I am primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables me. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, I mentor our key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures, just as they continue to mentor me. I am relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships.
Jambo! (Hello) Come see our new "Samburu Chapel"
we helped build this past week!
"I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you."
Dear Friends & Partners,
When God commissioned Moses to build the Tabernacle, He raised up the men from among the children of Israel to do the job. There were two men who especially were called and anointed for this assignment – Bezalel and Oholiab. Ubfortunately, they are not very well known among a lot of Christians today – but I love to teach from their lives and vocations. We see from the Bible that God put His Holy Spirit within them, just as He had with Moses. Note these words that God told Moses about them:
"See, I have chosen Bezalel...and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts...Morever, I have appointed Oholiab...to help him. I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you." (Ex. 31:1-6).
This shows that there is no partiality or respecter of persons when it comes to the work of God. The Bible does not make our typical distinction between "sacred" and "secular." From the Biblical perspective, all of life and all work is to be "spiritual" – therefore "sacred." So every Christian worth his or her salt is to be a "full time Christian worker" –whether they are a doctor, lawyer, ditch-digger, computer programmer, mother or missionary!
It was a great joy to have 3 men join me on this latest trip to Kenya who lived out this wholistic principle of life: Craig Burr, Jay Doss and Abe VanWingerden. While we went to work primarily with the Samburu tribe, these men were all of the "tribe of Bezalel and Oholiab." As Christians, they were each called and anointed by God's Holy Spirit with both spiritual gifts and natural skills that they deployed together. In the spirit and passion of Bezalel and Oholiab, they completed the "Samburu Chapel" in a week of intense work.
So my friends and partners, be blessed as you look at the following pictures from this latest "African Kingdom Adventure!"
PS - Here is a timely link on attacks by Islamic Radicals on Christian churches in Kenya. As a result there were armed soldiers at the service I preached at.
Dear Friends & Partners of Stakwell & Francesca,
When you open this email, I will be in the midst of my last day of preparation and packing for Kenya and South Horr. I am leading a small team back to complete the "Samburu Chapel" and "Tree House." In addition, we will be helping install the new "solar pump" for the new well.
Hopefully we will now finally be able to maintain a "consistent garden" for the Camp and staff. It has been on and off for several years now due to well problems and lack of water. We had to prioritize water for people and animals over the garden. Recently a new deep well was drilled by a big rig that hit plenty of water. So this is an answer to prayer! Hopefully now we can give good water to thirsty people…thirsty animals…thirsty plants more consistently.
As always, there are many needs we are trying to help Stakwell meet for the Samburu, Rendille and Turkana tribes that he works most closely with. Also some new ones with the Pokot Tribe, which I have been deeply involved with in the past.
I know that we have been experiencing difficult and uncertain financial times here in the States — in addition to record-breaking heat waves and droughts! But in comparison to others, we are still the most blessed people on earth!
Each of you receiving this email has visited Stakwell and Francesca at South Horr in the past. Or you have supported them spiritually and financially. Either through personal experience or our emails, you know him, his work with children and young people through the "Samburu Sports Camp." You also know something of Stakwell's key role in helping bring peace in the long-standing tribal conflicts. He has been a faithful and steadfast servant-leader across the years to all of the tribal peoples in Northern Kenya.
So I hope you will take a moment to send in whatever gift you can to help us put the resources in his hands to continue to meet needs in the Name of Christ. You may have some undesignated tithes or offerings. But whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated —whether it is $10…$20...$100…$500…$1,000. And as always, 100% of what you give will go to Stakwell and the ever-growing ministry of the Sports Camp.
Thanks for your timely gift — which I hope you can give via credit card on line to save time. And as always, I will send you a full report with pictures soon after I get back home on July 20th.
In His Love for Tribal Groups,
PS: Pray daily for Patt while we are apart. I wish she could go with me, but the cost of travel makes that impossible. I hope to take her back toward the end of the year to lead a large "Tribal Women's Conference" at the Camp.
“When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
Dear Friends & Partners,
Patt and I send you our “July 4th Greetings.” On this Fourth, we hope you enjoy a special day with family and friends – perhaps around a patriotic parade…
picnic in the park…
day at the lake…
trip to the mountains…
or vacation at the beach.
