Monday, November 23, 2009

With Thanksgiving

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. Psalms 100:4-5 (NKJV)

Praise the Lord for His blessings. He is good and His mercy is eternal! Praise the Lord for the blessings we received over the weekend. We collected 150 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, more than we have ever collected before. Those boxes will go into all the world and be used of God to bless children whom He loves. Thank you for your generosity.

There was a sweet Spirit in our worship service yesterday. The singing was wonderful. A special thanks to the East TN Dance Academy and our own Hannah Jackson for their presentation yesterday morning. And we welcome the Rice family into our family of faith: Ryan, Karen, Amaris and Elise.

There was plenty of delicious food at our Thanksgiving meal last night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much turkey in my life. We had to pull out some extra tables and chairs for our crowd as well. Thank you for sharing your Thanksgiving thoughts with your church family.

As you can see, my “cup runneth over” this morning. I’m thankful for a great God, a wonderful family of faith, and a hopeful future (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

Remember that our schedule has changed this week because of the holiday. There is a community Thanksgiving service tomorrow night at Pleasant View Baptist Church on Lakeshore Rd in Talbott. This is a great opportunity to worship with brothers and sisters from other churches and denominations.

There are no activities at the church this coming Wednesday, and the church office will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Please remember to bring 5 lb bags of flour for Christmas in Jefferson County. So far we have collected about 35 bags toward our goal of 100. The deadline is Dec. 6th.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

‘May the LORD bless you and protect you.25 May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you.26 May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Num 6:24-26 (NLT)

Monday, November 2, 2009


A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
Prov 25:11 (NKJV)

Last Friday I attended the inauguration service for Dr. J. Randall O’Brien, the twenty-second president of Carson-Newman College. U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander was the keynote speaker for the service. He shared some of his experiences with famed author Alex Haley. Haley had taught him something very important, as he was always saying, “Find the good and praise it.” It was Haley’s philosophy of life. What a great way to live.

There is a lot of good at Magna View Baptist Church that we can praise. It was wonderful to be home and in the pulpit yesterday. There was a sweet spirit in our worship service. And our hayride/cook-out last night was a blessing; our thanks to Richard and Barbara Byrd for the hay wagon, and everyone who helped set up and clean up. Last night was fun.

Saturday night was fun as well… a little damp, but fun. Our hand counter registered 1700 people coming through our Trunk or Treat. So many people who came through thanked us for providing a safe place for their kids to come and celebrate the Halloween holiday.

In the vein of “finding the good and praising it” let me challenge you to do the same. Each day this week, find something good in another person and praise them for it. Words are valuable; like the above Scripture says, good words are like “apples of gold in settings of silver.” Share some gold apples with someone else this week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beautiful Death

For, alive though I am, I am always given over to death for the sake of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may shine forth in my dying flesh. 2 Cor 4:11 (MontgomeryNT)

I love this time of year. I’m a cool weather guy (probably because of all the natural insulation I have). I get energized by the nip in the air and I go crazy when the leaves start changing their colors. Seriously, you can ask my kids. All the way home from South Carolina I was pointing out the windows going, “Look at that tree…look at the red one… isn’t that beautiful?” I’m like a kid on Christmas morning this time of year. I wish it could last longer than a couple of months, but I know it is only temporary.

I also know that when the leaves change colors it is a sign that they are in the process of dying. The tree is shutting down to “rest” through the winter, the chlorophyll that gives leaves their green color in Summer is drying up and the brilliant reds and yellows that “shine forth” in the Fall are the indicators that the life of the leaf is fading.

Isn’t it interesting that the leaf is most brilliant and beautiful when it is in the process of dying? I love Paul’s words in the above verse: “Although I am alive, I’m ready to die for the sake of (or the cause) of Christ Jesus, the His life my shine forth even in my dying flesh.” (my paraphrase). Paul knew he was living on borrowed time, his days were numbered. But he wasn’t about to give up and shrivel up and die, he was going to go out shining forth the life of Christ. Paul reflected the life of Christ most beautifully when he was in the process of dying for the cause of Christ.

