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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Days After Christmas

Christmas is such a wonderful beginning to the days that follow.

As boys, my brother and I enjoyed the days after Christmas even more that the day itself. No school. Plus new toys, sleds, bikes, ball gloves, trains and more.

We played in our room, around the house, indoors and out, and with cousins and friends at their houses.

The days after Christmas were the best. And they still are.

After Christmas, since there is not much shopping to do, I have time to spend with the people for whom I made or bought those gifts.

After Christmas when the programs are over and the costumes stored away for another year I have time to think about the meaning of the pageant, how it moved me, and maybe touched the children and their parents.

I love it when my house is decorated for Christmas. After Christmas I can see beyone the decorations to the true beauty of my home, a home where Christ is welcome and love is evident.

After Christmas I tally up its full cost. It’s a happy cost, even though it usually turns out to be more than I planned. And that’s when I think about how much Christmas cost God. I think for God it also was a happy cost, giving such a priceless gift as he did and then seeing the joy in the hearts of countless believers throughout the ages and across the globe who received the gift.

Christmas is beautiful.
The Days after Christmas are precious and forever.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Legend

In Medieval times there was a charming legend that on Christmas the Christ Child wandered throughout the world looking for places where He would be welcomed. Those who loved Him, those who hoped He would visit their home, placed lighted candles in their windows to invite Him in.

No one knew what He would look like when He came. He might be a beggar. He might be someone who was lost. He might be a poor and lonely child. He might be family or friend. So the devout welcomed into their homes everyone who knocked. To turn anyone away might have meant rejecting the Christ Child.

I once attended a 2-day seminar at a Catholic abbey in Nebraska. The Brothers who welcomed us lived by that medieval legend. It was their goal to treat every guest as if he or she were King Jesus arriving in humble disguise. I have never been welcomed more graciously nor treated more royally. Would that everyone could experience such honor.

At the Sojourners Neighborhood Center in Washington D.C. 60-year old Mary Glover distributes bags of groceries to more than 300 needy families just a mile and a half from the White House. She begins each day with a simple prayer. Joining hands with the other workers just before they open the doors, Mary prays. “Another day to serve you, Lord. We know that you’ll be coming through the line today so, Lord, help us treat you well.”

Can you imagine the Christ Child wandering our streets and highways and country roads today, looking for homes where He will be given warmth and shelter? Pray that our Savior might find a place in your home. Light a candle in your window, and in the window of your heart, offering Him, and all who knock, a worthy Christmas welcome.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Warmth

Warm is good. I like being warm. No matter the temperature, indoors or out, I really like warm. Especially at Christmas.

Stars in the clear sky, smoky and toasty warm by the roaring log fire. I like that kind of warm.

I like the warmth in the kitchen when the cookies are baking and the turkey is roasting. The heat of the oven, what a wonderful warmth.

Snug as a bug in a rug, bundled in a blanket by the fireplace, reading cards and letters, enjoying the warmth of long friendships, memories shared, and stories re-told. Ahh!

It warms my heart to give. And even more to stand in solidarity with one in need, the warmth of doing right, taking time without counting the cost.

How pleasant the warming touch of re-kindled love, walking, talking, lying together. And the ambient warmth of candles aglow. Beautiful.

But deeper still and most comforting of all is Christmas warmth, the warming peace of the soul’s first humble visit to Bethlehem’s manger, there to find the infant King, and embrace for one’s self God’s perfect love.

Have you known that warmth, that Christmas warmth? If so, remember and revisit that perfect moment.

If not, kneel as a shepherd, humble and unworthy, and pray, asking God to satisfy your curious mind and yearning heart with belief in the soul-warming miracle of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem’s manger.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Happens

Comforting thoughts about Christmas when times are tough.

Ready or not, Christmas comes once a year, every year, on the 25th of December. It can’t be stopped. And nobody causes it or makes it happen. Christmas happens all by itself. It is a gift from God.

A gift from God? Really!

From Thanksgiving to Christmas I’m pretty busy getting ready. I hardly have time for God. I do go to church, but I certainly don’t have time to think about Christmas as God’s gift to me.

It’s pretty much my job to make everyone’s Christmas a happy one. And it’s pretty much my job to make this Christmas bigger and better than last year.

So, I bake. I shop. I listen to carols and watch TV specials. I send cards. I help the needy. Oh, if only it would snow! I travel to be with family, cook, eat and exchange gifts.

Will this be the best Christmas ever? I certainly hope so. I’m sure working hard at it. But what if it isn’t the best? What then? Will it even be Christmas at all? Everyone will be disappointed. No one will like me.

Here’s the really big question, “Does every Christmas have to be better than the last? Or, can it just be Christmas, quiet and simple, without a lot of fuss, like a baby in a manger?”

Friends, Christmas is God’s gift.

It’s all about God. It’s not about better. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus. It’s about God’s light coming into the world, God’s doings making the difference, God’s love bringing peace to earth.

Christmas doesn’t require anything from you. Christmas is God’s doing for you. Christmas happens. It’s a gift. Just wait. And when it happens, rejoice.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Merriest Christmas Ever

Do people care about the needy more during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas? It seems so to me.

Red kettles at malls and sidewalk tripods remind us that homelessness and hunger are all around us, on our streets and in our neighborhoods.

Media announcements about the location of Angel Tree and Toys for Tots collection points remind us of the desperate situation in which many children live.

Operation Christmas Child and other Shoe Box missions supported by the churches acknowledge even greater need world wide.

Yes, people do care. And even those with little are generous to share.

We share. We give. Food and clothes, gifts and toys.

In 40 years of ministry I’ve had the opportunity to meet many families across the United States and some overseas who have been helped at Christmastime. With such help they enjoyed a welcome rest and temporary relief from the stress of their immediate needs. They were genuinely grateful.

But more importantly, they were deeply touched. Somebody cared. Somebody knew their name and their plight, somebody who set aside all judgments and prejudices and really cared. They felt God’s love.
• a love that gave them hope, hope that someday their trials would end
• a love that gave them dignity and self-respect, worth and value
• a love that drew them out of isolation and gave them someone to be with.

The American practice of Holiday giving, caring, and sharing is powerful.

Now, imagine what would happen if we could bring these same life-giving gifts into our own homes and daily relationships. Whoa!

