Oregon Trip

We have taken off on our Las Vegas journey, therefore, it behooves me to make a recap of our Oregon trip we took just five weeks ago. Pastor Roger Napier had talked to me at conference about the “One Minute Bible Studies” seminar; so he signed me up for a Sunday shot. We did the Science Slide Show for Sunday School, I preached an evangelism sermon for Sunday morning service and we went out for a short outreach for the evening service.

Our flight was delayed in Las Vegas so it gave us some extra time to spend with Jesus in Audra while waiting for our flight. We got in late, but I had downloaded the Uber app to my Windows phone looking forward to this maiden voyage with Uber. I watched as my Uber vehicle made its way to the airport on my phone screen. Pleasant, revolutionary and a little cheaper; I can live with that.

Services went well and we had good fellowship with Roger and Heidi. Heidi is English, loves Inspector Morse, and is a blast to talk with. Roger has seen it all; and is still in contact with the original gang of Airmen he got saved with in England. The church did well on the outreach that night; but I experienced a Northwest flashback, everyone politely rejected me. Any evangelical person from the Northwest knows that feeling. I still have a clipped out article from a Chicago native, transplanted to Seattle, describing the “friendly unfriendliness” of Seattle people.

This put me in a retrospective mood; but the folks I was going out with were enjoying the interaction they were having with people as they did the one minute bible studies. They would pray with people and get phone numbers, as did many of the other members of the church. We gathered back at the church after the outreach to many good testimonies. I continue to enjoy describing the outreach as another arrow in the quiver or another stone in the pouch. It is just one of a million ways God is spreading His word through the earth. (Pastor Greg Mitchell’s admonition to me was to not spread this outreach method as a must do outreach because it is the only right way to do it.) A lot more wisdom there than you might think.

We were originally going to do Monday and Tuesday with Pastor Jon Gash in Vancouver, WA; but he had prior commitments freeing us up that Monday and still doing the Tuesday night. We had a nice breakfast with Roger and Heidi and then headed up to Seattle to see some of our church folks from 16 years ago.

The strolls down memory lane can be bittersweet. How do I sum up 12 years of ministry that netted a hand full of people? It was on one of these drives home from a McMinnville conference that God settled some issues between Him and me. Every projection of ministerial success was totally demolished through my Seattle experiences. Driving home, feeling let down by God, (et least my ego did) God spoke to me.

Let me insert a conference sermon illustration just here. Oral Roberts was being interviewed by Merv Griffin on TV. Mockingly, with laughter from the audience Merv questioned Oral about “hearing” God’s voice. “What does God’s voice sound like?” Oral Roberts responded: “You know, Merv”; to a hushed audience. Yes, we all know the voice of God, some of us choose to listen; others choose to ignore.

Having just had my ministerial failure paraded before the conference body I was spiritually limping home. The answer always seemed to be the same in my wounded spirit: more prayer, more study, more discipline, more outreach, more giving and the problem was always me or the people in the church. God’s response to my complaining spirit was “You just love the people I have given you.” Something changed in my life from that day until this moment. God wanted me to appreciate people, more specifically, His people. Doug Begg, our main disciple, took on a whole new persona in my eyes. He went from a man needing to improve to help me build the church, to a friend helping me and he be the church along with everyone else. These words do not do justice to the work God did in my heart; but I was able to enjoy our church from that day forward with a sense of purpose and accomplishment in the things He was doing in our small outpost of Christianity; and the devil has not been able to steal this from me to this day.

Every sight on the drive from Portland to Seattle was beautiful in our eyes. Joan, in particular, seemed buoyant in her expectations of what the visit would produce. We would meet at Jane’s house for Pizza and be joined by the Begg clan. We would spend the night there. We first visited our old house in Ballard. The people who now own it have added a deck along with great looking doors. They got rid of the asbestos siding and replaced it with good looking siding. The house looks great and it was great to see our ideas pressed forward, even to the French door going out to the deck. Our only neighbor still there was Rhonda, the famous mother of Robert and Arron, but she wasn’t home. We then spun over to see if we could find Lorraine Peck. Lorraine was our first convert in our church. She would attend Catholic mass in the morning and attend our services on Sunday night and Wed. Many times it would be her and Joan holding our children while I preached. One Sunday morning she showed up to church. I asked her what was up and she told us she had decided to leave the Catholic Church and come to church with us. She would get baptized and really live a blessed life as she does to this day.

We hadn’t prepared for this Seattle trip so we didn’t have her address; but we knew she lived around the Philadelphia Church which she attended; so we headed for NW 24th Ave. We parked the car, walked 10 paces to the corner to see her coming out of the church. She heard us shouting “Lorraine” but after 16 years had trouble placing us until we crossed the street and drew near. Just a little piece of heaven on earth. We went to her apartment and talked while she waited for her sister Willie and husband her were showing up to celebrate her 80th birthday the next day. When she found out we were gathering at Jane’s house for pizza, I was blessed to hear her say how much she would want to be a part of that.

We spent the rest of the afternoon with Lorraine and then headed across town through the University District down Rainier to Jane’s house. Jane, Unique, David and we would see Chris the next day. We would miss Sabrina; but the best part of the homecoming was that Jane was saved. Yes, we ministered, drove and did whatever we could for her during our time in Seattle. She and Joan would be best of friends but she never got saved. Now she was and what a glorious time of fellowship. Doug and Karen would show up with brother Ronnie and their daughter Stephanie and her children. Stephanie’s daughter Kylee was the spitting image of her mother that we remember from as a little girl in our church. Doug is still Doug and Karen seems to have gotten younger. They are part of the Everett church. Through the night of fellowship Doug would give me one more piece of information that blessed me. Our church would eventually dissolve and Lorraine would stay in the Ballard area and Doug’s family and Barbara would move onto the Everett church. Barbara would make the best of friends there while Doug continued his journey as a man of God. What Doug told me was the church had picked up a convert along the way that they brought to the Everett church with them. It was Oswald, the Zambian song leader of the Everett church. Just brings smiles to my life thinking about how God works. We would stay up till two, the Beggs would go home, we would get some sleep and return to Portland the next day.

A statement is made in evangelical circles to the effect that it is all worth it for one soul. It’s a great saying until you have to give it all for one soul. This visit showed me that it truly is all worth it for one soul. The sense of pleasantness and thankfulness that pervaded our car as Joan and I made our way back to Portland made our 12 years in Seattle worth every second of it.

We got to Jon Gash’s church a little early so Joan and I started doing “one minute bible studies” with people around the church. The church gathered, a victorious church, I gave a little evangelism exhortation and out we went. It was Pastor Gash’s enthusiasm (filled with God) that made the night. He would pray with people and get phone #’s. I would pray with some young people who knew someone in church. Joan would pray with people and so would others from the church. We came back to give our reports and yes; there was victory in the air. We would go to MacDonald’s with Pastor Gash and his wife Jacqui. Jacqui gave us her testimony and heard the testimony of another one of Pastor Gash’s young men. The biggest blessing happened the next day when Pastor Gash texted me that he had done a one minute bible study with someone who prayed a prayer of salvation with him.

