Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Share in the Sufferings: Pakistan Flooding

In Pakistan, many are suffering as result of massive flooding. There we have brothers and sisters in Christ who endure persecution and hardship on a daily basis. Current conditions mandate our intercession and intervention. Join me in praying and seeking equitable distribution of emergency aid among those who are most vulnerable.

The UN Secretary-General, following a visit to Pakistan, has called for stepped up international aid to help cope with a crisis described as the worst in the world today.

It is estimated that up to six million flood-affected people are in need of food assistance over the next three months, though this number may yet rise, as the situation in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan continues to deteriorate.

Khair Muhammad Kalhoro, director of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority in Sindh, said, "We need all the help we can get to help people."

Daniel Toole, regional director for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), warned at a news conference in Islamabad on August 17, that "up to 3.5 million children could be in danger of contracting deadly diseases carried through contaminated water and insects as a result of floods. In a country which has endemic watery diarrhoea, endemic cholera, endemic upper respiratory infections we now have the conditions for expanded problems."

From IRIN reports. IRIN is the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Washing the Car - All Things New

I got the bucket, sponge, spray nozzle and soap and invested some time washing the car today. Pam and I leave tomorrow for a road trip in our Toyota Camry with 221,200 miles on it! So I wanted it clean.

I also had the oil changed, transmission flushed, and new brake pads installed. The old Midas guarantee (You’ll never pay for brake pads again as long as you own your car!) has served me well. Since we were going on a road trip, I wanted the car in the best mechanical condition possible.

Some folks wonder at my spending so much money on an older car with lots of miles. In fact, the service tech at Toyota said, “Wow, I’ve not written up a service order on any other car with that many miles.”

We live in a disposable culture. Most people do not anticipate driving a car 221,200 miles. I reflected on this today. I can work to keep the external appearance up and I can pay for maintenance to keep the internal mechanical systems functioning. But I cannot make my Toyota new again.

That is exactly what God does. He takes us in our broken, battered, abused condition and works a miracle that doesn’t just maintain us. He remakes us. He makes all things new again!

That is the gift He offers to the world, the Kingdom hope of every generation, “all things new.”

Friday, August 6, 2010

It’s Time to Use Our Time Wisely

Introduction by Milfred Minatrea

Ed Jordan knows what it feels like to minister in a difficult environment. I became acquainted with Ed and his wife EnikÅ‘, when Pam and I were privileged to provide leadership for their congregation’s annual retreat at Old Faithful Retreat Center. The center is a rustic camp within driving distance of Pocatello, Idaho, where Ed serves as Senior Pastor.

In a predominantly Mormon environment, the Jordan’s have become part of the community using creative ministries to establish relationships. Among those is Ed’s weekly contribution published in the Idaho State Journal. Ed was recently awarded The Amy Writing Awards “2009 Award of Outstanding Merit” for one of his columns.

Ed and Enikő were among the first missionaries appointed to serve in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain. They served in Hungary in Church Development, Leadership Development, and Decentralized Theological Education for eleven years.

I hope that you will enjoy periodic posts from my friend, Ed Jordan.

It’s Time to Use Our Time Wisely

The rock group “Chicago” sang: “Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?” My questions to you today are the same as theirs. Do you know what time it is? Do you really care? The discussion of time is both a timeless theme, and a timely one.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1 in “The Message,” we read: “There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth…” There are two major concepts of time in the Bible. Most commonly time is used as chronological time (kronos in the Greek language), which is time depicted by sequential points along a linear line (or circle, as in a sundial or typical watch). Chronological time is measured with minutes, hours, days, months and years. But there is also another kind of time used in the Bible, indicated by the Greek word “kairos,” which is conceptualized as the “perfect” or “ideal” time for something to happen. It is a time concept that measures what of significance occurred in an event.

Both of these concepts are used in the Septuagint translation of Ecclesiastes 3:1. There is a chronological time to accomplish every thing that needs to get done during this lifetime, and there is an “ideal” time and way for each of those things to be accomplished. This is why Martin Luther King said: “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” (cf. Coretta Scott King). It is always time to do right, but within that time there is also the ideal moment and way to accomplish that right action.

Many people complain that they don’t have time to go to church, or to read their Bible, or to spend time with their loved ones, or to accomplish their lifetime dreams. In reality, we all have the same amount of time each day to accomplish what needs to be done. The difficulty is not in a shortage of time; it is rather a shortage of motivation, desire, and discipline to use our time wisely. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “The day is of infinite length for him who knows how to appreciate and use it.” (in “Ludwig Curtius, Wisdom and Experience”)

Our lives are not just measured by how long we live. In reality, every life will be measured by what we filled our time doing. Time in life is measured by the relationships established, the love given, and the impact made for God, good, and eternity. The way we use the time God gives us clearly reveals our values, our creativity, our focus, our maturity (or the lack thereof), and our self-discipline to prioritize and to fulfill those priorities.

