Not Home Yet

  • Friday, January 29, 2010
  • "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18).

    "In the blink of an eye, thousands of children lost their homes, their families, and their way of life when the earth ruptured under their feet in Haiti last week. Aid groups say tens of thousands of children were orphaned by the cataclysmic 7.0 earthquake-so many that they won't even venture to guess the number.

    And with so many buildings flattened in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, many children are now living alone in the streets." --Reporter Karlie Pouliot, FOX News, January 20, 2010

    Looking for the Light

  • Tuesday, January 26, 2010
  • This past week, facebook was full of chatter from people tired of the overcast skies. "I need some sunshine," wrote one. "If we don't get a few rays, I'll really be depressed," said another. "Ok, weatherman, give me some blue sky so I can see the sun," someone demanded. Isn't it amazing how impatient we can become when we go just a week without the sunshine?

    But, when you think about it, our reaction to the gray skies is but a shadow of our impatience when it comes to our desire to know about heaven. This was true even in the time of Christ. Consider the questions raised by those around Him in the passage we studied and other locations in the New Testament.

    A Word of Hope for a Troubled Heart

  • Monday, January 25, 2010
  • A tent is temporary but a house is permanent.

    It caught my eye last Wednesday evening as I flipped the lever on my blinker to signal a turn to my right. On the opposite corner of my intersection was a "basement house."

    In past times they were rather commonplace. A family would begin the construction project for their new house and, by intention, complete the basement, equipping it with all the bare essentials for the family to move in. Some form of temporary roofing would be applied. The family would then "settle in," living in cramped and less-than-ideal circumstances knowing that it would not be long before the upper portion of their dream would be completed.

    How Will They Know?

  • Tuesday, January 19, 2010
  • John, in the passage he scribed about the final days of Christ on earth, recalls three events of the time. In Chapter 13:18-38 John begins with a recall of how Christ treated Judas just before he betrayed Christ in the Garden of Gesthamene. At the end of the passage, John recalls that Christ said to Simon Peter he would deny Christ three times in the same garden.

    Note the juxtaposition of these two events of history with verse 34 where John records, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

    In our time together Sunday, Pastor Tom (he likes that we call him Pastor Tom) first outlined how love was demonstrated in the early church. In Acts 5:12 we're told that the early Christians showed generosity toward those in need. In Acts 6 we read of how the early church cared for widows. In Hebrew 10 we're told that they prayed and visited prisoners. In Ephesians 4 Paul outlines how the early church showed kindness toward those who offended them. Other passages illustrate how members of the early church removed cultural barriers that had separated them before, and they risked their life to share the Gospel.

    Tough and Timely Love

  • Friday, January 15, 2010
  • Is there hope for a "hot-head"?

    I would have certainly given up on him long before. He would definitely have been on my "too rough to finish" list. And you need to is not easy making my "too rough to finish" list! In fact, if there has been a consistent theme in both formal and informal evaluations of my ministry over the years, it is that I don't seem to know when to "give up" on a brother. "You continue too long in trying to bring people along who are obviously not ready to grow!" So...putting him on my "too rough to finish" list is no small thing!

    When announcing the names of the twelve who would be His apostles, Jesus attached nicknames to a few. He gave Simon the name "Peter" and to the two sons of Zebedee He gave the name "Sons of Thunder." Regarding Simon, He saw what He would ultimately make of him and called him "Rocky." Of John and his brother, James, He simply indicated what it was He had to work with and then began the process of changing them. (See Mark 3:16-17)

    Extreme Giving

  • Tuesday, January 12, 2010
  • Turning the Page

    There's something about turning the page of a calendar that helps you realize that things have changed. When you turn the page you put the old events behind you and anticipate some of the activities that lie ahead.

    At Faith Bible Church on Sunday, we turned the calendar. And as we did, we took a look at last year's budget and a review of the year gone by. International ministry in India, Nepal, East Asia, Mexico, Peru. Community ministry in hundreds of offices, school rooms, neighborhoods, retirement communities, the People's City Mission, Crisis Pregnancy Center. In our own building with classes, AWANA, weekly worship, weddings, baptisms, and yes, even funerals.

    Then we anticipated the new year before us. We commissioned 16 members of our Ministry Council, a look at the budget for the year ahead, and a review of our vision and mission as a church.

    Giving Down...

  • Friday, January 8, 2010
  • The Biblical pattern is a motif of "giving up."

    Received lots of thoughtful and appreciated presents for Christmas. And then my birthday arrived. Again, lots of very nice gifts were received. The most "valuable" presents came from grandkids. Yesterday afternoon, six of them occupied themselves with glue, construction paper, markers, and glitter. LOTS of glitter! For my birthday I received hand-made, individually fashioned, message-specific birthday cards. That is truly "giving up."

    Leading by Serving

  • Tuesday, January 5, 2010
  • As we begin Chapter 13 of John's gospel, we leave the account of Jesus' public ministry. The first twelve chapters of John account for roughly 3 ½ years of Christ's words and actions, all very public and involving diverse audiences and multitudes. We will now slow down since the next 5 chapters will literally account for only six hours. Jesus begins a very private time of preparation and prayer, with the only "witnesses" being the twelve disciples.

    And what do you suppose is the first principle our Lord endeavors to share with His disciples? It is NOT with words, but with a deed - the humble task of washing the feet of the disciples.

    "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you." John 13:13-15