Thursday, July 24, 2008

Greetings from Brazil...

Boa tarde seus loucos, (Good afternoon crazy people)

Here I am, back in Brazil, seeing the sights, enjoying the friendships, and eating as much Brazilian ice cream as I can get my hands on. As I write this I'm sitting on a bus on my way from the city of Campinas to São Jose' do Rio Preto in the central part of the state of São Paulo in south Brazil. My son, Jonathan, and I arrived in Brazil on July 8th and we'll be here for a month. It has been a great trip so far and we are looking forward to a couple more weeks of seeing old friends and visiting the places where we used to live and minister.

Last night we got together with the guys who used to be a part of our musical evangelism team, Renascença. We ate pizza, told old stories, laughed 'til our sides ached and played music until our fingers were sore. All four of them are married with children. All four are active in their local churches serving the Lord. They haven't changed a bit except for their level of maturity and a few gray hairs. They are the same delightful, funny guys that I loved 20 years ago. The years of geographical separation and time have changed nothing between us. We picked up right where we had left off. It was a great evening!

I don't claim to know anything about Heaven, because I've never been there. And I certainly don't claim to be an expert on the subject of friendship, because it has taken me a lifetime to begin to learn how to be and how to make friends. Looking back over the years I have to admit that I have spent most of my life being afraid to let people get close to me for fear that they would reject me if they came to know who I really am on the inside. I share that piece of personal trivia not to have anybody feel sorry for me but just to say this... I'm finally learning how precious it is to have real friends, good friends, the kind that know you from top to bottom and love you anyway, warts and all.

One of the many wonderful things about Heaven that I look forward to is the chance to spend quality uninterrupted time with old friends and also to make new friends. The fear, the pride, the ego, the insecurity will all be gone. The things that limit our ability to be a good friend and to make new friends will all be pulled out of us. We will have an eternity to do what Paulinho, Wanderley, Luiz, Ezequias and I did last night. But the neat part of that is that we won't have to say our sad goodbyes and part ways ever again. Instead of saying goodbye we'll just be able to hug and say to one another, "Ate' amanhã," which means, "until tomorrow." There will be no separation, no goodbyes, no sad partings. I look forward to that because I'm really getting tired of having to to say goodbye to people that I love.

I'll write again when I get a chance but it's a little iffy these days. I can't always get my hands on a computer and we've been pretty busy.

Louco for Jesus,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

There are still some heroes

Hi all you fellow loonies,

Have you noticed that a lot of people are fascinated by the idea of Super Heroes? Many of the comic book stories are built around these kinds of characters--Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Buck Rogers, the Lone Ranger, etc. Recently several Super Hero movies have become boxoffice hits in the theaters. I think there is something in all of us that makes us want to find heroes we can look up to.

Perhaps you have heard about "Team Hoyt," a father/son team of athletes made up of Dick and Rick Hoyt. Rick (44) was born with cerebral palsy. However, his father loves him so much and wants to give Rick every oportunity to experience life to the fullest that he participates in all kinds of extreme sports so that Rick will experience the thrill of competing. But let's let them tell their own story. Take the time to watch this first video to get the background.

This second video shows Dick and Rick Hoyt in an Iron Man Race with a great musical accompanyment background of "My Redeemer Lives." I cry every time I watch it for two reasons: 1. It reminds me how much I miss my own dad who is now with the Lord, and 2. It reminds me that I still have a Father who would do anything for me. I think that Dick Hoyt exemplifies what it means to be a loving father and he gives me a little glimpse of what my Heavenly Father is like.

Take a moment to give thanks to God for His great love for His children. We have an awesome Father.

Crazy about my Dad,