What if we could see the needs of those closest to us with the same lack of judgment and prejudice, and just love them. Sweet!

In the time remaining before Christmas, which of these precious gifts can you share? Hope. Dignity. Blessing. Worth.

Everyone you know needs them. So make a list. Check it twice. Then be generous, forgiving, helpful and non-judgmental. And your Christmas will be the merriest ever.

Monday, November 24, 2008

# 43 - Praying Hands

Some postures are almost prayers themselves. Try this one. Pray with hands together close to your chest, finger pointing straight to the sky. Perhaps bow your head a bit, to the tip of your fingers. If this feels awkward, practice until it doesn't. Whether kneeling, standing or sitting, this posture draws every part of you - body, mind, heart and soul - together for more focused fellowship with God. Can you feel the energy? As thoughts and yearnings stir within, relax. Elminate all judgements. Enjoy the presence and experience the peace of God right there with you. Now that is prayer, prayer without words perhaps, but prayer neverthless, sweet and satisfying.

Monday, November 10, 2008

# 42 Life Support Prayer

This prayer only applies to people who want you to pray for them and for whom you normally do pray every day, people with whom you have a prayer contract. The life-support prayer is the prayer you offer for them out-of-the-blue because all of a sudden you feel an urgent, even desperate, need to pray for that person immediately. Pray. Pray hard and seriously and confidently. Later, contact the person and talk about your experience. They will probably be able to connect the time of your prayer to a particular time of need.

# 9 Sermon on Revelation

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Revelation 21-22

To hear the full sermon check out our video site.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

# 8 Sermon on Revelation

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Revelation 20:11-15

To hear the full sermon check out our video site.

# 41 - Sigh and Cry

Roman 8 suggests that, in the weakness of deep sorrow and heavy burdens, we don’t know how to pray, but that nevertheless through our sighs and tears the Spirit intercedes for us. And our painful, wordless prayers are heard in heaven. It is ok to sigh and cry. It is also ok to visit one in need of prayer and simply sigh and cry with them. One day after a small boy’s grandmother died, he told his mother that he had just come from helping his grandpa cry.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

# 7 Sermon on Revelation

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Revelation 19:6-9

To hear the full sermon check out our video site.

# 40 - A Prayer for 10

In Genesis 18 Abraham begs and pleads that the sinful city of Sodom be spared. Lord will you spare the city if there are 50 righteous ones to be found there? I will. If 40? I will. If 30? I will. If 20? I will. And if only 10? I will. Imagine Abraham’s boldness asking that the faithfulness of as few as 10 be sufficient to spare the wicked city from God’s wrath. Sadly, 10 were not found. We know the story, but what is the prayer focus here? It is not for us to rejoice in God’s judgment. But rather for us to pray like Abraham, asking that many sinners, even entire cities, be spared by the sufficiency of 10 who love God. Pray with me that in every wicked place 10 faithful witnesses will be found.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

# 38 Extraordinary Prayer - Part 2

Cornell Haan in 1998 suggested 3 steps to extraordinary prayer. Step 2 - Agree with one another in prayer. This second principle assumes that 2 or more are praying together and, as Mt. 18:19 suggests, there must be complete agreement while someone else prays...Agreement involves mental participationl. Listen to the person who is praying. Don't sit there thinking about your agenda or what you might pray next...Agree with the person who just prayed, adding what God has placed on your heart...Pray with your Bible open, and let God suggest passages to be shared.

# 39 - Extraordinary Prayer - Part 3

Cornell Haan in 1998 suggested 3 steps to extraordinary prayer. Step3 – Pray about what is on God’s heart. Haan suggests that we can know what is on God’s heart, and pray with power, if we are thirsty for God. We can know God’s heart through silence (listening to the Holy Spirit). We can know God’s heart if we pray with the Bible open, searching the Word for God’s truth. Extraordinary prayer is 1) not casual and lighthearted, 2) not dry and emotionless, 3) not routine and boring. We pray ordinary prayers all the time. But these times call for extraordinary prayer. Step up and pray with power, God’s power.

# 6 Sermon on Revelation

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Revelation 12, 17

For the full sermon check out
our vidoe site.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

# 4 Sermon on Revelation

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Revelation 6:12 – 7:3

Visit our video site for the full sermon.

# 37 - Extraordinary Prayer - Part 1

Cornell Haan in 1998 suggested 3 steps to extraordinary prayer. Step1 – No prayer requests. He writes, “Don't ask for or give prayer requests. Teach people to pray their request, and others to follow by agreeing in prayer. It's amazing how different an actual prayer sounds from a prayer request. In a prayer request, listeners hear the brain talking. In prayer, listeners hear the heart.” Don’t be a Christian who talks and talks and shares and shares and gives prayer request after prayer request. Be a Christian who puts a priority on talking things out with God directly.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

# 3 Sermon on Revelation

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Revelation 5 or go to
our video to see Pastor Dales's sermon.

# 36 - The Think-On Prayer

A blessed gift given humankind is the ability to think, to wonder, to expand the mind and visualize God’s Glory. Philippians 4:8 encourages us to use this gift as we offer the “Think-on” prayer. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2nd Sermon on Revelation

Pastor Dale gave his second sermon on Revelation last Sunday, Sept. 21. Check it out at our video site. The bulletin cover is the same as last weeks. Check it out below under the woodcuts heading. We will be posting the different woodcuts as we go along in this sermon series with Pastor Dale

# 35 - Write A Prayer

Take 7 index cards, one for each day of the week. Then, select a single prayer concern. Each day put your prayer for that concern in writing. Write honestly, seriously from your thoughts and feelings that day. Do not refer back to any previous day. Only on the 8th day will you look back over all 7 days. On the 8th day ask, “How has my prayer changed from day to day?” and, “How has it changed me?”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Revelation Woodcut Prints # 1

Click here for a bigger picture.

Follow Pastor Dale's sermon series on Revelation. This picture (bulletin cover) goes along with his sermon last week and this week. Check out the sermon on our video site.

