Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Watcher

I found an interesting blog written by a mom reporting an interaction with her 6 year old daughter.  After church, the mom's daughter took her 1 year old sister to play on the fenced playground while her mom and dad talked with friends within eyeshot.  After a period of time, the mom offered to hold the one year old so the six year old could play on her own.  The six year old responded, "It's ok mom.  I love watching her.  It's fun for me. I'm the shepherd, and she's my little sheep."  This was an obvious reference to the bible story that she had learned in church, but the statement, "I love watching her" struck a chord with the mom.  We have heard that Jesus loves us thousands of times, but the fact that Jesus loves watching us shines a whole new light on our relationship.   It can be very comforting to know Jesus is there - and also frightening that He is also watching us when we aren't acting like we should.  It is beautiful that children can sometimes describe the truth so clearly.  Maybe that's why Jesus directed us to become like little children.   I hope you can see God and His creation through the eyes of a child today.  For the full original post, click here.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Cece and Whit

I was looking for some good worship music this morning and came across "The Goodness of God".  The song was written by Jenn Johnson of Bethel Music about 4 years ago, but was recently covered by CeCe Winans.  Cece has 15 Grammy's, more than any other Christian artist, and she shows why in her cover of this great song.   I also saw this morning that Cece was best friends with Whitney Houston.   I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when they were singing together.  I guess this is the next best thing.   All praise to God for gifting Cece with immense talent, and to Cece for using that talent for His glory.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Work It Out

The second chapter of James has one of the most highly debated verses of the bible.  Verse 24 says, "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone."  Catholics have traditionally believed that faith is just the starting point in justification.  There are quite a few rules and regs that need to be followed to maintain that status.  Most Protestants believe that all that is required for salvation is belief and repentance, and James seems to contradict that with this verse.  But by examining the context in the rest of Chapter 2, I believe James is actually making a different point.   A "true faith" in Jesus will naturally be followed by an attempt to live like Him.  If this doesn't happen, then it is reasonable that one might question whether that faith is a true faith (living faith).  That being said, we all remain sinners and will never live completely like Jesus until we meet him face to face.  I believe He wants me to try harder to live like Him, and for Him, every day - every minute - every second.  I want to do that today.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Movie Night

The last two weeks, I posted about the revival going on at Asbury College.  It may or may not be a coincidence that last Friday, "Jesus Revolution" opened in movie theaters around the country.  I read about it and was nervous that it might resemble some of the cheesy religious movies that had come before, but Tuesday night, Caroline and I took a chance and went to see it.  The movie is about the true story of the Jesus movement led by Chuck Smith that started in California in the 1970's.  Hippies that were used to getting high on drugs found a new high in knowing Jesus, and thousands of people came to know Him through Chuck's ministry.  The journey wasn't all roses, which for me, added to the believability and made the movie more interesting.   I will warn you that there are several tear-jerk moments which made the story special for me.  I hope you take a chance to see it.   If so, let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Eternal Revival


Last week I posted about the revival at Asbury College in Kentucky.  A one hour worship service ended up continuing for 2 weeks, uninterrupted, because people didn't want to leave.  It is estimated that 30,000+ people from around the surrounding area and from around the country visited to be a part of what was happening there.   The main service was suspended this week due to issues the crowds were creating for the town of 6000.  The movement made me want to find out what happened to cause it.  Reports I have read say that the service was student led.  There were no well-known preachers invited to speak, and no celebrity musicians were allowed to participate.  The 2-week service from that respect was in a word - unremarkable.  But almost all of the first-hand reports state that God's presence was palpable.  The combined power of prayer, worship and confession was something that only He could orchestrate.   My prayer is that those that were there are able to carry it back to the places where they live, and that the same spirit of revival takes root in me and the people that God puts in my path.  Please pray for revival.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Revival Lives


8 days ago, students at Asbury College in Kentucky went for  the one hour worship service in the auditorium that they attend every week.  Today, 192 hours later, that worship service is still going strong.  As word spread about the revival, over 3000 other people have joined to see what God is doing in that place.  Nearby colleges have sent delegations to experience the Asbury revival in hopes that those students might return and start similar movements on other campuses.  As it turns out, there was a similar revival in the 1970's at Asbury that lasted one week, so this revival has now exceeded that one.  Praise God for showing up in a mighty way.  I pray that His revival will continue to explode around the world.  For more information on the Asbury Revival, click here.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Joy from trials

Our small group dove into the first 11 verses of James 1 last night.  There are three themes in that section.  1) Find joy in the trials in your life as they can produce steadfastness.  2) Ask God for wisdom, and He will provide it.   3) Those with few worldly possessions should be glad since they are great in the Lord's eyes.  We had healthy discussions around all three topics, but when I asked the group for any personal experiences with the first, Kim spoke up. (Sharing with her permission.) Her husband, Michael, had a stroke recently.  His mobility is back, but he is still recovering his speech and is in therapy.  Kim works full time and asked for help getting him to and from therapy twice a week.  The men in our group quickly set up a schedule to help him.  She was emotional as she talked about the fact that because of the stroke, Michael was able to spend time with several of us that he wouldn't have had if he were just going to work every day.  Both of them had felt peace and joy through the process.  Praise God for bringing joy from trials.  I hope you have the opportunity to experience the same.