Thursday, August 31, 2006

Treasure In Jars of Clay

Do we realize the treasure that we possess? The indwelling Holy Spirit of God, is within each Christ-Follower. 2 Cor 4:77 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.Meditate on the treasure within. The very Holy Spirit of God dwells within you. Through out your day, read about it. Think about it. Pray about it. Live like the Holy Spirit dwells within you.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Unique Ministry Encourages Christian Families in Business VenturesEd Thomas/TN (Aug 15, 2006)"Entrepreneurship is a Biblical concept."

Agape Press reports that a ministry called Vision Forum Ministries is helping encourage Christian families in business ventures through what they call Entrepreneurial Boot Camp for Christian Families.

Vision Forum's founder, Doug Phillips, is quoted as saying each three-day Entrepreneurial Boot Camp uses Biblical examples to show the value of entrepreneurial efforts for discipleship in the family setting. "It pictures the family as a place of different generations working together," he explains, and the program teaches that even in the process of working, entrepreneurship is "part of the discipleship model that God gives us."

That model reportedly teaches that wealth can raise up God's people and their families for kingdom purposes and keep them together.

"So while entrepreneurship may not be the answer to all problems, it certainly is a component to rebuilding the Christian family," Phillips contends. "When we think of the Psalms that talk about righteous and blessed men, we always see them in the context of men who are enjoying the fruit of their labor with their children around them," he notes. "So entrepreneurship is a Biblical concept."

But, part of the problem, adds Phillips, is that most of the world's business models separate families, which can wreak havoc on families. "The tragedy is that because modern families have become so incredibly fragmented -- because they cannot see beyond the present -- the result is we are not mighty in the land," Phillips asserts. And another result, he adds, is that "we are losing the hearts of our children."



Incredible OddsJane Perlez/TN (Aug 28, 2006)Lina Joy says she has felt "more peace in [her] spirit and soul after having become a Christian."

The New York Times has published an extraordinary article about Lina Joy, a Malaysian woman who converted from Islam to Christianity eight years ago, and since then has endured extraordinary hurdles in her desire to marry the man in her life.

Five years ago she reportedly started proceedings in the civil courts to seek the right to marry her Christian fiancé and have children. In an affidavit to a lower civil court in 2000, she is quoted as saying she felt "more peace in my spirit and soul after having become a Christian."
Her name is currently said to be a household word in a predominately Muslim country. She is arguing that Malaysia's Islamic Shariah courts, which control such matters as marriage, property and divorce, do not have jurisdiction over her, but civil courts have said Malays cannot renounce Islam, because the Constitution defined Malays to be Muslims. It has created a firestorm of street protests and death threats.

Since then, says reporter Jane Perlez, threats against Ms. Joy had become so insistent, and the passions over her conversion so inflamed, he had concluded there was no room for her and her fiancé in Malaysia.

Joy's lawyer, Benjamin Dawson, said "Malaysia is at a crossroads. Do we go down the Islamic road, or do we maintain the secular character of the federal constitution that has been eroding in the last 10 years?"

Monday, August 28, 2006

Can't Stop Thinking About You!

Joshua 1:5-9 Following in the footsteps of a great leader is never easy. There are always self doubts and than comparisons to others. Moses told him what to do but now he gets personal guidance directly from God; the promise that God will always be with him.

God had before spoken to Moses concerning him but now he speaks directly to Joshua. On this day the Father gives Joshua His divine blessings and instructions. He receives infinite wisdom, and encouragements by the God of all consolation. The Lord knows the weakness of our hearts and He repeatedly tells Joshua son of Nun to be strong and very courageous.

He knows the weakness of our frames and the trials and victories He has mapped out for us; and has promised every provision for the journey. Yet with every promise of God there comes a requirement. The “string attached to this gift” is again obedience. Hiding His word in my heart that I might not sin against Him; this is accomplished by meditating upon His words day and night.

Remember Moses, how I was with him? I will be with you in this too and you will posses the land that I promised to your forefathers. All I ask is that obedience; this is more than just route memorization of the Law. This is total immersion where we encounter the God of the “law” through His word.

God is saying, “you are on my thoughts all the time; there is not one moment I am not thinking of you. I remember all of my promises and choose to forget all of your iniquity. I am not a senile old man who foolishly gives all of his estate to ungrateful grandkids; no, I do all of this for love. One thing I ask of you; seek me with all of your heart and attempt to think as many thoughts about me as I think of you.” “Oh, and while you are meditating upon my word and than living it out you will discover an amazing transformation happens. You begin to emerge from your cocoon of sleep and slumber only to realize that I am make you more like myself. I am transforming you into the beautiful one I have always seen.”

Friday, August 25, 2006

Obedience is best!

Deuteronomy 28:1-14

This is the familiar blessing and cursing chapter of the Old Testament, it is much more than the prosperity promises. This is not about a God who is mostly mad and wants to squish weak little humans. It displays God’s heart toward His children. He wants to come and find habitation in their midst. If they prepare a home for Him; not one made of wood, stone, precious metals, or human hands, but a place within their hearts.

There is no good thing He will withhold from them if they give their whole hearts towards full obedience. Their food, clothing, homes, jobs, children, gardens and livestock will all be blessed. He proclaimed these blessings from Him would overtake them. You can’t out run the blessing of God; there is no place to hide that His hands can’t reach out to bless you. They would come regardless of external circumstances. This is the moment when the Heavenly Father declares to His own children the blessings He will lavish upon them.

