WHAT? I know. I am not the flower type, nor do I have a green thumb, for some reason, I am very intrigued with this story I learned at a gathering in Saddleback with a focus group of AA 2nd gen leaders. That is another blog in itself.
This incident really caught my attention:
One of my AA brothers told of a gardening story. He had the urge to plant Madevilla flowers. As a person who knows nothing about it, I quickly grabbed my smart phone to google it. Apparently, it has this very sweet fragrance that attracts bugs of all kinds. These are the bugs you don’t want flying and crawling around in your garden. He continues his story by researching that you had to feed the flower some kind of special fertilizer that had an insecticide ingredient. Normally, I would have just CUT THE PLANT down and END OF STORY!
Or like smart people, you would buy some Insecticide spray at Home Depot, but this flower is sensitive, and it will kill the bug, and the flower.
Lesson 1: Interesting in John 15, Jesus said we must abide in Him, and you will bear much fruit. (Jn 15:5). I was thinking about this. Many Christians want to just spray off the bugs in their lives where it be – troubles, transgressions, or trials. But the bugs keep coming back and it causes the plant to be unhealthy. there is no quick solution to this, you need to be FED with the right diet. The flower takes in the fertilizer laced with some insecticide properties, and it travels through the veins to the flower, where the flower will release the sweet fragrance and the repellent to the insects. WOW! isnt that a cool fact?!
The story continues…
The Mandevilla Flower loves to CLIMB. It has vine climbing characteristics. Our friend continues to share that he planted the flower into the ground near a wall with a trellis, hoping it climbs up the wall. Well – after some time, IT WOULDN’T CLIMB! So google helped him again… apparently, the flower was exerting all its energy digging roots. You need to plant it in a specified pot to contain its roots, so then it can expend energy growing UPWARD and bear fruit.
Lesson 2: As you can see this is why I am blogging all this. This illustration is packed with symbolism of the Christian walk with God. Do we know of people who just love to read, study, read, study the Word of God, and yet has no growth or bears fruits? I find them all the time. They know so much (we call them egg heads), and there is no fruit. We need to have balance, or boundaries. The Madevilla Flower, if left unchecked, will focus on growing roots, but not on bearing fruit and climbing up – what it was designed to do. Where am I going — we are God’s workmanship designed for good work (Eph 2:10). Our over focus of scholasticism may cause us to grow the wrong way.
I hope this botany lesson has helped you. It’s helping me learn a little more of where I am and where God is inviting me to do at this moment . How about you?
From the PEW Research Center…
Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success, according to a comprehensive new nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center….
—- the article continues with more stats, bolstering the “awesomeness” of what AA are achieving across the board socio-economically, financially, academically, etc…
HOWEVER, right in the middle of the article, the RELIGIOSITY description reports this….
“The religious identities of Asian Americans are quite varied. According to the Pew Research survey, about half of Chinese are unaffiliated, most Filipinos are Catholic, about half of Indians are Hindu, most Koreans are Protestant and a plurality of Vietnamese are Buddhist. Among Japanese Americans, no one group is dominant: 38% are Christian, 32% are unaffiliated and 25% are Buddhist. In total, 26% of Asian Americans are unaffiliated, 22% are Protestant (13% evangelical; 9% mainline), 19% are Catholic, 14% are Buddhist, 10% are Hindu, 4% are Muslim and 1% are Sikh. Overall, 39% of Asian Americans say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 58% of the U.S. general public.”
ONLY 22% are Protestant professing Christians! What are your thoughts on this? Read on …. The Rise of Asian Americans | Pew Social & Demographic Trends.
Dr. Page’s Exec Committee report
6/19, Tuesday, 9:25am (backstage 8:45am) ; 4 min + Q/A
Tonight was rehearsal run for giving a testimony at the SBC conference 2012 in New Orleans. I had the privilege of sharing the impact of the cooperative giving program on my life. Met new friends who will do the same. Great, inspiring stories. Feel free to read through the manuscript.
