hope in the desert

Having grown up in Monsoon Land (India) and having lived in Green and Pleasant Land 2nd ed (New Zealand), it takes a little while to adjust to Dry and Desert Land (Arizona, USA).

With Langham's base in the USA being in Phoenix, I make a visit about once a year. On this occasion I had the opportunity to wander through the Desert Botanical Garden. Yes, say those three words again. Desert. Botanical. Garden. Methinks that one of those words doesn't fit.

But what methinks is wrong. There is plenty of beauty to be found in the desert.

Something happens every time I come here.

Seeing this beauty and this growth emerging in such arid, dry and thankless conditions always breathes a fresh hope into my life. Things can look pretty lifeless in our lives, our families and our ministries, but God is able to grow something beautiful even in the toughest conditions.

I was here in Phoenix last week for the annual Vision Weekend where this ministry is presented to people who are in the habit of giving generously to God's work around the world. The theme for this year's event?  You guessed it. HOPE...

One of the things that the folks in the USA do each year is create some video to tell the story of this work. Talk about hope. Talk about growing some beauty in tough conditions. Check out this story from Ethiopia, engaging the sadness of female genital mutilation...

The Apostle spoke of his vocation as "a grace given". I love that phrase. Always have. I feel the same way. My job, like my salvation, is undeserved and it fills me with gratitude for the privilege of serving God in this way.

nice chatting


PS: As far as stories and video go, this next one is still my all-time favourite. Slavko of Sarajevo. Recently, I had the joy of visiting Slavko. I enjoyed it so much that I wrote not one, but four, posts: on a museum on children of war; on a road trip to Mostar; on a review of Meeting Miss Irbyand an attempt to engage the history of Sarajevo. What a place!


Andrew Lim said…
Hi Paul,

Andrew Lim here. Trust you are all well.

I couldn’t find your email so I’m sorry to be writing to you in your comments page here.

You will soon be here for the Word and World seminar. I look forward to meeting up with you primarily to request if you will be happy to take a look at a preaching resource that was created by a close friend of mine.

Low Chai Hok graduated from London with a degree in biology. He then studied at Regents College in Vancouver and together we taught at the Malaysian Bible Seminary for some years. He is my very close friend and a month ago he and his family visited NZ to catch up with us. He is almost like a renaissance man in that he has knowledge and interest in the sciences and the arts.

He has created a website for preachers in countries where not much is available in terms of resources. This website has yet to go public. Chai Hok has come to a point where for reasons of ill-health, he is no longer able to develop it any further. He suffers from an acute severe form of vertigo which plagues him every single day, and his condition is getting worse increasingly.

We got to talking when he was here and he talks about handing this entire website to someone who may find it useful and who has the connectivity and the resources to take it further. It was built with the aim of inviting different ones to contribute their own areas of expertise into the different categories of the website.

I talked to him about you and your ministry at Langham Preaching. He is happy for me to hand a flash-drive of the website to you to see if you might find any potential for it for Langham Preaching. It is currently in my hard-drive and I will see if it can be downloaded into a flash-drive to hand to you.

He has personally walked me through the website and I must say I am amazed by both the content and the aesthetics of the site.

Here is his write-up on the site.

“Albert is a single dynamically integrated and highly user-friendly trove of resources intended to provide (eventually) all the essential tools - exegesis, expositions, lexica, concordance, dictionaries, theologies, pastorals, histories and chronologies, atlases and geographies - a lay preacher needs to craft biblically-grounded, contextually informed and pastoral helpful sermons, plus additional aids, such as power-points, images, quotations, etc., to dress up the sermon appropriately.”

Would you be interested in looking into something like that, Paul? Is is all right if this is not going to be something that will be helpful for Langham Preaching.

I hope I have not imposed upon you writing to you like that.

Grace and peace,

Andrew Lim said…

Sorry Paul for the typo. It should read"Alberith" and not Albert.

Paul said…
Yes, definitely - Andrew. Happy to give it a look, as well as some of our Langham Preaching senior staff who are better at assessing these sorts of things. Please give my warm greetings to your friend, even as I pray now that God will grant him grace and patience during this increasingly difficult season for him. Warmly, Paul

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