Archive for August, 2007

I hear the term “religion” casually thrown about often throughout the day.  I hear it so much that it really doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.  Truthfully, I’m kind of sick of hearing it.  I’m not sure who coined the term but I get the feeling it doesn’t have the same meaning today.  It seems to be more of a word used to describe a legalistic set of beliefs centered around someone’s idea of God and your intrepretation of the Bible. 

I heard someone tell me recently about a lady that stated her religion was “Rasta” and part of her religion was smoking pot. We’ve all heard someone else, unfortunately famous and influential, state his religion revolved around the fact that aliens came to this earth and inhabited our bodies and something, something, blah, blah to that effect.  Hey, not judging them because they are committed to their beliefs, and God did give us all Free Will.  I definitely don’t agree but that’s not the point.  It’s that the word “religion” just doesn’t mean much anymore.

Let’s agree then, as Christians, to stop labeling our belief and faith in Christ as a “religion”.  I want my beliefs to mean something again.

Instead, let’s talk about our Lifestyle, our Passion, our Soul, our Spirit, our Faith, our Truth. Pick any of these and replace the word “religion” with it.

As of today, I do not have a religion. All I have is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ living within me. I am a Believer and a child of God. I have been granted Forgiveness through the blood of Christ that was shed on the Cross, and I have been saved from Eternal Death through the Risen Christ Jesus. It’s my Lifestyle, it’s my Passion, it’s my Faith, it stirs within my Soul, it lives within my Spirit and it is my Truth.

From this day forward, I will seek His Face, NOT His hands, I will read His Word because I want to KNOW HIM better, not just know the “history” of Him, I will pray because I want to have an intimate relationship with Him and I believe prayer really works, I will go to church not for networking opportunities or to “look” saved but because it is the Body of Christ and I need to be taught and to fellowship with other believers, I will reach the lost and go to Brazil not because I want to go somewhere “cool” but because this is what He has COMMANDED us to do, I will forgive as Christ has forgiven, I will love others to the best of my ability and be the best light I can be in a dark world, I will believe in miracles, and I will seek to grow my gifts that God has given me so that I can use them to benefit His Kingdom and bring Him glory, I will not get caught up in the politics of the church and not stress if church lasts a little too long or is a little too short.

I will simply be a child of God that begins in earnest a daily pursuit of His Manifest Presence and Glory.

I feel rejuvenated already…like a weight has been shed.

So who’s with me?

P.

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Please pray diligently for Andreia, Audrey’s wife. She is a law student that is transferring from her Brasilia university to a university in Sobral, a town near Ubauna so that she can continue her education.

I spoke with Joe tonight and he stated that there is a major issue with her university in Brasilia not sending Sobral a necessary document that has been requested and is VITAL AND REQUIRED in order for her to go to school. If it is not received very soon (it was needed this past Monday) then she will have to SIT OUT THE ENTIRE YEAR. Not just a semester but the entire year. Brasilia, for some reason, is just not willing to send it.

Please pray that God will bind Satan and take authority over him and remove him from this situation if he is behind this so that Andreia can continue her education. Pray that the papers will be sent THIS WEEK.

I was reading an article today on msn.com concerning Leona Helmsley, a billionaire hotelier and real estate mogul, who recently passed away, and the article reported that she had left her dog, Trouble $12 million in a trust.  Let me reiterate…she left her dog $12 million in a trust. 

I understand that this very mean-spirited, cold-hearted person (based on statements made by persons who knew her best) was worth billions, and $12 million to her was “peanuts” but is this world really getting that superficial and calloused that we value a dog’s life over a human beings?

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs, and they can add a lot of enjoyment to our lives, and I’m sure that Trouble was a good dog, maybe even a great dog.  After all, he was a Maltese.  I don’t know much about them but the name alone sure sounds like it may be worth millions.

