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Showing posts from October, 2009

Some Days are Like That

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Trunk or Treat

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Light a Candle

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Dr. Hannah Massad will be the guest speaker at Hayward Wesleyan Church this Sunday (8:20, 9:40 and 11:00 a.m.)
He the pastor of Gaza Evangelical Baptist Church in the Gaza Strip, and professor at Bethlehem Bible College.
This precious saint has suffered much, and knows firsthand what it means to be "persecuted for righteousness' sake", as he serves in one of the most violent places on earth.
His message is one of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Brother Andrew has written about Pastor Hanna in his book, Light Force. (Copies of this book will be available at the church on Sunday.)
More information on Hanna and his ministry here
When you find yourself surrounded by darkness, light a candle!

The Secret to a Vibrant Prayer Life

How many Christians there are who cannot pray, and who seek by effort, resolve, joining prayer circles, etc, to cultivate in themselves the holy art of intercession, and all to no purpose.

Here, for them, and for all is the only secret of a real prayer life -- Be filled with the Spirit -- who is the Spirit of grace and supplication.

-- Rev. J. Stuart Holden

Bringing a Blessing from Hayward

For my readers who have never been here, Hayward is pretty remote. It's a land of wilderness forest -- and there are more deer than people.

We're not quite the end of the earth, but you can see it from here!

However, I've been blessed to see our people engage in missional activity around the world.

Right now, members of the Hayward Wesleyan Church family are serving in the following areas:

1) Robyn Bjork is returning from bringing a blessing to Ethiopia, where she has spent the last several weeks training medical workers in wound care.

2) Rachel Skime is teaching school and bringing a blessing in the remote Alaskan village of Quinhagak.

3) David and Leah Teran are bringing a blessing in Vera Cruz, Mexico, where they are launching some powerful community based ministries.

4) Ralph Jacobson is bringing a blessing to the people of the Philippines. He has just finished reconstructing an airplane by his own hand -- which he will sell and donate the proceeds for a scholarship fund for …

Long Haul Living

You were designed to live for the long haul! Life’s a long distance marathon, not a 50 yard dash.With that in mind, it's vital to keep the big picture in mind. Most of us get tangled in the minutia of the moment and forget to look beyond the current situation.

Most worries aren't really that important in light of the big picture – the long haul. The next time you find yourself “all worked up” about something, ask this question, "Will this really matter ten years from now?" That question puts it in perspective. I’ve discovered that most of my frettings of very little consequence.

Long haul living requires some long range thinking.
What are you willing to sacrifice today for a greater gain tomorrow?
What habits today will destroy your health and/or relationships tomorrow? I
f you continue in the same direction and at the same pace as you are going today, where will that lead you tomorrow?
If your money management patterns today continue, what will your financial picture be t…

Wisdom Hunter

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I recently read Wisdom Hunter, a fascinating novel, by Randall Arthur. It's the gripping tale(a re-release) of Pastor Jason Faircloth's journey through tragedy -- from a cold-hearted, rigid legalism to rich and vibrant faith. An eighteen year quest across the globe to locate his only suriving family member (a grandaughter he has never met) takes Faircloth through several hair raising and heart breaking experiences -- which ultimately lead to the discovery of true peace. Although Arthur probably won't win a Pulitzer for this piece of literature, it's a great story -- liberating for people who have been ensnared by legalistic systems. Order here (book provided for review by the publisher)

Church Sponsors Bible Burning??

Amazing Grace Baptist Church has scheduled a Bible burning and bar-b-que on Halloween night

They're burning other versions of the Bible besides King James.

Pastor Marc Grizzard claims the King James version of the Bible is the only true word of God, and that all other versions are "satanic" and "perversions" of God's Word.

Other books by Christian authors such as Rick Warren and Billy Graham will also be fuel for the flames.

Hmmm. I wonder how many lost, broken and hurting people will be drawn into God's family through this outreach event?

Deuteronomy 28:28 (KJV), "The Lord shall smite thee with madness. . ."

What is Your Ministry Age?

Quiz: Determine Your Ministry Age.

I'm younger than I thought! :)

Bible Reading Resources

As I mentioned yesterday in the sermon, Bible Gateway is an outstanding resource for Scripture reading and study.

There is also an option for listening to audio rather than reading it.

A couple of other helpful tools I use are Crosswalk and Strong's Concordance.

Best devotional books: My Utmost for His Highest and Streams in the Desert.

A great place where you can donate Bibles to international pastors.

Scriptural Truth

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Spiritual men and women – those filled with the Holy Spirit – are not unduly concerned with either higher or lower criticism. They do not rest merely in the letter which must be defended by argument.
They have a broader and more substantial basis for the faith.
It rests in their risen Lord, the glorified Christ.
They know that the Bible is true, not primarily through the efforts of apologists, but because they are acquainted with its Author.
The Spirit which inspired the Word dwells in them and witnesses to its truth.
-- H. Orton Wiley, in Christian Theology

Oblivious Serenity

If you can stay calm while all around you is chaos. . .


you probably haven't completely understood the seriousness of the situation.

