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Thursday, January 30, 2014

From unceasing thinking to unceasing prayer

Your mind is always active.

Maybe I should say it this way:  My mind is always active.

I am constantly analyzing, reflecting, daydreaming or dreaming.

There is not a moment during the day or night when we are not thinking.

I would suggest that we use a biblical word to describe this part of our lives:  "Unceasing".

We think unceasingly.

There are times when I think to myself - "I wish I could just stop thinking for a while; that would save me from a lot of worry, guilt and fear."

Like a lot of things that God gives us, our greatest gift from him can be the source of our greatest pain.

So, what do we do?

Do we have to live in bondage to our own thoughts?

Here's one solution:  Convert your unceasing thinking into unceasing prayer.

Turn that inner monologue with yourself into a continuing dialogue with God - who is the source of love, peace and joy.

God really does want to listen to all that you are thinking about. 

When you are worried - talk to God about it - and be filled with peace.

When you are filled with guilt - talk to God about it - and receive His forgiveness.

When you are filled with fear - talk to God about it - and be filled with joy.

It's what Paul meant when he said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to, "Pray continually, to pray without ceasing, or to pray unceasingly."

Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

All things work together for good

The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28 (which we will look at this evening):

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

I would suggest that more than any other verse in the Bible, this verse has been misused, misquoted and misunderstood.

Who hasn't walked through a trial and had some well-meaning saint tell them, "don't worry, all things work together for good."

And you feel even worse.  Whose good are we talking about here?

When I am sick, it doesn't feel good to me!

While Romans 8:28 is a promise to you and I as believers in Christ, and while it is a word of assurance, and while it is a word of assurance to us in "all things", we must understand what the word "good" means.

"And we know that in all things God works (and I am thankful that He works for me) for the "good" of those who love Him."

Is Paul saying that whatever happens is good?  No.

Is Paul saying that suffering and evil and tragedy are good?  No.

Is Paul saying everything will work out if we just have enough faith?  No.

Is he saying that we will be able to understand why God allowed tragedy to come?  No.

Then what is Paul saying?

Here's what I know:  With this verse - we learn that God is erecting a sign over the unexplainable mysteries of life - a sign which reads, "Quiet.  God is at work."

How?  That's the mystery.  We are not always sure.  To what end?  Good, not evil.

God is not saying that all things are good but that he works His ways and His will together to accomplish His good (which is different from our good - which is to feel better, have more money, be in good healthy, have a good job, a good house, and be in a good relationship).

Here's the deal - God's bottom line:  God's good for us is not our comfortability but our conformity to Christ.

In other words, think long term.

In the short run, the individual ingredients in a cake mix are not necessarily good to eat on their own - flour, sugar, baking soda, eggs, oil, but when they are mixed together the taste is definitely good. 

Don't short change or run from that trial that you are experiencing today.  But instead embrace it, knowing that God is up to something "good" in your life. 

Just a thought for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Taking what is simple and making it complex

Sometimes we take what is simple and make it complex.
We listen to sermons about prayer, we have Bible Studies about prayer - when it isn't all that complicated.
Pastor H.B. Charles tells the following story about a woman he knew who showed up at church and prayed the same simple prayer.
"O Lord, thank you Jesus," she prayed week after week. The kids at church would start laughing every time she opened her mouth because they knew it would be the same prayer—"O Lord, thank you Jesus."
Finally somebody asked her, "Why do you pray the same little prayer?"
She said, "Well, I'm just combining the two prayers that I know. We live in a bad neighborhood and some nights there are bullets flying and I have to grab my daughter and hide on the floor, and in that desperate state all I know how to cry out is, 'O Lord.' But when I wake up in the morning and see that we're okay I say, 'Thank you Jesus.' When I got to take my baby to the bus stop and she gets on that bus and I don't know what's going to happen to her while she's away, I cry, 'O Lord.' And then when 3:00 P.M. comes and that bus arrives and my baby is safe, I say, 'Thank you Jesus.'"
She said, "Those are the only two prayers I know and when I get to church God has been so good I just put my two prayers together, "O Lord, thank you Jesus."
Sometimes we make what is simple - complex.
God just wants to communicate with you today.
Just a thought for a Tuesday.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

Many, many thanks to Stephanie for leading us in worship.  Well done!

