There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

Archive for faith working through love

they go to love, so we go to pray

If you promised to pray or you want to know more about our team headed to Japan, click here.

“Become as I am. . .”

Yesterday, we considered Paul’s words in Galatians 4:11ff, and I mentioned briefly the difficulty with and the necessity of setting yourself out there as an example of faithfulness as part of what it means to “make disciples.” It may feel odd and egoistic to have people follow your example, but for some reason God has chosen humans to be images of what it means to be His–to be, as one has said, “Jesus with skin on.”

Here’s an update from Mo Leverett who directs DesireStreet Ministries in New Orleans. His comments bespeak that same combination of awkwardness and gratitude at being an example.

Within a few months, we hope to journey to New Orleans to help Mo in the rebuilding. Have a look at what’s going on.

What endures

David Wilcox sorta became the soundtrack for my wife’s and my courtship. He’d been a herald-of-understatement for the both of us separately–that is, his way of speaking truth was so subtle as to make it more compelling. When we began to listen to him together–his incongruities with our understanding of eternal truths notwithstanding–we still agreed there was much to be appreciated and heeded about his musings on what is true, good, perfect, and lasting.

My wife found this song again this morning, like an old, forgotten photo-album that when you revisit its contents has a peculiar effect on your soul: you’ve been in it before, but hadn’t felt precisely what it produced in you by anything else since.

I share it with you (yes, a free song, can you believe it? scroll to the bottom of the page to click on the flash recording of it), because it reaffirms something C.S. Lewis makes a case for in The Abolition of Man: that which is true endures. Certain virtues are virtues because they have emerged within every culture in every era.

And what David has to say in this song only echoes…and teases out what Jesus had to say about the primacy of giving (love). Yes, David likely has in view as he composes the love between two lovers, but I’m sure he wouldn’t narrow what’s true about giving love to that context alone; what’s true about love is applicable to any connection in which love can be expressed

So enjoy. And be reminded: His love endures forever because His truth has endured forever.

The Love You Give

Oh to be loved, good as that is,
It can never take you where you want to go.
Just to be loved, fine as that is,
It can never teach you what you need to know.

To be loved can start the spark that gets your own love to burn.
But when you feel the fire of real love, you’ll learn.

That the only kind of love that makes a lifetime,
Into a life well lived.
The only kind of love that ever fills you,
Is the love you give.

So brave is the strength of broken hearts,
To love and love again, and give nothing less.
Like flowing water springs from mountain rock,
The broken place reveals what you possess.

Like the mountain broken open finds the spring that flows,
Your heart can never open till it’s broken so you know.

That the only kind of love that makes a lifetime,
Into a life well lived.
The only kind of love that ever fills you,
Is the love you give.

Oh the love you get, seems like enough at first.
But then there’s that hunger, and that thirst.
And the more you try to get, it just gets worse.
There’s not enough on earth to get of it,
If getting’s all you try.
The giving that you hunger for,
Is all that satisfies.

The only kind of love that makes a lifetime,
Into a life well lived.
The only kind of love that ever fills you,
Is the love you give.

Int’l Justice Mission Trip’s first communique:

here’s the latest from Victor Boutros and the IJM team bound for India:


We completed the first leg of our trip with the International Justice Mission team in Mumbai, India yesterday. It has been a study of contrasts – of rays of divine hope penetrating places of unbearable darkness. On Friday, we helped the IJM legal team prepare for a hearing in an ugly case where IJM undercover operatives captured video footage of four mothers attempting to sell the virginity of their underage daughters to two men. Later that evening we went to Mumbai’s red light district, littered with the brothels where so many young girls are abducted, raped and beaten. Words cannot describe the oppressive darkness of that place, where pimps and Madames aggressively cursed us or fled angrily from the light of our cameras. “For every one who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds be exposed.” (John 3:20). At the red light district in Mumbai, the Fall is not being managed. It is an open mouthed grave (Rom 3:13) devouring the lives of those who fall in its trap.

And yet there were moments of joy that pierced the darkness. Even as we experienced the ugliness of the red light district, we passed street after street where brothels had been shut down, sparing hundreds of girls from thousands of rapes, thanks to the courage and faithfulness of a few Christians. Perhaps most moving was the transformation God has worked in the lives of those young women IJM has rescued. We spent Saturday at a Christian aftercare facility for victims of forced prostitution where girls as young as 13 smiled, sang hymns in Hindi, shared their dreams for the future and generally got to be girls again.

The team is so thankful to have a support team praying for us every day! We covet your continued prayers as we begin the next phase of our work in Chennai. We look forward to sharing a full report with you when we return.


Victor Boutros

every drop in the bucket helps

Thanks to all of you who helped us organize a little supply-drive Sunday morning. David, Sam, Nick, Kirk, and myself headed for the Convention Center/Reunion Arena but were turned away, having been informed they were “maxed out” with supplies. A couple phone calls later we were on our way to the Residence Inn off LBJ and Hillcrest where there was a sizable effort going on to collect whatever displaced people might need. The representative for Residence explained, almost in tears, that a garage sale that a few women had conceived of had burgeoned into a massive, city-wide supply-drive. By the time we’d arrived, they’d already filled nearly 15 of those 18-wheeler trailers and had dispatched them to a number of places in Louisiana and elsewhere.

If you weren’t at PCPC Sunday, our church has birthed a bold plan asking PCPC families (which includes YOU, even if you’re single! partner with 2 or 3 other folks!) to contribute both financially and in some persistent and tangible ways to help victims of the storm establish a new life. Have a look. Dick Steele just stopped by my office to let me know Interfaith Housing has already screened and assigned PCPC 190 familes for us to “adopt!” PCPC’s strategy of having four (4) family units rally around, pray for, and brainstorm a plan of action will begin within 2 days. So sign up at the desginated page. We need A BUNCH more “family units” to help provide for all the familes we’ve promised to adopt. This will be a messy work that will likely not follow your schedule or your expectations, but if this ain’t Gospel work, I don’t know what is.

Also, the PCA has begun to outline how churches in our denomination can serve the affected areas. I’ve signed 20+ up as a prospective work team. As they become more aware of what’s needed and can organize a scheduled plan of bringing in volunteer work teams (if everyone were to flock there right now, it would create more problems than solve them), we will very likely send a team down. Stay tuned. If you don’t live alone ( and would be willing to house a displaced person–either from our denomination or outside it– sign up at the PCA’s relief registration page.

Right now, this all seems exciting. In time, the lustre of “helping” will wear off. Then our convictions will be tested. Prepare. What Skip said Sunday about the essence of Paul’s prayers has eminent application for us in this work. We will need spiritual insight to know how best to serve; and we will need spiritual strength to continue in this work when it gets hard, frustrating, or not as immediately fruitful as you had hoped. The part about Paul’s prayer pertaining to ‘patience and endurance’–it’s as if Paul knew precisely what we would need in order to ‘bear fruit for God, please God, and walk in a manner worthy of God.’ Pray. Buckle Down.

help? here’s how

Here’s a few ways to help. Click here if you want to contribute to PCPC’s Hurricane Relief Fund. (An initial contribution of $25K has already been sent by our church) Click here if you’d like to house a displaced family for a while (the Family Research Council has recommended this effort, and they’d be unlikely to do so without vetting the organization). We’re waiting to hear from the PCA’s Disaster Relief Team to fill us in on how we can help with efforts on the ground; here’s their application if you’d like to volunteer to go there and help. And here’s their update from Aug 30.

Meet the Powlisons

“those of whom the world [is] not worthy” (Keith Powlison–missionary to the Quechuan people of Southern Peru) Posted by Picasa