I woke up this past Sunday morning at around 2:45 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. This doesn’t happen often, but I’ve learned that when it does happen, God usually has something important to say to me. He knows I hear more clearly when I don’t have the distractions of the day. I went to the living room and sat in my “prayer chair” and said, “Ok Lord, what do you want me to hear?” Very clearly He said, “You’re dying.” Not the most comforting words to hear at 3 am, but there was no fear in my heart. Of course, a thousand thoughts jumped into my head: “When?… Soon?... You mean, right now?... How?” Then the Spirit began to bring to mind verses that I had read time and again… “Teach us to number our days…” (Ps 90:12), “What is your life? It is but a vapor…” (James 4:14), “Redeeming the time…”(Eph. 5:16).

God was reminding me that life in this world is temporary. Like the colorful leaves, life is but for a season. I’m in the process of dying – have been since the day I was born – and so are you. We can do one of two things with this truth: we can give up, shrivel up and wait for it to happen. Or, like the leaves that are most beautiful when they are dying, we can live for the cause of Christ so that “the life also of Jesus may shine forth in (our) dying flesh.” What will you do with the rest of your life?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10 (NKJV)

In one of his works, professor Michael Green offers the following illustration on faithfulness:
“Do you apply the same standards of faithfulness to your Christian activities that you expect from other areas of your life?

If your car starts once every three tries, is it reliable?
If your paperboy skips delivery every Monday and Thursday, is he reliable?
If you don’t go to work once or twice a month, are you a loyal employee?
If your refrigerator stops working for a day or two every now and then, do you say, ‘Oh, well, it works most of the time’?
If your water heater provides an icy-cold shower every now and then, is it dependable?
If you miss a couple of loan payments every year, does the bank say, ‘Ten out of twelve isn’t bad’?
If you fail to worship God one or two Sundays a month, would you expect to be called a faithful Christian?
“We expect faithfulness and reliability from things and other people. Does God not expect the same from us? The problem is that in our religious activities we see ourselves as volunteers rather than as duty bound (I Cor. 9). For a volunteer, almost anything seems acceptable. For a bondservant… faithfulness is expected (Matt. 25:21).”

Magna View Ministries…

Aerobics is back Tuesdays and Thursday @ 7 pm

The Ushers will meet Sunday after the morning worship service. We will be training our ushers for security duty. If you have signed up to be an usher, or are interested in serving as an usher, please plan to stay for about 15 minutes after the service Sunday morning.

Homecoming 2009 – Sunday, October 11th. Rev. C.H. Christopher will be our guest preacher for the homecoming service. We will have a covered-dish meal after the service, and then we will have a dedication service for our new addition. Our children will be doing a “ribbon cutting” for the service. There will be no evening service.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Church vs. Gang

“So then you are no longer as those who have no part or place in the kingdom of God, but you are numbered among the saints, and of the family of God.” Eph 2:19 (BBE)

I’ve been reading an excellent book that was loaned to me by one of our church members; “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan. I want to share a brief passage from the book about the Church:

“A while back a former gang member came to our church. He was heavily tattooed and rough around the edges, but he was curious to see what church was like. He had a relationship with Jesus and seemed to get fairly involved with the church.

“After a few months, I found out the guy was no longer coming to the church. When asked why he didn’t come anymore, he gave the following explanation: ‘I had the wrong idea of what church was going to be like. When I joined the church, I thought it was going to be like joining a gang. You see, in gangs we weren’t just nice to each other once a week – we were family.’ … It saddened me to think that a gang could paint a better picture of commitment, loyalty and family than the local church body.”

Chan goes on to say, “Without the Spirit of God in our midst, working in us, guiding us, and living and loving through us, we will never be the kind of people who make up this kind of community.” (p.152)

I think Francis Chan has hit the nail on the head. People are looking for community; they are looking for family. They can and will find it in the world, if they don’t find it in the church.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Morose

Not sure why Monday's are tough. It seems like every problem is magnified. Enough said.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Church Discussion

Tonight we set aside our evening service to discuss some changes to our churches Constitution and Bylaws. Some of the changes were mere formalities, but one in particular generated quite a bit of discussion. Our Constitution and Bylaws Team presented a change to the section on voting rights for members. I thought the discussion on this issue was wonderful. I feel like people expressed their feelings freely, and though we disagreed on the issue, we disagreed "agreeably." I think everyone left as friends, which hasn't always been the case in our church.

