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Showing posts from September, 2008

How About a Trade?

Here's an idea -- how about if the Packers make a trade with the Jets for Brett Favre?

John Wesley's Holy Club Questions

While students at Oxford, John Wesley and a few friends (including his brother, Charles, and George Whitefield) formed a group called "The Holy Club." The purpose was to deepen their faith, and help them to live it day by day.

They created the following list of personal reflection questions to be used during their daily private devotions (I suggest you read them in light of Romans 8:1):

1. Am I creating the impression that I am better than I am?
2. Am I honest in all my acts and words?
3. Do I break confidence -- tell others' secrets?
4. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, habits?
5. Can I be trusted?
6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
7. Did God's Word live in me today?
8. Am I enjoying my prayer time?
9. When was the last time I shared my faith?
10. Do I pray about the money I spend?
11. Do I go to bed on time and get up on time?
12. Do I disobey God in anything?
13. Do I have an uneasy conscience?
14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?

In Him We Live

Father, I bless thy name that I do live,
And in each motion am made rich with Thee,
That when a glance is all that I can give,
It is a kingdom's wealth, if I but see;

This stately body cannot move, save I
Will to its nobleness my little bring;
My voice, its measured cadence will not try,
Save I with every note consent to sing;

I cannot raise my hands to hurt or bless,
But I with every action must conspire
To show me there how little I possess,
And yet that little more than I desire;

May each new act my new allegiance prove,
Till in thy perfect love I ever live and move.
-- Jones Very (19th Century American Poet)

A Long Walk in the Woods

A long walk in the woods is good for the soul.

"I went out for a walk,and finally concluded to stay out till sundown" said naturalist John Muir, "for going out, I found, was really going in."

The forest brings the majestic symphony of God's orchestra alive -- a far better production than anything originating from Carnegie Hall.

The heavens declare the glory of God. The birds, trees, sunsets. and lakes remind us that all is well.

Want a good remedy for a troubled heart? Go take a hike! Get out into nature and observe - watch - listen. You will find peace there. It's hard to be all worked up when you are quiet in a woods.

The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God." Somebody bigger than me is in charge of the universe. I don't have to panic when situations arise beyond my control. Watch the birds. You'll see!

Joy is the natural state of the soul. The absence of joy indicates some kind of soul disease.

"Entanglements" keep us bound i…

Buzzard, Bat and Bumblebee

My friend, Pandora, sent this to me recently:

THE BUZZARD:
If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

THE BAT:
The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

THE BUMBLEBEE:
A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying…

Your Problems Can Help You Grow!

Your problems can help you grow!

Life’s difficulties can seem overwhelming. Disappointments, rejection, and painful experiences tempt us to cave into discouragement.

When faced with a Goliath sized obstacle, what do you do? Cower in fear? Ignore it? Throw a tantrum?

On ignoring: In The Hobbit, Tolkein remarks, “If a dragon lives with you, it’s best never to leave him out of your calculations.”

Genuine problems must not be ignored. If you sweep a dead skunk under the rug, it won’t get any better.

So how do we deal with difficulty? Put the problem in the right perspective! Realize that life is made up of problems. Troubles are everywhere and everybody has them. Don’t be surprised when they come your way.

Problems contain the seeds of their own solution. You can find the answer if you get on the “solution side” rather than the “problem side”. (By the way, you don’t have to be too smart to identify a problem. You need to stretch your brain a little, however, to see the solution.)

Problems are…

3 Things a Speaker Should Do

I found these challenging thoughts on preaching at Perry Noble's blog:


1. Get alone with God and let Him set you on fire.
2. Understand that people will always Misunderstand what you say.
3. Keep the "One Day" principle in mind (One day we will give an account before God -- preach in light of that.)

Send the Fire!

A powerful revival song by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army:


Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For power to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and br…

Don't Wobble

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Commit yourself to something greater than yourself! The world has enough people who go through life seeking their own personal gain. There are plenty of folks who just “go with the flow.” We need individuals who will stand up and dare to be different.

What are your convictions? What principles guide your life? A life without principle and conviction is like a boat without a sail or rudder. Nobody knows where it will end up.

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

Those rare people who really make a difference are those who stand on their convictions. This is called character -- a priceless gem available to anybody who is willing to pay the price.

Somebody said, “If you stand, just stand. If you sit, just sit. But whatever you do, don’t wobble!”

Once you determine your values and convictions, hang on to them for dear life! Don’t wobble! Keeping commitments is hard work. Standing strong in the face of adversity is sometimes lonely. But keep on. Hang on. Don’t wobble.

The …

Throw it Back

The self is like a baseball. Throw it back to the divine pitcher who pitched it to you in the first place, and the game of love goes on. Hold it, and the game is over.

-- Peter Kreeft

(Thanks to Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed for sharing this thought provoking quote.)

Souls Ablaze

Spirit filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God.
-- Samuel Chadwick

Prayer and Encouragement

A few weeks ago, I received the sad news that my friend, Shirley, had died unexpectedly. She and her husband, Dannie, were pillars of our church before they moved to Missouri a few years ago.