And like millions of Americans, we hope you are able to end the day with children and grandchildren enjoying some aerial firework display with the “…rockets red glare” and colors “ bursting in air!”
Like us and other patriotic Americans, I also hope you are proudly displaying your American flag this Fourth. This is still the greatest country on earth! Man’s greatest experiment in democracy where all people are seen as “…created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” And as the popular song says: “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free!” That’s a song that most of the world longs to sing – but cannot.
As you know, each year I get to travel to a number of other continents and countries. I enjoy being in each one of them. I am thankful to have so many rich friendships and fruitful partnerships with strategic leaders who are “nationalists” in the best sense of the word. They love their country just as we love ours. And as indigenous Christian leaders, they are not seeking to escape their countries for a “better life in America.” They are seeking to be God’s “salt” and “light” in their countries and cultures – just like we are trying to do here.
But many of them still longingly look to America as the greatest and strongest country on earth. A country still known for freedom and opportunity for anyone and everyone. A democratic country where there is the rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of worship – and where individual rights and private property are protected. As our Pledge of Allegiance summarizes, a country where there is “…justice for all.” A land of equal opportunity where hard work and honesty pays off with advancement and prosperity.
Those are the kinds of freedoms that we so often take for granted that make immigration to America so appealing. And that’s why we are still the only country in the world that has to build walls and fences to keep people out – not keep them in!
Most still see us as a “Judeo-Christian country” founded on the laws and morality of the Bible. And from what they see in their news coverage on America, they fear our drift into nihilism and neo-paganism more than many Americans do! Many of them see the same dark storm clouds that cover and smother their lands now hovering over America – “from sea to shining sea.”
As the Scripture above points out, they “…see our foundations being destroyed.” And they are alarmed! They still see America as that “shining city set on a hill.” The country that is the last great hope for the world!
As you know, the spring and summer months are often the ones when the storms rage and ravage vast parts of America. Whether it is tornados, tropical storms, hurricanes or fiery winds – millions of acres are assaulted and destroyed by violent storms doing untold billions of dollars worth of damage. And the human toll of scarred lives is incalculable! Even as I was writing this email over the weekend, there were violent wind storms that did great damage all across the Eastern USA from Washington, DC to the coast of NC!
So behind the sunshine, blue skies and warm weather – or record-breaking hot weather that many of us will “enjoy” over the Fourth – there are dark and dangerous storm clouds brewing over America. Let me outline a few of the major storm clouds that I see gathering over our country: “…the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
1.Moral Storms: A dangerous moral shift has been taking place in America for decades! We have cut ourselves loose from the strong moorings of God’s Word – from the absolute truths of the Bible and 10 Commandments to moral relativism.
Increasingly today, moral ambiguity reigns – especially in this so-called Millennial Generation. While there is still great interest and involvement with religion in general and Christianity in particular among the Millennials, studies show that their values and life-styles differ little from non-Christians and total secularists. When it comes to faith, many of them are what I call “believers who are not belongers.” They practice an individualized, privatized, free-floating “churchless Christianity” with few Biblical roots – in other words, theologically eclectic and morally mushy!
Without the moral clarity of God’s Word, everyone can determine their own morality based upon their whims, feelings, desires and passions. Objective truth has been exchanged for subjective experences. Millions have exchanged the “experience of authority” for the “authority of experience.” Like ancient Israel, we are in the danger zone she put herself in by willfully rejecting divine revelation and her spiritual moorings and adopted the paganism of the countries around her. As a result, “…everyone does what is right in their own eyes” (Judg. 17:6).
Without a standard of objective morality, every form of immorality takes over – and is soon promoted educationally…sanctioned socially…protected legally…and flaunted publicly. So whether it is lewdness, crudeness, perversion, obscenity, pornography, substance abuse, abortion on demand, gay rights – you name it, anything and everything rules and reigns.
Without the clear “light of the Son,” the dark clouds of immorality cast an ominous shadow over America.
2.Marital Storms: Moral storms assault marriage first. That’s why traditional marriage between one man and one woman for one life is under relentless attack. Having increasingly rejected the objective truth of God’s Word about marriage – fornication, serial adultery, open marriage, casual sex, and no-fault divorce are increasingly the norm.
