When you walk into the foyer of our local church building, to the left inside a glass case you will find Churck Swindoll's devotional book open to the page that displays this story:
On a dangerous seacoast notorious for shipwrecks, there was a crude little lifesaving station. Actually, the station was merely a hut with only one boat . . . but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the turbulent sea. With little thought for themselves, they would go out day and night tirelessly searching for those in danger as well as the lost. Many, many lives were saved by this brave band of men who faithfully worked as a team in and out of the lifesaving station. By and by, it became a famous place.
Some of those who had been saved as well as others along the seacoast wanted to become associated with this little station. They were willing to give their time and energy and money in support of its objectives. New boats were purchased. New crews were trained. The station that was once obscure and crude and virtually insignificant began to grow. Some of its members were unhappy that the hut was so unattractive and poorly equipped. They felt a more comfortable place should be provided. Emergency cots were replaced with lovely furniture. Rough, hand-made equipment was discarded and sophisticated, classy systems were installed. The hut, of course, had to be torn down to make room for all the additional equipment, furniture, systems, and appointments. By its completion, the life-saving station had become a popular gathering place, and its objectives had begun to shift. It was now used as sort of a clubhouse, an attractive building for public gatherings. Saving lives, feeding the hungry, strengthening the fearful, and calming the disturbed rarely occurred by now.
Fewer members were now interested in braving the sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired professional lifeboat crews to do this work. The original goal of the station wasn't altogether forgotten, however. The lifesaving motifs still prevailed in the club's decorations. In fact, there was a liturgical lifeboat preserved in the Room of Sweet Memories with soft, indirect lighting, which helped hide the layer of dust upon the once-used vessel.
About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the boat crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people. They were dirty, some terribly sick and lonely. Others were black and "different" from the majority of the club members. The beautiful new club suddenly became messy and cluttered. A special committee saw to it that a shower house was immediately built outside and away from the club so victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.
At the next meeting there were strong words and angry feelings, which resulted in a division among the members. Most of the people wanted to stop the club's lifesaving activities and all involvements with shipwreck victims . . . ("it's too unpleasant, it's a hindrance to our social life, it's opening the door to folks who are not our kind"). As you'd expect, some still insisted upon saving lives, that this was their primary objective---that their only reason for existence was ministering to anyone needing help regardless of their club's beauty or size or decorations. They were voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast! They did.
As years passed, the new station experienced the same old changes. It evolved into another club . . . and yet another lifesaving station was begun. History continued to repeat itself . . . and if you visit that coast today you'll find a large number of exclusive, impressive clubs along the shoreline owned and operated by slick professionals who have lost all involvement with the saving of lives.
Shipwrecks still occur in those waters, but now most of the victims are not saved. Every day they drown at sea, and so few seem to care . . . so very few. Do you?
Give away your life... To The Lifesaver and let Him rescue the perishing through you.
As a man and as a pastor I continue to benefit from a God-given gift, the glorious gift of being able to Ask for Help. Of course, the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:7-8, initially invite me into this inspiring idea. Jesus said: "Ask... Seek... Knock."
So, I am most encouraged that I can Ask God for Help, but also I am grateful to have the privilege to Ask others for Help. It confounds me how we as humans, specifically those of us who lead, too often prefer to be original than effective. Lord forgive. Lord forbid.
This morning, for example, I sat for an hour or more with a 71-year-old, retired pastor who is now a church health consultant. For the whole time together he poured help and health into my life as a man and as a local church leader. He gave me answers to questions I would have struggled with for a long time to answer on my own. The truth is, without his help today, I may have never found the answers he freely gave.
His years of experience in life and leading was a brilliant, God-given, light shining into my future, giving me hope and assurance that the way forward is filled with not fear, but fulfillment, not just for me but also for the local church I have been entrusted to lead.
Here's the secret to our meeting. After spending three days together as tag-team presenters at a district training event for pastors, my new friend, Dr. Paul, invited me to sit with him this morning. He could tell I was willing to Ask for Help. He knew I was a green apple, ever-growing, and I think that excited him to pour into me one-on-one as much as it encouraged me to be invited into his life.
So, are your struggling today? I've been there and done that. Here's my prescription for Hope: Ask for Help. (1) Ask God and (2) Ask others. It can delightfully refocus your perspective as you journey onward.
I think the one thing the world longs for is something real.
When I was a boy growing up in the Free Grace Wesleyan Church located alongside The Old Ferry Dock Road on Harkers Island, North Carolina, USA, life was real.
There was one old, saintly man who knew how to keep things real in our local church. His name was Brother Johnny. He was a commercial net fisherman by trade. It was obvious He knew the Lord personally. To say Brother Johnny was lively in our church services, would be the understatement of the century. He sang in the Amen Corner of our church choir. Singing was actually less what he did and hollering was in reality more what he did. But it was holy hollering. He sure kept the old folk awake and the children attentive.
