Monday, March 30, 2009
Apologies to all that look here to read the ramblings of a mad man. I have certainly been delinquent in my postings. I changed cell phone carriers a couple of weeks ago and currently do not have the ability to tether my new phone to my laptop for service. It has been a bit maddening for me to be unable to write, read blogs, or surf the 'net when away from home. This past weekend I was in Southwest Mo for a youth revival and was fortunate to have cell coverage! I'll try to get it all worked out so that, once again I can happily rant on any subject.
For now there is unpacking, laundry, getting ready for another work week, etc., etc.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
This is a story that most people are at least a little bit familiar with. It is the classic confrontation between David and Goliath.
Let me give you a brief set up of the story. The army of the Israelites (under the leadership of King Saul) is prepares to do battle with the army of the Philistines. Each army occupies a hillside with a large valley between them. A giant of the Philistines, Goliath offers this challenge: each side will choose a champion. The two will battle to the death. If the Israelite champion wins, then the Philistines will be their slaves. If the Philistine champion wins, then Israel will become the slaves.
All-in-all, this seems like a pretty tidy little way to avoid a nasty battle with a lot of casualties. The problem is that Goliath, the Philistines' champion, is over nine feet tall. His battle armor weighs 125 pounds (57 kilograms) and the tip of his spear weighs 15 pounds (7 kg). He is a monster compared to the Israelites and nobody is willing to accept his challenge. He makes the challenge daily, morning and evening, for 40 days.
At this time, David is just a boy. He is too young to be in the army. But his three oldest brothers are in the army and his father sends David to bring provisions to his older brothers. This is where we join the story. It is found in the First book of Samuel, chapter 17, beginning in verse 20:
20 Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.
25 Now the Israelites had been saying, "Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father's family from taxes in Israel."
26 David asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?"
27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, "This is what will be done for the man who kills him."
28 When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle."
29 "Now what have I done?" said David. "Can't I even speak?" 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
32 David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him."
33 Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth."
34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you."
38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
"I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 "Come here," he said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"
45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.
When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath a]">[a] and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54 David took the Philistine's head and brought it to Jerusalem, and he put the Philistine's weapons in his own tent.
55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, "Abner, whose son is that young man?"
Abner replied, "As surely as you live, O king, I don't know."
56 The king said, "Find out whose son this young man is."
57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine's head.
58 "Whose son are you, young man?" Saul asked him.
David said, "I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem."
My favorite part in this story is found in verses 38 and 39. Saul tries to outfit David for battle by giving David his armor. David isn't a soldier and can't even walk around in the king's battle armor. David takes off the warrior's armor and reaches for weapons that he is more familiar with: some smooth round stones and his trusty sling.
Now it does seem odd that in all of the army of Israel, nobody would accept the challenge of Goliath. But then the king accepts a bold young shepherd boy to fight on behalf of all of Israel. The boy has the confidence that is in the God that he represents--not the king nor the king's army. Neither is his trust in the king's weapons. He will use the weapons that he came with.
It seems to me that we often want to use weapons that are of our own designs and desires than to trust that God is going to provide for us. We think that we can't tell people about God's love unless we take some class, or read some book, or pass some test that was designed by some man that has a better way. God has given each believer a story to tell. And with that story, a simple command to tell our story of how God has provided us eternal life through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. He has even given--to each believer--the power of His Holy Spirit.
The devil stands as Goliath, boldly challenging us to declare our allegiance to God and to Jesus. He appears to be invincible and nobody wants to stand against him. We would rather not draw attention to ourselves and to our beliefs. We'll just mill about in the crowd of humanity, trying desperately to blend in with the non-believers rather than to stand out as one that trusts in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Why can't we be like David? Why can't we just declare our allegiance to God? Why can't we see through Satan's schemes to make us feel powerless when the Holy Spirit lives within us and gives us His power? I think that we could all learn much from this brave, young shepherd boy.
- 1 Samuel 17:52 Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew a valley
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Patriotism Not Yours To Give by Col. David Crockett
US Representative from Tennessee
Originally published in "The Life of Colonel David Crockett," by Edward Sylvester Ellis.
One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:
"Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.
"Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."
He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.
Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:
"Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.
"The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.
"I began: 'Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and---'
"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."
"This was a sockdolager...I begged him to tell me what was the matter.
