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Friday, October 31, 2008

Better Than Good!

Drove from Bath, NY to Hannibal, Mo yesterday...then had a hard time falling asleep.

So dove into the Word for a little while, got to thinking about one of my favorite verses:

Psalm 119.165 Great peace have those who love Your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Wondered about other references to "great"...didn't do an exhaustive study, but did find these quickly:

Nehemiah 12.43 "...God had made them rejoice with great joy.

Eph 2.4 "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us..."

Daniel 9.18 "...For we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness, but because of Your great mercy"

James 5.16 "...The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."

And here is my for-now favorite:

Jude 24 "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy."

Now, the way Jude 24 reads, I wonder if the "great joy" is ours or His?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Whatever You Are Going Thru - Jesus is Stronger!

Wow! That's basically all I can say about this song, presented by Hillsong, and referred to in a post by James MacDonald:

Jesus Plus Anything is Less

Simple truth; simply put:

On The Road, Again

Early summer Jane and I talked about an invitation I had to speak for a week in a church in Troy, Ks. The pastor, Jerry, and I went to Bible school together and have remained close. We decided that I should accept the assignment, and laughed that we’d probably be moving right around that time…

Thursday morning I begin the drive to the Midwest to, first, help with Midland Ministries’ Bible quizzing on Saturday, and on Sunday morning begin the week in the church.

And, yeah, we could be loading the truck while I am gone! Or, perhaps more likely, that will transpire as soon as I return to New York, probably November 11.

Everything is still a bit in limbo as we don’t have final word from Saint Joseph nor an “etched in stone” closing date here.

So I drive off to preach, and Jane, Janelle, and Jacob stay in New York. On Wednesday Joel will fly from Chicago to Buffalo to help with the move.

So I use the blog to simply invite you to pray with us for safety for all the traveling, for power in ministering the Word, and for all the details of this move to…finally…be revealed to us. We are already and still thanking the Lord for working it all out…just waiting to see how He does it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

What is Humility?

Andrew Murray has a great quote, "Humility is not the same as low self-esteem, and it is not the opposite of confidence. In fact, the truly humble person walks with absolute confidence, knowing that we are simply vessels through whom God wants to accomplish His work."

Yancey on Forgiveness

"Forgiveness is the only way to break the cycle of blame--and pain--in a
relationship...It does not settle all questions of blame and justice and
fairness...But it does allow relationships to start over. In that way,
said Solzhenitsyn, we differ from all animals. It is not our capacity to
think that makes us different, but our capacity to repent, and to forgive."

Philip Yancey

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can You Define the Gospel in 60 Seconds (or so)?

Here's a great definition of that which is "of first importance" worthy of contemplation, meditation, and, perhaps, memorization:

“The first order of business is to know the gospel . . .

The gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is that God the Father, who is holy and righteous in all his ways, is angry with sinners and will punish sin. Man, who disobeys the rule of God, is alienated from the love of God and is in danger of an eternal and agonizing condemnation at the hands of God. But God, who is also rich in mercy, because of his great love, sent his eternal Son born by the Virgin Mary, to die as a ransom and a substitute for the sins of rebellious people. And now, through the perfect obedience of the Son of God and his willing death on the cross as a payment for our sins, all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, following him as Savior and Lord, will be saved from the wrath of God to come, be declared just in his sight, have eternal life, and receive the Spirit of God as a foretaste of the glories of heaven with God himself.”

- Thabiti Anyabwile, What Is a Healthy Church Member? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008), 40-41

Yeah, God's Word is Relative and Contemporary

Reading in Jeremiah, and again amazed at how relevant the Word of God is...even without the "help" of speakers/preachers/communicators. Does not the following remind you of a certain country that is having an election in less than two weeks?

Jeremiah 5.30, 31 An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?

Jeremiah 6.10 ...behold, the Word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.

Jeremiah 7.8 Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. (Don't know about you, but when I read that I think of many "Christian" bestsellers...)

Jeremiah 7.28 ...This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.

Will America Get What She Deserves?

I know it is uncomfortable...but the reminder is necessary.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Repentance - Critical to Think About

Since repentance is a key missing-ingredient of contemporary churchianity, this observation of Tim Keller is vital:

“In the religious approach, repentance separates you from the source of your power and your hope and your confidence - because that's a good record.

But in the gospel, repentance reconnects you to the source of your power and your confidence and your joy. Why? Because the source of your self image, the source of your power, the source of your confidence is not your record, but His record. Not what you have done, but what He has done.”

- Tim Keller, “He came to himself” (message given at Redeemer Presbyterian Church)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Zip It! So Hard to Do...

