Friday, October 31, 2008

It Is Finished!

It's been a long one. Up at 5 AM, worked till noon, and I spent the afternoon preparing the last minute stuff for our annual Hallelujah Nite Halloween outreach. We got to the church around 5 and the event got off the ground about 7:30.

Overall, it went good. Our kids in the church loved it, and a few visitors came from the area to see us. We didn't get the turnout of last year, maybe because we didn't really factor in the 8 PM curfew for trick-or-treaters.

I, for one, am glad that it is over! I am gonna get some sleep, and tomorrow we are heading to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa for my son Timmy's birthday treat. He loves to watch those fish.

God bless and good night!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Late night

It's been a late one, folks. I'm pooped. We had a long business meeting at the church tonight covering everything from the building program to the church name. That last item was the most controversial of the evening, but it's all good.

After church, I had to run into Wally World for some Lunchables for the kids, as well as hair stuff for my wife. Of course, like any Super Wal-Mart, they were packed. I needed a Pepsi just to stay alert enough for the drive home.

I just had a quick late dinner of steamed broccoli and a baked potato with a couple slices of cheese. Not the tastiest, but enough to tide me over till breakfast.

Don't you love it when bloggers ramble on for no real reason?

Look for a post in the next day or so about some more nuggets found in my search through the book of 1 Samuel. I have a couple things that hit me between the eyes that I will be sharing soon. It will either be about momma cows or Ebenezer (no, not Scrooge!).

By the way, just in case you thought God has no sense of humor, think again. In 1 Sam. 5, when the Philistines had the Ark of God, the Bible says God afflicted them with tumors. Did you know that Hebrew word for tumors can also be translated "hemorrhoids"? No joke! I just saw the definition in the Strong's Concordance. God plagued them with hemorrhoids!

I needed a good laugh before bed.

God bless, and good night!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Think about the following words if you will. Fire and ice…black and white…wet and dry…dirty and clean. What do these words all have in common? Of course, they are all opposites. Well, usually, that is what each of my girls’ rooms is like. Gabbie, my six-going-on-seven-year-old, keeps her room nearly spotless. Every toy is in place, the toy boxes aren’t overflowing on the floor, and he bed is (somewhat) made. Not too bad for someone her age. She’s kind of a neat-freak when it comes to her bedroom. But, she has a big sister who isn’t as interested in a clean room as she is. That would be Machaela. She’s nine, and getting more “teenish” that ever. It is always a fight to get her to clean her room up, usually with my wife or myself standing over her making her clean. I could walk into both rooms right now and most certainly it would be a night and day difference. What a contrast!

The Bible offers up a good number of contrasts, too. I think of Cain’s murderous heart set against the righteousness of his brothers Abel and Seth. What about godly character of Abraham versus the compromised heart of his nephew Lot? Then there’s David and Saul. The Bible gives us lots of people from which we can easily see what seems like very deliberate contrasting of people in its pages.

One example I began re-reading this morning is a comparing and contrasting of Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phineas, against the very young but godly Samuel. Samuel’s mom, Hannah, after having had her miracle baby, when he was old enough, gave him back to the Lord, literally! She took the small boy to Shiloh, and gave him to the high priest, Eli. Samuel began to serve God there at the Tabernacle, and God started blessing him.

Interesting thing is that as I read in chapters 2 and 3, I see that contrast clear as my old Dell monitor. “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD..” (1 Sam. 2:12). The didn’t know the Lord? First, let me off on a rabbit trail for a second. What kind of people would want to be priests to God, yet not have a relationship with Him? (Some things just make you go “hmmmm?”) Yet, that is just what these two guys did. The Word goes on to say of these priests, “Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord , for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.” (vs. 17)

I like the comparison the writer pulls out next. He then shines the light on Samuel, and shows us a picture of a godly boy faithfully serving his God. As I read through this story, what hits me is that Samuel, even as a boy, had a tenderness of heart that would bode well for us. He didn’t allow the corruption he most certainly witnessed in Eli’s sons penetrate his own heart. There was a true purity to Samuel. I’m reminded of something Jesus told us:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Mt. 5:8)

