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Showing posts from March, 2016

Why You Can't Master the Book of John

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Lionel Whiston shared this powerful thought in his book on John's Gospel:, Through the Eyes of Love:

 “When I first started reading John’s Gospel in preparation for this book, I struck impasse after  impasse. For hours I sat without writing even a paragraph that was satisfactory. I phoned my son in  St. Louis, telling him of my dilemma. “I can’t master this Gospel of John,. I feel powerless before it.”  His answer was perceptive and provocative: “John’s Gospel presents Jesus as the Christ and you can’t master the Son of God. You can only let Him master you.”
 I had come seeking to understand and conquer, but instead, Christ had conquered. He has shown me myself and I have felt understood, loved, forgiven and empowered. With reverent awe, I can say, like Thomas, “My Lord and my God.”

The Gospel According to John: Prepare for a Grand Adventure!

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There are a lot of opinions out there about who Jesus is or was. Some say he was just a man, whose deity was merely an exaggerated construct of a power-hungry emperor. Others claim that he never existed at all. Some say that he was a great humanitarian, a good teacher, or a Jewish prophet. The cyclone of varying opinions concerning Him can be blinding. But who is Jesus, really? We’re about to launch into a new series  at Hayward Wesleyan Church that will take us into the unfathomable depths of that question. Like a canoe voyage down the river into the heart of the unknown, we’re going to pursue a compelling vision of Christ through the gospel according to John, as we venture into a place of new discoveries – an untamed wilderness of truth, filled with wonder after breathtaking wonder. This will be no passive journey, or luxurious cruise. This will challenge you. Initiate you. Provoke you. And compel you to decide what you believe about Christ. So bring your Bible, a pen, a notepad, and a…

Remember Your First Calling

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"We are not called primarily to create new structures for the church in this age; we are not called primarily to a program of service, or to dream dreams or have visions. We are called first of all to belong to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and to keep our lives warmed at the hearth of His life. It is there the fire will be lit which will create new structures and programs of service that will draw others into the circle to dream dreams and have visions."   -- Elizabeth O'Connor

The Beautiful Melting of Christmas Evans

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When the snow finally melts each spring, all Hayward rejoices together.  Every conversation at the post office and grocery store begins with, "What a beautiful day!  It's great to see the sunshine!"

I've recently experienced a spiritual melting, as God warmed my heart, refreshing my soul, and bringing a fresh infusion of faith, joy, and peace.  Like my friends at the post office, I can't help but bubble over with it, "What a beautiful Savior we have!  It's great to see the Son shine!"  (I've found, over the years, I need regular, repeated renewings to stay filled up and fired up spiritually.  Praise God! He gives free refills!)

I am reminded of a passage in Oswald Smith's little book,  The Revival We Needthat shares this delightful account from the great Welsh minister, Christmas Evans.  What a beautiful melting!

"I was weary of a cold heart towards Christ and His sacrifice, and the work of His Spirit---of a cold heart in the pulpit, in…

The Secret of Getting Along

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It is always more pleasant when people get along. As the Bible says,“Behold how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.” One mother recently told her children, “I only want one thing for Mother's Day – Just one full day when you all get along with each other without squabbling!” They didn’t make it. (You could say they gave her half-a-present!)

Ask anybody, and they will tell you they want to get along with others. However, more often than not, we find ourselves embroiled in controversy of some kind or another. Usually it’s because of misunderstandings.

Understanding what frustrates others is the first step towards peaceful relationships. What gets people upset?

Abrupt Change:
Mark Twain said the only person who likes change is a baby with wet diapers! Normally, however, people are not totally opposed to change. They just get worked up if it is sprung on them!

Unclear Expectations:
When we assume they know what we’re thinking, we’re asking for trouble. It’s aggravating to …

Give Them Something to Eat

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It was dinner time, and the crowd of 5000 who came to hear Jesus was getting hungry and cranky.  
 Jesus turned to Philip, one of his disciples, and asked, "Where will we find food for all these people?"  There was certainly no McDonald's within sight and no pizza delivery. 
 Philip froze, like a deer in the headlights.  "Uh, I don't have a clue.  Feeding this crowd would cost more than I make in a whole year!"
 Andrew, another disciple, found a little boy who had a small lunch:  five loaves and two fish.  He brought the meager morsels to Jesus, and said, "This is all we've got."
 When he gave the lunch Jesus, a great miracle occurred!   Jesus took the lunch, blessed it, broke it, multiplied it and gave it to the people.  It was absolutely unbelievable!  Everybody ate and there were 12 baskets of leftovers!
 I can relate to that story.  
 Sometimes, I feel like the helpless disciples wondering how to feed the crowd -- and all I can muster up a…

Holiness is Pure Love

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Wesleyan Publishing House recently reprinted the works of  Samuel Brengle, the great Salvation  Army leader and holiness evangelist.