We left Vancouver that night and made our way to Veneta; outside of Eugene where Joan’s brother Chris and Heidi had set up a camper for us to stay in while we ministered in Springfield and Albany. We would not really see Chris until the Monday following our 5 days of ministry. Chris’s main memory of us (he is my age) was after having two children his wife became pregnant with twins. Joan was set up to help when the twins came; but instead we abandoned them (he does this much more dramatically) and went to Zambia. There is a beautiful comfort in their lives, not perfect, but comfortable. Chris would share church stories, children stories and career stories. He has turned a small run down house into a mansion. Heidi has a happiness about her that is endearing. Joan and I noticed all of this when they came down to San Diego for Joe and Laura Michelle’s wedding. I like to think that this is true for Joan and I, marriage just becomes better and better as the years go by.

We would preach for Troy and Kristine Johnston in Springfield Wed. and Thurs. My memory of the Johnstons was their playing some music at a conference in McMinnville. There was some music I heard when I was first saved from a band named “Servant”. It had a powerful female vocalist. I have never been able to find any history of the band in the limited searches I have made but Kristine reminded me of that sound back then as she belted out the songs while her husband wailed away on the guitar.

We did the slide show with a great group of young people on the front row. That night I started setting up people’s phones for the “one minute bible studies” right away continuing after service. Pastor Johnston allowed me to give a little prep talk for the next night and I was blessed that he actually took a love offering for us. The next night was a blast. He has some evangelical couples in church that are just naturals for the “one minute bible studies” and they did not disappoint. Many studies, many conversations with many salvation prayers. Pastor Johnston would state that he hadn’t had witnessing encounters like this since he first got saved. There really is something different about the outreach. There is a simple honest question: Would you please do a one minute bible study with me? There is a simple yes or no response. The word goes forth and between the honesty, the yes and the word there is a different kind of dominion established.

We had somehow communicated our enjoyment of “offbeat” or “unique” eating experiences so they took us to a vegan pizza place called “Pizza Research”. Troy told me that when his brother in law took them here he was prepared to hate it; so he enjoined me to not make the same mistake. It was great. We even had a bonus with a leftist waiter who was disgusted with the panhandling youth of Oregon using their “begging” cards for you to put money on their accounts if you don’t have cash. We had good fellowship and Troy got me to agree to golf with him the next day.

Actually, it didn’t take much, I thrilled at the opportunity. I got into golf when my Dad’s commanding officer at Mare Island ordered all of his officers to learn to play golf. I got swept up into the moment and landed a job at the golf course. I would work there for the next 4 years while playing golf on the high school golf team. I would tote my clubs around after high school for the next 26 years only playing a few times. I would finally sell them one our departing yard sale going to Zambia thinking I would not be playing golf there. Well, we moved into a house with a golf course right across the street. I slowly started playing again and even got Joan to start. We had some cool golf dates in Africa. Again I would sell my clubs as we were moving to Prescott where my understanding was that sin was illustrated in sermons by referring to golfers. Well, I landed right in the middle of a nest of secret golfers.

I will insert a sermon illustration just here. We were playing golf and at the tee two of the guys got calls from their wives. One guy was talking, put the phone on the ground, took his shot, and picked up the phone not missing a beat. The second did the same. EIEIO Old MacDonald had a farm, and on that farm he had a wife, with a yak, yak here and a yak, yak there. I’m sorry just couldn’t help myself.

Since leaving Prescott I have played about 4 times so the score was a little less than desired. I did drive past a short par 4 by 30 yards having missed the people on the green. Troy beat me but I will live to play again.

That night we took the back roads to Albany where we would preach for our Wickenburg compatriot, Pastor Dave Fink and his wife Michelle. The Albany church has always been a special church for anyone connected with Wickenburg. It was pioneered by Dale Sams, followed by Gerry Eckhartd, followed by Wally Mencavich and finally Dave Fink. Three out of the four being Wickenburg guys. Dave and Michelle are great people. Dave was able to come to Zambia with his son David where David would lead my three girls to their bungee jumps over the Zambezi River. They had just gotten out of a school into a downtown building that required a massive amount of work, so he had me do a Friday slide show, Saturday evangelism, and Sunday sermons. Rain would thwart us Saturday afternoon so we just switched our evangelism to Sunday afternoon.

Sunday morning I preached a sermon out of Habakkuk. I have a sense of something being there that relates to why I am doing what I am doing. Another time I will try and put this into words; but it was great to preach something that was swirling around in my spirit for a while. We had a great time. What I enjoyed about Pastor Fink was him seeing the “one minute bible studies” as something they could use in the city events that were coming their way. I just preached “you can’t keep a good man down” and that is how I look at Pastor Fink and his wife Michelle. We would have a great outreach that night. I would end up at a skater part doing the studies with groups of skaters. One young guy apologized saying he was medicated. He explained to me how most of them had access to the legal marijuana. Colorado and Oregon are paving the way for our own little drug paradise. Joan and one girl would have a great encounter with a woman gardening. Once again just a great time of reaching out to a city.

One little fun event was a visit to Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant. Joan and I wanted to treat Dave and Michelle to lunch so we “yelped” and found Novak’s only to discover that Michelle loved it and Dave endured it. I should point out that Dave was a hot dog man. When he came to Zambia with his eating preferences I was genuinely worried about how he would handle life. He did great. The crowning finale was taking about 30 of us to a small restaurant after football (soccer) and basketball. A small restaurant in the market is a roofless set of 4 concrete walls with a small fire in the back to cook the nshima, chicken and vegetable sauce. To see Dave eating with his hands and actually enjoying it was one of the more amazing transformations I have seen in my life. Well, he did well at Novak’s also. Even the coffee was good.

We would spend Monday with Chris, Heidi and the kids. His son Ian had won me over with his engineering skills exhibited with his homemade knives. We would visit Windows book shop a must visit for any Christian. We had a great dinner together and I even got to share the slide show with the family that night. His children gave me some honest feedback. One point Ian made was that many of his friends would block out the truths presented in the slide show. There is something to chew on there. Many thanks to the family.

We headed to Portland. I dropped Joan and the luggage off. Turned the car in off site to Enterprise. Roger gave me a ride to the airport and home we went.

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Bob Parsons

I had a pleasant flashback the other day when I linked to this article about Go Daddy. That is the company that I ended up creating my web site for “One Minute Bible Studies”. I clicked on the story and was amazed to see the name of Bob Parsons, the owner of Go Daddy. I knew him as the creator of “Quickverse” and “Quickbooks”. I knew him as the competition when I worked for Biblesoft during my days in Seattle.

I never talked with him but he had a marketing understanding that went way beyond our understanding at Biblesoft. Product wise, I don’t think there was any real comparison, Biblesoft’s PC Study Bible was just better. Bob Parsons knew what motivated the buyer. The reality was that only  a small percentage of people would actually consistently use the product to study and create documents. “Christian Computing”, our industry magazine had found that an incredibly high percentage of pastors and churches had copied software. So who was actually honestly buying the software?

The answer seemed to be that Christians wanting to get closer to God were willing to buy bible study software. While we competed to make our software better and better and more expensive, Quickverse always marketed the product that Christians could buy to use technology in getting closer to God.

I could be way off, but maybe not. Bob Parsons was able to turn his profits into an impressive history of tech firms, not so with our Jim Gilbertson. But, like I say I would choose PC Study Bible over all comers when it comes to using the software to do studies and make sermons.