Double Days

Bill Easum on How to Have Three Easters a Year. What pastor wouldn't want that?

A Powerful Prayer Pattern

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A couple of weeks ago, I suggested a pattern for prayer in the worship services, using five points that all start with the letter "F" (one for each finger!)
Since then, several people have asked me for them again -- so here they are:
1. Focus: Tune your mind and heart into God -- His greatness, His depth, His love, His grace. What about distractions? Here's an idea: capture the distracting thoughts and turn them into prayers! (A friend also suggested writing the prayers as a way to deal with distractions -- you don't go on rabbit trails quite so much when writing it down.)
2. Faith: As we recognize the mighty power of God, it brings faith to the praying! Faith, as Corrie Ten Boom said is: "Fantastic Adventures in Trusting Him!"
3. Forgiveness: Search your heart. Ask God to cleanse your heart of anything wrong, and to heal you of anything broken. Open your heart to forgive those who have wronged you.
4. Filling: Seek the fullness of Christ's presence -- the f…

A Church on the Move

Washington D. C.'s National Community Church, pastored by my blogger buddy, Mark Batterson, was given six days notice to relocate after the theater where they've been meeting for thirteen years (Union Station) was closed

This is a major blow, as the location served around 700 people.

Good thing this congregation is thoroughly missional and understands that a church consists of people rather than a building.

H2N2

I want to spread H2N2:

Holiness and Hope to Neighbors and Nations

To the Ends of the Earth

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Dr. JoAnne Lyon, founder of World Hope International and General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church, was here with us in the northwoods of Wisconsin for the past few days.
On Sunday morning, she preached to a full house (two services) at our daughter church, The River, in Minong (led by the dynamic young pastor, Ben Kidder.)
Then, on Sunday night, she travelled into the deep woods and spoke at the Woodland Wesleyan Church, enthusiastically pastored by Hayward's own Andrea Wittwer. Andi is doing an outstanding job of beating the bushes. Her little church was full Sunday night -- full of people, full of joy, and full of praise to God. (Woodland is really remote. We saw quite a bit of wildlife on the way home, including a bear and a wild turkey! Andi said she hit a bear on the way home from church the other week. She took him home, and they had him for supper.)
On Monday night, Dr. Lyon spoke at Hayward to a gathering of our congregation. As usual, she hit the ball out of the par…

Fool's Gold

My son, Ryan's song: Fool's Gold

It's really good.

Juicy

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We were honored to have Dr. Ronald B. Allen as our guest speaker at Hayward Wesleyan Church this past Sunday morning. Dr. Allen is an Old Testament scholar and Bible translator, who teaches at Dallas Theological Seminary.
He was one of the senior editors of the New King James Version of the Bible, the Old Testament editor for the Nelson Study Bible, and the Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary.
Dr. Allen shared a rich exposition of Psalm 40. He unpacked the passage -- line upon line -- precept upon precept -- and opened up some tremendous insights none of us had ever seen before. (Waiting, I waited on the Lord.)
Bible scholars are reputed to be as dry as yesterday's toast -- but this was certainly not the case with Dr. Allen. He's not dry at all -- but juicy! Dr. Allen is a gracious and gentle servant, with a heart flowing over with love for the Lord and His people. It was truly a blessing to have him with us, and to sit under his teaching.

Drinking Your Way to Health?

Perhaps Not

. . .Experts with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association say that though these studies do show some benefits to moderate drinking, the health risks from alcohol consumption far outweigh the potential rewards.

The Mood of the Leader

"Smile and the world smiles with you."

Recently, I read some interesting facts indicating that the old adage is really true! Researcher and Psychologist, Daniel Goleman, along with his associates, did a study on the "bottom line performance" of companies. They discovered that the thing which influences a company's bottom line performance more than anything else is the mood of the leader.

Hmmmm -- now, that's interesting. If you are a leader, and everything is a big mess -- the first thing to start fixing is your own attitude! This applies in business, school, sports teams, church, and home. If you don't like what's going on around you, it's time to change what's going on within you!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine", Proverbs 17:22. Or, as Madeleine L' Engle said, A good laugh heals a lot of hurts."

We cannot afford to allow little nit-picky annoyances to rob us of joyful health. We were created for joy. We were made to laug…

Beer Bear Made the News

The Bear and the Beer

Sometimes, my big city friends ask me, "What do you guys do for excitement?"

Well, here's the latest buzz from Hayward: Friday night, a bear made his way into the Marketplace Liquor Store, and hung out for an hour in the beer cooler. Apparently he is not a Wesleyan bear.

