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October 2007 entries

Greetings from Thailand

Sorry 'bout the delay in writing, but I have learned by experience that Thailand is truly a Third World country. Attempts at getting on the world wide web are greatly influenced by where in the wide world you are. I finally found a spot at the Orchid resort here in Phuket where I could get on the web. I found it when I saw a group of lap top carriers huddled in tight formation pounding away on their keyboards. So here I am pounding away too.

This is really not Kansas. Or in my case Tennessee. It is totally different culture with mostly entrepreneurial Buddhists selling everything from Polo to massages. Tailors and eyeglass stores are on every street. Running each one is a very nice man who calls you "boss" or someone asking "are you from Chicago?" The smell of sewage is mixed with the aroma of native cuisine and causes you to want to barf one minute and go to the buffet the next. The overriding mood is one of hopelessness. In the eyes of each and every living being is emptiness. They live in a society where it is no OK to become angry, but there must be much repressed anger burning inside over the situation in their country where there is so much poverty.

The missionaries here tell stories of spending years without seeing one convert to Christianity. One fella did tell me of a revival in one province where there had been 8 baptisms in 8 months. Just when I was about to remark, "I'm so sorry" he smiled and said, "God is really blessing." That's when I realized success is measure in inches not miles here in SE Asia.

I am doing well for those of you who are wondering. We get a great breakfast and evening meal each day at the hotel. Marty and I are involved in the "turn down" service each night where we leave gifts on the beds of each of the 275 missionaries. We get to dinner late, but the expressions of gratitude from the missionaries make it worth the sacrifice. Tomorrow the missionaries leave and we are left with one day on our own. I think we are going to take a boat out to a small island and do some snorkeling. I'm hoping sharks consider Baptist preachers dark meat. I am looking forward to being back in the States this weekend. I hope to write at least once more before then, but remember the world wide web is not as wide as this big old world.       


A Word from Hong Kong

I am sitting in my room at the YMCA in Hong Kong. I've been here over a day now and will be leaving for Thailand in about 36 hours. The time change is really tough getting used to. The plane ride from L.A. to here was almost 15 hours long against the prevailing wind. You know what that means. It was like riding over a city street with potholes much of the way.

The city is supposed to be a place where we get used to the time and get relaxed before heading south to Phuket. Well as I sit at my desk and listen to planes take off and land was well as bus and car horns, I can grant you not much rest is happening. It's hard to relax when there are 7 million people all around you at any time of the day or night. It will get you closer to the Lord, however. The trip down from the tram that runs up to Victoria's peak was one to be remembered. Then Marty and I grabbed a cab whose driver was evidently disqualified from Formula One racing for reckless driving. Wow, it was like an amusement ride at Disney. We felt like throwing our hands in the air and screaming like little girls. I just knew someone would be at the end of the ride to sell pictures of us as a souvenir. (If you haven't ridden a roller coaster at a theme park lately you will not understand that last comment.)

Keep praying for us as the real mission work has not yet begun. We are expecting hundreds of missionaries at the retreat. I am really looking forward to serving those who sere the Lord. Well I am going to try and include a picture or two in my blog. It may or may not work. Remember I am a pastor and not a Geek. (Although I took a little Geek in seminary, no wait a minute, that was Greek.)

Keep praying and I hope to write you soon from the island. Oh, by the way, these people on the streets of Hong Kong must know I AM A PREACHER. I've been stopped no less than 20 times on the street to buy a new suit down some alley way. Thank goodness I can turn them down honestly by saying, "Sorry, I don't wear'em."

In His Shadow,

Pastor Ken   

Hong_kong_002


If God Were To Show-Off Would People Run-Off

I was talking recently to someone who shares the same view I do of the purpose of the church. There are at least two legitimate views prevalent in church cultures today. The first is the view that worship services are for the believer. The purpose is to escape the world for a time to recharge and get motivated to go out and "do it again." The "it" in this case is living a Christ honoring life outside the walls of the church. This view is "Christian-centric" not "Christ-centric".

The other view, the one I hold, is to create such an environment in worship that followers of Christ and those who are simply empty and disillusioned with life can find hope by being in an environment where Christ is at the center of the activity. After all Jesus said, "If I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself." The other person and I were discussing what would happen if God not only showed up at one of these services, but also showed off. I mean His presence would be felt in an awesome and demonstrable way. In the Old Testament Isaiah was confronted with God when His presence became so great that He overpowered him to the point where he cowered in fear and unworthiness. When was the last time you were afraid because the presence of God was so great. I have to admit; It has been a while for me. Our question was, "Would a person who is seeking answers and had no religious background be turned off or turned on by such an experience?" Would it remind them of the "religious a-go-go's" they mock on TV or would they find the experience intriguing and fulfilling. Are such services only for those who share view number one above as an encouragement for the believer or cannot it be an invitation to those who are seeking to find a real relationship with God? Is such a service beneficial for either group since it depends upon experience over faith?

