“It will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them” (Matthew 25:14).  The question Jesus will ask when he returns is this: “What did you do with what I gave you?” We inherited the devil’s grasp, not the king’s release.  We need a conversion of the heart, so that rather than being owners we are stewards. When I once shared this with my children, nine-year old Karis, said, “What we have is not ours, it is God’s.” Right on, Karis!

Kendy and Joyce Parker took their stewardship literally.  We had been praying for a car because ours was getting old.  The Monday after our van died Joyce showed up at our home and said, “We feel led to give you our van.”  What was theirs became ours! Amazingly, even the Creator who owns it all does not say, “That’s mine.” He is pictured in the parable of the prodigal son as a good father who says, “All that is mine is yours.”  And Jesus, the heir of all, shares his inheritance with his family. The church takes its cue from the head and says, “Whatever you need from me is yours.”

When my wife’s niece moved from Chicago to Seattle, they had a sale, then gave the money to the poor.  Not that they were rich; they just have a heart for needy people. Those who live this way have a power that owners know nothing about, the power of love and release. A priest justified his indifference to the wounded man on the roadside, while an unlikely Samaritan could not pass by.  People like this are using their money to advance the kingdom, not their own cause. They are secure, because they have nothing to lose. They take risks because they are doing it for the King. They don’t go to bed worrying about the stock exchange; they think about the love of God and how well they are cared for. Capitalists can be insecure, because they stand to lose something, while the givers are always winning. Thieves can’t really enjoy their life, because they are trying too hard to find it.  The owners think they are enjoying themselves, but their self-love blocks the way to true joy. Stewards know about love. They give it away, and it is returned just as fast. They are the meek, and they inherit the earth. If you are an owner, pray for deliverance. Start giving away some accumulated goods, and seek the kingdom. Don’t assume if you are a Christian that you are a steward rather than an owner. Here’s a test:

  • What is more important, being comfortable or a comforter?
  • Have you given any big gifts lately?
  • How do you feel generally about victims?  Do you tend to be merciful or judgmental? Are you ever moved to help someone who has been victimized like our roadside friend in the Good Samaritan story?

Robber       What’s yours is mine. Owner.      I am my brother’s combatant.

Religious    What’s mine is mine. Owner.       I am my brother’s competitor.

Righteous   What’s mine is yours. Steward.   I am my brother’s keeper.


WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE.  “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead” (Lk.10:30).  The outlook of a thief:  If I can get it, I will. The robber is not his brother’s keeper; he’s his enemy.  They give abuse and shame. They take honor and peace and virginity. And they manage to muffle guilt and regret.

.WHAT’S MINE IS MINE.  “A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side” (Lk.10:31,32). Why didn’t these religious people stop?  Because they said, “What is mine is mine, my time, my money, my future. It does not belong to you.”  They were religious but not righteous. They heard the commandment to love God, but they didn’t love people. Therefore, they didn’t love God.

These are the capitalists in the world. We are going after things—and more things.  We bow the knee to the god of gold and seek to accumulate. The religious leaders insulated themselves from real need, a terrible deception.  Capitalism ultimately doesn’t work because of human nature. What we possess possesses us, and we embrace a money morality. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Actually, I am my brother’s competitor. That is a three-year old’s philosophy, but it is amazing how many people buy into it, and I do mean “buy”. I am not anti-American.  Given the condition of the human heart, capitalism is a realistic economic system. But the early church existed for a time with an outlook that looked more like communism. One problem of capitalism is that I don’t make a good owner.  I begin to worship possessions. God is the only true owner: “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Ps.24:1).

WHAT’S MINE IS YOURS.  “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have’” (Lk.10:33-35).  The Samaritan was responsibility to care for his brother. Why? Because he was a steward, not an owner. A steward manages what belongs to someone else. If the Creator owns it all, we are managers. The issue is not how much we can accumulate but how much we can care for as stewards of God’s riches.