Since reading the article, I got a mass text from “Go Daddy” with Bob Parsons encouraging us to give to a Marine Corps fund to celebrate the Nov. 10 anniversary of the Marines. He would match any gifts seeing as how he was a Marine. I have a soft spot for Marines as my Dad was a 30 year Marine.

Last Bob Parsons story. We were at a book show in Nashville. We were recommended a steak house to go to at the end of the show. We entered and saw the menu, realizing we were out of our league, but our manager spotted Bob Parsons and the “Quickverse” guys so he said: “We can’t leave now, might as well as enjoy it.”


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Book Review

The Tongue of Fire: Or The True Power of Christianity by Rev. W. Arthur turned out to be a great read. I got several sermons from the ideas presented in the book. I was recently asked what I was reading and I tried to explain why I read older stuff. I find most current Christian material unfulfilling. I then came upon this advice from C. S. Lewis to read from older authors because we are all trapped in our present assumptions and its good to read someone who is not trapped in those assumptions. That is not to say they are not trapped in their own set of assumptions; but it is saying that their assumptions will be different and thus you can see different things.

Here are some quotes from Pastor Arthur, published in 1856:

In the promise of a baptism of fire they would at once recognize the approach of new manifestations of the power and presence of God.

“I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away.”

He would lead them into all truth; whereas now they were constantly misapplying the plain words of Christ He would bring all things to their remembrance; whereas now they often forgot in a day or two the most remarkable teaching, or the most amazing miracles.

To found a kingdom, not over men’s persons, but “within”their souls;

Already had He proclaimed Himself King, and marked out the ministers and army, the weapon, the extent, the badge of citizenship, the statute law, the royal glory, and the duration of His kingdom. With His disciples around Him, standing on a mountain top, heaven above and earth below, He thus proclaimed His kingdom: “All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth:” here was the King. “Go:” here were the ministers and army–an embassy of peace. “Teach:” here the weapon–the Word of God. “All nations:” here the extent. “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” here the badge of citizenship. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” here the statute law. “And, lo, I am with you:” here the royal presence and glory of the kingdom. “Always, unto the end of the world:” here is duration.”

Not with doubting or weeping do they enter the city, but with “great joy;” the joy of a triumph already sealed, and of hope foreseeing triumphs to come.

He who will never use a form in public prayer, casts away the wisdom of the past. He who will use only forms, casts away the hope of utterance to be given by the Spirit at present, and even shuts up the future in the stiff hand of the past. Whatever Church forbids a Christian congregation, no matter what may be their fears, troubles, joys, or special and pressing need, ever to send up prayer to God except in words framed by other men in other ages, uses an authority which was never delegated. To object to all forms is wherein a simple and impromptu cry many never arise to heaven, is superstition.

In what tones would they tell the people that, as He used to say to those who came to Him, “Be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee,” so would He now say, from heaven, to all who now lifted an eye to Him!

Ten are gone; and the conclusion is, not that of servants too idle to wait: “Our Lord delayeth His coming; we may as well sit still. He will come in His own good time.” That is not waiting: it is idling. They said, in their believing hearts, “Ten days are gone; therefore, the day of our Lord draweth nigh.

No Thomas is absent now! Not one heart has failed! “They are all in one place.” No discord or doubt have they permitted to arise–“they are all with one accord in one place” Nor are they slow or late.

the entire company met, with one heart, to renew their oft-repeated prayer. We cannot go to the house where was that upper room; nor to the site where it stood. These points are left unnoticed, after the mode of Christianity, which is in nothing a religion of circumstances, in everything a religion of principles.

That bosom has yet to learn what is the feeling of moral sublimity, which never has been suddenly heaved with an emotion of uncontrollable adoration to God and the Lamb–an emotion which, though no voice told whence it came, by its movement in the depths of the soul, further down that ordinary feelings reach, did indicate somehow that the touch of the Creator was traceable in it.

His was to be a religion of the understanding and the heart; wholly resting on the convictions and the principles, building nothing on sense, and permitting nothing to fancy.

The symbol is a TONGUE, the only instrument of the grandest war ever waged: a tongue–man’s speech to his fellow man; a message in human words to human faculties, from the understanding to the understanding, from the heart to the heart. A tongue of fire–a man’s voice, God’s truth; man’s speech, the Holy Spirit’s inspiration; a human organ, a superhuman power!

Cloven tongues sat on each of them; so that each had not only the fire-impulse to go and tell aloud the message of reconciliation, but also the fire-token that all mankind, of whatever nation, kindred, people, or tongue, were heirs alike of the Gospel salvation, and of the word whereby that salvation is proclaimed.

John the Baptist wrought no miracle: yet of him it was said that he should be “filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.” Here the expression denotes some inward and spiritual operation, which may take place in the silence of an infant’s heart, and show its fruit in the quiet ways of childhood. Had he been filled with the Holy Ghost immediately before commencing to preach, we should have connected the former with the latter, as an official, rather than as an inward and moral, qualification.

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” Here, being “filled with the Holy Ghost” was not followed by any miraculous effects whatever, but was an inspiration, the result of which is special moral strength—strength to confront danger and shame—strength to declare all the Gospel.

It was as a spiritual power, a comforter, a guide unto all truth, a revealer of the things of God, a remembrance of the words of Christ; one who would convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; one who would embolden the Lord’s servants to bear witness before the most terrible adversaries, and would guide their lips to wise and convincing speech. Had it been His design that they should expect the Holy Spirit chiefly as a miraculous power, the leading promises would have had this aspect.

He marks the classes who shall know Him, and those who shall not. The distinction between them lies, not in apostleship or ministry, not in gifts or powers, but in being of the world, and “not of the world.” “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

Our Lord’s expression is to be strictly noted: “The world seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him: “not, “Ye see and know Him.” In one respect the disciples and the world were to be alike: neither should see Him. Yet the disciples should “know” Him; for “He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

Cloven tongues sat on each of them; so that each had not only the fire-impulse to go and tell aloud the message of reconciliation, but also the fire-token that all mankind, of whatever nation, kindred, people, or tongue, were heirs alike of the Gospel salvation, and of the word whereby that salvation is proclaimed.

Here the expression denotes some inward and spiritual operation which may take place in the silence of an infant’s heart, and show its fruit in the quiet ways of childhood. Had he been filled with the Holy Ghost immediately before commencing to preach, we should have connected the former with the latter, as an official, rather than as an inward and moral, qualification.

Here, being “filled with the Holy Ghost” was not followed by any miraculous effects whatever, but was an inspiration, the result of which is special moral strength—strength to confront danger and shame—strength to declare all the Gospel, though, in so doing, they periled very interest dear to them.

Our Lord had promised to His disciples miraculous light and power by the Spirit; but it was not as a miracle-working power that He had chiefly foretold His coming. It was as a spiritual power, a comforter, a guide unto all truth, a revealer of the things of God, a remembrance of the words of Christ; one who would convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; one who would embolden the Lord’s servants to bear witness before the most terrible adversaries, and would guide their lips to wise and convincing speech. Had it been His design that they should expect the Holy Spirit chiefly as a miraculous power, the leading promises would have had this aspect.

