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Friday, August 23, 2013


Did someone say there was a birthday today? Really? Who knew today was +Klell Lawrence birthday?


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pray for Matt Pitt

When you have little or no accountability in ministry, the enemy will use every means to derail what looks to be a successful witness for Jesus.  Unfortunately, Matt Pitt fell victim to that enemy.  His ministry become more about Matt Pitt and all the perks that fame could garner and less about the call on his life to live and witness for Jesus. Pray, that while he is once again in his "Basement", Matt meets Jesus and is reminded that it is not about "Matt" but all about Jesus!!

When it becomes more about "ME" and less about God!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Moses' Encounter

Moses' Encounter
(Click the link to the video)
(Sermon by Pastor Chris Hodges - Church of the Highlands, Birmingham, AL - 08/15/2013)

Moses came up with all of the excuses he could to avoid the call God placed on him.

1. (Moses said) Who am I?
(Exodus 3:11-12) But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
 (Moses had to) Overcome condemnation.

(Titus 3:4-5) But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

2. (Moses asked) Who are you?
(Exodus 3:13-14) Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
(Moses had to) Overcome doubt.

(Jeremiah 32:17 NASB) Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.

3. (Moses said) What if they?
(Exodus 4:1) Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”
(Moses had to) Overcome fear.

(Romans 1:16) I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

4. (Moses said) I have never.
(Exodus 4:10-12) Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
(Moses had to) Overcome reluctance.

(Hebrews 11:6) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The Little Black Phone

When I was  a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I  remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung  on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to  listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.

Then I discovered  that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name  was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information  Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.

My personal  experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was  visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I  whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no  point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

I  walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and  dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor  and held it to my ear.

"Information, please," I said into
the  mouthpiece just above my head.

A click or two and a small clear voice  spoke into my ear.


"I hurt my finger..." I wailed  into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an  audience.

"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.

"Nobody's  home but me," I blubbered.

"Are you bleeding?" the voice  asked.

"No,"I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it  hurts."

"Can you open the icebox?" she asked.

I said I  could.

"Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," 
said the voice..

After that, I called "Information Please" for  everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where  Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math.

She told me my pet  chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit  and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I  called,
"Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened,  and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled.  I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to  all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a  cage?"

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly,  "Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing  in."

Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone,  "Information Please."

"Information," said in the now familiar  voice.

"How do I spell fix?" I asked.

All this took place in a  small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved  across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very  much.

"Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home  and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the  table in the hall.
As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood  conversations never really left me.

Often, in moments of doubt and  perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I  appreciated now
how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her  time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my  plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I  spent
15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said,  "Information Please."

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice
I  knew so well.
I hadn't planned this, but I heard  myself saying,
"Could you please tell me how to spell  fix?"

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I  guess your finger must have healed by now."
I laughed, "So it's really  you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during  that time?"
"I wonder," she said, "if you know how much
your call meant  to me."

"I never had any children and I used to
look forward to your  calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I  asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my  sister.

"Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."

Three  months later I was back in Seattle.
A different voice answered,  "Information."
I asked for Sally.
"Are you a friend?" she  said.
"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.
"I'm sorry to have  to tell you this," She said. "Sally had been working part time the last few  years because she was
sick. She died five weeks ago."
Before I could  hang up, she said, "Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?"
"Yes." I answered.

Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. "Let me read it to you."
The note  said, "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I  mean."
I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never  underestimate the impression you may make on others.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Shameless Persistence

Shameless Persistence
by J. Oswald Sanders

We come now to a requirement in prayer that is rather surprising, and to some, not a little puzzling. It seems that God is moved to answer our prayers in response to a persistence that will not
take no for an answer—shameless persistence, someone rendered it.

Jesus employed varied methods of imparting truth to His disciples. Sometimes He employed paradox, sometimes parables. In some parables truth was taught by comparison, in others by contrast. He adopted the latter in enforcing the necessity of importunity and perseverance in prayer, and told two parables.

The Three Friends (Luke 11:5-8)
There are three persons in this parable—the one spoken for, the one who speaks, and the one appealed to. The Lord vividly contrasts the reluctance and selfishness of the friend appealed to, with the openhanded and openhearted generosity of the heavenly Father. The man appealed to was not concerned about his friend’s distress. The argument runs: If even a self-centered and ungenerous human being to whom sleep was more important than his friend’s distress and need will reluctantly rise at midnight and supply the need because of
his friend’s shameless persistence, how much more will God be moved by persistent entreaty to meet
His child’s need!

“Even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (v. 8).

The Unprincipled Judge (Luke 18:1-8)
The parable of the heartless and unprincipled judge, who had neither reverence for God nor respect for men, teaches the same lesson even more strongly. If the defenseless but troublesome widow by her shameless persistence overcame the reluctance of the unjust judge to do her justice, how much more will the believer be speedily vindicated in the court of heaven, where he has a strong Advocate whose character is the exact opposite of the judge’s.

“Shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily” (vv. 7-8).

In both parables, Jesus is careful to vindicate the character of God and to reveal His true nature and attitude. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matt 7:11, italics added). God is neither a selfish neighbor nor a crooked judge dispensing reluctant justice to a wronged widow simply because his comfort was being disturbed by her persistence.

The lesson is that lukewarmness in prayer, as in everything else, is nauseating to God, and comes away empty-handed. On the other hand, shameless persistence, the importunity that will not be denied, returns with the answer in its hands.

Do our prayers lack urgency? Can we do without the thing for which we are asking? Or is it something we must have at all costs? John Knox cried, “Give me Scotland or I die.” The saint and patriot would not be denied.

Jesus encourages us to believe that this is the kind of praying that receives an answer. Importunity is
an important element in answered prayer.

Adoniram Judson, the great missionary to Burma, was a man of prayer. “God loves importunate prayer so much,” he said, “that He will not give us much blessing without it. And the reason He loves such prayer is that He loves us, and knows that it is a necessary preparation for our receiving the richest blessing He is waiting and longing to bestow.

“I never prayed sincerely and earnestly for anything but it came at some time—no matter at how distant a day, somehow, in some shape, probably the last I would have devised, it came.” (1)

Why Is Importunity Necessary?
Since God is a loving heavenly Father who knows all our needs better than we do, why should He require us to importune Him? Why does He not just grant our requests, as He is well able to do? This is somewhat of a mystery, and the answer does not appear on the surface. We can be assured that there is no reluctance on God’s part to give us whatever is good for us. He does not need to be coaxed, for He is not capricious. Prayer is not a means of extorting blessing from unwilling fingers. The “how much more” of Matthew 7:11 affirms this with emphasis. The answer must be sought elsewhere. The necessity must lie in us, not in God. It is not God who is under test, but our own spiritual maturity.

Dr. W. E. Biederwolf makes the interesting suggestion that importunity is one of the instructors in God’s training school for Christian culture. God does not always grant the answer to prayer at once because the petitioner is not yet in a fit state to receive what he asks. There is something God desires to do in him before He answers the prayer.There may be some lack of yieldedness, or some failure to master some previous spiritual lesson. So while He does not deny the request, He withholds the answer until, through persevering prayer, the end He has in view is achieved. May this not be in part the explanation of some of God’s seeming delays? His delays are always delays of love, not of caprice. “Men would pluck their mercies green; God would have them ripe.”

An Athletic of the Soul
Canon W. Hay Aitken refers to prayer as “an athletic of the soul” that is designed to render our desires more intense by giving them adequate expression, to exercise the will in its highest functions, and to bring us into closer touch with God. It will also test the reality and sincerity of our faith, and save it from being superficial. Importunity rouses the slumbering capacities of the soul and prepares the way for faith. (2)

There may be other reasons why the divine response tarries and importunity is needed. Here are
some suggestions.

1. We may be asking without greatly caring about the issue. If we are not in earnest, why should God bestir
Himself? We shall find Him when we seek with all our hearts.

2. We may be asking for selfish reasons, and the discipline of delay is necessary to purge us of this. Selfish
motivation is self-defeating in prayer.

3. We may unconsciously be unwilling to pay the price involved in the answering of our prayers, and our Father desires us to face up to this fact.

4. We may be misinterpreting what God is doing in our lives in answer to our prayers. This was the case with John Newton, the converted slave-trader. He gives his testimony in verse:

I asked the Lord, that I may grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek more earnestly his face.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I hoped that in some favoured hour,
At once he’d answer my request;
And by his love’s constraining power,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry powers of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with his own hand he seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way,” the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.

“These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy scheme of earthly joy,
That thou mayst seek thy all in me.”

God’s dual method with His servant was to reveal to him the inherent evil of his heart so that he would be
motivated to claim importunately from God the blessing he was then fitted to receive.

5. Another possible reason for God’s apparent delay or denial of an answer is put forward to Dr. D. M.
McIntyre: it secures our humble dependence on God. (3)  If He bestowed our desires as gifts of nature and did not want our solicitations, we would tend to become independent of Him. “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, my power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth,” was God’s warning to His people. “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth” (Deut. 8:17-18).

Our Part Not Yet Fully Done
For our encouragement, we should remember that the walls of Jericho did not fall until the Israelites
had circled them a full thirteen times and then shouted the shout of faith (Josh. 6:1-20). We may have circled our prayer-Jericho the full thirteen times, and yet the answer has not come. Why?

Could it be that God is waiting to hear the shout of faith? Perhaps that is the reason the forbidding
walls are still intact. He delights to see us step out in faith upon His naked promise.