Across America today, more and more states are sanctioning “same sex marriages” as completely normal. So called “gay couples” are being given all of the rights of traditional marriage – including adoption. An obvious radical perversion of God’s created order for marriage and the family!
Sadly, the child today who grows up with his biological parents is the exception rather than the rule. As a result of abandonment, divorce, single parenting or gay parenting, more and more American children will grow up in a family context where traditional marital relationships are absent. For millions of children, abnormality is normality. There are fewer and fewer clear lines of authority in the home.
Increasingly, the liberals, libertarians and leftists have redefined love, sex and marriage. The media has portrayed crooked as straight…perversion as purity…and prudence as prudery.
And we can certainly expect the whole issue of “bedroom politics” to play a large role in this year’s elections.
As a result of all of our marital and familial dysfunctionality, millions of children will live out their lives under the dark clouds of guilt, shame, self-doubt, inferiority, insecurity, fear, anger – and a legion of other personal, mental, emotional demons that will torment their lives.
3.Monetary Storms: It comes as no surprise to those of you reading this message that we are living under a dark economic cloud in America today. We have experienced relentless economic storms and financial recession for a number of years – with no clear end in sight. With our national debt off the charts…unemployment in double digits…bank failures and foreclosures…business bankruptcies – the economic weather forecast is not very optimistic for us, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But this same persistent cloud of economic pessimism is also hovering over much of the world. Most of Europe is struggling with the Euro as the universal currency for all of their member countries. Several countries are under such an ominous cloud of debt that they are in danger of complete economic collapse.
So whether in America or Europe, there is a dark cloud of economic uncertainty that is causing banks, investors and entrepreneurs to be cautious at best and pessimistic at worse.
And while both China and India are experiencing economic growth, they too are struggling with a declining growth curve for the first time in a decade. So while there has been an economic boom in much of the Asian realm, Africa is yet to gain much financial traction. Most of her millions continue to eek out a living in grinding poverty under corrupt, inept and self-serving governments – while living on the richest continent on the earth!
As these black economic clouds persist, there is a foreboding fear of a worldwide economic meltdown. But to the student of the Bible, that is no new news since Revelation 18 clearly predicts this global economic collapse before the Lord returns.
Now as never before, Christians need to get their priorities straight and their economic houses in order by not living on credit and living in debt. Only then can they live in the Son-shine of economic security.
4.Military Storms: The dark economic clouds hanging over Wall Street, Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue are causing a black cloud of suspicion to hover over the Pentagon. After winning the Cold War against both the Marxism of the former USSR and the Maoism of Red China, we have experienced a shift in our military mentality. We have increasingly accepted the criticism of our enemies that portrays America as a drum-beating/saber-rattling/gun-toting/trigger-happy/imperialist-aggressor nation – eager to go off to war…occupy…exploit…intimidate…dominate.
As a nation, we are still healing from the military and moral wounds of the Vietnam War in the past and our present wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The result is that some politicians and media moguls have championed America’s decline from being the world’s last superpower to a second-rate military machine devoid of machinery, muscle and resolve. This growing negative self-analysis has morphed into national self-doubt and self-loathing – resulting in an apologetic posture of retreat and defeat.
As a result of the dark clouds over our land, many Americans now salute our flag tenuously…recite our Pledge of Allegiance softly…sing our National Anthem quietly – often with limp hands hanging down rather than over our hearts with firmness and conviction! Far too many Americans have exchanged their belief in the American Dream for a national nightmare! This pessimism and negativity is only speeding our decline as a nation into a self-absorbed irrelevance. Because we have given up our self-esteem as a nation, we have less and less esteem in the eyes of the world. When we doubt ourselves, others will doubt us also!
5.Multicultural Storms: All of us know that the prejudice, pride and problems of racism will never fully be resolved this side of heaven. As the great multicultural melting pot of the world, America has become one of the most racially and culturally heterogeneous countries in history. Perhaps only India has more different classes, cultures, languages and dialects than America. And millions of these people from the Indian subcontinent are migrating our way – along with people from every other part of the globe. And all of them are bringing their different cultures, languages and religions with them.
Because of our rather porous border to the South, people of Latino origin now have become the majority minority ethnic group in America – surpassing African Americans. This has resulted in Spanish becoming the second language to English. And this ever-increasing influx of people from “South of the Border” will keep the “immigration” issue as a hot topic for politics and voting in the coming local and national elections.