He marks the classes who shall know Him, and those who shall not. The distinction between them lies, not in apostleship or ministry, not in gifts or powers, but in being of the world, and “not of the world.” “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

In one respect the disciples and the world were to be alike: neither should see Him. Yet the disciples should “know” Him; for “He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Their knowledge of Him was to come, not by sense, but by consciousness.

“That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God,” is a prayer at which we falter. Is it not too much to ask? Is it not a sublime flight after the impossible? Let us remember it is not, “That ye might contain all the fullness of God.” … Put away all thought of containing what the heavens cannot contain, but, humbly opening the year, say, “Infinite light, fill this little chamber!”

Paul wants to convey his own idea of the power of grace, as practically enabling men to do the will of God! “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” Here we have “abound” twice, and “all” four times, in one short sentence” “Abound” means not only to fill, but to overflow. The double overflow, first of grace from God to us, then of the same grace from us to “every good work,” is a glorious comment on our Lord’s word. “He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

The Spirit, as replenishing the believer with actual virtues and practical holiness, is ever kept before our eye in the apostolic writings. “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.” Putting these various expressions together, what a view do they give of the riches of grace!—“all sufficiency,” “in all things,” “always,” “abound to every good work,” “fruitful in every good work,” “strengthened with all might,” “according to His glorious power,” “according to the power which worketh in us,” “filled with all the fullness of God”.

So with the soul: it enjoys all lights; yet, amid those of art and nature, is still inquiring for something greater. But when it is led by the reconciling Christ into the presence of the Father, and He lifts up upon it the light of His countenance, all thought of anything greater disappears.

“Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God swell in you.” Not in the flesh, yet in the body! The unconverted man has a spirit, but it is carnalized; the play of its powers—the studies of the intellect, the flights of the imagination, the impulses of the heart, are dictated by motives which all range below the sky, and halt on this side of the tomb. The spirit is the servant of the flesh; and man differs from perishing by motives which all range below the sky, and halt on this side of the tomb. The spirit is the servant of the flesh; and man differs from perishing animals chiefly in this, that for carnal purposes and delights he commands the service of a spiritual agent—his own soul. The Holy Spirit, as man’s regenerator, reverses this state of things. He quickens the spirit, and through it quickens the frame, so that instead of spiritual powers being carnalized, a mortal body is spiritualized; instead of soul and spirit being subjected by the flesh, flesh and blood become instruments of the spirit. Limbs move on works of heavenly origin and intent. Thus a direct connection is established between the will of the Supreme Spirit and the material organs of man. A purpose originates in the mind of God; by His Spirit it is silently and swiftly transmitted to the spirit of His child and by this to the “mortal body.”

God hath spoken; man has not been forgotten; guesses are not all our light; there is a Gospel, a “speech of God;” questions affecting salvation are settled; and our way to holy living and happy dying is traced by the Hand which rules both worlds.

“They all began to speak.” This shows that the testimony of Christ was not borne by the Ministry alone; that this chief work of the Church was not confined to official hands. The multitude of believers were not mere adherents, but living, speaking, burning agents in the great movement for the universal diffusion of God’s message.

When a man’s nature in boyhood produced fruits of vice and trouble, when his advancing years have steadily answered the impulse of the same nature, and his present associations are all based upon an alienation from heavenly ties; to bring him into immediate and permanent conformity to a Divine ideal of life, requires the ultimate Power of the universe, the Power which rules NATURE.

But a proof lies nearer the beast of each man. When you meant to do wrong, and had made up your mind upon it, did any instinct within you tell you that you were unable, and must seek supernatural help to carry out your intention? Never. You felt that to go forward was not only easy, but almost irresistible; was, in fact, yielding to nature. When you had made up your mind to overcome wrong inclination, and to do right, and only right, did not an instinct as unfailing as that whereby an infant searches for the breast of a mother, teach you to seek help, inward help, help against yourself? A decision to do wrong finds you strong in your own strength; a decision to conquer wrong, and do right, sends you to your knees, or makes you cry, “God help me!” If that be so, you need consult no man’s books as to what side your nature is inclined to.

Heart is the greatest thing below the sky; the nearest to the government above, that which sways intellect, and sways all things human. A work, then wrought upon heart, is the highest order of operation to which human nature can afford a sphere. Christianity professes to be a system for that which has never been otherwise professed-the renewing of bad hearts in the image of the God of heaven. To this all its powers are directed; and until this is done Christianity is but a theory.

It would have been strange, had a Church meant for man, in all his aspects, individual, domestic, national, left the space between the individual and the public unoccupied; so that Christian life must have been divided into secret and solitary intercourse with God, and public solemnities, wherein each was a stranger to each; no family life, no circles of interwoven hearts, no unbosoming of joys, sorrows, and cares, no communication “one to another” as to the soul’s health or progress. Had such a cardinal omission been traceable in Christianity, it might have raised many a question as to how the tenderest elements of our nature—the social ones—had been disregarded in forming a bond designed to unite all men in one loving brotherhood. But the spiritual life of the primitive Church is redolent of family feeling.

The regular ministry of the word is undoubtedly the prime source of teaching, and on its vigour and clearness the life of all auxiliary agency will ever depend; but those who would reject the practical and home teaching of free-hearted “fellowship,” little consider that to persons of simple mind or slow heart—that is, to the majority of mankind—the great problems, “What must I do to be saved? What is believing? Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit glory? Am I or am I not deceiving myself? How can I overcome this temptation, the sorest that ever beset a man? How can I grow in grace?” and such like, have often more light shed upon them by the plain statement of an individual as to how Diving Mercy solved them in his own case, than by any general explanation.

A religion without the Holy Ghost though it had all the ordinances and all the doctrines of the New Testament, would certainly not be Christianity.

The real grace and blessing lay in what we have called the spiritual influence of the Holy Ghost, acting on the believer’s heart; His ministerial influence, acting on the Church; His converting influence, acting on the world.

Is it that our mental perceptions are all derived through physical organs, and that, none such existing as channels between God and the soul, no communication can take place?…The organ receives an impulse from the light, the air, or other outward object, and transmits that impulse to the brain, producing a vibration there; but what a gulf between a vibration in a brain and a sensation of a soul, or an idea of heaven, or an emotion of joy.

One makes a secret fire carry a thought from his mind through a wire towards the mind of the other; a sensation is given, and both an idea and an emotion follow; but the wire feels none of them. The impulse passes along it; and the mind interprets that impulse, and turns it into the image of a dying father, a new-born babe, a ruined fortune, or a Sovereign saying, “Well done!” All the sensation, perception, emotion, lie within the mind, none of them in the wire. It is just so with organs; they transmit impulses, but they know nothing, feel nothing, and explain nothing. The power of communication is a mental power. Spirit knows, and gives knowledge.

Despair can hurl humanity no lower than to say that God, able to commune with it, enlighten, renew, and impel it, yet distantly stands away. For, if no communication exists, the reason lies in Him. To say that defect is not in His power of expression, but in our power of perception, changes nothing: if He cannot “reveal the things of God” to man, with such powers of perception as man has, He cannot adapt the expression of His own will to our state.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” The Apostle does not say this of heaven: he is not even alluding to it; for it is “the glory that is to be revealed;” whereas he says of the “good things” here in view, “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit”. These good things, then, are not teachings, for of them, eye, ear, and mind take cognizance; nor heaven, for it is not yet revealed; but those blessings which are “prepared” for those who come at the Lord’s call—pardon, adoption, and the favour of God…How can acts of mercy, which pass in the invisible world, be revealed to us?” the Apostle gives this simple illustration: “What man knoweth the things of man save the spirit of man that is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, save the Spirit.”

