Speak Life

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I love Toby Mac’s music.  His latest video release, “Speak Life” is so good and so true.  The chorus goes like this:

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak…

Some Scripture came to mind as I was thinking about the song:

Deuteronomy 30: 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live

Proverbs 16: 24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Proverbs 18: 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it eat the fruit thereof.

Proverbs 12: 25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop; but a good word maketh it glad.”

There are many, many Scriptures that admonish us to speak life.  We are told by Jesus to even bless our enemies. Why is it our default to speak words that drain the life out of others?  May the Lord help us to speak life.  With that as a backdrop…enjoy Toby’s new video!  “Speak Life!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeBv9r92VQ0

Remembering Andrew

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One of my favorite gifts in my office is my “Super Poseable Gollum” (with crawling action!).  I get lots of questions about this figurine.  It’s from my buddy Andrew Tyler who would have been 22 today.  He gave it to me (through his mom) after he went to heaven to be with Jesus.  On the back he “wrote me a letter” describing heaven and how I’m going to love it some day.  He even told me that meeting Mr. Bruce was so cool (my bush-pilot brother-in-law who has gone to be with the Lord).  He told me to enjoy this Gollum birthday gift because I couldn’t take it with me…that Jesus is all I need.   He wanted my youngest daughter, Tori, to know that the swimming in heaven is great and that the water is crystal clear! Just this past year, “I received another letter from Andrew” (bless his mom Becky) and he said that he loved watching Bethany’s (my oldest daughter’s) wedding.  I miss Andrew and long for heaven to spend time with Andrew, Bruce, and most of all Jesus.

What has continued to amaze me is how Andrew’s family has trusted Jesus and turned their loss into a witness for Christ and a ministry for orphans.  They have adopted children with special needs and continue to serve the Lord.  Their e-mails have united strangers to prayer for a wide-range of concerns.

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Here is his mom, Becky’s, e-mail she sent to all of us on her list today.

Our Andrew is turning 22 today.  It’s so hard to believe.  We wish he were here to celebrate with us.  We are going to have some of his favorite foods and catch a movie.  He loved going to the show. My friend Michelle bought a huge flag that is a frog and we hung it out today.  We are fully relying on God as we wait and work toward that glorious day of reunion. “We miss you, Andrew, and look forward to the day we will see you again!”  (the photo was taken on Memorial Weekend 2003–camping with friends–just days before his massive cardiac arrest left him devastated in a near vegetative state.  Life can literally change in a heart beat.  Praise God for His grace in choosing us. Because of our relationship with Christ, we do not grieve as those who have no hope.  We do not understand why everything happened as it did, but we choose to trust the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord.)

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October 27, 2014 will be the 10th anniversary of Andrew going home to be with the Lord.  Not sure why I’m doing this…just wanted Ed, Becky, Hannah (and all her siblings!) to know that we haven’t forgotten.  May the Lord provide His peace (which is beyond our understanding) and guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  We love you!  Look forward to Andrew showing us around when we get there…

And to those who are reading my personal ramblings…Are you ready to meet Jesus?

Jesus to Martha:  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”  John 11: 25-27

So Jesus would want each of us to answer this question, “Do you believe?”  If you have questions please leave a comment or message me…this life can change in a minute…the next one lasts forever.  Choose wisely!

“The Insanity of God” – Review

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I attempt to read in the neighborhood of 50 books a year.  Even though the year is young, I can’t imagine reading another book this year that will have the impact on me that Nik Ripken’s (pseudonym) “Insanity of God” has had.  It’s my “must read” recommendation for this year!   You can go to Nik’s website and learn more about his ministry:  http://www.nikripken.com/

The first half of the book is Nik’s time in Somalia, where he encounter overwhelming needs with no support.  He was in Somalia before the world became really aware of the evil that was going on there…before the UN sent in aid…before Black Hawk Down.  I won’t even try to tell you the stories, but a couple have stuck with me in a powerful way.  Nik left Somalia wondering where God was in Somalia and how do persecuted Christians around the world survive and thrive?  It’s a journey that he’s shared with us in book form, and can open your eyes to the persecuted church.

Nik travels to Russia, Eastern Europe, China, and the Muslim world interviewing persecuted Christians and the stories are amazing.  Those in prison sing, house churches in China grow in an unprecedented rate, and Muslims come to Christ in miraculous ways.  Persecution is seen as normal as “the sun rising and the sun setting,” and by others as their seminary training. What you will learn about the persecuted church will blow you away.  Oh…and did I mention they sing?  They have so much to teach us.

So tempted to tell a few of the stories, but I can’t do as well as Nik! Highly recommend this book!!

For the Kingdom!!

Read the Speech

pastormike77:

Wrote this on the 50th anniversary of “I Have a Dream” speech…Happy MLK Day!

