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May
28

Current Lessons from a Historic Church

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This week I had the privilege of participating in some interviews (behind the camera of course) offering me the opportunity to hear some good perspectives. One of these key interviews was with Ed Stetzer and Greg and Ruth Haslam of Westminster Chapel. Ed posted a piece with the video and helpful insight on “Involving all of God’s people on all of God’s mission.”

Here is some additional background information that may provide more scope and meaning for the video.

Westminster Chapel was planted in the early 1840’s. Some 25 years later, the church moved to its current location which had a large amount of poor people in the area. Some years after the church’s relocation, the word “slum” was introduced to the English language. This word was used for this area of London at that time. It had been for this very reason that the church had moved into this area according to the pastor’s wife, Ruth Haslam. Since that time the community has gone through a gentrification process.

There is a history of great preachers that led the church throughout its many years. These men include: Rev. Samuel Martin; Dr. G. Campbell Morgan; Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones; and Dr. RT Kendall. In our modern day it is more difficult to encourage and observe obedience with only a preaching point as the means for discipleship. Though not captured on the above video, Pastor Greg shared that the transition he is leading to establish community groups is necessary as church participants need to be participatory in becoming more obedient to the Savior and His mission.

Categories : discipleship, story
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Apr
22

The death of a Hero

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Slipping from this life earlier this year at 100 years of age, Miep Gies was truly a hero. Along with her husband and some friends, she had provided food for the Frank family and others as they hid from the German Gestapo above the Frank’s family business for two years. On the day that the authorities arrived to take away all eight people who had been in hiding, Gies was sitting at her desk in the Frank’s office. While this alone was sufficient to put her in great danger, she chose later to go to the Gestapo headquarters to try to purchase the prisoners’ release. She was unsuccessful in this attempt.

Miep Gies would not see Anne Frank again, but she was able to present her diary to Otto–Anne’s father upon his return from Auschwitz. She presented it to him on the occasion when he learned of his daughters’ deaths. She shared, “here is your daughter Anne’s legacy to you.” After the second printing, Gies finally was able to read the diary. She was not reading a story about someone’s life, she was reading about this little girl that she had known, identified with, and protected. (HT)

Gies was a hero for a some very basic reasons. She cared deeply. She acted courageously. Eloquent writing or speech would have done nothing to aid the Frank family in hiding for two years. But putting her life in danger on a daily basis to find, buy, and at times barter for food, she was a constant, faithful hero.

I am reminded of the heroes that are mentioned in Hebrews 11. Yes, several are named with brief accounts of their story shared. But for so, so many they are listed as the faithful–the heroes. Some of these were tortured; some “were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword…the world was not worthy of them.” These were people of action. Talking about being faithful was not enough. They lived it out daily through to the end.

May we be a generation of heroes….

Categories : Bible, story
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Apr
19

“Am I crazy?”

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“Am I crazy?” she asked with tears filling both eyes.

Following a breakout session this past week at the Sent Conference in Houston, Sandra shared with a friend and me that she had become discontent sitting inside her church when she saw so much lostness in her community. So many that would not come into the church. So many that were not able to find their own way to the Savior. Her disorientation was evident.

Seeking to find her purpose in taking Christ to the community, Sandra has prayed throughout her community, spoken with her pastor, and currently is meeting with a group of university students in her home. The conversation with this beautiful, gray-haired lady was the highlight of my conference experience. She is seeking to find ways that she can make her Savior known to those that need so desperately to know Him.

For her and others that can identify with her, I am thankful to share that “hope has two beautiful daughters” according to St. Augustine and Michael Frost.

Press on Sandra, I am cheering for you, praying for you, and ready to help in any way I can. To others like her, I encourage the same. May we join His purpose “to seek and to save what was lost.”

Categories : Bible, church, story
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Feb
15

Enormous Loss

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Just a few weeks ago, all was fine for the [Smith] family. Important things included all of the mundane things such as what’s for dinner and the like. Then the headaches began for Mrs. Smith. And they grew more intense. About a week after they started, she was visibly shaking and had to sit down while with others at worship. The next Tuesday an MRI revealed a tumor behind her ear. On Thursday, she went into surgery. She never woke up. She never was able to hug and bless or be blessed by her husband and 3 young children again on this side of heaven.

Today is the day for Mrs. Smith’s burial. Family and friends are mourning and will continue to do so. Life is forever changed for the family and it will continue to be hard for some time.

This serves as a reminder for me and my family about the brevity of life. May we embrace everyday all of the blessings the Lord grants us.

Upon learning of  Mrs. Smith’s passing, we prayed as a family for the Smith family that are having to deal with the tragic loss. My youngest prayed, “Lord, I pray you have a wonderful time with Mrs. Smith.” I am sure that He is doing so with her now with Him in heaven. May we daily do the same with the loved ones around us here on the earth.

Categories : story
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Feb
09

The Big Red Tractor

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I’m not sure if this guy Francis Chan will ever be much of a speaker or author of books, but he does write a good little parable here. (smile) If you haven’t already seen this video, check out what he says about the church here.