The first sermon is in two video segments, 1st half and 2nd half

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

# 34 - Pray Aloud

The brain runs faster than the tongue. Even in prayer that can be a problem. So, when alone, pray aloud. This will slow you down and create two distinct benefits. 1. Hearing what you pray might lead you to word your prayer more carefully. 2. Praying at a more intentional pace might help you experience more of God’s presence.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

# 33 - Missionary Prayer

Remember your daily prayers to the Holy Spirit for Spirit gifts and fruits. Ask for these not only for yourself, but for all humanity. 7 gifts for 7 days – Wisdom, Understanding, Fortitude, Piety, Counsel, Knowledge, and Fear of the Lord. Each day pray for one of these and then conclude with “Come, Holy Spirit, transform me in the image of Jesus. Help me to die daily to myself that I might say: ‘I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.’ Amen.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

# 32 - Keep Clean Prayer

Get sin out of your life. Sin, in one form or another, lies at the base of most human trouble. Keep it out of your life. But remember that you yourself do not posses the power to eliminate sin from your life. It is the healing grace of Jesus Christ that takes away sin. And it is the ever-present power of the Holy Spirit that helps you avoid sin. So the Keep Clean Prayer is one where first you place yourself, your whole self, into the hands of Jesus Christ, and where second you ask the Holy Spirit to show you the way of holiness and keep you from sin.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August & September BIG Events

The Big News this month is about Awards Sunday, Aug 24th. What fun. Over 30 children came to church services to receive certificates of participation and a small gift from the church. In spite of it being a golf tournament weekend, church attendance was great. And after church in Humeston we introduced the new games – Wii Sports, Dance Praise and 4 Square. We showed off our new video site and turned the kids loose to digitally record the day’s fun on the video camera. Check out their work at

Awards Sunday was the first time I ever remember a dinner after church keeping the kids involved and excited until 2:00 pm. Pray that we are able to roll that energy into a thriving TUF Team after school program. Are we witnessing a resurgence of interest in the things of the Lord among the children? Oh I hope so. What profit it would be to God’s Kingdom in this needful world if we could raise up a whole generation of young, enthusiastic believers.

Next month, of course, we look forward to Sept 27th and the LeRoy Harvest Festival. You gotta be there for the parade, the outdoor games, the auction, the dinner and much more. I love the auction, especially when Steve is able to get a husband and wife bidding against each other or two hungry young men raising the stakes to $75 or more on a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls. There will be the customary quilt raffle also. I have no clue what the pattern is, but it is really quite beautiful – lavender with some light yellow – a bright and cheerful addition to any bedroom. Get your tickets anytime from now on or on the 27th. A huge portion of the LeRoy church’s budget is funded by the Harvest Festival. Please come and have fun. And please come prepared to be very generous to the ministry of the church and support its continued presence in the community.

You will also be interested to know that Pastor Dale will be preaching a 10-week series on The Book of Revelation beginning Sept 14th. We will be record these sermons to be posted on our church video site noted above. He says that the book of Revelation is God’s Love Letter to the struggling churches. Come and feel the love.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

# 31 - Prayer as a Child

Here is a sample. Pray it simply.
“Jesus, keep me all this day, when at school and when at play;
May I do all things I ought, may I hate each evil thought;
Help me love and trust in Thee, now and through eternity. Amen.”

Thursday, August 14, 2008

# 30 - Serenity Prayer

Lord Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and
the wisdom to know the difference.

This simple prayer has led to many changed lives. It will minister to you.
Pray it. Reflect on each part. Pray it again. And find peace.

# 29 - Mitzvot

This is third of three great Jewish "Sacred Times" prayers I want to introduce you to. It is a prayer expressing fulfillment and satisfaction. Here are the words: "Blessed is our Eternal God, Ruler of the Universe, who blesses us with mitzvoth (good works) and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Sabbath." When saying this prayer, candles are lighted. Mitzvot means good deeds, spiritual gifts and graces, good works, divinely commanded acts. It is a prayer that emphasizes the importance of "doing all the good you can" in your daily life. It reminds me of a relaxing evening at church camp, sitting with fellow laborers at the end of a good week of work, and thanking God together for that "well-done-good-and-faithful-servant" feeling.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

# 28 - Kiddush

This is the second of three great Jewish “Sacred Time” prayers I want to introduce you to. In the Jewish social and religious tradition, the time of gathering prior to meal time is also a Sacred Time. It is a time of celebration, joy, and “lifting the cup.” During this time a long prayer of blessing and thanksgiving to God is spoken by the head of the household. This prayer is called the Kiddush, and always ends with these words of blessing: “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, who creates the fruit of the vine.” To the Jews, and in this prayer, the fruit of the vine represents the Joy of being God’s chosen people, the formation of Israel (Abraham) and the celebration of Deliverance (Moses). To the Christian it reminds further of the Chalice, and Christ’s blood shed for our salvation. Holy Joy!

Power Lab

The kids were just learning an old song with a new tune, Amazing Grace. We used our dvd player with the dvd that came with our kit this year. It was like having karaoke every night. The kids really enjoyed it and caught on quick.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

# 27 - Hamotzi

This is first of three great Jewish “Sacred Time” prayers I want to introduce you to. In the Jewish tradition meal time is one of those Sacred Times. This prayer is said at the beginning of the family meal by everyone at the table (and in the kitchen) and honors the truth that God is the one who provides everything. Here are the words: “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, who brings forth bread from the earth.” To the Jews, and in this prayer, bread is the symbol of life. To the Christian there is an additional reference, to Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, who was raised from the dead for our salvation.

# 26- Kum Ba Yah

Kum Ba Yah means “Come By Here” and is the title of a 1930’s Carolina Spiritual, often used as a campfire song. It is also a prayer, a very useful prayer when needs of the soul are overwhelming and words will neither come nor suffice. The words are simple.
“Come by here, my Lord, come by here” (repeat twice more), then “O Lord, come by here.” If you want, substitute your own words such as “Need you now, dear Lord, need you now” or “Lift me up” or “Show the way” or “Break my spirit, Lord, break me now”
Whatever words you choose, sing them over and over and over, like a mantra, until your soul finds the peace for which it so desperately yearns.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Talk with John

The other day I talked to a long-ago business partner. We remain good friends, John, his wife, Judy, and I. But we rarely find the time to talk. I’ve moved to Iowa; John and Judy have moved to Texas.

John is a passionate guy, which is cool for a guy of 60, and clearly understandable for an Irish Catholic from Boston. Open a conversation on a topic like corporate policies, contemporary morality, the economy, election politics, even the weather, and you can feel John’s energy rise.