Yogi's great adventure made national news:
Bear Makes Beer Run in Wisconsin

Who says nothing happens in a small town?

The DNR officials came and tranquilized him. I hear they're taking him to detox.

Beautician with a Mission

I received some news this week that made me beam with joy.

My friend, Linda has been visiting female inmates at the jail each week, and taking them through the Celebrate Recovery program.

One of the young ladies heard that Linda is trained beautician, and asked if she could cut her hair. Linda knew it was a long shot, but asked Kurt, the head jailor.

He agreed -- and so now Linda is the official jail beautician! She's going to play Celebrate Recovery teaching tapes while she cuts hair!

Kudos to Linda, who is helping these young ladies be beautiful on the inside as well as outside. She is demonstrating what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus -- the beautician with a mission!

Stetzer on Speaking to the Wesleyans

Ed Stetzer referred to an address he gave at the Wesleyan Pastors' Gathering in his recent blog post: Why I Speak to Other Groups and How I Decide.

As one of the Wesleyan pastors in the audience, I'd like to say, I was glad to have him come. He treated us respectfully and his message was powerful, inspiring us to engage our communities for Jesus Christ.

After reading his blog post, however, I'm glad he kept to the subject of the day (Evangelism and Church Planting), and didn't talk about his perspective of women in ministry.

I pondered his three questions regarding accepting speaking engagements:
1. Can I Be Clear on the Gospel?
2. Am I Restricted in What I Can Say?
3. Will My Presence be Used Inappropriately?

In light of this blog post, wouldn't #2 on the list keep us from inviting him back to speak at a future Wesleyan Pastors' Gathering?

Of course, we didn't restrict him the first time -- and he was very respectful and true to us, his audience. I appreciated …

Two Ways to Heaven?

A dear friend , pulled me aside yesterday, and said a lady from her former church called with a grace concern:

"Are you sure you want to go to that Wesleyan Church? I've heard Pastor Mark preaches that there are two ways to get into heaven."

"How should I respond to this?" my friend asked.

I replied, "Wow, I can't believe they're accusing me of this! Only two? Why, I can think of FOUR ways to get to heaven!!"

1) Die

2) Be like Enoch and walk so close to God that He takes you home without death. (Of course, this has only happened once in history, so the odds aren't too great.)

3) Jesus returns gloriously and brings his children home to heaven.

4) Open up your heart and receive the fullness of Christ and the Holy Spirit -- and you will experience a little bit of heaven on earth.

Somebody's Daughter

Rob Murphy was one of my FLAME Evangelism Class students a few years ago. He now directs a wonderful ministry called Africa's Child.

Recently, he posted this gripping account of how God led him to a very dark and desperate place in Livingstone, Zambia -- where he was able to share the true compassion of Jesus with those who feel it least.

Creativity

"You can't be creative if your life is crowded and cluttered."
-- Jeanette Levelle at her blog, Audience of One (via Jim Watkins' facebook. Thanks Jim!)

Losing Steam

Insightful article at Building Church Leaders: 3 Signs That Volunteers are Losing Steam.

When pastors are losing steam, they display the same symptoms.

On Sowing and Reaping

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“Sow in the wind, reap a whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)

Some basic principles concerning sowing and reaping:

1. We reap what we sow.

You can’t sow hatred and reap love.
You can’t sow unbelief and reap faith.
You can’t sow bitterness and reap forgiveness.
You can’t sow selfishness and reap friendship.

2. Sometimes, we reap what others have sown.

Somebody paid the price for the things we enjoy and often take for granted.

We have electric lights because Thomas Edison worked through the night.Our family values and traditions were passed along from our parents and grandparents.
Every building was constructed at a price. Somebody was willing to pay it.

3. Occasionally, we reap the painful consequences from what others have sown.

A choice to drive drunk can shatter a stranger’s family.
A dishonest employee can bring great dishonor to the business owner.
An abusive parent can damage and harm the child for life.
A thief can leave the victim penniless.

4. We reap more than we sow.

The mighty oak is just a little nut t…

Send Me Anywhere

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Preparing to go to Africa, the great missionary, David Livingstone prayed:
“Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever me from any tie but the tie that binds me to Your service and Your heart.”
As he prayed, God’s Word came to him, “Lo I am always with you to the end of the age.”

How To Pray for An Hour

Happy Birthday to Adam

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Our son, Adam, turns 23 today. It's a delight to have him and his beautiful wife, Allegra with us in Hayward for the special occasion! Note: the picture is definitely NOT from Hayward in October -- Snow blankets the ground today!!

