Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

From Whom All Blessings Flow

Growing up in the Episcopal Church, the Doxology was an oft-sung hymn of praise. Even now, its sacred refrain and familiar melody provide a place of center and focus in my ever-changing world. I recall a heavenly moment in Jamaica when a visiting team gathered in our new dining hall in the building below our apartment to conduct their morning devotions. Concluding with the Doxology, their unaccompanied voices resonated in the unfurnished hall, and the celestial sound echoed out of the open windows of the cement-blocked building. It seemed as if heaven itself joined their voices, as praises to God rang out across New Vision’s acreage. It was a holy moment.

At New Vision City of Refuge, we enjoyed the diverse ministry teams of college students and youth groups, construction workers and homemakers, teachers and mechanics. Although most teams were from our own fellowship, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, and Methodists were also among our visitors. Interestingly, even though each group preferred a particular style of music, the one song that everyone knew was the Doxology. Seemingly, when personality and preferences may conflict and divide, sacred anthems effectively transcend and unite.

I have been devoting much of my time recently meditating on the Doxology. When I consider the changes and transitions God is leading my family through, I need the Doxology to focus my attention on praise and adoration of the Holy One who transcends time and eternity. Recently, the Lord has made it clear to us that our season of ministry in Jamaica has concluded. I pray you understand what a difficult time we have had accepting this; we are grieving our loss.

However, the Lord has not left us without hope or direction. We are now preparing to reach the orphans and students of our neighboring country as missionaries to Mexico. I fervently ask that you continue to pray and support us through this challenging transition. We have much to accomplish before language school starts on August 26, in Costa Rica. Within the next few days, we are traveling to Jamaica to retrieve our personal belongings, sell our furniture, and say goodbye to our beloved New Vision family. Upon our return to Indiana, we will only have two days to pack for language school. We need you now more than ever.

I am so thankful for the magnificent God that we serve and for the Body of Christ; for no matter where we are in the world, right now we can all join and sing:

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow

Praise Him, all creatures here below

Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Call

The Call, written by Regina Spektor for the movie Prince Caspian is a stirring anthem played at the end of the movie when the Pevensie children leave Narnia, some for the last time. Others though, leave knowing they shall return, eventually.

Interestingly, Spektor’s reference to battle and the war in her song is possibly a metaphor expressing the inner conflict between leaving a place of familiarity and entering a world you always longed for or desired. This desire, described in the opening verse begins as a feeling, grows into a hope, turns into thought, and then turns into a quiet word which ultimately grows louder and louder, ‘til it becomes a battle cry. In other words, the call to Narnia (and relationship with Aslan) becomes so strong it cannot be ignored only obeyed.

In our travels and speaking engagements, many have asked about our call to missions. Personally, I have never had a call to missions or to a particular country, per say. Rather, I describe my call as a call to obedience; Jesus said, “Come follow me,” and so I did, to the best of my ability. Hence, Stuart and I obeyed God’s call and four years ago, we followed Jesus to Jamaica.

Last year, when our family parted with our New Vision family we tried not to say “Goodbye,” but rather “We’ll be back as soon as we can.” However, Stuart and I have been in holding pattern, waiting for the call to return to Jamaica. Waiting is often not an easy discipline, but since it is our desire to complete what we began in Jamaica by serving the children and students of New Vision City of Refuge and the Assemblies of God Bible College we wait. We are confident that the Lord is the only one in control of our lives and the timing of our return.

In the meanwhile, we consider the words of Spektor’s song, especially the final verse.

Now we're back to the beginning
It's just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can't feel it too
Doesn't mean that you have to forget

Let your memories grow stronger and stronger
'Til they're before your eyes
You'll come back
When they call you
No need to say goodbye

You'll come back
When they call you
No need to say goodbye

Friday, May 29, 2009

First Honors

Dorothy Sayers’ observations on the presence of women in Jesus’ life and ministry are insightful and accurate. “Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man - there has never been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them; never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them . . .

“Who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them; never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious.”

Correspondingly, the Gospel writers portray Jesus as unusually compassionate and sensitive towards women. Indeed, the incarnate Christ validated and respected women; never treating them as inferior or unfairly. We find in the Bible, a God who entrusts women with great responsibility and bestows on them the honor of many firsts.

Women were first at the cradle of Jesus. When confronted by the angel with the promise of the Christ-child, Mary believes the word of the Lord and humbly accepts this responsibility. This is no small matter. The Sovereign Lord could have chosen to allow the incarnate Christ to appear out of nowhere. Yet instead he chose to entrust a young Jewish girl with carrying his Son the Messiah, and raising him as well.

Later in life, Jesus travels through Samaria. Resting at a well he initiates a conversation with a woman in the middle of the day. Notably, the spiritual content of the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is no less weighty than Jesus’ conversation with the rabbinically trained Nicodemas the chapter before. For her part the Samaritan woman asks some very spiritually perceptive questions and Jesus responds thoughtfully.

Jesus deems the Samaritan woman capable of comprehending and assimilating deep spiritual truths. Truths that prompt her to tell those in her town about Jesus and subsequently many believe. A Samaritan woman is her country’s first evangelist.

Women were also the first to arrive at Jesus’ tomb. They were the first to witness the resurrection, the first commissioned to go and tell, “He is not here, he has risen!”What a great honor God bestowed on women by commanding them to be the first preachers of the resurrection.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus modeled for us how to respect and value women for he knows their worth.

