A church of mercy and love
February 14, 2016

I just finished reading most of Pope Francis’ book The Church of Mercy. It is rich in spiritual teaching. Except for a few comments about the Virgin Mary the book could have been written by any Brethren in Christ bishop!

Pope Francis deals with fundamental biblical and Anabaptist themes, such as simplicity, radical obedience to God, witness, love, peacemaking, meeting human need, and rejecting the false values of our culture.

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Here are a few comments from page 19 on the subject of Being with Christ:

“Jesus does not say, Go off and do things on your own. No! Jesus says, Go, for I am with you.”

“If we go out to bring his Gospel with love…he goes ahead of us, and he gets there first. As we say in Spanish, nos primerea.”

“This is fundamental for us: God is always ahead of us! When we think about going far away, to an extreme outskirt, we may be a bit afraid, but in fact God is already there. Jesus is waiting for us in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded bodies, in their hardships, in their lack of faith.”


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This reality builds peace in us and prepares us for faithful service in every situation.

To my blog readers, have you read any of Pope Francis’ writings? If so, what are your thoughts?

Thinking about God
January 29, 2014

Last Sunday we attended New Joy Brethren in Christ Church in Ephrata, PA, where I spoke on missions vision and the work of Brethren in Christ World Missions. In the song time we sang a song that was new to me (where have I been?) and that resonated with my view of God.

The song is Sovereign by Chris Tomlin and others. In it we worship God as ultimate sovereign, not in some icy distant sense, but as a loving, sustaining God whom we can trust fully because of his unfailing love.

Sovereign in the mountain air
Sovereign on the ocean floor
With me in the calm
With me in the storm

Sovereign in my greatest joy
Sovereign in my deepest cry
With me in the dark
With me at the dawn

In your everlasting arms
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust you

In your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way
I will trust you

This song fits with what we learn about God in the Bible and with the way I am experiencing God in my life.

Trip to Ontario, Canada
October 29, 2009

We went to Ontario on October 23-26 to participate in a Missions Conference at the Wainfleet Brethren in Christ Church, where Charlie Mashinter is the senior pastor.
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Trip to London – Sunday, September 27
September 29, 2009

This morning we went to Hollingbury Hotel to have a chat with two of the men who sit at the front desk. It was good to catch up with them again. One of them has completed his law exams and will be looking for a job in his field.
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London Journal – Sunday, October 19, 2008
October 21, 2008

Today we set out for East London to attend the service of the Forest Gate Church, where Elias Moyo is the pastor.
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London Journal – Thursday, October 16, 2008
October 20, 2008

People have different abilities, interests and passions, and all these things equip each person for the unique role that individual can fill in society and, for believers, in the kingdom of God.
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Thinking about Conversion
May 18, 2008

Conversion – turning to God in repentance and putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ – is a prominent theme in the New Testament.

In November 2006 the Sider Institute held a conference on “Salvation: Exploring the Meaning of Conversion” at Grantham, PA. The planners asked me to give some reflections on conversion, based on my years as a Christ-follower, pastor and bishop. Here are those reflections.
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A Life Transformed
January 8, 2008

I have now completed writing the faith story of Ganesh Shah, from Nepal, whom I met in India in November 2007. His story follows… (more…)

Exploring India
December 1, 2007

In November I was part of a 5-person team that visited four states in India to learn about the work of Brethren in Christ Churches and missional outreach.

My report follows.

Report on Pastor’s Vision Trip to India
November 13-28, 2007
Report by John B. Hawbaker

The trip leader was Ken Hoke. The participating pastors were Mike Holland (pastor of a Hispanic Church in York Springs, and Mobilization Coordinator for BIC World Missions), Michael Yoder (Pastor of the Millersville Church), Ben Newton (Pastor of Young Adults and Outreach at Manor) and I. (more…)