Transexual Students Get Own Restroom at Thai School

The number of trans-sexual guys in Thailand is enormous as the news video below illustrates. On the one hand, you could say that they are "accepted" in Thai society in the sense that there are no legal barriers to work, educational opportunities, housing etc. but all the straight guys ridicule them as girly men and they get about zero respect. However, when you look at the irresponsible womanizing, drinking, and gambling of many Thai men, I can understand why some boys either consciously or unconsciously end up taking after their mom, auntie, grandmother or whatever other kind, caring, hard-working woman raised them.

 

 

"Does God have Good Manners?" (or "Why Christians Don't Grow")

A few months ago I was visiting some new believers with a Thai pastor and other church members when I heard something quite disturbing. In the course of his teaching, the pastor explained that some Christians don’t have changed lives because they don’t yield to the Holy Spirit. He went on to say that God has “good manners” and therefore doesn’t force himself on anyone. If a believer yields to the Holy Spirit, then his life will change in accord with God’s will. However, if he does not yield to the Holy Spirit, then his life will not change and he will exhibit little or no evidence of being a Christian other than his profession to be a Christian.

Is this really the best way to explain why professing Christians fail to show any evidence of love for Christ or obedience to his commandments? I have another theory as to why some professing Christians don’t show any evidence of conversion. They were never truly converted to begin with!! Some may say that this sounds judgmental but I believe that there is sufficient Biblical support for such a conclusion.

The Bible has absolutely no category for people who have trusted in Christ as Savior but have not repented (turned) from their sins and made a decision to obey Him as their Lord. In Matthew chapter 3, the Pharisees and Sadducees are coming out to receive baptism from John the Baptist but John rebukes them and tell them to "bear fruit in keeping with repentance." (Matt. 3:8). Profession of allegiance to God must always be

Mom's Memorial Service

It has been about a month and a half since Karl's mom passed away on May 24th and her absence is profoundly felt. She was a wonderful woman and dearly missed. Our family is very thankful that God gave us some time with her after we arrived from Thailand on May 20th and praise Him for strengthening us for the chaotic and emotional time that we stepped into when we got off the plane.

I had the unique privilege of leading the memorial service for my Mom and I am posting below the order of service from the church bulletin together with the MP3 audio files for the service. I am doing this both for my own sake and that of my family as we think back about my Mom in years to come, and also for the sake of those who loved and appreciated my Mom but were unable to make it to the memorial service. The six MP3 files, taken together,

Are Long Term Missionaries Obsolete?

I was recently talking with a pastor whose church does not send any long-term missionaries.It is a vibrant church with many members and a vision for missions, and they could probably send and support their own long-term missionaries if they wanted to.But it seems that they don’t want to.Why not?This pastor told me about what he believes to be more strategic, more effective, and most cost-efficient way to do missions outreach than sending long-term missionaries.

This pastor and his church conduct many short-term training events and seminars throughout the world, gathering together a large group of local leaders and teaching them in an intensive course.When the course is done, the pastor and his team go back to the USA and the local leaders go back to their homes and churches, presumably to put into practice what they have learned.Besides live teaching from short-term missionaries, this pastor is also committed to getting a video training course called ISOM into the hands of groups of leaders in various countries, to be used in place of live teachers but administered by a local coordinator/facilitator who leads discussions about the video course material.It is his belief that Western churches can have a much bigger global impact for the Gospel by doing missions through this type of short-term leadership training rather than paying for long-term foreign missionaries (I am defining “missionary” as one who intentionally crosses barriers of language and culture to share the Gospel with those who would normally not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel within their cultural and/or linguistic context).

The Challenge of Being There for Family

On of the most difficult aspects of being on the mission field is that we are half a world away (literally) from family. If you fly from Thailand to New Hampshire, USA you can't get any further apart without starting to go back around the globe again.

When our family made the choice to go half way across the world to make known the truth and grace of Christ, we knew that separation from family was one of the costs. It is a cost we are willing to live with because the proclamation of Christ to those who do not know him is extremely important. We want other families in spiritually dark parts of the world to have the same hope and comfort of Christ that we do. However, despite the importance of the task and our commitment to it, it doesn't make the distance and separation any easier. We praise God for technologies like Skype and blogs that make staying in touch somewhat easier but it is never the same as being there.

It has been particularly difficult for my Mom to be separated from her only grandchild, Joshua, whom she knows almost exclusively through the pictures that we post on the Joshua blog and the stories that we tell her in phone calls and emails. When she was rediagnosed with cancer a few months ago, she really wanted us to come home. We weren't due for home assignment until the end of 2010 but as it became obvious that Mom's condition was much more tenuous than

Christmas in Thailand

Even with three to four years cumulative time living in Thailand, I am still not used to how different Christmas is here when compared to the U.S. It is different not only in terms of how the culture in general "celebrates" the holiday, but also how Christmas is celebrated at church and in the family.

Christmas in Thai Culture

Thai Santa Claus

Thailand is over 90% Buddhist so December 25th is just a normal working day like any other day. Buddhists don't celebrate Christmas - that is unless you own a department store or mall and want to get on the Christmas consumerism bandwagon. Because Christmas in the West is barely a religious holiday anymore, all that most Thai people know about Christmas is Santa Claus, gifts, Christmas tree, reindeer, and snow. And, of course, that Christmas is a foreign holiday, and therefore not for Thai people. But because of all the superficial hoopla in the West, many Thai people see Christmas as a fascinating curiosity. The big malls (which there aren't many of outside of Bangkok) put up some tinsel, sell Santa hats and fake Xmas trees, and have special sales, advertised, not as a Christmas sale, but something like "Amazing Gift Festival". And, like in the West, some Thai people find it fun to get on the superficial commercialized Christmas bandwagon. However, there is little to no knowledge about the true meaning of Christmas in this nation of Buddhists that has less than one percent Christians.

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