Monday, March 31, 2014

Watch Who You Are Calling a Fool - #1

Tomorrow is April 1st - April Fool's Day. This week I am musing over the term and idea of fool in the Scriptures.

The book of Proverbs speaks often of fools - and gives us some somber warnings. In Proverbs 26: 4-6, the wise man Solomon writes - "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes." So, do we not answer, or do we answer? Persons who do not possess wisdom are called “fools”; their behavior is described as “folly.” The picture which emerges from the biblical material is quite simple: folly is the opposite of wisdom, and a fool is the opposite of a wise person.

Part of the solution is to understand that in the Scriptures, different words are used that we translate into our word fool.  Over this week, let us consider for a moment the variations of the words for "fool," and seek to see if we fall into these categories. Also, understand that we are not to spend time looking for fools, nor seeking to call them out.

Today, we start with the simple fool. In the Hebrew, the word is pethiy. It is used 19 times in the OT, and depicts simple, foolish, or naive. The root of the word means to open up - such as the mind. He opens his mind to any passing thought, and thus becomes open to any enticements and deceptions. He lacks maturity, and is gullible and curious.

The simple-minded fool is encouraged to change in Proverbs 9:4-6 (KJV): “Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she [Wisdom] saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.” The very first chapter of Proverbs (verse 7 NKJV) tells us - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" or wisdom. The simple fool needs to turn his thoughts and studies to God and His word.

Today, if you feel that this is part of your problem, begin to spend time in God's Word. Take the time to learn of His wisdom and understanding of the world around us.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Prayer Time - March 30

Lord, Your Word teaches us that faith without works is dead. Please give me the wisdom and motivation to step out of my comfort zone and put my faith into practice. I don't want to just keep the gift of eternal life you have given me and selfishly stay to myself. I want to be able to show others what you have done for me, and to prove that my faith is real, so that others will come to you too. Please forgive me for being a "wimp" and help me to be strong and active in my Christian life--for your glory and for the sake of souls. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Prayer Time - March 29

Dear God, There are so many things I can do...or not do. I can sit and do nothing or I can attempt to do many things. Please show me, Lord, what will you have me to do? I am open to your leading and willing for You to work through me to accomplish Your will. Whether my purpose is to accomplish something small or great, I know that it is important to the work of your kingdom and your plan for my life. Guide and direct me, please. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Have you considered - The Mind of Christ

Philippians 2:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV) - " Have this mind in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus..."

Here Paul begins upon a short discourse on what is the mind of Christ. He gives us the impact of what we as believers should realize that we have. When we accepted Jesus Christ, we were given the Holy Spirit to live inside us. He is there to “… guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13 HCSB). He is able to give us the mind of Christ, if we are willing to let Him work in us.
Some believe that this is an early hymn that was sung by the Christian Church. They say it is made up of two stanzas – verses 6-8 (Christ’s humility), and verses 9-11 (Christ’s exaltation).
Paul teaches that the mind of Christ is one of humility. In another prison letter, Ephesians chapter 4, Paul stated, “Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received…” just as he is calling the Philippian believers to do this in the mind of Christ. He goes on to say, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6 HCSB)

How do we walk? With the mind of Christ, described as humble, gentle, patient, loving, and with unity.

When we have the mind of Christ, believers will not (1) assert their own virtues; (2) defend their own rights; (3) promote their own selfish issues; or (4) live for themselves.

Today, seek to apply the mind of Christ in all that you say and do. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Have you considered - Restoration

Galatians 6: 1 - "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted."

What does Paul mean in this passage?  The word caught in this passage can carry the meaning of one who was taken by surprise by sin. Scripture says we are to restore such a one. The word for restore, katartizo, means to mend, to furnish completely. The tense of the word in the Greek is a continuous present tense. It is the picture of a broken bone being set and mending.  

The church is not to let one who has been seduced by the enemy to suffer in unnecessary bondage and guilt about their relationship with the Father. The fallen person must recognize their failure and take responsibility for what they have done. Satan seduces, but we are still responsible for our reactions to his schemes. The fallen person must then repent and receive the message that God wants them to learn through this failure. Then, the fallen one must respond to God's chastisement with gratitude.

Jim Elliot is quoted as saying, "The result of the law of my God is perfect. It condemns but forgives. It restores - more than abundantly - what it takes away."

God finally warns in the above passage - "Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted." We must be careful that the deceiver doesn't come in cause deception in our lives. We can easily begin to think - "Well, I'll never be tempted in that area." Our Adversary will take full advantage of our attitude of pride.

If you are one called to hep restore, or you are one who needs restoration, today pray - pray to intercede, pray for purity in your life.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Have you considered - Intercession

1 Timothy 2: 1-4 (NLT) - "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth."

Intercession is to pray on behalf of someone else. Oswald Chambers has said, "The real business of your life as a saved soul is intercessory prayer. Wherever God puts you in circumstances, pray immediately, pray that His Atonement may be realized in other lives as it has been in yours." My Utmost for His Highest - June 20.