These blessing where and are conditional. They require obedience which is turning our hearts and ears towards Him. Hearing and obey His voice above the noise of the crowd. You get these blessings when you obey His commands because that is submitting to the leadership of our Bridegroom.

Disobedience carries consequences that were as horrifying as the blessings were good. Jesus has not excused us from total and full obedience. No, He has empowered us to want it; to seek after it not primarily for the physical blessings but for deeper fellowship with the Godhead. He gives us the power to change and be transformed by the precious Holy Spirit.

Lord, I want to yield my heart to you more and more. Yes the blessing are an attraction, but the little glimpses I have seen of the God/Man Jesus make me want you more. I may fall, but the longing to be nearer, closer, more intimate with you compels me to get back up. Obedience is better than sacrifice or repentance; love is better than obligation or coercion. I want the things of your heart, come and give me the things of your heart. Not by strength, nor by power, but by Your Spirit. --Amen

The Scriptures Are Being Fulfilled...The foundation is being laid!

A microchip company with powerful political connections is lobbying the Pentagon for the right to implant chips under the skins of the nearly 1.4 million U.S. military personnel. VeriChip Corp., which is based in Florida and planning to offer its stock to the public soon, has been one of the most aggressive marketers of radio frequency identification chips. Company officials have touted the chips as versatile, able to be used in a variety of situations such as helping track illegal immigrants or giving doctors immediate access to patient's medical records.Click on the title to go to Verichip's site.

Rev 13:17
17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dear Church

Hello friends. This is a bit longer than normal. I haven't read the book and don't know the author but find the article interesting. I know some of you would too! Read if you've got time.

Today's Guest: Sarah Cunningham, Author of 'Dear Church'
It's a pleasure to have author, Sarah Cunningham with us here today. Her book, "Dear Church: Letters From A Disillusioned Generation", recently hit the shelves and will likely do well -- especially among younger and younger-minded readers who have become disenchanted with the institutional church and yet desire to be people of passionate faith and devoted followers of Jesus.
I recently completed an interview with Sarah which we'll use to kick things off today. Hopefully, you've gotten a chance to read or skim through her book, but even if you haven't, feel free to post your questions or comments here for Sarah. She'll be checking-in throughout the day to post responses, and the dialog promises to be excellent.
IN ADDITION... Sarah will be my guest for a special Skypecast this evening, at 7:00pm, Pacific (10:00pm, Eastern). This will be a great opportunity for you to ask questions and dialog with Sarah LIVE ( * a Skypecast is similar to a "conference call"). If you don't yet have Skype, you can get it here for free.

Okay then, enough preliminaries. Here's my recent interview with Sarah Cunningham:

"Dear Church" is filled with twentysomething-related statistics. What was it like for you personally, immersing yourself in studies and findings about you, and your generation?

Great question. For a while, I lived in the books, scouring the library systems, college networks, and internet for anything and everything that had been written about my generation. The result was bittersweet. It was comforting and a little bit validating to realize I wasn't alone in some of my perceptions and struggles with organized religion. And yet, at the same time, the fact that so many people strongly identified with my disillusionment was flat out sad. In the end though, the research served as fuel to press forward. I began to see that if I stumbled upon an honorable approach for processing my own disillusionment, I might aid others in their own journeys beyond disillusionment.

For twentysomethings involved in institutional churches, is it inevitable that "disillusionment happens"? Is there something inherent in the DNA of all institutional churches that causes this, and if so, has it always been there?

Disillusionment is definitely part of the church and, of course, in life in general. But I like that you hint at its timeless nature. Since the beginning of time, God has been outlining principles that lead us to the most fulfilling human existence--life as He intended it to be. However, historically, mankind has drifted on and off the path God spotlights, to suit our own convenience or pleasure. Inevitably, as you say it, our results often fall short of God's intended life for us. We end up short on wholesomeness, on peace, on purpose, etc.
But while every generation has experienced disillusionment, and while every person experiences disappointment at some level, the intensity and duration of a person's frustrations may vary. Some may barely blink at the low points in their church experience. Still others may be completely sidelined. Some of that has to do with the nature and scale of events that prompt the disillusionment and some of it has to do with how the person chooses to respond to letdowns.

What role do the tenants of individualism play in creating and/or nurturing disillusionment with one's church?

In the church, individualism is a serial killer. Individualism lures us in with promise of positives, nurturing an exaggerated sense of self-importance and personal rights. But, if we become too immersed in it, individualism eventually tricks us into detaching from human community and worse yet, Christ himself. In effect, individualism dismembers the church.
Especially in America, we are surrounded by encouragement to protect our individualism at all costs. However, equal weight is rarely placed on discerning healthy boundaries as we pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For example, our own pursuits of happiness or accumulation of wealth etc. should not deplete another person or group's well-being. Our fullness should not be derived from emptying others.

But it is more difficult, internationally and in the church, to see the flip side of the coin, which suggests that sometimes I must allow my personal preferences to fade in order to benefit the whole.

We live today in a culture of "victimization" and of "victim's rights." Is this a factor in how twentysomethings are processing their disillusionment with the institutional Church, and why or why not?

I can't speak for everyone, but in my case, victimization was a factor. My frustrations were, at least at first, filtered through a sense of entitlement. I thought the church "owed" me a better, easier experience after my lifetime of membership. This mentality allowed me to escape or postpone my own responsibility and, I am guessing, it unnecessarily prolonged my disillusionment.
Local churches are undoubtedly "communities of flawed humans" - as you point out in the book. Does this change when it comes to alternative expressions of "Church"? And if not, what dangers do such alternative communities of faith face?