I immediately called Dannie on the phone.

"Dannie, I heard the news about Shirley and I'm so sorry."

Dannie was glad to hear from me.

I continued, "I want you to know that all of your friends up here in the northwoods are praying for you."

"I can tell," he replied, "I've been amazed at the peace and strength I've had all the way through this terrible ordeal. It has been just unbelievable. How could I possibly have such peace at a time like this? Then I thought, 'I know why! Someone is praying for me..'"

Dannie continued, "You know, Pastor Mark, light travels at 186,282.397 miles per second. But I've discovered something that travels even faster than that! It's the prayers of God's people!!"

"Losing Shirley is t…

Shake It Well

Said one traveler to another:
“I have come a great distance to listen to the words of the Teacher, but I find his words quite ordinary.”

“Don’t listen to his words. Listen to his message.”

“How does one do that?”

“Take hold of a sentence that he says. Shake it well till all the words drop off. What is left will set your heart on fire."

-Anthony deMello

A Way to Warm Up

Lacks Power

Over many a Christian leader's record could be stamped these words: LACKS POWER. Why do so many ministers and lay leaders have a vague restless awareness that something is lacking in their leadership?
-- Wesley Duewel, Ablaze for God, p. 78

perhaps the greatest lack in most Christian leadership and ministry is this divine bestowal, the Spirit's empowerment. . . . Perhaps the greatest, and most revolutionary change that could happen to your leadership would be for you to receive and continually experience the divine dimension. Once you receive it and experience the difference it makes, you will not want to minister without it.
-- Duewel, Ablaze, p. 79

Everything Passes

Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes away except God.

--Saint Theresa

Social Holiness

A great article by Keith Drury -- "The Holiness Movement's Heritage of Social Action"

Joyless Religion

"Religion for them was a joyless burden, for they carried God on their backs instead of in their hearts."

-- Samuel Chadwick (Church Without the Spirit)

Brotherhood of Belief

A great article by Chuck Colson: Ties That Bind: Brotherhood of Belief

Ablaze for God

We launched our Ablaze for God series yesterday. There is a beautiful spirit of expectancy in our people, and a deepened commitment to prayer. It's exciting.

Those who have just been "going along for the ride" are a bit uncomfortable, but I remember my daddy saying that Spirit-led ministry will:

1) comfort the disturbed and
2) disturb the comfortable.

You can follow what we're doing at the Ablaze for God Blog

Fire in the Bible

In Scripture, fire is often a symbol of God's presence and power.

1. First command -- "Let there be light" -- and there was light. God's radiant light. (Gen 1)
2. Abraham -- God appeared as a blazing torch (Gen 15)
3. Moses -- the burning bush (Ex. 3)
4. Children of Israel -- Pillar of Cloud and Pillar of Fire (Ex. 13)
5. Mt. Sinai -- smoke, lightening, fire (Ex. 19 & 24)
6. Priests ordered to never let the holy flame go out (Lev. 6:12)
7. Elijah -- called down fire from heaven (1 Kings 18)
8. Isaiah -- in temple glory of Lord filled it -- smoke, fire (Isa 6)
9. John the Baptist said Jesus would baptize with Holy Spirit and with fire (Luke 3:16)
10. In the upper room, filled with Holy Spirit, flames of fire came upon their heads (Acts 2)
11. Our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29)

Long Sermon

A preacher was delivering a longwinded and boring sermon. Halfway through, a man got up from his pew, and walked out of the church.

"Where are you going?" the preacher called out.

"To get a haircut."

"Why didn't you get one BEFORE church?" the preacher asked.

"I didn't need one then."

Greatness

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

-- Helen Keller

Ablaze for God

An e-mail sent to my congregation

Dear Hayward Wesleyan Church Family,
In all my years of ministry, I have never more eagerly anticipated the coming weeks than now! God is up to something wonderful. Let's join Him!

Thank you to all who participated in the unusual prayer services last Sunday. Literally hundreds of prayers went up before the Lord. Together, we sought His face. I know this was pleasing to Him. We've had several reports of significant spiritual breakthroughs as a direct result of what we did on Sunday. I'm certainly glad we followed the prompting.

This Sunday, we are officially launching the Ablaze for God series. I ask you to pause right now and pray for our church. Pray that we will all sense the presence of God in fullness, and that our hearts will turn towards Him. Pray that needs will be met, new commitments will be made, hearts will be set right and lives will be transformed. God moves in answer to prayer! He moves US!

Our Ablaze for God Series will include t…

Some Recent Reads

Three books I've read recently:
1) The Stout-Hearted Seven: Orphaned on the Oregon Trail. by Neta Frazier
Frazier tells true and courageous adventure of the Sager children who bravely face starvation, disease, cold, crippling accidents, and finally, a massacre. I couldn't put the book down -- and now, I'm reading it aloud to my children. They're lives intersect with missionaries, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. A great story -- and well written.

2) The Bright Forever by Lee Martin
A novel that makes you think about what goes on beneath the surface -- rather dark and depressing.


