Monday, March 31, 2014

What If Our Local Church Suddenly Closed?

(This letter was mailed this past week to the home addresses of those who attend our local church. I just wanted to post it on my blog for consideration for new readers and repetition for previous readers.)

Lately, I’ve been thinking how it would make us feel if our local church suddenly closed? I’m not being pessimistic, just thinking aloud so I can be more grateful for the wonderful things God has allowed me to have in my life. Yes, wonderful things like Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene.

Here’s kind of what got me thinking this way. In the past three months, two of my most favorite restaurants in the world suddenly, yes, without warning, shut their doors for forever. One was The China Jade in Harrisonburg and the other was The Fish Hook on my native Harkers Island. Now, while I surely do miss the good food served at both of these fine eating establishments, the most painful sadness for my soul is the loss of the relationships related to these restaurants.

At The China Jade, Annie and Jackie Ling and their three young children along with their waitress, Jennie, all became very dear to my heart. I wept when I got the final word (by phone from Annie) that their business would actually close the first day of January, as opposed to late May, as they had first thought. While they are moving back to their homeland, China, I rejoice for them, but have a hurt in my own heart.

And then, there’s The Fish Hook on Harkers Island. Part of the joy as I journey back and forth to visit my Mom and Dad in North Carolina, has been eating out for a meal or two at “Mrs. Faye’s Famous Seafood CafĂ©” (known to outsiders as The Fish Hook.) A few months ago, Mrs. Faye’s cancer returned and within a matter of weeks she was gone. Because the business rested totally on her shoulders, it closed immediately with her passing. It was just this past December that I stopped by for a few of Mrs. Faye’s marvelous meals and even delivered to her a Christmas gift – a framed photograph of the nearby Cape Lookout Lighthouse. She was so excited to hang the image on her restaurant wall. But now, it’s already been taken down. I hope a family member will enjoy the print. I mourn Mrs. Faye’s quick exit from planet earth and while I will miss her the most, I do also admit that not having access to her fried oysters and clam chowder is a loss as well.

Then there’s the local church. You know, our local church, “HFCN”. “What if our local church suddenly closed?” What if on the next Sunday you show up for worship, the doors are chained and signs on the door indicate that our local fellowship is no longer a present ministry, but only a past memory? Would it matter?

One thing that has been very difficult for me as a pastor over these past 20 years, is the way busyness has all but eroded church commitments in the hearts of some church people. I remember saying 20 years ago to the little band of Nazarene believers who met on Roosevelt Street: “I pray the future will find the local Church of The Nazarene to be the center of our lives!” These days, it seems too often that rather than most people planning their lives around the life of the local church, the local church just gets planned around people’s lives -- if it’s convenient. People in surveys have indicated that if they attend weekend worship 1.5 times per month, they count themselves as committed to the local church. Are we okay with that statistic?

Finally, I am realistic. I know how busy life is and how priorities have shifted, but I fear the price we will pay in the future for these present changes could be spiritually and relationally catastrophic. Remember, that our local church only asks people for 3 things: (1) Worship with us on Sundays. (2) Pray about joining a Life Group. (3) Find your place as a team player in our Volunteer Culture. (Question: Is that really too much to ask?)

How I want to see our local church grow over these next 10 years for Jesus’ sake! Will you join me? How about this Sunday? We’re OPEN! My message title this Sunday, March 30 is: “As It Was in the Days of Noah!”               

Unless we are the church, there will be no church. Do you think our world needs the church?


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Truth Matters.

Don't try to be clever. Simply tell the Truth. Truth Matters. 


Saturday, March 29, 2014

On The Horizon: Keepers of the Light #20

Just on the horizon, yes, in a matter of days, a large group of men from our church family will once again accompany me on our Keepers of the Light retreat along the Atlantic Ocean. Hard to believe, but 2014 marks our 20th gathering.