You're opening the door for a crucial point here. Alternative faith communities face the exact same dangers as the traditional church. ANY approach to faith can become institutionalized. For example, if there is even an implied suggestion that "truly authentic churches should meet in homes," we institutionalize house churches. If there is an implied suggestion that "truly relevant pastors should read Relevant Magazine," we institutionalize Relevant.
Now, of course, I don't deny that there are core habits and practices that DO produce spiritual growth. Things like devotion to prayer, worship, study of Scriptures, and community. But when we place rigid expectations that people pray at our 6 a.m. prayer services, that they buy up our recommended worship CDs, that they read our devotional materials, that they attend our Wednesday night services, we may short-circuit their otherwise natural tendency to pursue other experiences that God has customized for their growth.

The church must always--ALWAYS--guard against institutionalization. It takes away from our love of personal transformation; our love of craftsmanship! The assembly line method DOES get more products across the finish line, but in doing so, it often sacrifices quality. Along with the good, it churns out more defects, poorer-workmanship, and less-original products.
In your book, letters 11 and 12 offer solid suggestions for people to consider before leaving their local church. What have your research and observations taught you about people who leave prematurely?

There isn't a great deal of research available about what happens AFTER people leave the church. (Probably the data that hits closest to that mark is Barna's book, Revolution, which examines alternative faith movements.)

But I can tell you what makes sense to me logically, based on my own observations, and Biblically, based on the principles outlined by God. When we isolate ourselves from church--and by church, I mean all expressions of Christian community--we subtract from our own well-being. Relationships are vital for health. Period.

Also, when we leave prematurely, that is, before trying to work out our frustrations, we cheat ourselves out of additional growth and maturity. And we also cheat the church out of the opportunity to respond and perhaps improve upon their own attempts to represent God to their surrounding community.

In a similar vein to the suggestions you offer to those who are thinking of leaving their local church, what practical suggestions do you have for local churches who are facing the likely departure of twentysomethings from their congregations?

From a preventative perspective, church leaders would be wise to purposefully build and maintain relationships with people from a variety of age groups within the church. If they do this, they will be more likely to catch potential problems and they will have more credibility when it comes to sorting them out.

Reactively, though, they would be wise to hear out the perspectives of members, regardless of age. In this stage, I caution them not to assume their critic is an attacker...the disillusioned person may be speaking out of intense desire to see the church live up to its spiritual potential. The disillusioned may, in fact, be among the most willing to put large amounts of energy into solutions, if given the opportunity.

But, if church leaders have already demonstrated their commitment to relationships with twentysomethings, then I suggest there is also a time to challenge twentysomethings to rise above their disillusionment.

People are often surprised when I advise church leaders to push back against the concerns of twentysomethings. I guess they expect me to protect myself and my peers. But shielding us from time-worn wisdom is not really protective, is it? There is nothing healthy or wholesome about slowly yielding to disillusionment and losing hope, while veteran Christians sit back and anticipate your drowning.

There is too much evil and complacency in this world. Church leaders can't afford to be neutral or tentative in feedback regarding someone's spiritual health. Instead, if jaded people are regurgitating the same disillusionment story, I think there is a time to point them beyond it. "You know, I understand that some of these frustrations undermine the credibility of the church. But, I find that it can be really unhealthy to dwell on the negatives. It prevents you from seeing and participating in the good God is doing, despite our flaws. How can I help you focus on the positive?"

Most twentysomethings speak to each other very bluntly and authentically, and even though they may not love to be corrected or redirected, you may be surprised at how easily they receive direction when it is offered with vision for a better, wiser future.

There were several people who, I think, tried to hint that I should "get over" my disillusionment. But they hinted for the most part. They babied me, thinking they were doing me a favor. Sometimes, I think the very best thing they could have done was to reach across the room and strangle me (lovingly of course) and tell me I needed to buck up and grow up...and then cast a vision for maturity and steadfastness that I could respond to. It may not have always sounded like it, as I was rambling, but I genuinely wanted someone to help me out of the stage I was in.

Most evangelical congregations have seemed to place far more emphasis on avoiding the dangers of "dead orthodoxy" (thought to haunt the halls of mainline denominations), than in embracing the ancient, orthodox practices of our Christian faith. And yet, twentysomethings are increasingly participating in ancient forms of prayer, spiritual pilgrimages, and the joining of neo-monastic communities. Why is this, and is there anything that institutional churches can learn from it?

Twentysomethings were raised in a media-driven culture and are naturally suspicious of stunts, ploys, and marketing campaigns crafted to get their attention. For good or bad, we carry this suspicion with us into the spiritual arena as well. So when we are confronted with new Christian trends and conferences and books pitched as the end-all-beat-all answers, we can't help but wonder if the movement at hand will have any lasting value or whether it will be one more flash in the pan. Liturgy, on the other hand, speaks to us of a timeless, unchanging God who is not reliant on magic tricks or aces up the sleeve to get people into his congregations. There is something proven, and therefore credible, about practices that extend back to ancient times.

In congregations where Spirit-inspired "vision" is married to a "passion" to accept and care for people like Jesus did (e.g. the poor, the marginalized, the hurting), are twentysomethings more willing to live with their church-related disappointments and become less likely to leave?

Interesting question. In my personal case, the answer is "yes," but I haven't studied this particular facet of disillusionment enough to be able to speak for the masses.
I will speculate a little though. Logically speaking, joining a church is somewhat similar to deciding to marry. You realize, at least at some level, that your spouse/church is flawed. And although you hope your partner continually improves, you believe you can live with the flaws you are aware of.

