Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Ticket to Hell? Cancelled!

Today. a dear friend sent me Psalm 16 from The Message Paraphrase of The Holy Bible. Hear it for yourself. It's beautiful:

"Keep me safe, O God, I’ve run for dear life to you. I say to God, “Be my Lord!” Without you, nothing makes sense.

And these God-chosen lives all around— what splendid friends they make! Don’t just go shopping for a god. Gods are not for sale. I swear I’ll never treat god-names like brand-names. My choice is you, God, first and only. And now I find I’m your choice! You set me up with a house and yard. And then you made me your heir!

The wise counsel God gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart. Day and night I’ll stick with God; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go.

I’m happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed. You canceled my ticket to hell— that’s not my destination!

Now you’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way." (Psalm 16:1-11 MSG)


Tuesday, April 29, 2014


"I will give you shepherds after my own heart. They will be shepherds who feed you with knowledge and insight."(Jeremiah 3:15 GW)

Lord, I want to be a shepherd after your own heart. In the Name of The Good Shepherd. Amen.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Have a Little Talk With Jesus

I must've been 12-years-old when I sang this song in church as part of a quartet. A few years later, probably at age 16, I heard Teddy Huffam and the Gems from Richmond, Virginia sing. No one sings songs of the soul like Teddy Huffam and the Gems did. 

Enjoy this YouTube link from yesteryear. It's just what the Great Physician ordered.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Your Hands"

This song ministers to my heart so powerfully. 

Click here: Your Hands - JJ Heller - YouTube 


Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Most Tender And Touching Tune

If I were to confess the most tender song on my play list, "tender" meaning, the song that touches my heart most deeply, it would have to be Chris Rice's tune titled "The Untitled Hymn", yet called by other "Come to Jesus". One day this week I listened to the song through my ear phones for over an hour. The YouTube link is pasted and the lyrics are printed below. Hope it touches you tenderly, too.

(Link and Lyrics below)
Note: The Youtube Link will keep playing others songs after "Come to Jesus", like  "Come Thou Fount".

Click here: Chris Rice song with lyrics to "Untitled Hymn" - also known as "Come to Jesus" - YouTube

Weak and wounded sinner 
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Heal Me

If you need a fresh touch from God, this song is for "you". It's based on my verse for the year:

Click here: HEAL ME O LORD (With Lyrics) : Don Moen - YouTube

"Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed.
Rescue me, and I will be rescued.
You are the One I praise." 

Jeremiah 17:14 (GWT)


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Seem Lonely?

Sometimes the way seems lonely.

Nevertheless, I am not alone.

I remember Jesus is here.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Let Us Call Out to God Nonstop!

This Old Testament passage is speaking strongly to my soul:

"I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem. They will never be silent day or night. Whoever calls on the Lord, do not give yourselves any rest, and do not give him any rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it an object of praise throughout the earth." (Isaiah 62:6, 7 GW)

Are we resting too much as intercessors? Is our vigilance in prayer waning? If so, let us recommit our lives to calling out to God nonstop until His will is done on earth as it is in Heaven.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Suffering Won't Last Forever

For Good Friday service each year I give out a Scripture wristband. This past Good Friday, the wristbands I distributed are black with royal blue letters and the message is based on 2 Timothy 2:12 -- "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him..." (2 Timothy 2:12 KJV)

This passage from 1 Peter truly compliments 2 Timothy 2:12:

"Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does." (1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG)


Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Monday! Jesus is Still ALIVE!!!

BULLETIN: It's Monday after Resurrection Sunday and JESUS is still very much ALIVE!!!

Our Resurrection Weekend at Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene was a tender and triumphant experience for all. 

On Good Friday, The Red Cross set-up all day so our people could donate blood. Then, at 5:30 p.m. our bilingual remembrance stations of the life and death of Jesus opened, concluding with a bilingual gathering for sacred worship and communion. 

Saturday, an overflowing group of families came to hear the story of Jesus and to share hot dogs and Easter eggs. 

Finally, our theme for our four Resurrection Day services was "Amazing Grace". A massive 30-foot Cross was suspended in our center aisle as an impossible-to-miss reminder of God's Amazing Grace and Love. The response time was undeniably fruitful. We are humbled, grateful and speechless.

Grateful, indeed.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Passion Week Snapshot #7 -- "Good Morning!"

