Today is Labor Day, September 4th. Summer heat still clings to the days, but fall's cooling promise is growing. While our days are still over 90 degrees here in South Carolina, the nights are cooling off, falling into the low 70s and high 60s.
It has been a tough summer. Ferocious wildfires have ravaged Canada, Hawaii, and California; smaller, less publicized fires have hit other states. Floods have devastated several states. Excessive heat has caused deaths in the South and West. And, even as summer is ending, a hurricane has devastated "the Bend" in Florida.
This summer has also been challenging for me personally. Several friends are dealing with life-threatening illnesses. One of these friends is now celebrating her homecoming in heaven. My own battle for good health seems to be at a stalemate.
Through it all, a sense of God's peace has prevailed. The struggle has been challenging. However, three revelations have made this journey easier.
The need strikes me for balance in the structure and operation of the Ekklesia of God. God’s Ekklesia is Christ's universal, eternal body, which has had and will have many parts [with different functions] throughout the ages.
Every local body [the local church] is a unique part of that body. Each body must have its own unique vision—or it is an aberration, having no eternal impact. A church without a vision is, essentially, purposeless.
However, each local body is similar to other local bodies in one way: Individuals in these local bodies need to learn to love unselfishly and develop the discipline to become true disciples of Jesus. This is done through a person's fellowshipping within that local body, hearing the Word of God expounded, and volunteering [or ministering] in that local body.
However, if the pastoral team only looks for new sheep and fails to feed the older sheep or help sheep develop their own gifts and ministries [in or out of the...
I have been on the run, traveling and learning, and [I hope!] growing in the Lord. My last stop was at the Leadership Summit for Prophets in Charleston, S.C. It was a fairly intense two days [think of the difference between condensed orange juice and regular juice to understand the level of intensity]. Pastor Samuel imparted wisdom to all those who attended to receive.
On the second day of the summit, we had a round table summit to discuss what God was doing in the nation and the world. My assigned topic was “What God is saying to His Leaders.” The following is a copy of what God spoke at this round table:
The word of the Lord to those who call themselves “shepherds” concerning the heart, actions, and rewards of shepherds:
Know this, all who call themselves shepherds, my measuring rod is in My hand. I have measured you and am now separating you one from another as the shepherd separates the rams from his nursing ewes with lambs and...
Publishing houses have repeatedly declared that the Bible is the most published book. Originally written on papyrus and leather scrolls, the Bible is not available in various sizes, languages, exterior colors, and translations. Online and d editions of the Bible also exist.
Yet it is also true that the Bible is one of the most neglected books in the Western hemisphere. Even among those who call themselves believers, few can honestly say they have time set aside daily for Bible Study.
The younger generation often ignores the Bible, while this generation chases spirituality through various causes, occultic practices, and strange religions. Yet the Bible still speaks. It speaks with authority and power to those who will listen to its words. It defines a narrow road that leads to righteousness and eternal life and debunks the claims of other religions.
The Bible also declares it has its supernatural origin. The Bible proclaims its unique status as a document that speaks to each...
Yesterday I began sharing the first of a series of words concerning God's indictment of America. These words are a stern warning, indicating that God's forbearance with America is ending. Today, I am posting parts 2 and 3 of that series. These portions resulted from my asking God to grant me a greater understanding of HIs concerns.
But I asked the Lord, "Lord, although I think I understand, will you be specific about what has disgusted you?"
And I believe the Lord responded. He despises
One of my strengths is the ability to focus intently on one activity or problem. However, this strength becomes a weakness if I allow myself to become inflexible in my thinking or how I work with the people who surround me. If I focus on my expectations and plans coming to pass exactly as I have planned, I will suffer great disappointment and may miss God's best for our lives.
When our plans are interrupted or go awry, we have the opportunity to use that problem to grow in grace and become more like Jesus, or we can choose to stew in frustration and disappointment. A recent book Ambushed by Joy speaks of the balance we need to maintain in order to live in the fulness of life that God intends for us.
I took the unexpected interruption of a rainy day to make a cartoon video! Please watch this short video to learn more.
A division is occurring within the Body of Christ. Terms like "Conservative Christian" and "Liberal Christian" are being tossed around. But the true division occurring among believers is obscured by incorrect usage of such terms. If believers only look at the number of many social outreaches a particular church body is involved in, they will miss the root cause of the division entirely.
Recently I read a very heart-felt editorial from a pastor expressing distress about this division in the Body of Christ. The pastor’s concern and compassion for people were easily discernible throughout the article I read. The pastor expressed dismay that several local churches had joined together to host a men’s meeting that was designed to encourage men to be leaders in the family. The pastor felt the money spent on the meeting would have been better spent feeding the poor. The pastor felt the "Conservative Christians" within the local churches...
I hope I can explain this clearly....
I found my first red leaf of the fall yesterday. Our sycamores have been dropping yellow leaves, but I constantly look for the red and bright orange leaves that let me know that the cooler days of autumn are finally coming to release us of the humidity and mosquitos of summer. This red leaf, even with its black spots of decay, grabbed my attention filled me with the anticipation of breezy, cool autumn days.
You know, in some ways I resemble that leaf. I have areas of blackness and decay in my life--not just from aging, but from not yet being conformed to the image of Jesus in all areas of my life. I often try to ignore these dark areas, for these imperfections frustrate and embarrass me. However, I am sometimes so aware of my failures and shortcomings, that I am hesitant to speak of the greatness of God. I think: How can I speak into this situation when I am so messed up myself? I wonder if...