Stewards are not clutching it, they are caring for it.  You know you are a steward if…

  • You get as excited about giving to a mission in China as getting a jacuzzi.
  • You wish you had more money to give away.
  • You see a need and you have a hard time not meeting it.
  • You get an inheritance and think first about whom you are going to help. Part 2 next!


She grew up in Japan. When her parents lit up and said, “We’re going home on furlough,” she and her siblings were confused. They thought they were home. Back in college, people inquired, “Where are you from?” She asked, “What do you mean?” They responded, “Simple question–where?” She asked, “Do you mean where was I born, where did I spend my childhood, or where have I lived the longest?” For kids with one culture, easy answer–not for third culture kids, like the children of diplomats or MKs (missionary kids).

Karen’s brother Mark thought he was Japanese until seven. When kids started calling him “Gaijin” (foreigner), he answered, “I’m Japanese.” He spoke like they did. They even corrected their parents when they pronounced things wrong. The fact that he was the only one with blond hair didn’t phase him, but they marked him as different. Ouch!  So when he “comes home” and doesn’t know American games, will he be laughed at here as well? Which culture will he be more comfortable with? Maybe an amalgam. Hence, third culture kids! The term is used to identify children who went with parents to another culture. TCKs are often bilingual–or multi-lingual. They have been called “global nomads” and “cultural hybrids.” They gain the gift of cross-cultural competence.

Karen’s brothers, Steve and Mark, both served as missionaries in Japan, Steve as a pastor and Mark as a professor at the seminary. When they returned to the States, Steve as well as sister Miriam worked as interpreters.  Mark is now a university professor and takes students to his “home” country on study tours. Karen has a Bible study for Japanese women–in Japanese!.

But the positives can bring liabilities, and some never adjust. They don’t know who they are or where they belong. They can’t answer the question, “Where’s home?” Call it cultural homelessness. Karen and I went to a Third Culture Kids conference at Bethel University. We walked into a small theatre-like room, where about fifty had gathered from around the country. We sat down and Karen began to cry. I asked, “What’s going on?” She responded, “These are all my relatives. They understand me.” I didn’t realize how deeply this phenomenon ran. I score points with Karen when I understand her international feelings, validate them, and allow her to be her Japanese self. I love her Japanese self.

Karen is slow to acknowledge herself as an American. She talks about “them” as “those people.”  When she meets Japanese, as she did recently at Lydia House Church, she lights up. She can pick out Japanese in a crowd of Asians without them saying anything. She knows their gestures, their ways of behaving. She lived there from age three to seventeen, highly formative years. After staying in our home for six months, a Japanese woman said, “Karen-san, you are more Japanese than I am.”

Why do I write this? I make too many assumptions. You probably do too. We know less than we think. Humility and mercy go a long way toward understanding, especially as the world shrinks and we need more cultural awareness. TCKs majored in it and can help us!. Better to approach life from a child’s viewpoint and ask more questions than giving answers. The learning curve for children is steep. It levels off with adulthood, and we quit asking questions–we give answers. Big mistake. Jesus asked a multitude of questions. Think of some.  Where did he learn that? From his Father. Read Job and a host of other places. God often asks questions to help us when we are stuck. He said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry?” He asked Cain, “Why are you angry?” He was trying to help him escape a disaster. I want to walk in humility, love, and understanding. Karen helps me do this.



–than John 3:16. Sound like heresy?  It’s heresy if their babies are dying from drinking crap water and all we give them is John 3:16. That can get them to heaven, but they will get there sooner than they want. One in five babies in Uganda won’t make it past five years old. If that happened in your family, they would call it infant abuse. They need more than John 3:16; they need 1 John 3:16. Throw in 17 and 18, verses that come against those who only love in word and speech but not in deed and truth.


