Posts Tagged ‘God’

The answer to the question above is both yes and no. No one church can make a difference apart from the power of Christ. Yet, any church can make a difference when empowered by Christ. I look to start blogging more regularly again. My small church is going to be busy in the next year plus trying to make disciples of all nations. I hope to document not what we do, so much as what I see God doing through us. The journey will include trips to Thailand and the Northeast US. Also not forgetting good old Jasper Indiana, as we kick off Impact Jasper this summer.

I know this – God intends to reach all nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has chosen His people to proclaim this message. So, we may go forth in confidence knowing that no matter how difficult, some will be saved from every people group. He is powerful and mighty to save. I implore everyone, that where there are ears to hear, we would proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The work is not easy. The journey may be hard, but eternity is at stake for many. Stay tuned and may God by glorified in all that we do.

Torn is a book that talks about trusting God when life is hard. The book is split into two sections – trusting in God when torn & how to put the pieces back together. If we are honest, it is many times hard to trust in God when it feels as if He is not with us. The book reminds us that God is with us even in those times when it seems as if everything is falling apart. While our circumstances change, God’s character doesn’t. We can take comfort in being able to come to a God who is always there and never changing. When trying to put the pieces back together, Wilhite reminds of the importance of sharing our struggles with others.

For me most of the book was a helpful reminder of things I know, but seem to forget. However, the last chapter on learning to forgive was very helpful to me. It was one of those moments where God really used this chapter to show me an area that I needed to work on. I had just read in Matthew where it talks of leaving your sacrifice at the alter and leaving  to make amends with someone who has something against you. I picked up this book and the very next words were on what I had just read in Scripture. God used this to make me realize that I needed to forgive and not hold on to bitterness. I have had to left go of bitterness towards a biological father who left me behind and an ex-wife who I felt wronged me. I had held on to these things without ever realizing it. This chapter was a great help and guide for me. I would recommend this book.

I received this book free for review from Multnomah Books.

Behind the Veils of Yemen by Audra Grace Shelby is an amazing look at the life of women in Yemen. In this book, Audra shares the journey her family takes from becoming missionaries through their time in Yemen. There are two things that really stood out to me in this book. First, God is always faithful and still works in many miraculous ways. Second, the life of Muslim women in Yemen is not what I expected. What many would consider degrading or abusive, they see as a way of life and honoring to God. I found it interesting that when the woman gather together and the veils come off, they are not drastically different than Western women. They share in each others lives. They discuss struggles and celebrate joyous events. They do everything they can to honor God and not bring shame to their families. However, their view of God is heartbreaking. Their god is not a loving god, but a vengeful god who is very impersonal. They fail to even get proper medical care at times because if it is God’s will they believe they will get well on their own. This book drove me to pray for God to remove the blindness these women have towards the true God. It also led me to give thanks for those going to foreign lands to bring the true God and the Gospel to those who need to hear.  This book was both encouraging and heart breaking. This would be a book I recommend for anyone to read.

 

I have received this book free for review from Chosen Books.

As I decided to read Desiring God Revised Edition by John Piper, I was not sure what to expect. This is considered by many a must read book of the modern era. I was greatly blessed by what I read. This book discusses how we are to be as happy as we possibly can in God. It goes into great detail to explain what exactly is what Piper terms a Christian hedonist. Piper then looks at how this applies to many different areas of our lives including worship, marriage, money, missions and many others.

Reading this book was monumental for someone as myself who has struggled to find joy in God at times. The phrase ‘that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him’ really struck home with me. The chapter on suffering was very encouraging and informative. As someone who always put sacrifice and suffering on the opposite end of the spectrum as joy, this chapter completely changed my heart and mind on this topic.  This chapter showed me how sacrifice is not the removing of joy from my life to please God, but how suffering and joy go hand in hand. For anyone who believes like I did that seeking joy was somehow worldly or wrong, every chapter in this book will challenge that view in one way or another. I am grateful that God placed this book in my hands at the perfect time in my life. I would recommend this book to all.

 

This book was provided free for review from Multnomah Books.

Out of a Far Country is a modern day version of the prodigal son with some new twists. Christopher Yuan is a young dental student, who someday is expected to join his fathers dental practice. However, he is secretly living another life exploring his homosexual desires. When Christopher is found out by his parents, he is left with the choice of his family or his homosexual lifestyle. Christopher dives fully into his new lifestyle, a lifestyle characterized by parties, drugs and sex. Through it all, God is in control as He begins to draw members of this family one by one to Himself.

This book is well written with alternating chapters being written by Christopher and Angela ( Christopher’s mother ). This story was very fascinating to me as it starts with the typical gay son being kicked out of the family. However, this story takes many dramatic turns as God changes hearts of stone to flesh. Just when it seemed like Christopher could go no lower, a new low would occur in his life. Yet through it all a devoted mother was always there for her son. This book really reminded me that Christians need to love those living with homosexual desires. To see how much God changes Christopher from the beginning of the book to the end is truly inspiring. It never gets old seeing the grace of God overcome the grip of sin on a life. And on the flip side God shows his sovereignty by using Christopher’s choices to draw Angela, a former atheist.I would highly recommend this book to all. There were times that I had to stop reading due to the emotions that were stirred by this book. As Christians, freedom from sin should be something none of us take for granted.

I received this book free for review from Waterbrook Press.