Our prayers are the link between God's unlimited resources and people's needs. We hold a vital key in our hand to see their needs met in the way that only God could do. True intercessory prayer is driven by love and compassion for the person in need. when we pray for them, we need to ask God to help us see what they see, feel what they feel. We need to identify with them.

We need to keep on keeping on - we need to maintain our prayers for those we are interceding for. We do not know God's purpose or timing for that person, so we need to keep praying, even if it seems we are not getting an answer. We do not know how God will meet the person's need. We need to be ready to be part of the process, in fact, part of the answer if that is what God truly wants. And, when we pray, we have to take our hands off the matter completely and let God chose how He will work.

Oswald Chambers went on to finish the paragraph above by saying, "Pray for your friends now; pray for those with whom you come in contact now."

Why not stop right now and think of a couple of your friends that have needs. Determine if God wants you to be an intercessor for them. If He does - don't put it off - start right now and keep on keeping on for them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Yesterday, March 24, my wife and I went to see the movie - God's Not Dead. I usually don't change the postings in my blog - but in this instance I have inserted this and moved the other posts back a day.

I firmly believe that every person should go and see this movie. If you are a Christian, it is vital to see this. It will encourage and challenge you to be a difference in the world.  We often cannot see the ripples that radiate out from what we do - in this movie it brings it out very clearly. If you have non-believers as friends (and you should), you should take them to hear a very well presented argument for today. It is a very well done movie, with a major point.  I am going to put the website's synopsis here so that you can read it - and please take my word for it - this is a movie worth seeing.  I can't wait until it comes out on DVD - so I can see it again and share with others.

Don't put it off - get out and be challenged - that is, unless you are afraid of being challenged.

Present-day college freshman and devout Christian, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper), finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words “God Is Dead” on pieces of paper as instructed, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Josh offers a nervous refusal, provoking an irate reaction from his smug professor. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that “God Is Dead,” he must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God’s existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. With almost no one in his corner, Josh wonders if he can really fight for what he believes. Can he actually prove the existence of God? Wouldn’t it just be easier just to write “God Is Dead” and put the whole incident behind him? GOD’S NOT DEAD weaves together multiple stories of faith, doubt and disbelief, culminating in a dramatic call to action. The film will educate, entertain, and inspire moviegoers to explore what they really believe about God, igniting important conversations and life-changing decisions.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Have you considered - Meditation

Joshua 1:8 - "This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it (meditate  in it, KJV) day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do."

Joshua was selected by God to succeed Moses. He was to lead these 2-3 million people into the Promised Land. He needed encouragement to be able to move forward and find success. Often today we also need this in our lives. You see, it is the enemies strongest desire to see us fail in our Christian walk. He wanted the Israelites to fail, and he wants us to fail today.

So, what did God tell Joshua to do to defeat the enemy? Meditate. I'm not talking about the eastern mystic who sits and stares at the lint in his navel and mumbles a phrase. I'm talking about Biblical meditation. 

Take a passage of Scripture - it doesn't need to be more than a couple of verses and read them. Then take time to meditate upon them as they apply to you -- Dr. Charles Stanley speaks of four principles that will guide us into meaningful meditation.
  1. Review the past as a means to guide us into our time of meditation. Think about God's faithfulness in our lives up to this point. Be specific in your thoughts.
  2. Reflect then upon God. Thinking of what He has done in the past should lead us to think on His grace and goodness.
  3. Follow this up by remembering God's promises. Others may back out of their promises - but God will never do this.  We can be assured that the promises He has made in His Word are secure and will be upheld.
  4. Finally, we come to the point of making request of God. 
Today, either start now, or set a plan into motion to take dome time each day to meditate upon God's Word. Use this discipline to draw you closer to your Creator, your Father, your Friend.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Prayer Time - March 23

God, I believe You are using circumstances and events to move me into a place of patient waiting as You put me in the place You desire for me. Help my soul to mature, my faith to grow, my life to be more pure and dedicated to You. James 1:2-4 tells me, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." Lord, I praise You in the midst of it all--my special trials and daily challenges--knowing that I must learn to be patient and content as I wait upon You. Thank You for being with me through every trial, every day. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Prayer Time - March 22

Dear God, Thank you for being my Father and my greatest Friend. You listen when no one else does. You love me unconditionally. You correct me when I'm wrong, in whatever way you know I will respond. You comfort me when I grieve. You encourage me when I am discouraged. You lead me when I am confused. You carry me when I am weak. You are awesome! Please help me to be that kind of friend to others. I pray that I will be sensitive to other people's feelings and life situations; that I will be a true friend who speaks the truth in love. I pray that I will be alert to signs that cry out for help. I pray that I will be available when needed. I pray that I will laugh with and have fun with my friends, rejoice with them as well as hold and comfort them when the time comes. May I be consistent in every season of life. May I share your love and shine the light of your word upon others. And may you be glorified. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Thoughts About Spring #3