We quickly got onto the topic of religion. John attends a huge Catholic parish near San Antonio, thousands of mostly middle class Americans. Retired from American Airlines, John works part-time in a large grocery store. He meets all kinds of people.

John said the Catholic Church in that part of Texas can’t get enough home-grown priests, so a lot of the priest in the area are from Ireland, the Philippines or from Africa. To John the cause is clear: Americans are all about the temporal realm, pretty much ignoring the spiritual realm. As a result they are dead in their faith, and even dying young.

Through the parish, and the grocery store as well, John has come to know several men who left the prosperity of high-impact, high-paying, high-stress jobs (even CEO-type jobs) on the East and West Coasts for “the less-money-and-more-life” values of the mid-West where they can spend more time with family and with God.

These men, like John, are re-discovering the spiritual realm and finding unbelievable satisfaction there, satisfaction they once thought would only be gained by personal achievement and a comfortable lifestyle. THEY ARE GOING BACK TO CHURCH, not for the dinners, activities and classes. They are going back to church to find and be with God. They are going back to church to feed their souls.

And in doing so they are finding
1. a passion for the souls of the lost,
2. a passion to steer teens and young men to the realm of things eternal,
3. a passion to offer hope to those who suffer, and
4. a passion to suffer with them.

Could it be that the word of the Lord is returning from the mission fields of Ireland, the Philippines and Africa to rescue us from Satan’s temporal trap of affluence and ease?

I think I need to talk to John more often.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July is 4 Kids

3 Weeks of evening Bible school ... So Cool!
** 7th-11th in Humeston
** 14th-18th in Garden Grove
** 28th-Aug1st in LeRoy

New Things at church
** Praise Dance Pads
** Wii
** Our Church Videos (our own YouTube)

All month long we will be raising money to buy Mosquito Nets in Africa. Through Nothing But Nets we are helping Bill Gates, the NBA, Sports Illustrated, and others keep kids from dying with malaria.

** 19th Watermelon Day in Humeston
** 20th Church in the Park in Humeston
** 30th-Aug3rd Country Music Festival in Garden Grove

#25 – Parenthesis Prayer

First thing in the morning, say, “Good morning, Lord.” Then, last thing at night, say, “Good night, Lord.” Put a parenthesis of prayer around the day. Wrap your waking hours in a blanket of prayer.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Diamond Rio - In God We Still Trust

This song, "In God We Still Trust," is from a Las Vegas Diamond Rio concert. At their first performance they received a resounding standing ovation, and continue to do so every time they perform it!

As the Fourth of July draws near I hope you enjoy Diamond Rio's moving testimony, a tribute to America, it's people, and the God under which America stands.

To listen, just click on the YouTube bar on the left. Then, if after listening you feel you'ld like to share it with friends and loved ones, I encourage you to do so.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

#24 – The Beginner’s Prayer

If you believe in God but don’t know how to pray, begin with silent prayer. The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

First, get away from all distractions. Find a scenic place to sit, or just close your eyes, and be still.

Second, let your mind wander and wonder – to a sunrise, the fragile loveliness of nature, or goodness you’ve seen in people. Imagine the source from which all good comes. Let the vision of God grow large in you mind and in your soul. The greatest saints have found God in such prayerful moments.

The Beginner’s Prayer is simply this: to enjoy thinking about God.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

#23 - The 5-Second Prayer

Five seconds can change your life.
How? you ask.
By learning and using this little prayer.

“Lord, help me to honor you in all of my relationships. Amen

Friends, Godly relationships are built on love and truth (1 Cor 13:4-7).

Learning to be honest in relationships requires a spiritual attitude adjustment.

Why? Because, so much in life is built on lies – the lies we tell ourselves, the lies we believe about others, the lies of our secret life, the lies we hide from God.

Start your spiritual attitude adjustment with this 5-second prayer.
“Lord, help me to honor you in all of my relationships. Amen”

This little prayer can help you adjust your attitude about God, about yourself, about those you live and work with, about people with different experiences, values and cultures. This little prayer can change your life.

Honor God in all your relationship and, believe me, miracles will follow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

# 22 - Opportunity Prayer

Opportunity Prayer is not the attempt to get what you want.
Opportunity Prayer is giving God the opportunity to do what God wants.

The prayer of Jesus on the night before he was crucified is the shining example. After asking his Father in Heaven to release him from the torture soon to come, Jesus said, "nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done."

The thing to be sought in prayer is the will of God. Opportunity Prayer is you opening up of your life to the opportunities God has to set before you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Passion and Promise

The excitement around here is about missions. Janell just left on a 2-week mission to Zambia in Southern Africa. We had a huge and spirit-filled send off Sunday May 25th. We are so proud of her. We sent her off with hugs, prayers, well-wishes and super-serious promises to keep her in prayer.

To help us keep our prayer promises Janell gave each of us a short piece of ribbon as a prayer reminder. She asked us to tie it or tape it someplace where we see it often every day.

Several of us also formed prayer teams. Each team of 2, 3, or 4 will meet once or twice during her trip for 30 minutes of prayer. We are praying for Janell.

Plus, while thinking about Janell, we are trying very hard to focus on God’s great purpose which is to reach the whole world (Mark 16:15). It’s hard to think that big and realize that we and Janell are just one tiny little but very significant part of God's global plan. God is making a difference, and we are blessed to be a part of it. How awesome is that!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

#21 – Bible Verse Prayers

Many sentences of the Bible easily stand alone. Read or recall one of them and let its theme or topic guide your prayer.
Here’s an example.
First, think of someone (your cousin, the mayor, a yak herdsman in Tibet, or just anyone).
Second, either a) recall a Bible sentence from memory, or b) open the Bible and read a sentence or two.
Third, pray.
If the Bible sentence you are reading is about healing, pray for your cousin’s health. If it is about God’s glory, pray that the mayor will experience that glory. If it is about sin, pray for the yak herdsman’s forgiveness. Etc.
Bible verse prayers are full of insight, surprise and awesome power. Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2008

#17 to #20 – The ACTS Prayer

This week we draw 4 elements of prayer into an all-embracing model prayer.

The A C T S Prayer

A doration, C onfession, T hanksgiving, S upplication.