The gospel to the poor lets “the oppressed go free.” It will “break every yoke” including the shackles of utter poverty (Isaiah 58:6). It calls followers of Jesus to “bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him” (7). It answers Cain’s sarcastic question: “Yes, you are your brother’s keeper.”


The Good Samaritan was called good not because of what he said but what he did: showing mercy to a man in misery. Religious people passed by, maybe on their way to church. That did not impress Jesus. The man religious folks would have called a bad samaritan had compassion on the victim, changed his own schedule to meet the need, and paid for it from his pocket. Jesus closed the gripping story by saying, “Go and do likewise,” with the emphasis on the DO. We not only preach the gospel; we do it!


Jesus echoed His Father’s love when He said, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied” (Luke 6:20,21). He urged his disciples when giving a party to “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:14).


The Bible throughout illustrates God’s special love for the least, the lowest, the last, and is full of commands to care for the poor: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8,9). “Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life” (Proverbs 22:22, 23). “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Proverbs 14:31). Throughout the Psalms the disadvantaged are given the edge by the Lord: “God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish” (Psalm 9:17,18).


Paul was exhorted by the apostles in Jerusalem not to forget the needs of the poor, and he wrote, “Which very thing I was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10). He directed Gentile Christians to take up a special offering for the poor in Jerusalem, for people who only a few years before had hated them.
Where we have neglected the needs of the poor, we ask God to have mercy on us. I say to my own shame that I missed it for years. Now that I get it, I want to help others get it!





You sure about that one?  Not what is needed now. You are not trying to represent God at this point, just allowing your friend to share. She needs to talk.



You do not understand. Just hear the full story. Try nodding and listening as best you can.



Don’t try to reason with someone going through incredible grief, who has been made to feel like a murderer, who feels like she can’t go on. This is NOT time to present reasonable answers or solutions. Do not see yourself as the advice-giver or the answer-person.




Don’t even ask questions, unless it is to keep her talking. Let her share anything she wants about her situation and sorrow. Don’t even think about critiquing her story or correcting any words, such as “fetus,” or “termination.”  She has probably had that from others, who offered advice or gave counsel for free, even when it was not requested.



Way to go. You understand that you can’t really grasp it.


GOD IS NEAR TO THE BROKEN-HEARTED. HE’S NEAR EVEN IF IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE IT.  Okay, if she has poured out her whole story and there’s no more coming, maybe it can be a time for hugs and words of comfort. Maybe! You could ask is she wants prayer. If she is open to touch, you could put your hand on her shoulder, or if you know her well and are a woman, on her heart. You might want to pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit, Who alone truly knows, understands, and deeply loves.



She needs hope. It may not be you, but it may come from you. Is there a ministry you know about that works with people who have gone through abortions and can walk through the healing process with them? If not, could you find one?



When you don’t know what to say or what to do, love will tell you. “Love never fails.” That is good to know. Sometimes we can find ourselves over our head, in territory we’ve not been in before, wondering if we should agree or disagree, speak or listen, wait or walk. At that point, try love. It will likely give you the best response–or no response. And at some point, maybe the second time around, we might want to speak about a God who forgives if she asks about forgiveness.


The methods used to abort life are in the womb are as brutal as Roman gladiators in the arena. One method is suction. A tool is inserted, the suction turned on, and the young life is sucked out. A second method is dilation and evacuation. The doctor reaches in with an instrument, grabs on, and pulls and twists. Out comes a leg. In again—pulling and twisting. Out comes an arm, then another arm, another leg. Finally, the head is crushed with another instrument. The pieces are laid on the table. The nurse assembles them to make sure the body parts are all there.

After the “procedure,” the woman leaves the clinic. She came in with a baby; she leaves without a baby. The baby has been massacred. Some mothers can handle that; others go crazy. Sixty to seventy per cent of women do not want an abortion. Husbands, boyfriends, friends, and fathers are often the jury that decides the fate of the unborn child. We call it euphemistically a termination of the pregnancy or a “cleaning,” a term used in Latvia. In truth, it is a killing. The baby’s heart was pumping one moment. After a horrendous invasion into the womb, the heart is silent. Another life has been taken.