One thing that made Brother Johnny real was his sense of humor. He let us all know that being a Jesus-believer didn't mean you could no longer laugh aloud. I can see him in my mind's eye, even now, hilariously mumbling to himself when others were speaking and then laughing at whatever he'd mumbled to himself. It was pure entertainment to me.
Another thing that made Brother Johnny real was his passionate testimony. In fact, his passionate testimony was almost always the same in theme because he always quoted the words from his favorite hymn titled "It's Real!"
Here are those lively lyrics:
O how well do I remember How I doubted day by day, For I did not know for certain That my sins were washed away. When the Spirit tried to tell me, I would not the truth receive; I endeavored to be happy And to make myself believe.
But it’s real, it’s real! O I know it’s real Praise God, the doubts are settled, For I know, I know it’s real!
When the truth came close and searching, All my joys would disappear, For I did not have the witness Of the Spirit bright and clear. If at times the coming judgment Would appear before my mind, O it made me so uneasy, For God’s smile I could not find.
When the Lord sent faithful servants Who would dare to preach the truth, How my heart did so condemn me As the Spirit gave reproof! Satan said at once, “Twill ruin You now to confess your state; Keep on working and professing, And you’ll enter Heaven’s gate.”
But at last I tired of living Such a life of fear and doubt, For I wanted God to give me Something I would know about, So the truth would make me happy And the light would clearly shine, And the Spirit gave assurance That I’m His and He is mine.
So I prayed to God in earnest, And not caring what folks said. I was hungry for the blessing; My pour soul—it must be fed. Then at last by faith I touched Him And, like sparks from smitten steel, Just so quick salvation reached me. O bless God, I know it’s real!
Give away your life... In Real Relationship with Jesus.
"As believers we don't grow by leaps and bounds but by taking one moment at a
time and trusting God slowly through all circumstances. No matter where we are,
where Jesus is 'tis Heaven there."
-- Lady Melba
"Intercession means I strive earnestly to have my human soul moved by the attitude of my Lord to the particular person I am praying for... Intercession keeps the relationship to God completely open... Intercession means getting the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray... The true Intercessor believes what The Apostle Paul wrote: 'We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us.' (Romans 8:26)."
If you're into calling other people names, just call me "Debtor."
Yes, that's what The Apostle called himself in Romans 1:14, and I often refer to myself as "a great debtor."
Oswald Chambers explains why: "The point of spiritual honor in my life as a saint is the realization that I am a debtor to everyone on the face of the earth because of the redemption of The Lord Jesus. I am a debtor to Christ, and as such I can only realize the fullness of His purposes in my life."
Give away your life... To the One Who Shed His Blood for you. King Jesus.
It's a lovely September 11, 2015 day here in the eastern part of the USA. The weather reminds me an awful lot of the weather on another September day, yes September 11, 2001.
Last evening I watched an entertainment event that concluded with red and yellow autumn leaves falling from the ceiling. I cried. No one was aware of it and it surprised even me, but it was a really sacred moment.
You see as the performers did aerial acrobatics they were dressed in costumes that made them look like falling leaves on a September day. As the acrobats did their thing, singers sung beneath them as actual (artificial but real-looking) autumn maple leaves fell from above.
Maybe it was the song that got me? It was Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends." Or maybe the fact that I know from my days of hospital chaplain training in Bible College that if you see an image of a red or yellow maple leaf on a hospital door it is symbolic of loss, yes death has come.
So, with all of those symbolic autumn maple leaves falling to the ground and the song playing and knowing September 11th memories are here once again, I cried.
There were other more personal reasons for my tears, I am sure, but today, September 11th, is a day to remember life's losses -- the losses of others and even our own. Tomorrow, we will refocus on the present and the future, but shedding tears, today, is okay. And shedding tears for me is one-in-the-same with deep praying.
After Mary of Nazareth heard The Angel Gabriel's announcement that she -- though a virgin, would give birth to God's Only Son -- hurried off immediately to the hill country to be comforted and to get confirmation from her relative, Elizabeth, (now pregnant in her old age with John The Baptist, who would lead the way for God's Son).
These fourteen words spoken to Mary by Elizabeth (in Luke 1:45) must've warmed The Virgin's soul:
"YOU ARE BLESSED FOR BELIEVING THAT THE LORD WOULD KEEP HIS PROMISE TO YOU!"
My God, may we also in our day know warmth in our own souls, yes may we be blessed for believing that You are our Trustworthy God in Whom we can believe totally. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Give away your life... For The Blessed Life God has in mind for you.
Tuesday was a reflective day. I have always wanted to visit Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia at the eastern fringes of Canada. Tuesday it became reality.
Why Nova Scotia? Well, to begin with, I am the son of a fisherman and a fisherman for the Son. Plus, I have always respected the perseverance of the maritime seamen in the Northern waters of the Atlantic Ocean. So, finally journeying there on Tuesday somehow made me feel very fulfilled, sort of like a missing piece to the puzzle of my own life sort of fell into place.