But in the end is just an animal that God created to give us pleasure.  He never intended for us to put them above a human being.  Unfortunately, however, that is exactly what many people have chosen to do.  They close a blind eye and deaf ear to sights and cries of the billions of people that are suffering from hunger, oppression, substance abuse, mental illness and the countless other afflictions that are destroying people and our world. 

How many people could be fed with $12 million?  How many homeless people could be given homes with $12 million?  How many churches could be planted among the lost souls of this earth, and how many full-time missionaries could be supported with $12 million? 

Audrey and Andreia, Gospel for Brazil’s full-time pastors, only require $12,000 a yearGospel for Brasil is still trying to raise the money to support them for the first year.  With $12 million, we could support them for 1,000 years. Ubauna and the surrounding towns and villages could have a Christ led presence in that area that would address not only their spiritual needs but also their worldly needs for generations to come.  When I contemplate this, my soul and spirit are saddened.  How did we get to this point? 

Maybe Trouble can enlighten us!  Any dog worth $12 million surely must have some answers to that question.  Hey…maybe he can even spare a few dollars to help us out.  I think I’ll go and get his contact information, and send him a letter appealing to his compassionate and generous side right now.

I’ll keep you posted.  Joe, let Audrey and Andreia know that financial support might be on the way.

P.

Audrey and Andreia are now in Ubauna! 

What a tremendous blessing God has graciously given to Gospel for Brazil!

Thank you Jesus!  Thank you Jesus!  Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!  Thank you Jesus!  Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus!  Thank you Jesus!  Thank you Jesus!

Please pray for them that their belongings will make it to Ubauna shortly.  Also pray that God will bind Satan and keep him at bay so that they can begin to carry out His vision for Ubauna.  Satan is not happy about this development and they will need God’s protection. 

Sacrifices

Posted: August 26, 2007 in Blogging, Christianity, Life

After a busy day, I’m finally settled into my temporary home here at the Wingate Inn in Macon. I’m here until Friday for CPS KEYS training.  It’s the first of three weeks that I’ll be here in Macon, therefore, not in Savannah with Christy.  Although I must admit it’s going to be nice to not be at the office this week, I am never excited about having to spend a week without her.  I married her with the understanding that I wanted to be with her on a daily basis, not spending weeks away from her at the Wingate Inn in Macon. 

Is it the first time we’ve spent a week a part?  Unfortunately, it isn’t.  We’ve actually spent many weeks a part because of our careers.  Although it has gotten “easier” it is still frustrating because I know it is time that I will never get back.  It’s a week without seeing her, hugging her, kissing her, sleeping with her…just being with her. 

Nonetheless, at this moment in our lives it’s what has to be done.  We, like most, have to work and therefore, it’s just another sacrifice that survival requires.  It’s just another sacrifice that has been added to the “Life Isn’t Fair” list that we all mentally and emotionally keep.  The list seems to just get longer.

But instead of focusing on the sacrifice and getting more and more irritated, I will focus on the fact that I have a job.  There are many people in this world that would gladly walk in my shoes this week.  So, I think I’ll just change into something comfy, pull the covers back and watch a little TV until my baby calls, and we “tuck” each other in via the phone.

P.

Last night Christy and I had the privilege of having dinner with Garry and Barbara to share our passion for the Gospel for Brazil.  I had spoken with them on another occasion briefly about the awesome work that God is doing in that area but they had many more questions that we wanted to try and answer.  

Garry has been feeling lead to “go forth” and participate in The Great Commission that God has called us to fulfill, and he believes that God is wanting him to be a part of growing the Gospel for Brazil.

So we met at Applebee’s and we shared information, stories and testimonies about GFB, and about how God has blessed our lives and how He has shaped our journies in this life.  We talked and talked and talked and before we knew it, it was closing time.  We had been there  going on four hours and it felt like an hour. 

