Categories
Christian Blog Perseverance

Getting Things Done with God

The church where our little congregation meets was built in 1935. Now, to my friends in the UK, where there are churches and castles centuries old, 87 years isn’t all that much.😊

As you can see, the exterior of the church is getting a face lift. Over eight decades of south-central USA weather have taken their toll, especially on the original stained glass windows and roof. Things had gotten so bad, every time it rained, you could literally see the building disintegrating.

Many of us thought this renovation would never happen. Five years ago, we were told the estimated cost of the work was $1,000,000. And more damage has happened since then. A little background info: our church is a chapel on a US Army post; yearly budgets for religious support operations are routinely cut.

Further complicating things, every few years the post gets a new CG (Commanding General) and a new Installation Chaplain–a colonel who is over all the chapels and chaplains. Understandably, each of these leaders has their own opinion about how and where money should be spent.

Fast forward to our current CG and current Installation Chaplain. Last year, these two teamed up and found the money to fix the chapel. Praise God!

Come let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.

Nehemiah 2:17b (NIV)

Parallels between our deteriorating church building and the story of Nehemiah are plentiful. Here was a guy who shared God’s heart to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. So, he committed 100% to the goal and got the people to join him. There were obstacles and opposition along the way but Nehemiah, and the folks of Jerusalem, kept moving forward with their God-sized project.

So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height.

Nehemiah 4:6 (NIV)

Kind reader, is there a God-sized opportunity in your life that is half-way-there? Then commit, or recommit yourself to accomplish the work–with God’s help. While you’re at it, inspire others to come along side. You’ll both be glad you did!

So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.

Nehemiah 6:15 (NIV)

I’m not sure how long our building restoration will take, but at some point we will have our beautiful chapel back–good as new. And all this happened because two guys and God set their hearts to make it so!

I close with a quote from the highest ranking CG ever:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Jesus-Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Categories
Christian Living Truth

A Surprise in the Fireplace

It had been a long weekend at the church where I served as an associate pastor. I’d spent most of the day, and all Saturday night, with a family whose father was in intensive care at a local hospital. Sunday was, well, Sunday—the busiest day of the week for me.

So on Monday (my day off), I slept in for some much needed rest. But even with the extra sleep I still felt frazzled; folks in the ministry call this “compassion fatigue.” Feeling emotionally depleted from the long weekend of pastoral ministry, I decided to take a walk at a beautiful Christian conference center nearby.

But as I made my way around a scenic tree-lined trail, wouldn’t you know, it started to rain! I quickly went from a stroll to a sprint, ducking into a nearby multi-purpose building—that just happened to be unlocked. It was a gymnasium with a kitchen and reception area: a “cafegymatorium.”😀

Wanting to stay dry, I continued to walk laps around the basketball court, using a massive stone fireplace as a waypoint. But then I heard something: a fluttering sound coming from behind the darkened glass doors covering the hearth. A bird had somehow fallen down the chimney and was unable to escape.

I cautiously opened the doors. Stepping back quickly, I felt the breeze as he flew past me—into the empty gym. It was a male cardinal, flashing brilliant red! He circled near the ceiling, trying to figure out where he was.

Tip-toeing over to a side entrance, I opened the door. The rain had stopped and the sun shone brightly—bathing a corner of the building in light. But mister curious cardinal wouldn’t take the exit; he continued his holding pattern, looping the gym over and over. So I stepped away from the door and froze, still as a statue. Finally, my “brother from another mother” flew out the door to freedom.


I call my hapless bird friend “brother” because I’ve been where he was: trapped and unable to free myself alone. Leaving full time ministry, a failed marriage, both were impenetrable doors blocking my escape. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks from your own life.

The point is, Jesus Christ is the only person who can truly set us free. And He opens the doors with one word:

So Jesus said to those who believed in Him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31 (GNT) emphasis mine

Kind reader, may I remind you that all the truth you’ll ever need is found in Christ Himself? At the cusp of His own crucifixion He comforted His dearest friends with these words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”— John 14:1 (NIV) And when Doubting Thomas questioned this, Jesus answered with a one sentence summary:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 (NIV)

It’s 2022 and Jesus is STILL the way; we don’t need another road map. God’s best to you always. Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️

Categories
Christian Living Prayer

Pull Boldly!

When I saw this witty little sign on the main doors of our school library, I immediately thought, “Now THAT’S biblical!”

The first scripture that came to mind was Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”- (NIV) A man whom many call the “Prince of Preachers” has a wonderful illustration for this verse.

Prayer pulls the rope below and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly. Others give but an occasional pluck at the rope. But he who wins with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously, with all his might.

Charles Spurgeon

Frankly, I’ve said many prayers that had all the firmness of a limp noodle. The disciples apparently had some moments like these with Jesus. Near the end of His earthly life, He says. almost chiding them, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” —John 16:24 (NIV)

However, there have been other times when the Holy Spirit moved me to pray boldly. As I recall, each of these powerful requests was answered, “Yes.” The book of James reminds us that the prophet Elijah was a regular human, just like us. And when he prayed earnestly, things happened—MAJOR things. “The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect.” — James 5:16 (GNT)

Kind reader, I will cease my ramblings with a closing question: Is there something you need to ask of Jesus?

Pull Boldly!