Originally posted on mikeparryblog:

FILES-BIO-KING-ANNIVERSARY

Today is the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  The speech is being talked about by news pundits, sports channels and of course by politicians.   All that’s good, but I didn’t want to read it or hear it through another filter.  I like to go to the primary source, so I needed to read the speech for myself.  So I read it.  Have you read the speech?  Here’s a link to the text:

http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/Full-Text-Video-of-I-Have-a-Dream-Speech-50-Years-Later-221466841.html

You could watch the speech…it would only take about 16 or 17 minutes:

So…this Baptist pastor read the speech of another Baptist pastor who gives this famous, world changing speech and I’m thinking… most of the world has no clue what inspired MLK.  It is such a spiritual speech.   Listen to the references from the Bible:

(This is from Amos 5: 24) No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will…

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Happy 10-year Anniversary Cape County Cowboy Church!!

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I don’t totally get it.  I prefer contemporary music, am a city boy, and wear baseball caps.  Even so, I’ll never forget the day that Jim Matthews walked into my office about 10 and 1/2 years ago and told me with tears in his eyes about his call IN COLLEGE to plant a cowboy church.  We talked for 45 minutes to an hour and then he left.  I was restless and drove straight to his office.  We talked some more and told him we were interested in helping with the church plant.  Space or time doesn’t allow for all the details, but Red Star Baptist Church and Fruitland Community Church came together to support this crazy idea of a cowboy church.  What began in a sale-barn (and I perceived as a hobby for Jim) grew from Thursday night only to Sunday morning worship and all out powerful Kingdom-minded church.

This morning, I snuck into their 10-year anniversary celebration.  The place was packed:

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Songs were sung…videos full of memories were played…and the greatness of our God was proclaimed.   The screens reminded everyone that 10 cowboy churches have been planted in the last 10 years as a result of Cape County Cowboy Church.  That’s modest.  Those 10 were directly helped with information or support from CCCC.  Truth is…the number is more like 20 or 25 cowboy churches that have been inspired by this church.  The ripple effects are not measurable this side of heaven.

At one point in the service, all those who had been baptized in the last 10 years were asked to come up to the front.  Although this wouldn’t have been everyone, here’s a picture who were there and had been baptized the last 10 years:

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I had to leave the service early, to preach at FCC!  I left in awe of what God is doing in and through Cape County Cowboy Church.  Now my favorite church in the world is Fruitland Community Church, but I love lifting up other churches and thanking the Lord for what He is doing among other churches.  It fosters Kingdom thinking.  The Lord brought this verse to me as I was driving toward Fruitland:

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2: 10 (Holman)

God prepared the Cape County Cowboy Church in the heart of a young college student some 35 years ago.  God would have planted this church with or without our small help.  But he invited us to join Him in what He was doing.  We were blessed and the Kingdom has grown.

To God be the glory!!

Day 6

Our week just gets sweeter and sweeter!  As I write this, fireworks are going off everywhere in El Salvador to bring in the New Year.  We began the day with a VBS/New Year’s Pinata Fiesta…it was a blast and we had approximately 45 children.

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They loved the pinata!  We had Dora and Batman.  

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They scrambled for the candy…

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It was a great time with the children and an encouragement to the church.Image

After the party, we had a sweet time of worship with the church as we expressed appreciation to one another and prayed together. God continues to knit our hearts together.

In the afternoon we climbed up a volcano for a scenic view:

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The group had a great time:

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We enjoyed God’s creation!

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Then we went shopping for fireworks!!

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It was crazy I tell you!  Our group had so much fun.

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Feliz año nuevo!!!

 

 

Day 4

What a day!!  Please enjoy the pictures, but read to the very end as this was a full and eventful day.  It started with our team doing our 3rd day of VBS at Ciudad Obrera.  Pictures aren’t available as I separated from the team to travel and worship at Nazareth Baptist Church in Santa Tecla.

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Two of my friends, Jorge and Guillermo led worship…

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Santa Tecla is such a beautiful setting…

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I had the privilege to preach from James 4: 13-17 about “Tomorrow.”  Then I attended a lunch meeting with the church board about them assuming the role of mother church for Ciudad Obrera!  It was a great meeting and it was good to strategize with this great group of brothers and sisters in Christ.

In the afternoon, the men made visits while the women led a women’s conference.  We made a couple of really good visits and the ladies conference was a “10!”  

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Here Karen Ward is teaching…

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Chereyl Osborne teaching…

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Some time during the Women’s Conference we got word that a volcano had erupted in the eastern part of El Salvador.  It was a national disaster which shut down the airport.  It was a couple of hours from us, so we were never in any danger.  Our evening worship service was cancelled.  Pray for the good people in the eastern part of El Salvador.

This was a full day!  Looking forward to tomorrow!  Thanks for your prayers!