Along these lines, there are likely some flaws that many twentysomethings would be willing to live with (a lack of polish, for example) and there are other flaws that twentysomethings would be FAR less likely to tolerate. On this specific question, as a pretty reliable rule, twentysomethings value people from diverse groups. And when there is tension between people and procedure, in most twentysomethings' minds, people should win out.

When considering the plethora of shortcomings within the institutional church, one quickly feels overwhelmed. Is it possible, therefore, for either institutional churches or alternative communities of faith to sufficiently address all these things in order to become "all things to all people"? Where should new faith communities begin?

While we should, as you noted, strive to be all things to all people, the key here is not eliminating all potential flaws or shortcomings. That is a losing battle. Instead, Christian communities would be well served to acquaint their people with the breadth of Biblical teachings that are instructive about how to rightly respond to hardship. "As much as you try to prevent problems, they will come, be ready for it" is a better message because it promotes preparedness, more open communication, and receptiveness to outside help when problems do surface.
There is some wisdom, however, in being preventative by having ongoing honest discussions about the importance of self-management. Personal pride, selfishness, or lack of accountability can have fierce costs for the kingdom. In this way, many churches could probably improve on the "instant salvation" message offered via sinner prayers and the like by teaching a lifestyle of faith in which the Christian, although securely accepted by God, constantly re-examines himself and realigns himself with God and his teachings.

Now that "Dear Church" has been published, are you finding that there's something you wished you had said that you didn't?

I think Dear Church accurately captures the lesson from that stage of my life. But I do not plan on allowing the contents of Dear Church to be the grand finale of my spiritual journey. Since the time the manuscript was finished, I am glad to report, disillusionment seems to have run its course in my life and much healthier, more content days have dawned.

In the future, I have little to no desire to become a trendy voice on disillusionment for my generation--there will and should be other topics as God does other things in me and in our world. And I pray that my life and my continued commitments firmly on the other side of disillusionment will evidence many other important truths not included in Dear Church.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Most Important Thing?

What is the most important thing that has ever happened to you?"When we ask that question to people, we receive many different answers. What would be your answer? Was it the day you got the job you have now? Your wedding day? The day your kids were born? Visit

Let Us Hear The Voice of God and See His Great Fire!

Deuteronomy 18:15-16

In this text God proclaims that He will raise the prophet like Himself from among the people and that they must listen to him. God would do this because on that day in the wilderness they had cried out: “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” That prophet was the Lord Jesus, and now that He has come we are crying out Lord show us your glory.

The very thing that caused terror in the hearts of an entire nation is now what we stand day and night crying out to the Father for. We are asking for his glory to manifest on the earth and more important in our midst, and more personally in our hearts.

Oh for the fire, yes Lord, send your fire consume everything that is not from you, come and touch our hearts consume every area. Possess your people we are not content to see you in a bush or hear you in the thunder. No, we are calling out for your presence. Not a token of you but the fullness of all that we can handle here in this life. We are longing for our heart to encounter that deep, deep, within in You. We are longing be awakened in the night by Your voice and to have our hearts burn within us because You are in our midst. In You is the only place we can find life. The children of Israel quaked with fear because they feared death. Jesus You are one who washes sinful man clean and makes me pure as snow. Why? So we can be together. Lover, speak to me and cause the passions of my soul to be aroused towards You. We long to know the intimacy that Adam and Eve once knew, yet it will be even more intense, because we have been forgiven much. Now we have learned to love much; yes You who loved without limits have given us the desire and capacity to love You. The sound of Your voice and the tender words of love bring me such comfort and pleasure. Yes, I am loved and my Lover He is both great and terrifying.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An American Legend...Off topic but I love her story

An American legend, Rose Blumkin (Mrs. B), knew early in life that honesty and integrity would serve her well. Those beliefs laid the foundation for Nebraska Furniture Mart's rise to its status as a Midwestern retailing legend.

Born outside of Minsk, Russia, in 1893, Rose Gorelick followed her husband, Isadore Blumkin to America in 1917 to take on the American dream. By 1922, the young couple had scraped together enough money to have her family flee Russia and join them in America. In addition to raising their four children, Mrs. B helped with her husband's business ventures, including a second-hand clothing shop. Finding deals on men's suits and accessories, she printed 10,000 circulars that offered to outfit a man from head to toe for five dollars - an amazingly fair deal for the times. It worked nicely, and she made a respectable profit.

In 1937, the Nebraska Furniture Mart was founded in the basement of her husband's shop. Her belief in selling at tiny margins created rough going early on with the manufacturers boycotting Mrs. B at the urging of local competition, who generally operated on higher markups. Traveling by train to Kansas City, Chicago and New York, she became a proficient furniture bargain hunter by buying from large furniture stores at 5% over their cost, and still making a profit using her low markup sales strategy. Still, battling reluctant suppliers and a depressed Korean War economy in 1951, Mrs. B filled Omaha's City Auditorium with the store's inventory for an all-out, three-day sale. In three chaotic days, she took in $250,000 and eliminated her debt forever.The growing success led to moves to various downtown locations, and the flagship store at 2205 Farnam eventually expanded to 120,000 square feet and operated in tandem with the present 72nd street location from 1970 to 1980. Joining his mother in the business in post-war 1946, son Louie contributed immeasurably to the growth and success of the business.

