Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saying Grace in a Restaurant - Priceless!

Saying Grace in a Restaurant - Priceless !
Sometimes we forget the really important things in life.

Last week, I took my grand-children to a restaurant.
My six-year-old grand-son asked if he could say grace.

As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good, God is great. 
Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if 
Nana gets us ice cream for dessert. And liberty and justice
for all! Amen!"

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, 
I heard a woman remark, "That's what's wrong with this country. 
Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! 
Why, I never!"

Hearing this, my grand-son burst into tears and asked me, 
"Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, 
and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman 
approached the table.

He winked at my grand-son and said, "I happen to know that 
God thought that was a great prayer."

"Really?" my grand-son asked.

"Cross my heart," the man replied.

Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman 
whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never 
asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Naturally, I bought my grand-children ice cream at the end of the meal. 
My grand-son stared at his for a moment, and then did something I will 
remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it 
in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you. 
Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."

 The End

 I love this story!
 Please consider passing it along to some of those in your life that you touch.
 Sometimes, we all need some ice cream.

 I hope God sends you some ice cream today!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Book of Acts in 3 Minutes

Be Not Deceived!

By Gregory Dullum

Here are seven steps to avoid being deceived in these last days!

As we get closer to the return of Jesus Christ, one of the greatest dangers we face is becoming deceived! If Satan can trick us into believing a lie and giving up the truth, he has won the battle.
Becoming deceived is a very real possibility! The command, “Be not deceived,” is repeated many times in the Bible.
When asked what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of this age, Jesus said, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5). He added, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many… For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:11, 24).

The apostle Paul warned that many would fall away before Christ returns: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Becoming deceived is a very real possibility! The command, “Be not deceived,” is repeated many times in the Bible. Our very nature lends itself to being deceived: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, emphasis added).
How can we avoid becoming deceived? The Bible gives us seven steps to take.
1. Pray that we are not deceived. Ask God to protect us from deception. David prayed thus and God heard him: “In my distress I cried to the LORD, and He heard me. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue” (Psalm 120:1-2).
2. Stay close to God through obedience, prayer and Bible study. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8).
We are told to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
The Bereans were praised because they “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Timothy was told to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
3. Stir up God’s Spirit in us. God has given us a spirit of power and love and of a sound mind. Stir up that power—use it (2 Timothy 1:6-7)! The Spirit of truth (John 14:17) will lead us into all truth (John 16:13)—it will not lead us into deception. Stirring up the Spirit helps us to fight deception.
4. Cling to truth we have been taught. Jude commands us to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Paul commands, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
5. Avoid false teachings. There is no need to fill our minds with the teachings of deceptive false prophets. Paul tells us, “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11).
Jude commands us to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
We are further told, “Shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16).

We are commanded to avoid false teachers who arise within the Church: “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6).
6. Love the truth. A great false prophet (Paul called him “the man of sin”) will come before Christ returns and will deceive many (2 Thessalonians 2:3; Revelation 19:20; compare Revelation 13:11-17).
This man will use signs and lying wonders: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
To avoid being sucked in by deception, we must love the truth, believe the truth and take no pleasure in unrighteousness (sin or disobedience to God).
7. Recognize false prophets. Many people will believe in false prophets if their prophecies come true or if they perform miracles, thinking these are proofs that God is working through them. God gives us the true test: False prophets will lead people away from obeying Him. They will preach another god or they will teach that God’s law no longer needs to be kept (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). If they preach against God’s law, don’t believe them (Isaiah 8:20)!
Practice these seven principles and it will be very difficult to be deceived!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Are you a Trader?

A Pastor with GUTS!

A Pastor with GUTS!
Thought you might enjoy this interesting Prayer given in Kansas at the opening session of their Senate. It seems Prayer still upsets some people.. When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask
Your forgiveness and to seek your direction and
Guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those
Who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we
Have done...

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed
Our values...

We have exploited the poor and called it
The lottery...

We have rewarded laziness and called it

We have killed our unborn and called it

We have shot abortionists and called it

We have neglected to discipline our
Children and called it building self esteem....

We have abused power and called it

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions
And called it ambition...

We have polluted the air with profanity and
Pornography and called it freedom of expression...

