Monday, December 29, 2014

At The Ready

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo by Matthew Wells, from Flickr
"Nothing of any value ever happens without a cost." -- Bill Kraski

Yeah, I know.  Quoting myself seems egotistical.  But it's not.  I quote a lot of people in my posts.  And I give credit where it's due.  I could have credited that to God.  It's a thought He gave me while I was watching a rerun of "Madame Secretary" on Christmas Eve.  But, unlike some of the charlatans out there, I don't like claiming some special connection to God.  I believe we all have that possibility, as long as we're saved. But it takes the rest of our lives keeping a path cleared through the muck we spend our Christian lives removing.  And most of us, myself included, aren't spectacularly good at clearing the way. So, those thoughts don't necessarily show up very regularly.  I'll explain after the break, including how it all fits together.

Monday, December 22, 2014

'Tis the Season

Photo by Anggie, source = Lightstock Photos
"Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.".  That's a recent tweet from @DavidRoads, otherwise known on Twitter as Motivational Quotes.  In this Christmas season, I thought it was an appropriate thought, since that's what Jesus was telling us 2100 years ago.  It's an idea we need to pay attention to.  That reality makes all the difference in the world.  And beyond.

Pastor Chris Moore pastors one our churches in the Philadelphia area. He shared a photo on Facebook of a sign on one of the doors in the area he was doing outreach. The sign read, "When you stop believing in Santa... you get underwear.". Most guys can identify with that one. And it's where our illustration comes in. No matter how mundane the contents of the present may be, we do whatever we can to make it outwardly seem as extravagant as possible.  Till the package gets opened and we find the underwear.  Jesus warned us that there would be consequences if we did that with our lives.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Cross? O But Much Fruit Comes‏

image used under Public Domain license,
photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org



Here's the first Saturday post in our new blogging schedule.  I can't think of a better person to kick it off than our most regular guest contributor, Todd Parsons.  Todd is consistent with us and, most importantly, consistent with God.

That's what we always want to share, here -- a real and consistent relationship with God.



Monday, December 15, 2014

The Blame Game

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photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org
Thanks to our bout with the flu, we've decided to cut back our schedule slightly. With this post, we get back to our regular Monday posts.  Our weekly LifeNote will be, as usual, will be on Thursdays.  Our Wednesday guest posts, tech posts, and videos, as well as our regular Friday post will all be moved to Saturday.  And, on that one, whatever hits the light of day is what will be shared.

Recently, I reshared a graphic on Facebook that asked why we are so focused on helping illegal aliens when so many of our own children were homeless and not being fully helped, yet.  The ensuing conversation quickly degenerated in ways I wouldn't have thought possible.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Rule; Thy Rule

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photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org
As we battle the tail end of the flu, there have been times when we didn't feel up to writing and blogging.  And times when there wasn't even energy to read much.  We'll be talking about that experience, because it's another example of  how gracious God is.  But the experience reminded me of another reason why I really appreciate my friend, Todd Parsons.  He allows God to give him a few verses and focus in on an important spiritual point.

Whether you're just very busy or ill enough that you can only handle single spiritual insights at a time, that kind of razor sharp focus is greatly appreciated.  Here's one more.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Involuntary Vacation

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commons.wikimedia.org, picture by Nicholas A. Tonelli
You may have noticed we didn't post Friday and didn't spend much time on social media Since late Tuesday.  We've been battling the flu.  Still are.  We're doing better, but we'll take your prayers. We're actually having a great time with God.  And, yes, chomping at the bit while, at the same time, enjoying God's enforced vacation.

We should be back to a normal schedule by next week, maybe sooner.  Our next LifeNote is already set to publish, this coming Thursday.  So, that will go as scheduled.  Anything else, this week, is questionable.  In the meantime, God's been showing me some interesting things that I'm sorting out so that I can share them here and on our Other Stuff blog.  It's been enlightening.  And, when the time comes, we hope it enlightens you, as well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

So Thankful For God's Good Grace - Part 2 (Video)

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license, courtesy of Wikipedia
We haven't posted a video in awhile.  This is our missions director.  The message is from our second morning service, this past Sunday.  If you want to see Part 1, from our 9 AM service, you can follow the link in the video to the GGWO YouTube page.