Regardless of the outcome of this issue, I think the discussion, and the way we've discussed the issues is healthy for our church. I think it is evidence of spiritual growth and development in our church. We'll probably never reach a point where every member sees "eye-to-eye" on every issue, but as long as we continue to love and encourage one another in spite of our different point of views, I think we will be pleasing to the Lord.


Well, here we go again.

I've been preaching through the letter of 1 Thessalonians, (and may make it through chapter 1 tonight). I'm learning a lot about the church through this study as well as a number of books I've been reading. I've been in church all my life and have been in pastoral ministry for 17 years. I've taken for granted that the way we do things, is the way they should always be done. But God's been challenging my thinking of late; revisiting the structure of the NT church and our interpretation of it. It's kind of the process I went through in my theological journey - examining my long-held beliefs to make them my own. Don't know what the result will be, but the journey has begun.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Big IF

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. Mark 8:34 (NLT)

Someone once said that the biggest word in the English language is the the word "if". The word "if" implies possibilities, it implies chance and it implies choice. In the context of the above verse, there is the possibility of following Christ; the offer is made. There is the chance that a person will follow Christ; but in order for that to happen, a choice must be made.

It is incredible to me, that in spite of His great love for me, despite what He has done to show that love by dying on the cross for my sins, Jesus still gives me the choice of whether I will follow Him or not. He still leaves it up to me to choose my way or His way. I decide who and what I will live my life for, and my ultimate choice is made by the small daily choices I make.

It is not a one time choice to follow Christ, but a daily choice. John of the Cross, a 16th Century Spanish spiritualist, put it this way:

"Determine in your heart that you want to reach the highest place in God... And once you have set your heart on this upward path, you will have to choose it every day, and many times during each day. For indeed your desire to rise to higher places in spirit will face many obstacles." (Living Flame of Love:Stanza I, quoted in You Set My Spirit Free)

Who do you choose to live for? Your choice will be reflected in the choices you make each day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ramblings About Living

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" Mark 8:34-36 (NKJV)

God has been speaking to me a lot through this verse. "Whoever desires to come after me..." This verse really questions my purpose in living. Do I really desire to "come after" Jesus? Is He the pursuit of my life? What am I living for?

The truth be told, we live for a lot of different things, even those who proclaim to be Christians. I find myself living for a lot of different things - success in work, the praise of others, the love of my children, material gain, the blessings of God, etc. And I'm disappointed when I don't get those "things." And often I take it out on Jesus ("why, Lord...?")

More often than not, I'm seeking the Lord's blessings rather than the Lord Himself. I'm learning there is a difference.

God, through His prophet Jeremiah said, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." Jer 29:13 (NKJV) Am I searching with "all my heart"? I'm not sure I have the answer for that question, that I really want to have... yet.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Another Thing

Blogging just doesn't seem to be for me. I've intended to keep my posts fresh and my page update, but it always seems like about three weeks between postings. Part of me wants to give it up, but there's that little voice that says God could use this in some way. So, I'll keep trying.

I'm thankful for the things God has been teaching me the past few months. One of the things God has been using to grow me is His church at Magna View. Each week it seems I learn something new about God, about the way God works, or about His people. I'm excited to see the hand of the Lord on His church. I look forward each day to see what God is going to do next in and through His Body.

Another tool that God has been using the book, Visioneering, by Andy Stanley. It has been around a while, but continuing my tradition of being at least a couple of years behind the times, I'm just now reading it. Stanley does a study of the book of Nehemiah, and brought out many subtle principles and truths from the book that I had never noticed before. It's been very helpful.

