Friday, July 29, 2011

SOME THOUGHTS ON PRAYER

Love, Prayer, Leadership.Image by † Jimmy MacDonald † via Flickr
I FOUND ANOTHER LITTLE BOOK ON PRAYER...I was intrigued by its introduction.
"These meditations and studies on prayer are most timely.Never have there been such extensive and such convincing evidences of the poverty and inadequacy of human means and agencies for furthering the welfare of humanity; never has there been such a widespread sense of need of super-human help; never have there been such challenges to Christians to undertake deeds requiring Divine cooperation; never has there been such a manifest desire to discover the secret of the hiding and of the releasing of God's power. Interest in prayer is world-wide. This is shown in the prominence of this subject in addresses and sermons . . . as well as in the growing volume of books . . . The multiplication of Calls to Prayer . . . and of the formation of Prayer Bands and Leagues of Intercessors. . . . Among Christians everywhere, and even among many who would not call themselves believing Christians, there is being manifested an earnest desire to understand what prayer is and to engage more fully in its exercise."
That is just the first paragraph of the introduction of this powerful little book on prayer. But what is truly timely about this book entitled "The Meaning of Prayer" is that it was written in 1915 by Harry Emerson Fosdick. I feel very privileged to hold in my possession a copy of the first edition. which I discovered while "digging through" some books one of our senior saints left for the church library here at Felton Bible Church.  Oh, the treasures that await those who dig, and I am sure that will be even more true as I contemplate the truths written within this book.

Of course, all this will be for not, if one does not pray. So, may we all answer the call to prayer...not because there is power in prayer, but because the Father God to whom we pray to in the Name of Jesus and under the direction of the Holy Spirit, is the God who is the Almighty!

So, therefore, let us pray!
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Memory of a True Saint: John Stott

Truly, John Stott was the real thing. The true example of the Pastor/Theologian.  So many of his books have taught me, and encouraged me as a pastor, from the days of my high school ramblings (Basic Christianity) until today (The Living Church:Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor). Thank you, Lord for this brother, teacher, pastor.


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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

did you see THAT?!?

I CAN REALLY FEEL FOR THE APOSTLE JOHN. I mean, think about it...

He get swooped up into heaven, to the very throne room of God, filled with weird creatures (4), lots of elders (24), bunches of angels (10k x 10k), not to mention a Lamb who looked as if he had been slain. And of course there are candles, and scrolls...well you get the picture.

Here's were I feel for the guy, every time some new takes place before him I can seeing him ripping around and saying, "Hey!  Did you see THAT?!?"  Then realizing there is really nobody with whom he can share what he is witnessing.

Sure, there are the angels and some elders,  but this is nothing new to them. I'm sure you have been in that position before.  Seeing a gorgeous sunset, or the light hitting the trees in just the right way, or that perfect ocean wave crashing upon the rocks, and you turn to say to someone, "Hey, did you see THAT?!?" only to realize there is no one there to share it with.
The Falls on Clark ForkImage by outdoorPDK via Flickr 
The truth of the matter is, even for an introvert like me (yes, I am!) I like to be able to share special moments with someone else.  It's just better that way.

This week I am taking a little hiatus from preaching through Revelation because I am headed up to the Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River with my son and about 18 other guys from our church, but I wanted to encourage you to take the time and go back and read through the first five chapters of Revelation and try to put yourself in John's sandals. (You can check out past sermons here) Try to imagine seeing all that he sees and having no one to share it with. And then remember why we are told not to travel this journey alone.  God has saved us to His family, to the Body of Christ, so that we will always have someone to turn to and say, "Hey, did you see THAT?!?"
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Friday, July 15, 2011

REVELATION: WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

THE TITLE OF THIS BLOG POST may be a little misleading. There are truly a number of things that the book of Revelation is all about, but yesterday I had one of those moments of epiphany that comes when I am out running. I guess when your heart is thumping so loud that those you pass along the way can hear it, and the sweat is massaging your eyes with a saline-laden concoction, one tends to be more open to the voice of God...it has to do with being close to death, I suppose. Anyway...

