I recently spoke to two groups of people about “five reasons to have joy as a Christian.” One was for a church in Masbate, Philippines. The other was for our local church in State College, PA. The message was received so well that I decided to share them with you here.

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There’s no easy internet connection in Masbate, so this report is a few days late. I’m actually sitting at my gate in Detroit ready to make the last flight home.

Our early flight from Manila landed us in Masbate at 6 AM, where we went from the airport to the motel, but along the way made some stops where church members greeted us with flags and banners.

From there we took a boat to a village.

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Another Day in Tondo

Chris Heinz —  May 11, 2015 — 2 Comments

Note: If you missed my first post about the church in the garbage dump, you can read it here.
Today we spent about four hours in Tondo. Pastor Roy took us around to student’s homes that a few of us sponsor.

It is very hard to describe what those homes are like. There is no running water, no electricity, no bathroom. I asked Pastor Roy what they do for the bathroom. For number two, they ask the other family members to leave the room and they put a paper on the ground, go on top of it, then in Pastor Roy’s words, “wrap it up like a present” and throw it away (don’t give me that gift!). For number one, the women go in a can and dump it outside. Men go outside.

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As we go about our work day, we might learn from an uneducated worker named Brother Lawrence. When Brother Lawrence joined a monastery in Paris in the 1600’s, he wasn’t educated enough to become an official clergyman, so he went about serving in the monastery. For the rest of his life, he worked in the kitchen and repaired sandals. But it was how he went about his work that was remarkable.

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Now we get to the third and final question in this series on Christ.

We’ve already considered, “How often do I think on Jesus?” and “How often do I tell Jesus what I think of him?” We also made a Think On Jesus List to help us think about Jesus, and then tell Jesus what we think of him. You could say we’ve looked inward and we’ve looked upward, but now we do something else.

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Note: This guest post is an open letter from my wife to the members of the Penn State fraternity in our hometown, who photographed nude pictures of women and posted them online.

Take a moment and dream with me:

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Note: When things go wrong, what hope do we have? Borne of pain and heartache, my friend’s newest song points us to the hope we can have. In this guest post, Artur MacLellan explains the pain that inspired his song, and he shares his music video with us.

I remember sitting in the hospital on August 27th, 2014 with my fiancee Laura, and the two families crowded into the waiting room. It had been 4 agonizing months of waiting, wondering, and praying.
Even though we knew what the outcome was going to be, we were all waiting to hear the verdict.

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Do you remember the little exercise I asked you to do last time? I asked you to write down every good thing you have in Christ, for three minutes.

This caused us to reflect on a first question, “How often do I think on Jesus?”

But now we consider a second question.

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A few months ago, I met a man named David Bryant. He has a deep, penetrating voice that is probably how an Old Testament prophet would have sounded, although it’s not as much the sound and rhythm of his voice that is so penetrating, but his words. There is power, truth, and gravitas behind them. He’s speaking the words of God.

David’s current work is to lead what he calls “Christ Institutes” in order to spark “Christ Awakenings” all over the world. I have to say—he’s done that for me. Since meeting David, my walk with Christ hasn’t been the same. This is my thirtieth year of being a Christian, but I’ve concluded I hardly know Jesus, who is the author of my faith, who is the Christ in Christianity.

So I’ve been asking myself three questions, and I wonder if you’d ask yourself the same.

But first, let’s do a little exercise.

1. Grab a pen, paper, and three-minute timer. Don’t read ahead until you get them.

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There’s a question swirling inside me: Does 50 Shades of Grey really matter in light of the 21 beheaded Christians? Both stories are circulating in the Christian community, and are both the subjects of Christian bloggers, Christian commentators, and Christian readers. What happened on the beach in Libya to these Christians and what happens in Christian Grey’s “play room” are front and center right now.

So in light of these 21 young men losing their lives, does the 50 Shades question really matter? Does it really matter if Christians watch it, does it matter if movie theaters run by Christians show it, and does it matter if Christian leaders speak up about it? This is the question I’m wrestling with.

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