A devastating tornado in 1975 caused only a minor blip on the business record of the business. With millions of dollars in damage to the 72nd street store, Mrs. B and her son simply rebuilt bigger and better. Impressed with the success, business savvy and honest dealings of the Blumkins, investor Warren Buffett and Mrs. B used a simple handshake to seal the purchase of 90% of the business for Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway portfolio in 1983. The 'Historic Omaha Handshake' plus a simple two-page written agreement were all that were required - no audit of the store's books, no inventory of its merchandise. Daily dealings with her customers over the years, long work days and later in life, her motorized cart buzzing around her store, she was always bringing a smile to a customer'sface with a great deal.Throughout the years Mrs. B supported many causes and various community events, many times behind the scenes. The most notable is the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home and the renovation of the Astro theater into 'The Rose', - the Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center - the home of the Emmy Gifford Children's Theater.Until her death in 1998 at 104, Rose Blumkin rode the crest of a simple business tenet: "Sell cheap and tell the truth." The store, now under the leadership of her son Louie, and three grandsons, still adheres to this advice as Mrs. B's philosophy continues to help them meet each new challenge.--Off topic but I love this woman's story and wanted to share it with you.

Flavor the Earth Matthew 5:13

Jesus calls us the salt of the earth. He is saying, hey you who bear the attitudes and traits of one of my followers…you are the flavor of the earth. In fact some will crave you. That is one of the strange qualities of salt not enough and it makes no difference too much and it ruins the dish, but just the right amount and people can’t get enough.

We are the salt and Christ is using us to change the flavor of our world. But salt that has lost its flavor or been contaminated by sin and compromise has no place in His kitchen. Salt that is flavorless is of no value to the kingdom or anyone for that matter. The people He uses are those who are called out and set apart for holy purposes.

Lord, set people aside for your holy work. Holiness and obedience are what you require. Yes, Lord but you don’t ask something of me that can’t be done. You have empowered me by your Spirit to be salty and flavorful; imparting the flavor and spice of heaven into the hearts of people on this earth. How do I get this flavoring of heaven imparted to my soul? Meditating on your Word, fellowshipping with you precious Holy Spirit and gazing upon you. My strength is in you in this pilgrimage of life. Bam! Bam! Bam! You are the great flavor enhancer. Because of you I can become one that people crave, yes Lord, make me an addiction to people that don’t yet know you. Let the preserving and flavor enhancing properties of LIFE in GOD, transfer to those around me. Salt is more than just a flavor enhancer, without the proper balance of salt the human body would die. Salt is also life giving. Lord my desire to know you is not only for pleasure of those moments of divine infusion, but that you my Lover, Lord, and Savior would draw others unto yourself through my life. Yes, Jesus make me an element, an agent you can use for your great purpose. Allow me to introduce others to the one whom I love. Let me introduce them to you. That you would receive the many whom you love that are missing, lost, broken, and hurting. Amen!

Monday, August 21, 2006


Psalm 27: 4 states, One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

In the midst of being pursued, chased and slandered by Saul, David makes this statement of genuine desire. Although the prophet Samuel anointed him king, David's "one thing" he cried out for was not the fulfilment of the promise.

I think every individual takes a certain account of their life. Maybe you have asked yourself, “Okay, what do I want to do with my life?” We have all to a certain amount considered, “What do I want to spend my life energies on?” Some take great pain and measure to figure out, “What are my pursuits going to be?” Some will sit down and take a season of six months to take personality tests. I have done that; I have taken personality courses and have sat down to consider the direction of my life.

Because David was already anointed king, I imagine he would he have a conversation like this, “My future is to be the king of Israel, which means I am going to have money. Actually, I am going to be in control of the entire funds of this nation. I am going to have honor and as I walk into a room, people are going to acknowledge me.”

He considered the position of being king of the nation and yet chose something better. He chose something greater than honor, money, wealth and power.

He realized seeking God's beauty was far greater and more interesting. Something more pleasurable and exhilarating than being king.

David's model of pursuing the Lord is an invitation for us. As we live in a culture of many inferior pleasures offered, we must choose to follow the path which David has set out for us. Even in the midst of being hated, he cried out to see God's beauty. Even while riches and honor were offered to him, he cried out to see God's beauty. I believe God offers Himself to every believer as the most rewardable and satisfying pursuit to give yourself to. written by Dwayne Roberts

How to get blessed!

Matt 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. To revile means to make a fierce and abusive verbal attack. The religioneers said Jesus was crazy that he had a devil, that he was a Samaritan (John 8:48) and that He was mad (John 10:20).

If that wasn’t bad enough they mocked Him while He hung on the cross. He who knew no sin; the blameless and perfect one was being mocked by His own creation. But being reviled He did not revile back. 1 Peter 2:23 “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” This verse is such a challenge to my soul. He didn’t hurl insults; these guys weren’t made at him because he cut them off in traffic, they loathed Jesus. I can’t even get cut off in traffic without getting angry and mumbling underneath my breath at the crazy driver.

It is not blessed to have evil spoken of us if we deserve it, but if we don’t deserve it Jesus calls us blessed Once again Jesus is asking us to do something He already modeled for us. We can do this with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. How do I know this? Because Peter, who once cut off the ear of a soldier, saw Jesus model this in real life. Then Peter full of the Holy Spirit was able to endure beating, persecution and even crucifixion. It is the same spirit that dwelt within Christ and enabled Him to exhibit self-control that now dwells within believers and we must tap into the Holy Spirit to live out this virtue of Christ’s. It worked for Peter it will work for me. How can we call this experience blessed? Because Jesus endured this and He promised that if we took up our own cross and followed Him, that He would ensure blessings to us.