Why is it then that domestic violence affects 25% of the female population worldwide? Why is it then that 80% of Jamaica’s children are born out of wedlock? Why is it then that 3 million girls are at risk each year for female genital mutilation? Why is it then that human trafficking is the third most profitable criminal activity around the globe? Church, this should not be.

The value and worth God places on women is undeniable. But let me be perfectly clear, to validate and respect women is not to invalidate or disrespect men. Women and men together reflect the image of God, and in Christ, we share an immeasurable inheritance. All I ask Church is that we continue to do what Jesus began. For I believe how we treat women is a reflection of our relationship with and our understanding of God.

At New Vision City of Refuge we strive to model for and teach our young girls their value and worth in God’s eyes. Many have been abused and deal with the effects of abandonment. But with the healing power of the Holy Spirit, and your prayers and support, we can open their eyes to their God-given value and worth.

Imagine their potential.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Missionary Spirit

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit powerfully descended upon the awaiting faithful, in response to a promise given by Jesus prior to his ascension. In a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit . . . [and] you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. The nature of that power remarkably makes Jesus’ disciples effective witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Although it is tempting to believe that Jesus’ commission to all nations is a new development in the missio Dei, it is not. The mission of God has always included the nations beyond the called and faithful remnant. What is new is the promise of power to expedite the mission.

This power though, is not the consequence of an inanimate energy source but rather the manifestation of the Spirit of Christ. No less than the abiding presence and power of the Holy Spirit is adequate to accomplish this exceptional mission to all nations.

To accept the gift of the Spirit as they did at Pentecost and throughout Acts, necessitates an intentional missions objective, for the purpose of Pentecost is to clothe believers with power to be witnesses to all the nations. For a believer to claim to be filled with the Spirit and yet have no inclination for the mission of Jesus is at the very least a contradiction of reason and at most a travesty of purpose. To ask for the baptism of the Holy Spirit intrinsically implies that the recipient of the gift accepts the mission, the method, and the power to go to the ends of the earth!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Friday, April 10, 2009

It is Finished

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No April Fool

Stuart and Wendy, Paul and Dulcie, Jordan and Becky

When Stuart and I returned to the States to raise our support, the Lord provided two exceptional couples to continue the ministry at New Vision City of Refuge. Jordan and Becky Yoder served as farm manager and registered nurse, respectively. On April 1, Jordan and Becky will complete their term of service and return home. Thank you Jordan and Becky for your hard work and sacrifice. You have been a tremendous blessing to us, the Bushhorn family, and the staff and children at New Vision City of Refuge Children’s Home.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fasting and Freedom

Lent is a season of prayer and intentional fasting. As we know, fasting is a discipline that well--takes discipline. For those of us who enjoy three meals a day and a few snacks whenever we please, then fasting can be a disruption to a pleasant and desirable routine. Nevertheless, the fruit of fasting is rewarding in numerous ways.

The people of Isaiah’s day also fasted and anticipated God’s appropriate response to their self-denial. However, the Lord seemed ambivalent and inattentive to their actions. Why have we fasted and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?

Contrary to their belief, God did notice but was displeased at their display, for their fasting opposed God’s purposes. On the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers . . . your fasting ends in quarreling and strife . . . is this what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Their actions incurred an indictment instead of a reward, because their spiritual discipline did not connect their faith with their works.

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the bonds of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him? -Isaiah 58:6-7

God is pleased with fasting that provides a home for the homeless, shares food with the hungry, and sets the captive free! When we fast, truly fast, we become aware not only of our own need but also of the needs of the suffering and desolate around us. Furthermore, the fruit of fasting causes us to do something about it. Our faith must determine our work.

Officials estimate that there are 14,000 homeless children on the small island of Jamaica. Many of these children left home because of abuse. Most will beg or scrounge for food to survive today, and many do not have an extra change of clothes. As we fast this Lenten season, let us remember with compassion the displaced children of Jamaica, for only when we choose to recognize the suffering will we also participate in relieving it.

At New Vision City of Refuge Children’s Home, we have not only considered the plight of the mistreated, we are doing something about it. Please prayerfully consider a financial gift to the home or become a sponsor of a child on a monthly basis so that together we may put our faith to work and loose the chains of injustice.

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he well say: Here am I. -Isaiah 58:8-9

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Good Investment

The economic conditions of today have forced many to evaluate and reconsider the way they spend, save, and invest their resources. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The Lord is our source and provider of our means, therefore it is our Christian responsibility to review our spending habits and judge the appropriateness of our purchases and investments. However, even in these tough economic times, we believe our ministry is a good investment.

The Mission of New Vision City of Refuge is simple: We strive to provide a home for needy children in a loving, Christ-centered, disciplined environment. We desire to witness the evidence of transformed lives through training, nurturing, and mentoring. Finally, we endeavor to raise up a generation of productive citizens for the community, the nation, and the church.

The return on this investment is immeasurable.

A total of $150 is needed each month to take care of one child. Your support enables New Vision City of Refuge to provide benefits such as education, health care, housing, childcare, books, food and clothing. We are on a quest for six sponsors per child that can give $25/month. Of course, a monthly commitment of any amount is appreciated and if you desire, you may give more.

In addition to your financial support, your prayers will be of great value to ensure your sponsored child’s salvation and success in life. Please uphold them in prayer for their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

Though not required for sponsorship, a letter to your sponsored child from time to time will be a welcome blessing. You can speak words of life to your sponsored child in the months to come that will guide them on the path to becoming a man or woman of God and an asset to His Kingdom.

To get started simply click Sponsor a Child under the links section to the right or follow this link:

To give a one-time donation click here: be sure to note New Vision in the comments section.