After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move. The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed. “Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.” The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, “You’re holding on to me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I’ll meet them there.” (Matthew 28:1-10 MSG)


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Passion Week Snapshot #6 -- Sunday's Coming

Just in case you missed this Passion Week recitation leading up to the Resurrection Day, click below and remember that weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with Sunday morning... Sunday's Coming!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Passion Week Snapshot #5 -- Good Friday -- They Took Him Down


They took Him down, His poor, dead body.

They took Him down, His poor, pale body,

drained of life, ashen and stained

with its own life's blood.

His healing hands now pierced and still.

Serving hands that broke five loaves to feed five thousand,

Holy hands, often folded in fervent prayer,

Poor, gentle hands, now pierced and still.

His poor, torn feet, now bloodied and cold.

Feet that walked weary miles to bring Good News to broken hearts,

Feet once washed in penitent's tears,

Poor, torn feet, now bloodied and cold.

His Kingly Head made for a crown,

Now crowned with thorns.

His poor Kingly Head crowned with thorns..

His gentle chest, now pierced by spear thrust, quiet, still...

His poor loving chest.

His piercing eyes, now dark and blind.

Eyes of compassion, warming the soul.

Fiery eyes, burning at sin.

Tender eyes, beckoning sinners.

His piercing eyes, now dark and blind.

His matchless voice, fountain of The Father's thoughts.

Stopped. Stilled. To speak no more. Silence now..............

Where once had flowed wisdom and comfort, Spirit and life,

His matchless voice, stilled to speak no more.

They took Him down, His poor dead body,

And prepared Him for His burial.

Sunday's Coming...



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Passion Week Snapshot #4 -- "Is Anyone Thirsty?"

It's Maunday Thursday and I am presently sitting in the sanctuary at our local church watching ministers prepare Good Friday remembrance stations of our Lord's Life and Passion. It's warming my heart.

Tomorrow, Good Friday, is a big day for those devoted to Jesus. The heaviness of Good Friday is full of holiness for those who love The Lord. 

While multiple stations are being prepared, right now five ladies are preparing "The Living Water" station just to my left. The setting is based on John 4 -- the New Testament story of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. The banner at the top of the reflection area asks this question: "Who do you know that needs Living Water?" What a personal question! 

So, as we prepare our hearts and minds to remember The One Who came to seek and to save the lost, to quench every soul's thirst for a Savior, this question makes the idea very personal. "Who do I know... who do you know... that needs Living Water?"

Yes, Jesus died on Good Friday for the whole world and I am reminded even now that his saving mission includes each and every individual that I know. In fact, Jesus gave this awesome invitation to the whole world through one lost and thirsty woman of Samaria. He said to her -- an audience of one -- "I Am The Living Water." She must've received the offer, because Scripture says she ran back to town leaving her water pitcher behind.  

Amazing, indeed. Jesus surely died for all of the lost and thirsty individuals of the world. That includes you and me. In fact, Jesus said: "If anyone is thirsty... Come to me and drink!" (John 7:37)


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Passion Week Snapshot #3

During the week of His Passion, Jesus pointed this parable at the religious leaders who wanted to crucify the Son of God:

"Then, using this illustration, Jesus spoke to the people: 'A man planted a vineyard, leased it to vineyard workers, and went on a long trip. 'At the right time he sent a servant to the workers to obtain from them a share of the grapes from the vineyard. But the workers beat the servant and sent him back with nothing. So he sent a different servant. The workers beat him, treated him shamefully, and sent him back with nothing. Then he sent a third servant. But they injured this one and threw him out ⌊of the vineyard⌋. 'Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I’ll send my son, whom I love. They’ll probably respect him.’ 'When the workers saw him, they talked it over among themselves. They said, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 'What will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will destroy these workers and give the vineyard to others.' Those who heard him said, 'That’s unthinkable!' Then Jesus looked straight at them and asked, 'What, then, does this Scripture verse mean: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken. If that stone falls on anyone, it will crush that person.' The experts in Moses’ Teachings and the chief priests wanted to arrest him right there, but they were afraid of the people. They knew that he had directed this illustration at them."(Luke 20:9-19 GW)

Jesus, The Son of the Vineyard Owner was crushed to bring us spiritual healing.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Passion Week Snapshot #2

As we remember Passion Week, this snapshot from Scripture is worthy of our reflection:

"The next day, when they left Bethany, Jesus became hungry. In the distance he saw a fig tree with leaves. He went to see if he could find any figs on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves because it wasn’t the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “No one will ever eat fruit from you again!” His disciples heard this." (Mark 11:12-14 GW)

And one more earlier reflection from the life of Jesus in the New Testament:

"Then Jesus used this illustration: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He went to look for fruit on the tree but didn’t find any. He said to the gardener, ‘For the last three years I’ve come to look for figs on this fig tree but haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up ⌊good⌋ soil?’ “The gardener replied, ‘Sir, let it stand for one more year. I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. Maybe next year it’ll have figs. But if not, then cut it down.’ ” (Luke 13:6-9 GW)

Lord, may we have more than mere religious leaves, we want to bear relational, spiritual fruit. 