Well, we have thought about rain and rebirth. To finish out this week's blogs, let us stop and praise God for the beauty and wonder of Springtime. It is our privilege as part of God's Creation to worship and praise Him.  This morning the Sun is shining brightly, the birds are singing and eating at my bird-feeder (which we have named Doc's Diner), and the squirrels are playing. The flowers and tress are budding and blooming, the sky has not a cloud. We woke up (otherwise you wouldn't be reading this) and so - LET'S JUST PRAISE THE LORD! Today, have a great day - and continue to praise Him for it!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thoughts About Spring #2

Today at 12:57 pm, we celebrate the official start of Spring. Ah, spring! This season brings increasing daylight, warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flora and fauna. It is officially designated as the Vernal Equinox.

The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning “equal night.” Days and nights are approximately equal everywhere and the Sun rises and sets due east and west. At the equinoxes, the tilt of Earth relative to the Sun is zero, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. (However, the tilt of Earth relative to its plane of orbit, called the ecliptic plane, is always about 23.5 degrees.)

Spring is also the time when worms begin to emerge from the earth, ladybugs land on screen doors, green buds appear, birds chirp, and flowers begin to bloom. The vernal, or spring, equinox signals the beginning of nature’s renewal in the Northern Hemisphere.

Yesterday, I spoke about rain. Today, I want to talk about rebirth. As we watch the trees, grass, and flowers come back to life, it looks like they are reborn into this world. The Bible speaks about man needing a rebirth - or the need to be born again. Consider as a person accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, what takes place. To understand the truth of this matter, we must understand that "It's in the Bible!"

  1. The entrance requirement for God's kingdom is a new birth. It's in the Bible, John 3:3-8.
  2. Eternal life begins at the moment of spiritual rebirth. It's in the Bible, John 3:36.
  3. When we receive Christ, we are reborn. It's in the Bible, John 1:12-13.
  4. Spiritual rebirth brings changes in our lives and goals. It's in the Bible, I John 3:9.
  5. In Christ, we are newly created. It's in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17.
  6. By the Holy Spirit we are reborn and adopted by God. It's in the Bible, Romans 8:15-17.
  7. With God as our Father, by faith we can overcome the world. It's in the Bible, 1 John 5:4.
So, if the facts are in the Bible, and we see these 8 great facts about the new birth, I must ask you today - do you know for certain that you have the New Birth? Have you moved into the springtime of life - a rebirth that will give you eternal life and a hope and a future with God? You can. What's stopping you?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thoughts about Spring #1

"Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field." Zechariah 10:1 (ESV)

 Tomorrow on the calendar is the first official day of Spring.For a number of days now, I have been enjoying the trees budding and blooming, the Daffodils with their beautiful yellow heads standing up and showing forth that the time of year is one of renewal.

Living now in the south, my grass stays a dull tan all winter long. with the buds and blooms starting to show, I know in the near future my lawn will once again be a beautiful apple-green. What has looked as dead for months now, will take on the appearance of life. And, actually, not just the appearance, but full bodied life. The birds have been returning to my feeders. The Finches and Wrens are eating and preparing their nests. The Robins are back. As I work in my Study, I am able to leave the Patio doors open, and enjoy the sound of the breeze, birds, and bright, happy people as they enjoy the coming warmth.

We have been blessed with some rain recently, and as the prophet above speaks, this is from God to help the vegetation blossom and provide for us. Without rain, we would not see the vegetation "green up" around us.  Without rain the animals would soon be seeking water in dried up streams. Without rain, the beauty of God's creation would look like a winter/desert scene all the time.

So, even though at times we consider the rain as a nuisance (if we have planned a picnic, for example) we can see that in God's great plan, rain is necessary. I have a note on my desk that reads, "If you pray for rain, be ready for the mud." It reminds me that often when I am praying for that which will bless and I will enjoy, that the "mud" of life comes with it. It is all how I chose to look atit - a blessing, or a bust.

Today, whatever your "weather," consider how that God can and will use it for your good. See how many ways you can link to His blessings.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Desire for Greatness

Do you want to be great? God wants that for you. He wants your life to make a great impact for Him. What are some keys to greatness? One key is humility and having an others-first attitude. The Lord hates pride, but gives grace to those who are humble and serve others.

Another key is having bold faith. Blind Bartimaeus would not keep quiet (Mark 10:48). Jesus was passing by, and Bartimaeus was not going to let the stern warnings of the faithless keep him from encountering the Savior and bringing his needs to Him.