Did the mere truth suffice to renew…Unmindful of this, and not considering the danger of diverting faith from the power to the instrument, however beautiful and perfect the instrument may be, many good men, by a culpable inadvertence, constantly speak as if the truth had an inherent ascendancy over man, and would certainly prevail when justly presented. We have heard this done till we have been ready to ask, “Do they take men for angels, that mere truth is to captivate them so certainly?” ay, and even to ask, “Have they ever heard whether there be any Holy Ghost?”

The belief that the truth is mighty, and by reason of its might must prevail, is equally fallacious in the abstract, as it is opposed to the facts of human history, and to the word of God.

Truth is mighty in pure natures, error (is mighty) in depraved ones.

“He leaves, He leaves, He creates and leaves, leaves to the course of nature, leaves to general laws.” Such is the crude language we continually hear from men who would transfer the small ideas of human sense to the infinite sphere of the Godhead.

It is trifling at once with a man’s common sense, and with his most sacred hopes and fears, to tell him that he is called with the same calling as the early believers, by the voice of the same Redeemer, under the same covenant of grace, and with the same promise of adoption; but that, while his brother, ages ago, had “peace with God,” and “joy unspeakable and full of glory,” knew himself to be a child and then an heir of God, and daily felt that heaven was his home, he is to proceed on his pilgrimage without any of these comforts, and learn at the end whether or not his soul is to perish.

It is not a good service reward, but a birth-right; not a crown of distinction, but a joy of adoption. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” Here the order is, “Ye heard, believed, were sealed:” no long period of doubt and labour intervenes between the believing and the sealing. The father of the prodigal does not keep him for years, working “as one of his hired servants,” before he prints the fatherly kiss of reconciliation on his cheek and on his heart.

…removes the office of sealing the adopted children of God from the Spirit, and gives it to the reason of man. They teach the seeker of salvation that, instead of looking to the Cross for mercy, till the Spirit, as the Comforter, “reveals the Son of God in his heart;” he is certainly to look to the Cross, but not to expect that to bring any such manifestation; on the contrary, he is only to learn what are the marks of a child of God, to compare his life with them, and, if it and they agree, his mind will arrive at the comfortable persuasion that he is a child of God. This is one instance of the common error of taking part of a process for the whole.

The relation of the fruit of the Spirit to the witness of the Spirit is clearly indicated to us. John says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” Here the fruit, “We love,” is made consequent on our sense of the fact, “He first loved us.” To say that we first know that God loves us, because we feel that we love Him, is to make the fruit of the Spirit the foundation of the witness of the Spirit; a relation totally repugnant to the principle announced in this text.

Anyattempt to escape the mystery involved in the Holy Spirit revealing the mercy of God to a human soul, only leads to contradictions and perplexities. To the old question, “How can these things be?” the one sufficient answer is, “They are spiritually discerned.” What the Lord spiritually reveals the soul can spiritually discern; and a Divine presence, or a Divine communication, may be assumed always to carry its own evidence with it, first to the consciousness, and then, by its fruits, to the reason. “One thing I know: whereas I was blind, now I see.”

…that the anointing of the Holy Spirit was the one thing essential in the Minister of the Gospel.

You have left mechanics, and cast yourself upon chemistry; and all your calculations must proceed on the ground that you have but to provide an instrument which will co-operate with an explosive agent. The New Testament ministry rests not on mental, emotional, or educational strength, but using each of these as occasion may serve, finds its own power in a spiritual influence; and all reasoning applied to it, without being founded on this fact, is reasoning on the rifle upon principles belonging to the bow.

The work of the Priest was not to teach, edify, warn, and forewarn, but to be the medium of access to the presence of God on His mercy-seat. As such, he has no earthly successor in Christianity: his office, we repeat, ended for ever with the atonement and ascension of our Lord.

Without clear intellectual presentation of truth, any flow of words would fail to convince or to enlighten. Without the spiritual power, any exposition or argument would fail to awaken or regenerate. The work of Paul was nothing short of a commission to “turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified;” and this he knew could never be effected except by “power and by the Holy Ghost,” working in and through whatever truth he might utter, as the bearer of God’s great message.

Learning is invaluable when associated with and adorning gifts from God, but lower than pitiable when offered as a substitute for the power of opening and enforcing the Divine oracles. Propriety, intellectualism, and ritual, have their honourable place; but when, instead of the power which penetrates the soul, we have only ceremony which fascinates the taste, or talent which regales the intellect, then are we fallen from the region of Divine to that of human things brought down from “the power of God” to “the wisdom of man.”

Where the primitive training is maintained, all the members of the Church exercise such gifts as the Spirit has distributed to them—prayer, and exhortation, and teaching, and mutual speaking one to another, and admonishing one another. Among the working believers of such a scriptural Church, a suitable proportion will ever be raised up whose gifts will fit them to lead in all offices. This is the real training school for Christian agents; a fruitful Church is her own nursery.

…that He has ordinarily allowed such unauthorized appointments to be followed by their natural consequence, until whole nations have come under the curse of a ministry who either taught another Gospel than that of the Apostles, or who, perfunctorily exhibiting the shell of the truth, set the example of denying its power; and that even where the Church had been reformed although primitive Christianity had not been generally revived. What England was a century ago—what many Protestant Churches on the Continent are at this moment, sufficiently shows that if guards are not placed at the entrance to the ministry, such as will hinder the admission of any but spiritually minded men, the course of Providence is to allow the sin to work out its own punishment.

A people whose idea of the ministry was formed by inspirations from the New Testament, would look and crave, with feelings amounting to hunger and thirst, for men “endued with power”—the true power of the Holy Ghost, awakening, converting, edifying power; power under which hearts would melt, lives would change, old men would put off the evil ways of a lifetime, and youth put on the wisdom of grey hairs, thoughtless revelry would give place to benevolent associations, and the whole neighbrouhood would begin to breathe a purer, nobler spirit.

“Ye shall be endued,” said our Lord, “with power from on high”—robed with power. This is the true robing and vestment of the Minister of God—an invisible garment of power, which sits not upon his shoulders, but upon his spirit, shading him over with a moral dignity, as if he held office from the King of kings, and conveying to every conscience before him the instinctive perception that he comes commissioned to deal with it on the things that effect its purity, and its relations with Him who planted it in man.

The intellect at once recognizes the presence of intellectual power. The emotions, also, faithfully tell whenever an emotional power is brought to bear upon them; and no less surely does the conscience of a man feel when a moral power comes acting upon it.

With one class, the highest ideal of a Christian service seems to be, that nothing should pass that could, by any possibility, offend the taste of any human being who might look uon the whole scene as an assembly for some dignified purpose. As to the pulpit, their great desire is, that the pulpit should “behave itself;” and in this country of our many a service may be found which is—“Faultily faultless, icily regular, and splendidly null.”