Monday, April 14, 2014

Passion Week Snapshot #1

During this heart-wrenching week that we remember The Passion of our Lord Jesus, snapshots from the Holy Scriptures give us a look at His life during the last days that led up to His death and resurrection.

Here's one such Passion Week snapshot:

"Looking up, Jesus saw people, especially the rich, dropping their gifts into the temple offering box. He noticed a poor widow drop in two small coins. He said, 'I can guarantee this truth: This poor widow has given more than all the others. All of these people have given what they could spare. But she, in her poverty, has given everything she had to live on.'” (Luke 21:1-4 GWT)


Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Redeemer Took Responsibility

As Holy Week begins, many passages teach us so much. Looking ahead, these words spoken by Jesus to His mother, Mary, and His friend, John, (while He was on the Cross) teach us that Jesus was not only willing to become the Redeemer of the whole world for all-time, but He also wanted to take responsibility for those closest to Him in the very moments of His suffering:

"Jesus’ mother, her sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary from Magdala were standing beside Jesus’ cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there. He said to his mother, “Look, here’s your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Look, here’s your mother!” From that time on she lived with that disciple in his home." 
-- John 19:25-27 (GWT)


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Jesus Has Become... Our Holiness...

This New Testament passage speaks so very deeply to me:

"Brothers and sisters, consider what you were when God called you to be Christians. Not many of you were wise from a human point of view. You were not in powerful positions or in the upper social classes. But God chose what the world considers nonsense to put wise people to shame. God chose what the world considers weak to put what is strong to shame. God chose what the world considers ordinary and what it despises—what it considers to be nothing—in order to destroy what it considers to be something. As a result, no one can brag in God’s presence. You are partners with Christ Jesus because of God. Jesus has become our wisdom sent from God, our approval, our holiness, and our ransom from sin. As Scripture says, “Whoever brags must brag about what the Lord has done.” 
(1 Corinthians 1:26-31 GWT)


Friday, April 11, 2014

Finishing the Journey Together -- Hebrews 12

I was blessed to be 1 of 95 men from our local church who awoke this morning overlooking Ocracoke Island's Silver Lake.

We are now engaged in our 3rd session of Worship and the Word and our Scripture focus for today is being unpacked by our yearly retreat "rabbi" Brian Charette. Here's the passage:

"Since we are surrounded by so many examples ⌊of faith⌋, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up." (Hebrews 12:1-3 GWT)

"How you finish can veto the way you start." -- Brian Charette 

Let's us finish the journey -- together.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Refresher on Lifesaving

Prayers are absolutely appreciated as our 20th Annual Keepers of the Light Men's Retreat has launched. 95 men and boys make up our crew this year.

As is our tradition, we began with a refresher course on the value of souls as we heard the stories of those who once served as lifesavers of those in distress along the Atlantic Ocean.

When souls were perishing in deadly sea storms, the lifesaving teams of yesteryear did not shrink back but led from their mission statement: "The lifesaving book says we have to go out. If doesn't say anything about coming back."


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Freed from our Sin"

Thanks, today, to my sister-in-Christ, Amanda, for sharing this passage of Scripture with me:

Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you. You were like lost sheep. Now you have come back to the shepherd and bishop of your lives. (1 Peter 2:24, 25 GWT)


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blaming Versus Forgiving

To blame or to forgive? Indeed, that is the question.

Read these words written by Henri Nouwen:

Our most painful suffering often comes from those who love us and those we love.  The relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, teachers and students, pastors and parishioners - these are where our deepest wounds occur.  Even late in life, yes, even after those who wounded us have long since died, we might still need help to sort out what happened in these relationships.

The great temptation is to keep blaming those who were closest to us for our present, condition saying:  "You made me who I am now, and I hate who I am."  The great challenge is to acknowledge our hurts and claim our true selves as being more than the result of what other people do to us.  Only when we can claim our God-made selves as the true source of our being will we be free to forgive those who have wounded us.