A third key is having a heart of praise. The Lord is worthy of our praise. God loves it when we praise Him for His goodness and grace. If things are going well for you today, praise Him. If they are going badly, praise Him anyway. He is a good God who loves you and will work all things together for your good and His glory.

(Jeff Schreve, First Baptist Church, Texarkana, TX.)

From Walk Through the Word: A New Testament Devotional (2012) Thomas Nelson, Inc. Page 68.

Monday, March 17, 2014

An Eco-view

"A modern writer tells how once he asked an old man how he managed to live alone in a single cottage, miles from anywhere. The old man answered cheerfully that he enjoyed it since, as he explained: 'Providence is my next door neighbor.'"*

Despite what we are constantly being told by the media, scientists, and politicians, the problems of this world are not physical - but spiritual. Yes, many show themselves as physical, but the root cause and issues are spiritual. It is not climate change that show hold our concern, but spiritual ignorance. If people came to an understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ, then we would be given the wisdom and insight to correctly manage our eco-systems of the world.

It has been said (Murray Norris - The Myth of Overpopulation) that only 15% of the farmable land is being used - and of that only about 50% is being used in any year. God supplies our basic needs, but we need to put in the correct effort to use them. It is not that the world lacks resources, it is that we lack spiritual understanding and dependence upon God.

Today, seek out that relationship with the Father, and ask for the wisdom that He so readily wants to give (James 1:5). And, as Christians let us take the lead in demonstrating the God-ordained view of our ecological and social systems. we are stewards of the bountiful blessings that God has provided for us - let us use them for His praise and glory - so that the world will see Him through us.

* From Everyday With Jesus Bible (2004) Holman Bible Publishers. Selwyn Hughes Devotions page 287

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Prayer time - March 16

Dear God, My heart is moved today for people who just cannot seem to find their place. They feel lost, empty, out of place, floundering. Some are discouraged; some are depressed; some are anxious; some are hopeful; some are searching; some have given up. I pray that today will be a day of breakthrough for them. I pray that the right job, the right ministry opportunity, the right words, the right whatever it is they need will be there for them today. I pray that you will open doors and lead them through. I pray for encouragement and guidance. I pray for joy, excitement and blessings of the heart and spirit. I pray for contentment, initiative, passion, thankfulness in their attitudes today. May they look to you and receive the gifts you have in store for them. And may you, oh wonderful gracious God, be glorified. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Prayer Time - March 15

Dear God, You own even the cattle on a thousand hills. You made everything...Oh Mighty Creator...and all is yours. You have provided abundantly for your creation. I'm sorry that we have not taken care of so many of the resources you have given us. I'm sorry for our complacency. I am thankful for your perfect plan and creation. I am thankful for your provisions and your ever presence. Please grant wisdom and knowledge that I will be the biblical and wise steward that you want me to be. Thank you for taking care of me and my family. Thank you for your blessings upon us. Thank you for your protection and your haven within the body of Christ. I love you, Father. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, March 14, 2014

What Is A Church?

A church is an assembly of believers in whom Christ dwells, under the discipline of the Word of God, organized for evangelism, eduction, fellowship and worship, administering the ordinances and reflecting the spiritual gifts.*

Contrary to modern usage, a church is not a physical building or location. A church (according to the Scriptures) is an organized group of believers who have submitted to His Lordship and the instruction of His Word.

Some in the church will not be saved - will not have received Christ and are identified with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection. However, we are not able to judge that - only God and the person will know for certain. A church needs to accept all upon their profession of faith in Christ. A church is distinct from all other organizations because it has CHrist at it's center, and He is in their midst. without Him, it is no longer a New Testament Church.

A church seeks to study and be developed under the teaching of the Word of God.  Preaching that is blessed by God is built upon His Word, and maintains Christ at the center. It is not based on stories, humor, or personal events. Preaching that God blesses is about CHrist - all about Christ.

The church is organized together for Evangelism, education, worship and fellowship.  It is not a "back-slapping" community group that comes together to make each other feel good. It is organized to reach and develop those who have not believed and accepted Christ. Then, the church is responsible for instruction and guiding those who receive Christ. Then, it works together in "fellowship" to maintain and develop those who are it's own. Finally, it is the place where those who believe can bring their individual worship of God into a corporate body of worshippers.

Finally, the ordinances - baptism and communion - were given to the church to celebrate together. Baptism is symbolic of the believer's death, burial and resurrection with Christ. It is to be celebrated in the corporate body because one's individual identification with Christ and the cross also is their identification with the Body of Christ here on earth. The Lord's Table is a time of edification, fellowship, and personal introspection.