Thanks to the worship team for coming out in the bad weather.  We appreciate your faithfulness!

I was really thankful for how many people DID come out yesterday for our Sunday morning worship services.

You are such a great church family!

Part II of the sermon, "How can I change in 2014" will be this Sunday morning, February 2nd.

Valentine's Day Party, Saturday evening, February 8, 6:00 P.M.  Child Care for children under 5.  Great food (catered), guest speaker and Karaoke!

It is going to be a blast!

Sign up by this Sunday morning, February 2nd.

$10.00 per person.

This is truly a winter to remember!  I guess we have been spoiled the last few winters.

It will make the spring and summer all the more enjoyable.

I had the privilege of meeting some new parents at Upward Basketball last Saturday morning.  The ministry continues to attract folks from our community!

Just a reminder:  This is the year of "outward connection."

We encourage you to invite a friend - and bring them!

It doesn't matter what you are doing in God's Kingdom that matters - all that matters is that you are doing what God has called you to do.

Mercy always, always triumphs over judgment.

I would ask that you would seek out someone to be kind to today - without any thought of receiving something in return.  Remember:  People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.  Love them anyway.

I Corinthians 13.

Stay warm, my friends!

Love you all........

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Different kinds of prayers

Last evening, I was asked to give the different kinds of prayers (that I mentioned in the teaching) in a format where it could be read - thus this blog.

The scriptures teach us that there are different ways that we can pray (this list is not exhaustive).

God encourages us, each and every day to pray:

Prayers of prevention.

This is a request for divine protection in the midst of an ungodly world that bombards us with evil all day, every day.

From the time you wake up - until  you go to bed at night - and even while you are sleeping - you and I are in spiritual danger from the enemy.  Satan is against you and the world's system is against you - and we are to be watchful of his attacks.

Don't be like the desert nomad who awakened hungrily one night and decided he'd have a midnight snack.

Lighting a candle, he grabbed a date and took a bite.

Holding the date to the candle, he saw a worm, whereupon he threw the date out of the tent.  Biting into the second date, he found another worm and threw it away, also.

Deciding he might not get anything to eat if this continued, he blew out the candle and ate the dates.

Sometimes we prefer the darkness of denial to the light of the truth.

Every day, ask for protection from the evil one.

Prayers of protection.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing but the body is week."

Here's what I know:  Spiritual protection from the attacks of the enemy is not automatic.

God waits upon us to pray.

Pray something like, "God, protect me form this assault and keep my mind focused on you and your work and give me the power to be diligent in prayer and to overcome this temptation."

Prayers of rebuke.

Jude 1:9 tells us, "but even the archangel Michael, when he was disrupting with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

You can rebuke the enemy because of the authority and power that is within you.  You can pray a rebuking prayer and demand that Satan be silent in his fiery darts and accusations.

Prayers of dismissal.

Jesus said, "Away from me, Satan," in Matthew 4:10.

You can pray, "You spirit of confusion, rejection, fear, anxiety, I demand that you leave in the name of Jesus."

This type of prayer uncovers the enemy's hiding place and releases a direct arrow of light causing him to flee.

Prayers in your spiritual language.

Praying in the Spirit, or praying in tongues edifies or build you up to make you sensitive to know the needs of others so that you can effectively pray for them and for your own needs.

Many times we do not know what to pray for or how to pray for it.  Or we have prayed for something so much, that we have "used up" all of the ways we know how to pray for something.

That is when we can use the spiritual language that God has given us and pray in the spirit.  And when we pray in the spirit, we find that it is the Holy Spirit (or God) speaking to God the Father, and when God is speaking to God - God will answer his own prayers!

Know this:  By praying in the Spirit, I am introducing God's power into my difficult situation.

Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Walking in the "Groan Zone".

Have you ever been in a situation where all you could do was groan before God?  I have.  Several times.

What do you do when you enter the "Groan Zone?"

That's our subject this evening at "Pure Worship"  (church-wide prayer meeting starts at 6:00 P.M.).

Paul writes in Romans 8:27,27, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

Here's what I know:  You are not alone when you are in the groan zone.

The Holy Spirit will help you.  He is our comforter.

