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Showing posts from July, 2009

Beaulah Camp

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Here are some pictures (via cell phone) of the place where I've been preaching the last several days: Beulah Holiness Camp in Eldorado, Illinois.

The Pulpit
The Tabernacle

The Sign That Greets You as You Enter

Some Time We'll Understand

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I appreciated Robert's comment today (below) on this post from a couple of years ago. I am re-posting it in honor of the 167th anniversary of Rev. Maxwell Cornelius' birth:

My friend, Mike, bought an old hymnal on e-bay. He carried it up proudly between services a week ago, and said, "Look what I got for 95 cents!"

I leafed through the brittle pages, and landed upon these beautiful words. In light of the sufferings and losses I've witnessed in recent months and weeks, it was a blessing to me.

Upon researching, I found that the author, Rev. Maxwell Cornelius, had suffered deeply in his life. He penned this poem shortly after the death of his wife, and shared them at her funeral service.

Not now, but in the coming years,
It may be in the better land,
We'll read the meaning of our tears,
And there, sometime, we'll understand.
-- Maxwell N. Cornelius (Hymn 82 in Tabernacle Hymnal)

Some day, we will read the meaning of our tears. There is meaning in every difficult and…

Construction Updates

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Construction Updates For Hayward Wesleyan Church Children's Ministry Facility Expansion. Special thanks to Schmitz Excavating who donated all the excavation work. (Thanks Jeremy for putting up the pictures so everybody can follow the progress!)

Blogging Break

I'm heading out today to preach at the historic Beulah Holiness Camp in Eldorado, Illinois. It's a real privilege to partner with my Methodist brothers and sisters.

Then, I'll be teaching Church Leadership and Evangelism Courses at FLAME in Frankfort, Indiana.

Thus, I am not planning on posting anything at Revitalize Your Church for the next several days. If anything changes I'll let you know!

The Daisy Gaze

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"Simply gazing at a daisy reveals the mind of God." -- James Bryan Smith

Journey of the Prodigal

Read Brennan Manning's little parable, Journey of the Podigal, aloud to my family as we travelled an hour and a half to Duluth the other day. I was amazed at two things:
1) How the story kept their attention the entire time.
2) How deeply it touched my heart. I actually choked back tears towards the end. (My kids made fun of me -- but methinks they were just able to hold it together a little bit better than me!)

Solid Gold

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Farmer John was plowing in his field one day and hit a rock. Kathunk!

He climbed off his tractor, went around to the rock, and began to pull it out of the soil, to discard on the rock pile in the back 40. He noticed, as he dug around in the dirt, that it wasn’t really a rock after all. It was a brick.

The brick was encrusted with filthy grime. It looked almost like a brick-shaped dirt ball. As the good farmer picked up the brick, he was surprised at how heavy it seemed. This was no ordinary brick!

He scratched through the caked exterior, and discovered, to his amazement, a streak of gold gleaming through.

Could it be? Could it be?

The farmer hurried to the old farmhouse, where he washed the brick off in the sink, and discovered that his hopes had been realized. Sure enough, it was a bar of solid gold! What a treasure!

Farmer John told his wife, who told her friends, who in turn, shared the news with their neighbors. Pretty soon, everybody in town had heard about the discovery.

All the other …

Dissolved

This morning, reading John Wesley's Plain Account of Christian Perfection, I was especially struck by these words:

The longing heart be all on fire. To be dissolved in love!

2 Kinds of People

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ''Thy will be done,'' and those to whom God says, ''All right, then, have it your way.''

-- C. S. Lewis
(Found this great quote on a facebook status from my son, Wes.)

3 R's

D.L. Moody said that all preachers need to teach the 3 R's:


1. Ruin By Sin
2. Redemption By Christ
3. Regeneration By the Holy Spirit

Thoughts of Jesus

The first and final thought of Jesus was thought about God -- Adolph Schlatter

This thought provoking quote was in "Beginning with God" a Beliefnet post by Scott McKnight

River Fishing

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The Recession and Non Profits

A fascinating report from Christian Leadership Alliance regarding the Recession's Impact on Christian Non-Profit Organizations

How to Make Good Decisions

Usually, it’s not too difficult to make a good decision. Most decisions we make can be determined by plain old common sense.

The CEO of a major corporation once said, “95% of the decisions I make could be made by any intelligent fifth grader. I’m paid the big bucks for the other 5%.”

Of course, as we have seen lately in the news, some CEO’s are paid the big bucks and make crummy decisions anyway! An intelligent fifth grader understands values such as honesty, uprightness, and compassion.

Nevertheless, there are certain decisions in life that are not the “slam dunk” variety. Sometimes, it’s really hard to know what to do.