We have ridiculed the time-honored values
Of our forefathers and called it enlightenment...

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts
Today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

The response was immediate. A number of
Legislators walked out during the prayer in
Protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian
Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than
5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls
Responding negatively. The church is now receiving
International requests for copies of this prayer
From India, Africa and Korea.

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on
His radio program, 'The Rest of the Story,'and
Received a larger response to this program than any
other he has ever aired.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep
over our nation and wholeheartedly become our
Desire so that we again can be called 'one nation
Under God.'

If possible, please pass this prayer on to
Your friends.... 'If you don't stand for something,
You will fall for everything.'

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Song that Silenced the Cappuccino Machine?

(Not sure who wrote this.  It was sent to me a while back via email and was a blessing.  I pray that all those that read it will be encouraged by God.)

Have you heard the story about...
The song that silenced the cappuccino machine?

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks
shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square .
Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of
the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send
the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.

For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location
in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if
you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right
chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing.

It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was playing keyboard
and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal
of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the
'90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition
of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting
in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat
and singing along.

After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize
for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked.

"No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in.
Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?"

To my delight, she accepted my invitation. "You choose," I
said. "What are you in the mood to sing?"

"Well. ... do you know any hymns?"

Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I
cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I
gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one."

"Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick

"Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the

My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed
her eyes on mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one."

She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse,
straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my
two-bar setup, she began to sing.

Why should I be discouraged?
Why should the shadows come?

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the
gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees
stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

I sing because I'm happy;
I sing because I'm free.
For His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a
deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie
Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go
back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came
in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!" But the ovation
continued. I embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole
year! That was beautiful!"

"Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn,"
she said.

"Why is that?"

"Well . .." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's
favorite song."

"Really!" I exclaimed.

"Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time,
the applause had subsided and it was business as usual. "She was 16. She
died of a brain tumor last week."

I said the first thing that found its way through my
stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?"

She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands.
"I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing
his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag,
gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing
in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night?
Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that
particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I
just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her
daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.

God has been arranging encounters in human history since
the beginning of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he
could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary
gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him
and singing his songs, everything's gonna be okay.

The next time you feel like GOD can't use YOU, just

a.. Noah was a drunk
b.. Abraham was too old
c.. Isaac was a daydreamer
d.. Jacob was a liar
e.. Leah was ugly
f.. Joseph was abused
g.. Moses had a stuttering problem
h.. Gideon was afraid
i.. Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
j.. Rahab was a prostitute
k.. Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
l.. David had an affair and was a murderer
m.. Elijah was suicidal
n.. Isaiah preached naked
o.. Jonah ran from God
p.. Naomi was a widow
q.. Job went bankrupt
r.. John the Baptist ate bugs
s.. Peter denied Christ
t.. The Disciples fell asleep while praying
u.. Martha worried about everything
v.. The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
w.. Zaccheus was too small
x.. Paul was too religious
y.. Timothy had an ulcer...AND
z.. Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now. God can use you to your full potential. You aren't the message, you are just the messenger. May God bless you!

’7 things I ask myself before I speak for God’ – Francis Chan

Francis Chan at Exponential conference in Orlando gave out seven things to ask before we speak or preach for God.  I have heard him refer to these questions and hope to find the whole message.   #4 is the key here. Without Him we are nothing and With Him we are complete!

1. Am I worried about what people think of me?
2. Do I love these people?
3. Am I accurately presenting this passage?
4. Am I depending on the Holy Spirit’s power or my own ability?
5. Have I applied this message to my own life?
6. Will this message draw attention to me or God?
7. Do the people really need this message (is there a sense of urgency)?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Story of Jonah

This is an awesome video of a young girl telling the story of Jonah.   

Link on Vimeo:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Beyond Belief?

Scott Lehr at Southbridge Fellowship read these at the end of a recent service.   Very good word!

The question is not do we agree with them in our minds but do we go beyond mental belief and live in these truths?

John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–
Ephesians 1:3-5 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—
Colossians 1:14 God has purchased our freedom with his blood and has forgiven all our sins.
Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
2 Timothy 1:7 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
1 Peter 2:11 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
1 Peter 2:9-10 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
(All verses from the NIV, except Colossians 1:14 from the New Living Translation).