Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Prayer Walk 4-29-8

We are praying and walking up and down the streets of our city. I am posting these reports of what happens on our evenings of street ministry. I bought a Radio Flyer Wagon to pull along behind us as we walk. That is kind of our trademark for people to recognize us by.

Terry Wallin and I handed out fliers last night. It was very cool, cold really is the word for it and not too surprisingly not very many people were out, but we were able to speak and pray with a few. There was a little group of 3 junior high & high school aged girls walking on the sidewalk who we talked to. They said their mother had been wanting to speak with us, but that she didn't get home for a while. Terry and I went back to their house a little while later and she was laying down and not available. I think she may call the church.

Terry ran into a nephew that he had never met before. He was asking for prayer for a situation in his life and mentioned a name that Terry recognized as a common relative that had recently died. We anointed and prayed with him. Lots of things going on in his life. They exchanged phone numbers. We talked about church and the power of God to change things.

Joanna Noble (she was at LTC Sunday) we talked to. She was just sitting in a car on Aspenwald, very upset. Things not going well between her boyfriend and her. I saw him at Tina's yesterday. He was also at the child abuse prevention talk I gave Saturday evening. She said that he likes me and was touched by my talk. She is wanting me to talk with him tonight at the memorial service.

We saw and talked to Loretta and her two children and a female friend of Loretta's who recognized me from her time in the jail.

We talked with quite a few other people.

One lady in particular was very interested in the fliers. She came and got one from us, took it back to her apartment and a few minutes later came back for another one for her neighbor. Talked to her about church and God for a little bit.

Ran into a little problem, the fliers are so popular with the young kids in the apartment area, that they are going behind me and picking up the ones we leave at the doors there. It's a little game for them. I overheard them talking, they are planning on selling them to people on in the area. . . :) I'm going to have to figure out something to do about that.

Dave Stokely

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What a week. . .

I related to you, how I ran into a fellow Randy and his wife Joanne, that I went to school with while we were handing out fliers in the neighborhood last Tuesday night and how they were having a candlelight vigil on preventing child abuse at the civic plaza. I had planned on going down there after the revival service to offer support and possibly pray with the people for healing, etc. Well my sister called me Friday, my sister Sue who has been to both of Josh Herring's revival meetings this week, my sister Sue whom God is doing a great work in her life. . . She calls me and tells me that Jenny our cousin works in the cafeteria at Central High School and somehow was having a conversation with a lady that she worked with about the upcoming vigil for preventing child abuse. This lady was the organizer of that event. Her name was Joanne and her speaker fro CAPS, Child Abuse Prevention Services had canceled at the last minute. Somehow my name came up, the fellow she had just met doing street ministry in her neighborhood Tuesday night, my cousin Jenny told her that surely she knew me and could get in touch with me. So she called my Sister Sue, who called me. I got in touch with Joan at her break a few hours later.

This year for the first time they are trying to have an indoor program in addition to the candlelight vigil on the plaza. The was very much a last minute attempt, but in just the last couple of days they have had a building, chairs, and a sound system donated for the program. She wondered if I would be willing to speak. . . . OK let me think for about 1/2 a millisecond. . . "Yeah, I think I would like to do that."

:) :) :) :) :)

I had already been planning on going down there and ministering to people, praying a prayer of healing with them. I surely would be glad to do that. When I got off the phone with her I was just in awe with how seemingly random paths crossing turn into completely unexpected wonders with the power of God.

My mind then began trying to figure out what in the world I was going to speak about at a child abuse prevention event. For a very few minutes I pondered going on the Internet and coming up with statistics or otherwise trying to educate myself about this, but that is not who I am. I felt that God chose me to use me for something that was already inside of me. I didn't think He would pick me to artificially come up with something, there was something already inside of me that He desired to use.

This is what I talked about last night:

I do not know who I speak to this evening. It may only be one person, but I was given this message from God for someone here this evening. I cannot talk about child abuse prevention or child abuse experiences, but. . .but!!! I can talk about the power of God to heal wounds, the power of God to change bitterness and unforgiveness into peace and healing. My mother died this past February 2nd. She had a stroke on May 2nd. She died 9 months to the day later. How very very symbolic that figure of 9 months is.