Lord, help us to forgive and to be...

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Living Stillness

"There is a perfect passivity that is not laziness. It is a living stillness born of trust. Quiet tension is not trust but simply compressed anxiety." -- Cowman

Psalm 46:10 -- "Be still and know that I am God."


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Remembering Bruce

Today, a dear brother in our local church went to be with The Lord -- Bruce. He passed the line of worlds with His Loving Savior, Jesus Christ, this morning around 5:30 a.m.

I visited the family at the home place before preaching this morning. Just as sure as Bruce was absent from his body, I have assurance that he is present with our Lord.

About five years ago (after attending a Bible Study) Bruce shared his two favorite verses of Scripture with me:

1. 1 John 4:9 ... on True Love, and 
2. Matthew 5:6 ... on Holy Hunger.

As I post this blog, I am standing at Duck Run Natural Cemetery watching the hearse pull onto the property carrying Bruce's body. He is resting in a casket he built for himself. His cancer journey allowed him a few years to get ready and Bruce didn't miss one detail. 

Yes, Bruce passed this morning and his interment is this afternoon. He wanted a natural burial and he's getting it.

It could not be a more beautiful day. 


Saturday, April 5, 2014


For words of "LIGHT", consider these verses from the Holy Scriptures:

Psalm 18:28

Psalm 119:105

Proverbs 13:9

Acts 26:18

John 12:46

Luke 11:36

Luke 12:35

Ephesians 6:17b

John 1:5

1 John 1:5



Friday, April 4, 2014

"How He Loves!" (TOO MUCH!)

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday morning, I was blessed to attend our local community's annual prayer breakfast. At the gathering, a young man gave a beautiful testimony and sang three worship songs to prepare our hearts for praying.

Here's a YouTube link of the young man, George, singing and "playing" the worship tune written by David Crowder titled, "How He Loves!" Get ready to be inspired.

 Click here: George Dennehy: How He Loves - YouTube

Lord, I love you so much, because You first loved me TOO MUCH!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Would I Rather Have Jesus?

A few Sundays ago, our worship leader, Joseph, led us in the old hymn classic made popular by Billy Graham's song evangelist, George Beverly Shea. The tune of course is, "I'd Rather Have Jesus".

Here's a 1965 video of Geoge Beverly Shea singing the poem turned into a hymn at an evangelistic crusade and the lyrics are printed below the video link:

Click here: George Beverly Shea - I'd Rather Have Jesus ( 1965 ) - YouTube

I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I'd rather be His than have riches untold
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or land
I'd rather be led by His nail-scarred hands

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin's dread sway
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today

I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause
I'd rather have Jesus than world wide fame
I'd rather be true to His holy name

Than to be a king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin's dread sway
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"I Love a Tender Day"

Today, I am having a tender day. Do you know what I mean by that? A tender day for me is when I feel somewhat weepy inside -- tears seem right on the edge of my eyes. Often a tender day happens as I think of loved ones who are distant from me, combined with a awareness of the brokenness of this temporary world I live in.

Also, on a tender day, I seem to be leaning in very desperately for a deeper sense of Divine companionship and a desire for a keener focus from Heaven's perspective. A tender day finds me usually feeling overwhelmed by what's expected of me as a pastor, a husband, a daddy, a friend, and member of society, but finally surrendering all of those unrealistic expectations to the wonderful reality of knowing The Holy Presence of Jesus is mine and is so much more essential than my human performance.

All-in-all, you have probably gathered by now that I love a tender day. A tender day is proof that I am not numb, yes, a tender day is undeniable evidence that my soul is fully alive. And especially on tender days, I know that Jesus is wanting to reveal His mercy and grace and love and peace to me and within me in brand new ways.

Eddie Rabbit wrote an old country song in the 1970s titled, "I Love a Rainy Night." Well, maybe I should write a new Christian song and title it, "I Love a Tender Day." (Because I do.)


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jeremiah 31

My friend, Ned, a precious Messianic Jew, said this passage turned the lights on for him spiritually:

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new promise to Israel and Judah. It will not be like the promise that I made to their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of Egypt. They rejected that promise, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the promise that I will make to Israel after those days,” declares the Lord : “I will put my teachings inside them, and I will write those teachings on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will each person teach his neighbors or his relatives by saying, ‘Know the Lord.’ All of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” declares the Lord, “because I will forgive their wickedness and I will no longer hold their sins against them.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 GW)