It really seemed that Jesus and my Dad (who went to be with Jesus last November) were both very present with me as I walked the tiny fishing village build on solid rock, Peggy's Cove, that has only 60 full-time residents year round.
On the bus ride from Halifax to Peggy's Cove, our tour guide, Barb, said we would pass 53 churches of all denominations. People who persevere through hard times near the tumultuous sea often have an overwhelming, healthy fear of Almighty God.
To make the day even more reflective, we ended our day stopping by Halifax's Fairview Lawn Cemetery to pay our respects at the graves of over 100 victims of drowning on April 15, 1912. Yes, they were among those who lost their lives around 2 a.m. in the North Atlantic when the sailing vessel, Titantic, hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage and tragically sunk off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
There are some verses in Psalm 107 you might want to read, verses that were my Dad's (Cap'n Billy's) favorites. Actually, Psalm 107:29 from The Old Testament is engraved on his brand new headstone as a testimony to future generations.
Here's one image below that I snapped at Peggy's Cove's Harbor. It looked a lot like my boyhood home for many tender reasons. Also an image of "The Titantic Burial Grounds" and the words of Psalm. 107:29 mentioned earlier in association with my Dad's epitaph.
(Click-on images below for full-view.)
Give away your life... To our Holy God Who is our Holy Perseverance.
"The world was not impressed with The Apostle Paul. Even in his own eyes he wasn't doing anything tremendous. His ministry did not rest on his own feeble attempts to 'do something for God'. Still, from Paul's life a great widespread fragrance of Jesus was being released to the world. Paul's ministry was spiritually successful. This caused The Apostle Paul to cry out: 'But thanks be to God, Who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.' 2 Corinthians 2:14." -- Ray Stedman remix
Give away your life... Releasing the Fragrance of Jesus to your world.
"If God increases the trials instead of diminishing them it is an expression of confidence in us up to the present, and a further proof that He is looking to us to glorify Himself in yet hotter fires through which He is calling us to pass. Let us not be afraid! We will be delivered from the temporary troubles and drawn eternally closer with our God!" -- An Ancient Liturgy remixed
"Sanctification is the work of Christ in me, the sign that I am no longer
independent, but completely dependent upon Him. Sin in its essential working is
independence from God, while personal dependence upon God is the attitude of the
Holy Spirit in my soul." -- Oswald Chambers
Give away your life... And be Sanctified Wholly from Sin.
Personal success in life for me is to be loved, respected, and appreciated most by the one who calls me husband and the two who call me daddy. I am honored to be the son of a fisherman and humbled to be a fisherman (and a shepherd) for the Son. To help others minimize future regrets is my joy-description. Ultimately, I only exist so that Christ can manifest Himself in/through me. In fact, for me, the Secret of Life is found in these 7 words from The New Testament in Colossians 1:27 -- "Christ in you, the hope of glory." I do not consider myself to be "religious" but I wholeheartedly believe that "when relationship RULES, there's little need for rules!" My first published book was released by Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City, on August 6, 2009. It is titled "Relational Leadership -- What I learned from a Fisherman about Leading a Church." My second book from Beacon Hill Press was released in 2013. Co-written with Dr. Brian Charette it is titled "The Stress Factor -- Finding Rest in an Uneasy World." Finally, not to forget, I was master to a 13-year-old Beagle who passed in 2016 -- The Oreo Pup. I miss him. "...and i wait." Psalm 5:3 GW
My "Relational Leadership" Book. Click Image to review book and/or to order from Beacon Hill Press, NPH, Kansas City. Grateful!
We don't have to. We get to.
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me...
My late, dear, artist friend, David A. Lawrence, painted this dove in the 1970s. It hangs majestically today in my Granny and Granddaddy's old homeplace. Click on Dove Above for David A. Lawrence's tribute page.
From Cradle to the Cross
From His first cry in the manger to His final cry on the Cross, Jesus lived and lives again with His arms-opened-wide saying, "Come to Me!"
i am grateful. kerry i am.
I pray the time you invest saturating on my RomansTenFifteen blog will inspire your life by radically increasing real intimacy with the Wonderful One, Jesus the Nazarene.
LOVE A GOOD NEIGHBOR!
My neighbor, Philip blessing me.
Lil' Boy, Big Sea. I Stand in Awe of YOU, my GOD!
Click Image to visit America's Best Beach, Ocracoke Island, N.C.
His Beautiful Feet
I want to know Christ... in the fellowship of His sufferings...
Spontaneous Baptism: Click Image for Article
Sunday, May 31, 2009, was Pentecost Sunday and a highlight in my life and ministry as 191 in our local church were spontaneously baptized -- some emmersed, some poured, all humbled! Hallelujah!
Human Feet, Holy Water
i am grateful. kerry i am.
Christ in you, the hope of glory. -- Colossians 1:27b