In Acts chapter 3, Peter and John are walking into the house of God through the gate called beautiful. In that gate lies a man who was unable to walk from his mother's womb. The Bible says that his friends have been taking him and placing him in that gate outside the temple, outside the house of God every day for his entire life to beg. Every day he has laid there with his beggar's cup out, waiting for something from the passers by. He begged because he needed something and the people gave him that which filled an appetite of the flesh. They didn't know what else to do. Their coins bought food for him to fill his belly with, but fleshly appetites are never satisfied. You fill your belly each night and again every morning it cries for food, but for years and years all of his life the passers by had only ministered to his physical needs.

Peter and John luckily for him, had nothing with which to minister to his fleshly needs. It is always easier to attend to the physical needs, the physical hungers. They are easy to tend to. But Peter and John replied to his offered beggars cup in verse 6, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee. . . ."

What did you come to receive here today? What were you looking for when you came through that door? Please I in no way begrudge or belittle the other speakers. We absolutely need a shelter for abused women and families. We need foster parents for children who have been abused, but those services feed the needs of the flesh. That man who begged surely needed to eat all those years he lay in that gate called beautiful, but he also needed something more. He needed healing.

My mother was a woman of great bitterness. She did not speak to her parents for years and years before their death. He sisters live within a couple of hundred miles of Elkhart and she had not spoken to them for maybe 20 years before her stroke. She and my father divorced when I was 16. I am 53 years old. They divorced 37 years ago and yet to hear her talk you would have thought it was three months ago. The bitterness, the anger, the hatred within her were undiminished at all after 37 years. My mother never forgave people. She remembered every hurt, every pain, every offense committed against her. . .

After her stroke a great huge transformation took place within her. She turned to God and God did a tremendous work of healing within her. My wife and I walked into her hospital room one day in June, a few weeks after her baptism. As soon as she saw Jackie, my wife, she began apologizing to her. She told her how sorry she was that she had not treated her very well over the years. My Mom then began apologizing to me. . . for things took place when I was 9 or 10 years old. My mother had a huge problem with depression and was not able to do the things that other mothers were able to do and she apologized for not being a very good mother. . .Then. . . then. . .she asked, "How is your Dad doing? I always loved your Father so very much. . ."

The bitterness was gone. Her mind was filled with love and forgiveness. She now embarked upon a ministry from her bed. She told us of how her goal was to tend to the needs of the young women and men who cared for her. The young women especially, many single mothers, with pressures and needs in their lives. My Mom made it her ministry to listen to them, tend to their needs, care for them as they cared for her. A number of the young ladies and one male nurse came to her funeral. She touched lives. . . the bitterness was gone.

Bitterness and unforgiveness left in a wound acts as an infection, an inflammation, never allowing healing to occur. The anger and bitterness lays there festering and creating more pain. . . a fleshly appetite for revenge, for earthly retribution, a hunger for true justice that will never be satisfied. Just like any hunger of the flesh, nothing will sate the desire to see the person who caused you pain, suffer pain themselves.

The only way to heal, the only way to return to joy and to truly enter the gate called beautiful is to forgive. Jesus said that if you want forgiveness then you must forgive. One day we will stand before Him and be judged by the same yardstick that we judged others. I am not saying that it is easy. It is a terribly hard task to forgive, but to continue to carry the burden of that pain and unforgiveness will kill you. God can take that burden from you, if you give it to Him. He is the only one who can exact true justice. Give the burden to him and let your healing begin.

I then offered prayer and anointing. I read James 5 where it talks about prayer of healing and anointing with oil by the elders of the church. Only one young girl came forward. I told the people that we could still pray, there was no magic in the oil, but that the Bible said to anoint with oil, the oil symbolizing the Spirit of God and I desired to do what the Bible said.

