Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stress versus opportunity

Acts 3

I am beginning to realize that I need to see the responsibilities of
my job, not as weights or expectations that tax me with stress, but as
opportunities or avenues to show the love of Christ. I need to see my
work each day as a vocation, not a chore. I need to see it from God's

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to work. Thank you for
the skills that you gave me so that I can work with others who need to
see your love through me. Please give me your perspective so that I
can have your joy and peace. I love you, Lord. I pray in the name of
Jesus Christ.

W. Shane Walker, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering
The University of Texas at El Paso
500 W. University Ave.
Civil Engineering A-246
El Paso, TX 79968
(915) 747-8729

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

simple Church formula

Acts 2

42And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Over the last two years, this verse has become so important to me.  I feel like this verse is descriptive of the Early Church, as well as prescriptive for the Global and Local Church today.  Unfortunately, I think we Americans are so individualized that we miss out on the joy of practicing this simple "formula" for Church.


We need to spend more time with our families, we need to spend more time with Brothers and Sisters in Christ, and we need to spend more time with our neighbors.  We need to study the Word (i.e., the Apostles' teaching), hang out, share meals and the Lord's Supper, and pray together.  We need to invite more people over to our house for dinner throughout the week.  We need to meet people for coffee/tea and prayer.  The crazy thing to me is that this formula is not really that complicated; we only have to devote ourselves by making it a priority by making time in our schedules to implement it.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Eternal Life.  Lord, I want to participate in your Kingdom and Family.  I want to be involved in dwelling with you and helping others dwell with you.  Lord Jesus, I want to walk with you, and I want to be integrated in your Body.  Lord, show me how I can lead my family, and how our family should be involved in the Church.  Holy Spirit, please anoint us to fulfill the objective of being witnesses of Christ.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jesus is alive!

John 20:1-18

8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—9 for until then they still hadn't understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.

It is critical that we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and that He is alive!  Of course, we much preach the Cross, but we must experience Jesus's death and resurrection in our own personal lives.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your incredible love for us that you would send your own Son to die in place of me.  Father, thank you for raising Jesus from the dead and proving that you have conquered sin and death and that I do not have to live in fear any longer.  Lord, please break the chains of fear and despair in my life because Jesus paid all my debts, and I can live in victory because He has won it!  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the Resurrection.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

to fulfill Scripture

John 19:17-42

Several times, Jesus said or did specific things in order to fulfill specific Scriptural prophecies about the Messiah.  I was thinking that it might make my life easier if there were specific details that I knew that I needed to fulfill, but somehow, I don't think it would really make my life easier.  While Jesus had some very specific prophecies to fulfill, he still had the Big 10 and many other spiritual principles to guide His life.

Similarly, we have the New Testament to guide and instruct our daily and long-term living.  So, like Jesus, I need to make sure that I am speaking and doing in order to fulfill Scripture.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus's example of living righteously and fulfilling Scripture.  Jesus, thank you for your guiding principles and prophecies about us, which can help us if we pay attention to them.  Lord, I want to love you with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  And I want to love my neighbor as myself.  I want to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything that you have commanded us.  I want to be salt and light in this community and around the world.  I want to be holy as you are holy.  I want to keep my eyes on you and run this race with perseverance.  I want to cooperate with you as you produce the Fruit of the Spirit in me.  Lord, please use me to advance your Kingdom, and draw me close to you.  I want to know you and walk with you.  Please help me see you and know what you want me to do and say to honor you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

he went voluntarily

John 19:1-16
It continues to impress me that Jesus went to the cross voluntarily.  He could have appealed the unjust judgement against Him, or He could have escaped.  But, as Phil. 2 says,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal's death on a cross.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your amazing love for us.  Thank you for loving us so much that you would send your only begotten Son to die for us.  Lord, it should have been me.  I should have received that brutal treatment for my sin, but Jesus took it all away so that I could be your adopted son.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  I want my life to be spent for your service in response to the love that you showed me.  I want to be obedient to the will of God and live humbly before you.  Please help me see how you want me to live.  Please live your life in me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