A third tool tool that God has used is a conference that I attended at Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden, NC last week. It was called "Simply Missional" and Eric Geiger, co-author of Simple Church (with Thom Rainer), was the keynote speaker. Several things "stuck to me" and I'm in the "process"(key word) of figuring out what God wants to do with them in my life. More on this later. I did go and buy the book Simple Church and look forward to getting into it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


One of the great scenes from "Facing the Giants" is the conversation between the coach and the pastor that prayerwalks the school. The pastor tells the coach about two farmers who prayed for rain, but only one prepared his field in anticipation of rain. The question was, "Who really had faith his prayer would be answered?" And the answer was "The one who prepared his field."

We've been praying for God to do something supernatural at our church this coming Sunday, and I've been preparing myself for it. I believe God wants to pour out His Spirit on His people in a supernatural way. I've been trying to imagine what that would look like at Magna View and it excites me because I'm beginning to see some of the things happening. I'm beginning to smell the rain coming.

I'm excited to see some of the ministry that is taking place in our body. I hear of people contacting shut-ins and those in need. We are ministering in Jesus' name, not just to those we've known for a long time, but some we hardly know at all. God is doing some good things through His church and I praise Him for it.

Looking forward, I see a great harvest for Magna View, but we have a lot of work still to be done. Our best days are yet to come, but we're on our way. Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


God is doing remarkable things around the world. I came across an article written by Tony Cauchi that lists some of the great things God is doing. Below are some excerpts from that article:

The worldwide church has seen greater advance and growth than at any other time since the days of the apostles. For example, one hundred years ago Africa was less than 5 percent Christian but now it is approaching 50 percent. Similarly, China had only about 5 million believers when communism took control of the country but now estimates range from between 50 to 150 million believers. Reliable researchers estimate that between 25,000 and 35,000 are coming to Christ every day in China.

The same story can be told of South America. I recently attended a church of over 250,000 members in Bogotá, Columbia, a nation formerly known only for its violence and drug trafficking. Across the oceans Korea is host to six of the fifteen largest churches in the world, one in Seoul numbering a staggering 773,000 members! Around thirty percent of the population in Seoul profess to follow Christ...Campus Crusade for Christ estimates we’ll see a billion new converts in the next 10 years. Such is the exponential growth of the universal Christian community.

The Western Christians’ response has been “Lord, what you have done in other nations, do here, amongst us.” The cry for ‘revival’ is everywhere. ‘Revival’ refers to the revitalisation of the existing church and the supernatural conversion of multitudes to Christ. There are Global Prayer Days, National Prayer Days with auditoriums filled with thousands of intercessors for times of prayer. There is a growing global movement to get pastors from across entire cities mobilised in unity and ‘agreement prayer.’

Public Prayer Walks are now organised in almost every major nation of the world. There are hundreds of thousands of believers who are adopting prayer retreats, prayer vigils, for set periods of time, some with fasting. These mass movements of corporate prayer meet, sometimes early in the morning, sometimes late into the night, on purposely purchased mountains, in arenas, halls and houses all over the world.

Missiologist David Barrett estimated in 1997 that 170 million Christians were committed to praying every day for revival and evangelization, with 20 million claiming that this was their primary calling as Christians. Ten million prayer groups make revival prayer one of their primary agenda, he claims, and hundreds of prayer networks are committed to mobilizing such prayer within denominations, within cities, and within whole nations.

Of course, none of this is new. It has happened before. But it has not happened to us in our generation. There have been scores of ‘revivals’ throughout history when God looked down from heaven at an ailing church and depraved world and decided that things had to change. He changed people and nations through love and power, sometimes dramatically but always beneficially. He usually came in particular seasons in response to certain principles. These are questions we have to ask, “Can we have revival today? Will these principles work for us? Is it possible for us to prepare for a visitation of God in our nation?

Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing… (Joel 2:14)

You can read the full article at

I believe God wants to revive His Church in America. I believe we can experience the kind of life-changing, heaven-sent revival that has impacted our nation in the past. Will you join me in praying and preparing for a mighty work of God? In the movie Facing the Giants, the local pastor that had been praying for years for revival is speaking to the football coach, and he tells the illustration of two farmers - both farmers prayed for rain, but only one prepared his fields. And he asked the question, which one really believed it would rain? The one who prepared for the rain, is the one that had faith. Let's not just pray for revival, but let's pray in faith and prepare for God to send the rain of revival on our land.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


One of the great revival stories from America's history is what is called the Great Prayer Revival of 1857-58. America was in a deplorable state morally and spiritually. God laid a burden for revival on the heart of a man by the name of Jeremiah Lanphier of New York. Jeremiah started a prayer meeting for business men from 12-1 pm at the Old Dutch Church on Fulton St. in New York. He advertised with local business men and encouraged other pastors to join in. The first week, six people came and prayed for revival. The next week 20 people came, and the next 100. And soon the floodgates opened. Within six months an estimated 10,000 out of a population of 800,000 in New York, were meeting to pray for revival every Monday from 12-1. Almost simultaneously, noon prayer meetings sprouted up across the country. Businesses would close and encourage the employees to attend prayer meetings at local churches to pray for revival.

Revival came to America. At its peak, it is estimated that 10,000 people per week were joining local churches, and 50,000 people were being saved per week. More than one million people gave their lives to Christ during this 2-year revival of the work of God. One student of revival estimated that if "a revival of like magnitude were to come to the United States today, it would result in the salvation of roughly 18 million people." (The Cure of All Ills; quoted in Becoming and Agent of Revival.)

Those numbers are remarkable, but reflect on where it all started: one man called for prayer. I'm sure Jeremiah Lanphier wasn't the only person praying for a mighty move of God, but he is the one who stepped out on faith and called on others to join in the chorus of prayer. One man made a difference, and one can again. And God can bring revival to America once more. Will you be a part of the chorus of prayer?

Friday, March 6, 2009


Today was my day off and I planned to get caught up on some yard work that had piled up since my times of illness. I had planned to burn some leaves, but the wind was blowing a little too much so I spent the afternoon just raking them into a big pile to hopefully burn tomorrow. At times the wind was pretty stiff and swirling. When the wind was blowing in the same direction I was raking, things were good, but I occassionally found myself raking into the wind. Well, that's an activity of futility. I started to grumble a little, but decided I would set my mind on better things. I started thinking about revival and some of the Scriptures I had read this morning. I've been reading and re-reading Joel, and toward the end of Chapter 2, after the the people return to the Lord, God says,

"After this, I will pour my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour my Spirit on servants, on both men and women." Joel 2:28-29 (GW)

God says He will pour out His Spirit. As I was thinking about this I also remembered what Jesus taught in John 3 about the Spirit being like the wind. You can't control either one, but you can see the effects of them. I realized God was teaching me something very important. As long as I go in the direction the Spirit is moving, things are good. But when I move in the direction against the moving of the Spirit, it is like raking into the wind. It's frustrating, tiring, and accomplishes very little.

Revival is about going with the flow of the Spirit of God. God is always at work, always moving in my life and in the Church. My responsibility as a follower of Christ, is to realize which way the Spirit is moving and move with Him. When we are in the Spirit, we will be revived.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


“Then I will repay you for the years that the mature locusts, the adult locusts, the grasshoppers, and the young locusts ate your crops. (They are the large army that I sent against you.) You will have plenty to eat, and you will be full. You will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has performed miracles for you. My people will never be ashamed again." Joel 2:25-26 (GW)

Revival is about restoration. It is first about a restoration of a right relationship with God. Joel 2:12-13 talks about returning to God with all of our heart. God awaits our return to Him. A right relationship can be restored when we come back to God with our whole heart.

But Joel also speaks about another kind of restoration. In chapter 1 and the first part of chapter 2, God speaks of the judgment that will come upon his disobedient people. An army of locusts or like locusts destroys everything. But if/when God’s people return to Him and a right relationship is restored, God’s blessings are restored as well. All that had been lost will be restored, God’s people will be blessed and God will be praised.

The result of revival is restoration. Is this a big deal? The enemy has taken so much from God’s people – he robs us of our joy, our peace, our relationships, our security, our spiritual motivation, and so much more. Revival, a right relationship with God, restores all that was lost. If you're missing some of the above things, pray for revival; give God the opportunity to do what He wants to do.

When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chron 7:13-14 (NKJV)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


God continues to speak and move me to seeking Him for revival. Today, the Spirit's presence was unusually powerful as I prayed in the sanctuary of our church. It's hard to describe His presence. Though He is always present, today was one of those days when His presence overwhelmed me. In Scripture it talks about Jesus "praying in the Spirit." I don't know if that is what I've been experiencing, but especially in my time of prayer I sense Him taking over my thoughts and leading me to pray His words. It is an incredible experience.

I continue to study and learn about revival. One of the things I came across is a list produced by Richard Owen Roberts, of signs that revival is needed. The full list contains 25 items; I've listed only 12 here (the numbers correspond to the orinal list). The full list can be found in Promise Keepers Becoming an Agent of Revival.

1. When prayer ceases to be a vital part of a professing Christian's life.
2. When the quest for biblical truth ceases and one grows content with knowledge of eternal things already aquired.
4. When earnest thoughts about eternal things ceases to be regular and gripping.
5. When services of the church lose their delights.
7. When sports, recreation and entertainment are a large and necessary part of your lifestyle.
8. When sins of the body and of the mind can be indulged without an uproar in your conscience.
10. When the acquisition of money and goods becomes a dominant part of your thinking.
11. When you can mouth religious songs and words without heart.
13. When you can watch degrading movies and television and read morally debilitating literature.
15. When the slightest excuse seems sufficient to keep you from spiritual duty and opportunity.
17. When you pardon your own sin and sloth by saying the Lord understands and remembers that we are dust.
25. When your tears are dried up and the hard, cold spiritual facts of your existence cannot unleash them.

I confess that more than a few of these items hit home. I need revival, and that is my prayer - Lord, send revival and let it begin in me!

Monday, March 2, 2009


I had a sweet time of prayer this morning at the church. I've been praying for direction and a clearer understanding of what God wants to do in and through Magna View. I asked the Lord what He wanted me to pray for His church, and He responded clearly: "Pray for revival."I began to seek Him for a Scripture to cling to and he lead me to this one in Joel:

“Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him— a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? (2:12-14)

I spent the rest of the day praying and pouring over books about revival. I sense God really wants to pour out His Spirit on His church in a miraculous way. In the book, Becoming An Agent of Revival, the Promise Keepers ministry defines revival as "...the extraordinary work of God among His people causing extraordinary results in and through the church." Revival is an act of God that transforms the individual Christian, the church, and then society in a miraculous and marvelous way.

I'm not sure I've ever been a part of a genuine revival. I've seen God transform individuals and stir up His church to greater ministry, but nothing on the scale of what I believe God wants to do. I'm excited about the possibilities, but I also temper myself so that I don't try to force revival (which can't be done). As I read today, "We must understand that revival originates in God's heart and rests in His sovereignty... we are warned against thinking that it was something that we accomplished." (Agent of Revival) Though I long to be a part of a great move of God, revival is up to Him. But I can prepare for revival. "Although our action does not bring revival, if we do not do those things He has commanded, we will never see revival." (Agent of Revival)

What can I do to prepare for revival? What God laid on my heart today, is to pray for revival. I've committed to doing that daily and encouraging others to as well. This is but the first step, but it is the most important one. As Dr. J. Edwin Orr says, "Whenever God is about to do something new with His people, He always sets them to praying." I invite all to join me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


The last few months have been very challenging health-wise. In November I spent 8 days in Baptist Hospital in Nashville having my gall bladder removed (the old-fashioned way). Last Friday I was back in the hospital with pneumonia. I would have gotten out Sunday but my doctor said he knew I would be at church Sunday night, if he let me out, so he kept me till Monday. (I didn't tell him we were in Winter Bible Study and had church Mon-Wed as well).

I've always been healthy and so this has been a trying time for me. Our worship leader Bill is always asking me, "What's the Lord saying to you through this?" I admit, at first I wasn't really listening. Throughout the last few months I've sensed God's wonderful peace and I knew that He was with me, but I didn't really pay attention to what God was teaching me.