I prayed a prayer of healing and forgiveness. . . afterwards a number of people came up, people not comfortable with coming in front of the group for prayer, but wanting me to anoint them, and to pray with them individually. One lady whose three year old son was killed by her boyfriend last year, weeping came to me and told me the she needed my words of healing and forgiveness. I anointed her, laid on hands and prayed with her. Others came for prayer and anointing. A number of others came with tears in their eyes came and thanked me and shook my hand.

I love you my God. . .
Help us to forgive. . .
Help us to heal. . .
I love you my Lord. . .


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prayer Walk 4-22-8

We are praying and walking up and down the streets of our city. I am posting these reports of what happens on our evenings of street ministry. I bought a Radio Flyer Wagon to pull along behind us as we walk. That is kind of our trademark for people to recognize us by.

We had a wonderful evening tonight. Terry Wallin, Kyle, Ed, & Ruby Kilgore and myself handed out both the usual weekly fliers and Revival announcements that Ruby created for the revival this week.

I think it was so good having a lady, Ruby in particular along, I surely appreciated Terry and Ed and Kyle, but so many ladies talked with Ruby. Many were just mesmerized by her hair. She was wearing it just straight down and she was able to give such a wonderful testimony about it. We anointed and prayed with numbers of people. We anointed and prayed over quite a number of prayer cloths for people who had different requests. The neighborhood flier has the church number on it. We were able to tell people that Ruby was the voice at the other end of the church number on the flier, most days of the week

A couple of ladies in particular I remember us anointing and praying with. They were hesitant at first. There were three or four ladies sitting in the front entryway of their building in the apartments. They wanted prayer they said, but not right there and now. We told them that is one of the reasons that we walk through the neighborhood each week, was to pray for people. I told them we could anoint and pray over a cloth and they could put it in their pillow case or keep it where ever it would be close to them. One lady agreed to that, so I anointed the cloth and placed it in her hand. We put our hands on hers and we prayed. She desired God to give her mental peace, to calm her mind. We prayed a wonderful prayer there in the open air sunshine with the other ladies looking on. Then another lady asked for prayer for her financial situation, we prayed with her. As we were leaving I talked to them about how asking for prayer and praying to God was an act of faith. It is an expression of your belief in God to ask Him for something and He loves to answer prayers to help build our faith. We told the ladies we would be back next week to hear their testimonies of what God has done. . .

Kyle thought it really cool, "better than TV and video games. . ." that made me smile. So many people were out, especially in the apartments. I ran out of the Bible verse cards I printed for this week and had to go into another stack. People are so friendly and they are responding so very well.

We prayed with a number of young girls over on a porch on Aspenwald, wonderful young women having the courage to lay aside their self-consciousness to ask God for something with their friends looking on.

I had one lady on Aspenwald ask me not to leave any more literature on her porch. She had a religion of her own, she told me, but for that one negative response we had scores if not hundreds of positive reactions.

It was a great great night. . .

Dave Stokely

Here is Sister Ruby's response:

This is my response, It was such an awesome evening. I was so glad to go and I believe God did use my hair as an open door to minister to others and talk about the Lord although I at times felt a bit awkward as ladies would ask to touch it as if it was magical hair or something. I explained to all the ladies that asked that a woman's hair is her glory, I asked them, "what is the most important thing to you to check on yourself before you leave to go somewhere???" They replied my hair.. I didn't want to go into much detail, but I told the ladies in Corinthians the bible explains the details. I just can't describe the feeling of being able to pray with people and hand out flyers. I must admit when we walked down to the apartments where everyone had beer bottles in hand and looked as if they were "partying" I was a bit nervous, but we just walked through with Jesus walking with us and people had a beer bottle in one hand and revival flyers and prayer cards in the other hand. It was awesome. I seen one of the ladies that has been coming here to church in group of drinkers and she proudly announced I will be there. This is truly a great ministry outside the four walls of LTC. Thanks Bro. Dave, People need God and hunger and thirst for what we already have. I can't go every week, but I would recommend if you feel the Lord is calling you to go hand out flyers one Tuesday with Dave you will not regret it. Powerful time and maybe just maybe you could be the light to someone's so dark world.

Thank you God for the opportunities you put before us. Thank you Lord for your Holy Spirit. I worship you my King.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

With us. . . Against us. . . With Him. . . Against Him. . .