Lots of times we pray from the heart out of compassion or need. But in creating us, God gave us thought as well as feeling. No surprise then that our thoughts can enrich our prayers. One great tool for organizing our feelings into a well rounded prayer is The A C T S prayer.

A- stands for Adoration. Do you adore God and God’s creation? Tell God so.
C- stands for Confession. Can you acknowledge that God is God and you are not? Do so.
T- stands for Thanksgiving. All that is, all you have, is gift from God. Thank God.
S- stands for Supplication (asking, pleading). Are you needing God today? Ask and God will answer.

If you will take the time and give some thought you'll soon be praying like a preacher. Begin with Adoration. Do a thorough job on that part. Paint a huge and wonderful picture of God with your brush of Praise, and all the rest will flow quite naturally and wonderfully.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

# 16 - Earth Prayers

Pray for the Earth. Pray for the health and beauty of the land. Pray that the Earth bring forth life in abundance, survive the pollution of this present age, and, as in Psalm 8, lift the poet to inspire our hearts.
Try singing an Earth Prayer.
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
Flower and bird, mountain and brook, sunset and morning, rain and summer sun.
God gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty who made all things well.

Monday, May 5, 2008

John Wesley - All You Can

“All You Can” is one of the great themes from the life and ministry of John Wesley. It has been great fun for me, a Presbyterian, to be training the youth to join the Methodist church. I am coming to appreciate a theology that I never knew much about, the theology of John Wesley. One of his famous quotes is:

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

I also read Wesley's Sermon 50 on The Use of Money in which he encourages everyone to:

Earn all you can,
Save all you can, and
Give all you can.

Let me add that when he says “save all you can” he does not mean that one should accumulate wealth. What he means by “saving” is that one should be extremely prudent in one’s spending, “saving pennies, cutting corners wherever possible.”

Wesley believed that each one was capable of doing so much more for the Lord if only s/he would. In Christ, he believed, we can do more. Anyone can.

Redeem the world?
Yes, in Christ, we can.
Can we fix it?
As Bob the Builder would say, “Yes we can.”

Try it for the summer, living an “All You Can” life. If Wesley is right, you will receive blessings beyond measure.

Monday, April 28, 2008

#15 – Prayer Walking

This form of prayer is ancient. It can be either a listening prayer (God talking) or a speaking prayer (you talking).

Walk slowly around your room or garden, hands behind your back, or folded in prayer mode at your chin, or turned open to the sky. Contemplate. Listen for God in every breath, every step.

Or, walk a designed path like a labyrinth or layout your own path. Stop at times along the way to pray. Pray by the tree for shade, by the pond for refreshment, by the store for sustenance, etc.

Or, walk tall in the Lord around your neighborhood, your courthouse, your school, your workplace praying for friends and strangers whose needs come to mind as you walk.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

#14 - Pray Holding Hands

Touch is a powerful form of prayer.

Holding hands can bring healing, comfort, encouragement, direction and help. Touch, as in hands joined together, is strong ministry, whether the prayer of those thus joined is spoken or silent.

Reach across your table. Hold hands. And Pray.
Take a neighbors hand, even a strangers hand, and maybe feel the hand of God.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sit and Smile - Way to Pray #13

My sister, Judy, tells of a friend on a spiritual pilgrimage to find peace in her soul. The friend tried several forms of prayer and meditation. Unsatisfied, she happened upon an Eastern mystic who told her she was trying too hard. His advice: Sit and Smile. My sister’s friend found spiritual peace. The smiling is the hard part, I think, especially if the upward turn of the lips truly reflects actual delight in one's heart.

The world is so rough. Yet, how natural it should be for sheep in Jesus' flock who know the Shepherd's voice to Sit and Smile and be filled to overflowing.



Go ahead. Do it.

Turn up the corners of your mouth.

Take a deep, relaxing breath. And smile from the inside out.

Now, that's a prayer.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

God's Truth from the Mission Field

In the Rick Wood article Are We Proclaiming a Defective Gospel? Rick is addressing the question whether the church equips new Christians to deal with hard times, and how the mission field might help us consider this question. He also asks whether there might be a connection between a weak Gospel and so many dropping out of church.

I believe in Mission. Always have. Why? Many reasons, but ONE most importantly.

God is greater than my mind can fathom. (Ok, so I have a small mind.) And God is more expansive than my country and my culture can possibly comprehend. (Ok, so I can't help but be prejudiced.)

From these and others thoughts I conclude that when I know God only as a protestant American I know way too little of God. (Ok, so I'm an idolator?)

I'm not satisfied knowing "my" God. I want to know the true and living God.

International friends and fellow servants of God have helped me see God more clearly.

A Palestinian pastor who fled the terror of fundamentalist Christians in Lebanon directed at him because of his cooperation with Muslims.

A pastor from Ghana with a congregation of thousands. He traveled by taxi 30 minutes to mimeograph meeting agendas, walked an hour in the pre-dawn to attend daily Bible study, faced down the President of Ghana on discrimination issues, and though it was of no interest to him personally, came to America to study pastoral care of the elderly as his local seminary had no one qualified to teach the subject.

A Sudanese man, one of the Lost Boys with whom I stood during worship to sing Amazing Grace. Do you recall the words? Through many dangers, toils and snares; I have already come; 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

Are we, am I preaching a soft Gospel that keeps the comfortable happy? Or. Are we, am I spiritually equipping the saints to remain victorious in Christ while enduring the cruelist hardships this life has to offer? I'm doing some soul-searching here. Join me on the journey. Add your comment. Dale

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

#12 - Thank You Prayers

There are 4 rules in the Bible about thank-you prayers. First, you should always give thanks to God. Second, you should always give thanks to God. Third, you should always give thanks to God. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Fourth, you should thank God for everything.

These are hard rules, I know. But try, nevertheless. If you're like me, you don't thank Him enough. Even for the little things.

How many things can you thank God for in 60 seconds?

Ready, set, go!

Monday, March 31, 2008

#11 - Prayer is Rejoicing

I think we've all learned "Thank-You" prayers. But Rejoicing is a bit more than saying thank-you. Rejoicing is the lingering happiness of victory. Rejoicing is triumphant.

Jesus makes us joyful. Joy is at the very heart of the Christian experience. Christmas, Easter, Pentecost -- joyful celebrations, all. Prayer should always include joy. Even the most solemn of prayers should be rooted in the triumphant joy of Christ's Easter victory.