The gifts of the Spirit are for the empowering of the church to fulfill it's mission here on earth. The gifts are not for the individual's benefit, but for the continued work of the church. God gifts individuals so that the Body on earth can achieve what He has called it to do. When we focus on the gifts instead of the giver, when we focus on what the gift is like instead of what it should be used for, we then make the gifts of the Spirit idols (much like the Bronze Snake of Moses) and not what they are given for.

A New Testament church is an organized body of believers who are under Christ and His Word, organized to evangelize, educate, fellowship and worship together. This is accomplished by the proper use of the ordinances and gifts of the Spirit.

Today, as you look forward to this weekends gathering in your respective churches, consider how that you can be instrumental in maintaining your church in the call of the Great Commission of Christ.

* Towns, Elmer L. (2009) What's Right with the Church: A manifesto of Hope. Regal/Ventura CA. p214

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What's Right About Our Future

Hope is one of the most powerful values known to mankind; it transforms individuals and society. Jesus offered hope after death: "I go to prepare a place for you... I will come again and receive you to Myself" (John 14: 2-3). People with hope live with confidence and inspire others. But the church offers more than hope after death; it teaches that God has a wonderful plan for each individual in this life, and a blessed hope after they die. When the church gets it right in it's role in offering future hope, it can influence society.

The great rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun is quoted as saying: " Science has found nothing can disappear without a trace. Nature does not know extinction. All it knows is transformation. If God applies  the fundamental principle to the most minute and insignificant parts of the universe, doesn't it make sense to assume that He applies it to the masterpiece of His creation - the human soul? I think it does."

We have a hope (confident expectation) who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. This hope is for a positive eternity. All people live for eternity, some with a positive life with God, and some who will suffer forever separated from God. In our positive looking forward to Heaven, we know that it will have everything one could ever want. Yet, the Book of Revelation does tell us that some things are missing in Heaven.

In Revelation 21we see that Heaven does not have tears, death, sorrow, crying, pain, night, defilement, abominations, curses, liars, sun, or moon. Otherwise, it has it all.

As Christians, we have this hope, and we are in a world that doesn't. We are obligated (Romans 1:14, HCSB) to bring the good news to those around us. we should be eager (Romans 1:15, HCSB) to find ways to share this good news to everyone. Because, as with Paul, we need to proclaim that we "are not  ashamed of the gospel" (Romans 1:16, HCSB), because it is the power behind salvation - to everyone who will believe it.

Do you believe it? Have you received the power of God's salvation? Are you eager to share? Perhaps if you are not, it is because you have not grasped the wonder and magnitude of the gift that you have received. Today - find one person and share it.

* Towns, Elmer L. (2009) What's Right with the Church: A manifesto of Hope. Regal/Ventura CA. p200

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What's Right About The Great Commission

Unlike all other religions, Christianity is not about simply learning doctrine and rules, then passing what is learned from generation to generation. Each follower of Christ is obligated to become vitally involved in carrying out the Great Commission directly or indirectly to everyone in the entire world. When the church gets the Great Commission right, it can impact the world.*

Oswald J. Smith, the great Canadian pastor, author, and missions advocate, founded The People's Church in Toronto in 1928. Smith was considered too frail to be a missionary so he made a commitment: "If I can't go myself, I will send someone else." While leading his expanding congregation in a program supporting over 500 workers worldwide, Smith was instrumental in challenging others to follow his example. Over the course of eighty years he preached more than 12,000 sermons in 80 countries, wrote thirty-five books (with translations into 128 languages), as well as 1,200 poems, of which 100 have been set to music. He is quoted as saying - " No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once," and, "We talk of the Second Coming; half of the world has never heard of the first."

Nate Saint and four other young men gave their lives in the jungles of Ecuador, South America in 1956 (chronicled in the book Gates of Splendor) while trying to reach the Huaorani (Auca) indians of this region. The Ecuadorian government has planned on exterminating them, because of their vicious fierce actions to other tribes in the region. Nate's sister Rachel and some other women took up the call and went back and eventually led these people into a relationship with Christ. Why would these young people dedicate and give their lives to reach this group of savage people? Because Jesus commanded His followers to share the good news (gospel) with every person (Mark 16:15).

Rachel took Steve, Nate and Rachel's young son with her. He spent his life transforming the pagan Auca culture into one with CHristian values? Because Jesus commanded us to do this - Matthew 28:20. In the Great Commission, the only command is "make disciples." The word go is actually a participle that can be translated, "as you are going." Jesus commanded us to make disciples while we are going about the routines of our daily lives. Then we are to see them baptized and instructed in all that He has taught us.

Today, consider all the people that you come into contact with (your "as you are going") and whether you are seeking to fulfill the command of Christ (make disciples). How many could we impact, if we would just do as Christ has called us to do.