When faced with a difficult decision, here are a few points to ponder:

Have you prayed about it? God can give you wisdom beyond your own for this situation. Most people panic first and pray later, “God, get me out of this mess!” It’s much better to pray first, and then you won’t have to panic later!

What is the bottom, bottom line? When all else is said and done, wh…

Holy Roller

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Julie Lyons, Wisconsin girl, turned skeptical crime reporter in Texas, was following a lead in South Dallas -- seeking stories, in this crime ridden community, of people who had been supernaturally healed from drug addictions.
She happened upon a small, rundown church, The Body of Christ Assembly, pastored by Rev. Frederick Eddington, and this encounter transformed her life.
In her recent book, Holy Roller, Lyons recounts her journey from a disengaged, conflicted, doubter to a full blown participant in a vibrant, pentecostal, African American faith community (She's the only white girl in the house.)
She shares frankly and openly about her personal struggles, as well as making troubling observations of those who abuse position and authority in the church. (After all, she was a crime reporter, remember -- turned religion columnist, "Bible Girl"-- but that's another story.)
It's encouraging to note that the pastor of the church, Rev. Eddington and his wife, Diane, are…

Children's Ministry Facility Expansion

Yesterday, the congregation voted overwhelmingly to move forward with the building project to provide more space for our children's ministry. It's reallly needed -- amd will help us tremendously as we continue to reach out to the rising generation.

When Getting it Done isn't Getting it Done

In an effort to get the work of the Lord done, we often lose contact with the Lord and quite literally wear our people out as well.

-- Andrew Tozer

Bishop Calls Personal Salvation A Heresy

In a stunning departure from historic orthodoxy, the presiding Episcopal Bishop, Katharine JeffertsSchori, claimed that prayers of repentance for personal salvation is heresy and idolatry:

She called it "The great Western heresy: that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God."

Contrary to the Bishop. I believe in personal salvation. Each one of us must give an account before the Lord -- and we all need God's saving grace. True faith, like a good education, does not come by social osmosis. Every great movement of God in history has emphasized this fact.

When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, he said "You" must be born again. He was speaking personally -- not in the general sense. It's personal!

Jesus said to the woman at the well, I will give "You" (singular) living water. It's personal!

Peter, preaching in Acts said, "Repent and be baptized, every "One" of you." It's personal…

Alaska at Last

My good friend, Rachel Skime, recently left for Alaska to teach for a year in a remote wilderness village. (And here I thought Hayward was a remote wilderness village all this time!!)

She's just started a blog to chronicle her adventures: Alaska At Last!

I encourage you to swing by, pay her a visit, and maybe leave a comment. She's a long way from home.

Happy Birthday John Calvin

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To commemorate the 500th aniversary of the birth of John Calvin:
Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday to You! Happy Birthday Dear Johnny! Happy Birthday To You! Q: What do get when John Piper drinks Mountain Dew? A: A Hyper Calvinist! A birthday gift from Purgatorio: 25 Signs That You Might Be Obsessing About Calvinism A good word from my friend, David Drury: What I Learned from the Calvinists

Well Read

The great minister, Rev. A. J. Gordon, spoke of his grandmother back on the farm who had only two books in her possession: The Bible and Pilgrim's Progress.

She studied these two books every day -- and in the process nurtured a deep devotion and sweet humility.

Gordon's biographer writes, "Often did her grandson, coming back to the old home of summertime, marvel at the depths, the richness, the fullness of this hidden life." (W. B. Riley, The Perennial Revival, p. 166)

A friend of the mighty prayer warrior, Robert Murray McCheyne. observed that as he studied the Scriptures, he "pored over the pages just exactly as a money-hunter might search through sands known to contain gold nuggets" and on every occasion brought forth a treasure.

Do you think today's leanness of the evangelical soul is due, in part, to a lack of dilligent Bible study?

It's certainly not a lack of resources.

Summer

In summer, the song sings itself.
- William Carlos Williams

Reverend Andi

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Congratulations to my good friend, Andi Wittwer, who was installed last Sunday as the pastor of the Woodland Wesleyan Church.
Andi has cut back her work schedule (managing at Hardware Hank) to four days a week (ten hour shifts) so she can have both Wednesdays and Sundays off in order to pastor this little northwoods congregation. Her husband (and my barber) Ron, is a kind and loving man. He has overwhelmingly supportive of Andi's calling and is her number one cheerleader.
The good folks in the Danbury area are in for a real treat -- and lots of faith adventures! God is going to do some special things through this beautiful couple.

Millions of Purposes

if we could see what God could see (which we never will, because we will never be infinite), we would see millions upon millions of purposes in every action of the Son of God.

