My Impoverished Understanding

A little while ago I asked the question, "what is the poverty of the rich?"

Often when asked what it means to be poor, the poor themselves will respond much differently than the non-poor would imagine that they would. As a non-poor person, I would define poverty as a lack of something such as money and/or resources. It turns out that that definition is very common among North American Christians.

Yet, most often the poor themselves define poverty in different terms. They use words like shame, humiliation, powerlessness, lack of control, hopelessness, and fear. Yes, they do talk about lack of money or resources too, but often that alone does not do justice to what poverty means to them.

So, part of the poverty of the rich is not really understanding the plight of the poor. And if I really do not understand the poor and what poverty means to them, I will very likely err when it comes to providing aid to the poor.

For example, if I define poverty in terms of money or resources, my solution will be money or resources or the means to make money or resources. What I will have failed to realize is that sometimes, in fact, many times my money and resources themselves more deeply instill a sense of shame, humiliation, powerlessness, lack of control, hopelessness, and even fear. And when that happens, poverty will increase in spite of the additional money and resources.

But how can my gifts of money and/or resources actually make things worse? I'll save that discussion until next time.

Bat Caves and Water Falls

We were blessed with the opportunity to go across to Samal Island with friends.

Once on Samal we drove around to look at some places to camp at and also have some fun at some of the sights there.

The Car Ferry

On the Ferry

On the Ferry

Housing on the ocean bay

Bats at the Bat Cave

Bats - it was fascinating to see the thousands and thousands
of bats hanging on the cave walls.

All the kids by one of the bat cave holes

Some women on the island washing clothes

Ben, Jadon and Samuel in a Japanese tunnel from WWII

Kirsten and Trea in the Japanese tunnel from WWII

At Hagimit Falls

Mikayla jumping from a rock into the water below

Mikayla, Kurt, Danielle playing in the water

Mikayla and Kurt enjoying the water

Danielle, Anna, and Mikayla enjoying the rocks

Ben jumping into the water

Kurt and Ben

Kirsten and Trea racing leaves down a water slide

2nd Grade Readers Theatre

The 2nd graders presented a readers theatre today to parents and other students in their classroom. It was very cute and well done!

Ben, doing his part

God's Equipping

I subscribe to John Piper's Desiring God Blog and receive it on a daily basis. I found today's especially meaningful given some of the things God has been teaching me during my own devotional times and in the course of our daily life here and issues we are currently dealing with.

Hope this blesses you, too!


"by John Piper

What does the blood of the eternal covenant secure for us? It secures both God's equipping of us and the successful use of that equipment to make our lives pleasing to God.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, * equip you with everything good that you may do his will, * working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Christ shed the blood of the eternal covenant. By this successful redemption, he obtained the blessing of resurrection from the dead. He is now our living Lord and Shepherd.

And because of all that, God does two things:

1. He equips us with everything good that we may do his will. 2. He works in us that which is pleasing in his sight.

The "eternal covenant," secured by the blood of Christ, is the new covenant. And the new covenant promise is this: "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts" (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

Therefore, the blood of this covenant not only secures God's equipping us to do his will, but also secures God working in us to make that equipment successful. The will of God is not just written on stone or paper as a means of grace. It is worked in us. And the effect is: We feel and think and act in ways more pleasing to God.

We are still commanded to use the equipment he gives: "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." But more importantly we are told why: "For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

If we are able to please God--if we do his good pleasure--it is because the blood-bought grace of God has moved from mere equipping, to omnipotent transforming. "

The Poverty of the Rich

I read an interesting poem in a new book I just bought called, "The Church and Poverty in Asia" edited by Lee Wanak. The book opens with this poem.

If you want to help the poor, you must disciple the rich.
If you want to help the rich, you must understand their poverty.
If you want to help both poor and rich, you must believe in the abundance of Christ.

Focusing for a moment on the second line, "what is the poverty of the rich?" Are the rich in anyway poor? If so, in what ways are the rich poor?

What do you think?