Thursday, September 28, 2006

How to Pray Effectively for Your Missionaries

The following story gives a clue on how to pray effectively for your missionaries:
A priest, a minister and a guru sat discussing the best positions for prayer, while a telephone repairman worked nearby. "Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray," the priest said.

"No," said the minister. "I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven."

"You're both wrong," the guru said. "The most effective prayer position is lying down on the floor."

The repairman could contain himself no longer.

"Hey, fellas," he interrupted. "The best prayin' I ever did was when I was hangin' upside down from a telephone pole."
If you want to pray effectively for us, come and hang out with us for a while! On the front lines, prayer has a certain clarity and focus that it lacks elsewhere. Please keep praying! It can get scary at times on the mission field, but we are hanging in there!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain" John 15:16

I was in two places at once yesterday and it sure felt good. I got a lot done.

After church Sunday, I prepared for my class in World Religions. I decided to post my lecture notes on the internet. I created a web site ( that I named “Caribbean Baptist Distance Learning Center” and set up my class for online learning using a program called “Moodle.”

When my students came Monday, I asked them to log in and read my lectures on-line. This allowed me to teach them from the internet and at the same time, take some of them aside individually. The students I took aside received personal instruction on improving schoolwork and study habits. It made our two hour class a lot more productive and allowed me to get home earlier.

What I especially like about setting up an online learning center is that after the class is over, the material is still accessible online. This makes it available for future classes, and for students who cannot attend classes on campus.

It may be a bit morbid, but I thought, “If I die, who will teach them?” I doubt if anyone will do anything with my old scribbled notes in the file cabinet. But if my classes are online and accessible from around the world, they can continue training others even after I am no longer around to teach in person.

I feel good about publishing the fruits my study time labors. Now what has been a blessing to me is in a form where it may yet be a blessing to others. It could also be the first step in establishing an entire online Bible College. Now that is exciting!

Jesus commanded: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

I hope by publishing the fruits of our labors in this form, we may be obeying our Lord.

Is good enough, good enough?

Remember the story of Martha and Mary? Martha complained Mary was not helping in the kitchen, but Jesus said Mary had chosen to listen to his words, and said that she had chosen the better thing. Martha was doing good, but her good was not good enough. There was something better she should have been doing.

I need to remember this. It is fun to learn technology, but it is the content of the teaching, not the background technology that should receive the lions share of our attention.

I hope you will put aside something less important today to pray for your missionaries. In your business, it may be helpful to ask, "What is that better thing that Jesus wants from me? "

Here is a cute poem I ran across that echoes this teaching:

Dust if you Must

Dust if you must.
But wouldn't it be better to paint a picture,
or write a letter, bake a cake, or plant a seed.
Ponder the difference between want and need.

Dust if you must.
But there's not much time,
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb!
Music to hear, and books to read,
friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must.
But the world's out there
with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
a flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come 'round again.

Dust if you must.
But bear in mind, old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go, and go you must,
you, yourself, will make more dust!
(Author Unknown)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Trumpet Day: A small shell gets a big reaction

Find out what God would have you do,
And do that little well;
For what is great and what is small
The Lord alone can tell. -Anon.

We had a good service today. I preached on the Feast of Trumpets (The Jewish New Year) and how the trumpet was a symbol of Liberty, Authority and Unity. I then used a large conch shell and blew it. Everyone sure was awake after that! Later, I did it again when a little girl was close by and she ran crying into the arms of her mother. Everyone laughed at her tears and my red face. At least she knew where to run with her fears. I hope you, my friend, will not fear the sound of the last trumpet. But if you do, I hope you will know where to turn for comfort. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 23, 2006

no small fish

There are no small fish on our mission field. Read the entry below to see why. Posted by Picasa

Did you ever feel like you would like to help a missionary but you feel like you have nothing to offer?

Think again.

There is something you can do to make a difference on the mission field right now.

You may say, "But what can I do? I have little or no Spanish and lack the training necessary to be of much use?" Don't you believe it! Perhaps you do not think you can help because you are looking at the top rung of service on the mission field. If you are willing to lower your eyes a bit, you will see that there are other places where you can serve.

Like what?

Can you drive? If you can drive and have a servants heart, it is something you could do to help in a small, but real way. You could pick up people for church, drive students from the college to the church or even drive a missionary around, allowing him to get a few more moments for study, prayer or rest. Do you have computer, art or internet skills? There are data bases to create, entries to enter, documents to design, and web pages to publish. Good at business or marketing? Everything from bookkeeping to promoting a Bible College needs to be done. Can you walk, carry a Bible and smile at the same time? Then you can go with me on door-to door visitation. If I had more people to visit with me, I could get more done.

