International Travel Tips

April 27, 2018

By Walker Moore
Awestar Ministries

I have spent a good portion of my adult life traveling internationally. As summer approaches, many church groups and individuals are hard at work raising money, applying for passports and getting visas as they prepare to serve overseas. Getting everything together is not easy, I know; I have led thousands of students to the four corners of the world. And I have made more mistakes and bloopers in these journeys than most of you have ever considered.

In other words, I have learned a thing or two about international travel that might benefit those who are preparing for a mission trip, and I thought I would share some of them with you. I can guarantee you won’t find these thoughts anywhere but here. Here are “Walker Moore’s Top 12 Plus 2 International Travel Tips.”

1) Do not eat a fiber bar or drink a Big Gulp carbonated beverage before leaving on a 10-hour flight, especially if turbulence is predicted.

2) If you can, avoid the aisle seat next to the airplane restroom—unless you’re homesick for the family farm.

3) Please do not try to raise the windows after the plane takes off.

4) Don’t tie a yellow or orange piece of yarn around the handle of your suitcase. You may not realize it, but 300 other passengers on your flight did the same thing.

5) If you drool when you sleep, bring along a dry washcloth. On my last flight, the guy next to me used one to get all the drool off his shirt after he woke up. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was the one who drooled on him.

6) No matter how high your hotel is rated, always subtract two stars. Residents of a third-world country would rate Motel 6 as a five-star establishment.

7) Always check to see if your hotel is hosting some type of event during your stay. You might find yourself in the middle of a yodeling or ukulele convention.

8) Calling 911 in a foreign country will only get you room service, a goat or a woman named Helga.

9) If your mission work takes you to a remote place, and you find yourself sleeping in a hammock, make sure you know which is the “enter” and which is the “exit” side. Get them mixed up, and you will find yourself on the ground in a hurry. (I learned this tip from Marti Pieper.)

10) Always carry your own toilet paper unless the outhouse is a two-holer, in which case you might be able to borrow some.

11) As you enter a country, don’t try to high-five customs agents who are carrying weapons.

12) In an international location, there is no such thing as a soundproof wall. You will hear every cricket chirping and rooster crowing outside, but those don’t compare to Grandma, snoring at the other end of the building.

13) Every souvenir shop in the world buys its merchandise from the same store in China, TrinketsRUs. The best souvenirs are the friendships and the memories.

14) When everything goes wrong, and it will, pray. I hereby grant permission to use my favorite prayer: “Lord Jesus, come quickly.”

If you’re preparing to leave on an international mission trip, let me remind you: Nothing looks like what you’ve seen in the brochure. Mission work is difficult, and many challenges lie ahead. If you don’t believe me, look what happened to the group who used the Apostle Paul Travel Agency:  

Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked (2 Cor. 11:24-27).

Doing real mission work involves embracing the difficulties, the differences and the disappointments. Enduring jet lag, travel sickness, language difficulties, rough roads and customs just to tell one person about Christ—is it worth it? You had better believe it.

I could give you many more tips about traveling and living internationally, but the best tip is to make sure you are prayed up, your pride is in check and your heart is right before God. He will take you and make you a light on a hill so others can see His glory.

Occupy Evangelicalism

April 26, 2018

By Rev. Thomas Littleton

In this decade, we have witnessed a wave of invaders into the West. Hordes of refugees, illegal aliens, sexual minorities, and various victims of injustice are currently invading our lands and our institutions.  We find very little in these movements to be organic once the media deems them newsworthy. Driven by politics, globalism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism, and activism, every latest cause is wrapped in the appropriate tone and marketed with fervor – complete with compulsory compliance and emotional conditioning. The invasion of our cultural institutions has become a national mandate. Why then should
we think the Church exempt from these forces and those whose outside interests are served by them?

Movements Become Institutions

Some of these movements become Institutions themselves, or at least remain as “occupying forces,” establishing themselves as “permanent reminders” of the “injustices our institutions have long perpetuated” (Although permanence may only be as sustainable as the funding and media attention).  One such force that took up residence in the collective view has been “Black Lives Matter,” which has now taken in a reported $100 million dollars to maintain its presence. Another shorter lived effort was “Occupy Wall Street,” which began September 2011 to protest “global economic inequality” on the doorstep of the American financial district.