how He died

John 18:19-40
31 So Pilate said to them, "Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law." The Jews said to him, "We are not permitted to put anyone to death," 32 to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die.
I am sure that there are details here that I am not aware of, but it seems odd to me that the Jews, who were commanded by God to stone people who committed heinous crimes, told Pilot that they couldn't put anyone to death.  It is especially fascinating because they had already attempted to stone Him a few times before this occasion.  Instead of death by stoning, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of the bronze serpent on a pole by being crucified.
Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are in control.  Jesus did not die by accident.  He was falsely accused and unjustly tried, but He gave Himself up for us so that we could know you.  Thank you, Jesus, for enduring the unjust judgements, mockery, and insults.  Thank you for loving us so much that you would give your life up for us.  May we respond with such devotion that we give you our lives.  Lord Jesus, please live through me today!  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 17, 2011

in the name of Jesus

John 16:17-33
23 At that time you won't need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. 24 You haven't done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. ... 26 Then you will ask in my name. I'm not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, 27 for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to pray to you directly.  Lord, thank you for adopting me as your son through the work of your Only Begotten Son.  Father, I am not sure that I really understand what it means to as using the name of Jesus.  I don't want to turn the name of Jesus into a charm, password, or magic spell.  I want to pray the way that you want me to.  I know that you love me because you sent Jesus to die for me, and I believe that Jesus came from you.  I love you, and I want to know you, walk with you, and serve you.  Please draw me closer.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.  (Please teach me if this is not what it means to pray in the name of Jesus.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

listening to the Holy Spirit

John 16:1-16

12 "There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can't bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, 'The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.'

The Holy Spirit guides us along the Way, but how much do I listen to Him?  I need to focus my attention on listening to His voice and obeying His instructions.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness to us through Jesus Christ.  And thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to be close to us and guide us.  Lord, I want to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  Please turn my heart to seek you and hear you.  I want to know you, and I want to walk with you.  Please help me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ecuador summary

I am so thankful for the partnership of Brothers and Sisters investing in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ!  Their prayers and financial support have made a huge difference in the lives of families in El Recreo, Ecuador, as well as the lives of our team members from Texas.  I am so thankful to those who gave so generously!  Their gifts covered the cost of my trip and supported several others to be able to participate.


I learned a great deal through this experience.  Most deeply, I realized that I need to allow the Lord to break my heart.  I need to allow the Lord to break my heart over the physical and spiritual suffering that takes place in Ecuador, Texas, and around the world, because it breaks His heart.  And I need to allow the Lord to break my heart over the sin and arrogance in my heart, because it breaks His heart.


On Monday through Thursday, our team partnered with a congregation in El Recreo to distribute approximately 25 filters per day, household by household.  The families were very grateful for the filters given to them, and after explaining how to use and maintain the filters, we prayed with each family.  It was such a joy to partner with our Brothers and Sisters in El Recreo to help people practically with clean water and establish relationships for the local church to follow up!


Of course, the highlight of the week was seeing the transforming work of Christ in the life of Raul, one of my students in my Water and Wastewater Engineering course this past semester.  I was so excited about him being able to come on the trip and seeing how the Lord would work in his life.  On Tuesday, I asked Raul what he thought it meant to be a Christian, and his answer was so insightful.  He told me that he didn't have much religious experience, but based on what he saw in the local church in El Recreo, he answered my question, "To love… without restriction."  On Wednesday morning, I asked Raul, "What is your purpose in life?"  Over the rest of the day, we discussed creation, worship, sin, and forgiveness.  As we were walking back to the house, we talked about what it meant to make it real and personal.  We talked about admitting that we need Jesus to rescue us from ourselves, believing in Him, and committing our lives to follow Him.  I told Raul that it is like committing to go on a spiritual hike for the rest of his life, and I asked him if he wanted to begin this journey.  He told me that he has been waiting for this.  So we prayed together, and Raul committed to follow Christ!  I am so excited for the great things that God is going to do through Raul! 