This morning, our retreat "rabbi", Brian, and I, have been firming up the foundational themes and charting out the spiritual direction of our three-day adventure. I thought you might be encouraged by each of the three session directions now written on "the board":

Session #1: "Peace in the Storm"
Session #2: "Light in the Darkness"
Session #3: "Finishing The Journey Together"

Your prayers are appreciated. Pray for our peace to increase, for His light to be rekindled among and within and beyond us, and that our hearts will be set at complete unity that we might endure faithfully until the end. Amen.    


Friday, March 28, 2014

My Most Cherished Psalm

I love the Old Testament Psalms. Some of my most cherished Psalms are Psalm 23, 34, 37, 46, 91, 133 and 139, but I suppose my most cherished Psalm is 84. I awoke with it on my mind today:

Psalm 84 -- NLT
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises.       Interlude    What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob.    Interlude    O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed. A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.


Thursday, March 27, 2014


Today, is a gift...
From our God above.
It's just one way...
He displays His Love.

Yesterday's gone...
To never return.
Let's give it to God,
With all our concern.

Tomorrow, is bright...
As we trust God right now.
Let's live in His presence...
Before Him, let's bow.

And be...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Latest Results of Dad's CT Scan

Here are the good notes I took yesterday as Dad's doctor optimistically read the latest CT scan cancer results:

* Dad's Tumor has decreased more than half previous size... Yes, from 
6 to 3.2 centimeters in length
2.4 to 0.9 centimeters in width

* 2 more chemo treatments, then a pet scan to see more detail.

* The spots in vertebrae still show, but may be empty of cancer because scar tissue often continues to show on a CT scan.

* No new cancer spots.

* Previous cancer spots have all decreased. 

* Pet scan at a later date, maybe 5-6 weeks, will tell us more detail. (The bones will look same on CT but pet scan will reveal more clear results.)

 *Dad told doctor: "My faith is in the Great Physician and the knowledge he has given you." 

* Dr said: "Yes, indeed. You are on track. Numbers are all good. Blood work is good."

* I say, "Hallelujah!"


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's Dad's Chemotherapy Day

Today, is my Dad's chemotherapy day. We are in the doctor's office now awaiting his turn. Last week Dad had a cat-scan and today we are expecting to hear the results. Will the cancer attacking Dad's body be advancing or retreating?

Either way, I want to give you some really Good News. Dad is winning. He's sitting beside me whistling and humming songs of the faith. His sense of humor is fully in tact as he is keeping the other cancer patients here in the waiting room chuckling with his usual dry wit. Dad has a way putting everyone in his presence at ease.

Mom is with us, too. On the ride over she was singing two songs: (1) "Through it all,  I've Learned to Trust in Jesus" and (2) "My Jesus, I Love Thee. I Know Thou Art Mine."

The heritage of holiness is only surpassed in beauty by the presence of holiness, today. Holiness is simply one word that describes the condition of an eternal soul in an up-to-date, right relationship with Holy God. I can testify that all three of us -- Dad, Mom, and their eldest son -- are rejoicing in that right relationship right now.

Well, it's almost time for us to go back and sit with Dad's doctor. We know our God is able to heal. We also know our God is trustworthy. Nothing we will hear today will lessen our love for God. We know Him, love Him, need Him, want Him and trust Him. Dad just looked at me and said: "Regardless of the report, MY FAITH STILL HOLDS."

Peace is on the increase. Blessed assurance, Jesus is ours. And we are HIS. 

Is He yours? Are you HIS? It really is the only way to truly LIVE!


Note: My Dad's Boyhood Portrait attached. ;-)

Monday, March 24, 2014

His Peace? Your Release!

If you're a mess today,

Because of yesterday?
Trade your sorrow,
Before tomorrow.
Seek the One,
Who is God's Son.
His Peace?
Your release!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

What Love Never Does

“Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end” -- 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a GWT

"God is Love." Now reread the above passage, this time exchanging the name "God" for the word "Love."


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Not Whining, But Winning

I cannot improve inspirationally on Mrs. Cowman's commentary I read earlier this morning: 

Let us never forget that the source of learning to help others must be the experience of victorious suffering. Whining and complaining about our pain never does anyone any good.

The Apostle Paul never carried the gloom of a cemetery around with him, but a chorus of victorious praise. The more difficult his trial, the more he trusted and rejoiced, shouting from the very altar of sacrifice.