Practice rejoicing. It's good for your soul and sweet music in God's ears.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Holy Week A+ Report Card

Busy! Wonderful! Holy and blessed! What more can be said about Easter at the church and the week before.

A+ The choir sang like angels. The song? It was one of my favorite Michael W. Smith songs, Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord. I Want to See You. Awesome lyrics and cool ringtone.

A+ The youth led the Sunrise Service around the theme Celebrate. They seemed so comfortable leading. And they did a really great job. Next Sunday night they begin a 6-week preparation for church membership. Lord I Lift Your Name on High.

A+ After Sunrise Service the men's breakfast was a real plate full.
Where do they get that wonderful sausage, anyway? Has to be Humeston's own Front St. Market.
And, How many men does it take to cook a breakfast? I'd say 15 at least.

We had Holy Week services on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, too.

A+ On Holy Thursday we remembered Jesus having his last meal with his friends before he died on the cross. We wondered what would have been in his Last Will and Testament. Then we celebrated communion (bread and grape juice and Jesus' words of rembrance).

A+ On Good Friday evening we solemnly remembered the day Jesus died. Several men and one woman each read a paragraph about what some of the witnesses to the death might have been thinking.
The theme was that most of them were just going along with things in order to get along and not get put to death themselves for challenging the authorities.
Is Going Along to Get Along a sin? Is that what killed Jesus?

My favorite Easter song is He Lives, because I do see him in my life almost every day. I mean, like, he's always there. I just only see him some of the time. Even so, I know He Lives. And I hope you do too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

#10 - Pray with Resolve

In God’s economy some prayers will be answered only if the person offering the prayer is willing to become a part of the answer. Have you resolved to invest yourself in the answer to your prayers?

God is always there to help. But if you are unwilling to take the time, spend the money, change your ways, or risk your reputation to do your part in helping God help you, your prayer may be in vain.

For example, you pray for God to help you get along with someone. OK, but what if God's answer to that prayer is for you to change your attitude. Will you do it?

Or, you pray for someone to get well. OK, but what if God's healing is meant to come through the touch of a prayful loved one? How far and how quickly, would you be willing to go to pray with that person? 10 miles? 100, 1000 miles?

As we enter Holy Week celebrating Jesus resolve to complete his Father's will, we can find strength to do the right spiritual thing ourselves. Pray, and give yourself in prayer.

In Jesus we have the extreme example of how a person can become part of the answer to their prayer. There are other examples. Surely you can think of one. Pray with resolve and may all your prayers be answered.

Monday, March 10, 2008

#9 - Conversational Prayer

The Bible teaches us that the Word of God, Jesus, became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus was a real person….is a real person. Just talk with him. Take your time. Enjoy the conversation, talking and listening, complaining and laughing.

No matter what the relationship -- at work, at home, even with friends – I’m always posturing. It’s hard not to. Who’s going to look out for me if I don’t? I find that my opinions, my needs, my ideas and my agendas are always on my mind and coming out of my mouth. And that makes it hard for me to tune in to someone else’s world and hear what they are saying. Oh, I hear their words alright. But I miss all that’s behind the words, and sometimes that’s a lot!

It’s like I’m there in the room hearing, but not actually listening.

A good conversation is one where the people listen to each other, respond and engage. A poor conversation is where the people just fill their time together taking turns talking, or worse, with only one person doing all the talking.

Prayer should be a good conversation.

Come to prayer ready to listen and hear what Jesus has to say. By keeping your opinions, needs, ideas and agendas to a minimum, you, like the great saints of the church, will enjoy the peace and discover the power of true prayer. Next time you pray, have a good conversation.

Monday, March 3, 2008

#8 - Seek God's Will

God is always willing to help you do things his way. But, if you are not ready to do things God’s way, not much will happen. On the other hand, ask God to change you and you will begin to experience power in your prayer life.

Friday, February 29, 2008

3 Types of Hope

Ordinary hope is hope in the future, hope that in time things will eventually improve.

Eternal hope, on the other hand, is hope in eternity, the almost unbelievable hope that in the end, and only there, will God’s goodness and perfection prevail.

Let me suggest an example of these two.

The war in Iraq is dragging on and on. Since no war lasts forever, we know that someday, hopefully soon, this war will end. That hope is ordinary hope.

Eternal hope is different. It is the end-of-the-world hope that believes that in God’s time there will come a glorious day when all war will cease, everywhere and forever.

Easter hope is rooted in the fact that with the Resurrection of Jesus the eternal God entered into the ordinary world. Easter hope believes that God cares and is actively making an eternal difference in the world: turning darkness to light, death to life, and evil to good.

Easter hope is eternal hope in ordinary time. Pray that the season of darkness and death will soon end in the Middle East and for God’s eternal presence to bring light and life once more to the Fertile Crescent.

Easter hope is God’s promise to make a difference in your life, too. Dare to hope in Jesus. Trust your cares to him. And live again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Join a Bible Study

We have just started 3 Bible Studies with Pastor Dale. All 3 are studying John's Gospel.

The Tuesday night study (6:15 pm) is held in Humeston at the Christian United Methodist Church, and uses the LifeGuide Bible Study John: The Way to True Life. Choose this option if you want your life transformed by the message of Scripture.

The other two classes use an unpublished study guide called Meet Jesus: An Inductive Study of the Gospel of John. The Thursday morning class (10:00 am) meets at the Library in Garden Grove. The Sunday afternoon class (5:00 pm) meets at the Humeston Church. Choose either of these classes if you are wondering whether you are or want to be a Christian, or, if you are just beginning to read the Bible.

So Cool.! What is really neat about all three studies is that they are designed for busy people whose schedules require that they will miss some of the classes. So, come to a Bible Study when you can and be blessed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

World Day of Prayer

World Day of Prayer is a worldwide ecumenical movement of women and men of many faith traditions who come together on the first Friday in March each year. Throughout the day, we collectively pray all over the world, beginning with the first sunrise and ending with the last sunset. Our prayers follow the sun's path around the globe.

WDP's motto, "Informed prayer leads to prayerful action," affirms that prayer and action are inseparable and that both have immeasurable influence. As we observe WDP 2008, millions of God's people are suffering from violence, neglect, poverty, and political injustice. Women and children, especially, are denied basic human rights and are victims of those who would exploit them and abuse them.