"Each time, before you intercede, be quite first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!" Andrew Murray

Easy to type, much more difficult to do...if you are in the minority of Christians who are developing a prayer life, it is all too easy to tackle it as a "to do" item, check it off, move ahead. Instead, as Murray admonishes, I need to make time to "be still, and know that (He) is God. I need to remember answered prayers, and thank God, in faith (and in advance) for His response to the prayers to come.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Today's Scripture Telegram

Bounced off the page today in my normal "thru the Bible" reading:

Psalm 103.17, 18 "But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Not a Real Good Way To Respond to Authority

Okay, this is simply hysterical:

Important Things I've Learned

Wednesday and Thursday I preached at the Steuben County Jail, the first night to four groups of male inmates, the second to one group of females. The chaplain, Royce Pifer, asked me to speak about the most important things I've learned, since this (hopefully) is the last time I'll speak at this jail as we plan to move in a matter of weeks.

I didn't have a lot of time, but I came up with these:

1. God is (Ro 1.18-23)

2. Go is God, I am Not, though I often want to be (and thus I am a sinner) Ro 3.23, Isa 53.6

3. God hates my sin Ro 2.5-11

4. God loves me Jo 3.16, Ro 5.8

5. Jesus took the hit Ro 3.23-26

6. I need to man up, fess up, repent and receive the gift Ro 6.23, Ac 20.17-21, Ac 26.15-20

7. I need to pass it on

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Don't Light Your Own Fire (or Light)

Jumped off the page during my reading this morning:

Isaiah 50.10,11 "Who among you fears the Lord, and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
"Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from My hand: you shall lie down in torment."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The "Justness" of the Cross

“The Cross was at once the most horrible and the most beautiful example of God’s wrath. It was the most just and the most gracious act in history. God would have been more than unjust, He would have been diabolical to punish Jesus if Jesus had not first willingly taken on Himself the sins of the world. Once Christ had done that, once He volunteered to be the Lamb of God, laden with our sin, then He became the most grotesque and vile thing on this planet. With the concentrated load of sin He carried, He became utterly repugnant to the Father. God poured out His wrath on this obscene thing. God made Christ accursed for the sin He bore. Herein was God’s holy justice perfectly manifest. Yet it was done for us. He took what justice demanded from us.

- RC Sproul, The Holiness of God

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bonhoeffer on Interuptions

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will
be constantly crossing our paths and cancelling our plans by sending us
people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with
our more important tasks, as the priest passed by the man who had fallen
among thieves, perhaps - reading the Bible..... it is part of the
discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can
perform a service and we do not assume that our schedule is our own to
manage, but allow it to be arranged by God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Horror of the Cross

The curious paradox of the atoning death of a bloody Jesus rising above the plane of human history with a mocking crown of thorns is that he is offensive in an attractive way.

It is the utter horror of the cross that cuts through the chatter, noise, and nonsense of our day to rivet our attention, shut our mouths, and compel us to listen to an impassioned dying man who is crying out for the forgiveness of our sins and to ask why he suffered.

Tragically, if we lose the offense of the cross, we also lose the attraction of the cross so that no one is compelled to look at Jesus. Therefore, Jesus does not need a marketing firm or a makeover as much as a prophet to preach the horror of the cross unashamedly.

—- Mark Driscoll, "Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches"

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Election Poem

With the next election weeks away,
Here is all I have to say.
Some might say it takes some nerve,
To say we may get what we deserve.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Scary Stuff!

Truth Laced with a Chuckle?

Yes, I know there are many people who visit this blog; but, yeah, I do wish more would leave comments. Or maybe there is much more truth in the above than I'd like to think????

How Does Salvation Occur?

No, I'm not going to get into the whole predestination, calling, election "thing", though I have some strong opinions about those glorious truths.

But just a reminder from the book of Acts, particularly as it describes the conversion of Lydia, who already was a "worshiper of God" (which, of course, confirms that, like the apostle Paul (prior to the Damascus Road), you can love God and serve God and yet be unsaved).

Acts 16.14 states, "...The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul."

Step one...The Lord opens a heart

Step of the Lord's flunkies brags on Jesus

Addendum Spoke to someone about this; I did not make my point clear...If the Lord has not initiated step one; all of our step twos will be ineffective (though, if we push, we may produce a "decision," but not a conversion. Why? Because "salvation is of the Lord."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How Does a Prayer Warrior Evolve?