Read Philippians 2:17 to hear The Apostle Paul, not whining but winning.


Friday, March 21, 2014

"Stop Judging"

We spend an enormous amount of energy making up our minds about other people.  Not a day goes by without somebody doing or saying something that evokes in us the need to form an opinion about him or her.   We hear a lot, see a lot, and know a lot.  The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive. -- Henri Nouwen

Let's remember the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 7:1 -- "Stop judging so that you will not be judged."

Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy. 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Because He Trusts Us!"

Mrs. Cowman's classic devotional book, "Streams in the Desert", was my Mom's daily encourager as she raised me and my brothers. Married to a fisherman who had to be away from home often, much of the day-to-day parenting was left up to Mom to fulfill. We watched her pray and soak in God's Word and especially Mrs. Cowman's inspirational pen was her strong pal.

Years later, Mom's three sons would all become local pastors. The same writings Mom cut her spiritual teeth on, in time, also became ours. 

This page from "Streams in the Desert" has proven to be the most powerful page in the book in my estimation. So, here it is. (The Bible verse at the end especially explains so very much and rights so much bad theology in our world.)

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the ordeal that has come to test are sharing what Christ suffered; so rejoice in it."(1 Peter 4:12.) 

MANY a waiting hour was needful to enrich the harp of David, and many a waiting hour in the wilderness will gather for us a psalm of "thanksgiving, and the voice of melody," to cheer the hearts of fainting ones here below, and to make glad our Father's house on high. 

What was the preparation of the son of Jesse for the songs like unto which none other have ever sounded on this earth? 

The outrage of the wicked, which brought forth cries for God's help. Then the faint hope in God's goodness blossomed into a song of rejoicing for His mighty deliverances and manifold mercies. Every sorrow was another string to his harp; every deliverance another theme for praise. 

One thrill of anguish spared, one blessing unmarked or unprized, one difficulty or danger evaded, great would have been our loss in that thrilling Psalmody in which God's people today find the expression of their grief or praise! 

To wait for God, and to suffer His will, is to know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings, and to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. So now, if the vessel is to be enlarged for spiritual understanding, be not affrighted at the wider sphere of suffering that awaits you. The Divine capacity of sympathy will have a more extended sphere, for the breathing of the Holy Ghost in the new creation never made a stoic, but left the heart's affection tender and true. --- Anna Shipton. 

"He tested me ere He entrusted me." (1 Tim. 1:12.) (Way's Trans.)

Did you get that? God tests us, yes, He allows us seasons of suffering even times of uncertainty, not because He's mad at us, but because HE TRUSTS US!

Holiness Unto The Lord!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lifesaving Strength Scriptures

A friend of Jesus and a friend of mine sent me some "Lifesaving Strength Scriptures" early this morning.

It will be well worth your time to look each passage up if you want to see human weakness in your own life overcome by Holy God's perfect power!

Here we GROW again and here you go:

Matthew 19:25-26
Ephesians 1:19
Colossians 1:11
Psalm 27:1
Psalm 18:1


Monday, March 17, 2014

"God Just Put Me There." Rescue the Perishing

This online story about a teen surfer who was rescued from drowning in the ocean by "A Mystery Man" is heart-warming. "The Mystery Man" was located and said this in the closing of the video, "God just put me there..." Inspiring, indeed!

I think you'll also agree that the tear-filled words of the teen rescued are equally inspiring. Watch and listen carefully.

 Click here: Article - Injured surfer reunited with man who saved him

We are not called to be guardian angels, but God does call us to rescue the perishing and to care for the dying. Are we "Rescuing the Perishing" where God has put us?