But tougher immigration laws or total amnesty cannot fully solve the problem. The issue is not that strong fences need to be built along our borders – but high walls that need to come down in our hearts! That’s why I have preached for years: “Racism is a sin problem, not a skin problem.” As such, the only lasting answer to racism is reconciliation – not through laws but through love!
Spiritual peace is the only solution to racial prejudice. Or as Paul wrote about Jesus in the context of the Jew-Gentile conflict of his day: “He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace” (Eph. 2:14-15).
So as a nation, we can never blow away the dark and ugly clouds of racism and prejudice apart from Jesus Christ. Only in the Son-light of His love can racial reconciliation be lastingly healed.
6.Muslim Storms: Like ancient Israel, we must fully accept and embrace the “foreigners” and “aliens” living among us (Ex. 22:21; 23:9). Politically, legally and economically, they “…must be treated as one of our native-born.” Indeed, we are to “…love them as ourselves, for you were aliens…” (Lev. 19:33). In the past, one of the greatest ways that American’s uniqueness was demonstrated was through our ability to receive, embrace and fully assimilate immigrants from around the world into our country and culture.
But while all of these people were free to practice their own cultural mores and religions, over time most ultimately opted for some form of the Judeo-Christian faith that was already dominant in America – whether Catholic or Protestant. If they did not, they maintained a respect for the dominant “Judeo-Christian American Religion & Culture” that had embraced them.
Now all of that has changed – especially through the growing influx of Islam. While the majority of the millions of Muslims living in America are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, increasing numbers of them have secretly or openly embraced the more fundamental and militant forms of Islam that are fully committed to the establishment of a worldwide Caliphate and the imposition of Sharia Law upon every citizen.
If Muslims are true to the Koran, they have to be committed to their mandate of seeking to bring the entire world under the crescent of Islam – whether through conversion or Jihad. This Islamic vision has not changed since Mohammed first proclaimed it and promulgated it on the Arabian Peninsula in the 5th Century. Since then, country after country has forcefully come under Islam and Sharia. Today, they have effectively Islamicized Europe through immigration and procreation until it is being called “Eurasia.”
Now their sights are on America. Faithful Muslims are not just here to enjoy the benefits and blessings of America. They are here to Islamicize America and exchange democracy for a Muslim Caliphate. Then the Laws of the 10 Commandments that we once lived by will be changed for Sharia Law – where all “rights” are biased for Muslims and against everyone else – especially Christians and Jews.
Obviously, Islam’s systemic hatred of the Jews and the Nation of Israel will continue to impact America’s foreign policy in the Middle East. Will we continue to boldly stand with Israel as our greatest ally in that tumultuous region of the world, or will we turn our backs on Israel as so many other nations have? More than any other issue, our national future rests on that decision.
So for those of us who are awake, we have seen this growing Islamization of country after country in the so-called “Arab Spring.” While these spontaneous movements started as a grass-roots longing after more freedom, human rights and democracy, they have been largely hijacked by Islamic Radicals. Will democracy win the day – or will fundamental Islam? True Islam and democracy are opposites. Authentic Islam is a theocracy – not a democracy. So with the growing imposition of Sharia Law, the “Arab Spring” has become a “Democratic Winter” as the dark and dangerous clouds of Islam settle over country after country.
If you don’t think it can happen in America, look at the “7 Churches of Asia” that we read about in the New Testament. All are under the Islamic crescent today – and have been so for centuries! Wake up America!
7.Medical Storms: Perhaps the most recent storm to assault America is Obamacare – just upheld by the Supreme Court ruling this past Thursday. This latest landmark judicial decision will probably rival Roe vs Wade in its capacity to divide Americans – for years to come! And, it will certainly emerge as one of the major issues of the coming elections in November!
Almost every informed American agrees with the reality that there has to be some kind of systemic reform to our current medical system – which is so dominated by the insurance industry. Today, an unexpected major illness, medical costs and catastrophic health care can financially break an individual or family for the rest of their lives. No one but the super-rich can afford to pay the medical costs or insurance premiums for sickness, surgery and prolonged hospital stays. It’s an impossibility for the average citizen.