Luke 9:49-50
And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us. (50) And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

Luke 11:23
He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.

I had a quiet evening last night. Jackie, my wife, was on her way back from a conference in another city. I was listening to my audio Bible, as I tied the cords and strung beads for the door hangers of the little tracts that we pass out to the neighborhood around the church. I heard these verses from Luke read in succession over a period of fifteen minutes or so. These verses have rested in the back of my mind, for some time now, under a large question mark. They have seemed to me to be a contradiction. I did not know how to understand these two verses. How can we have on the one hand a statement: he that is not against us is for us. . . and on the other hand: He that is not with me is against me? They seemed to be opposed to one another. How can these two statements be reconciled?

Listening to them and hearing them like that, I suddenly realized that the difference between the two verses is in the us and Me. . .

In Luke 9 the disciples speaking, saw someone they did not know, doing a good work, casting out devils in Jesus name. They wanted to stop that man because he was not in their little band of disciples. Jesus replied, speaking of the disciples little band, that if that worker is not actively trying to disrupt what we in our group are doing, then whether we know him or not, he is supporting our effort.

In Luke 11, now Jesus speaking, says that if He opposes ME, he is doing a bad work. See the difference? The determination of whether someone is doing a good work for God is not whether they are with your group, not whether they are with your little band, but rather what is their relationship to Jesus. Do they support Him or do they oppose Him and His effort?

There is no confusion. There is only one road to salvation. There is only salvation in one Name. There is only one road to heaven, but. . . but. . . but. . . there are lots of roads to Jesus. We cannot confuse the two. Some of those roads pass through us and some through people we know nothing of. Jesus is the door, but there are many aisles and trails and hallways all leading up to that door. Just because someone is not in our little group does not mean that they cannot be doing a good work for Jesus. If they oppose Jesus, if they oppose His truth, if they hinder His way, if they advocate another way, if they preach another truth, then they are not directing people to Him, then they are pushing people away and they are scattering and not gathering them in, then they are against Him.

I love you my God. . .
I thank you my Lord. . .


1 Corinthians 13 - the LOVE chapter

I hand out these little fliers each week in the neighborhood surrounding our church. Here is the front side of the flier for April, 29, 2008.

1. Love is patient,
2. love is kind.
3. It does not envy,
4. It does not boast,
5. It is not proud.
6. It is not rude,
7. It is not self-seeking,
8. It is not easily angered,
9. It keeps no record of wrongs.
10. Love does not delight in evil
11. But rejoices with the truth.
12. It always protects,
13. Always trusts,
14. Always hopes,
15. Always perseveres.
16. Love never fails.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places

I hand out these little fliers each week in the neighborhood surrounding our church. Here is the back side of the flier for April, 29, 2008.

That was the title of a famous Country & Western song from years ago. Lots of truth in those words. We look for love in lots of places. . . we are depressed & disappointed when we do not find it. Everyone needs to be loved, but perfect love always escapes us. There is only One who will love me in spite of all my ugliness. It took me years of bad choices to find Him. I tried all the wrong things & all the wrong places. I wanted joy & happiness. I hungered for true love. I didn’t find it in drugs. I didn’t find it in alcohol. I didn’t find it in one night stands. All those things gave a momentary pleasure, but afterwards each left me feeling emptier, lonelier & more despairing than before. . . I now have a lasting joy, a deep satisfaction & pleasure that never leaves me feeling hollow, hung-over, & misused.

My Love’s name is Jesus. He chased me for years.
He calls your name. He is knocking at the door of your heart. Open yourself to Him and find love. . .

Friday, April 18, 2008

How Can God Make You a New Creature?

I chose as the name for my blog: anewcreature.blogspot.com What does it mean to be made into a new creature? One of the most significant verses of the Bible for me is:

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I was 44 years old and a committed atheist when I walked into a church service that first Sunday of June of 2000. I came merely to thank them for their prayers for me during my heart surgery a couple of weeks previously. I wanted to thank these perfect strangers for taking time out of their day to pray for me. I did not understand, but I wanted to thank them for caring for me.