Great Awakening

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Did some research on the 18th century Great Awakening today. 3 streams -- German Pietism, Irish Presbyterianism, and Wesleyan Methodism -- converged into something amazing that shouldn't be called an "ism". Some significant characteristics of the revival: 1) Renewal of the clergy 2) Spiritual Hunger 3)Trans-denominational cooperation 4) Non-traditional methodology 5) Heavy opposition from traditionalists

On the Sad Demise of a Pastor

Poison in his brain,
a volcanic cauldron
boiling beneath
the pastoral toil.

One cannot force bitterness down.
It erupts eventually, violently
to the pity and slight surprise
of those around

who shake heads in dark dismay
They cluck their tongues and sadly say,
"He saved others, but himself,
he cannot save."

Pray More, Preach Less

"The clergy, by my consent, would do better if they would pray oftener and preach less."
-- Governor William Berkeley, 1671

Methinks the good governor had a point. If you preach more than you pray, you end up blowing hot air!

Straightforward

A politician was congratulated by an admirer after a debate:

"That was a great debate, Senator! I liked the straightforward way in which you dodged the issues."

Some of my emergent friends resemble that statement.

Christians and Tithing

A recent report from the Christian Post stated that only 9 percent of born again Christian adults tithe 10% of their income.


Why do you suppose so few believers tithe? Is it a lack of training and education? A lack of spiritual maturity? A lack of integrity on the part of churches and other charitable organizations? Is it a lack of faith? A lack of self discipline? A lack of money management skills?

Tim Keller on Willow Creek

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It's great to see that the Missional Manhattan Presbyterian, Tim Keller has started blogging! I have appreciated the depth of Keller's insights into reaching the rising generation.
His first post is an astute analysis of Willow Creek's approach to ministry, in light of John Frame's "tri-perspectivalim:
The Willow Creek style churches have a 'kingly' emphasis on leadership, strategic thinking, and wise administration. The danger there is that the mechanical obscures how organic and spontaneous church life can be.
The Reformed churches have a 'prophetic' emphasis on preaching, teaching, and doctrine. The danger there is that we can have a naïve and unBiblical view that, if we just expound the Word faithfully, everything else in the church -- leader development, community building, stewardship of resources, unified vision -- will just happen by themselves.
The emerging churches have a 'priestly' emphasis on community, liturgy and sacraments, ser…

Is This Why They Grow?

Pastor Daron Lindemann, A Wisconsin Synod Lutheran pastor, was quoted a couple of years ago in a Milwaukee Magazine article about the 50th aniversary of 7000 member Elmbrook Church:

"In some ways, I'm jealous. But let's be honest. Nondenominational churches have a -- I don't want to say diluted -- but a broader belief system, so you can appeal to more people. . . Catholics and Lutherans have a specific belief system that appeals to a narrower base."

Do you agree with Pastor Lindemann? Is a broad belief system the primary reason megachurches grow?

Approaching

"Coming to my father, you do not feel like you are approaching a judge, but a friend and ally."

-- Billy Graham's daughter, Ruth, in a beautiful little memoir, A Legacy of Faith.

Nearing Fifty

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In springtime
my early years were budding
with grand elation adding
every birthday celebration.

But on this third of October
ripening past forty eight
I understand, the starting line,

in light of heaven's gate.

And I can now identify
and feel the "why"
of Autumn's golden trees.

I see my life for what has passed
And what yet needs to be.

If life's span is measured for a man
by his father's longivity
there's not but left a little more than score for me.

At forty eight, I celebrate
the splendid state where summer joy
and cold repose embrace.

My life is mostly green,
but beautified by orange and gold
reflections in the stream.

Another year, another leaf has fallen
softly to the earth--
a whisper of mortality
and hope's eternal birth.

"How Beautiful!
"How Beautiful!"

"This is my favorite season!"

True Surrender

True surrender is a matter of being “united together [with Jesus] in the likeness of his death” (Rom. 6:5) until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him.

-- Oswald Chambers

Mosaic

My friend, Larry Wilson, has an excellent review of the new devotional Bible, Mosaic (NLT), and if you leave a comment on his post today, you might win a free copy!

The Leader

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Head like a big
watermelon,
Frequently thumped
And still not ripe

-- Wendell Berry

Maybe It Wouldn't Hurt to Ask

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“ASKand you shall receive, that your joy might be full.” (John 16:24)

“ASK, and it shall be given unto you. Seek and you shall find. Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)

“ASK of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance.” (Psalm 2:8)
“One thing I ASK of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple”. (Psalm 27:4)

“They ASKED, and he brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. (Psalm 105:40)

“ASK the Lord your God, for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or the highest heights.” (Isa. 7:10)
The Sad Response: But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ASK. . .” (Isa. 7:11)

“If you would ASK, then ask; and come back yet again. (Isa. 21:12)

A Sad Word of Judgment: “They did not ASK, ‘Where is the Lord?” (Jer. 2:6-8)

“This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ASK for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and wa…