Southeast asia

Image via Wikipedia

I have been very busy since my last post. God has really moved me outside what I feel comfortable doing in my own power. He seems to find a way to do that. In the last week, a group of over 30 people from our church spent an afternoon serving at a homeless shelter about an hour away. My time spent at the Evansville Rescue Mission was a very eye opening experience. If you read my older posts, you can see I have spent so much time arguing with people hostile towards Christianity. My experience at the Evansville Rescue Mission let me see that there are people nearby hungry for the Gospel. I was just too busy looking in all the wrong places. Hoping that our church can become a more regular presence there at the rescue mission.

My overwhelming desire and passion for World missions has also kept me very busy. A couple of weeks ago I attended a one day missions conference in Nashville, TN with four other members of our missions team. It was an amazing experience just to meet people who have given their lives to missions work. The contacts I made and the things I learned are priceless. One contact we made was for our new contact for Southeast Asia. In one of my previous posts I was struggling as to where God was leading our church to go. In the past month it appears to be very clear that God is leading us to Southeast Asia. With that decided we are waiting for our contact to actually return from a trip to Southeast Asia. We are looking to possibly go to a mainly Buddhist area in this region. Prayers are appreciated as we continue to discern exactly which unreached people group God is sending us to.

I have also finished reading a book by Ronnie Floyd on prayer and fasting. I have never fasted before, but am hoping to move into a season of prayer and fasting. I think this will be important in keeping me focused on who is in control. I sometimes feel like the responsibilities and burdens I face are more than I can handle. I need to be reminded that it is not more than God can handle, and He will receive the glory when things are accomplished. This all leaves me feeling excited, scared and for sure out of my comfort zone.

The Impact Of Sept. 11th On My Life

Posted: September 11, 2008 in Christianity
Tags: ,

Growing up I always heard the where were you when such and such happened stories. I never really understood because, being in my mid 30’s now, not much happened in my life of that significance. I did take an interest in some of those stories. Being born on Nov. 22 1973, I always had an interest in the assassination of President Kennedy which happened 10 years earlier. While I really immersed myself in that, I never really understood the impact an event like that can have in ones life. That all changed with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11th.

At this point in time, I was not yet a Christian. But God was already working on my heart at this time. I was attending a Christian church, but did not understand having a personal relationship with God. Just prior to Sept. 11th, I attended a Christian concert by Ray Boltz. During the invitation, God was really convicting me that I needed to go forward. At that point in time I did not understand what was happening to me. I refused to go forward and suddenly in this very cold room, I broke out in a sweat and became dizzy. I eventually passed out in my seat. As soon as I left the building, the feeling left me. I would not understand until years later what was happening to me.

With that being said, I was at work when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. My friend informed me when it first happened, then the second plane hit. At this point, I found an AM news radio station that had constant coverage. After a few minutes, I turned around and people were gathered behind me. I then begin to realize this was my remember where you were story. I was at first greatly saddened, but it quickly turned to anger. I wanted to join the military and get revenge. My ex-wife was not on board with that idea, so it did not happen. I became almost obsessed with the event. I watched the news coverage every hour that I was not at work. I wanted to help in some way, but I didn’t know how. So, I became more angry with the situation.

Shortly after 9/11 my cousin got married in Pennsylvania. We went early and stopped in New York City for several days. We decided to go to ground zero and the experience changed my life. It was a long walk to get there and you could not tell anything had happened. Then we got within 2 blocks of the site, and that all changed. For the first time in my life I felt the presence of evil. We felt this darkness, this change in the atmosphere before we even knew we were getting close. Then we were there and my legs went weak. First I saw the makeshift memorials on the fences. Then we went out onto the viewing platform and saw the rubble below. You could smell death in the air. As I snapped out of my tunnel vision, there was a woman crying beside me who still did not know the fate of her loved one. She came here to cry and pray everyday. I was overcome with emotion, all I could do was cry. I kept thinking what could anyone do to help these people. I then turned to my left and saw the huge iron cross pulled from the rubble. It was then that I began to ponder how God could make a difference in their lives and mine.

After a little while, I really stopped searching so hard. I went to a softball tourney that summer in Florida. It turned out to be a tribute to those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks. They had a wall with all the confirmed names of the dead. As we mingled, we met people who lost loved ones who were on the wall. A team from New York City had a hard time making it through. It was painful to watch as they searched the wall for the names they knew, only to cry when they actually found it. We had no idea what to expect for the opening ceremony. Then a plane came overhead and two military men jumped out. They had two flags flying behind them, and when they landed they had two game balls. They handed them to a fire fighter and police officer from New York City, who through out the first pitches. At this point, not a dry eye in the house. We were then led in prayer, which never happens at softball tourneys. The whole weekend the trash talking that usually takes place was gone. This weekend made me reflect on the power of prayer, and how sorrow brings us together.

It would be a couple years before I actually got saved. But as I look back I understand how God was working on me in those situations. I now have this huge desire to help those in need. I have done a mission trip and worked disaster relief. But when I look back, I realize the only thing thing that could have helped many was Jesus. I also get frustrated when I look back. Why is it that so many have already forgotten how God helped them through?  Why is it we only call out to Him when things are bad?  Why is it that we refuse God like I did at that concert?

I can tell you one thing. That day and the events that followed forever changed me. I will never forget what happened. And I will never forget the power of a nation crying out to God together. Will it take another tragedy like this or Katrina to turn us back to God again?  I hope not, but the signs are not encouraging.