Also, we all understand the plight of the uninsured or under-insured. For them, the emergency rooms of our hospitals across America are their “free medical treatment.” The ER becomes their personal doctor’s office. By law, no person can ever be turned away from an ER and refused medical treatment – whether or not they have money or insurance. They must be given medical treatment. And the rest of us tax payers pay for their medical bills – which are passed on to us through higher hospital costs and increased insurance premiums.
This is an especially personal issue for Patt and me since our son, Jonathan, is a doctor and the Director of our local hospital ER. We watch him struggle with these medical issues every day as a Christian doctor!
That’s why some form of National Health care has been an idealistic liberal dream for decades. Our growing “entitlement mentality” has reinforced the sentiment: “Let the Government take care of this problem!” We have given our President and elected officials the authority to extend their long reach into our hospitals and manage our health care for us – by the fiat of legislation.
But is socialized medicine the best way to go – like Europe and other countries have had for decades? Or, is our existing system of privatized medicine still the best? If so, how do we realistically reform it to the degree that we will continue to have the best medical treatment in the world – which is still the envy of the world?! How do we keep our current doctor’s offices and hospitals from becoming cold, hard, impersonal “medical machines” driven by the bottom line of profit – not health? The answers to these questions will impact yours and my medical treatment for the rest of our lives.
8.Ministry Storms: Finally (for now), all of these preceding storms over America are also over the church in general and Christians in particular. Since we are an integral part of America numerically and politically, we are not immune from these “storms of life.” So the same dark clouds that hover over the White House also hover over our house!
The more we encourage or allow this growing over-reach of bigger and bigger government into every area of our lives, the more freedoms we lose in the process. Soon “Big Brother” will have his dictating finger into every area of our lives!
If we legally let the President, Congress and Judiciary continue to extend their strong arm into everything from banks…to business…to schools…to medicine…to sports – it will also intrude into the church! In spite of our so-called “Separation of Church and State,” the State is increasingly asserting itself legally into our churches, synagogues and Christian organizations. The “fire wall of protection” that is supposed to keep Government out of the issues of faith and conscience has been breached. Already there have been test cases to dictate whom a church or Christian organization can hire or fire. And as would be expected, the issues of abortion and the rights and role of gays and lesbians in the church are the first phase of that intrusion. If the Government can ultimately dictate in areas of morality, it will soon do the same in the area of theology – dictating what we can and cannot preach.
So now as never before, the church must boldly – but lovingly, work, pray and vote against this growing intrusion and over-reach of Government in our lives. We must continue to live in the bright light of God’s Son-shine – rather than under the dark clouds of governmental intrusion and intervention!
In sharing these current “storms of life,” it is not my desire to “rain on your parade” or “dampen your celebration” this 4th of July! Through this political and spiritual weather forecast, I am not trying to provoke fear, hopelessness, hatred or a survival mentality.
I want you to know that I am not a political pessimist – but a Biblical realist. As such, I am an incorrigible optimist! That’s because I’ve read the last chapter. I know who is in control of all of these storms.
But I do want to be a bold and Biblical “watchman on the wall” crying out to American – starting with friends and partners like you. In this op ed, I want to answer what the Psalmist asked, “…what the righteous are to do when the foundations are being shaken.” We are to wake up…get up…stand up…mount up…read up…pray up…speak up…march up…vote up…love up – for God and country!
Obviously these coming elections in the fall will be pivotal. They will determine whether we continue down the path of socialism, relativism, welfarism – or whether we get back on course as the greatest democratic experiment in human history that has blessed more people than any other with freedom, opportunity, peace and prosperity!
So, Patt and I join with you in celebrating the Fourth of July with great thanksgiving and optimism through Christ!
May God Bless America and Make Her a Blessing to the World…
PS: If this resonates with your spirit as an American and Christian, please forward it to others on your email list. And for every gift of $20 or more to JLPF*, I want to send you a copy of my book, The Storms of Life, which I have recently rewritten and reprinted. It is a study of all of the major storms recorded in the Bible. I think you will find them personally and politically timely for the storms we are going through.
* In the note section please type 'The Storms of Life Book' or, if you prefer, please send a note with your donation to:
JL, Patt & Friends
P.O. Box 4066
Glen Raven, NC 27215