Unanswered yet? Nay, do not say unanswered,
    Perhaps your part is not yet wholly done,
The work began when first your prayer was uttered,
    And God will finish what He has begun. 
Keep incense burning in the shrine of prayer,
    And glory shall descend sometime, somewhere.
Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered; 
    Her feet are firmly planted on the Rock; 
Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,
    Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock. 
She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer, 
    And cries, “It shall be done sometime, somewhere.”

Two Importunate Intercessors
Abraham and Elijah stand in contrast in two prayer engagements.

Abraham was an intimate friend of God. In one of his conversations with God, God revealed to him the impending judgment on Sodom. He interceded for his nephew Lot and the people of Sodom in a prayer of mixed argument, audacity, and humility.

It was a most remarkable prayer. Time and again Abraham enlarged his demand—fifty righteous, forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, ten—and then he stopped praying. There was no reason to suppose God’s mercy was exhausted. But while Abraham received a partial answer and Lot was delivered, Sodom was destroyed. His intercession was unsuccessful because of failure in importunity.

Elijah pressed his suit on behalf of his droughtstricken nation, and refused to take no for an answer. Seven times, strong in faith, he pled with God, and the full answer came.

Is it without significance that Elijah prayed seven times, the number of perfection and fullness— while Abraham stopped at six times, the number of human frailty? Abraham stopped asking before God stopped answering. Let us become “seven-times prayers.”

Faith, mighty faith the promise sees,
And looks to God alone;
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries, It shall be done!

(1) E.M. Bounds, Purpose in Prayer (New York,: Revell, 1920), p. 54.
(2) W.H. Aitken, The Divine Ordinance of Prayer (London: Wells Gardner, 1902), p. 118.
(3) D.M.M'Intyre, The Hidden Life of Prayer,  rev. ed. (Stirling, Scotland: Drummond's Tract Depot, n.d.), p. 120.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

When My Happy Gets Bumped

August 15, 2013
When My Happy Gets Bumped
Lysa TerKeurst (
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV)
Most days, I wake up fairly happy. It's not like I wake up in a mood for a party but generally I'm not grumpy when I arise. I wake up and things seem pretty good, level and fresh with possibilities. And then inevitably something will bump into my happy.
An early morning meltdown by one of my people. It's amazing what a bad hair day can do to a teenager's attitude.
Or a forgotten something for school. And one of my people wants their irresponsibility to suddenly become my emergency.
Or an email from somebody who clearly gets pleasure from trying to bring others down.
Or me misjudging the time and suddenly everything is rushed, hurried and stressful.
Or my husband, Art, lowering the thermostat in the house to 68 degrees and I can't stop shivering until the temperature hovers closer to 72. It's amazing how much difference four degrees makes.
Things happen. Things that bump into my happy. And suddenly I'm a little off-kilter and little less nice.
Can you relate?
Well, I'm learning something about a little mental perspective I need to have when things bump into my happy. In that moment, Satan is scheming to have mehelp him out. If he can just get me jostled to the point where I react out of anger, it's like lighting a spark near a puddle of gasoline.
Even the smallest spark can ignite quite a fire. A fire that will spread and feel much bigger than what the situation ever should have been.
Take the temperature discussion for example.
It should be just a simple discussion about the thermostat. But, add a little anger and suddenly things in my brain escalate to the point where I've just about convinced myself Art is completely insensitive and couldn't care less about me.
Is that true? Of course not. He just likes to sit in his house without sweating. Surely, we could find a compromise with the temperature or I could go put on some socks and a sweatshirt.
Instead, when he bumps my happy, a "growth opportunity" ensues that leaves us both feeling a little burned.
In other words, I play right into Satan's scheme and help him out. Remember, Satan's very name means one who casts something between two, causing a separation. Be it a temperature issue, tight finances, a misunderstood statement or one of the millions of little things that can bump our happy ... we have a choice.
We can choose to play into Satan's schemes and enable his attempts to separate us from God's best.
Or, we can choose to fight for our relationships and against Satan's divisive attempts.
When I think about it in these terms, it helps me identify the real enemy.
My real enemy isn't any of the people who bump my happy. My real enemy is the one who tries with all his might to get me to jump into a grumpy mood and help him tear down all that I love.
Knowing I need a strategy against these attacks, I turn to the wisdom found in Ephesians 6:11"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
You better back up and back off Satan. I'm on to your schemes. You are my enemy, not people. And now I have a totally new game plan for when my happy gets bumped. Starting with finding just the right pair of socks and a sweatshirt to wear in the ice cave.
Dear Lord, sometimes my happy gets bumped and my emotions get the best of me. Help me to react in a way that's honoring to You instead of reacting in a way that will fuel Satan's agenda. In Jesus' Name, Amen.