I might have had something else here, except the sermon touched a subject that was on my heart and, in fact, covered some territory that God had me write about in the final part of the Breastplate Gems series of devotional books.

This is one of those messages where you'll be chuckling and suddenly realize you've just had another chunk of doctrine firmly implanted in your soul.  Enjoy.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Topaz - Golden Experience (Excerpt)

image used under Creative Commons license, courtesy of
en.wikipedia.org, picture by Sander van der Wel
We're going to take another detour from the great content from the Exponential West 2014 conference.  Our devotional book for December went live on Amazon, early this morning. It's Topaz - Golden Experience, available for the Kindle, click the title to go buy it.  And Today's post is one of the devotionals from the book.

Our December devotional book covers the verses in Matthew 6:9-34, still part of the Sermon on the Mount.  Much of it has to do with the right focus.  The wrong focus can be a disaster.  As Philippians 4:6 puts it in the Amplified version, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.".  Whether the Bible calls it concern, anxiety, being care-ful, or worry, the root is fear.  And the Bible tells us not to fear some 365 times, enough to replace fear with something better, on a daily basis.  Today's excerpt gives us one of God's ways to avoid the worry shown in today's illustration..

Monday, November 24, 2014

Giving Thanks

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Ephesians 5:20 (KJV)  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;  

That verse fits our forefathers and it should fit us this week.  It certainly fits the turkeys in our illustration.  At least at the time the picture was taken, they weren't being cooked.

Those of you who've been here awhile know my favorite verse by now. Matthew 6:33.  It tells us to focus on God and that we can because we have assurance that all our needs will be met if we do.  That;s something to be thankful for.  In fact, our starting verse says to us we need to be thankful for everything, no matter what.

Those are some good thoughts to meditate on this week, as we approach the US Thanksgiving holiday.  Usually we blog our way through holidays.  We've decided to take the week off to catch up on some other things.  This post is it for today.  There won't be a guest post on Wednesday, nor one on Friday.  Thursday, we'll still publish our final LifeNote in the Psalm 23 series -- that's already set to go.  

We'll get back to normal next week and back to more good things from the Exponential conference. In the meantime, we'll be spending time with friends and with God, considering all we should be thankful for.  We hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.  If you're reading this in a place where the American holiday isn't celebrated, join us in spirit this week and consider all you can be thankful for, too.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Obedience and Approval

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photo by Abhi Sharma, from Flickr
“At the end of the day, obedience is far more important than knowledge.” -- Larry Osborne

We already did one post on the subject Pastor Osborne spoke on, at Exponential West 2014.  But this statement is one I keep coming back to.  Maybe because it touches on thoughts God has put on my heart often, over the years.

There's truth and wisdom and there's knowledge.  The difference is whether we have mental comprehension or our understanding has undergone personalization.  It's the difference between knowing a subject and knowing a person.  Take a look.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Way of Rejoicing!

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photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org

Our Wednesdays detoured into the tech stuff for several weeks in a row.  All good information, some important to share.  But we don't want to abandon all the spiritual gems from sources other than my own walk with God.  As much as I recognize the blessings of of the insights God has given me, I also am very aware of all the spiritual talent God has surrounded me with, both online and in my daily life.  

One of those sources of spiritual goodness, of course, is my friend, Todd Parsons.  And I feel like we're overdue to be mutually blessed by one of his devotionals.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Abandoned in Spirit

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commons.wikimedia.org, picture uploaded by Zac Allan
Ed Stetzer was unable to physically attend the Exponential conference in person.  But he recorded a brief talk that stuck with me. At least in spirit, if not all the exact words.  And it struck at the heart of some other things that have been on my mind recently.  So, we'll start with what Ed Stetzer talked about and take a side trip to a couple of other things.

If you're new enough to Christianity and you possibly may be unfamiliar with the name Ed Stetzer,  he's a well known author, speaker, pastor, and church planter.  His more recent experience has been in the academic realm.  And his talk sounded like it. But he had one main point and he made it well.  Let's take a look.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Selfless Selfishness

copyright Exponential.org, October 2014
Yes, we're still milking thoughts from the Exponential West 2014 conference.  There's a lot the get us thinking and meditating.  We're just getting into the third and final day.  And remember, I was watching the web stream, which didn't include the smaller sessions.