" 'Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.…But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.'
" 'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.’
“ ‘No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?’
" ‘Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.'
" ‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.' "The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'
" 'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.'
"I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:
" ‘Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.'
"He laughingly replied; 'Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.'
" ‘If I don't’, said I, 'I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.'
" ‘No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.’
" 'Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name.’
" 'My name is Bunce.'
" 'Not Horatio Bunce?'
" 'Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.'
"It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him, before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.
"At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.
"Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.
"I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him - no, that is not the word - I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.
"But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted - at least, they all knew me.
"In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:
" ‘Fellow-citizens - I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.’"
"I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:
" ‘And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.
" ‘It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to thecredit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.'
"He came upon the stand and said:
" ‘Fellow-citizens - It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.'
"He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.'
"I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.'
"Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday.
"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased--a debt which could not be paid by money--and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."
Copyright © 2002 The Junto Society - All rights reserved. Permission to reprint granted provided a link to this site [ http://juntosociety.com/] is plainly accompanying the article.
Apparently I'm not the only one that feels that way. Here is the story of a lawyer that uses magic in his opening and closing remarks to illustrate his point to the jurors. Great! A lawyer that uses sleight of hand to go along with sleight of mouth! Does the opposition stand a chance?
Monday, March 16, 2009
It is a necessary step for us to take to continue to grow as a fellowship of believers. I am excited about the work that is taking place and the Spirit that is moving in the local family. We continue to see people making decisions for Salvation, baptism, church membership and rededication. Our Sunday School is growing and we will soon need to return to two Sunday morning services.
It is a fun place to be on a Sunday morning. If you live in the Ozark area, I would once again invite you to join us. If you don't, I pray that you can find a church that is half as friendly and has as much fun worshipping and serving the Mighty God.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
First off I have to say thanks to all of my evangelist friends that came and participated. They did a great job and brought their best in the way of music and messages. Also, thanks to Pastor Josh Hall at Selmore Baptist Church for allowing us to use their facility and for hosting the conference. I am very grateful to all of the churches that hosted evangelists on Sunday and hope that they will spread the word so that we can have more participation in the future. To our Director of Missions (DOM) Jim Wells...THANK YOU! Your support in this endeavor was immeasurable.
So now for the +'s and -'s along with a few thoughts on how to improve for future conferences.
+ 23 salvation professions of faith! improvement: have "event" days at churches (friend day, high attendance day, pack a pew, etc).
+ great speakers! improvement: more speakers (need more participating churches)+ great music! improvement: need more participation from local churches, can invite other music evangelists
+ good weather improvements are in God's hands!
- poor participation for host churches. improvement: start planning and promoting earlier, encourage churches to include the conference in their budget, share testimonies from churches that hosted evangelists this year.- poor daytime attendance. improvements: change to a Fri-Sun format with all day Saturday sessions. (too many bi-vocational pastors to have full weekday morning sessions)
- poor nighttime attendance. improvements: try to get more music participation from local churches, try for more centralized location, change to Fri-Sun format.- meal cost. improvements: Fri-Sun format eliminates a day of meals, we could have the churches provide daytime meals in carry-in fashion, Association could have meal catered at host location. Youth group (or other group) could provide lunch for evangelists and at a reasonable cost as a fundraiser to others.
Another + for the Fri-Sun format--it would allow churches to continue in a Sun-Wed revival with part of the expenses covered by the conference.
We could also include a Friday or Saturday night youth event at a different location for all the association youth groups.
I welcome comments and suggestions to improve the conference for next year. You can post them here or e-mail them to me.
These are the evangelists that participated. I hope that you will prayerfully consider using them in your churches.
Winston Barnett, Lifebuilders Ministries Inc. 417 873-9572 firstname.lastname@example.org
Clyde Chiles, Turning Point Evangelistic Association 573 474-2207 email@example.com
James Harriss 417 839-5265 firstname.lastname@example.org
John A. Hill, The Message in Magic 417 496-8891 email@example.com
Ron and Haven Howard 417 336-1367 firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Harold Mathena 405 627-7189 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim McNiel, Evangelistic Association 314 832-8190 email@example.com
Ron Mills, Ron Mills Ministry Inc. 816 228-5139 firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Ransom, Joseph’s Closet 417 581-8439 email@example.com
Don Walton 816 690-8214 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob White, White Evangelistic Ministries 417 546-4603 email@example.com
Sunday, March 08, 2009
I was a little bit disappointed at the attendance but I know that there is a lot of stuff that competes for our time. I am praying for a good turnout in the churches today and looking forward to reports of many decisions having been made. I do know that I heard several conversations of pastors talking to evangelists about coming to their churches for revivals and special events.
