The Encouraging Word Blog
Author: Rich Rudowske Created: 7/30/2007 9:14 PM
Welcome to the blog! Our family will post updates, musings, and other fun stuff from our experiences in Botswana to work in the ministry of Bible Translation.

Home for Christmas
By Rich Rudowske on 12/26/2008 5:16 AM

Despite the weather forecasts, the Rudowske family traveled from Saint Louis to Michigan on dry roads with sunshine on Christmas Eve!  We got to attend our home church for Christmas Eve service and for the first time in years just be part of the crowd gathered to worship and adore our newborn king.  Church was so full by time we got there that we sat in the very back row of the upper level pulpit side transcept - a place very rarely occupied by anybody.  Our kids were amazed that all those hymns we'd been singing all advent long were part of the worship service in the packed candlelit church and how wonderful it all was with hundreds of voices joining with the organ and choir to sing them in honor of Jesus' brith.

We got to spend today at mom and dad's for Christmas Day for the first time in a number of years and had a relaxing day of food, presents, playing in the snow/ice and being together. 

It has truly been a peaceful ga ...

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Paul
By Rich Rudowske on 12/20/2008 4:49 PM

Recently, our LBT colleagues Kory and Cara Fay wrote about the Apostle Paul on their blog located here.  Paul is a monumental character in the story of the Christian movement, to the point that he is almost legendary - but the part I really love is that he was a human being too and just like any of us, God chose to work through him, and by God's grace, Paul was obedient to the call.  But that did not always make it easy.  Something about the way historian Thomas Cahill in his masterful book Desire of the Everlasting Hills:  The World before and after Jesus writes about Paul really resonated with me when I read it today and I wanted to share it with you because it so sums up how I feel sometimes in the path that the Lord has set out before my family and me:

"Dimly ...

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Foundation
By Rich Rudowske on 12/17/2008 8:00 PM

(The Lord) will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is a treasure from him"  (Isaiah 33:6)

Something about that verse struck me today.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom according to the book of Proverbs.  It is the key to salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.  And it itself is a gift from Him, the giver of all good gifts.  May He be the sure foundation for our times, both this Christmas season and in the years to come.  May he constantly draw us to Himself that we would participate more fully in the rich store of salvation, wisdom and knowledge that He sets before us.  To Him be all glory.  Amen.

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Waiting
By Rich Rudowske on 12/17/2008 12:21 AM

In my recent visits with my grandmother, I came face to face with a weakness that I struggle with:  Waiting for the Lord.  I am prone to assume the worst, to sit and worry, to try to make everything happen myself - instead of waiting for the Lord.  Which, of course, makes this stage of my life very complicated for me.  At this stage I am waiting.  Our family has a plan to relocate to Botswana, but right now, we are waiting.  Starting in January, speaking engagements kick into high gear, but for now we are waiting.  Every week I look at the response we are getting to our mission in terms of commitments for prayer and financial support and I feel an overwhelming sense that we will never get there.  And that we will never get there is due to some inadequacy in myself.  Even after all I have seen the Lord do in my life and with my circumstances, I still have so much trouble being patient and waiting for the Lord. &l ...

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Comfort
By Rich Rudowske on 12/8/2008 5:43 AM

True comfort is found only resting in God and pouring ourselves wholly into His hands, allowing Him to shape and mold and use and send us as He wills.  All our striving to find comfort in our own work, by our own resources, through our own devices will fail to give the true lasting comfort that has already been won for us through Jesus Christ.

It is not comfort as in lazy boy recliner in front of the fireplace with the football game on comfort.  It is the my life is in sync with something true and greater than myself comfort - the comfort that comes from knowing that in spite of all that swirls around me, all the uncertainty, the craziness, and in spite of my own faults and shortcomings that I am being used for a purpose and I am following the one who orchestrates all things.

"Comfort, comfort my people says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has b ...

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Story Part Two
By Rich Rudowske on 11/29/2008 5:49 AM

So, in my last blog entry, I talked about the use of the word story and how for some folks (myself included at one point) the term leaves a bad taste in the mouth when applied toward scripture.  But scripture is of course rooted in story, a story of redemption and in the end, by God's grace, we are part of that story.

And when we know the context, when we know the story, we are able to participate more fully in it and be inspired by it.  This is also too with stories of how God has worked in individual lives.  Here's an example:

We all know the great hymn, 'Amazing Grace' right?  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see."  That's our story, right?  In some way, we have all experienced that amazing grace somehow. 

But consider the story of ...

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On the term 'Story'
By Rich Rudowske on 11/25/2008 5:43 AM

The sermon that I preached on my PD trip this fall was called 'In the Story'.  A friend remarked after the sermon one Sunday that she didn't particularly like the term 'story' when applied to the Bible.  I have to admit that I also have struggled with the use of that word because for some it conveys a connotation that whatever the 'story' is about is not necessarily true.

However, I have come to use the term story to think more in terms of context.  In other words, all of us are connected somehow to the message of scripture, to the message of the gospel.  Scripture itself is given in a certain context and when we seek to understand that context better, we understand the message better and thus we understand our own connection to it better.

God knows this about human beings and from the very earliest revelation of his will in the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), he gave instruction and law in the context of a ...

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Homecoming
By Rich Rudowske on 11/18/2008 5:36 AM

Tomorrow we return home, ending a ten day Ohio road trip.  Matt is the lead in Jack and the Beanstalk for the first grade class at Captain Elementary, so our key objective after finishing up school chapel at Lutheran School of the Miami Valley is to get on the road and get home in time for the play, which is at 6:30.

Been a fun trip, I am working on getting pictures up.  We tore down our photo album page on this site and are rebuilding it so all the Botswana pics are gone for the moment too.  I'll probably get pics back up by the end of November. 

The Lord bless and keep you.

 

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What a great job! One day a week!
By Rich Rudowske on 11/13/2008 6:07 AM

It's an old joke of course that being a pastor is the best job in the world because you only have to work one day a week.  I remember thinking that of my pastor when I was a kid - that and he had that awesome parsonage for free too.  Of course, having been a pastor I can testify that there is more than the Sunday work to do.

A joke I heard more recently goes like this:  A kid and his dad are talking after church on a Sunday when a missionary had been there.  The kids says, "Dad, I think I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up."  The dad says, "Yeah?  What do you want to be?"  And the kid says, "A missionary home on furlough." (drum rim)

And of course, the Sundays that we spend as we travel are great events - the congregations put on their best faces, special music, good potluck food or other special treatment.  Those are v ...

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Prayer for Christians in India - URGENT
By Rich Rudowske on 11/10/2008 5:49 PM

Hello friends,

I received this from a friend in GIAL where Maya and I attended school for linguistics training.  This story is near to us as we have a dear friend, Ranae Holdeman, who recently served with YWAM in India, so we know these conditions and these realities to be true and these are not faceless individuals, these are human beings made in the image of God and precious to him. 

Dear beloved sponsors and friends of Good News India ..

 We have never seen anything like this. We knew that Orissa was the  most resistant and hostile State in India as far
 as the Gospel is  concerned. And we brushed off the continuous threats  and harassment we faced as we went about His
 work. But none of our  staff imagined that they would see this kind of carnage.... And it seems to be totally under
 the ra ...

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