Just to give a feel for the experience, the image at the top is from one of the Main Stage sessions of this conference.  As you can see, there was a good sized audience.  Whether you agree with all the theological stances or all the things that were said, it's good to see that many people gathered to learn how better to spread the Gospel.  As we begin today's post, we're going to start by jumping back a bit, to some things that Jeff Vanderstelt shared.  We already included one of his quotes in our first post in this series.  There are a couple more that we can't miss.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Come and See

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It's amazing the number of seed thoughts one conference can supply.  I don't think Exponential West 2014 is any different than any other conference in that respect.  At least if God's there.  Usually God highlights a few things from a conference and has other seed thoughts at the ready. This time, God has me focused on the whole conference.  So, till He changes that, that's how we'll roll.

We'll take a look at some thoughts from Pastor Larry Osborne.  He's one of the senior pastors and a teaching pastor at North Coast Church in Vista, California.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Who We Are When Touched, Healed, and Delivered

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of commons.wikimedia.org, picture by Wnorbutas
We're at a point in my Exponential West 2014 conference notes where I have snippets and quotes, but not complete speech notes.  That might be a bad thing if they weren't cohesive.  But there's a conference theme.  And what I've shared from the conference, previously, has been a combination of what was shared and my take on the subject.  So, we should still have fun.

Today, we'll be looking at a couple of statements from James Meeks.  James Meeks is the senior pastor and founder of Salem Baptist Church, in Chicago.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Jasper - Jewel of Great Value (Excerpt)

image used under royalty free license, © Werner Dieterich/Westend61/Corbis
We're going to take a quick detour from the great content from the Exponential West 2014 conference.  Our devotional book for November went live on Amazon on Friday.  It's Jasper - Jewel of Great Value, available for the Kindle, click the title to go buy it.  And Today's post is one of the entries.

The image to the right shows someone giving alms to a homeless person.  And, indeed, our passage talks about alms. But the subject isn't really about giving. Instead, it's the heart behind the giving.  Anyone can give, not everyone allows themselves to be a cheerful giver.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The 4-14 Window and More

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the Indianapolis Recorder, picture by Steve Chenn
Happy Halloween.  Depending on your understanding of the roots of the holiday, you may have positive or negative thoughts about it.  I'll just suggest that, no matter what your feelings, God is greater than Halloween.  And any historical background just might make it a better day than most for soul winning. And it probably makes the comments on the next two speakers from the Exponential conference more appropriate.

As we get to it, the next two speakers we're covering are Pastor Noemi Chavez and Pastor Greg Nettles.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Exponentially His

 © Copyright Phil Champion and licensed for reuse
under this Creative Commons Licence
As I look at my notes for the rest of the Exponential West 2014 conference, they're on the sparse side.  Either highlighting some things I wanted to remember or to bring back broader thoughts.  Where I have notes we're going to try to keep the order the same as the conference.  

Some of the speakers had shorter periods to fill, so there was less to take notes from.  Others covered things I already understood from being in a ministry that's very active with both church planting and personal evangelism. Nonetheless, between my notes and some quotes supplied by the conference staff, there are lots of goodies to chew on and digest. Let's start where we left off, which brings us to Craig Groeschel.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Anyone?

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of commons.wikimedia.org, picture by Alekjds
This is a third post on our impressions from the Fall Exponential 2014 conference.  What we've seen in previous posts is the idea that discipleship starts at the initial evangelical contact.  And that we want to share Christ in an attractive way, but realizing it's Christ winning the souls, not our cleverness.  And, although it wasn't worded that way, the underlying concept is that we serve those we evangelize, disciple, counsel, and pastor.

Our illustration is the Cross overseeing a connection between two people.  That might be a Christian and a non-believer or it might be between two Christians. Pastor Sergio De la Mora said something we didn't include, last time.  But it makes an excellent starting point for today's post.  He said that an act of evangelism or discipleship begins with conversation, progresses to conviction, and results in conversion.  He didn't say it, but the truth is that we might not see the kind of conviction and conversion that we might want or expect, but they are there, nonetheless.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Before the Lord - All Things New

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photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org


We're taking a break from sharing some of the goodies from the Exponential conference.  The next of that series will be on Friday, more to come next week.  We're also working on our next monthly devotional book, for November.

Today, we get a double header.  Todd Parsons takes us on a sweet trip through some of the Psalms and Proverbs.  Then we have a special treat from my friend Adriel Hong.



