DVD Review: Little Town of Bethlehem

November 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Posted in cross-cultural | Leave a comment
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Bethlehem, today, as seen through the eyes and life of three men, a Jew, a Palestinian Christian and a Palestinian Muslim is the premise for this DVD. It follows some events from their lives and how they each got to the point of being involved in non-violent protest of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At times the story moves along very slowly. But it is worth watching.

The documentary uses a mixture of black and white film and color film to tell its story. The use of historical film clips alone is worth the time to watch this movie. There is some good history presented here. The present day clips attempt to show what life is currently like in the Middle East. Almost every American that views this would have no idea of what life is like in a war zone. Watching this aspect of the film is a good learning experience.

The three men are the main characters and the movie moves through different parts of their lives. It is interesting to watch the dramatic reenactments of what they have gone through. When viewed as current events and history it is interesting. Each of the men has some kind of personal struggle and difficulty they have to work through.

One of the difficulties for me was how slow the story progressed at times. I also did not care for the way the closing song was performed. There did not seem to be much of a solution for the problem in the Middle East presented either. But my personal view is there will be no peace in the Middle East until the Prince of Peace, Jesus, returns to establish His Kingdom. Putting all of that aside it was an interesting documentary.

Through the use of film, pictures and words it showed what daily life may be like in the Middle East. That alone should motivate us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The documentary is produced by EthnoGraphic Media. I received this DVD for free to review and offer objective feedback.

GRACE and peace to you,


(Romans 15:13; Micah 7:14-20)

Cross Cultural Risk Taking

August 11, 2010 at 7:41 am | Posted in cross-cultural | Leave a comment
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Something to Think About

Both my wife and I read a lot. I mean that seriously, we read a lot. Earlier this morning she read something that had to do with culture that she thought I might like. We both study culture and how to best communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ where we live. But for us, we want to be in the world, but not of the world (1 Corinthians 5-6).  We want to live in such a way that people will ask us the reason for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). I will write more on my views on culture and Kingdom living in the coming weeks. For now, I hope the following quote will spur your thinking.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Psalm 50:23

Community of Light

During a riot at Washington, DC’s Lorton prison complex, inmates torched several buildings; armed, menacing gangs roamed the grounds. But in the main prison yard a group of Christian inmates stood in a huge circle, arms linked, singing hymns. Their circle surrounded a group of guards and prisoners who had sought protection from the rioting inmates. These Christians were a community of light, and lives were saved.

In prison, the contrast is sharp between dark and light. Choices for Christian inmates are usually clear-cut. Yet most of us in the mainstream of Western culture live in shades of gray. It’s comfortable to adopt the surrounding cultural values. Yet stand apart we must.

For as the church maintains its independence from culture, it is best able to affect culture. When the Church serves as the Church, in firm allegiance to the unseen Kingdom of God, God uses it in this world: first, as a model of the values of His Kingdom, and second, as His missionary culture. – Charles Colson, as quoted in God’s Treasury of Virtues, Honor Books, Inc. 1995. p. 249.

Learn To Tell Jesus

March 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Posted in cross-cultural, hymns, ordination | Leave a comment
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Yesterday evening my wife and were able to attend the ordination service of a young man preparing to go into a Chaplain’s ministry. We were invited by the pastor’s wife. My wife and she are friends. This was a cross-cultural experience because the church is a Korean church. The entire service is in Korean. My wife and I know very little Korean beyond a few simple phrases. The good thing is that the people like us and we like them. It makes crossing cultures so much easier.

The ordination service was different from most American ordination services that I have either attended or been a part of. It was not that long and I would say it was very traditional. There are great musicians and singers in that church so the music is always very good. One song that was played by the pianist during prayer was, “I Know Whom I Have Believed”. It was one of my grandmother’s favorite songs and always reminds me of her when I hear it.  In my mind I can see her with her hand up in the air singing to Jesus. Another one I really enjoyed singing was, “I Must Tell Jesus.”

There was a great quote on the cover of the bulletin also. It was called the Pastor’s Creed:

“I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me!”

– Martyred Pastor

I hope that quote is as encouraging and motivating to you as it is to me. Ask yourself, like I asked myself, “does that quote describe me and my life?” I ask myself regularly if I am totally surrendered to Jesus. Is He increasing and am I decreasing? What gain or accomplishment here can honestly compare with knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings? – Philippians 3:10.

Some of my advice to any man preparing to be a pastor would simply be this: know the Word, study the Word, preach the Word, teach the Word, trust the Word, pray the Word and live the Word! You can know yourself, your community, your church, your culture, and you must, but you had better know the Word! Fight the good fight! Even when you are tired, discouraged, hungry or wounded, press on anyway! Others have fought the good fight before our time has come and others will fight the good fight after our time is over.

My other advice to any man preparing to pastor would be this: learn to pray and get someone to pray with you and get someone to pray for you. We cannot get too much prayer cover. We must learn to pray when we are healthy or sick, happy or sad, up or down, clear or confused, even when our hearts are full of joy or when they are broken and we’re sick to our stomach. We must practice consistently “casting all our cares on the Lord because He cares for us” – 1 Peter 5:7. Learn to tell Jesus, because He really does care.

God bless you as you serve Him,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Psalm 21:6

“I Must Tell Jesus”

by Elisha Hoffman

Verse 1:
I must tell Jesus all of my trials,
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
in my distress He kindly will help me,
He ever loves and cares for His own.

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

Verse 2:
I must tell Jesus all of my troubles,
He is a kind, compassionate friend;
if I but ask Him, He will deliver,
make of my troubles quickly an end.


Verse 3:
Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.


Verse 4:
O how the world to evil allures me!
O how my heart is tempted to sin!
I must tell Jesus, and He will help me
over the world the victory to win.

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