I can’t speak for Garry and Barbara but we left feeling blessed to have spent time with fellow Christians sharing our life and our passion for God and it made me realize that these conversations are far too infrequent.  It seems that we spend a lot of time in our lives, even when we’re with other Christians, talking about everything but God. We talk about the weather, sports, kids, work and anything else that comes to mind but when the conversation turns to God, we change the “channel”. 

I know I’m guilty of that and I’m not sure why this happens:  maybe we are afraid the conversation may get “too spiritual or deep” and all we really want is superficial talk, or maybe we figure if we talk too much about God and His Son, Jesus then we’ll be considered “Jesus Freaks”.  After all, no one wants to be looked upon as a “Jesus Freak”.  It could ruin things for us.  Our status may be affected or our standing in the church may be affected.  I’m sure there’s numerous reasons.

But after spending two weeks in Brazil on the Ubauna Jesus Caravan, and after spending last night with them, I realize that these conversations are important, meaningful and just plain satisfying.  It’s even fun.

To Garry and Barbara, thank you and you call on us “anytime.” 

So the next time you’re with a fellow Christian and the weather comes up, say “Man, the weather has been nice but let me tell you what Jesus is doing in my life”, or “That’s awesome your son’s baseball team won but how’s God working in your life today.  I want to know.”

Be warned though:  you just might enjoy it and may even come away with the label of “Jesus Freak”. 

P.

 A staggering statistic: 

“If you were to stare at pictures of people in the northeast of Brasil at the rate of five pictures every second of every minute of every day, without blinking, it would take almost two and a half years just to see all of the lost people of the northeast of Brasil. If you include the millions more that would have been born in that time, it would take even longer. If you slowed down the rate of looking at the pictures to one face per second, just long enough for you to say “Jesus” to each one, it would take more than 91 years to look at every picture.”

I often hear pastors and men of God speak of Jesus’ Second Coming with a sense of prideful enlightenment and knowing in their voices.  They quote scriptures and speak of repentance and the coming Judgement as if Jesus Himself has consulted with them on this impending event.  They even “know” the date, time and location and are more than happy to share this with us.  After all, if it wasn’t for their insight we would be totally unprepared and in danger of missing the whole event.

I appreciate their concern and their compassion.  I mean, I definitely don’t want to miss such a wonderful happening.  What a great story it would make for my grandkids. 

I can even see myself, 80 years old and rocking peacefully with my little granddaughter on my knee, telling her about that day:

“Little Janie, your old grandpa was there that day when Jesus Himself came back to this broken and crazy world.  Man, it was something.  He was riding a beautiful white horse, an Arabian I think, and his robe was justa glowing.  He looked better than even the Bible said he would. He then started calling His people home and…”

Little granddaughter: “But grandpa, I thought you were saved and a child of God.  Why are you still here?”

Old me: “Well, you see, I didn’t know he was coming back on that particular day and at that particular time.  I missed the announcements and advertisements that some great men of God had sent out to everyone.  I guess I was on vacation that week or maybe I had my head in the sand that day.  Either way, I’m still kicking myself about it.”

I know that my Jesus is coming back one day to get me and all of his children.  This is a certainity that the Bible promises us.  I don’t know the date, time, year, location or anything else concerning His return.  All I know is that “no one knows the hour of My (Jesus) return” and that He will come “as a thief in the night would come.”  That’s good enough for me. Anyway, I have to run a video camera on Sunday and I’ve got choir practice too so I just don’t have the time to worry about that now.

I also know one minor detail that seems to get lost in all this Coming talk:  He clearly states in the Bible that He will not come again until His name has been spoken to ALL people, and His gift of salvation has been shared with all those lost that have never heard.

So just based on that minor detail and that staggering statistic concerning just one location on this big earth, I think it’s realistic to say that “it’s gonna be a while.”

That unfortunately is the sad part of this but luckily we have some hope.  All we have to do is get busy fulfilling The Great Commission, and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The faster we reach the world’s lost the quicker we can go home and spend eternity with our Lord and Savior.

Ready…set…go!!!!!!!!!!

 P.