Monday, October 20, 2014

Graveyard Shift

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commons.wikimedia.org, picture by user Guliolopez
This is the second of our posts based on the content of the Exponential West 2014 conference.  There are some things I should have mentioned in the first post, just to put my posts and comments in context.

First, the conference was definitely a mixture of theologies.  Whether it's being pro or con women pastors, being pentecostal or something closer to conservative fundamentalism, it's likely you found someone else there who is in agreement.  And some who disagreed. The idea was being able to gather with all flavors of Christianity in the unity of the conference theme.  In this case it was evangelism and church planting.

Second, I'm a slow writer and, sometimes, I'm listening to the full thought, then putting my notes down.  So, unless I have a way to go back and expand my notes, there's no guarantee I put down an exact quote.  Much of the time, I already have a foundation for what's being discussed.  What I put on paper is what I don't know: a highlight to bring back the rest of what I know or things that were specifically highlighted.  In other words, some of what I'm going to share will be close to exact quotes, much will be my impressions.  Thanks to the conference staff, I do have some quotes available, which I'll share as quotes.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Love Becomes Joy

image used under Public Domain license, photo from en.wikipedia.org
I've been blessed enough to get connected to the online sessions of both the Spring and Fall Exponential conferences.  The Fall conference is about evangelism.  Thus, our illustration is street preaching.  In this case, Ray Comfort.

As I write this, the conference is over, complete with some technical glitches. And also lots of great insights.  The points made are important.

Some of the earlier sessions, I was either just enjoying listening or fighting the technical glitches (I wasn't sure they weren't on my end.).  But there was lots of good fruit.  As usual, some of the best came from the lesser known speakers.  Today, we'll try to tie it together in a way that makes it evident it doesn't apply just to leaders.  And some of what I share will be my own expansion on what was said.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

God's Thoughts Are a Tree of Life

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photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org
We're always blessed by what Todd Parsons has to share from his spiritual insights and experience.  When I read the devotional he shared with friends on Monday, I got the sense that it was the perfect reading to set up a mindset for the series of posts we'll be doing, starting Friday, based on the Exponential West conference from last week.  We'll be sharing some thoughts from the conference and some of my own thoughts about what was shared.

Todd's devotional takes a look at what our thought life is rooted in. There can be torment in the wrong source, but great joy comes out of thinking with God.

Monday, October 13, 2014

There's a Cost - Part 2

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commons.wikimedia.org, picture by LaurMG
As we mentioned last time, Torben Rick posted a graphic of four things (since expanded to six items) he described as "the most expensive words in business". Looking at the list struck me with how much it applied to our Christianity.  As we continue, let's look at the full list again.
  1. We have always done it that way.
  2. That's the way we do things around here.
  3. That's not the way we do things around here.
  4. It doesn't matter what we say.  Nothing will change.
  5. Don't boil the ocean.
  6. Don't set the bar too high.
We discussed the first three in our previous post.  Today we cover the last three, along with some further thoughts on the list.

Friday, October 10, 2014

There's a Cost - Part 1

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commons.wikimedia.org, picture by LaurMG
Torben Rick is a European businessman, executive, and consultant.  On the surface, that description probably wouldn't bring spiritual thoughts to mind. But Mr Rick posted a graphic of four things (since expanded to six items) he described as "the most expensive words in business". As I looked at the list, it struck me how much it applied to our Christianity.

The statements on the list are the kind of thing that could make a friend, businessman, pastor, or coworker respond like our the guy in the picture to the right.  Frustrated, confused, upset. Let's explore.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Eternal Age: The Ultimate Upgrade (Video)

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license, courtesy of Wikipedia
As happens some of the time with Pastor Tom Schaller,  the message in the later Sunday morning service was more a continuation of the 9am sermon than a repetition for a new group of listeners.

There is part that discusses the future, including the Millenial Reign.  And a bit about past ages.  But the thing that sunk home for me was the discussion of the Church Age, which we're still in, and the blessing we have to live in the present time.

