Signed, Kenya

My dad has an exploding ministry.

Reaching tens of thousands.

I am not simply talking about here.

I am referring to Kenya.

My dad is blowing up in Africa.

I daily get emails from there.

He is fulfilling Jesus' Commission.

"Tell your father he is the best Bible teacher." 

I don't know if my dad knows this or not.

So Dad...

"You are the best Bible teacher.

Signed,

Kenya"

Back To Bethel

Jacob high tailed it to Haran.

He tricked his dad.

He swindled his brother.

But he was just a kid.

Only 76 years old!

And the Lord appeared to Jacob.

While on the run.

"I will make you great," the Lord told him en route.

 In Bethel.

"House of God."

And some forty years later...

Jacob comes back to "House of God."

He said this:

"Let us arise, and go up to Bethel;

I will make an altar unto God,

Who answered me in the day of my distress,

and was with me in the way which I went."

When was the last time you went to church?

Maybe like Jacob, it is time.

Go back to Bethel.

Back to the House of God.

 

The Last Laugh

"Is anything too marvelous for the LORD?"

That is what the Angel told Abraham about Sarah.

While she was laughing!

Gen 18:14.

No wonder they were told to name their son "Laughter."

God always gets the last laugh.

Today you may be laughing.

Maybe not out of incredible faith.

But incredulity.

God will be faithful.

He will get the last laugh.

Just ask Sarah.

"Thank God For The Charismatics"

An article I read recently:

“This is why I’m a Baptist now,” I whispered to my husband. Mother’s Day Sunday at my parents’ charismatic Pentecostal church. There I was standing awkwardly in the middle of the blacked-out sanctuary, begrudgingly competing in a game for perennials and a Starbucks gift card against other expectant mothers. One of the stylistic reasons this reserved introvert switched. Sort of.

Two drum sets seemed unnecessary. And was it just me, or were there more people crowded on stage as part of the worship team than the number of worshipers in the congregation?

Oh, I don’t mean to grumble. There are certainly little cultural aspects of my parents’ charismatic church that I appreciate. Friendly church members greeted us while we waited for service to start. Too bad I couldn’t hear a word they said over the worship band’s practice set. Truly I couldn’t hear a word. Was that a “Happy Mother’s Day” or a “So glad you’re here today”? I smiled and nodded.

Although I’ve no idea why I’d need them once already arrived, the church’s ladies bathroom offered a basket of hairspray, gels, blow-dryers, and curling irons. A sweet, albeit puzzling gesture.

Needless to say, it’s been a while since I visited the charismatic roots of my youth.

The temptation to judge harshly got the best of me at the start of service. Thankfully, as I sat through the message and observed the congregants, the many reasons why I love and appreciate my charismatic roots coasted back.

The Holy Spirit convicted me as I watched young men and women unashamedly use their spiritual gifts. The altar call was filled with 20 and 30-somethings praying over the struggles of total strangers or seeking prayer themselves. These young (and seasoned) Christians didn’t care that the service had already lasted an hour and a half. Nor did they care how many eyes watched them cry out to the Almighty for help in their brokenness and ask for the power of the Spirit to move in a supernatural way in seemingly impossible situations.

Yes, emotional manipulation happens within the charismatic movement. Yes, theological depth and education needs improvement along with avoidance of the Prosperity Gospel and mysticism. Charismatic churches are imperfect. Perhaps a young “former charismatic” could even build an influential platform off of criticizing the shallowness and insincerity of some charismatics they once knew. But what church is perfect?

Pastor Keith Welton answered this question this morning over at the Desiring God. Welton reminds us:

No one should be surprised that the church is made up of sinners — it’s one of the admissions that opens the membership door in the first place: we are not perfect and never will be in this life. At its best, the church in this age consists of sinners who are sincerely but imperfectly following Christ. And inevitably, the church also has people who are not truly following Christ.

Despite charismatics’ imperfections, the congregants at my parents’ church are followers of Christ doing their best to love their neighbors and share the Gospel. And while blemished, the charismatic movement and Pentecostalism continue their fast-paced growth worldwide.

Who am I to judge a charismatic church service? My personality might not resonate with all the stylistic aspects of a charismatic church, but my soul stirs at the sight and sound of Christians seeking the uninhibited power of the Spirit.

After all, it was a charismatic Pentecostal preacher who shared of the goodness and mercy of Christ with my family in our most dark hour. Thank God for Pastor Rose. Thank God for conviction. Thank God for charismatics.

Love Him More Than You Do

I am often reminded...

That my daughters love Christ.

More than I do.

I say things I regret.

I laugh at the wrong time.

I get caught being dumb.

I find hope in this:

The only thing that could bother me more...

Than my daughters loving Christ more than I...

Would be I loving Christ more than they.

If your kids love Jesus more than you do...

It isn't the very worst thing.

That's one dad's perspective.

So lighten up.

Praise His Name.

And teach your kids to love Him more than you do.

 

The Word of God

I spent hours of time preparing for today's Bible Study.

I prayed.

I read.

I wrote.

I came up with zilch.

Nada.

Nothing.

Yet I will still open up the text.

(Genesis 20).

I find comfort in this:

It's God's Word.

Not mine.

It's His truth.

Not my commentary.

It's The Good Book.

Not Pete's Great Talking Points.

Thank God.

The power is not in me.

It is in the Word of God.

Don't Look Back

"Remember Lot's wife."

That is what Jesus said in Luke 17:32.

She was frozen.

By looking back.

When the angels had told her (and Lot)...

"Escape to the mountain."

Don't look back.

At your past.

Move on.

Move ahead.

To the Mountain.

"But you have come to Mount Zion,

And to the city of the living God,

The heavenly Jerusalem...."

Hebrews 12:22

That's The Spirit!

"God has not given us a spirit of fear.

But of power.

And love.

And a sober mind."

2 Timothy 1:7.

Therefore...

Power.

Love.

A Sober Mind.

Do not come from self help.

Or yoga.

Or a margarita.

Those three things come from...

His Spirit.

To ours.

And I need your prayers.

Prednisone is my drug.

It has been for 20 years.

I have tried.

And tried.

To get free from it.

To no avail.

When I take less than 10 grams...

I collapse.

Not physically.

Praise God.

But mentally.

I need His Spirit...

To give me a sober mind.