Greetings, to the Southern Baptist family!! My wife, Hannah, and I stand here today to express our forever gratitude of your continual sacrifices, through your ministries of compassion, and relentless prayers. My family— has been a recipient of the cooperative giving program. More than just helping us plant a church, the SBC family has contributed so much more, and I can only describe our gratitude with a story of ‘FAITH’.
It is the impact of FAITH which would eventually lead us to partner with others towards a 2nd generation Asian American church, in the one of the most densely populated regions of the US – LA. The 2010 US census has reported that Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority group – surpassing that of the Hispanic population at 43.2% since 2000.
The word “FAITH”, to some of you, is probably understood in light of Hebrews 11, but for me… “Faith” has a FACE. It is the NAME of the family from this little town of Owensboro, KY during the Vietnam War. You see, Mr. and Mrs. Faith were challenged by their pastor in this rural area to GIVE, SACRIFICE their time, and FINANCES to adopt a family of 8 Vietnamese refugees after the Fall of Saigon. It was families like these, along with other SBC churches, who had NOTHING to do with the war — yet had everything to do with sharing the Gospel of Christ through their love to a foreign culture. My mother was one of those 8. Little did they realize, Mr. and Mrs. Faith were investing into a future generation of church planting.
It was because of the un-repayable acts of kindness that communicated God’s unconditional, redemptive love to my mother who spoke no English.
Later, it was because of the SBC ideology and missional joy of planting immigrant churches with my father in Dallas, TX to engage refugees. In turn, they loved and nurtured their children into believing in Gospel expansion. The SBC family, through their hospitality and kindness, helped this church bring salvation to this young man standing here today. And I AM a proud to be a VIETNAMESE-TEXAN (show pix) – I love both PHO and BBQ!
It was also the SBC family who inspired this young man to go to one of the finest institutions at Golden Gate Baptist seminary – where his father graduated before him. While in his first class – INTRO TO MISSIONS – his professor – Don Overstreet – one of the state’s church planting strategist pulled this young man aside to tell him he was “destined” to church planting…. “NO I WASN’T, This old man must be crazy. I’m going to drive my BMW and wear my Hawaiian shirt!” But this old man was wiser than me — I have been in the church planting context ever since.
And it was the SBC family who resourced this young man, through the North American Mission Board to plant a church in LA. And by some great miracle of God, they were able to give birth to another church plant this past June….
I never had the chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Faith, only stories told by my mother. But, I know there are so many families out here today, across America – who are just like Mr. and Mrs. Faith, and you never heard your grand children say … “THANK YOU!”
Dr. Page, —- it was more than the actual dollar amounts that made an impact with my family on investing to church planting. The cooperative giving was only an outward expression of the personal lives like Mr. and Mrs. Faith, who saw a bigger vision than their immediate local church in Owensboro, KY.
Mr. President and the SBC family, it was people like Mr. and Mrs. Faith, along with our fine seminaries with nurturing mentors and professors, and mission agencies like NAMB who invested into the life of this young Vietnamese-Texan. And that has made ALL the difference in helping him see a bigger vision in reaching out to the fastest growing demographics in the US.
All we have is our forever, indebted gratitude. Thank you SBC family… Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Faith.
Watch the video.
How many of you have ever in your life at one time or another learned John 3:16 by heart? One of the reasons this verse is so widely memorized and so deeply loved is that it is such a remarkably full summary of the gospel.
The Four “D’s” of the Gospel I am dividing it into four parts that make a natural presentation of the gospel. Four “D’s.”….
I was teaching in my class at CBU, and we used a concept by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great. Now – can we apply this to our church context? Of course we can… this article has a wonderful summary of how we can.
In his landmark bestseller book Good to Great, Jim Collins lays out the now-famous hedgehog principle. It’s the idea that everyone, every organization, has a “sweet spot” that serves as the intersection of three circles.
Many organizations spend lots of energy chasing too many ideas and initiatives…. Read More: Applying the Hedgehog Principle to Church Communications | TonyMorganLive.com.