Categories : church, fun, story
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Jan
05

A new beginning

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iStock_000007823883XSmallTwo men walked into a village to tell the people about the Savior. The peoples did not show any interest in believing or even seeking a full understanding of the story. One villager told the men that here they worshipped the spirits, but if their God is so powerful, then they should have Him make the tree where the spirits dwell to fall over.

With the conversation over, the two men began to pray early in the day for this very thing to happen. At noon, they continued praying on the edge of the village, close to the tree. In the evening, they continued praying. Throughout the night, they continued praying. Just before dawn a few villagers began to stir outside. They turned as they heard cracking sounds begin. The tree began to move as it cracked and popped with force. Then in a swift motion it crashed down into the village. Immediately the villagers came running to see what had happened to the tree where they had previously felt compelled to worship the spirits. Seeing the power of “the God,” they heard the story and many believed.

Today, whether living in a post-Christian, animistic, or other context, there is a deep and abiding reality that we would do well to remember:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

We must increase our efforts in prayer. I must pray more than ever before. May we:

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Happy New Year! Let’s roll….

Categories : communication, story
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Dec
28

The story continues…

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gift2Disjointed and missing everyone’s expectations, our Christmas journey this year was more than adequate. We enjoyed and struggled with 14 inches of snow on Christmas Eve. This was the day that we continued to live out the story and relationships which began months ago and was introduced in a previous entry entitled The Fight. The “Jones” family came over to join us for lunch and to open some of the presents our extended family had purchased for them. During our time we were able to share both a Christmas meal and family stories as well as reflect on the story and hope of Christmas.

gift1Following the meal, as the Jones were leaving, we noticed a flat rear tire. After airing it up, we determined that the tire would not hold air long enough to make it home. So venturing into the blizzard in a 4×4 we purchased a new tire while serving others to free them from being stuck in snow and ice. It was great to have the father and son be a part of serving others that were in even more immediate need at that particular moment.

With the new tire mounted, we saw them off after towing them through the snow and ice out of the neighborhood. The following day we had the privilege of clearing snow from the drive so we could make the trek back to Dallas to be with other family and to continue the mission of Christmas and our family discipleship.

gift3Yesterday we had another family seeking to disciple their children join us to host a Hispanic family that is also experiencing great need. Through our time with the “Lopez” family over the past months we have seen the mom make Christ her Lord. Since that time, the four children have been observing and processing the gospel.

gift4We shared lunch and gave Christmas presents. The fellowship and fun later turned into an impromptu Little Caesar’s pizza dinner. It was during this second meal while taking in some of the Dallas Cowboys’ game that the dad was able to hear the good news for the first time. Though he was not ready to believe, he did initiate a hug with me and the other dad that shared the day and his family with him and his family. We continued to learn and will continue to teach. The good news made more sense to the shepherds when they could see and touch it and the same holds true today.

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Dec
18

A Healing

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From time to time I will be posting original writings of guests from around the world. In this post, a missionary in SE Asia shares a small part of the story he is experiencing. Thanks friend!

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While training a [group in country] a young man sitting in the back came to my attention. He was 25 or 26 years old and had quite a story to tell. This young man had been a Buddhist monk until three months earlier. He came to the training to learn more about his new faith. The following is his story.

My family could not afford to feed me so they put me in the monastery when I was very young. It is all I have ever known. One day I was walking down the street, with my bowl, to collect food for the day. Without looking I stepped into the street and right into the path of a car. The car hit me and sent me flying into the middle of the street. When I tried to get up I realized my leg was broken. Some men helped me into a taxi that took me to the Buddhist hospital for monks.

The doctors x-rayed my body and told me it was not good. My leg had been crushed in the accident and it was inoperable; they would have to amputate. They sent me to a room, gave me some pain medicine, and scheduled the surgery for the next morning. I was so worried! I tried to meditate and called on the Buddha for help, but nothing worked. Finally I fell asleep and in my sleep I had a dream. A man dressed in white came to my bed and touched me on the shoulder. He told me not to be afraid; the doctors will not amputate your leg, I am going to heal you. As he walked out of the room, he turned around and said, “My name is Jesus.” The monk had never heard that name before so it had no special significance, but he remembered it. During the night he felt warmth in his leg, by morning he had feeling and when the doctors came to prep him for surgery they found his leg completely healed. The surprised doctors asked what had happened. The monk told them about the man Jesus, but the doctors had never heard that name before either. They told him, “You are healed so return to your monastery.”

Two weeks later the monk was on the street again collecting food for the day. An unknown believer approached him and began to share the gospel with him. As the believer told about God the young monk became confused. “I did not understand what he meant. What is the god?” The believer went on to tell the monk that God had a son whose name was Jesus. When he mentioned this name, Jesus, the monk stopped him. He told the believer his story and said, “This is the one who healed me, please tell me more about him.” When the believer was finished telling him about Jesus the monk replied,” this man healed me, I want to become a follower of Jesus.” He disrobed and left the monkhood, joined himself to the believers and was in my seminar to learn more about the faith he had come to embrace.

Categories : story
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