* Towns, Elmer L. (2009) What's Right with the Church: A manifesto of Hope. Regal/Ventura CA. p182

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What's Right about Loving All People

God loves people of every race and language, and He wants everyone to be one Body "where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all in all" (Col. 3:11). When the church is right on the race and cultural issues, it reflects the Body that God intends it to be.*

David Anderson says in his book Multicultural Ministry: Finding Your Church's Unique Rhythm, "Heaven may include every culture, every tongue, and tribe, but in the United States, Sunday morning remains one of the last bastions of ethnic separation."

The Bible teaches that God has made all men equal.  When we stand at the foot of the cross, we stand there as men (and women) created by God, who inherited the sin nature (from Adam and Eve), in need of a Savior.  God does not see different ethnicities, social levels, financial areas, or any other man-made divisions. He only sees those who are believers and those who are non-believers. The saved and the lost.

The church believes:
  • All are created in the image of God (see Gen. 1:27)
  • All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (see Rom. 3:23)
  • Jesus died for all (see 2 Cor. 5:15)
  • All can be saved and be a full member of the Body of Christ (see 1 Cor. 12:27)
  • All are fellow workers in the mission of Jesus Christ on this earth (see Col. 4:11)**
As we close this musing today, consider what the Scriptures say about this scene in Heaven of men and women of every tribe, tongue, and nation - 

"And they sang a new song, saying:
'You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.'” (Rev. 5: 9-10, NKJV)

* Towns, Elmer L. (2009) What's Right with the Church: A manifesto of Hope. Regal/Ventura CA. p164
** ibid. 172

Monday, March 10, 2014

What's Right About the Family

When the church rightly influences the family, it has a deep influence on society and the individual. Because the family is the first influence on the child who will eventually take his or her values and attitudes into the culture, and because the family has a continuing influence on individuals, the church helps to shape every area of life when it influences the family.*

The traditional nuclear family (the biological family) is under great attack today. The government, media, special agenda groups, etc. all seek to reject the biblical standards of what is a family. When we consider Media/Television over the last 70 years we see a major shift in the idea of a family. In the 50's they had Father Knows Best, I Love Lucy, and Leave it to Beaver; where today we have Family Guy and Two and a Half Men. What a shift!

The biblical basis for a family is set up from Genesis through the New Testament. The Bible describes adultery, sex among singles, polygamy and homosexuality while not approving these actions. The Biblical view is a monogamous, heterosexual family relationship. every time one of the aforementioned ways of family is described in the Scriptures, it always shows the problems and issues that come from them.

God planned the family from the beginning (Genesis 1:27) and marriage to be one man - one woman - for a lifetime (Genesis 2:23-24). Jesus reinforced this in Matthew 19:6. Lamech was the first as being described as having "two wives" in Genesis 4:19-24. He was living a life that was in complete rebellion against God.

The fifth commandment of the Ten Commandments tells us to honor our father and mother (Exodus 20:12).  we see today a very different view of society about children and their relationship with their parents.

The church can have a very strong influence on society as they stand strong for the biblical family standards. If our families disintegrate, it will have a disastrous on individuals. This will in turn cause negative consequences of society as a whole. We must return to a strong Family Focus based upon God's Word and truth.

* Towns, Elmer L. (2009) What's Right with the Church: A manifesto of Hope. Regal/Ventura CA. p150

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 9 Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for the privilege of being able to commune with you through prayer. Thank you for speaking to me through your Word and teaching me through life's circumstances. Thank you for the beautiful birds that sing such a lovely song, for the sun that shines, for the rain that cools and replenishes the thirsty earth...and provides water for us to drink. I pray for those in lands where there is famine or flood; that you would balance the weather and provide their needs. Please reveal your power, your love, your presence to them in a mighty way; that they would know that you are God. With love and happiness that comes from the peace you give, Lord. Amen.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 8 Prayer

God, Your Word tells us to love our enemies, to pray for those who spite or persecute us. That's quite a "tall order" for a human, but through the enabling of your Holy Spirit, I can do it. Please remind me to pray instead of complaining, to pray instead of getting angry, to pray instead of feeling sorry for myself. I pray for all the people I have relationships with in my family, neighborhood, workplace, church, school...wherever I live, work, and play, that you would help them to focus on you. If they do not know you, draw them to you. If they do know you, remind them to think "What would Jesus do?" before they act. Remind me too. Thank you for your love and patience with us. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The movie Noah coming out the end of March

I went an saw the movie The Son of God in a nearby theater and totally enjoyed it. In a large part it was true to the Scriptures, and in some places deviated without destroying the message or teachings of the church. It is good to see movies such as this coming out.

However, Hollywood is often quick to rush to pick up on a good thing - only doing it their way. I believe an upcoming movie - Noah - is such a film.

Dr. Jerry Johnston, president and CEO of the NRB had this to say about the movie in a blog written by Ed Stetzer - The Exchange.

