THIS SUNDAY, 2/26
Choir: Grace That Won’t Let Go (I LOVE this song!)
HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS
My friend, Jim Hardwicke (Jim was the youth pastor under whom I surrendered to the ministry back in 1980), and his wife, Michelle, live in Missouri. But they often have opportunities to travel abroad to help train Christian pastors in countries where persecution is prevalent, one of those countries being India. Below is a brief introductory paragraph about one of the pastors with whom Jim worked while in India two weeks ago. Below that is the amazing story of what God is doing through this faithful, humble pastor – not to mention how God has protected this man through multiple murder attempts. It is like going back 20 centuries and listening to what the Apostle Paul may have very well said had he been interviewed for a YouTube video. Watching the video will remind you, as it did me, that, although our world is corrupt and depraved, God has not surrendered his throne, he is still sovereign, and he is preparing the world for his imminent return. 🙂
We worked with a ministry that I recommend to you–Emmanuel Christian Fellowship Center (ECFC). They have a U.S. name and website–hopeindiamission.org. Elavatta Abraham Abraham, the founder, is one of the most faith-filled men I have ever met. When God called him to Bihar 33 years ago, it was a godless, lawless, and dangerous place. He was attacked and threatened a number of times. He worked for 10 long years before he saw his first three converts. However, now the ministry involves about 25,000 people in four Christian schools, two orphanages, 32 churches in five states, and about 1,100 house churches. God is doing amazing things through this ministry. I urge you to check out their website and if God leads you, to consider supporting them as they reach out to unreached people groups in one of the most difficult places on earth.
‘WEEPING MAY LAST FOR THE NIGHT…”
Grief, sadly, if a fact of life. But, as Paul reminds us, as believers “we grieve but not as those who have no hope.” Finding hope through our grief can many times be an arduous task. That’s why I am thrilled that BHBC offers weekly GriefShare classes for those trying to navigate their way through the grief associated with the loss of a loved one. If it’s been awhile since you experienced that level of grief, it’s easy to forget what it feels like. Being gently reminded of what grief feels like can help us show compassion to those who are still trying to find their way. After my son passed away I read C.S. Lewis’ “A Grief Observed,” a story Lewis wrote while dealing with the grief of losing his wife. There are so many poignant, spot-on quotes in that book. Here’s one such quote to help remind us what those dealing with grief are now trying to process:
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be [around] me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.” ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
“HEY GOD – HEY JOHN”
I’ve published here one of John’s posts before. John is a guy who deals with depression & anxiety. He writes these “Hey God – Hey John” posts to preach, first, to himself and, hopefully, help others as well. Enjoy.
Me: Hey God.
God: Hey John.
Me: I’m not leaving my house.
God: Today is not the day you can allow yourself to withdraw from the world.
Me: It seems like a perfect day for that. I’m not going anywhere.
God: You have to.
God: Because there is going to be a moment today where you will get the chance to impact a strangers life through a simple act of kindness that comes from you. This person is going to need you to be there at that exact moment to remind them that the world is still full of good people. This person is going to need you to remind them through your actions that grace can surround them at any moment. This person is going to need you to remind them that they can’t give up or surrender to their darkest thoughts. By leaving your house and engaging the world, you are going to be given a chance to save the life of a person who is full of despair right now.
Me: But I’m the one who is full of despair! I’m the one who needs to be reminded of all of those good things!
God: Don’t worry. I’m pushing a completely different person out of their door to show you a kindness today at a time right when you need it the most. If you stay at home you won’t be there rescue somebody else or be rescued yourself.
Me: I’m both the healer and the heartbroken?
Me: Sounds complicated. I guess I better put some pants on.
God: That’d be fantastic.
Me: Here I go…
God: I have no hands but yours.
PAUL REVERE & HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
In honor of “President’s Day” Week, I submit to you a wonderful, thought-provoking, patriotic 5-minute video commentary by one of my favorite biographers (and modern voices of reason, in my opinion), Eric Metaxas. A Christian, Metaxas brings intelligence & wit to “the marketplace of ideas” in our culture. Enjoy. NOTE: If you’re interested in learning just how remarkable (Christians would say “miraculous”) the formation of our country was you may want to consider reading Metaxas’ NYT best-seller, “If You Can Keep It.” You can check out the book on Amazon here.
QUOTE(s) of the WEEK:
“The claim ‘only science can discover truth’ is self-refuting, as the statement itself cannot be verified using science.” Dr. Andy Bannister
“The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of. Our attention would have been on God.” C.S. Lewis
LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE:
GRACE NOTES: Ambushing the Heart of an Atheist
Recently, I was reminded of the following quote by Peter Hitchens, brother of the late atheist, Christopher Hitchens: “I would think that most educated atheists are much more likely to be suddenly ambushed in the heart by poetry than they ever are likely to be converted by reasoned argument.”
What is a song but poetry set to music?
Two weeks ago I posted a blog about the late Christian artist, Keith Green. (He died in 1982 at the age of 28.) That blog has received more online traffic than I anticipated. Green had a profound impact on me both as a Christian and as a musician. (That blog can be found here.)
Green was a brilliant warrior-poet. In my blog I mention his song, “Prodigal Son Suite.” Based on Jesus’s story in the latter half of Luke 15, it is a beautiful “poem set to music” from the imagination of Keith Green. If you have time to listen (it’s 12 minutes in length), enjoy. It is a stirring “imaginative apologetic” which, according to Peter Hitchens, would, quite possibly, “ambush the heart of an atheist.”
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick