Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Our Quiet Nests

One Sunday after I preached, I spent about 1 ½ hours visiting with hurting, lonely and suffering Christians and because of that, I am concerned. How did these people from inside and outside the church get in this predicament? We (Christians) need to get out of our comfort zones. John Calvin (an early reformer) said, “We murmur against God, if He does not grant us a quiet nest.” The American church has become in many ways our “quiet nest”. And in our quiet nests we have become so comfortable that we have fallen asleep. We seldom “Go into all the world and make…” (Matthew 28) but rather than going, we sit inside our churches and every once in awhile dangle some “attractive” bait out the window (a special program or service) and we hope someone passing by will see it and possibly come in to our quiet nest and enjoy the benefits of “our” quiet nest.

Our God given purpose is to go, to minister inside and outside our church. We were not saved to be cleaned up and put on display in some museum. We were saved to go into the world with all its sin and misery and be the sweet fragrance of Christ to a hurting world.

We are sitting in our quiet nests, slapping each other on the back while a suffering world around us goes to hell. We are in deeper trouble than we realize or want to admit.

Matthew 28:16-20
2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Friday, May 19, 2006

Another day for men old before their time

Early one morning about a week and a half ago, I was at my desk at work checking the security logs, making schedules for the maintenance men, checking the cleaner log and learning the new soap dispensers don’t work like they should. I check email and notice I have one from “Bossman”, a former neighbor boy who is now an Army Ranger on his second tour in the Middle East doing the tough assignments Army Rangers do. His email is a light-hearted answer to my inquires about his girl friend who is a college softball pitcher in the southeast regionals in Georgia.

This week I had more typical days at the office: problems, appointments, etc. At one of my appointments my businessman friend asked me to talk to one of his employees whose husband had cancer surgery. “She needs to talk to someone” he said. The day goes on with its inherent problems.

That evening I talked to our son Andy; he asked if I’d gotten an email from “Bossman” that day. I had not and Andy proceeded to tell me about the message he’d received. Bossman’s friend had gotten shot in the face and did not make it. They pulled the team out and sent them back to the base camp where tomorrow Bossman will be in the Honor Guard for his fallen friend…

And I thought I had problems. Young men and young women put their lives on the line every day to protect you and me.

In Revelations 19 Jesus will lead out the Armies of Heaven to fight the last battle—victory will be guaranteed so no longer “young men will need to die in battle and those left behind will not feel old before their time.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

“Others May, You Cannot"

G.D. Watson, 1845-1924, was a Wesleyan Methodist minister and evangelist based in Los Angeles, California. His evangelistic campaigns took him to England, the West Indies, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Korea. He also wrote several books. This article was originally published in pamphlet form (from Good News Publishers).

"Those who would really be like Jesus will be called to a life of sacrifice."

"If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you to a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

"Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it: and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

"Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their success, of their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

"Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.

"The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants you to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit of it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

"The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own.

"He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you. But if you absolutely see yourself to be His…slave, He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.

"Settle it forever, then that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of Heaven."

Minnesota Katrina Relief Project

This is from “Mrs. Beef” and I just want to share a little about an event which we experienced Sunday evening. We were invited to attend the Minnesota Katrina Relief Benefit Concert at Dassel-Cokato. Many people that we know were recently involved in helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, including several men from the Bible Study that Jerry is involved in.

It was really moving to see the slide show from Mississippi but even more touching was hearing the testimonies of those people who were there serving God. They proved that God will use anybody of any age with any (or no) gifts to serve Him and to enlarge His kingdom.

Another thing that was so awesome for me was to see men boldly proclaiming their love of the Lord! Praise God! Keep those men growing for God!!

If you are interested in more information about the Katrina relief project, go to: www.mnkatrinarelief.com. They have scheduled week-long mission trips there every month for the rest of the year. They say we’ll be so blessed by going and will probably want to go again. Should we give it a try???

Mrs. Beef