These are questions that arose from our conversation and I would like to invite you to send me your thoughts. I think this could make for some enlightening conversation. Stay close and clean. Pastor Ken    


Packing for Thailand

I'm just a week out from going half way around the world. Next Tuesday Marty, my executive pastor, and I are going to Phukett, Thailand to minister to around 275 missionaries. Please pray for Marty as he lost his father just this last Saturday. Pray for these missionaries as they travel from their mission fields to spend a few days of speaking English and relaxing around fellow believers. Their jobs are incredibly difficult and some are dangerous as well. One missionary from last years retreat told how angry men from their village stood only twenty yards from their home and sprayed AK47 bullets all around her and her children. I was amazed when she reported that not a single bullet touched any member of their family. Another family spoke of their two daughters who were raped on the mission field. Not only were the young girls raped, but they now have HIV as a result. Those of us here in the USA have no idea what these committed Christians go through for the cause of Christ. Please pray that these servants of the Lord will be refreshed and prepared to return with a new sense of purpose.

Still serving Him, Pastor Ken 


What Teenagers Believe About Heaven

I was nosing through one of the many religious periodicals that I receive on a regular basis when I came across an interesting article. It was a survey of a random 1,000 teenagers earlier this year. The survey was about their views in eternity and life after death. I thought this was interesting because so many people think this generation has little interest in spiritual things. I disagree, I believe they are spiritual, but not necessarily Christian. As with any survey there are many criteria that may actually influence the answers, but let's just look at what they said. (The numbers do not add to 100% because the teens were able to answer more than once in each category)

69% said they believe in a place called heaven.

53% said they would go there because they believe Jesus Christ died for their sins.

27% said they would go because they were kind to others.

26% said they would go because they were religious. (That always scares me)

12% said they did not know if they would go to heaven.

5% did not believe in heaven at all.

4% said " I do not care if I go to heaven or not.

When asked about their religious activity the answers showed a disconnect to their view of eternity.

39% prayed on a regular basis.

23% participated in a youth group at church.

14% read their Bible on a regular basis.

8% served in a leadership role at church.

The disconnect seems to be established early in their lives and remains in place through adulthood. While 53% believe Jesus died for their sins, only 14% read the Bible that tells them that is true. What does that mean to those of us who are adults? It means they learned about heaven from listening to us. They learn alot of things by listening to parents and teachers that they would never admit to or even realize. I am often shocked when a parent of a teen tells me that their child repeated something I said in a Sunday morning talk. When I saw their teen in the youth seats at service I could have sworn their eyes were closed in sleep and not deep thought. I guess I was wrong. They were listening after all. I'll bet they are listening to you too.

See you around the throne, Pastor Ken.       


New Site Name

I have finally gotten control of my own name. It seems there is another fella out there with the same name and web site. So now I have obtained www.kenduggan.net. It's not necessary to go to www.dallasbaybaptist.com and click on the link. I will try to link back to my messages and other things from the church website as I continue to learn what I'm doing. I'll talk to you soon. In the meantime stay in the Word and on your knees.

Pastor Ken


Believe It Or Not

There is a great persuasion in America to feel good about what you feel good about. That is, religion, whatever form it takes, is better than no religion at all. On the surface this is very appealing. I want to state that I would wish that everyone would find a way and escape whatever punishment for evil there is and find eternal enlightenment or bliss. Can it really be true, however, that all religious roads eventually lead to God?  There are many things about which I will not argue when it comes to faith. These are the non-essentials. There are a few that I must defend unto the death. I am about to begin a new series at DBBC, this series is about the non-negotiable truths of the Bible and our Christian faith. The issues are where the roads leading to God fork and one is forced to take one or the other. Subjests like"

Believe It Or Not (Jesus is the only Son of God)

Believe It Or Not (Jesus literal resurrection)

Believe It Or Not (Grace is the only way to be saved)

Believe It Or Not (Undivided loyalty to Christ)

If you happen to attend Dallas Bay you will be able to hear these talks beginning Sunday morning October 14. If you are only a reader of "Out of the Box" you should be able to listen to them online jst a day or two after at www.dallasbaybaptist.com. I look forward to you comments.

Pastor Ken