This time, I've included both videos.  You're free to watch either or both.  I'd recommend both.  You'll be blessed.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Cares and Snares

Copyright William E. Kraski, October 2, 2014
My phone is an interesting device.  It's a smartphone and it's large enough to double as my tablet.  Yes, I'm kind of a geek.  I do have a great library at home. But I also have a netbook, a Kindle, and my smartphone, all set up to give me the best access that each is capable of to all the Biblical and social media stuff I need.  To the point where I could blog, preach, or counsel, even just using the library I can access from my phone.  

Part of that is my devotional life.  I have an Android device.  That's it, sitting on my John Maxwell Leadership Bible, in the picture to the left.  A swipe out page from my launcher has icons for apps I want to access even when I have another app open.  It also has two different Bible verse widgets.  As long as I've been using an Android device and those two widgets, they've never both shown the same verse on the same day.  And, although the two verses sometimes don't initially appear to go together, God always manages to bless me with the connections and it's a recent verse combination that prodded today's post.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Agate - The Red and White of Blessing (Excerpt)

image used under the Creative Commons license,
from commons.wikimedia.org, picture by Lech Darski
As usual, we start the month with an excerpt from the latest devotional book. This time, it's Agate - The Red and White of Blessing.  We look at the Sermon on the Mount, 14 days of verse by verse edification.

The red of agate flows into the colors of Fall, but also the red of the Blood of Christ.  And the white speaks to the purity of God.  In the Sermon on the Mount, we see those two things combine for the blessing of the believer.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Habits Busted by Manifested Truth‏


image used under Public Domain license,
photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org

In case you missed it, our October Kindle devotional is out.  It's Agate - The Red and White of Blessing, available on Amazon today!  It's a Kindle ebook, one of twelve, two more coming for November and December.  You can follow the title link to buy it.
,
As you probably have figured out by now, I get blessed by Todd Parsons' devotional thoughts.  I'm not one to keep good stuff to myself.  So, we asked Todd if we could share what God has been showing him.  And Todd agreed.  So, he's become the most consistent of our guest posters.  Here he is, again, with another great devotional.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Unconditional....

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Mark 10:21 (KJV)  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

In My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers used that verse for his devotional for September 28.  And he highlights an amazing principle in a way we might not ordinarily think of it.

Very often, that verse is used to illustrate putting other things ahead of or in place of God.  Making other things idols.  While the application is true, Chambers brings up another focus that is really the essence of this verse.  And the point Jesus was really making.


Monday, September 29, 2014

In Memory

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Our dear friend, Pastor Dale Loy, unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord this past weekend. Please keep his wife Sharon and their children in prayer.  The family were missionaries in rural Belize.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Without Ceasing

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1 Thessalonians 5:17  Pray without ceasing.

We need to have an attitude of prayer. To be ready to pray "at the drop of a hat". That's not some hyperspiritual, "holier than thou" attitude.  It's more like being like a spiritual fireman.  If you've seen any of the fire department TV dramas, the firemen on duty live at the fire station, eating and sleeping there so that they're immediately available to go out and fight the next fire or deal with the next emergency.

We're supposed to be like those firemen, except in the realm of prayer.  Some of the needs are described in James 5:13-15, "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.".  Spiritual firemen.  And there are other parallels.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sound Doctrine For These Times (Video)

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license, courtesy of Wikipedia
We've been sharing some of my pastor's teaching on the End Times timeline.  But, as we draw closer and things become more chaotic, we can't forget that God has given us the Bible and Biblical understanding to protect us from becoming part of the chaos.

It's a lack of understanding that leaves us open to the wiles of the devil.  It's that same lack of understanding and connection to God that allows us to become tares instead of wheat.

When we understand who God is, what He's done for us, and how much He loves us, we blunt the effects of Satan's attacks on us.  The devil loses power and we grow in relationship with God.  Here's what my pastor shared on this subject:


Monday, September 22, 2014

Pray, Ask, Get.... Or Not

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1Timothy 2:8  I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

James 5:13-15  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Those verses say a lot about prayer.  It's a subject that's been on my mind a lot, lately.  I'm a member of several online prayer groups, as well as talking to people with prayer need as I make followup calls for our church.  And several of my fellow Christian bloggers have been led to blog about prayer, particularly in the ways it's personal to them.  In that, we're not going to be much different.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lay Aside....

image used under Creative Commons license, 
picture from  New Era Events, Inc. blog
“Putting our faith in Christ is not about trying harder; it means transferring our trust away from ourselves and resting in him.” -- Tim Keller

Picture a man holding up a boulder, like our illustration to the left.  Trying harder would be like us doing that.  Depending on what the boulder is composed of, it might be light enough to hold up.  But, even then, there's a limit to how long we could continue to hold it.  We have to deal with that fact.