I was out running at Henry Cowell State Park on a 3.5 mile run I call the "Ox Trail Loop." There are a couple a steep sections that can really knock you down, and thus far, after returning to running from a long period of not running, I have been beaten down by this run.  Always finding myself needing to stop and walk up the steeper portions. Anyway...

Cover of Cover of RockyAs I was running, feeling better than I have lately, I was thinking about my study in the book of Revelation and how one of the recurring themes is that of "endurance" and of "overcoming." (Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 3:21, Revelation 21:7, etc.) The Lord tells the readers of the Revelation that those who overcome will gain the victor's crown (amongst other things). But the overcoming and the enduring will truly take effort. One will have to dig deep, to seek the help of the Lord and to in no uncertain terms, "gut it out." When one does then they will enjoy the fruits of victory.  Anyway...

With those thoughts ringing in my ears I pushed through, and I truly believe, only by the Lord's help did I run the whole loop without stopping.  There was great rejoicing reaching the top of the Ox Trail incline! (Think Rocky on the top steps in Philadelphia.) I made it...OK, we made it, but I was able to enjoy the fruit of overcoming. And this I believe is one of the key lessons to the readers of the letter of Revelation. There were coming some seemingly insurmountable hills, but to the one who overcomes the victory crown awaits.

Here's another anecdote. This past week I fought long and hard with the Lord over having to do a certain "ministry."  It got down-right ugly. Let's just say God would have had an easier time with Balaam's donkey than with me (Numbers 22:1-35) Fortunately, I did not give in to my whims, but served anyway, and God, as he is known to do, showed up and people were blessed through the donkey...and so was the donkey.  I could had run the other way, but I chose to endure, even if it wasn't with the purest of heart and motive, and I was able to share once again the victor's crown.  Anyway...

I don't know what you're facing today. But I believe if you choose to endure and to be an overcomer, you too shall gain the crown. If you're down and out today, pick up the book of Revelation and gain hope, for those who remain steadfast shall gain the victory that is sure, even if your heart is ready to melt and your eyes are drowning in tears. Endure! Overcome!  In the strength of the LORD!
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

GLIMPSES OF GLORY -- Revelation 4


THIS PAST WEEK WE CELEBRATED OUR NATION'S BIRTHDAY, and while my family (extended and otherwise) and I were watching the fireworks explode over Skypark in Scotts Valley I heard playing in the background the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
  
My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage 
where the grapes of wrath are store
He has loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on!
Glory, glory, Hallelujah
Glory, glory, Hallelujah
Glory, glory, Hallelujah
His truth is marching on!

I honestly never really thought of that song tied to the book of the Revelation, but ti surely is. And I supposed both sides of the battles which forced the penning of this song surely thought that the coming of the Lord was near, and this is was to be the battle to usher in the Kingdom of God.


The sermon for Sunday July 10th is dealing with the visions of glory that the Apostle John saw as he was invited into the very throne room of God. (Revelation 4:1-11) (Part of the series, Hope During the Hard Times) A sight that he was hard-pressed to put into words.  It was a sight not unlike the prophet Isaiah saw, when he too was invited in the presence of the LORD. (Isaiah 6:1-10)


In fact, I would encourage you to take a look at those two passages and make note of how for the Eternal One things don't really change that much.  What Isaiah saw, so too did John.


As I contemplated what these two men witnessed I thought how might I explain the "glory of the Lord?" Not an easy reality to put into words. A sunset? The roaring of Yosemite Falls? The pounding of the surf? A baby's soft breath? The list could go on and on, much as the glory of God does.


I invite you to join me on that meditative journey. How would you describe, explain, the glory of the Lord? How would you describe the throne room of the Holy One?  Not an easy task for sure, but one that causes us to stop and consider once again the greatness of our God and King.


Glory! 
Glory! 
Hallelujah!
Holy! 
Holy! 
Holy!