By the way, I know of at least one decision made to trust Jesus as Savior from the Upwards Basketball Awards Night last Thursday! I am hoping to hear of many more.
Have a great Sunday!
BTW, the program ended about 8:30, people hung around 'til 9, then the evangelists went to a restaurant until past 10! I managed to get to bed by 12:30 CST, moved the clock forward and still feel plenty rested this morning.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
A million minutes ago puts us back in the spring of 2007--almost two years ago.
Now let's jump to a billion. We can calculate that a billion (1,000,000,000) seconds ago was the fall of 1977 and I was just starting my senior year of high school.
It you make that one billion minutes ago, mankind is just entering into the second century AD and the year is 107 AD. (1901+ years ago) John has just recently written the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ--the last book found in the Bible.
Are you ready for one trillion (1,000,000,000,000)?
A trillion seconds is just over 31,688 YEARS.
How can Congress be talking in terms of a trillion dollars?
Need a visual? Check out this link for an impressive graphic of what a trillion dollars looks like.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
As you might have guessed from the previous post, I needed a night like tonight. This is a church that uses a lot of resources and volunteers to put on a program that impacts the community around them. Kudos and blessings to all of the staff and volunteers at North Nixa Baptist Church.
I was sorry to find out that Pastor Jerry was sick and couldn't make it to the event. He would have been very proud of his people. They moved chairs and rearranged the set up to accommodate me with only a few minutes before everybody started arriving. Thanks everybody!
The event tonight makes me even more excited about Sunday night. My friend and fellow evangelist, Jim McNiel will be at North Nixa for the evening service. They are going to love him!
So the old John (easy, Mike) is back. The Holy Spirit has lifted my spirit once again! It is good to be back! Oh yeah, and I also booked another summer event today. Ain't God good?
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
One of the issues that I had to deal with was the time of the Saturday night schedule. Apparently the change to Daylight Savings Time has generated some concern for the churches that have to travel a distance to get here. The session would have been over around 9. Allowing time to get with the visiting evangelists would have most on the road by 9:30. That should've put everybody home by 11. Move the clocks up an hour and you're in bed shortly after midnight--I guess I didn't see the problem.
In truth, I hadn't considered DST, but if I had--I doubt that I would have done anything different. But that's why I'm not the Director of Missions (DOM). I would just tell them that you can sleep when you're dead and there is work to be done...let's get busy! However, under the leadership of our DOM, I did restructure the evening program and shaved 30 minutes.
The thought just occurred to me that there were three of Jesus closest followers that couldn't stay awake and pray while Jesus went a little further to pray before His crucifixion. I wonder how these pastors portray them in their sermons. I'm sure that there will be many that are up late to get all of the college basketball scores and see the highlights and besides...a little less worship of the Great and Might God won't really matter--will it? A good night's sleep is important, to be sure. But it isn't like we don't make exceptions for our own desires; a ball game, a night out with friends, an event at our own church like an all night lock-in, or just watching and old movie on TV.
Come on! Just tell the truth. God isn't really that important to us. Events like these are such an inconvenience and nobody gets saved because we don't want to inconvenience our unsaved friends to attend an event that we don't really want to go to ourselves. It is a burden to serve the King, isn't it?! We would rather let our friends march happily into hell (and maybe march in with them!) than to be inconvenienced. What ever happened to surrender? Was God serious about living for Him? He didn't really mean that part about, "Not everyone that says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the kingdom of heaven"--did he? Sometimes I have to wonder, "How many of our church members sit securely in their pews, thinking that their presence is going to get them into heaven?" Sometimes I have to wonder, "How many of our pastors are there for the job--not the calling?"
I have no doubt that there will be repercussions from this little rant. But it makes me sick to my stomach that we can go so far to please ourselves and yet worry about giving God 30 stinkin' minutes!!! I spent more time than that making the changes to please a few immature, self serving PASTORS!
Like I said...that's why I'm not a DOM.