Take a look at what God says.  There's a clear picture in Hebrews 12:1 of how He looks at our boulder lifting.  It's evident that Tim Keller has it right.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Assurance, Satisfied, & Settled on the Sure Foundation‏

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Here's a great meditation from Todd Parsons that takes our discussion on Monday in a slightly different direction.

It's faith that keeps us connected.  A recognition of the hope that comes from God's love for us.

The grace that saves us and delivers us also builds our faith to stay connected. The power that makes a wonderful eternity possible also makes our daily life more bearable.  And it ensures we have instantaneous access any time we need it and are willing to reach for it.


Monday, September 15, 2014

For Real?

image from the Library of Congress, Prints and
Photograps Collection, no known restrictions for use
It's amazing what physical ailments can do to us.  Particularly if the change forces a change in lifestyle or in our physical appearance.  That part of our discussion may be slightly R rated.

We've seen a ton of articles and TV news items about our wounded warriors, veterans returning, physically (and maybe psychologically) damaged from going to war to protect us.  Some end up homeless, many have sight or limbs taken away by IEDs and the battles for our freedom.

Our illustration is a returned World War II vet, with a volunteer from the Red Cross helping to write a letter.  He looks happy.  I suspect it's a staged publicity picture, depicting how much difference the Red Cross can make or how easy the transition back to normal life wounded vets could experience. Definitely rosier than modern reality.  Think with me on this.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Walk in Blessing

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Acts 10:34 (KJV)  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

John 5:19 (KJV)  Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 

1 John 2:6 (KJV)  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Romans 12:2 (KJV)  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Those verses highlight a real truth.  God doesn't favor certain people, nor does He exclude some from His favor.  All are free to accept His Grace and salvation.  It's clear to most Christians that the ideal is to be Christ-like.  He took His lead from the Father.  We need to take our lead from Him and be transformed.  How we walk with God should make a difference.  There are a couple of situations that got me thinking about that recently.  One of them splashed all over the news.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Because of Love - Jesus Knows Your Hurt

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo from the "Looking for My Burning Bush" blog
Here we are, again, on a "guest post Wednesday,  And I thought I'd throw a double header at you. Our friend Todd Parsons shared a meditation and some verses on love.  Awhile back, another friend, Mrs. Shawn Mullin, did a cover of Dallas Holm's "Jesus Knows Your Hurt".  It's not a professional recording.  In fact, from the video sizing, I suspect it was done with a smartphone.  The video is clear and the audio is fine, even though it was done at home.  But, most important, the sweet spirit and the anointing are there.  And I think the two go together.

I've put Todd's meditation first, with the song afterwards, as a means of meditating on the whole.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Spiritual Ebola

image used under Creative Commons license, 
photo from Flickr and supplied by NIAID

The other night, I was trying to fit several things into the same time frame.  My day had been hectic. I had prayed when I got up, but I was just getting to my devotional reading for the day.  A recent online conversation weighed heavily on my mind.  And I was trying to catch up on the news, where the latest information about the ebola breakout caught my attention.  All of that combined to create an interesting train of thought.

Today's illustration is a colorized electron microscope view of the ebola virus.  It looks like it could be a nice abstract painting.  But, from the news stories, we know that ebola is anything but nice. That's the heart of what we want to share today.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Sapir - Freedom's Blue: Sea and Sky (Excerpt)

image used under Creative Commons, © Copyright Oast House Archive
It's early September.  We thought we'd share one of the devotions from our September devotional.

The devotional book is for Kindle only. It's titled Sapir - Freedom's Blue, subtitled Sea and Sky, and is part of the Breastplate Gems series, Book 9.  The series is inexpensively available on Amazon, this particular book, here: http://amzn.to/1w66hcd.