A class very different from those who worship properness, set up intellectualism as the substitute for power. We are far from wishing, in any way, to undervalue that great gift of God, mental vigour. Some measure of this is always implied in the commission to preach the Gospel; and the more of sense, pathos, imagination, of any real talent, a Minister may possess, the more is he fitted to give effect to his office. The talk in which some good people indulge as to the great benefit of having weak instruments in the ministry is without a tittle of Scriptural foundation…It is true that, to the wise of this world, the Cross in itself is “foolishness;” but Christ never sent fools to be its heralds.

The men whom God sends may be without the accomplishments of scholars, but never without sense and utterance.

…but never, never without power to act upon the conscience; and this, in the absence of other endowments, is often at once the scepter of a preacher’s command, and the mysterious seal of his commission.

He who speaks to us in the name of our God may bring statement as lucid and nervous as that of Moses or Matthew, wisdom as racy as that of Solomon, pathos as overwhelming as that of Jeremiah or John, argument as cogent as that of Paul, or imagination as gorgeous as that of David or Isaiah; however poetic, refined, or bold; only let him make us feel, as we always do under the hand of the Prophets and the Apostles, that all his powers are put in operation but to bring us nearer to our Redeemer.

There we see the power of the Holy Spirit, not allying itself with one order of mind, or with one stamp of composition, tamed down to a standard of properness, consecrated by the aesthetics of some small and proper men, but using every faculty that God ever gave to the human soul—every faculty of thought, illustration, and speech—hallowing by its fire all genius, all life, and all nature, touching everything and illuminating everything; so that there is not one scene of domestic life, and one one object of God’s outer world to which the tongue of the Psalmist or Prophet, or the Great Teacher Himself, has not given voice…

We repeat it, that it is not from any peculiar style, whether it be extreme plainness, or high elaboration, or what else, that we expect the ministry to acquire a world renewing power. Let the style be ruled by every man’s natural endowments, but, whatever these be, let them all be employed in the one direction of carrying out an embassy from God to the souls of sinful men.

The lowest effect (for less is no effect at all, or a negative one) which a Christian Minister can produce, is merely to please his audience; next to that ranks astonishing them: for both of these effects terminate in himself; and when a certain amount of admiration has been expended upon him, the whole harvest of his labour is reaped—a poor and scanty harvest, sufficing only to pass over the present hour, but yielding no seed for future sowing, no store for time to come.

Let but the powers given to any man play with their full force, aided by all the stores of Divine knowledge which continuous acquisitions from its fountain and its purest channels can obtain for him, and, the fire being present—the fire of the Spirit’s power and influence—spiritual effects will result.

So if a minister of the Gospel be justly described as “dry;” that is, if he give godly and candid hearers the impression that he habitually delivers Divine truths without any unction which either moves his own soul, or those of others, the fault is fatal.

There must be a soul itself in communion with the Holy One, and there must be rays of truth—God’s own truth radiated from that soul to others, along which the Spirit’s secret influence may be communicated from heart to heart.

Our Lord said, “He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; yes, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to My Father.” By “greater works,” He could not mean more wonderful miracles; for the wonders wrought by His own hands had reached the limits of possibility…Beside, the “greater works” to be done are shown to have some special character from this, that “Because I go to My Father.”…We may therefore reasonably conclude, that the “greater work” than all the other works which could be done, was that work which He Himself from heaven announced to His servant Paul, as the purpose of his mission, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.”

In the progress of a man’s life it will often happen that great variations appear in his usefulness; but if he walk with God, maintain his integrity, and make steady progress in knowledge and in faith, although the form of his usefulness may change, it will never change into uselessness.

This power has but one source—the Spirit of God in the soul of man. It is the one thing that cannot be feigned.

Let us look up and hope to see, not one, or two, or three, not merely an occasional and extraordinary man, shining in the churches as with a light from on high; but let us soberly and steadily, and in prayer, expect companies of preachers, each differing from his brethren, yet all of them manifesting in some form or another that an anointing from the Holy One abides upon them, teaching them in all things, and enables them to appear before men, not only saying in words, but by their commending fruits saying to the conscience, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

On a question so vital to the interests of mankind, no mind ought to float on the prevailing current without adopting a deliberate conviction. Was the conversion of thousands in Jerusalem, of crowds in Ephesus, in Samaria, Antioch, Corinth, Rome and elsewhere, a proof, once for all, of what God could to towards the saving of this lost world, which He designed never to repeat, and which His children would be presumptuous in expecting to see again?

New converts are the most powerful attraction that ever acts on those who are still in the world. There seems a peculiar spiritual power connected with the first love, and an impressiveness in the words, of new converts, enforced by the manifest change in them, which nothing else can exert.

The converting power is also the principal lever which Christianity can use for raising the standard of morals in nations.

One youth whom religion strengthens to walk purely among dissipated companions sends lights and stings into their consciences which mere instruction could not give, because it shows them that purity is not, as temptation says, unattainable.

The converting power is also the only means whereby Christianity raises up agents for her own propagation.

It is the Divine nature, which delights to communicate, to bestow, to purify, to save, breathed into the soul of man, and impelling it in the same course wherein Christ Himself moved.

Nothing so re-animates the zeal of old Christians as witnessing the joy and simplicity, the gratitude and fervor, of those who have been lately born of God.

The preference so carefully and even ostentatiously displayed by many good men for what are called gradual conversions over sudden ones, may have some foundation—but not in Scripture. All the conversions we find mentioned the New Testament are sudden.

One simple objection to this theory of “going on steadily” (that is , slowly) is, that it cooly consigns whole generations to hell, and leaves us with the dreadful feeling, that the best progress of the work of God is a progress which leaves the great majority of those now alive hopelessly in their sins. Another objection to this “going on steadily” is, that it is not Pentecostal; it is not primitive; it is not after the example of “the might power of god.”

Whoever, on reading that three thousand Jews were converted on the day of Pentecost, and lived holy lives afterwards, thought of exclaiming, “What a preacher Peter was!” The magnitude of the effect at once suggests a super-human cause.

In merely natural processes, persons proposing to affect the sentiments of mankind, must depend largely on their influence, their wealth, and their facilities. Christians frequently permit themselves to fall into a state of mind in which the want of all, or any of these, is taken to be fatal to their prospects of success, and the acquisition of them to be the first step towards making any impression. But wealth, influence and facilities, however great, never yet secured results in the spiritual conversion of men; while the most notable triumphs of Christianity have often been gained in the total absence of them all.

We want in this age above all wants, fire, God’s holy fire, burning in the hearts of men, stirring their brains, impelling their emotions, thrilling in their tongues, glowing in their countenances, vibrating in their actions, expanding their intellectual powers more than can ever be done by the hearts of genius, of argument, or of party; and fusing all their knowledge, logic, and rhetoric into a burning stream.

Prayer earnest, prayer united, and prayer persevering, these are the conditions; and, these being fulfilled, we shall assuredly be “endued with power form on high.”

Prayer which takes the fact that past prayers have not yet been answered, as a reason for languor, has already ceased to be the prayer of faith.