A third method is injection with the RV486 chemical, which kills the baby. And a fourth method is the much-publicized partial birth. The baby is turned around and delivered in part feet first, all except the head. An instrument is inserted that sucks out the brain, after which the head is crushed. And the mother is sent on her way.

Some political leaders speak out for the rights of whales and Iraqis but seldom for the rights of the unborn. Many of the most prominent religious leaders are not defenders of the pre-born. The womb is not a safe place. I’d hate to start my life in the womb of a pro-choice woman, wondering what my destiny would be.

If we are devaluing life, what will our children do? What example are we giving to them? Will they go further than we have gone? Will they choose, like some societies have, to eliminate us when we get too old to be an advantage to them? When we are in the way, will they decide to take us out of the way, like we are doing with the unborn?

The mother of a pastor friend in Latvia had eleven abortions. He was one of the finest preachers in Latvia, but he could have easily been one of the aborted ones. Now he has a rich destiny in Christ. His name is Janis Bitans. The aborted ones don’t have a name here, nor a future. Janis is fortunate to be alive; most of his siblings are not.

A pastor friend, Don Richman, told the youth at a public high school in Latvia that they were special. The principal told us afterward that his comments made the students uncomfortable. They didn’t see any evidence of their being special. Almost 100% have father wounds from drinking dads. They didn’t feel special to their parents. They feel unwanted and without value. But at least they go on living. The epitome of devaluing life is exterminating it. That is what we do every day in America with thousands. Something needs to change in our value system. Please don’t vote for anyone who favors killing.


Can you imagine this monologue? “Why can’t I be protected by the law like those already born? What makes my situation so volatile? Time and development are the only differences between me and them. How can a mother decide to have me killed? Shouldn’t that be God’s decision? King David said I was fearfully and wonderfully made. Don’t they agree? Fathers should be protectors of children. Why are so many wanting the unborn done away with? They don’t sound like real men to me. Please tell the doctors that I am more than a piece of tissue. I can hear the noise. I can feel the rumbling. I am growing. Why was I conceived if they didn’t want me? I’m afraid; it doesn’t seem fair.”

“Can’t the laws change to help people like me? Can’t someone do something about it, especially in America? Isn’t there someone out there who can defend us insiders? Wouldn’t my Mom feel badly after she did away with me? She would miss me, wouldn’t she? I thought only bad people like terrorists killed people recklessly. Why am I not wanted? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with my parents? I don’t feel safe in here. I wish I could be somewhere else. I wish I could be rescued. Pastors believe in the Bible. Couldn’t they do something? If I got to be born, I would be wanted, wouldn’t I? If I keep growing, will my parents like me then? Please, I want to keep on living. I don’t want to die. I want a future, a new home. I am scared. It doesn’t feel good to be unwanted.”

When people are devalued, they sometimes try to add value in externals ways, like with cars or fancy clothes. They have been made to feel cheap by being abused or shamed or thrown out by a parent or spouse or boss, so inside they say, “I have more value than that. I’ll prove it. I’ll wear more jewelry.” When Kobe Bryant devalued his wife by sleeping with another woman, he went out and bought her an expensive ring to say, “I value you.” She may have taken it as a compliment; in fact, it was an insult. You cannot put material value to love and faithfulness.

There can be no greater devaluing of life than by tossing it out. The Holocaust was a mass devaluing of life, exterminating millions as being unworthy of life. The silent holocaust is the one that takes place daily in the womb. The most dangerous place in America is not in the inner city; it is inside. Every third child conceived will be thrown away as unworthy of life. Can a woman do as she wishes with her body? Not if it is against the law. Say “prostitute.”

In early Roman days a child two days old was presented to the father. He had the single vote on whether to keep the child or send it away. If he rejected the infant, the mother would take the baby to the forest and leave it there. It was called pater protestus. What criminal injustice! We have the same course of action today for children in the womb. A mother can determine what is only God’s right, and a child is eliminated, a child with a destiny. Sure thankful Mary, with an unusual pregnancy, kept her Baby. Please don’t elect anyone who would vote for the murder of the unborn. (Part 2 in four days).


“Blessed (happy, rewarded) is he who considers (cares for, provides for, shows compassion toward) the poor”(Psalm 41:1). Scripture consistently reflects concern for the disadvantaged. And it warns the rich. We are neither encouraged to be poor nor to look down on the wealthy. But the temptation of being ruined by riches is powerful, and the hardship of the poor is common.

Rather than care for them we sometimes wonder if our generosity will be misused, if they already have enough from others, if we are truly being led to give, if others are in a better position to help, if giving will actually hurt them, if we have the time.

Read the Book. Provision was made in the law to leave portions of one’s field unharvested, so the poor could have at it. How kind of God. Godly women looked after the needs of the Son of Man. The early church provided for the poor.

Six blessings come to those who care:
Prayer is fueled by godliness. God honors those who honor Him (I Samuel 2:30). One way to honor is to demonstrate a bias for the broken–like God. He doesn’t come up with excuses for not caring. And He gives incentive to His children who are better off.

How much are protection and preservation worth? God will give it free to those who think about others more than themselves.

We are blessed to be a blessing, and then the blessings return to us. Cool! We can only keep what we don’t hold onto, whether money, love, or friendship. If you wonder why God blesses people and you just don’t happen to be one of them, start giving yourself away. It is NOT about you!

David, a highly successful king, was also unpopular, even in his own family. Surrendering to God meant God didn’t surrender him to his enemies. If you want to live freely in a society that is not safe, care for the poor.

I would rather err on giving out too much than too little, on buying a drunk a drink than missing a legitimate opportunity. It will mean that I will get the care when I am in the place of weakness and needing outside help.

Some poor people never get to the place of restoration. With our help, they might. And then restoration will bounce back to us.

Even living by grace, rewards abound for the righteous. It was motivation to Paul to run a good race. How you live now impacts how you will live in eternity. Heaven is a theocracy, not a monarchy. The king decides who rules over cities in the new earth, and it is the faithful. They chose short-term pain for long-term gain. And eternity is a long time. Start building up credits today if you haven’t already. Be a person of character, and care for the poor, and God will repay you. Do it not by grit but by the Holy Spirit!


That is what Billy Graham answered when asked years ago, “What is the number one problem in the world?” Good response. We know it firsthand in America. Think Dallas. St. Paul. And weep. Torched cities and demonstrations prove that freeing the slaves did not settle the issue. First Nation people, then Blacks in the South, then Japanese Americans in World War II. Gangs in big cities are divided along racial lines, and national feuds persist on American soil.

Our statue of liberty declares with silent lips, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

They have come by the millions, perhaps 30 million. Thank God for America. No country on earth has approached this record. We have done a remarkable job of inviting the nations. And yet racial tension continues to rip us apart.

Europeans are discovering the joys and struggles of opening their doors to the masses, mainly now Muslems. Refugees are fleeing for their lives in many places of the world because of racial hatred. Millions have been slaughtered for one reason: wrong race. Think ethnic cleansing.

Jews and Samaritans were distant cousins who hated each other. When the Northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, they brought in Gentiles who intermarried and produced a half-breed Jew, disqualifying them from the religious life of chosen people in the eyes of the purebreds. The animosity went both ways (Luke 9:52f).

Jesus didn’t accept their assessment. Rather than bypassing their region and taking the much longer Jordan River Valley route, He went right through Samaria on His way to Galilee, much to the discomfort of the disciples. John added this personal postscript, “For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9). He even spoke with a Samaritan woman (two strikes against Him) and introduced Himself as her Messiah. They would not have considered her worthy of salvation. One of the big issues was the Jerusalem temple vs. the temple at Mount Gerizim, which Samaritans still sacrifice on to this day. It is possibly the smallest people group in the world—about 250.