I hope you get it. Come as a partner, servant or slave. If you are willing to lower your gaze you will eventually find a rung on the missionary ladder that you can occupy. And from this lower place you change the world for Christ.
The following story shows that there is a place where even the smallest among God's creatures can do something that will make a world of difference.
Fish to guard water

Monday 18 September 2006, 22:31 Makka Time, 19:31 GMT

A common type of US fish is being enlisted in the fight against terrorism as a guard for US cities' drinking water.

San Francisco, New York, Washington and other big cities are using bluegills - also known as sunfish or bream - as a sort of canary in a coal mine to safeguard their water. Small numbers of the fish are kept in tanks constantly replenished with water from the municipal supply. Sensors in each tank work around the clock to register changes in the breathing, heartbeat and swimming patterns of the bluegills that occur in the presence of toxins.

The Intelligent Aquatic BioMonitoring System, as its known, was originally developed for the army and starts at around $45,000.

"Nature's given us pretty much the most powerful and reliable early warning centre out there," said Bill Lawler, co-founder of Intelligent Automation Corporation, a Southern California company that makes and sells the bluegill monitoring system. "There's no known manmade sensor that can do the same job as the bluegill."

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Funeral Shakeup: Three Greetings and One Farewell

Last Saturday we prepared our home for a big youth group barbeque. Three of my students from the college ( Mario, Cynthia and Zuley) were setting up, preparing devotionals, music and activities, when I got the phone call.

Our deacon Luis, who was caring for his mother-in-law in his home, called to say that she died that morning and the funeral service was to be held that same day. I was to preach! To complicate matters even more, the interment was to be Sunday at noon and over half of our church was going to go to it.

This meant no song leader and no adult Sunday school teacher and no youth activity and no Saturday afternoon visitation. It also meant that I would need to spend Saturday preparing a quick sermon to preach at a funeral instead of a sermon for our church Sunday.

What to do? Should I cancel Sunday services for the interment? Or preach at the funeral Saturday, open the church Sunday and do the best we could? I decided to continue with our regular Sunday schedule, even though the church would be sparsely attended. I felt bad that someone new might come to church Sunday and find the doors closed.

I sure am glad we opened those doors! We had three new visitors I had never met before walk in! That is a rare occurrence around our small town. We usually know the people who come, and they come as a result of our visitation. Well, I led the singing myself, had Mario give his prepared youth devotional as the Adult Sunday School lesson and our other deacon Wilfredo preached in my place. It actually was a great service.

And at the funeral we got to present the gospel to about 50 new people all at once. The service went well. We got a lot of amens, smiles and friendly responses from the assembled friends and relatives of our deceased church member, hermana Lucina.

The door of her casket was closed, but the door of the church was opened. Praise the Lord that there remains an open door for all who desire a better life.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Free Stuff that Makes You Smarter

I am always on the lookout for things to improve our Bible College and get our Seminary off to a good start. It is a great feeling when all that looking finally pays off.

I came across some free college level material. Even better, it is in the form of FREE AUDIO LECTURES. They are donated by various colleges on a wide range of subjects and are available free of charge through Yahoo ( and also at I-Tunes in the educational podcast section of their online store.

We want to have a “Distance Learning” capability for working men who cannot attend day classes and for potential students who cannot get Visas to attend our Puerto Rico Baptist College. We also get English speaking students who do not speak Spanish well enough to take our regular classes and then we must make special arraignments for them until they get their language up to speed. The discovery of low cost materials we can use as part of an independent study program is a great find. Besides, it is fun to burn them onto CDs and listen to free stuff that makes you smarter during those long rush hour commutes.

If you find any resources that we could use, let us know. We need your help and input! We also invite you to become part of our future online, distance-learning-capable seminary. We hope to hear from you soon, as a supporter, prayer partner or student!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Spanish can be fun.

Spanish can be fun. These sayings or "Dichos" are explained in the post below this one. Posted by Picasa

Spanish Proverbs

"Dichos" are the wise sayings of the Spanish speaking people. Just learning Spanish is not enough, you must also have a good understanding of these sayings because everyone throws them into their conversations. Here is my collection tod date:

A cada puerco le llega su Noche Buena. To every pig comes his Christmas Eve. No matter how fat and well off you are, someday you will pay for it all. Those who seem to have it best, will come off the worst.

A donde el corazon se inclina, el pie camina.
Where the heart inclines, the foot walks. You can tell what a person loves by where he goes.

