a holiday that is celebrated in the Bible, which probably explains why I wasn’t so sure of what it was. Nonetheless, I pressed on with the She Reads Truth study. I learned that even though Lent is not a celebrated holiday in the Bible, it is still a good time to refocus my attention on the cross in preparation for the upcoming Easter holiday. Not that we should even use a holiday as an excuse to refocus our attention on the cross!

Anyway, most of their study has been focused on Lamentations. Fun, huh?  How did She Reads Truth even market this? Join us for a study on Expressing Grief! No, not at all! We lament, or express our grief, because we know we are not worthy of Jesus dying on the cross for us! The cross is our intervention for sin, so we must be sorrowful of our sin and repent of it!

In Mark 1, it talks about John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. He goes ahead of Jesus and tells people they must repent of their sins and turn away from them, then turn to God for the forgiveness of their sins! If we repent of our sin, we regret that we have committed the sin and we change our choices and actions, so we try to no longer commit these sins! We no longer live in a way that causes us to make this sin, we think differently, we pray because we are remorseful and we say we will no longer sin this way again!

Sounds good, right! But we all know this is not as easy as it sounds. So now what?

Let’s look at Joel 2:12-13. It says, “‘Yet even now,’ declares The Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to The Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” 

Oh my heart sings to hear this verse! God says return to me with all your heart! The cross is the path to return to Jesus! Our actions do not give us the right to return. Only the cross can! Thinking that my actions will cause God to love me is just my pride seeping out.

So let’s join together and give up everything about ourselves, and run to God to fill us up because He is so gracious to have sent Jesus to die for us to forgive us of our sins.

Here are some things you might need to give up:

  • Dishonesty
  • Destruction
  • Materialism
  • Deception
  • Bitterness
  • Pride
  • Comfort
  • Selfishness

Would you be willing to give up yourself enough to only post about God on your social media networks, instead of yourself?

What are you willing to give up to return back to God?

We are Dedicated

Today we were able to be apart of LifePoint BKK’s first child dedication. It was such an honor to be able to set this example for the Thai believers that make up our church. We hope this is the first of many child dedications that happen at LifePoint BKK.

Honestly, we hadn’t been apart of child dedication in the past because we didn’t really know what it was, and to be even more honest, we thought it was sort of silly! We prayed for our children when they were born for them to always pursue God and for God to pursue them too! Why did we need to stand up in front of the church when they are 7 months old or 2 years old to say the same thing?

When I was told LifePoint BKK was going to do a child dedication, I thought, I guess we should probably be a part of that? But when I started to research what child dedication was all about, I realized We really do need to be a part of it!

I will share some of the things I learned while researching what child dedication is all about…

First of all, child dedication is not about the salvation of our children. It is not some magical moment where something changes in their spirituality. Really child dedication is not about the children at all. It is about the parents. It is about the parents committing their children to God, committing to pray for their children and committing to teaching their children about God. It is a day for parents to realize what is most important in the lives of the children-their relationship with God. We all have so much going on in our lives that this is a time to stop and really think about the importance raising our children to be Godly children. When we may not be getting enough sleep because we worry about if our child is sick or if they meeting the appropriate milestones. Child dedication is a time that we can stop and think about intentionally teaching our children about their Savior. We, as parents, are the most influential people in our children’s lives and what they learn about our Heavenly Father, they will learn from us, their parents.

Children learn so many things between their toddler years and their preschool years~ABCs, 123s, songs, animal sounds, etc. They learn hundreds of new words and hundreds of new facts. During this time, your children learn more in a smaller amount of time than any other time in their lives. That’s why we need to be teaching our children during this time the fundamental truths about God, who He is, and what it looks like to have a relationship with Him.

It is also so much easier to teach children when they are younger-when they are curious about why the sky is blue or why birds chirp. Conversations about God are all around you-when looking at the moon, stars, sun or clouds or even when picking flowers in the yard. You can pray with them to thank God for their friends or pray for friends who are sick.

When reading about child dedication, I realized I don’t have to be a perfect parent. In fact, there is no such thing as perfect parent. I don’t have to be a perfect parent because I know God is full of grace, and His grace covers me and all the mistakes I have made and will make. Thankfully, He already knows I am not perfect.

The second most important thing I learned is I am not alone! I am so thankful to have a church family who will walk beside me and guide me in raising my children. I don’t believe I could raise my children with out my community of fellow believers. Not only do they pour into me spiritually, but they assure me I am not crazy and my children aren’t crazy when I convinced we are! Raising children is not easy, but it becomes easier when you have a community helping you.

I was also reminded God uniquely created each child to the parents He entrusted to them. God does not give parents their children by accident. God chose Josh and me to be Sharles and Brayden’s parents, and I am eternally grateful for that!

There is no greater joy and no greater frustration than raising children, but the God of this universe entrusted us with our children and equipped us with the tools to raise them. Don’t let them miss out on the fullness of life with Christ. Teach them and train them up to run hard after God.

Our prayer for the the 5 children at our child dedication service today was that they would be world changers for God’s glory. That’s especially my prayer for my 2 children. I want for them, wherever they go and whatever they do, to glorify Christ with a love and joy that is contagious.

If you are a parent, I hope you will join in this battle of parenting to raise up children who will glorify God with their whole being as well!