On Friday, I was able to visit the campus of a respected technical university in Guayaquil, with Raul.  We contacted a lady named Alby, one of the lecturers in environmental engineering on Thursday evening, and she graciously agreed to meet us on Friday morning.  When we arrived, I expected to meet her in her office, but actually, she was teaching a class at that time, and she invited us to give a presentation to her class!  Raul gave a great presentation in Spanish about our project of installing the filters in El Recreo.  Several students began asking questions in English, and I realized that everyone spoke English.  So I was able to give a brief lecture about membrane filtration on the whiteboard, right there in Ecuador!  It was incredible!  I also spoke about water sources, treatment, and water development, and afterward, Alby said that she felt like the students were inspired by the presentation to consider getting involved in environmental studies.  We were also able to meet the directors of two research centers who are interested in partnering in research and teaching with us at UTEP!


Friday afternoon, we drove out to Curia, a remote town on the beach about four hours away from El Recreo.  Marcello, is developing relationships with people and commuting weekly for Bible studies and children's ministries so that they can soon plant a church.  In the car, Amy, Susie, and I shared several passages of scripture about baptism with Raul.  He was very receptive and understood the significance and importance of baptism.  Saturday morning at 7:00am, Raul, Giovanni, and I went for a run on the beach; it was great.  Raul and I talked about how our life in Christ is like a run, and we run to win the prize.  We run together, and we spur each other along.  A little later, our whole group gathered on the beach, and I shared about how I had met Raul, and how excited I was for him in his new life in Christ.  Then Raul shared a little about his background and experience in Ecuador.  Then we walked out in the ocean about waist-deep, and I had the great privilege of baptizing my new Brother!  It was awesome!  I saw baptism from a new perspective.  As I pulled Raul up out of the water, I had a vivid and clear picture in my mind of God pulling us up out of spiritual death, and giving us a new life in Jesus Christ!  It was so encouraging to me!


It is my prayer that God will receive all of the credit for the good things done and ongoing.  It is such a joy and privilege to love Him and cooperate with Him in His good work.  I pray that the Lord will continue to cascade His blessings and grow the Church through these activities this past week.

abiding in the vine

John 15:1-27

Jesus is the vine, and the Father is the vinedresser.  The Holy Spirit connects us as branches to the vine and produces fruit in us.  I want to abide in the vine!  Jesus's commandment is simply to love!  We abide in Him when we love God and love people.

Heavenly Father, I love you!  Thank you for Jesus.  Jesus, thank you for being the vine.  I want to stay connected to you.  You are the source of life!  Jesus, thank you for the Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit, please turn my heart to Jesus and keep me abiding in Him.  I want to love God and love people; please help me deny my flesh and abide in the vine.  Holy Spirit, thank you for testifying about Jesus.  I am dead apart from you.  Thank you for life.  Please use my life to produce fruit for your honor.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jesus is the Word of Life

John 9:1-25
6 Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man's eyes. 7 He told him, "Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam" (Siloam means "sent"). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!
Witness Lee points out that the mud (clay) represents humanity, and blindness represents sin and death.  Jesus's spit, which proceeds from His mouth, represents the Word, which is Spirit.  The obedience of washing represents baptism, justification, and sanctification.
I am always impressed with the simplicity of the blind man's testimony before the Pharisees:  All I know is, once I was blind, but now I see.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word which brings Life and healing.  Lord Jesus, you are the Word, and you are alive!  Lord, please live in me today!  Please annoint me with your Spirit so that I may be sent to do your work, and may I be obedient and faithful.  Please help me tell people how you have saved me and healed me.  I love you, Lord, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Belief or Obedience? Faith or Works? Yes.

John 8:31-59

3:16 "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
8:51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!"

Genuine belief includes obedience.  Genuine faith produces works.  We show Christ that we love Him when we obey His teaching.

Heavenly Father, I want to honor Christ by obeying Him.  I believe that you sent Him, that He is your Only Begotten Son, and that He is the way to you.  I love you, and I want to serve you with my whole being.  Please turn my heart to you, and deliver me from worldliness.  Please help me shine your light and be salty today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.