What I saw in that church created a hunger in me, for what they had. More things transpired over the next few weeks and months, but that morning, that day. . . I began upon a road of change that continues undiminished to this day almost eight years later.

I had much sin in my life. I thought myself a good person, but only because I had no standard in my life to which to compare myself. If you have nothing white to look at, you can convince yourself that every shade of gray short of black is really almost white. That was the condition that I was in. I prided myself in my honesty and integrity. I found ways to ignore my oath-breaking and my dishonesty. Then when Jesus entered into my heart, I had something white to compare myself to and I saw the stark contrast between He and I. I saw how close to black I was. . .

I was 44 years old. I was not some starry eyed teenager easily swept away by some passing fancy. I knew there was no God. Throughout my entire life I had enjoyed debating Christians. I knew arguments. I knew Scripture. I knew ways of attacking their faith that were not easily answerable. I had had people knock on my door and want to talk to me about religion at noon, and they would beg my pardon to leave at dusk. . . I could hold my own in any debate I had ever encountered with a Christian. I knew I was right.

My views on abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex, illicit drugs, drinking, gambling, modesty, creation of the universe, holiness, evolution, morality. . . and on and on ran absolutely counter to the Christian beliefs and as I have learned, counter to the teachings of Jesus.

In approximately 100 days from June to September, my entire mind was made new. My views on everything mentioned above AND MORE were completely changed. What had been black for me was now white and what once was white for me was now black. There is continuity within me. I have the same mind. I have memories of what I was before, of what I believed before. I can see those views, those opinions hanging as if they are/were tattered curtains gently wafting in the fresh new breeze that now flows through my being.

Literally I feel as if I were very much a Saul-like person, a persecutor of Christians, not in the physical sense, but out to destroy their faith whenever I could, who had his mind completely opened and changed. . . renewed. The old things of me are passing away. . . all things are becoming new. I say it in that way, as the change is still occurring. I need the change to continue. That first mad rush of my initial 100 days of change, has not stopped at all. I do not think that it has even slowed slowed, but the change has if possible widened and deepened within me. It is the difference between a mountain stream and a mature river. The movement in the rushing stream seems so vigorous and exuberant, a person can be deceived and not recognize that the amount of movement and power is far greater in the river. It is a deeper flow, more significant and forceful, but of a quieter appearance in the river than in the rushing stream. That is similar to the changes continuing within me. I cannot see the end to the things that need changing within me, for me to become more Christlike. . .

I am a new creature, a new man. There is nothing the Lord cannot accomplish within you. He is doing wonderful works within me even to this day. . . The joy. . .the peace. . .the love. . .the power that I have found are beyond me to explain to you. I can only tell you that these things are real, evidence against all of my former certainty as an atheist that they were not real.

I am a new creature. . .
I thank you my God. . .
I love you my Lord so much. . .


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thoughts on: Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS)

Lessons from the Parables of Jesus. . .

Jesus did much of His teaching in the form of parables. He came up with little stories to illustrate the points he was trying to get across. Peter had a question about a teaching parable that Jesus gave in the immediately preceding verses and here in this passage Jesus explains what He meant. Here is Jesus explanation of the parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants:

Luke 12:41-48
Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? 42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. 45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Who is the servant that Jesus is talking about? It does not talk about the servant having to accomplish any task before being admitted into the servanthood of the Lord. There was not any good deed mentioned that gained the position of these people as servants. This is where faith and belief comes in to significance. To be a servant is a role, a position of admitted subordination, granting supremacy to the Lord. Now to be sure, a Lord has power and resources outside of the one-on-one servant\lord relationship, but at its core to be a Lord is a position that is granted to one by submission. To be the leader of a country is only possible through the submission of people of that country to his authority. A general of an army, cannot lead if the army does not submit their wills to his and follow him where he leads. I take the position of servanthood by granting Jesus his Lordship. To be a servant is to have a Lord. To have a Lord is to do what that Lord requires of you. If Jesus is a man's Lord, then that man is the servant of Jesus. If someone is your lord then you do what they ask of you. Jesus cannot be your Lord if you do not do the things that He says to do. In another passage Jesus said:

