Saturday, August 31, 2013

Reflections of a Pilgrim

Just finished reading Reflections of a Pilgrim, a wonderful book of truisms by Mark Royster.  Mark is an Anglican priest who is the rector of St. Peter's, Frankfort, KY and on staff at Asbury Seminary as the Director of Global Partnerships.  His insight and thoughtfulness on the Spiritual Life is quite refreshing!

A few quotes....

Lord, help me to understand that your solution is a gift.  I can't deserve it or earn it.  I can only receive it.  Just as I could never see or feel my need for help without your grace, I can't even want to receive your help without your assistance.

Lord, I know you often use painful experiences in your plan for my life.  I may never know if you decree the pain or just allow it.  But I do know that you can always redeem it for my good and for your glory.

Since my shifting feelings of anxiety or peace follow the focus of my mind, help me capture every thought and submit it to your truth.

I know you want not only to forgive me and repair my heart problem, but also to draw me into deep intimacy with you.

You want to inhabit me, so that by your Spirit the ways of Jesus are formed into me, and flow through me.

Lord, help me never forget that as I grow in grace, my need for you will increase, not decrease.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kentucky Road Trip

I spent last week in Kentucky and West Virginia visiting different churches.  It was a great week visiting the people of God and proclaiming the Gospel.

All Saints, Huntington, W. Virginia has a big spirit and a desire to reach their neighbors and the students at Marshall. 

St. Andrew's, Versailles  had barbecue and bluegrass music to greet me.

Meeting with the Church Planter Team at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore

My brother, Stephen, who lives in Louisville

A couple of the Parish Leaders at Holy Apostles, Elizabethtown

At each place I preached calling people back to the Lord and to act in the Name of Jesus and live out His Word in their lives and in our country.  It was a good week seeing the Lord speak to people and His Spirit stir them to action.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hiking Through

I just finished reading Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman.  He writes of his 2,176 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.  After losing his wife to cancer, Paul quits his restaurant job and hits the trail even though he is in his mid-fifties (turns out there were lots folks in their fifties and sixties on the trail doing through-hikes).  This amazing story of his journey to find peace and comfort after losing his wife and his
The AT in North Georgia (April 2012)

 wrestling with God along the way is entertaining, challenging, thought-provoking, and inspiring.

Here are just a few quotes from the book....

From someone he met along the trail... When we stopped going to church and started being the church, something wonderful happened.

Memories of our lost ones will always be with us, but the acute, overwhelming anguish will lesson at some point.  We do find life on the other side of grief.  I left the shackles of my grief in a puddle of tears on top of Eph's Mountain three weeks before.

The beauty of the Trail!!

Many folks remain stuck in grief because they can't comprehend why God would take their loved ones. We get angry with God and question why He would subject us to such terrible loss.  But if it were up to us, when would we ever allow God to take our son or daughter or spouse?  The answer, of course, is that we would never choose it.  We don't won't to die, and we don't won't our loved ones to die.

Each of us has a small slice of measured time, inserted here between eternity past and a never-ending hereafter.  From the moment of your birth, death becomes inevitable.  Your little slice of time is so fleeting.  Whether you live on this planet ten years or eighty is insignificant to God.  What is significant is your choice of paths that will lead you to the end of your time here.

One of the places the AT crosses the Richard Russell Highway in North Georgia
"Someday never comes."  Or so the saying goes.  Endless waiting for someday can be frustrating, but the somedays of dreams can actually come to pass.  Set goals and hike confidently toward them, one step at a time, and you will fill your life with many realized somedays.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Great Words from Thomas Cranmer

Tonight I listened to Dr. William Witt of Trinity School for Ministry speak at the Diocese of the West Synod.  He gave a quote by Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) from the Preface to the Great Bible about the Bible.

But the Apostles and Prophets wrote their books so their special intent and purpose might be understood and perceived of every reader, which was nothing but the edification of amendment of the life of them that read or hear it... But still ye will say I can not understand it.  What marvel?  How shouldest thou understandest, if thou wilt not read, nor look upon it?  Take the books into thine hands, read the whole story, and that thou understandest, keep it well in memory; that thou understandest not, read it again, and again.  If thou can neither so come by it, counsel with some other that is better learned.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Does God Talk To People?

            Recently, a woman asked me if God talked to me.  I always am hesitant to answer that question because of all the quacks and flakes of whom we hear about.  But this raises a very important question:  Does God speak to people today??

            Absolutely!!  God does speak to people today.  Followers of Jesus say that they have a “personal relationship with the Lord.”  What does a relationship imply? That there is communication! God desires to speak to His people, but oftentimes we are not listening, or we are listening for only what we want to hear.  Jesus said that His sheep would hear His voice (John 10:3,4,16).

            For the follower of Jesus, the Lord may speak in a variety of ways.  He will use the Bible (His Word) to speak about general things and also specific things we need to know.  He will use your pastor, or Christian teacher, or church leader to speak to you.  He will oftentimes use your spouse to speak to you.  He can use Christian books, situations and events in your life, music, podcasts, and other input we receive from outside of our ourselves.  He will also use the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12,13) to speak a Word to you and me.

            An important and vital point to remember is that the Lord will NEVER speak a word to you or me which contradicts His Word given to us in Scripture.  The Bible is our grid to filter all possible communication from God.  Most of what He wants us to know is in the Bible anyway, but we can be quickly misled if we don’t know the Bible.

            Lastly, it is important to point out that without the Holy Spirit, a person is trying to listen to the Lord without all the equipment. It is like trying to hear a FM radio station on an AM dial or to pick up Satellite TV on your cable system.  It doesn’t work.  Without the Holy Spirit a person does not have the God-given capacity to hear Him. Fortunately, God desires us to have the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).

            So does God desire to speak to you and me? Absolutely!  He said to the prophet Jeremiah (and this is for us as well):  Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know. (Jeremiah 33:3).

Quotes from Anthony, Desert Father

Pay attention to what I tell you: whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes; whatever you may do, do it according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.

Do not trust in your own righteousness, do not worry about the past, but control your tongue and stomach.

A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone not mad, they will attack him saying, "You are mad, you are not like us!"