Lord, prepare me today before true persecution comes.—Amen.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Receiving The Kingdom Matthew 5:10

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. I have always dwelled on the words persecuted and theirs is the kingdom, yet today I am struck by the phrase Jesus uses “for righteousness’ sake.” How often has the righteousness I have walked out ever produced the fruit of persecution?

Why should living righteously result in persecution? Because if we are living in righteousness we resemble Christ and this is offensive to those who choose the wide road. The human heart has set itself against God and abhors anything that reminds it of God’s call to be “holy as I Am Holy.” The prophets were persecuted, the apostles were persecuted…the goal is to live to please God and not concern ourselves with pleasing men. Because we live as friends of God, others who reject Him will reject us; it’s not about seeking persecution, its guilt by association. We have chosen the narrow path which leads to life and Godliness. The narrow path results in sacrifice, holiness, and coming out from among sin, but now Jesus is telling us that this same path will result in persecution. So if I a citizen of the Kingdom of heaven will endure persecution, which can be defined as “taking up my cross and following Jesus,” then I gain a promise as well. Promises of a place in the Kingdom where Jesus will rule, reign, and judge the wicked that have persecuted those who choose Jesus. If I have no persecution, how much of a friend of Jesus am I? Those in the kingdom will endure some sort of suffering; where the wicked rise up and curse them, pursue, or punish them.

Lord, it is you who gives me the power to live righteously. Help me to have a righteousness that is deeper than the Pharisees. Let me show display your glory and righteousness as a testimony of You before others. You alone are righteous and you alone can empower me for righteous living. To live worthy of your Name; many have used your name, but few walk in a manner and lifestyle that is worthy to be called a Christ-follower. - Amen

Friday, August 18, 2006

A 20Th Century Prophet

A.W. Tozer "A 20th-century prophet" they called him even in his lifetime. For 31 years he was pastor of Southside Alliance Church in Chicago, where his reputation as a man of God was citywide. Concurrently he became editor of Alliance Life, a responsibility he fulfilled until his death in 1963.

His greatest legacy to the Christian world has been his 30 books. Because A.W. Tozer lived in the presence of God he saw clearly and he spoke as a prophet to the church. He sought for God's honor with the zeal of Elijah and mourned with Jeremiah at the apostasy of God's people.

But he was not a prophet of despair. His writings are messages of concern. They expose the weaknesses of the church and denounce compromise. They warn and exhort. But they are messages of hope as well, for God is always there, ever faithful to restore and to fulfill His Word to those who hear and obey.

To God You Are Sublime

God says that you are the most preciouswonder He has created. He created millions of beautiful flowers, billions of amazing insects, colours, sounds, beauty everywhere... And yet... God’s Word says that YOU are God’s ultimate joy. You are His masterpiece. You are the most precious of all He has created.

This explains why God wanted to become a man himself, to be tortured and even die for you.Never let this truth be stolen from you.You are His own child, His deeply beloved! Never forget it.If He wants to change you, it’s only because He loves you too much to leave you with sin in your life. Because He created you for something better: His own eternal glory! That is your destiny: God’s BEST!
Art and article from

If Two Agree by Dr. Tom Mills

If Two Agree by Dr. Tom Mills

I've always been curious about the way we use scripture. Matthew 18:19 comes to mind. Jesus is teaching about being reconciled to a brother. In 18:15 he lays out the complaint: "...if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone." Then Jesus prescribes a formula if the brother doesn't receive you. "... take with you one or two more..." If that doesn't work, then "tell it to the church." If that STILL doesn't work, treat him "like a heathen and a tax collector." For all of my life, I've believed that to be not a good thing. To be treated like a heathen and tax collector doesn't sound like it could be good at all. That is, unless you happen to believe that context matters. Jesus has just completed telling us why he came: "The Son of Man came to save that which was lost." Then he follows that little piece of information with the story of leaving the 99 sheep to go after the one that is lost. Now in that context, it seems that being treated as a "heathen and tax collector" would be the equivalent of being the one lost sheep -- the one that Jesus said was important! So, now what do we have? We have a relationship that is in danger of being lost, we have a man that is being treated as lost, and then Jesus says to take a couple of folks with you to rescue this lost lamb. And then comes the oft misused text, "...if two of you agree on earth concerning anything they ask it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." And not only that, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them." That verse doesn't have anything to do with a prayer meeting! Have you ever quoted it -- you know, when only two people show up and you're trying to convince yourself and your one other faithful prayer warrior that your prayers matter and that Jesus is there? Have you ever considered the implications of that way of thinking? If two of you don't show up, if it's just you by yourself, then Jesus isn't there! Now we all know that isn't true! Oh sure, it's always more fun to pray when more people show up, and there really is something significant about corporate prayer. But to invoke this verse as the proof that Jesus is there just is -- well -- not right. There, I said it. When you see this verse in it's context, you realize that Jesus is telling these brothers, "When you go to your wayward brother, go with the goal of winning him -- not rejecting or shunning him. And if you will go in that spirit, that heart attitude; if you will go and ask your brother to "come home," I guarantee that My Father in heaven will see to it that you get what you ask for! And remember this, when you go, remember that you are representing Me so don't do or say anything that will mis-represent me. And further, you are taking My power when you go -- you do not have to do this thing alone!"

One other little tip that this is about restoring a lost relationship and not about a prayer meeting: Peter immediately after this, asks about forgiveness. If this had been about rejecting a heathen and tax collector, Peter would not have asked about forgiveness. If this had been about prayer, Peter would have said, "Lord teach us to pray," instead of "how often do we forgive?"Oh well -- enough of that for now. I just love God's Word, and I really want us to be very careful to use it the way He intended.Blessings! Acquired from Dr. Tom Mills' blog...without permission but with full credit.