Director Darren Aronofsky is known for movies that have a maverick and mystic quality.Noah is no different. When contrasting Noah to The Bible on the History Channel, Paramount Pictures' Vice Chairman Rob Moore said, "This movie has a lot more creativity to it. And therefore, if you want to put it on the spectrum, it probably is more accurate to say this movie is inspired by the story of Noah," (The Hollywood Reporter, emphasis added). Note the careful language inspired by, not an actual retelling or exegetical representation of the biblical text. Noah is not The Passion of the ChristThe Ten Commandments or Son of God. Paramount is about to launch a new ad campaign to emphasize this very point, which is the right thing to do. People should know what they are paying to see. *
We must seek as believers to check out the facts about what is being shown before we heartily endorse for people - especially unbelievers - to go and see a film. In an earlier blog, Dr. Johnson says:

In the darkness of the ark, Noah retells the creation story to his family. From the beginning, there is the Creator, who calls forth the light. So far—so good. However, visuals are supplied once life gets going, which show primitive species morphing again and again to more sophisticated creatures. 
Noah gets Noah wrong, gets the environment wrong, gets evolution wrong, gets angelology wrong, and gets some biblical details wrong. Compounding these problems, add the fact that none of these negatives can be deduced from watching the previews that have been released. 
Given these facts, and facts they are, the movie trailer may feel like a "bait and switch" to Jews and Christians. **
So, check out what is being shown, and then make your decision whether to see it or not, and whether you will endorse others to see it. As far as I am concerned, I cannot endorse for people to see this movie.


Charity Baptist Church in Keokee, VA

Here are some pictures of the outside and Worship Center of CHarity Baptist Church where we worked last week. This building and work is truly a miracle from God. Keep praying for Dave Parsons and the people here in this "holler" that God will work in some mighty ways through them.

Keokee Ministry Trip Update

We headed back down the road to Laurinburg, Thursday afternoon. This week of work has gone by quickly. Thursday was a busy day to finish up what we had started. And we were able to finish up and clean up before noon.

The weather forecasts for the areas we were to be driving through this morning (Friday) we calling for a lot of wintery mixes - and snow of 1 - 3 inches in places. That encouraged us to come back early.  we arrived back in Laurinburg after 8 pm - tired, but excited about what God had allowed us to accomplish while there.

If you have the opportunity to be a part of a team on mission for God - grab it. Being a part of what God is doing with others is exciting, encouraging, and life-changing.

Next week we will return to the format of the blog that I am writing. I have been up since 4:00 AM, and I am writing this at about 10:00 PM. My body and mind are telling me that it is about time to shower and get a good nights sleep. So since it is two against one, I guess I will listen. Thanks to everyone for your prayers for our safety while traveling and while we were working. God Bless - and Good Night.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Keokee Ministry Trip Update

Well, here it is Wednesday evening, already. One more day of work in front of us and then the trip back to Laurinburg, NC.

We had another full busy day at Charity Baptist Church today. The plumbing has been finished, the two shower stalls are in, and the men are building the walls around them. They will sheetrock and spack - and then we will basically be finished with the task.

Dick Britt has done a wonderful job putting this trip together. Everyone of the  group has had a vital part in the mission work being accomplished here at Keokee. Jim Walker and Tommy Brooks have worked tirelessly. Morris Britt has been consistent is seeing things through. Bill Short has been available for whoever needs a hand. John Miller has taken on the task of driving the van and trailer to and from the church site.

Art Brown and Jimmy Caulder spent the entire day under the building in the crawlspace putting in the water lines to the sinks and all the new sewer lines. when they came out today, they looked like a couple of miners crawling out of the mine. They did a terrific job. The bathrooms are beginning to look useable again. We cleaned up our mess and stored the tools so that the church could worship together tonight. After our dinner - spaghetti this evening - we will be worshipping with them. We give a great big thanks to Carroll Scarboro and George Phelps our two resident "chefs" for fixing our breakfasts and dinners (along with others from time to time). And we couldn't start the day without Tony Ciarrocco's coffee! He is an inspiration to me for his tireless work on any project that is needed.

We had a wonderful time worshipping and studying God's Word with the people of Charity Baptist on wednesday night.  Our group of 12 greatly swelled their attendance. Pastor David Parsons taught the 5th chapter of 1 Timothy this evening. Great words to remind us of our interactions with each other.

We thought again today, how that we are doing this for our Savior - to reach out to others to help them reach out to others. The importance of being a Christian is ministering to others so that they can see Jesus in us. Not for our praise - but for His!

As we serve, we are reminded of Jesus' words in Mark 10:45 - "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister..."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Keokee Ministry Trip Update

Here it is Tuesday evening, and we have had a very busy day.  Because we lost so much time yesterday because of the weather, we started out at 7 AM. We found the roads very travel safe and went and picked up more materials for the work on the two showers at Charity Baptist Church in Keokee, VA.