 Brengle's writings have inspired and impacted greatly me since my teenage years when my youth  camp counselor, Larry introduced them to me.

 My prayer is that this new publication of holiness classics will bring this beautiful message to today's  generation -- as it did so powerfully in years past.

 This excerpt from the Introduction to Helps to Holiness, which describes when Samuel Brengle experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit, resonates deeply with my heart:

  He gave me such a blessing as I never had dreamed a man could have this side of heaven: a            heaven  of love in my heart.  I walked out over Boston Common before breakfast weeping for joy and  praising God.  Oh, how I loved!  In that hour I knew Jesus and loved Him till it seemed my heart  would break with love.  I loved the sparrows; I loved the dogs; I loved the horses; I…

The Passing of Wesley Duewel

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I received word today that the great missionary saint, Dr. Wesley Duewel, passed away last weekend at the age of 99.

His devotional classic, Ablaze for God, is one of my favorites. I have read and re-read it many times, and it has been a tremendous source of spiritual strength and blessing to me.

Seven years ago, our congregation was transformed as we went through this powerful book together. We invited Dr. Duewel, then age 92, to Hayward so he could share his heart and pray with us. To my delight, he accepted the invitation.

Obtaining special permission, I eagerly awaited Dr. Duewel’s arrival at Gate A-19 of Minneapolis International Airport. His plane landed, and a long line of passengers debarked – but no Wesley Duewel.

The last stragglers came out of the tunnel, but there was still no sign of my special guest. I checked with the agent who radioed back into the plane, and grunted, “He’s coming. He’s coming.”

Finally, three flight attendants emerged from the jet bridge, and they were…

No Substitute for Prayer

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"Intercessory prayer is the Christian's most effective weapon.  Nothing can withstand its power.  It will do things when all else has failed.  And the marvel is that we turn to other agencies in order to accomplish what only prayer can bring to pass.  God has placed this mighty weapon in our hands, and He expects us to use it.  How disappointed He must be when we lay it aside and substitute natural means for supernatural work."  -- Oswald Smith

25 Ways to Start Living

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My dear friend, O. J. Philpot, once shared the following 25 ways to start living.  I appreciated his thoughts, and pass them along to you hoping they will inspire you as they did me:

1.  Seek out a forgotten friend. 2.  Help mend a quarrel. 3.  Put new trust in someone you have had difficulty trusting before. 4.  Encourage someone younger than you. 5.  Gift a soft answer to someone who is harsh to you. 6.  Write someone a kind letter 7.  Share a special "treasure" with someone. 8.  Keep a promise you have made. 9.  Forgive an enemy, and let him/her know you have forgiven. 10.  Take time to do one of those important things you have been putting off. 11.  Take time to listen to someone's sorrows. 12.  Say "I am sorry" when you are wrong. 13.  Think of someone else instead of yourself. 14.  Show appreciation 15.  Be kind, gentle and thoughtful. 16.  Laugh.  Don't take yourself too seriously. 17.  Express your gratitude -- be thankful. 18.  Gladden the heart of…

A Hymn of Personal Renewal

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Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, with all thy quickening powers;
 kindle a flame of sacred love in these cold hearts of ours.

 In vain we tune our formal songs; in vain we strive to rise.
 Hosannas languish on our tongues, and our devotion dies.
 Dear Lord, and shall we ever live at this poor dying rate?   Our love so faint, so cold to thee, and thine to us so great!
 Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, with all thy quickening powers.  Come, shed abroad a Savior's love, and that shall kindle ours.  --  Isaac Watts
  I discovered this revival hymn in an old small pocket hymnal which was a gift from my friend,  Barry Bubb.   A handwritten inscription from 1853 is inside the front  cover, along with an invitation to attend Sunday School for Poor Children held at 14 Colchester Street.
  The old song captures a most relevant message for the church today.  May it be so among us!

(Image compliments of Revival Clip Art)