The Holy Spirit helps us "in our weakness."

Without a hand in the glove, a glove is useless.  It will just lie there.  But when a hand is put into a glove, that glove comes alive and begins to act.

We are gloves.  It is the Holy Spirit in us who is the hand, who actively helps us in a time of need.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:10, "For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Why don't people pray?  Because it costs - it costs honesty.  "God, I need your help in this situation!"

The Holy Spirit helps us when we are perplexed about what to pray for.

We all reach a point in our lives where we don't know what to pray for - whether it is our need or someone else's need.

That's why there is no "right" or "wrong" way to pray when you and I are in pain.

God doesn't expect us to pray a highly theological prayer filled with big words.  He just wants us to converse with Him with our heart.

So, when we realize that we are without the Holy Spirit in us we are weak -  and when we realize that we many times do not know how to pray, the Spirit begins to himself "intercede" for us.

Powerful, powerful stuff.

The Spirit intercedes in our hearts for us, the Son intercedes before the father for us (Hebrews 7:25).

Do you realize that right now, as you read this, Jesus is praying specific prayers for you in heaven before God the Father?

In other words, we have two perfect prayer partners interceding for us at all times.

The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with "groans that words cannot express."

This speaks of praying in the Spirit, or praying in my prayer language.  When I pray in the prayer language that God has given me, it introduces God's power into my difficult situation.

When I don't know how to pray about a situation, as I pray in my prayer language it is God's Spirit praying through me to God Himself - and how many know that when God hears one of his own prayers - He is going to answer that prayer?

That is the power of praying in your spiritual language

When you are walking into a difficult meeting at work, begin praying in the Spirit as you walk in (softly and to yourself!).

When you are walking into the hospital to pray for someone, walk in praying in the Spirit.  And God's spirit and God's anointing will be with you.

We need the Holy Spirit!  I need the Holy Spirit!

Just a thought for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


More and more, I am learning that we choose to believe what we believe.

It all goes back to perceptions - and the way we decide to look at something.

If I choose to look at something in a positive light - I will be positive.

If I choose to look at something in a negative light - I will be negative.

And it is interesting that along with the choices that we make to form our perceptions, we can be quick to rush to judgment.

Here's the thought of the day:  Understand the context of what you are hearing or seeing, and then make a decision as to how you will interpret the event (or what you have heard).


Everything has a context.

For example, you hear of someone getting upset in a certain situation - there can be a rush to judgment about their anger, until you understand the context.  The circumstances surrounding the event.


One day an old man was casually walking along a country lane with his dog and his mule. Suddenly a speeding pick-up truck careened around the corner, knocking the man, his mule, and his dog into the ditch.

The old man decided to sue the driver of the truck, seeking to recoup the cost of the damages. While the old man was on the stand, the counsel for the defense cross-examined the man by asking a simple question: "I want you to answer 'yes' or 'no' to the following question: Did you or did you not say at the time of the accident that you were 'perfectly fine'"?

And the man said, "Well, me and my dog and my mule were walking along the road … " And the counsel for defense said, "Stop, stop, I asked you, tell me 'yes' or 'no', did you say you were 'perfectly fine' at the time of the accident?"

"Well, me and my dog and my mule were walking along the road and … " The defense attorney appealed to the judge. "Your honor," he said, "the man is not answering the question. Would you please insist that he answer the question?" The judge said, "Well, he obviously wants to tell us something. Let him speak."

So the man said, "Well, me and my dog and my mule were walking along the road and this truck came around the corner far too fast, knocked us into the ditch. The driver stopped, got out of his truck, saw my dog was badly injured, went back to his truck, got his rifle, and he shot it. Then he saw that my mule had broken his leg so he shot it. 

Then he said, 'How are you?' And I said, 'I'm perfectly fine.'"

Sometimes what you have heard about a situation or even seen does not dictate the perception that you have - or whether or not your perception is correct.

It all depends upon the context.

Put things into context today, my friends.  Get all the facts.  Realize that there are two sides to every story.

Just a thought for a Tuesday.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

I remain "jazzed" about all of the parents and kids who come to Upward Basketball on Saturdays mornings - from outside of our church family.

Truly, this is a powerful outreach to our community!