Back then, Israel watched the corruption of its leaders, and the sin they led the whole nation into. As a result, God judged Eli’s house, and the people of Israel. Even the Ark of God had been taken. God’s glory had left. Yet, Samuel continued to serve the Lord. Just like that small, impressionable boy, we need to press on in our relationship with the Lord, despite how those around us live. We may see people live for themselves, soaking in their hedonistic lifestyles, but we must guard our hearts. We must keep serving the Lord, keep praying, keep hiding the Word of God in our hearts. The battle is great, the temptations are real.

Though Samuel is a great picture to point to for one sold out to the Lord, we in New Testament times have a distinct advantage that Old Testament saints didn’t have…we have the power of God’s Holy Spirit living inside us. We have the one who not only gives us the desire to live righteously, but actually works in us to accomplish it. (See Philippians 2:12-13). So, when we see those around us failing, we can rest assured that God hasn’t called us this far to leave us to fend for ourselves. He commands holiness in the face of the world around us, but helps us live it out in the flesh. Praise God for His amazing grace!

God bless!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hallelujah Night

Tonight was a busy night. As a youth pastor and an associate pastor, I have certain responsibilities in my portfolio. One of those is organizing the church's annual Halloween outreach, called Hallelujah Night. It's designed to bring trick-or-treaters in off the street with candy, games, hot dogs and soda. I am told that last year 300 kids showed up. I'm looking for around that.

But, with a week left in prep time, it was time to hand out fliers. I took 2 of my youth members, Chris and Chris, and we hit the subdivisions surrounding the church. We handed out a couple hundred before the darkening skies forced us back to the church.

It's great to get my teens out actually doing something. They had some fun, too.

Remember to pray for this event. We need God's help to pull this off!

God bless!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Than I Know...

I love to write. That is naturally why in today’s computer age, I have a blog. I admit, I don’t keep up with it like I used to when I sat in a cubicle all day. Family, work and ministry keep me away more than I’d like. What I used to do daily (sometimes more like hourly!) I get around to monthly. But the desire to write hasn’t waned, I am happy to report.

Unfortunately, it seems the content has. I have been dealing with writer’s block some. That’s when I read a post on a blog I enjoy, called Evotional, by Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in DC. Mark wrote of the experiences he’s been having as a writer. He’s now got 3 books published, and he is amazed at how God is using his pen around the world to touch people he’d never even dreamed possible to reach.

That got me thinking about my own (very) limited experience with this very thing. From time to time, it seems some things I write strike people and minister to them. It’s not like I got an idea, had a scenario in mind and a target audience. I simply wrote what was on my heart, and God did the rest. The reader happened upon my blog, read the post, and God touched them.

Like the time I received an email from a guy who read a devotion I’d written on God’s activity in us during those “silent times”, when he seems a million miles away. He said that God had told him that he would be entering into a period of what would seem like heavenly silence, but assuring him that He was at work in his heart. He went into that time confident that God was with him, even though he couldn’t sense it.

Then there was the time that a lady I’d talked with on a Christian message board in Tennessee had printed off one of my blog entries to give to a young Christian she knew who was struggling with her newfound faith.

Moments like these get me mad when I am dealing with writer’s block. Really, the reason is that I know there are souls out there who need a touch from God, and I want to be available for Him to use. I want to be that arrow He pulls from His quiver that Isaiah wrote of in the 49th chapter of his book.

I’m so glad I navigated over to Pastor Mark’s blog yesterday. It lit a fire under me, both to burn through writer’s block, and to use my gift to reach people. If you blog, don’t ever get discouraged that you aren’t reaching people. There are people out there, even if they don’t respond (something I wish I got more of, personally!), that are blessed by what you are saying. So, don’t lose heart. God is using you!

Resurrection Time

No, I don't mean the upcoming resurrection of those who have died in the Lord. I have decided to bring back what worked for me. Seems I couldn't get any readers at Wordpress, so back to Itch's Desk it is!