Upon further review... I feel like there are some things I have learned from God, things I knew but God re-emphasized:

First, God works all things together for good to those who love Him (Rom 8:28). It doesn't say only good things happen to those who love God; but God works all things (good and bad) for the good for those who love Him. I don't have to understand why things like health problems happen; I can trust God to bring good out them, and He has.

Second, God can accomplish a lot without me in the way. I'm a bit of a "hands-on" person (think control-freak). And sometimes my "hands-on" approach slows God down. Without going into detail, some really great things happened when I was "laid-up."

Finally, God gave me a new perspective on ministering to people in crisis. For the first time, I was on the receiving end. We have some wonderful people with a heart for ministry in our church and they certainly responded to my situation. I'm thankful for the ministry I received from the Body of Christ.

God is a good God, and He knows what He is doing, even when I don't.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


It was a great day at Magna View. We had a ground breaking service after our morning worship service. Our contractor had put a bulldozer on the front lawn and we brought the kids out and put them on the dozer. As you can see, it is great photo.

The ground breaking was for our new parking lot that will be along the front of our church. It will provide about 30 more spaces for us. And, if all goes well at Wednesday's business meeting, we'll also be adding five additional children's classes to our education building. We're excited about the progess. I read from Nehemiah 2 (below) and we're claiming v.20 as our theme verse:

17 Then I said to them, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach." 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, "Let us rise up and build." Then they set their hands to this good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, "What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?" 20 So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem."

Bill led us in singing "Holy Ground." It was awesome.

Friday, February 6, 2009


We finally got mom home from the hospital today. She had been in since last Friday with acute bronchitis. While they were treating, her blood pressure and heart rate got out of whack and it took a while to get it back down. Thankfully she is doing good, and my sisters take good care of her. Makes me think about getting older and what life is going to be like if I live to be her age.

Tonight I did the funeral of one of our shut-ins, James Thompson. James was a great guy. When I first came to Magna View, he lived just a few doors down from us. His wife Bertha was very sick and James took wonderful care of her until she passed away. One of our memories of James and his family occurred during a family celebration we were invited to. I don't recall what the occasion was, but there was cake and finger foods. James always had a little dog (Andre I think) and my middle daughter Lydia had gotten a plate of food and set next to a coffee table to eat. She got distracted by something and while she was looking away the dog stole her sandwich from her plate. It kind of freaked her out. James became known as the owner of the "sandwich stealing dog." It's funny the things we remember; it always seems to be the funny or weird things in life that makes the most memories.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I've been learning a lot from the study of the book of James. I'm amazed at how much James has to say about relationships. In tonight's study(3:13-18), I learned how wisdom is tied to relationships. I always thought of wisdom as being related to intelligence or "smarts". But as I thought about, I know a lot of people with "smarts" who aren't very good at relationships. When it comes to interacting with people, they seem to lack "common sense."

The wisdom from above, on the other hand, is about treating people with respect. Jesus treated others wisely. He didn't always agree with those He encountered, and sometimes He could seem harsh (calling pharisees hypocrites); but He was always fair in His communications with others. He was always honest. Too much of my communication with people is still about impression management or agenda manipulation. I'm learning more about honest and transparent communication, but I have a long way to go. I'm thankful God is "long-suffering"!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


My life seems to be one long series of beginning again I'm determined to do this blogging thing, so I'm beginning again.

I'm thankful that God lets us begin again. I've started over many times in my relationship with Him. Not really a "starting-over"; He let's me pick-up where I left off so to speak. I don't have to earn my way back into His good graces, I just have to honestly admit I've screwed up and ask for His forgiveness. I usually add a few promises to do better in the future, but He knows whether that will be true or not. His grace is truly amazing.

I also take comfort in knowing that the people who have messed up the worst are the ones God often uses the most: David and Bathsheba, Peter denied Christ, Paul consenting to Stephen's stoning, etc. God used/uses some pretty rough characters to do His work. I think He does it that way because it gives evidence of His great power, and His amazing grace.

I don't know if anyone actually reads these posts, but if you've come across it and you happen to be struggling in your relationship to God because you feel like you've screwed-up greater than God could ever forgive - trust me, your wrong. Where sin (screw-ups) abound, grace MUCH MORE abounds! Hallelujah!