Wanna Be Like You! Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers; who exactly are these peace makers? I don’t believe these are the diplomats or beauty pageant contestants who claim to want world peace. No ultimately he isn’t talking about a peace brokered by mankind. That kind of peace is temporary. Jesus is speaking of the hostility and conflict that is first between God and man; and only secondarily brother against brother. He is speaking of the war originally waged by Satan against the Most High God.

The gospel is called the Gospel of Peace because it reconciles God and man and ultimately brother and brother. Jesus is also referred to as the Prince of Peace. Jesus made peace for us with God. The writer of Hebrews says describes Him like this:” the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the Blood of the everlasting covenant" He is the ultimate peacemaker. He exhibited God’s character as a peacemaker.

To be a peace maker in the kingdom is to be one who helps others to reconcile with God. Jesus has paid the price for peace and is now calling us to partner with Him in spreading His peace to others. Now the Prince of Peace is telling us, that the children of God are those that resemble me (Jesus). In a natural family children often resemble their parent’s physical appearance and most certainly model many of the patterns of behavior and mannerisms of their parents. As children of the king we want others who have lost their way from the Father to return and be brought back into a right relationship with the Father. For both their sake and for Jesus’ as His reward for the ultimate price He paid. Jesus did what the Father does and now we are to do what Jesus does…draw men unto Him.

This is the family business and we are asked to join the Father in His business, to learn from Him the “family secret” for entering into true peace. Peace from guns and war is temporary and ultimately doesn’t mean a thing if you have never made Peace with God.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pure Hearts See God Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, or those whose minds, motives, and principles are pure; who seek not only to have the external actions correct, but who desire to be holy in heart. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. The Pharisees or religioneers as I prefer to call them, make all of their judgments based upon the outward. Only God has the true view of our hearts.

God has no body(not counting the resurrected Christ), and therefore is invisible: but we can discern him with the heart and understanding. But a defiled heart cannot see God: but one must be pure who wishes to enjoy a proper view of “pure being” such as God. Only a pure heart can see God. Maybe that is why Jesus said that we had to be as little children to enter the kingdom. He was saying you have to have a pure heart in order to be with God.

Another way to understand “purity” is without divided loyalty or interests. Obviously the reverse of Jesus’ words are also true, those with impure hearts, shall encounter God not as friend, father, or lover, but as fiery Judge, who righteously passes judgment and condemnation on them.

Reveal to me in my own heart where I have been as a religioneer cleaning up the outside while ignoring the condition of the heart. Jesus, I know in you I am a new creature; old things have passed away. As David prayed, “Create in me a pure heart; that I might not sin against you.” Remove those divide loyalties, and end the civil war that goes on in my heart. You deserve a bride who is faithful and remains pure to you. I am powerless to do this on my own. Let your Spirit and your Word create this transformation in my mind, will, and emotions. Apart from you I am powerless to have this heart. Let the righteousness that exists in my spirit grow in my soul. Let me serve you with my whole being; spirit, soul, and body. The goal of having this pure heart, is not simply better living; but to see God. Lord, let me see you as my lover, friend, and heavenly Father—create in me a clean heart.—Amen!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Get What You Give

Matthew 5:7
Get what you give.

Happy are the kind and merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Jesus, is saying what you give unto others is exactly what I will reward you with; the same measure.

He wants us to become like Him. Be imitators of God dear children. What you have seen me do; now you go and do to others. As in Father does, He is asking us to become like Him. We are being called to take on His traits as our own. How kind is He? Can words even describe His kindness toward us? While we were yet filthy sinners, who hated Him; Jesus showed us kindness calling us His own. Did we deserve this? What did He gain from it? How can we thank Him for His loving kindness toward us?

We show our gratitude for His mercy through showing kindness and mercy. If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. Happy are the kind and merciful; miserable are the mean and merciless. Those who are kind and merciful exhibit the traits of the Heavenly Father; those who are mean and merciless exhibit the traits of their Father. That is why one group is happy.

True pleasure and contentment only come from the Father. Doing the things that bring Him pleasure should also pleasure our hearts. It should be our desire to do the things he does; to be like Him. "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

Is He merciful to me? Yes, I should have a benevolent tender heart toward others. Mercy is the forgiveness of injuries and the relieving of misery. When I find someone in need of mercy, I should have great enthusiasm at the opportunity to touch their lives. Jesus is saying my Kingdom expands one heart at a time. It grows when I share and show mercy to others.

I have been forgiven much, surely I will love much!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Get Hungry Or You'll Starve

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness(Matthew 5:6): for they shall be filled. Hunger can be defined as a great need or desire for something. God is moved to action by those with deep hunger or desire for Him. A desire for righteousness really is nothing less than a desire for God.

Hunger is the currency of heaven. It is what God rewards. Hunger is an all consuming thing; we don’t stop thinking about food until we satisfy the craving. All of our energy, attention, and efforts are upon satisfying that desire. As our body depends upon food for its strength, health, and nourishment, so does our soul depend upon God for its sustenance. Hunger will drive a person to desperation; an honest man may steal to fill the void.

When our hearts are awakened to an awareness of its condition, and begins to hunger and thirst after righteousness and holiness which is its proper food, we know that it must be filled by Jesus who said He was the bread of life.

What is this righteousness of which Jesus speaks? We know that it is more than that of the Pharisees. Being filled is a promise that the hungry will be rewarded for their attention to the urgency. It is urgent that we begin to hunger for holiness. Holiness used to be an “evil” word in my vocabulary it was the twin to “legalism” and I was sure that grace covered both of these; however, God is opening righteousness or holiness to me. He is saying holiness is something I value. It means something to me when you choose to live differently. It’s so important to Heaven that you live differently; that my Father and I reward it handsomely.