You Are the God of This City

It’s been a great week here in Bangkok. We have been super busy, but we know God is doing amazing things here!
Josh and I attended our first Unite BKK. It’s a social event used to allow Thais to invite their friends to a fun night at the church. Chris did such a great job planning the event! We had an Open Mike Night and many people came and many participated too! Thais love karaoke, so the event was a big hit! Many who participated sang and danced, and Steve and Chao even lip synced and danced! It was awesome! Joom did an amazing job sharing her testimony about God’s love, and David challenged everyone to take the next step in their relationship with God, such as attending church instead of just our outreach events, joining a small group, or whatever the next step for them may be. It was so much fun and a great message for all of us.
We also attended our first all staff meeting. I cannot even begin to describe how awesome our team is here! Everyone here works so hard! David is an amazing leader. Jen does an awesome job heading up the preschool program here. Steve, Michael, Chao and Kathy are doing amazing things in Comm 110. Tiffany is an amazing cook, who prepares all the food for the Cafe and all of our events. Witt and Brittany are amazing at everything they do. They hit the ground running as soon as they returned from the States. They helped out with Unite BKK and are in the village currently translating for a medical mission team from Chattanooga. Cortney and all the ladies serving in the red light district pour their hearts out weekly to the ladies they meet there. Chris and Riki are amazing at planning our outreach events. All of these are just a few of the things our team members do. I am so thankful God has given us such a wonderful team here in BKK.
Josh also preached on Sunday for his first time here. If you attend LifePoint, we are several weeks behind you in the sermon series. Here in Bangkok, we are talking about the Revolution series, and Josh preached about being committed to the church this week. He did such a great job, and I really think this will be a great series for our church here. We are excited to see everything God has in store here in BKK.
God has also been putting several people in our path. Please pray that we will use each opportunity He puts in front of us. Kathy mentioned on her Facebook about a Mexican food booth she found. Word has gotten around about how good it is, and I think we have all tried it out. It’s hard to find good Mexican food around here! Last week, we went to see if it lived up to the hype. It did! But we also had the opportunity to talk to the owner for a few minutes. He is Pakistani and speaks English. He was eager to talk to us, so please pray we we use this opportunity in the future to glorify God.
We also met a man, who lives in our building this week. He is an architect and a businessman. He speaks English and went to college in the States. He is staying in our building while his house is being renovated. He was extremely nice. We met him in the elevator, and he drove us to the BTS that day so we didn’t have to pay for a taxi. We were able to talk to him so while he drove us too. Pray for God to cross our paths often and allow us to grow this relationship. We are so excited for what the future holds here!

Settling In

We are continuing to settle into life here in Bangkok. We rented an apartment in the same building as David and Jennifer McCaman for 2 months and are hoping to move into their apartment when they head back to the States. Our kiddos are sharing a room and have done amazing with adjusting to it!IMG_2843

Our new apartment!

IMG_2845

Sharles’ new bed.

We had an awesome Valentine’s Day shopping at Ikea and getting things for our new apartment! We even had pizza and a Dairy Queen Blizzard! Yes!

IMG_2876

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We have had so much fun hanging out with our team and learning new ways of life here and have gotten to meet several new friends along the way! We are so excited for what God has in store for us here!

IMG_2848

Sharles and Josiah having fun together.

Here is a funny story for you too…Josh went and got us a Thai dinner one night from a new to us restaurant. I was focused on feeding Brayden his dinner, so I hadn’t started eating mine yet. Josh helped Sharles get hers open and they both started eating. Sharles started eating, then started making this awful growling noise. We were both saying, “What is wrong with her?” We had never heard her make a noise like this before. I noticed her lips looked a little red, and I looked at my food. I told Josh there were red peppers in it. He said, “It’s not hot, so I don’t know why she is acting like that.” So I kept feeding Brayden his carrots. When I finished feeding him, I looked at my red pepper filled tray and began to eat my food, and then I thought I might breath fire! It was soooo hot! Then, I remembered Josh said David ordered food for him from the Noodle Guy the day before and realized he must be immune to the hotness! Poor Sharles! Haha!

Adjusting to the Change

We made it safely to Bangkok! The flight was not as hard as we thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, it was still draining, but our kiddos were amazing. The only meltdown we had, was at immigration in Bangkok, and Sharles was so ready to go to bed! I would call that a successful trip! She was pretty happy the rest of the time! Our kids are adjusting well to the 13 hour time difference so much better than we thought they would too! They both slept all night last night, which is such an answer to our prayers! They have adjusted to everything so much quicker than we thought they would.

IMG_2716-0

We hit the ground running as soon as we got up the next day. We started looking for an apartment and have seen several, but still haven’t settled on one yet. We are still trying to get acquainted with the city and transportation, but are hoping to have an apartment this week. Please pray for God to show us where He wants us to be.

We have been getting around pretty well. We haven’t ventured too far, but we have managed to eat every meal! I even managed to cook dinner last night! We also took our 1st BTS (elevated subway) ride today to take Sharles to the park! I must say, we, mainly Josh is doing a great job getting us around! I am still too overwhelmed to know what I am doing! Ha!

IMG_2830-0

We also made it to our 1st LifePoint BKK (Bangkok) service on Sunday. It was awesome! Sharles warmed up to everyone so much better than I ever thought she would. She went to her class with another little girl and 2 other little boys. She seemed to enjoy herself! Michael preached this Sunday after they just returned from the States. He did a great job sharing the Biblical truths of tithing! After church, they order lunch and we all sit together and eat lunch. We saw the LifePoint Cafe and enjoyed a smoothy from there on our way home too!

IMG_2817-0

Although not having our own place yet has been frustrating, we are still enjoying it here. We have had lots of good family time swimming and playing too! We are looking forward to everything God has in store for us here. Please continue to pray for God to show us the perfect place He has for us to live. Pray for LifePoint and the work it is doing here. Pray for us to keep our eyes open for every opportunity available to share the Gospel with those around us.

~Brittany