3) Firstlight by Sue Monk Kidd
A collection of inspirational writings. I love the way Kidd turns a phrase and captures the sublime in the ordinary.

Lest We Forget

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Prayer Sunday Report

Last Sunday, we devoted the whole morning to prayer -- no sermon, no announcements, no praise band -- only prayer. Jesus said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer." So, this past week, that's exactly what we did.

The services flowed like a river -- one into another -- each one with it's own prayer focus. We set up several prayer stations in the sanctuary to engage the congregation in the prayer effort (rather than them being passive.)

Designated music leaders in each service prayed about what songs we should sing. . . and the congretation sang them as prayers. It was beautiful.

Hundreds of people actively participated. Many people received spiritual help. I've heard some beautiful reports of significant breakthroughs. I personally prayed with at least 20 people -- and the other pastors and prayer workers reported a similar morning of intercession.

Prayer stations included:
* Forgiveness (write grievance on rock with washable marker, then dip in water.)
* Commun…

Complications

The centipede was happy quite
until a toad in fun
Said, "Please tell me which leg goes after which?"
That worked her mind in such a pitch,
She lay distracted in the ditch,
Considering how to run.
-- Anonymous

Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood

Last night, Lambeau Field was Mr. Rogers' neighborhood!

I'm glad to see him have a great debut -- after all the unwarranted flack the poor fellow's received. I was glad also to see Favre have a great game as well.

I suppose one can root for both the Packers and the Jets.

Denouncing

There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don’t take much to see that something is wrong,but it takes some eyesight to see what will put it right again.
-- Will Rogers

Extra Mile Husband

What If Your Life Went Public Tomorrow?

Joy Ziegler posted an insightful observation about the intense media scrutiny of Sarah Palin. . .

It got me thinking, what if my life "went public" tomorrow? What if others evaluated my every decision? If they scrutized how I raised our family and spend my money, how would I hold up? Would they have a lot of "dirt" to proclaim to the press or would they see a life of integrity?

Ablaze for God

Our church is launching a special series called "Ablaze for God" It's a time to focus on prayer, renewal and deepening our spiritual commitment to the Lord, based loosely on a powerful little book by Dr. Wesley Duewel entitled, "Ablaze for God."

Themes include: Your Life Aflame, Your Power, Your Love, Your Prayer, Your Accountability, Your Anointing, Your Integrity and Your Infilling.
Starting September 14, this special series will continue through the first week of NovemberThis will, of course, be our emphasis on Sunday mornings. On Monday evenings, we will gather again for a deeper teaching on the same subject. (Sort of like a spiritual Monday Night Football!) Also on Mondays, at the conclusion of the teaching, we will break into small groups to discuss the theme of the day. This is a great place to ask questions, share your insights, or to merely listen in.There will be a daily devotional, launching September 15. We will have it in booklet form at the church -…

Sarum Primer Prayer

God be in my head
and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart
and in my thinking;
God be at my end
and in my departing

-- appeared in a 1514 "Book of Hours" (Cambridge) and then later published in Salisbury (Sarum) England in 1558

You Can Beat Worry

Two men were climbing a steep hill on a bicycle built for two. When they finally made it to the top, the first man said, "Whew! That was a stiff climb. I think it was the hardest hill I've ever been on."

"It certainly was," his companion replied, "and if I hadn't kept the brake on, we would have slid down backwards!"

When we worry, it's like pedaling uphill with the brakes on. Anxious thoughts make life ten times harder.

Unfortunately, our natural human tendency is to worry about our situations. Is there anybody on this earth who is not familiar with the uncomfortable gnawing of worry in the belly? I seriously doubt it.

Yet, although worry is familiar to us all, we don't have to treat it like a welcomed guest. In fact, we have every right in the world to kick it out! No Vacancy! "There's no place for you, bub! Get out!"

How can we evict worry from our lives? Let me offer a few suggestions:

1. Talk to yourself!
A great way to abo…

Set Your Sails!

We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind of heaven . .
-- G. Campbell Morgan

Good People

"We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity."
-- Quotation from Sarah Palin's acceptance speech

Back to School

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The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. —William Arthur Ward Got this from my good friend, Mark Gorveatte

Where Revivals Begin

Revivals begin with God's own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervour and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones…Oh, what responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!

-- Andrew Bonar

Stressed Out

I saw an interesting sign on a box a while back-- "Warning, contents may explode under stress!"

Don't you wish volatile people had labels like that? "Warning -- This person is stressed out and ready to explode!" Then, we'd all know when to steer clear! Of course -- from time to time, we'd all have to wear a label like that -- because stress is common to everyone.

Life is stressful. The day you're free from stress is the day they carry you away in a coffin. We can't expect to be stress-free this side of heaven. Businessman, Malcolm Forbes recognized this when he said, "If you have a job without aggravations, you don't have a job."

We can learn to deal with our situations, however, so the stress won't get the best of us! Here are a few thoughts on beating stress in your daily life:

1. Try to take life one day at a time.
Poet Robert Frost said, "Just take things as they come, and handle them the best you can."

2. Remember that…