BTW, one of our goals is to start Upward Soccer in the spring of 2015.  I would ask that you be in prayer with us concerning this endeavor.

Debbie and I were taken to (my second) (her first) Chicago Blackhawks game this past Friday by Bill and Collette Vandervelde.  We had a great time!

That sport can be addicting, especially when you see it in person.

Loved hearing the National Anthem song, with over 22,000 people cheering during the entire presentation!

I understand that we were fortunate to go to one of the best games of the year - against the Anaheim Ducks - who are one of the best teams in the league.

The game is so fast - faster than you can really tell on television.

The Seattle Seahawk's Richard Sherman is a very self-assured young man (note his interview after the game yesterday).

Denver - Seattle in the Super Bowl.  Offense versus Defense.  Should be a great game.  My prediction as to the score - coming next week.

Our "snowbirds" our heading to Florida for the winter this week (from Stone Church).  May that have safe travels is our prayer.

Every few weeks, we have a service that stands out above the rest.  Yesterday was one of those days for me.

Excellent worship.  Many, many thanks to our worship team - lead by Pastor Amanda.

Great spirit of relationship.

I trust that you are catching our theme (vision) for 2014.  The year of outward connection.  Again, we encourage you to invite and bring someone either to a small group or to one of our Sunday morning services!

Grateful for two families who visited yesterday.

God continues to do great things in the midst of a long, cold and snowy winter!

Love you all......

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Beautiful worship

In the context of the holiness of the Lord, God provides a special glory to those who worship Him.

1 Chronicles 16:29 tells us, "Worship the Lord in the Splendor (In the king James Version, the "beauty of holiness") of his holiness."

Here's a great question:  How can  you ever be "beautiful enough to worship God?

Here's what I know:  The Bible is speaking of a beauty that flows out of worship.

Worship is intended to create something beautiful in our lives.

Don't forget this:  God doesn't need our worship - We need to worship Him!

Go to Isaiah 6 with me.

The Bible tells us here that Isaiah has a vision:

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple."

Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying."

And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!"

This is the heart of worship.  Even though we are incomplete, unworthy and inadequate, we are able to come into the presence of the most holy God.

And as we worship Him, He comes and touches us with His life and power - and makes something beautiful out of our lives.

By his touch, he purges us and prepares us for the next stage in our walk with Him.

Please know that his holiness is not revealed to us to intimidate us.

He doesn't say, "Look how holy I am!  Now I will humiliate you."

He says, "Come into the presence of my holiness, and there you will discover your need.  But fear not:  My holiness is designed to answer your need."

In the beauty of worship, we come and see His awesome holiness.  

Do you long to be holy?  To you long to experience the beauty of his worship?

Just some thoughts for a Thursday.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I don't deserve this

Once when comedian Bob Hope received a major award he responded, "I don't deserve this, but then I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either."

What do you have that you feel you don't deserve?

What are you walking through, some kind of negative, harmful experience that you honestly feel you didn't deserve - and you says, "Hey, I don't deserve this?"

It's called suffering.  It is called pain.

We are going to wrestle with this (Romans 8:18-27) - this evening at "Pure Worship"  (Don't forget we have a prayer meeting at 6:00 P.M.)

We all have gone through things that we feel we don't deserve - and we ask, "Why me, Lord?  What Have I ever done to deserve even one of the troubles I am in?"

Here's what I know:  As a follower of Christ, you and I will experience pain and suffering.  No one is exempt.

I read this week that at the Nicene Council, an important church meeting in the 4th century (A.D.) - of the 318 delegates attending, FEWER than 12 had NOT  lost an eye or lost a hand or did not limp on a leg lamed by torture for their Christian faith.

Most Christian types deal with suffering in one of four ways (that we will look at this evening):  Denial, anger, blame, and/or acceptance - learning from it.

God will use suffering to help us grow in him.  Proverbs 20:30 tells us, "Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways."

God will uses our trials to motivate us, to get us going and to get us in gear.

Again, people don't change until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of changing.

Outline for tonight from Romans 8:18-27?

Your suffering is temporary (read verse 19-22).  Your suffering is educational (verses 23-25).  Your suffering is beneficial (verses 26-27).

All of that is hard to accept however.