Here below are the lyrics of a hallowed hymn of the church:

Rescue the Perishing
Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915
William H. Doane, 1832-1915

Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o'er the erring one, Lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the Mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

Tho' they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
waiting the penitent child to receive.
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe
Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
feelings lie buried that grace can restore.
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
chords that are broken will vibrate once more.
Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

Rescue the perishing, Duty demands it; 
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide. 
Back to the narrow way patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand'rer a Savior has died.
Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save. 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Words of Strength I Scribbled Down

These are some words I scribbled down from God's Word for my own soul's strength. I pray they will strengthen you, too:

Psalm 130

GOD’S WORD Translation
Lord, out of the depths I call to you.
O Lord, hear my voice.
    Let your ears be open to my pleas for mercy.
Lord, who would be able to stand
    if you kept a record of sins?
But with you there is forgiveness
    so that you can be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and with hope I wait for his word.
My soul waits for the Lord
    more than those who watch for the morning,
    more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    because with the Lord there is mercy
        and with him there is unlimited forgiveness.
            He will rescue Israel from all its sins.

Psalm 130:7

New Living Translation

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
    for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
    His redemption overflows.

John 3:15-17

GOD’S WORD Translation
15 Then everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.”
16 God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday Inspiration

Today, Saturday, has been a good day of unwinding with a few family and a few friends -- pure inspiration. We were up before dawn and driving over the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia into Highland County for the Annual Maple Festival.

As I reflect on the day that's nearly past, this song by the late and great voice of Eva Cassidy surely speaks more beautifully to me than anything I can think of writing myself. I think the song at the link below will touch your heart. Listen to this classic, live recording from the 1990s.... all the way to the end.

Click here: Eva Cassidy Over The Rainbow - LIVE - YouTube


P.S. Thanks Pastor Joseph for telling me about this great voice from the past.

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Harvest" Scriptures

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous,
but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,
that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." Matthew 9:37-38 (KJV)

"The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest." Psalm 85:12 (NIV)

"They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest;" Psalm 107:37 (NIV)

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest." Proverbs 14:4 (NIV)

"You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice
before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice
when dividing the plunder." Isaiah 9:3 (NIV)

"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness." 2 Corinthians 9:10 (NIV)

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 (NIV)


Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Holy Spirit Prays and Listens Within Us

When we have received the Spirit of Jesus as the breath of God breathing within us - that Spirit creates in us a sacred space where the other can be received and listened to.  The Spirit of Jesus prays in us and listens in us to all who come to us with their sufferings and pains.
-- Henri Nouwen

Lord, don't let me forget that Your Holy Spirit prays and listens within me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Beware Being Too Busy to Focus!

One thing our present world seems to rob people of is clear focus. Of course, there are countless reasons for this tragedy, but busyness is certainly a leading thief.

I write these words of warning in the front of my calendar year-after-year: "Beware the barrenness of a too busy life."

So, what's the big deal about being busy and losing clear focus? For starters, losing clear focus alters our vision for the worst. When we lack focus? We lose vision!

It's a scary reality up ahead if we lack focus and have lost clear vision. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) waves like a lantern before us: "Where there is no vision, the people perish!"

Lord, forgive our busyness. Lord, forbid that we would lose focus and have no vision. Lord, be our focus. Lord, be our Vision. Lord, don't let us perish. Let, Your presence be our Light and Life. Amen.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to Obey The Heavenly Vision

In Acts 26:19, these words are recorded: "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision."

Oswald Chambers added this commentary to the verse:

"If we lose 'the heavenly vision' God has given us, we alone are responsible— not God. We lose the vision because of our own lack of spiritual growth. If we do not apply our beliefs about God to the issues of everyday life, the vision God has given us will never be fulfilled. The only way to be obedient to 'the heavenly vision' is to give our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory."


Monday, March 10, 2014

Forgive Us For Taking Your Goodness For Granted

Our local church's monthly Executive Board Meeting on a Monday night, began with a heart-touching prayer by Brother Dwight. In the prayer he asked God to forgive us for too often taking His goodness for granted.

That transparent prayer of confession was a thread of inspiration until the very end of the meeting. At different intervals in the gathering, many of us in attendance paused to give thanks to God for His goodness and to also give thanks for others in the room. 

What a beautiful evening for my soul. I am still speechless with overwhelming appreciation to our Forever Faithful Father God.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

People Are Just People

In my life's journey I have learned that people are just people. Whether we look to the north, south, east or west of us, all people, everywhere, simply need The Lord.