The 12 of us have worked very hard and one of the two bathrooms is almost completed. The water for the showers is installed, and the stall is in place. Tomorrow, we will connect the drain and get the sink re-plumbed. The second bathroom has the water for the shower in, the stall is being setup for the fixtures and then the sink will be placed.

We have had a great time of fellowship while serving with Christ for these people in this "holler." The pastor David has spent most of the days with us and is a very encouraging person.

This evening we have had a delicious BBQ dinner (from Johnny Brooks and the Rockin' Pig) and spent a brief time in part two of the devotional study on Romans 1: 14-16. God has given us so much that we are obligated to minister to others, and we should be as Paul was - "ready" or excited and encouraged to minister for Christ.

Tomorrow will come early again, and it appears so many of us are ready to rest and sleep.  Continue to pray for our trip to Keokee.  We covet your prayers for continued safety in our work and for a safe return on Friday of this week.

On a brief side note - please remember my family in your prayers - my cousin Charles Thorpe (in Michigan) died Monday night.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Keokee Ministry Trip Update

I am with a group of men from New Hope Baptist Church who has the missional gene in their DNA, the Baptist Builders of New Hope Baptist Church in Laurinburg. We have gone to Keokee, VA to work in ministry to a local SBC church. We are helping the area by installing showers in this local church so that other ministry and mission-minded groups can come and stay and work. each day this week, I will attempt to update you on what we are doing, and how our ministry to the people in this area is going.

We arrived in Keokee on Sunday afternoon and began to set up our living areas in the Ministry Building for the Association. We had a quiet evening which allowed for us to set up our kitchen and sleeping facilities. This allowed us to prepare for our work on Monday.

On Monday, we woke up to rainy weather - with the threat of snow and sleet for the day. We started the demo and moving of the sinks in the two bathrooms. We were able to get everything ready for the plumbing when we had to leave because of the icing of the bridges and snow. we will be back to continue on Tuesday.

God has really blessed the Charity Baptist Church in this small holler community, and it is a blessing for us to go and assist them.  we are excited to go and work some more with this church.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What's Right about Helping Needy People

"When the church gets social action right, it can impact the world with its message of redemption from sin, and become an example of Christ, who "did not come to be served, but to serve" (Mark 10:45)*

Often I have heard people debating between the social gospel and the evangelistic gospel. Yes, many religions and denominations have swung so far to the social end that any mention of Jesus would be purely accidental. Many others have swung so far the other way, you would be hard pressed to find any ounce of compassion for those in need.

The essence of Christianity has always been - others. God has saved us, not just for our own benefit, but so that we can be a blessing to others. The truth of the gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith, a gift that comes from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet, the apostle James reminds us that "faith without works is dead." (James 1:20).

 We are called by God to help one another. We find that it has been the Christian Church that was responsible for starting the idea of hospitals, outreach to alcoholics, unwed mothers, education, soup kitchens, food pantries, etc. While the world seeks to denigrate the Christian, we have been busy reaching out and meeting needs. A telephone company once had a slogan - "Reach out and touch someone." This has been the challenge of the church since Christ walked on this earth (consider how many needy people Christ reached out and touched).

Today, I am with a group of men from North Carolina who are at the Kentucky Border in a small town called Keokee, VA. We are there to assist a small fellow-church with the work of installing two showers in their building. The reason they want to have these showers is so that other teams of missionaries can come into their area and help so many others who have needs. We are helping them, so that in turn they can help others who are seeking to help others.

Christ did not come to be served - He came to serve, and if we are to like Him, we also must serve. We hear a lot about DNA today. It can be used to determine guilt or innocence in a legal case. It also can be used to identify relatives to one another. As Christians, we are to carry the DNA of our brother - Jesus Christ. He came to give of Himself, and selflessly serve others.  It's in our DNA - so let's be like Jesus. Let's do what He did - serve others.

* Towns, Elmer L. (2009) What's Right with the Church: A manifesto of Hope. Regal/Ventura CA. p136

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 2 Prayer

Gracious and Glorious God, please, please give me an insatiable desire and thirst for Jesus, for Your Word, my Savior. Open my eyes that I may see myself as You see me, that I may see and love others from Your viewpoint, that You would be the absolute center and guiding light of my life. Refresh my daily walk that I may walk with You in quiet places, in heavenly places, and throughout all of life into eternity. Thank You, God, my source of life and comfort and being. Bless You, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 1 Prayer

Dear God, Today I reach toward Heaven and ask You, and depend on You, to be the source of victory in my workplace and my life. May Your banner wave over my work and life so that You might receive glory. I know that You bring love and joy into my life, and I am a better and richer person because if it. Help me to share your love and life with others. I love you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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