We encourage you to hear and come to the aid of those who are denied justice, self-determination and opportunity, globally and locally.

The Humeston community will participate in the World Day of Prayer 2008. Services will be held at the Humeston Baptist Church at 2 pm on March 7. Please join us.

Monday, February 25, 2008

#7 - Say His Name - Jesus

The name is Jesus. Say it. Sing it. Dream it. Write it everywhere, like a teen-ager in love. Jesus + Me. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Sweetest Name I Know. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever. Jesus Loves Me, This I Know. Is there any better way to show your love than to lift up the name of the one you love?

When a person's name is mentioned there comes with it a sense of that person's presence. If, for example, you associate someone's name with painful moments, the mention of that name stirs uncomfortable feelings within. Similarly, fond memories surface with the mention of a favorite name.

A name is more than a word. Names have power. The name Jesus has power: to dispell darkness, to lift spirits, to give strength in the face of temptation, to call forth one's best, to bestow eternal life.

I invite you to pray the name of Jesus often, and in doing so, be drawn the more to him.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Led by a Child

We baptized 8 year old Logan here in his grandparents’s church a few weeks ago. He is so excited about Jesus!

His grandparents gave him a Bible as a Baptism gift. When Logan got it home he asked his parents to read it with him. They opened to page 1, Genesis. But Logan, remembering the pastors comment that when you read the Bible you can start anythere, responded that he wanted to read John because that was what the preacher had been talking about. He totally surprised his folks about how much he remembered from the sermon.

The Sundays when Logan was here were the Sundays we were introducing our 100 Ways to Pray project, which Logan also got excited about. So now, Logan wants his grandparents to send him the weekly bulletin so he can learn what is the next way to pray.

Will you follow Logan’s lead?
Will you read John each night, reflecting on what the preacher said?
Will you seriously practice the Ways to Pray and allow them to bring peace to your soul and harmony to all your relationships?
Are you willing to be led by a child?

Monday, February 11, 2008

#5 and #6 -- Ways to Pray

#5 - APOLOGIZE. In building good relationships with loved ones, being able to say I'm Sorry is so important. Saying I'm Sorry is absolutely the best way to begin a conversation with a Perfect and Forgiving God who knows us through and through.

#6 - FORGIVE. We pray the prayer of Sorrow or Apology. God Forgives and welcomes us in love. What next? You are correct, of course, we offer a prayer asking God to help us forgive others as we have just been forgiven.

Apologize. Forgive. Relationships with God and others will grow and become for us a sustaining source of Life.

Every day ask: To which loved one do I need to say I'm Sorry?
Every day ask: Who do I need to forgive?

Thursday, February 7, 2008


SNOW. What a storm to wake up to on Wednesday morning! South Central Iowa's been hit hard this winter. But, oh my gosh, wasn't that tragic, all those tornadoes across the South.

Here school and church closed were closed Wednesday. But the buildings are still standing. No one was hurt. And activities will be re-scheduled.

Remember! Potluck at LeRoy after church this Sunday.
Next Wednesday, 1:00 UMW and 3:30 TUF Team (making pretzels).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

#4 - Daily Prayer Guide

Do you pray for the same things all the time? Use the same words over and over?

This can be a sign that YOU are more the center of your prayer life than you realize. The prayers have become YOUR prayers. And you are no longer letting God shape and re-shape, word and re-word YOUR prayers into prayers God can actually answer.

You do need to pray constantly, for the same people, and the same concerns. But Daily Prayer Guides can be useful in helping you get beyond seeking merely an outcome you want. They can tweak your prayers to lean more in the direction of seeking God's purpose and will.

Daily Prayer Guides are also a huge help when you cannot pray.

And when you are super-stressed and feel like you are absolutely going crazy, Daily Prayer Guides offer one single, simple, manageable thought for the day, to help you over those moments.

Our parish uses These Days and Upper Room. I like the Global Prayer Digest. Most 12-Step programs, like AA, have wonderful Day Books. And there is always the option to Google for a subscription or online version you like.

Parents to the Plate

Lots of parents, Dads especially, struggle with being the family’s spiritual leader. Not knowing how keeps many from trying. If you are like me you don’t want to look stupid, especially in front of the wife or kids. So, just don’t go there, right? I think it’s the ego thing.

But parents, the scary reality is: whether intentional or unintentional you actually do set a spiritual standard for the whole household every day. A good one or a bad one.

Do you guide your children to recognize and honor the Holy?
Do you assure them that God Cares, and share your Hopes with them?
Do you show them how to Live, and model Godly Values?
Do you fill them with Self-Worth, encourage Grace and Generosity?
Do you teach them to Repent and seek Forgiveness?
Do you make a Place for them, so they know they Belong?
Do you give them Work in which to find Joy and Meaning?

Each of these questions addresses a basic spiritual need.

Are you struggling with your spiritual leadership? If so, just figure out something you (or you and your spouse together) can do so that you can answer each of these questions with a Yes. Then guess what, mister Spiritual Leader. Problem solved.

Monday, January 28, 2008

#3 - Pray "Lord have Mercy"

Lord have Mercy.
What a magnificent prayer. Three simple words with which to honor God; three words acknowledging our need; three words expressing our humility.

As sinners we pray, Lord have mercy on me.
When others are in need we pray, Lord have mercy.
In prosperity and want we pray, Lord have mercy.
For our children and loved ones we pray, Lord have mercy.
Listening to the news we cry, Lord have mercy.
Reaching the un-reached we pray, Lord have mercy.
For the blessing of the nations we pray, Lord have mercy.
Needing rest for our souls we pray, Lord have mercy.

The perfect prayer. Use it often.
Lord have Mercy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Is T G R

Kids in TUF Team today were asked, What is T G R? Once they learned that T G R stood for what is True and Good and Right, they still found it difficult to name TGR things.

In the places where our kids live there's not enough focus on positive things which build character. In many corners of their minds, violence rules. News, movies, video games, cartoons, family fights, conflicts in school and on the streets.

God Bless the Children with Peace. God open their minds to the more excellent things.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blessings Shared

Our faith family has so many stories to share but our web site can't handle all the traffic yet. Bear with us as we figure out how to get our idea exchange set up. Meanwhile check out the 10 Guidelines from God.