As I have traveled to many places, and as I have shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with many faces, I have found that all people, whether they acknowledge it or not, are hungry for a right relationship with God. 

I invite you along your life's journey to compassionately engage all people with the presence of God, Who lives within you to reach all people with His Love.

How will they know unless we tell them?

Romans 10:13-15 inspires me to tell them all. 


Saturday, March 8, 2014

True Relationships Among People Point to God

True relationships among people point to God. They are like prayers in the world. Sometimes the hands that pray are fully touching, sometimes there is distance between them. They always move to and from each other, but they never lose touch. They keep praying to the One who brought them together. -- Henri Nouwen


Friday, March 7, 2014

Airports -- Party of One?

Airports are interesting places to encounter humanity and to illustrate life itself. I have spent much time traveling and more than my share of moments moving through airports.

Sometimes as I am journeying, in my mind it seems I can hear the island voices from the little church of my childhood singing that old hymn: "My Heavenly Home is Bright and Fair, Oh, I Feel Like Traveling On!"

Airports have taught me a lot. Most recently I learned something about loneliness as I waited in line at an airport restaurant. Seems everyone was traveling solo and the hostess kept calling out names over and over and giving this invitation: "Party of One, Your table is ready!"

"Party? Of One?" Talk about an oxymoron? How sad is a party when you are all by your lonesome?

Now, before you start feeling sorry for me, let me interrupt you with Good News. As Jesus was physically ascending from planet earth back to His Father in Heaven, He made a wonder-filled promise: " Surely, I am with you always even to the very end of time!"

When my son and daughter were young, I taught them a simple acrostic of assurance so they would always know they'd never ever have to be a " Party of One." The four letters in the acrostic are: R.W.W.Y. R.emember W.ho's W.ith Y.ou!

You know over the years that little saying has become more and more wonderful to me. Jesus has taught me, even in lonely airports, He is more intimate with me than I ever knew. Now, the R.W.W.Y. reminds me: R.emember W.ho's W.ithin Y.ou!

I am so glad that while I travel to my Heavenly Home, the Spirit of Jesus has made His Home within me.

That's called a Party of Two and it's not an oxymoron at all!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pure Thoughts About The Season of Lent

Well, it's Day #2 of the Season of Lent 2014 and here are some pure thoughts I have been pondering:

General Thoughts:
Lent mirrors the 40-day period of fasting that Jesus modeled and we read about in Matthew's Gospel account. Some Lent observers choose to have ash placed on their foreheads as the Season of Lent commences on Ash Wednesday. The ashes that are traditionally used are created by the burning of palm branches from the previous year's Palm Sunday celebrations. As the ashes are applied, the shape of the cross is re-enacted as the words from Genesis 3:19 are spoken: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Devotional Thoughts:
Lent is the opportunity to change what we ought to change but have not... Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now... Lent is a summons to live anew... Lent is the time to let life in again, to rebuild the worlds we've allowed to go sterile, to "fast and weep and mourn" for the goods we've foregone. If our own lives are not to die from lack of nourishment, we must sacrifice the pride or the sloth or the listlessness that blocks us from beginning again. Then, as Joel 2:12-18 promises, God will have pity on us and pour into our hearts the life we know down deep that we are lacking.
-- Joan Chittister, Catholic Nun


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Need to Pray... Transparently. "Search Me."

Today, Ash Wednesday, I am keenly aware of the need to pray... transparently... "Search Me, Oh God..."

You can join me if you want?

Dearest Loving Father God...

You know me inside and out.
Whatever's going on at anytime and at all times...
... within my heart, mind, soul, and body?
You surely know about it and you certainly care about me!
Oh, how I need Your vigilant watch-care over me.

Today, I humbly ask that the mind of Your Son, Jesus Christ...
...would be one-in-the-same with my own mind.
My thoughts have been somewhat scattered these days of late.
People I desperately care for are struggling in many ways.
Oh, how we all depend upon Your intervention in our lives.