I know that this past year has tremendously increased the passion in my prayer life...and now that the struggles of selling the house and buying a house, and all the inherent junk there seems to be racing to a conclusion, I do not want that passion to ebb; but rather hope/pray this is the genesis of a continually growing awareness, effectiveness, and practice-ness of praying "at all times."

Thus this quote came to be at a very timely juncture:

“God uses the past and present difficulties of your life to lead you into a life of prayer. No one ever just decides to be a prayer warrior. God does something in a life that makes the person sense this need of God.” -Bill Thrasher

Vital Reminder from Swindoll

We are so prone to put God in a box regarding most every aspect of include conversion. This is a very important reminder from Chuck:

by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Acts 9:1--4

The essence of genuine repentance is that the mind does a turnaround. The Greek word is metanoia, meaning, literally, "to change one's mind." That's precisely what happened to the once-proud Pharisee on the road to Damascus. So many things within Saul's thinking changed---and changed completely. He changed his mind about God, about Jesus, about the Resurrection, about those who followed Christ. He must have shaken his head for days. He thought Christ was dead. Now he was convinced Jesus was alive. This One who knew his name also knew what he'd been doing. The raging rebel had finally met his match, and there was no place or way to hide.

Now let me pause to clarify something important. Some Christians try to impose their rigid system of dos and don'ts on the issue of conversion. I want to caution against that sort of exercise. It's impossible to find any single place in Scripture that reveals the one-and-only way every sinner comes to Christ. While the message of the Gospel is the same, methods differ. We are so conditioned by denominational backgrounds, religious traditionalism, and narrow-thinking prejudice, we miss the point of God's grace. We tend to require more than God does! Be careful about exacting requirements on someone who genuinely turns to the Savior.

Lost people are saved while listening to a great song about Christ or while hearing a preacher or Bible teacher explaining God's Word from a pulpit or over television or on the radio. Others are saved during a small-group Bible study. Many come to Him on their own, while praying in the privacy of their homes. Day or night a sinner can call on the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and be saved. Let's stop making it so complicated. As it happened with Saul, grace abounds.

Regardless of exactly when Saul was converted, he realized that the living Jesus, whom he had hated and denied his entire life, was now his Savior and Lord.

Is He your Savior and Lord too?

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.

Monday, October 6, 2008

No Shocks or Surprises for God

Here's another great insight from Swindoll. Again, I heartily recommend the book to supplement your own Bible reading

Read Acts 9:1--4

For more than three decades, Saul controlled his own life. His record in Judaism ranked second to none. On his way to make an even greater name for himself, the laser of God's presence stopped him in his tracks, striking him blind. Like that group of shepherds faithfully watching their sheep years earlier on another significant night outside Jerusalem, Saul and his companions fell to the ground, stunned.

That's what still happens today when calamity strikes. You get the news in the middle of the night on the telephone, and you can't move. As the policeman describes the head-on collision, you stand frozen in disbelief. After hearing the word "cancer," you're so shocked you can hardly walk out the doctor's office doors. A friend once admitted to me that, after hearing his dreaded diagnosis, he stumbled to the men's room, vomited, dropped to his knees, and sobbed uncontrollably. Life's unexpected jolts grip us with such fear we can scarcely go on.

For the first time in his proud, self-sustained life, Saul found himself a desperate dependent. Not only was he pinned to the ground, he was blind. His other senses were on alert and, to his amazement, he heard a voice from heaven say, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4). Saul was convinced he had been persecuting people---cultic followers of a false Messiah. Instead, he discovered that the true object of his vile brutality was Christ Himself.

We live in a culture that regularly confuses humanity with deity. The lines get blurred. It's the kind of sloppy theology that suggests God sits on the edge of heaven thinking, Wonder what they'll do next. How absurd! God is omniscient---all-knowing. This implies, clearly, that God never learns anything, our sinful decisions and evil deeds notwithstanding. Nothing ever surprises Him. From the moment we're conceived to the moment we die, we remain safely within the frame of His watchful gaze and His sovereign plan for us.

Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


As our house is in the "let's get to the closing date" stage; we are in Saint Joseph looking for house-to-make-home. Looked at tons, a few possibilities, several ain't no ways...but time is crunching. Couple more to look at today after church; then Monday we will look and relook. Appreciate prayers.

As in all of lifes adventures, there are struggles and victories and times of waiting and, yeah, times of doubt.

Thought this quote from former Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan was timely as it came into my in-box this morning:

"Part of being a champ is acting like a champ. You have to learn
how to win and not run away when you lose. Everyone has bad stretches and
real successes. Either way, you have to be careful not to lose your
confidence or get too confident."

And, remember, we are not merely "champs," but in Christ we are "more than conquerors."