Jesus pressed the issue by evangelizing there, and “many of the citizens of Samaria believed in him” (39). Jewish leaders called Jesus “a Samaritan and demon-possessed,” the worst they could come up with (John 8:48). When a scribe asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” He told a story about “The Good Samaritan,” an oxymoron to Jews. Jesus highlighted the lone leper out of ten who returned to give thanks—a Samaritan. When Jesus commissioned the disciples before take-off, He included Samaria among target places (Acts 1:8). Some grimaced.

It was Philip the deacon, ordained as a table server like Stephen, who brought the good news to these rejects. “So there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:7). Some must have remembered the visit Jesus paid a few years before. “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them” (14). “Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (17). On the way home Peter and John preached “the gospel in many Samaritan villages” (25). John had only a year or two before wanted to cast down fire and torch the place. The answer to racial tension is not found in politics but in the Gospel of God and the power of the Spirit. Peter and John let Samaritans know, “You belong in the family!” So much for racial tension!

“The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it” (Revelation 21:24). Sounds like the best of culture in the new earth. And Samaritan culture will be represented, thanks to Philip, Peter, John—and Jesus!


So what? Does that change anything? I can’t prove to you that I am not racist or that America is not racist. I am shocked by the way African Americans were treated in our country’s recent history. It was terrible slavery that scandalized a God who cared for them as much as any white—and more. God shows a bias for the broken, and we were breaking them.

Sadly, the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation. We are reaping the disaster that we sowed. Tough luck, America.

So what can we do? Make sure we have repented for the way we enslaved them for multiplied decades (and wherever we continue to do so). Hopefully they can and will forgive us.

I pray for a lot of young adults with father wounds. I tell them, “You are not responsible for what your parents have done to you. But you are responsible for your responses.” I ask them to do three things: acknowledge the wounding, forgive imperfect parents, then ask for forgiveness for imperfect responses. Forgiveness is not saying that dad or mom did not do a lot of damage. It is saying that I am not going to try to get even. I entrust them to the care of a just and merciful God. Bitterness sticks in the soul and makes me say and do stupid things. Hatred is a cancer, a slow killer, and I repeat what was done to me.

The reaction of blacks who looted or fought in the last year demonstrates the kind of reaction that happens when wounded children are unwilling to forgive their parents and feel like they need to get even for what was visited upon them. Can’t blame them—but the law must. Sadly, innocent people are being hurt, looted, and murdered in the name of justice. Not close to justice.

I hope they can deal with their resentment, or they will continue to react the rest of their lives. Their reaction is no excuse for breaking the law, for doing what has been done to them, any more than a child has a right to get even with a father who was so broken that he didn’t know how to be a father. By reacting, that child is passing on a skewed legacy, and his own children will reap the bitter fruit. They are. Hurt people hurt people.

Far better to forgive, as Corrie ten Boom did for the atrocities of Nazi Germany and became a redeemer rather than a reactionary. We need more blacks like the ones I know who are healing agents to a broken generation. An unfathered generation, which is what 70% of black children are, is said in the Bible to be under a curse—a curse of abandonment, rejection, lovelessness, self-loathing, and insecurity.

Forgiveness, born out of the violent death of Christ, lifts the curse. And as we sing in the well-known Christmas carol, “He comes to make the blessings flow far as the curse is found.” Everyone agrees—we need the curse lifted. Blacks and whites must do it together, whites by making sure they have asked for forgiveness where they or those before them exhibited horrendous racial discrimination (and some sadly still do), and blacks by making sure they are not excusing a reactionary life style that prolongs the pain and produces a racial discrimination in reverse, but that does what Jesus did as a first order of business from the cross. He said, “Father, forgive them.”