Luke 6:46
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

The responsibility of a servant is to do the will of the one that he works for. Read particularly what follows next in the parable of the servants:

Luke 12:45-46
But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

This unfaithful servant begins to do his own will and not the will of his Lord. He believes that his master will be gone for a long time and therefore he rationalizes, says to himself, says in his heart that he has time to do his own will, before going back to being a good servant before his master gets home. Because of this disobedient servant, the lord's household is in an uproar. He abuses his fellow servants and feeds his fleshly appetites out of the abundance of his lord's house. But he is surprised! His lord returns at an unexpected time. The lord 'cuts him in sunder!' He casts him out of his household, fires him, terminates his employment in modern day terminology and Jesus said that he, "will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."

Are all the people that Jesus is talking about unbelievers here? What sense would it make to say that you were going to appoint unbelievers a portion with unbelievers? That makes no sense. Jesus is talking about the household being filled with believers. Believers are those who had taken the position of a servant of His in His household. They are then, because of their actions, going to be cast out and treated just as if they do not believe.

Another fascinating passage follows: Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.

The servant who knew better and did wrong anyway, is going to be treated more harshly, his punishment is going to be worse than the person who had not been taught better. It is clear that it is considered a more severe crime to know the Lord's will and then to not do it, than it is to not know the will of the Lord and thereby do wrong in relative ignorance. It is clear that there are still consequences to doing bad things regardless of how much you know about the will of the Lord, but it is also clear that the Lord will be especially harsh with those who know what they should do and how they should behave, those who know the will of the Lord and yet still choose to ignore it.

Luke 12:48. . . . For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Those who have greater knowledge. . . those who have greater revelation. . . those who walk in greater light. . . those who know greater truth. . . those who have been blessed more. . . to those who have been entrusted more. . . to those who have been given greater responsibility. . . of those is greater expectation. . . of those is more demanded. . . . of those is more required. . . .of those is greater punishment given if they fall away. . .

It then is apparent, you cannot deny this doctrine. . . once you are saved you truly are always, eternally saved. . .with a condition. . . as long as you continue to do the bidding of your Lord!. . . as long as you remain a faithful servant!. . . as long as you are a servant in good standing in His household! If you do not do His bidding, He is not your Lord. Those are the words of Jesus. If you walk away, if you betray the trust that your Lord and master has put into you then. . . no one can say it better. . . Jesus said: The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

I love you my God. . .
I'm trying my Lord. . .
I'm trying. . .
I'm trying to do your will. . .
Please help me to be a better servant. . .


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Prayer Walk 4-15-8

We are praying and walking up and down the streets of our city. I am posting these reports of what happens on our evenings of street ministry. I bought a Radio Flyer Wagon to pull along behind us as we walk. That is kind of our trademark for people to recognize us by.

Terry Wallin and I had a good night tonight handing out fliers. We talked to lots of people, nothing really too spectacular. Lots and lots of kids wanted Bible verse cards. I handed out around a 100 little cards in addition to the approx. 250 fliers. We talked to a big number of teenage kids. A number of people were waiting for us to come by. One lady in particular went out of her way to approach us in the apartments on Prairie and Middlebury street. She wanted the latest flier. She said that she hangs them up in her apartment.

I told one lady in the apartments we would be praying for her. She gladly took the flier and Bible verse cards. She said that she knew that she needed Jesus in her life so much. I asked her if she wanted anointing and prayer right there. It was apparent that something was quite wrong. No, she didn't want prayer right them, but said that her life was just a terrible mess and that she was just totally stressed out. She was really in anguish over something. I told her that I/we would be praying for her. I told her that I would ask God to please give her a hug tonight. . .I told her to talk to Him. . . tell Him everything. . .

I forgot to get prayer cloths to take tonight. I really want to try and remember them. I think that is a nice non-threatening way of praying for someone and letting them take the prayer cloth back to their home. I want to make sure I have them with me next week.