Perhaps because busy news cycles coupled with short American attention spans demand attention grabbing headlines, most of these movements eventually fade or become rancid from the very corruptions, lawsuits, and inequalities of the giants they set out to protest. In the Church, we have seen a slightly different species of these movements because theological limitations in the past easily exposed those who depart Christian orthodoxy for progressive mantras like Social Justice and Income Inequality. Yet today we see a new occupying force that has taken hold like a hardy weed in the Evangelical garden.  In Biblical terms it is like the enemy who crept into the field undetected and sowed Tares (Weeds), as informed by Jesus’ parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matt 13:24-30). The result is that harvesting the envisioned bounty of the Field sown by the Lord of the Harvest becomes problematic once the Weeds have sprung up. The Lord does have a remedy for this predicament, but it is not a pleasant one for the Weeds.

The common misperception is that the Field has been neglected or there is no problem with the presence of the Weeds among the precious Wheat. This is not an accurate assessment at all. Today Evangelicals ARE becoming aware of the work of the Enemy in God’s Field. We have begun to see the false grain as the crop appears in the light of day, per vs 26-27 of the parable. These unusable, disowned, vulgar looking and tasting plants are not just a few easily removed weeds scattered here and there.  They have become an OCCUPYING FORCE IN EVANGELICALISM.

Five Clear Signs of The Weed Occupation

Nothing has done more to reveal the Weeds in the Evangelical Church than President Obama’s courtship and patronage of the Faith Community.

Sign 1. The Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships carried over from the President George W.Bush years easily attracted the garden variety Weeds out of their proverbial earthy closets as a host of Evangelicals joined the President and massive amounts of tax and stimulus dollars in the melting pot of inter-faith common ground for the common good feeding frenzy. The concerns for co-mingling the mission of the Church and endangering religious freedom were of NO consideration for the Pastor Weed and Professor Compost, who has been poisoning Evangelical theology to grow more Weeds in his seminary.

Sign 2. Early in the President Obama years the brazen language of “Third Way” politics entered the Field to secure the interests of the Occupation Forces. Chanting a unified mantra “Evangelicals are too political,” the Weeds adapted the Third Way political strategy of Centrism – trying to reconcile Right Wing and Left Wing politics by advocating a variable synthesis of Center Right economic and Center Left social policies. Third Way Evangelicalism only differs from Third Way politics in that Occupying Evangelicalism forces
are trying to reconcile Progressive political /social views with Conservative Orthodox theology. Quite a clever and, sadly, effective approach. Third Way: Come Let Us Reason Together: A Governing Agenda to End the Culture Wars

The Trump Panic
Nothing has caused more desperation in the Weed bed than the prospect of and decisive election of Donald J Trump as the US President. The Evangelical Weeds have been on a tear, pardon the pun, to reverse the damage done by the “sinful Evangelicals” in God’s garden who dared to vote for such a man as Trump.

Sign 3. The media blitz is currently in full swing as Next Gen/Weeds join a chorus of Old Guard/Compost producers calling out the sin of the evil Evangelical Conservative voter. In the following interview, an aging spokesperson for weed seed factory, The Gospel Coalition (TGC),pitches the talking points to an ABC news anchor. Evangelical leader Collin Hansen believes we live in 'a culture full of fear and loathing

Sign 4. TGC MLK/ 50 Conference featured the chosen language of the Tares to communicate its message through victim narratives of Cultural Marxist highlighting advocacy for LGBTQ, Refugees, Illegals and, of course, Racial Identity politics. The video above promoted TGC event the MLK/ 50 Conference in Memphis . TGC has provided many of the false guilt producing videos of MLK/50 on race baiting, white privilege repenting, reparations advocacy, income inequality mantra, all in Liberation Theology echo chamber, and hateful Weedy finger pointing. For those with a strong stomach, you can follow on to the next weeks Together 4 the Gospel 2018 for more of the same.