When I eat a physical meal, I seldom consider the cost, and say oh, let me eat beans instead because they are cheaper. But spiritually, we often count the cost of satisfying hunger and try to go the cheap route. Jesus is saying develop a ravenous appetite for holiness and don’t concern yourself over the cost. He promises those that hunger and thirst for righteousness are going to a wedding feast.—Get hunger or you’ll starve!

Monday, August 14, 2006


A quote for today from a19th Century revivalist - Charles Spurgeon“Oh! men and brethren, what would this heart feel if I could but believe that there were some among you who would go home and pray for a revival – men whose faith is large enough, and their love fiery enough to lead them from this moment to exercise unceasing intercessions that God would appear among us and do wondrous things here, as in the times of former generations.”

Please Pray and Support Our Friends In Their Time

IN MEMORY OF DOUG...A Husband, Father, Friend, and Co-Laborer of the Gospel.

We just returned from a blessed time of R&R to discover that our dear friend had been called home. Please lift up his family and the ministries he worked with in Seattle and the Phillipines.

Doug and I met through his parents and brother. We emailed semi-regularly. He encourage me on our journey often. He is a brother in Christ whom I look forward to being reunited with one day.

Beth and Family our prayers are with you.


Thank you for your prayers and outpouring of love. We are so blessed to have our friends and family standing with us.

Below is the time and place of the celebration of Doug's life. We look forward to sharing this time with you.

Memorial time and place:
Saturday, August 19th, 1:30 at Bethel Chapel in Mountlake Terrace. Go to for directions to the church - phone 425-774-9300.
We would like to create a memory book for our family filled with stories of Doug from all of his friends and family. Please bring your favorite story, picture, memory, etc. with you to the memorial celebration and add it to our book. You may also email your memory and we will add it to our book. We will treasure your memories forever.

Doug's wish was to have his ashes spread over the Philippine soil he loved so much. Our family is planning to travel there to fulfill his wishes and have a memorial celebration with our family, friends, pastors and churches in the Philippines.

In lieu of flowers, we would ask for you to pray about supporting us with this trip to fulfill Doug's desire.

If you would like to give, please make your gifts payable to Elizabeth Lemm at 7553 27th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117.

My children and I would like to thank you for standing with us in prayer and support. We love you!

The Lemm Family - Beth, Andrew, Sarah and Joseph

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Kevin Matthews Guest Speaker

Every presentation of ministry should begin and end with Jesus. Some would want to start with a theological position, others with tradition, but Jesus, according the writer to the Hebrews, is “the communication of God”. This is where we must begin – with Jesus. Unless our hearts have been touched by Mercy and Grace, unless by revelation of the Holy Spirit we have come to see His Glory and Beauty and received by weight a measure of His Shepherds heart, unless we have heeded His call to love a lost and dying world we will become pursuers of power rather than ministers of life and as a result, drown in the quagmire of pride.

The foundation upon which we build is Jesus. Our understanding of ministry must be firmly fixed upon His character and person rather than our tradition or experience.

We preach – Christ – not an idea, not a theology not an interpretation of the truth, but a person – who is the final communication of God concerning Himself. He is the healer, He is the restorer, He is the re-builder of broken lives.

The world is desperate for Jesus, but they cannot see Him. The Church must be His Body in the world – preaching the same Gospel of hope and deliverance, manifesting the mercy and grace of God in tangible ways, demonstrating His love.

One songwriter wrote:

To be like Jesus
This hope possesses me
In every thought and deed,
This is my word, my creed.
To be like Jesus,
This hope possesses me,
His Spirit helping me,
Like Him I’ll be

God is, in these days, raising up an army who will minister in the power of the Spirit. A humble, broken people who will move in the miraculous of God, allowing themselves to be spent in the process of healing the nations, a people of compassion with a fiery spirit, giving Glory to God.-stolen without permission from Kevin Matthews

Let us hear the voice of God and see His great fire

Deuteronomy 18:15-16

In this text God proclaims that He will raise the prophet like Himself from among the people and that they must listen to him. God would do this because on that day in the wilderness they had cried out: “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”

That prophet was the Lord Jesus, and now that He has come we are crying out Lord: "show us your glory." The very thing that caused terror in the hearts of an entire nation is now what we stand day and night crying out to the Father for. We are asking for his glory to manifest on the earth and more important in our midst, and more personally in our hearts.

Oh for the fire, yes Lord, send your fire consume everything that is not from you, come and touch our hearts consume every area. Possess your people we are not content to see you in a bush or hear you in the thunder. No, we are calling out for your presence. Not a token of you but the fullness of all that we can handle here in this life. We are longing for our hearts to encounter that deep, deep, love within in you. We are longing be awakened in the night by your voice and to have our hearts burn within us because you are in our midst. In you is the only place we can find life. The children of Israel quaked with fear because they feared death. Jesus you are one who washes sinful man clean and makes me pure as snow.

Why? So we can be together. One who is the Lover of my soul, speak to me and cause the passions of my soul to be aroused towards you. We long to know the intimacy that Adam and Eve once knew, yet it will be even more intense, because we have been forgiven much. Now we have learned to love much; yes you who love without limits have given us the desire and capacity to love you. The sound of your voice and the tender words of love bring me such comfort and pleasure. Yes, I am loved and my Lover He is both great and terrifying.