God is never doing just one thing in what he does with us. He is always doing thousands of things that we cannot see. He never has only one purpose in what he does. He always has thousands of purposes in everything he does. … For those who love him and are called according to his purpose, all of them—all of them!—work together for good.

-- John Piper, from the sermon "You Will Never Be Thirsty Again"

(Thanks to my friend, Bud Wesche, who shared this with me)

A Call for Prayer and Action

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I was saddened to hear that the Wesleyan Chapel Among the Onadagas was destroyed by an arson fire Sunday morning. Let's stand together with Pastor Sandy Sinesi and this precious congregation as they rebuild from the ruins. Donate online here.

Fireworks

My friend, Ron McClung, recently shared the following in his Positive Perspective column. With his permission, I'm passing it along to you for the 4th of July.

John and Tom could hardly have been more different. John was a talker who did so often and forcefully. Tom was quiet, preferring to write and read rather than engage in debate. John came from the north while Tom grew up in the south.

Both were farmers and both became lawyers. Both were elected to the Continental Congress that met in Philadelphia in 1775. By now you know I’m thinking about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

They collaborated on the Declaration of Independence, with Jefferson writing most of it. Adams and Benjamin Franklin made suggestions for changes and embellishments. The Congress tweaked it further before final passage.

John Adams advocated a strong central government. Without a solid central government, how would these colonies ever stick together to form the United States of America?

Thomas Jefferson believe…

Yet I Will Praise You

This is an absolutely beautiful song: You Tube Video here
(Lyrics by Andy Park, Vineyard Music)


I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my brokenness
I will praise You Lord I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my desperation
I will praise You Lord

And I can't understand
All that You allow
I just can't see the reason
But my life is in Your hands
And though I cannot see You
I choose to trust You

Even when my heart is torn I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even when I feel deserted I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even in my darkest valley I will praise (trust) You Lord
And when my world is shattered and it seems all hope is gone

Yet I will praise You Lord
I will trust You Lord my God
Even in my loneliness
I will trust You Lord I will trust You Lord my God
Even when I cannot hear You
I will trust You Lord

And I will not forget
That You hung on a cross
Lord You bled and died for me
And if I have to suffer I know that You've been there
And I know that You're here now

The Fierce Urgency of Now

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Shortly before his untimely death, pitchman, Billy Mays was interviewed in American Way Magazine. He remarked, "I'm not going to let other people who may have a problem with me-the way I pitch--deter me because I have a lot to give and a lot to do yet in my life. I think there's a bigger platform out there for me now."

Dr. Jeff Myers, professor at Bryan College, happened upon this article and made the following observation:
"I think there's a bigger platform out there for me now."
Those words haunted me. How often have I pinned my hopes on the platform I could stand on in the future, or the greater good I could do tomorrow, or the ideas I have for someday.
This simple interview with Billy Mays reminds me that there are no guarantees. My careful planning for tomorrow must not trump the influence I must seek to have today.
When it comes to mentoring, coaching and discipling the next generation, this moment, now, is the most important platform there is. Take …

Jello

So Beautiful!

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This morning, I finished Leonard Sweet's new book, So Beautiful.
I'm still basking in the afterglow and the best words I can use to describe it is: "So Beautiful!!"
I've read several of Sweet's other books, and must say that this is the best by far. In a witty, candid, and thought-provoking style, Sweet grabs the reader immediately and doesn't let go until the last paragraph.
The basic premise of So Beautifulis that congregations need to re-think their values and priorities. The old APC approach: Attractional, Propositional, Colonial (or ABC: Attendance, Buildings, Cash) won't cut it for churches that desire to reach this present generation.
Instead of APC/ABC, Sweet suggests that followers of Christ, as individuals and congregations, capture an MRI ethos: Missional Relational Incarnational. He then unpacks each of these concepts in detail. It's dynomite!
"Just as DNA's three strands make life possible, three other elements work in harmony to make…

Leadership Team Check Up

Take Responsibility

A Virginia inmate, Robert Brock, made the headlines a few years ago when he sued himself for five million dollars.

It seems he violated his own civil rights by getting drunk and arrested -- and so, he filed a lawsuit against himself.

He then asked the state to pay -- as he couldn't have an income in prison.

Well, maybe he was insincere -- but he did take personal responsibility! That's better than average.

Most of us tend to avoid responsibility by making excuses and blaming others. It's always someone else's fault!

It is refreshing when somebody stands tall and takes responsibility for his/her own actions.

President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said, "The buck stops here!" Now, that's taking responsibility.

Pope John XXIII, shortly after he was elected pontiff, said, "It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it -- then I wake up completely and remember that I am th…