Sign 5. When things get really tough, call for a special meeting on the down-low, by invitation only Tares to “Discuss the future of Evangelicalism after Trump.” Janet Mefferd dubbed this meeting “The Bilderberg Group attempts to save Evangelicalism.”  We are not sure who appointed this Weed and Compost Committee or if they have simply taken it upon themselves to decide our futures.  The reality is God does tend His Garden and these men and women ought to seriously consider whose planting they are. Though the Lord of the Harvest allows the Wheat and Tares to grow together, they do not have the same end. True repentance – as opposed to fake repentance driven by Third Way Cultural Marxism / Social Science spin – can still change a human heart and destiny.

Southern Baptist Lobbying Group Silent on Religious Liberty Threat in California Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission not living up to Religious Liberty part of name; Russell Moore fiddles while religious liberty burns

April 25, 2018

By Alan D. Atchison

Ethics and Religious Liberty President Russell Moore and the Southern Baptist organization committed to our liberty has been strangely silent as numerous Christian leaders and religious liberty organizations announced the threat to Christians from a new legislative move in California. Assembly Bill 2943 would seriously curtail Christian voices regarding the power of Christ to deal with LGBTQ desires. Specifically, the bill would ban exchange of funds for counseling, books, conferences, etc. that would attempt to change orientation, behavior or identity.

From the frontlines of the religious liberty fight came this disturbing revelation—the ERLC despite being aware of the California legislation since early April, has done nothing to raise awareness on the issue among rank-and-file Southern Baptists. The committee approved the bill on April 3 with approval by the full house on April 19. The Alliance Defending Freedom released its analysis of the bill on March 8.

One leader in the fight against the California bill noted the ERLC’s lack of public response and pointed out the RL (Religious Liberty) part of the ERLC’s name is kind of a big deal and core to its existence.

Yet, the ERLC’s public channels of communication were shockingly quiet on the issue this month. The ERLC press releases in April included only the most critical of notices including the April 18 release, “Russell Moore delivers William E. and Carol G. Simon lecture on religion in American public life,” and the April 4 release, “Over One Million Dollars Raised for ‘MLK50 Dream Forward Scholarship Initiative.’” Lest anyone think the ERLC doesn’t put out press releases on important political matters, on Feb. 7 the ERLC released, “ERLC President Russell Moore Calls for Congress to Provide a Solution for Dreamers at Press Conference.”

 

Russell Moore has time for Dreamers, but not to fight for the religious liberty of American citizens living in California.This isn’t shocking. His ERLC has tweeted out George Soros immigration propaganda. 

While religious liberty dies in California, Russell Moore’s ERLC was busy promoting the racial demagoguery it celebrated at its Memphis conference (racialism soundly rejected by Christians of all races including leading evangelicals like the Just Thinking podcast and radio program). It also promoted prison reform. Dr. Moore even promoted progressive immigration policies supported by George Soros with an appearance on the Immigration Forum podcast.

A stunning show of feckless leadership.

The front page of the ERLC’s official website featured top stories including: How to protect your mission trip from abusers, The Future is Here: Artificial Intelligence and the changing workforce, 10 things that will kill your church’s orphan care ministry: part 1, Trial begins for the American pastor imprisoned in Turkey, Why good theology is the answer to bad technology, Purpose after prison: One man makes the most of his second chance, Why you should encourage your child to befriend the kid who’s ‘different,’ and When passions don’t pay: Trusting God with your work.

All good topics. Yet nothing from the ERLC about the need for a major response to what is happening in California.

On Dr. Moore’s personal twitter, he tweeted about racial issues, Superman and Barbara Bush over the last week, but again, the religious liberty crisis in California didn’t merit a response.

Even if the ERLC gets into the fight tomorrow, it will have wasted weeks while other Christians have toiled in the fight against the legislation.

Why was the ERLC silent for so long? Why was Dr. Moore quiet on religious liberty?

Was the ERLC too busy with its racial conferences to care about its core mission—religious liberty? Maybe Russell Moore and the ERLC are afraid to cross their friends at the New York Times and Washington Post? Are Southern Baptists sick of this dangerous leadership? If so, then it is time for change.

UPDATE: The ERLC finally has something posted yesterday, April 24. Remember, ADF posted their advisory on this issue on March 8, a total of 47 days earlier.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared at the Capstone Report and is used by permission.

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