Language study is one of the hardest and most time-consuming efforts missionaries make.

There is, however, a language which is common to the world and far easier to learn.

This is the language of sport.

When my family arrived in South Africa as lovers of sport, we missed a trip to the Super Bowl by my wife’s hometown team. At the time, we just did not know how to watch the game. Now I could tell you many ways.

Instead of watching the Super Bowl, in the early days our TV was tuned to cricket. I attempted to understand this game and its rules. Especially difficult was the idea of playing to a tie over five days.

I’ve seen how learning, watching, attending, and playing the local sports of a nation can build bridges and bond you to a culture.

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One of the biggest challenges in cross cultural work is knowing what you can and cannot do. This happens both culturally and in religious settings.

The “gray areas” in Scripture are numerous. The do not’s are obvious, but there are many times when we are not sure if it is good or not to walk in a certain freedom we feel we have.

Paul gives three principles to follow which will help us know when freedom is not something we want to hold onto.

1. Give up your freedom if it stumbles another (1 Cor. 8:9) Even if something is not wrong, Paul says it becomes wrong if we cause others to stumble.

There are many times when we could do something, but should give it up for the sake of another. Issues of alcohol, music, dress, and many cultural things come to mind.

The longer we do something, the less work we have to put in to maintain our desired level.

This can be both a blessing and a curse.

The blessing is that as our skill level increases as the effort and time decreases. It takes me far less time to prepare for teachings when compared with a few years ago.

There is value to filling the storehouse of our minds and hearts over the years in order to draw on resources when needed.

Malcolm Gladwell famously expressed this in his 10,000 hour principle.

But being an “expert” on something carries with it a danger.

We run the risk of growing complacent or lazy.

We’ve all seen the athletes who work hard to make it, only to sign the big contract and follow it with a big waistline! Practice and teamwork has gone from essential to optional.

Several former heroes and people of influence from the youth group era of my life have crashed and burned recently.

At times it has led me to exclaim, “Are there no heroes left who can finish well?”

I feel like the frequency in which I hear of friends and former students walking away from God or living in choices which are opposite of what God would desire; is increasing exponentially.

I feel weary as I watch people I care about wreak havoc in their own lives and the lives of others.

As I try to make sense of this personally, the common thread which emerges is selfishness.

This is not new. There really is nothing new under the sun.

  • Adam and Eve considered their view of the world better than God’s.
  • King David chose his own personal desires over that of a nation and his troops.

Power Money Gives Us

February 24, 2015

Last month at A Life Overseas, we discussed the dangerous stories we can tell in order to raise funds.

This requires further consideration if we provide funds, pay national workers, or are just generous in any way. While the debate on this one is hot and heavy, I doubt we can make absolute statements.

“Always and never” are tricky when settings, organizations, and methods are so different around the world

What I would like to look at is the power money gives us over people.

Even something as simple as “good, ole Godly generosity”; sharing money puts us in the place of power.As foreign workers, we must always be aware of the power we have (real or perceived) over those we work with.

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Here are some things to consider about the power of money: