Monday, March 31, 2008
Here is a list of the missionaries that the Vine supports. They are great Men and Women of God! We are very proud of them.
Missionaries with us this year are Dirk and Elizabeth Wood (South Africa), Craig and Michelle Logan (Philippines), Brad and Jan Thurston (Germany), and Mark Ost(France). We also have a special guest Noel Elberto, a pastor from the Philippines.
Mark Ost told us last night of a website that has been started in France in a number of languages that leads people through a 6 page introduction to Christianity. At the end they can respond by becoming a Christian. They have had over 5 million hits with close to 530,000 becoming Christians! You can track is online at http://www.topc.com/joy-in-heaven/.
Amazing, simply amazing! I am pumped! Check it out!!!
Friday, March 28, 2008
And the Internet – have to love the Internet - you wouldn’t be reading this blog were it not for the Internet. We have an explosion of information. Searching or researching – it can be found on the Internet.
Are these great advancements considered to be a blessing to Pastors? Or are they rapidly becoming a curse?
As I look at other church’s websites and see their sermon promos and topics, I am becoming increasing aware that many pastors are using the same resources to get ideas and material to feed their sheep. It seems that pastors are spending more time surfing for sermons than praying and studying for them. Sermon prep is now relegated to a download from the Internet rather than a download from Heaven!
Don’t get me wrong. I too surf the Internet looking for material that will help my sermons (and boy do they need help!). Just as preachers before us read books and swapped sermon ideas we now use the Internet for the same thing. I was taught in Bible school this axiom, 'Milk a lot of cows but churn out your own butter.'
There are preachers that encourage the preaching of their material (even without credit) such as Rick Warren. He says, “What God has given to me, I freely give to others.” Others actually make their material available for a fee – some small and some exorbitant. In affect, other ministers are encouraging pastors to surf for sermons!
However there can be a dark side to all this. Dr. Tom Blackaby stirred me with the following statement, “The staggering amount of sermon material posted on the World Wide Web has become regular fodder for sermons all across our land and around the world. People are being given second-hand visions from mega churches, and second-hand sermons God gave to other messengers. Pastors have become sheep, giving their congregations the leftovers of what God provided other shepherds for their sheep. The words may be the same when they are re-preached, but the Spirit is missing.”
In the next few posts we will explore the need for balance and personal integrity on this issue.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
because it may be over a septic tank!" David Kerr
Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. TMB
Content, satisfied with one's lot --
Having pastored the same church and in the same location for the past 18 years has taught me quite a lot about contentment. As I watch the new churches start, massive buildings and congregations, and significant resources, the Lord has helped me keep a proper perspective. I have kept my focus and not swerved from the path and journey I am on for more fame or riches!
My contentment is internal and in and from the Lord.
Therein lies the secret of my peace!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I liked this quote by F.F. Bruce. May God help us to walk worthy of our calling as Christians and Sons of the most High God. We are His family. Let's remember to treat each other with grace, respect, and dignity. As Harold Bredenson use to say, "We are King's Kids!" Let's make our Father proud.
I am in Delaware attending Liberty Fellowship Northeast Regional Conference and our Presbytery meeting. More on that later.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I just finished a series on entering the Promised Land. I began the series stressing that, in order to make your move into the Promised Land, you need to "turn the page" -- you need to let go of the past and focus on the future. “Moses my servant is dead…you (Joshua) will lead this people to inherit the land...”
Forget the past! But when the children of Israel were crossing the Jordan, God wanted them to make a memorial that would be used to tell of His mighty works to generations to come. The past has the power to serve us now, and propel us into the future!
God wanted His people to have a visual representation of His mighty acts -- so all present and future generations would remember how God was with them in their journey into the Promised Land.
I told the congregation some of my memorials:
1. Bible College someone paying my school bill.
2. Church planted and lives changed in Scotland- I wear a Celtic cross from Isle of Iona with a heather gem on it.
3. Holding Ryan after 10yrs of waiting and 2 miscarriages.
4. Coming to The Vine Fellowship and staying (this is my 18th year)!
5. Healing of stenosis in my neck and lower back!
6. Wrist band that I wear says it all – “Wholehearted!” – “Very Best!” - for God
7. ‘Beachy’ Bracelet that I wear –reminds me of Debi and my 35th wedding anniversary in St. Thomas!
Memorials help remind us of the God’s past faithfulness, power, unfailing love, and that He is an ever present help in this life! They increase our faith, faith of others and gives the Devil a black eye!
Pastors, God doesn't want you to build monuments to your failures. He doesn't want you to relive your worst moments. Tear those down and replace them with the great things He has done in your life. It is from there that you can go forward in faith into the future!
What are some of your memorials?
Friday, March 07, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Does anyone see relationship in this?
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' NIV
Again, is relationship being stressed here?
Every one needs relationship! That is our fabric- our makeup- an element that we can’t change about ourselves. We were born for relationship! We were created by God for relationship, first with Him and then others.
But this is where it breaks down- relationship that is. People don’t want a relationship with God so they reject Him and don’t know Him. From there we falter in our society thinking that we can have a good lasting relationship with another without having one first with God. So our societies have great and tragic relationship issues. The church does too, as well as our homes!
Ah, our homes. What happens when relationships are missing in our homes? Between spouses- divorce! Between parents and children- rebellion!
Rules without relationship equal rebellion.
We try to compensate for poor relationships with our children by making and enforcing rules. More rules, greater the disconnect and rebellion in our children.
Parents, this has to stop! You are destroying your children and causing yourself a lot of grief! You brought them into this world; why not build a relationship with them? Don’t leave them out there to fend for themselves.
To me parental abuse is the failure to develop a relationship with your child or children! And therein lays the root cause of all the heartache and rebellion. Kids are crying out for relationship but parents are not giving it. The parents may be distracted by profession, activities (television or computer *(see below)- just to mention a few major culprits), poor relationship skills themselves, and no time! You are welcome to add to this list.
There is never an adequate substitute for good parent/child relationship in the home.
We must admit our failures and rediscover the importance of relationships!
*When the kids are up and available for relational time - don't be sitting in front of the computer or TV- get away from there- be with your kids- wait for them to go to bed- and then turn back on the TV or computer!!!!
Monday, March 03, 2008
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her. You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith , ' in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.
This was verified as true here at Snopes.com