The recognition of our impotency without the Spirit, and of the absolute necessity of His presence and His power, is as needful as the recognition of the fact that, without sunshine and rain, all labour and all skill would fail to preserve the human race for one season. But the sunshine and the rain are precisely the things which cost nothing and on which we may constantly depend. So it is with the baptism and the power of the Holy Spirit. Freer than the air we breathe, freer than the rich sunbeams, freer than any of God’s other gifts, because it is the one which has cost Him most and which blesses His children most, that gift is ever at hand.

Unbelief and neglect of prayer generally go together as preventives of spiritual power.

Want of true faith and neglect of prayer are sure to make place for faith in the instrument, instead of in the power.

Another fatal hindrance is any kind of sensual indulgence. Whatever gives the least ascendancy to the body over the spirit must gradually subdue, and ultimately extinguish, the fire in the heart. This applies to all sloth, to every luxurious habit, every artificial appetite, and all the pleasures of the table.

…but all of us who have any heart for our Master’s service, any real intention to have a part in the battle for the rescue of mankind, do desire in our very hearts, yea, long with mournful longing for a tongue of fire to tell of the love of the Saviour, and of the woe of sin, in such tones that the dead ear shall tingle.

It is hard to imagine a satire on the Gospel more bitter than that it should be powerful when new to men, and impotent when familiar; that it should be good for the half barbarous, but not for those whom itself had refined; capable of captivating the inert but incapable of commanding the masculine and the energetic.

There is a natural tendency in any movement to lose intensity as it gains surface.

“Howbeit,” says St. Paul, “for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.” Thus we are deliberately forewarned to take the most singular conversion that ever occurred in the early Church, not as a discouragement because of its specialty, but as an intentional manifestation of the wonderful grace of the Redeemer, by which every sinner, in all ages, who would fain “find mercy,” may encourage himself.

The difference between preaching the Gospel with a full expectation of doing no more than saving small companies of saints from amidst multitudes of sinners, on whose shipwreck no influence is to be exercised beyond holding them a light to sink by, and of looking upon every converted man as one rescued from a common danger, who is immediately to join in rescuing the rest—is such, that in the one case, when a little is accomplished, it is looked upon as what the Gospel was sent to do; while, in the other case, every little is taken as but an earnest of the great, and the great as an earnest of the universal. While we aim at few, we shall win but few; for, that our successes shall take their proportions for our faith is the universal law of the service of Christ.









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Justin Bieber

I include a slide of Justin Bieiber in my science slide show. Therefore I linked from Drudge to this article. I then enjoyed this quote that goes along with the thinking of the science presentation:

I can just trust that God got this under control. That’s where I’m at. I’m the type of dude who always wants to figure it out. Science makes a lot of sense. Then I start thinking—wait, the “big bang.” For a “big bang” to create all this is more wild to think about than thinking about there being a God. Imagine putting a bunch of gold into a box, shaking up the box, and out comes a Rolex. It’s so preposterous once people start saying it. At this point, my faith has gotten me to where I am. My faith has brought me to a whole other level. I love talking about my faith. I think that with Christians, they’ve left such a bad taste in people’s mouths. Just like, overly pushy with the subject, overly churchy and religious.

You can read his other comments about Christianity at the article. Just a young man trying straddle the great divide. Hope he lands on the right side.