How can cancer be beneficial?  How can the loss of a job be beneficial?  How can a broken marriage be beneficial?

How can public humiliation be beneficial?  How can tears at midnight be beneficial?

Paul teaches us that our suffering reveals our weakness.  It strips away the mask of self-sufficiency and reveals our utter helplessness.  It forces us to confront our own inabilities.

It propels us to be totally dependent upon God and trust in Him.

In Holding on to Hope, Nancy Guthrie writes:

"We had Hope for 199 days (their little baby).  We loved her.  We enjoyed her richly and shared her with everyone we could.  We held her during seizures.  Then we let her go.

The day after we buried Hope, my husband said to me, "You know, I think we expected our faith to make this hurt less, but it doesn't."

Our faith gave us an incredible amount of strength and encouragement while we had Hope, and we were comforted by the knowledge that she is in heaven.  Our faith  keeps us from being swallowed by despair.

But I don't think it makes our loss hurt any less.

Early on in my journey, I said to God, "Okay, if I have to go through this, then give me everything.  Teach me everything you want to teach me through this.  Don't let this incredible pain be wasted in my life!"

God...allows good and bad into our lived and we can trust him with both...trusting God when the miracle does not come, when the urgent prayer gets no answer, when there is only darkness - this is the kind of faith God values most of all....

I believe that the purpose of Hope's short life, and my life, was an is to glorify God."

Powerful stuff for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Contradictions and our walk with Christ

Life can be one huge contradiction.

We can be at home, while feeling homeless.

We can be busy, while feeling bored.

We can be in a crowd, while feeling lonely.

We can be a believer in Christ, while experiencing many doubts about God which can frustrate, irritate and even discourage us.

These are contradictions.

We can feel holy, while at the same time be dealing with sin in our lives.

We can feel victorious in our faith, while dealing with some kind of infirmity.

Every door that opens for us can lead us to see how many more doors were closed.

There will be contradictions in your life.

But here's what I also know:  These same contradictions can bring you into touch with a deeper longing for the fulfillment of a desire that lives beneath all desires and that only God can satisfy.

What am I saying?  I am saying that the contradictions of your life, if you correctly understand them, create the desire and the longing to move toward God.

French philosopher Blaise Pascal once wrote that, "in every human being's heart there is a hole that only Jesus Christ can fill."

Why not let Jesus fill up that contradiction today?

Just a thought for a Tuesday.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

I can't tell you how thrilling it is to see parents and children in the Stone Church gym on Saturday mornings, participating in the ministry of Upward Basketball!

Most of the people participating are not from our church - truly it is a wonderful outreach to the community!

We encourage all of you to drop by and "meet and greet" those who come.

God is doing a great work!

I love it when God moves spontaneously.  At the end of the second service, a young lady came forward for prayer, and the Holy Spirit led us to open the appeal to everyone dealing with "rejection."

Many came down for prayer - and then what a powerful sense of worship and praise!

Truly, we can put Satan "under our feet" - with God's authority and power within us!

Wonderful seeing visitors yesterday - we encourage you to invite others to come to one of our services (if not a life group) - handing them the card stating that if they come and turn in the card - they will get a free $5.00 gift card to Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks.

Our challenge is to invite and bring one person per month to a Stone Church service!

Friends, you can do this!  I believe in you!

This is a challenge for each one of us - those involved and a ministry and those who aren't!  We all have the responsibility to pick up our yearly theme of, "The Year of Outward Connection."

We are to share, we are to pray for folks to come to salvation and then we are to support them!

God is going to send his Spirit - and He does so - so that we might be His witnesses!

I am excited about 2014!

Our office staff is excited!

What I didn't get to yesterday in my teaching:

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works."

Our English word "poem" comes form the Greek word translated, "workmanship."

In other words, YOU are God's handcrafted work of art.

You are not an assembly line product, mass produced without thought.  You are a custom-designed, one of a kind, original masterpiece.

God deliberately shaped and formed you to serve him in a way that makes your ministry unique.

He carefully mixed the DNA cocktail that created you.  David praised God for this incredible personal attention to detail in Psalms 139:13,14, "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous."

As we said to ourselves yesterday, "God doesn't make junk."

Love you all.....

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Holding our ground

"Why doesn't God do something about the mess we live in - in the world?"