A Dios rogando y con el mazo dando.
Praying to God and hitting with the hammer. Covering all the bases. Doing everything necessary to ensure success.

A juventud ociosa, vejez trabajosa.
To leisurely youth, laborious old age. If you are lazy now, you will have to work harder later.

A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda.
Who rises early, God helps. God helps those who get started early.

Acabándose el dinero, se termina la amistad.
The money running out, the friendship ends. Describes those who are your "friends" only as long as you have money.

Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente.
Shrimp that sleeps, the current carries it away. If you don't stay alert to and act on opportunities, you will miss them.

Como el apóstol 13, come y desaparece.
Like the apostle 13, eats and leaves. Describes guests who come only for the food, or people who stay only for the part of the event that benefits them.

Con virtud y bondad se adquiere autoridad.
With virtue and goodness authority is acquired. People will be more likely to do what you say if they perceive you as being virtuous and kind.

Consejo es, de sabios
perdonar injurias, y olvidar agravios.

The council of the wise is to pardon injury and forget grievances.

De dinero y bondad, siempre la mitad.
Of money and goodness, always in the middle. Your interests are better served by being motivated equally by goodness and money, rather than being motivated completely by one or the other. (I'm not sure this is the intended meaning, but it is what I get out of it.)

De tal palo, tal astilla.
From such a stick, such a splinter. The way a child behaves is a reflection of the way his or her parents behave.

Del dicho al hecho, hay mucho trecho.
From the word to the deed, there is a great distance. It is one thing to say something will be done, and quite a different thing to get it done.

Despacio voy, porque de prisa estoy.
Slowly I go because I am in a hurry. Proceeding methodically often gets faster results than rushing.

Donde hay gana, hay maña.
Where there is the desire there is the ability. If you really want to do something, you can find a way to do it.

El diablo sabe más por viejo que por diablo.
The Devil knows more because he is old than because he is the Devil. Wisdom and knowledge increase with increasing age. (i.e., The Devil owes his knowledge more to his age than to any supernatural powers.)

El mal escribano le echa la culpa a la pluma.
The poor writer places the blame on the pen. People naturally blame their problems on something or someone else, rather than accept any responsibility themselves.

El mejor espejo es el ojo del amigo
-The best mirror is the watchful eye of a friend. Hopefully your friends are honest, but not too brutal! They keep you in check and when you find a good one you've got to keep them for the long run.

El que no monta no cae
"He who doesn’t mount (ride) does not fall." The only way not to have an accident is to do nothing.This Spanish proverb explains that many things have to be learned for yourself, even if it's the hard way.

El que da primero, da dos veces.
He who strikes first strikes twice. Whoever is first has an advantage over all who come after.

El que mucho habla, mucho yerra.
Who much speaks, much errs. The more you talk, the more you will make mistakes.

El que por su gusto corre, nunca se cansa.
Who for his pleasure runs, never tires. When you do something for pleasure, it is not tiring.

El que quiere baile, que pague músico.
Who wants dance, should pay musician. The one who wants something done should be the one who takes the responsibility for making it happen.

El que quita la ocasión, evita el ladrón.
Who takes away the opportunity, avoids the robber. If you take precautions, you will avoid problems.

El sapo, a la sapa, tienela por guapa
The He toad sees the She toad as beautifulThis sayings is used like "beauty is in the eye of the beholder

En boca del mentiroso, lo cierto se hace dudoso.
In the mouth of a liar, what is certain becomes doubtful. Once someone has been caught lying, it is hard to believe anything else that person says.

Gato escaldo del agua fría huye.
A scalded cat from cold water runs. People often draw the overly broad lessons from their experiences. (i.e., The cat should have learned only to avoid hot water.)

Hazme las cuentas claras, y el chocolate espeso.
Make for me the accounts clear and the chocolate thick. Whatever else might be confusing, the books had better be straightforward. A similar saying is "Las cuentas claras hacen buenos amigos." (Clear accounting makes good friends.)

Honra y dinero se ganan despacio y se pierden ligero.
Reputation and money are earned slowly and lost quickly. Reputation and money are hard earn and easy to lose.

La mejor palabra es la que no se dice.
The best word is the one that is not said. Sometimes, refraining from speaking is better than anything you could say.

La palabra es plata, el silencio oro.
The word is silver, silence gold. Silence is more valuable than words.

Lo que bien se aprende, nunca se pierde.
What well is learned never is lost. If you learn something well, you will never forget it.

Más vale poco y bueno que mucho y malo.
It is worth more little and good than much and bad. More is not always better. It is better to have less and happiness than more and misery.