Today, we think about the value of our salvation.  It has enough worth that anyone jealous of it would, at the very least, want to keep us from possessing it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Visible Kingdom To Come - Part 1

image used under Creative Commons 
license, courtesy of Wikipedia

Last week, we shared two sermon videos from my pastor. Both dealt with the timeline leading up to and through the Millenial Reign.  Today's two parter (note that it's labeled Part 1) consists of the two morning services from Sunday of  Labor Day weekend.  The second service was less timeline oriented, so we chose not to post it for Friday.  But it is important. We've included a link to the YouTube video at the bottom of this post.  Since both are upwards of 40 minutes each, you may not want to view both in one sitting.  But we do recommend that you take the time to watch both.


Monday, September 1, 2014

It's About Relationship

The image is used under Creative Commons license,
from en.wikipedia.org, picture by Johnny Automatic
Luke 10:20 (KJV)  Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.


"Jesus Christ is saying here, 'Don't rejoice in your successful service for Me, but rejoice because of your right relationship with Me.'".


That's the verse and beginning devotional statement for August 30th, by Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest.  That sentence is so true.  Yet, there's more.

There was a recent online discussion, once again about Paul Washer and his teachings about salvation.  I wrote about that, awhile back.  More recently, we discussed repentance and salvation.  And it all gets really interesting.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Scientific or Spiritual Power?

image used under Public Domain license, photo obtained from commons.wikimedia.org

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

That hasn't changed much. Except things may be getting worse.  The image to the right pretty well illustrates our quote. Except we can't always guide our missiles that well, either.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Living In The Mystery Of The Kingdom (Video)

image used under Creative Commons 
license, courtesy of Wikipedia


As promised, here's the second part of our video sermon series on the End Times.  The speaker is Pastor Tom Schaller.  On Monday, we shared the timeline.  Here, Pastor Schaller goes into more about the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Second Coming, and the Millenial Reign.








Monday, August 25, 2014

The Super History - He Is Coming Again (Video)

image used under Creative Commons 
license, courtesy of Wikipedia
We recently did a couple of posts about the End Times.  My pastor has just begun a series on the same subject.  So, we're going to do something a little different.  We don't usually do video posts on Mondays.  But we're making an exception.  This is from Sunday of last week.  Wednesday, when we do often have video posts, we'll run this Sunday's continuation.

Today, we get an introduction by Pastor Scibelli, our Missions Director.  That's followed by Pastor Schaller giving us a Biblical timeline.  That, by itself, gives us some pretty exciting insights.  I believe you'll be blessed by the message.  So, let's not wait any longer.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Old Habits....

image used under Creative Commons license,photo from The People Speak! on Flickr
The other day, I was conversing with a friend.  We talked about a couple of things and were checking our schedules to get together, again.  When we hit on a mutually agreeable date, he asked for a minute to "get it down on paper".  Both of us were using smartphones.  Neither of us was going to whip out pen and paper to write down what we decided.  But the old habit of describing recording our decision as committing it to written form is still there.  We both knew what we really meant.

We know that not all habits are bad.  But, neither are they all good.  In fact, most are in what seems to be neutral territory.  Perhaps quirky, maybe annoying, but not really pleasing nor very bad.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Slow

image used under Creative Commons license, photo by Steve Depolo on Flickr
You can rush to your destination or enjoy the journey while moving toward your destination. Slow is not bad. -- Sam Chand

When you read the Bible, read it slowly and out loud. It's not how much Bible you get "on you;" it's how much you get "in you." -- Pastor Steve Gaines

Those two thoughts were shared about a week apart. But they are so integrated that they might have come from the same discussion.  And it all relates to mindset.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Robin Williams' Lessons for the Rest of Us

image used under Creative Commons license,
photo by Eva Rinaldi on Flickr
We all remember Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) as the man who made us laugh. But, like so many of us, there was so much more to him.  Not all of it was pretty.

It's been a few days since his passing. And I've had time to think about him and make some comparisons to my own life.  Which is why I said that not all of Robin's life was pretty.

Many of the stories about Mr. Williams' life and death mention his "personal demons".  That's closer to truth than most reporters realized or want to realize.

Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Whether we've made a conscious decision to be a Christ follower or not, we all start with "flesh" whose spiritual genetics have been tampered with by the decisions made by Adam and Eve.  And much of our input comes both from that and rest of a world that's suffered the same spiritual tampering.  Add the physical changes to us and the world because of our spiritual genetics and a set of demons unhappy with God and Man because they don't have an option of grace and mercy to fix their wrong decisions.  Those demons are adding to the witches brew raining down on each of us.  One could wonder why more don't give up in desperation.