That is the mantra of the world we live in.

In a world that is full of cultural, political and economic turmoil - as will as immense human suffering, God will often be ridiculed because of his so-called ineffectiveness.

And, as a result, we as people of faith, Christ-followers are ridiculed as well.

"Well, you believe there is a loving God, let YOUR GOD doing something about this mess," some will say.

Or worse yet, people will consider a relationship with Christ to be irrelevant, while others still go one step further - they consider Christ-followers to be THE obstacle to the world solving its problems.

In a sense, Jesus predicted this when he told his followers that they would be persecuted, arrested, tortured, and killed (as he was).

As a follower of Christ, people will misunderstand you, say your God doesn't exist (or at best ignore God) and then turn around and blame that same God (and you) for the ills of the world.

It comes "lose-lose" for us - UNLESS:

Unless we realize that Christ also told us to not worry but to trust in him at all times.

Luke 21:14,15 tells us, "Make up your minds not to prepare your defense, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict."

My word of encouragement to you today:  Don't be intimidated or fearful of the skepticism and cynicism of the culture we live in, but trust that God will give you the strength to hold your ground.

Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Only Jesus was truly free

Did you know that only Jesus was truly free?

His freedom was rooted in His spiritual awareness that God was His Father.  That He was and is a child of God.

He understood the depth of that relationship before he was born (He is the same, yesterday, today and forever).

Jesus also knew his "raison d'etre" his "reason for being."

He really grasped that he was sent into this world to share of God's love, and that he would return to God after his mission was fulfilled.

Not to be trite, but I can visually see God giving Jesus a "thumbs up" after the resurrection.

Why is this important?

Because knowing all of this, Jesus was free to speak and act without having to please the world and the power to respond to people's pains with the healing love of God.

He was by no means addicted to the approval of men and women.  He knew his "what, when, where and why".

That's why the Bible states in Luke 6:19, "Everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of hum that cured them all."

What are the lessons?

Realize who you are in God.

Understand your life mission or purpose.

Strive for God's approval and everything else will fall into place.

And you will be truly free.

Just a thought for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


Our church lost a great veteran of the faith this week.

Cecil Swanson.

Through thick and thin, over the past 40 years, he was a pillar of our church.  A patriarch of our church.

He will be missed greatly.

Cecil loved God, his family and his church.  Both he and Jeanette helped and served literally hundreds of people over the years.  God used them both greatly.

A few weeks ago, we as a church gathered around the altar to worship God.  As we were worshiping, I felt led by the Holy Spirit to lay hands on each person and pray that the Holy Spirit would touch them.

As I came to Cecil, he was already crying, hands lifted up in praise to God.

Praising God at 90 years of age - as if he were new in the faith.

What a testimony!

Let me take Cecil's first name and use it to describe him:

C - Consistent.

Cecil was consistent in his faith.  Every Sunday, he was here worshipping God (sitting to my right - half way back on the right side).  Stone Church was his life and passion.  God was first place in his life.  Truly he "sought first the kingdom of God and then all these things were added unto him."

E - Encouraging.

Cecil always had a word of encouragement for everyone he met.  God used him not only at Stone Church, but as a greeter at Christ Hospital.  You never left his presence without feeling uplifted.

C - Constant

Cecil was always constant in his prayer life; always in conversation with God; always worshipping God; always looking to help his fellow person.

I - Involved

Over the years, through the ups and downs of our church, Cecil (and Jeanette) were always there, involved in the "goings on" of our church.  At several points in our church's history, they were the glue that held everything together.  Our church has been blessed to have such pillars in the faith!

L - Loving

Cecil was a man who exuded the love of God.  Many in our church can testify of his love for them.  A love that was unconditional.  A love that reached out to those who were "down and out" - it didn't matter, both he and Jeanette lived to love and to serve the hurting, the wounded and the disadvantaged.

The Bible says in Psalms 116:15, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."

Death in God's eyes is precious because there is no more suffering in heaven, there is no  more sickness, there is no more separation (and Cecil is now with Jeanette).

One day, we will all (as Christians) be gathered around the throne room of God - and reunited with pillars in the faith such as Cecil.

I am looking forward to that day - how about you?

Just a thought for a Tuesday.