Mejor solo que mal acompañado.
Better alone than poorly accompanied. It is better to be alone than to be with the wrong person.

Nadie es profeta en su propia tierra.
No one is a prophet in his own land. People place a higher value on exotic things and exotic people than on familiar ones. To quote Baltasar Gracián: "Everything foreign is held in esteem, whether it came from afar, or because people see it only after it is well formed and has reached perfection. Some people were scorned in their own little corner but achieved worldly eminence. They are honored by their own people because they look at them from a distance and by foreigners because they came from afar."

No es más rico el que más tiene, sino el que menos necesita.
He is not richer who the most has, but who the least needs. Someone who is satisfied with a small amount is richer than someone who is always craving more.

No hay atajo sin trabajo.
There is no shortcut without work. It takes work to avoid doing work.

No hay curva mala pasándola despacio.
There is no bad curve, passing it slowly. You can avoid mishaps by proceeding with caution.

No tengas como vano el consejo del anciano.
Do not consider useless the advice of an old person. Do not ignore the advice of someone who speaks from experience.

Perro que no camina, no encuentra hueso.
Dog who doesn't walk, doesn't find a bone. If you want something, you need to make efforts to get it.

Poco a poco se anda lejos.
Little by little one goes far. Frequent, small steps can accomplish the same result as (or better results than) a one-time Herculean effort.

Por el árbol se conoce el fruto.
By the tree the fruit is known. Children are very much like their parents.

Querer es poder.
To want to is to be able to. If you really want to do something, you will be able to do it.

Quien con el lobo se junta a aullar aprende.
Who with the wolf associates, to howl learns. A person can be judged by the company he or she keeps (i.e., by the people he or she hangs out with).

Si quieres el perro, acepta las pulgas.
If you want the dog, accept the fleas. If you wanted something, don't complain about it once you get it.

Una buena acción es la mejor oración.
A good deed is the best prayer. One's faith is best expressed by one's actions.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

College Age, a Funny Age

Cynthia, a 20-something Peruvian girl, was having an argument with a college guy when I happened to walk by. She said, “Pastor Prelgovisk, Can you tell us who is more mature, college age men or women?” I started to say, “Well, some authorities say women, ...” She brightened up, smiled, spun around to face the young man, stuck out her tongue and said, “Ha! Nyah, Nyah, I told you so!”

The moral of the story: Better a quiet victory than a premature celebration!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Welcome Back! Posted by Picasa

Comforted in Confusion

A family who used to come regularly to church seems to have drifted away recently. I went to visit them the other week. The lights were on in their home but no one answered the door. I felt sad and said to my Deacon Luis Lopez, “Do we have leprosy or something?” These people were good friends and I felt bad that they might be avoiding us for some unknown reason.

Then the week after that I was going to visit them again, but I did yard work that day and just before I was going to shower, the water in our town was shut off! Luis told me, “Pastor we can visit later, if they didn’t let you in before, it will be worse if you smell bad!” Well, you can tell Luis and I are friends, but we did cancel visitation that day.

This Sunday I was preaching and in walked the entire family of four and they brought a friend with them! I stopped my sermon for a moment and said, “I am so glad you all came today.” I still don’t know why they were out for a few weeks, but decided just to show them I was happy to see them and asked if we were still friends. Their smiles and assurances comforted me in my confusion.

I may not understand why people do the things they do, but I am happy that at the end of the day, some wandering sheep have found their way back home.
Pastor Steve Prelgovisk

(The following devotional was a blessing to me today)
“Between Sundays”

Most Christians are not engaged in professional ministry. They don’t preach or sing or work for an evangelistic agency. Their time between Sundays is spent doing jobs that don’t seem to have value for the spread of the gospel. Therefore, some believers may view themselves as second-class disciples.

That may have been the way some members of the church in Colosse regarded themselves. Paul addressed an erroneous viewpoint of secular work when he wrote, “Obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, . . . in sincerity of heart, fearing God” (Col. 3:22).

You see, if God’s purposes in this world are to be fulfilled, we need a structured society with all its indispensable activities. The people we work for are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether they know it or not, our employers are carrying out God’s good purposes. As long as the assigned task is not sinful or unethical, when we serve those who rule over us we are serving the Lord.

So let’s view our daily work—whatever it is—as an extension of God’s work in the world. As we do so, we’ll find there is no better place to spread the good news of salvation than right where God has placed us. —

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee! —Herbert

For the Christian, work is ministry.

Vernon C. Grounds September 3, 2006