Saturday, May 30, 2009


“But you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
And you will be my witnesses,
telling people about me everywhere—
in Jerusalem, throughout Judea,
in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 NLT

Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost simply means “fiftieth.” It marks the day when “the Holy Spirit came upon” the 120 believers, as Jesus promised he would. It happened on the 50th day after the resurrection. Associated with that outpouring of the Holy Spirit is “speaking in tongues” which seems “scary” to some people who are not Pentecostal.

When I was 9 or 10, some Pentecostals tried to rent our rural church to hold meetings. They weren’t allowed to use the church, but were offered the church barn – where they conducted meetings for several weeks. During those meetings my oldest brother and my three sisters became Pentecostals. In those days they were mockingly referred to as “Holy Rollers” by some non Pentecostals

After I became a Christian (at 21) I soon responded to God’s call to enter the ministry. My graduating thesis from seminary was entitled, “The Various Views of The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” I entered the research with a closed mind and basically tried to show that the Pentecostal experience was not meant for today.

Well, that changed for me during the Charismatic Movement which swept this nation and much of the world in the 1970’s. I too, became a Pentecostal, and it transformed my life and ministry in a positive way.

But the point I wish to make today is when Jesus announced to his disciples, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,” he didn’t make “speaking in tongues” the issue. Instead he said, “You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—” that was the main issue then and still is today.

When we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit and allow him to control our lives he fills us with himself and a glorious joy floods our heart - we lose our inhibitions and fears and have a burning desire to tell others about Jesus. Being filled with the Spirit doesn’t mean that we have more of the Holy Spirit, rather it means that he has more of us! We need to turn from, and empty ourselves of, all that is displeasing to God in order to give him full access to every part of us – body – mind and soul.

Let’s Pray –
Father, help us to repent of every sin – the wrong we have done and the good we failed to do. Holy Spirit, in the best way we know how, we invite you to fill us once again and rule every part of our being so that others may see Jesus in us.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


“He was taken up into a cloud
while they were watching, ---
but someday he will return
from heaven in the same way
you saw him go!”
Acts 1:9,11 NLT

The general public is fairly familiar with the idea that Jesus came into this world as a newborn babe at Christmas. But how he left, that is a different story. Even in many churches the Ascension of Jesus is a neglected part of the Gospel story. In 1 Timothy 3:16 Paul shows that it is a vital part of our faith. “Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.”

For forty days after the resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples numerous times. While his body seemed normal and he ate food like anyone else, it had supernatural qualities – it could pass through walls, appear and disappear. On ascension day, he was telling his disciples about receiving the power of the Holy Spirit and all of a sudden “he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching.” Angels appeared to them and said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” Acts 1:9,11

So what is Jesus doing between his ascension and his coming again? That would be too much to cover here, but let me mention some things.

· Having accomplished our salvation through his death and resurrection, he is exalted at the right hand of the Father, and the Father has given him a name that is above every name.
· While he was in his human body, he could only be at one place at a time - now since he sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he indwells all believers.
· He is the head of the Church which is his body on earth, and he gives apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip God’s people to do his work.
· He is our great High Priest and ever lives to make intercession for us.
· He is preparing a place for us, that where he is we may be also.
· When he returns, the graves will open and the dead in Christ will rise first and then those who are alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so will be with him forever.

Let’s Pray-
Thank you, Jesus, for all you are doing to build your church here on earth and getting her ready to meet you in the air and spend eternity with you.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her.”
Proverbs 31:28 NLT

Depending on what stage of life you are in - Mother's Day can have various expressions. It could be breakfast in bed for her – dinner out – family gathering – a new crayon scribbled note “I love you Mom” on the refrigerator door – an hour long phone call from kids who couldn’t make it home for the special day.

We honor Mothers not only because they brought us into this world, but also, and probably more importantly, for the influence they are or have been in our lives. For most of us, the values we live by were imparted to us by our Mother. Traditionally she spent most of her time with the children while they were growing up. So it’s only natural that her values would impact ours. I know that’s what happened in my life. My Mother’s love for me as a child and as a wayward teenager had a very positive impact on me. I couldn’t get away from her prayers, which I am convinced, drew me to her Lord.

I spent very little time with our children as they were growing up, apart from “Family Nights” and telling them silly stories at bedtime. It was Donna who poured her life into our three children. She was a “stay at home Mom” throughout their school years. We really could have used a second income – things were financially very tight for us! Besides being able to greet the children when they came home from school, we all enjoyed her cooking around the supper table. It was also Donna who was the one who read Bible stories to the children every night and prayed with them. As a result, she had the privilege of leading all three of them to the Lord at an early age. Today they are serving the Lord and raising their children to do the same. “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6

I realize times have changed, and there are a lot fewer “stay at home Moms” than there used to be. In fact, “stay at home Dads” are on the increase. For the most part, people have chosen a life style which takes two incomes to maintain. And now in this financial recession, times are especially difficult. I would encourage you to do whatever it takes to give Moms with young children the opportunity to demonstrate a Godly life before them. Some things may just have to be left undone so she can have the time to share the love of Jesus with them while they are still receptive. It will pay good dividends. “They will stand and bless her. Her husband praises her.”

Let’s Pray –
Father, thank you for Godly Mothers who have impacted our lives for time and eternity. And Father, give grace to Moms in these difficult times to pass on Godly values to their children.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


“But as for me,
I will sing about your power.
Each morning I will sing with joy
about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge,
a place of safety when I am in distress.”
Psalm 59:16 NLT

I remember as a youngster, standing on the roof of a small building on our farm, singing gospel songs. I can still see myself walking down the cow path singing the theme song of the Stamps Baxter Quartet from Del Rio Texas – “Give the world a smile each day - Helping someone on life's way - From the paths of sin bring the wanderers in - To the master's fold to stay -----.“ My parents had a Pump Organ, around which the family learned to sing in harmony. Singing has always been an important part of my life.

Whatever our musical ability may be, most everyone can make a joyful noise to the Lord, if not vocally, then at least mentally. Songs focused on His nature, and His loving deeds, are always comforting and encouraging.

We are living in trying times. Expressing our Christian convictions increasingly puts us at odds with political correctness. Financial uncertainties are mounting by the day. Added to those concerns, we may have health or relational issues to deal with. We could use “a refuge and a place of safety in our distress.” David’s life was surrounded with all sorts of dangers and problems, and he decided to start each day with singing to the Lord. He sang about “God’s power and unfailing love in which he experienced safe refuge.”

Seems to me singing to the Lord would also be a good way for us to start the day. Waking up to Christian music - humming or singing to the Lord as we get cleaned up – adding a praise song to our devotions – singing songs of faith on our way to work. All of these, or at least one of them, could help us start our day with an awareness that God is our “refuge and a place of safety in our time of distress.”

Let’s Pray-
Father, naturally we are inclined to be preoccupied with our problems. Please forgive us. Grant us grace to start each day focused on your unfailing love, and so find a safe refuge in you.

Foot Note:
I led church worship for more than thirty years. From time to time I sang solos. When singing with others, bass or some other harmony part, comes naturally. For the past eight or nine years I have had a throat problem that keeps me from being able to sing more than a line or two. Some day in the Lord’s presence, I will sing at the top of my voice – unhindered - to His glory!!!