Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
– 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
I have been studying this chapter of 2 Corinthians for over a month and I am blown away by the overflowing generosity of the Macedonians which Paul highlights.
My wife and I have been examining our own generosity and have asked ourselves if it come to this level. Sadly enough I don’t think so, but the Holy Spirit is convicting us and moving in us to desire to give more. These verses should cause us all to look at our generosity.
So why do we not give like the Macedonians? Could it be a lack of trusting God for our provision? Could we be holding back out of fear that what we do have will run out or dry up?
Continue reading “How Generous Are You?”
It’s been over a month since we returned from Kerala, India. I am still relishing in the love displayed by the Body of Christ over there. We savored the close bonds developed with Babu and the other pastors. I witnessed my wife flourish as she was showered with the love of Mercy, Bindhu and the rest of women. We saw the Holy Spirit move in such mighty ways. God’s design was exemplified and it was beautiful to witness! His glory is on display in the nations!
Scripture is clear: go and proclaim the Gospel. In God’s eyes this is done by men and women both who are strong not on their own merits, but through him who strengthens us – Jesus Christ.
Continue reading “For the Sake of His Glory”
Well, it’s been 4 weeks. What has seemed to be a long visit seems to have flown by quickly. From quiet morning breakfasts to busy afternoon visits to the churches or Sunday worship, evening home worship, even death of a Pastors mother in law. Then death hit closer home, with the passing of Mercy’s sister’s father in law. Pastor visits for healing prayer, money for medication – we have started to see the daily activities of life here in Kerala, India for Pastor Babu Samuel.
Continue reading “Four Weeks”
On Thursday of this past week, over two weeks into our month-long visit, we visited five churches and one of the Bible training centers. These particular churches were in villages, outside of major towns. They serve the poorest of the poor. This is the focus of Grace Christian Ministry.
The training centers are a means for the surrounding people and those studying to be Pastors to receive biblical training.
So let me give you the setting: Its after sundown and there is only a lightbulb to light the front yard. There is a table set up with chairs of “honor” for us to sit in front of the gathering, and then seating for those who are attending. There is an order to how people are seated, with pastors up front followed by all others behind them. All are eagerly anticipating the teaching of the Word.
Continue reading “Open Air Gospel”
Romans 12 has been on my heart for a couple of months now, specifically verse 1. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. I had the chance to share a message on this particular verse while we have been in India.
Do you come to Church to get something from God? Please do not misunderstand me. Church is a place of refuge, replenishment for our souls, a place of worshiping our Father in heaven. But are you just taking? Are you giving back, or serving in some capacity? I want you to think deeply about what I am asking. Do you come to God always trying to get something? And has it been a fruitful experience or are you frustrated with empty results?
Continue reading “A Living Sacrifice”
I had the opportunity to share the Word of God this week with my brothers and sisters here in India. I chose adoption as my first topic. One of the reasons I desired to preach on adoption is because adoption is something personal in my life. My mother was a young teenager when she became pregnant. It was the 1960’s, in the midst of racial divisions and tensions. As broken hearted as she was to do so, it was decided I would be put up for adoption when I was born. I was two years old before actually being adopted. Although being adopted gave me a chance to be part of a family; the family I was adopted into was not loving and I felt as though I was not valued as part of the family.
Continue reading “Godly Adoption”
Yesterday evening, after what seemed to be a long day, came to an end in worship. True worship in a sense is what we should be doing every moment of our day. Tonight it started with song, then the reading of scripture, and ended in prayer.
The songs were simple, no fancy instruments, just voices and clapping of hands. The voices were lifted in harmony, eyes closed lifting praise to a holy, righteous, true and living God. I did not understand the words but their faces reflected a love for our Father in heaven. Looking at them drove me to examine my own worship when I am singing. Am I doing it just out of ritual? Do I truly know the words if the PowerPoint goes down…?
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When I say “40 days” to you what comes to mind? Some of you might say it’s one month and ten days; others might of the Book of Genesis and how it rained for 40 days. “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” (Genesis 7:4) Or Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 4:2) Jesus also appeared 40 days after the resurrection. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3) This is just a few scriptures that reference the time frame of 40 days. In the Bible it can be literal and symbolic. Bottom line it is represented as a period of trial and testing.
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About a month ago I went out to light the grill. I lifted the metal grate, fumbling with the child proof lighter as the gas built up in the grill. Just as I got the lighter to spark, a ball of fire flamed up singeing the hair on my arms along with my eyebrows, eyelashes, and portions of my fingers! It happened so fast and the initial shock made the pain minimal, not to mention the frustration at child proof lighters. Then the pain only to gradually grow. I tried to use water, oils like lavender, and ice to lessen the pain without much success. Thankfully, I was not seriously hurt and I healed quickly.
Continue reading “Hell is Real”
Back in May, I wrote a post about the Holy Spirit. Lately, I have been thinking about what it means to live by the Spirit. Scripture tells us we must live by the spirit – so what does it mean to do so? Is being filled with the Spirit a one-time event? Is it a continual “filling up”?
Continue reading “Live by the Spirit”