For the full transcript email your request to For encouragement in other areas of life check out the Yellow Pages link (bottom left).

#2 - Kneeling Prayer

So many people came forward yesterday to kneel while the choir sang When I Kneel at the Manger. The pastor extended the invitation and dozens came. Choir members said it gave them chills to see all come. A long-time member reported as a major blessing how good it felt to once again be able to kneel in church. You better believe. From now on we will have a kneeling place in church.

Do you feel closer to God when you are on your knees? For some it is THE spiritual posture -- low to the earth yet nearest to God.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Missional Ministry

We live in a new and exciting time of Christian ministry, as long-established congregations move from being Institutional to being Missional. What does this strange language mean? and why is it important?

Well, it is important because it has to do with the life of the Church. If Church keeps being Church as we know it and live it, we will soon discover that Church isn’t at all. Membership enrollments and finances in Institutional churches continue to decline.

What is an Institutional Church? An Institutional Church is a church with a mission, a budget, a clearly defined membership, and, most generally a denominational affiliation.
In the Institutional Church the focus of church life is on the church itself -- the church family, the church property, the church outreach, the church programs, denominational participation and whatever mission and fellowship projects the church supports. We all know what a church is, right?

So then, what is a Missional Church, sometimes called The Emergent Church? A Missional Church is a church that puts much more emphasis on God’s Purpose and Mission than it puts on membership, budgets, and such. Not that it neglects the traditional concerns; the Missional Church focuses foremost on God (Praise) and God’s Mission (Personal Discipleship).

Perhaps this doesn’t sound like a difficult issue to you. But for many it is a radical shift in orientation which changes the way they do church. Missional people rarely, if ever, ask (or think about) what’s best for the church. Rather the question is what’s best for God’s Kingdom and Glory.

Including my years in seminary, I served the Institutional Church for more than 40 years. I loved it, but near the end of that time I found myself tiring of “the church,” all the institutional expectations and duties, all the bickering and politics.

In the last two years I have discovered the Missional Church and am re-energized to serve God, through the church of course, putting Christ first. After 40years I’m finding that this change in outlook is both wonderfully invigorating and mentally challenging.

At a denominational training event last April, I happened upon a brief and succinct explanation of this change -- from Institutional to Missional Church. It goes like this:
No longer – “The Church has a Mission”
From now on – “God’s Mission has a Church”

Any help you can give me as I start on my next 30 years would be welcome. Journey with me if you like, I’d love the company. Where will all this lead? God knows and that's good enough for me.

TO LIFE.! LeChayim.!
Pastor Dale

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

First Way to Pray (1 of 100)

We began 100 Ways to Pray this week. Prayer can be so easily a family thing. I hope that many of you will take this opportunity to enjoy praying together and with your children.

Obviously, the
Lord’s Prayer
is first. For several of us the goal is to quickly repeat the Lord’s Prayer 5 times in a row, and to do so at least 5 times per day for the week. This prayer idea really struck a cord with the congregations because so many joined in. It really has created a lot of energy and excitement.

Surprisingly, many long-time Christians found themselves losing their place or forgetting parts of the prayer on the 3rd, 4th, or 5th time through. Everyone was relieved when they learned how many friends that was happening to.

The challenge is to let this powerful prayer minister to our souls without engaging our thought process. It’s like a professional basketball player shooting foul shots. He (or she) has to do it over and over until it becomes so automatic that s/he can do it totally without thinking -- mechanically. If we are going to become great prayer warriors we’ve got to get beyond thinking prayers to the place where prayer for us is pure instinct and an automatic, constant, and dependable response of our soul.

If you are not at the place where you are wanting to becoming a prayer warrior and just want to think about the Lord's Prayer, here's a place to start.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Boys, Ear Buds, and Awesome God

At church Sunday the boys assigned to collect the offering were watching the MP3 and sharing ear buds. So much into it, they missed their cue and needed prompting to fulfill their duties. Boys! Uh! No matter. All went well. And after church they were so excited to report to pastor that they had found Awesome God on their MP3. Listen, pastor, listen. Boys! Ah! May they always be as devoted to the Jesus.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Meet Jesus

Sunday Jan 13 we begin a new preaching series called Meet Jesus.

Many people think Jesus is dead. Not so. He is risen. And he totally wants a personal, spirital relationship with you. You can meet him face to face (in a spiritual way of course).

Learn how at church. Study the Bible book of John with us. Or join our webinar study group. Email me. See address in My Profile.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Yield and Pray

Years ago I knew a good mechanic, stubborn but good. He could fix anything. As time went by things changed. The world of mechanics changed, but stubborn old Dwane held on to the good old ways. Never would, never did he yield to the invasion of that foreign metric stuff. After a while there wasn’t much he could fix. Didn’t have the right tools. Wouldn’t give in to the new realities of a global economy.

It’s hard to give in, to surrender, to yield, to change. Doing so makes us feel like what we have been doing is somehow wrong or flawed. And if it is, then shame on us for not doing (or even knowing) what’s right.

How do you think Jesus’ followers felt when he introduced his “new” teaching? They were extremely nervous but actually very courageous. And how about the religious leaders of his day? No way would they even consider his “new” teaching. To do so would bring upon their heads unbelievable and catastrophic shame. No man could endure that. So their cowardly response to Jesus was outright hostility. Eliminate this source of shame.

What new teaching did Jesus bring? Throughout the Gospels we read about Jesus showing people how to pray, how to think and act, and how to relate to others. He taught people how to please God and live in a way that gave him glory. He taught how to act when things don’t go our way. He taught about what we should do after we have sinned. He taught us that we should love our enemies, and that our gifts, talents and possessions are not really ours. This new teaching felt like an invasion. And no wonder, because Jesus was bringing to the church of that day an invasion of heavenly teaching.

In the months to come I will be considering the Gospel teachings (Jesus’ heavenly invasion) in light of another invasion, the technological/data invasion of the 21st century. And I invite you if you are daring enough to seek out, yield to, and stand for Jesus’ new teaching to face, with me, the challenges of the 21st century.

My plan is to start with 100 Ways to Pray. Shoot me a quick email if you feel like it’s the right time for you to risk the adventure of a deeper relationship with Jesus. pastordale