Daily, I realize that the decisions before me are many.
Dear God, be my Holy Wisdom and save me from human foolishness.
Moment-by-moment be my Strength to resist the unrelenting enemy.
I want to always look to Jesus and live a life pleasing to Heaven. 
Oh, how devastated we all were by death until You gave Your Son!

Finally, precious Almighty Personal God...
I want to want what You want in every situation and circumstance.
Take my desires day-by-day and search them carefully...
... and cleanse me with Your amazing grace and boundless mercy.
Oh, how You, Lord, are my Everything for All-Time and Eternity.

In the Name of The One Called...
Wonder Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, I pray.
Amen and Amen and Amen.

Note: I "stumbled across" this Prayer Song on YouTube this morning:

Click here: SEARCH ME O GOD! By ChristOurLife

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts;
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life."


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Real Christianity Really is All About Relationships

Winter is really hanging on here on the East Coast of the USA. More ice and snow yesterday. It's quite frigid for our region of the world. Shoveling snow is getting to be somewhat burdensome. Yesterday, after the snow stopped, I put off clearing my driveway as long as possible. Finally, around 3 p.m. I bundled up and pushed myself out of the house to make it happen.

Though my neighbor Philip had come early in the morning while it was still snowing, to blow of the driveway initially, it had continued to snow and about 3-4 inches was still needing to be moved. As I started to shovel alone, honestly, I was about to be discouraged with it all, when all of a sudden a pick-up truck pulled up and my friend, Eddy R., got out with his big smile and even better his big shovel. Together, we talked about life and the goodness of our Lord Jesus and too soon the snow was all moved.

The Scriptures tell us in Proverbs, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." How true it is. Once Eddy arrived, shoveling snow became a good reason for two friends to fellowship. In fact, it didn't last long enough. Funny, how even your attitude can shift when you have companionship in life.

Then, last evening, my wife and I sat at our dining room table at 6 p.m. to have a prayer vigil together. This past Sunday, I called our congregation to host prayer vigils in their homes on Monday evening to pray for Relationships in three dimensions -- Our World, Our Community, and Our Families. When we first sat at the table, I was somewhat heavy-hearted, but as my wife and I took turns praying aloud, inspiration flooded my soul and before we knew it, we had prayed an hour as one.

Don't miss the point. The Lord gave us one another, because we really do need each other. Let's not isolate ourselves from one another. Dear friends of the faith, Real Christianity really is all about right relationships -- loving God, life together, and lighting our world. UNITY!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Your Relationships -- A Call to Prayer

"If you try to get along with others on the basis (on a foundation) other than God's you won't. Your relationships will break down."
-- E. Stanley Jones

Tonight, I've called our local church family to have prayers vigils in their own homes between 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)

I invite you to join us praying for your relationships, as we pray for our relationships, beginning with those closest to us and praying for all relationships beyond. 

We want the basis, the foundation of our families, and all other relationships to be built only upon our God, The Rock of Ages. 


Sunday, March 2, 2014

He Will Place Us On a Firm Foundation

A pastor friend recently shared these powerful thoughts with me:

It seems to me that much suffering comes through broken relationships -- places where the enemy comes and seeks out who he can destroy.

We are told to stand firm. Don't fight like the world fights. Be strong in our faith. Then God will restore, support and strengthen us. If we duke it out like the world does,  we lose the opportunity to be light in a dark situation.

However if we humble ourselves, come under God's authority and stand  firm, He will place us on a firm foundation.

1 Peter 5:5b-11 (GWT) Furthermore, all of you must serve each other with humility, because God opposes the arrogant but favors the humble. Be humbled by God’s power so that when the right time comes he will honor you.
Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you. Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour. Be firm in the faith and resist him, knowing that other believers throughout the world are going through the same kind of suffering. 10 God, who shows you his kindness and who has called you through Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as you suffer for a little while. 11 Power belongs to him forever. Amen. 


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Love is Not an Option

In the Kingdom of God, Love is not an Option. If you belong to the Kingdom of darkness, there are no expectations on you, but if we claim to belong the Kingdom of Light, our King commands us to Love. People who belong to the Kingdom of Light, don't get out of relationships as easy as those who belong to darkness. 
-- James Spruill