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San Diego Trip

On a Thursday Sept. 10th, Joan and I traveled to San Diego to see our daughter, Laura Michelle, her husband Joe and our fourth grandbaby, Joshua. I also included four visits to churches to do the “one minute bible studies” seminars. This trip also coincided with a Starbucks Dash for the Stars so we can enjoy our Starbucks opportunities (none in Sparta) and get rewarded with some freebies.
A cancelled Southwest flight gave us a better flight that got us into San Diego in time for Joan to go with Laura Michelle to Joshua’s checkup. I went with Joe as he charged up his electric car, a Leaf, and then breakfast together. San Diego living is just cool.
Friday, I hiked the mountain behind their house. On the other side of the mountain you look on a high tech area where Joe works. I hiked this in May when Joshua was born, but it was a lot hotter today. Joe Rice used to live in this area and he said he walked this every day he could. On my last walk I hiked with a man named Mat, owner of phone stores in Dallas, living in San Diego and concerned about his son Sean. This time I walked alone and it was hot.
I made it down in time to have a Rita’s gelato before Joan and I borrowed their car and headed off to Winchester to work with Mike Stamper’s church. Originally this was going to be a missionary get together with the Stampers, us and Richard Brooks. As it was we stayed with the Stampers only. They had a guest room set up for us and fed us at the house and we had a great time together. They have been missionaries in Kenya and Nepal. They are both talented and high energy people. They have taken over a church that just released their pastor to be a missionary in Madagascar.
That evening I gave a short evangelism sermon followed by a thirty minute outreach. We did around 25 bible studies with people and had two people pray. I spent most of the time talking with one man named Mike on break from his Home Depot job. He was church knowledgeable listing his positions and ministries. He wanted to have the spiritual talk about revelation and the rapture, but a zeal he might have once had was suppressed as he smoked his cigarette and waited to go back to work. Pastor Stamper would be the perfect man to reach into the mysteries of bible life with him; and I told him as much before we parted our ways. While at the church I saw some stats from their California Conquests. These are targeted outreaches where all of the area churches converge upon a single church to outreach. The numbers are impressive; 250 saved, 300 saved; I was impressed. Pastor Richard Cox is the coordinator of these outreaches. This last conference he preached about the need for follow up ministry. What good are 300 convert cards if all they do is sit in a desk?
The next morning we shared a nice breakfast with the Stampers and Mike’s Mom. We got their dating story (always fun to hear) and Mom’s perspectives on life (she is quite the lady). The night of ministry was augmented to the fullest by the fellowship Mike and Yolanda offered to us. We made our way back to San Diego where we would do Sushi with Joe and Laura Michelle enjoying the day together.
Sunday would be spent in Spring Valley at Cris Lloyd’s church. It is nice when a church can give me a full Sunday. I do my science slide show for Sunday School, evangelism sermon for morning service and for the evening service we go out for the 30 minute outreach. This was my first use of two extra slides: one with Bruce Jenner on the box of Wheaties and one of Bruce Jenner on Vanity Fair. The point: DNA determines sex, and there is nothing you can do to change it and you determine sexuality. I precede this with a study done in Minnesota that found homosexual youths were five times more likely to impregnate girls than straight youths. It also found that Lesbian youths were five times for likely to be impregnated than straight youths. I follow this with the Proverb: “As a man thinks in his heart so he is” with the idea being that if you read cookbooks you will want to try and cook and if you read and think about sexual orientation you will tend to try and figure it out with actions. They had a great group of teen agers that were soaking up the science presentation.
I preached my evangelism sermon getting everyone set up to use their phones for our “one minute bible study” outreach that night. Cris and Lori took us out to a Mexican restaurant, something I look forward to anytime I can get out of Sparta. Joan and I camped out at a Starbucks taking care of business until the evening service. The prayer room seemed electric to me, but Cris said it was normal. Wow! The gang went out and did over 50 bible studies and prayed with 15 people that night. The first guy I tried to talk to couldn’t because he was heading to a bus stop. Well as the outreach unfolded I found him again on the bus bench. Dominic did a “one minute bible study” with me. He had travelled two hours by bus across town to see his ex-girlfriend and their two year old daughter. Guilt, no guilt, right, wrong and everything happens like it is supposed to so why bother, but yet he is bothering. God, no God, maybe God. Yet, he feels a responsibility to be a good father. A seed planted waiting for some water of the word to counter the confusion that the world brings. We return to the church where there is victory in the camp.
We shared a desert with Cris and Lori that night. It had been a long day for Cris, yet he gave me the impression they would use the “one minute bible studies” in their future outreaches. I hope so. It was a great outreach as far as I could tell.
Monday was Mexico day. Joan and I had let our passports expire but we crossed into Mexico with Joe and Laura Michelle and baby with birth certificates and expired passports. We whizzed through the border without being stopped and made our way to a rundown resort just north of Ensenada. We set up camp and then headed out the back roads through Baja to Ensenada. We stopped for a fruit dish at a roadside stand to start the trip. Ensenada impressed me. In the distance I saw tankers and was surprised to find a bustling port city on the Baja coast. We walked around, I bought a hat, and Joan looked for her sun pottery before we settled into a little joint for some seafood tacos. The real thing in the real place, too good. We headed back to spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach and in the warm Pacific. That night we went to Charlies where all the American expatriates hang out. We ate fish and shrimp while watching Monday night football. Pretty cool.
We had a pleasant morning with Mexican coffee, Mexican hot chocolate and coconut milk and headed up the coast looking for Joan’s ceramic sun. Found one, a little pricey, but Joan was shown a video from Pueblo where the pottery is made. Audra and Jesus had just been there. A couple more stops, not much bargaining. Joe thinks that in the last major town before Tijuana we will find something. We stop for tacos, delicious, and make our way to the city market with the booths. We walk around without seeing what Joan wants…and then we find it, the man bargains and everyone comes away happy. Our own ceramic sun. Is it just coincidence that in Sunday School back home we would be examining Babylon Mystery Religion and its connection to sun worship?
We have to drive through a downpour into the outskirts of Tijuana which has traffic backed up. The kids in their Catholic school uniforms all drenched trying to make their way home. Mexico is third world, but it is a rich third world, it seems to come down to the basics of keeping things repaired and organized, something just beyond the reach of the third world mindset and pocketbook. We are inching our way to the border crossing when we find out the road we should take is closed. They are celebrating Mexican Independence are using that road to set up booths. It takes a while but we make it to the border, cross without incidence and are on our way home.
The girls would rest while Joe and I went to a revival service with Evangelist Jimmy Robinson from England. Good service. The next morning we would have a breakfast with Joe Rice, Heather, Joey and the evangelist. His son Joey is who I originally bounced ideas off of using a web site or app to do “one minute bible studies” with people. It was nice to be able to show him what I have at this point. This trip was originally set up around dates set for Joe Rice’s church but schedules collided so we were using this breakfast to give him a few points so that he could introduce it to the church at a later date. It was our Joe’s birthday also.
During this time I was thinking about outreach statistics. How many bible studies did we get done? How many people got saved? The statistics speak success, I am using them in this post to evoke success. Pastor Rich Cox preached at July conference with a touch of despair over the statistics that speak success and the reality of no follow up. That Wed. I would be going over to Oceanside to preach for Tim and Sue Moynihan. I decided to add a dimension of our “ambassadorship” for Christ into my evangelism sermon. That night we would have 40 bible studies and we prayed with 5 people. The people that prayed with those people all got phone numbers, even some people got phone numbers even though they didn’t pray. All of this was looking for a way to allow us to have some conversations with people that could go on beyond the outreach.
Thursday we would have ribs at a rib joint that was closed down at one point because of the delicious barbeque smells. This is the lore that surrounds Phil’s BBQ. It was our gang, the Rice’s and their evangelist and then Stacey Dillard and his wife Daphne. It was fun hearing Stacey, Joe and Jimmy trade English preaching stories.
That night we went to Stacey Dillard’s church where I preached my evangelism sermon with the added emphasis of our ambassadorship for Jesus. We went to the local metro station where we did 45 bible studies with 10 people praying. People got phone numbers of people they prayed with as well as just people they did a bible study with. I talked with a man who said he was alright with God. We did a bible study together. He had been through a divorce, she was now his best friend. He was making life happen. He asked me to remember the lady he is caregiver to in prayer. I went the extra step of asking him if he minded giving me his phone number so that I could stay in communication with him. He said yes. He then asked me what church I was part of. I let him know I lived in Illinois and I gave him the flyer for the Chula Vista church. I have texted him since then asking him to let me know if I should continue or not and he texted back: “Thanx brother Kevin I appreciate it”. Onward and upward.
Friday we had pancakes together. Joe went to work. I got a haircut at “Brothers Barber”. The girls did shopping while I hung out with Joshua. I listened to music while I worked on a sermon. He did quite well entertaining himself and sleeping. When he woke up we walked around until the girls came home. Easy night, and the next morning Joan and I hiked the mountain. We got organized for our trip home. Smooth sailing all the way to Sparta.

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A Little Light on Hollywood

Bernie Sanders is the unabashed socialist able to come out of the closet and represent true Democrats because our shadow President with his communist/socialist credentials paved the way for him.

One enduring lie has been the Hollywood blacklist. Well you will enjoy this article if you enjoy truth, even though it is hard to find these days. It starts with a hypothetical film that will never be made and ends with the communists in Hollywood still fighting against those they perceive as ideological enemies. Here is a quote:

Witness the longstanding campaign to prevent director Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront, East of Eden, A Streetcar Named Desire) from receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Motion Picture Academy. Kazan, a former communist, cooperated with HUAC and defended his position in a New York Times advertisement that called on liberals to take a stand against communism. Since Kazan’s cinematic achievements are undeniable, his career violates a significant aspect of the Hollywood Ten legend: that those who defied the committee were brilliant artists and noble idealists, while those who cooperated were vile mediocrities who could build their careers only by destroying others.Kazan finally received his award at last year’s Oscars, but amid renewed controversy over whether he should receive any applause at the event. (Abraham Polonsky [I Can Get It for You Wholesale], a leading Hollywood Communist who led the assault on Albert Maltz, hoped in print that Kazan would be assassinated.) But though Kazan finally received his due from Hollywood, Stalin never has.

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I read about the “Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force” the Marines created to test female ability in compat roles. Apparently, the test results came in and they failed. Here is one article of many. I guess the Marines don’t know the game is rigged.

This came to mind yesterday as I took a hike up a mountain by Laura Michelle’s house in San Diego. Before going up the mountain I pass by a high school. Here in Illinois PE is always coed as far as I can tell. So the kids were on the football field, boys and girls integrated together on both teams. I watched one play unfold with the thought of the Marine program on my mind. The quarterback was a girl.

Well you already know what happens the field shrinks. She cannot throw it as far as the majority of males and all of the defensive players know it so they collapse onto the small ring of distance she can throw it.

Its the same with a hand grenade. The field shrinks. She can only throw it as far as she can.

So what, well if your life is depending upon the only uninjured marine left being able to throw that hand grenade the distance to disable a machine gun and she comes short where a man could do it you are politically corrected out of luck.

Since I read the article the Secretary of the Navy has already insulted the authors of the study and probably intends to make all combat positions available to women despite what common sense tells us.

A nation that can be convinced that sodomy is natural (the body designed for it) will be easily convinced that women are just as strong as men.

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