Sir John Lubbock, in “The Pleasures of Life,” stated: “Life must be measured rather by depth than by length, by thought and action rather than by time.” I like that. Using that measurement, how is your life measuring up? Are you making lasting, deep, constructive impacts on the lives of others on behalf of God? Or are you just filling time with fleeting busyness?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in “Hyperion,” commented: “What is Time? The shadow on the dial, the striking of the clock, the running of the sand, day and night, summer and winter, months, years, centuries - these are but arbitrary and outward signs, the measure of Time, not Time itself. Time is the Life of the soul. If not this, then tell me, what is Time?”

If time is the “Life of the soul,” how is your soul? Is it shriveling or enlarging? Is it being denied or nurtured? Is it hidden away, or shared with others? Chronological time is slipping away from each of us. Today is the ideal time to reestablish God as first place in your soul, time and life.

Dr. Ed Jordan is an award winning writer, and pastor of Gate City Baptist Church, 500 W. Maple Street in Pocatello. He can be reached at

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Family Reunion

It is that time of year when families gather for the annual reunion: aunts, uncles and cousins, some twice removed, and, to complicate things, some twice or thrice married. Reunions are a mixed bag. Some experience the thrill of familiar faces that frame the memories of their youth, and plunge into the pleasure of telling stories passed down through the years, embellished with each cycle of telling. “Do you remember when …?” The stories don’t even require a complete telling. Laughter fills the circle before the story can be told because everyone who is listening has either heard it or told it countless times.

Others hang back along the fringe, looking puzzled, trying to figure out who these people are and how they might be remotely related to them. The young and the newly added “in-laws” are usually in this number. Sometimes they seek each other and have their own make-shift reunion, sharing the common bond of amnesia regarding the inside jokes and familiar references to names not present, faceless people everyone else seems to know whose absence makes their presence even more pronounced.

The reunion has a strange mix of sorrow and laughter. Significant people are absent. Voices that once echoed at the tables of past reunions now lie silent beneath the earth. The same people who gather for the reunion gathered and wept at the funerals for those who no longer come. Their memories are like the deep colors that form the background for vivid paintings or the rich bass tones of the oboe and the French horn that enrich the orchestra. At the same time, these sorrows are offset by giggling children who appear like bright colors that dance on the canvass and whose laughter picks up future melodies like the flute.

We somehow have confidence that Heaven is about reunions. We all look forward to seeing people who loved us, those we loved, when we get to Heaven. And, somehow, this earthly reunion helps us look forward to that day. We don’t know exactly how it will happen or how God could manage all the intertwined family relationships when we get to Heaven, but, somehow, family reunions portend the Heavenly event. When I was a child we sang, “Will the circle be unbroken?” It was a way to ask the question together and look forward to something more, something more perfect that God has planned for us.

Jesus did not shy away from using this image to help us look forward to a more perfect day. He said, “In my Father’s House are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you that where I am, there you may be also.” The book of Hebrews uses this metaphor to spur us on to better living: “Seeing that we are surrounded by so great a host of witnesses, let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the originator and the finisher of the race.” It seems to me that God takes pleasure in our reunions, just as He takes pleasure in reuniting Himself with us through His Son.

Bill Tinsley “reflects” on current evens and life experience from a faith perspective. Reflections appears in multiple newspapers an is available weekly via email by writing

Monday, August 2, 2010

Next Generation Leaders

Investing in next generation leaders is a rewarding experience for me. Today, I began a peer learning community with six servants of God who are in the beginning stages of ministry. After that, I visited with dear friends who have faithfully served Christ and His church for more than 50 years. Both bless me. From the latter I encounter practical wisdom gained throughout the years. With the other, I share the sunrise of potential Kingdom impact.

Both sunrise and sunset are beautiful. But, I find great hope in investing in those who are just beginning their vocational ministry roles. One of my desires is to help each group appreciate the other. To the young leaders, I am an older guy. To those who have retired, I am still among the young.

But as I was influenced and mentored by others, now I want to pour my life into those who follow. Let me be clear, it is not that I have great knowledge, rather I engage as a fellow learner in our mutual service of the King. Together, we can hear His voice, celebrate our individual calling into intimacy with Him, and share the joys and sorrows we experience in the tasks to which we are sent in His mission.

We are each called to into intimacy with Him and sent to live His mission. In that young and old have much in common.