I'm really wondering if Saleh's grocery store isn't closed down for good. Maybe they are just on a long vacation or something, but the sign in the barricaded door says they are remodeling since April 1st. I don't know. That really is somewhat of a hardship for many of the considerable number of neighborhood residents who do not have cars. They now must either walk to Martin's on Jackson or Dollar store or Village Pantry, a considerable ways anyway. We put the big red wagon to use tonight. . . :) There was a quite elderly, in her mid-late sixties anyway, Hispanic lady really burdened with four large plastic bags filled with two gallon jugs of water, a large jug of orange juice, toilet paper, light bulbs and lots of other miscellaneous stuff. We were almost done & back to Life Tabernacle when we spotted her across the street. She might have thought she was being mugged. I don't know what she thought. Her stuff was really very heavy and the bags were cutting into her hands. She spoke no English, but we took her groceries put them in the wagon and followed her as she led us to her apartment back up Middlebury Street a couple of blocks. One English phrase she did know was, "How much?". I used one of the few Spanish phrases that I know, "Glory a Dios". . .I think it means "Glory to God". That was pretty cool. That was a lot of fun. . .

Again we saw the same lady that we know from the jail. I think I've seen her almost every Tuesday that we've been out. This time, I really kind of gently preached to her a little. . .she knows. . . . she knows. . . she knows. . .pray for her please.

Chatted with Stacy and her son, catty corner to LTC. I haven't seen her for almost a year, but she and her kids have been to church a number of times over the past few years.

I think I really missed a number of opportunities to minister tonight. In hindsight, I think there were a number of people who would have talked and maybe opened up if I had been more sensitive to the leading of God's spirit. I think I need to do a better job of that.

This is so much fun, such a blessing. . .Terry and I ran a couple of errands after handing out the fliers and I saw people out all over the city. . . lots of opportunities for ministry. . .

Dave Stokely

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Leaven of the Pharisees

Luke 12:1-3
In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trod one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. (2) For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. (3) Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

I love to make homemade bread. My grandfather was the butler and my grandmother the cook for Eli Lily, the owner of Lily pharmaceutical company. One of my grandfather's daily tasks was to make fresh homemade bread for Mr. Lily. When I was a young man, my grandfather gave me the recipe that he used for his homemade bread that he brought to Mr. Lily's table and he also gave me little tips on how to make good homemade bread and how to make certain that it turned out. In the past, at different periods of time I made much, if not most of the bread that our family ate. There surely have been changes over the many decades since I received it as a young man, but my recipe is based upon the one that my grandfather gave me so many years ago.

I loved mixing up the dead ingredients, the flour, water, sugar, milk, and oil, mixing them together, adding the yeast and being part of a seemingly magical process of creation as the yeast did its wonder and by the actions of its growth turned the sticky pasty glop of things out of bags and bottles into a completely different entity, a living dough. You could tell if you did something wrong. The yeast is a living organism and if you did not have the conditions right for its growth or if your batch of yeast had for some reason expired, you could tell when you tried to work it that it was dead. No matter how long you would wait, without the transforming action of the living yeast the ingredients would forever remain just a glop of stuff with no purpose, there was no life within the ingredients to transform them into wondrous bread.

Jesus chose two symbols for Himself at the last supper, the symbols of the bread and of the wine. I do not believe it coincidence that both of these require the action of a leavening agent, yeast as we call it today, to transform them from the ordinary into the divine. Foods elevated above their brethren on the table by the action of leaven. Both are dependent upon the yeast, a living principle purposely placed within the mass of the dough, naturally falling from the air upon the juice of the grapes in their storage vats and thereby acting upon them both. . .changing them, the life force of the yeast adding. . . changing. . . transforming the humble ingredients into something far greater. . . by its life. . . by the products of its life and again necessarily ultimately by the death of the yeast transforming that upon which it acted. . . completing the metamorphosis from what would be without the yeast, hard tasteless crackers into wondrous life giving bread and by the same mechanism giving spirit, powerful properties to the juice of the humble grape through fermentation.

Again, starting His public life, starting the effect of His physical presence upon the world, that first recorded miracle that Jesus performed, significantly was one of, by His touch changing simple lifeless tasteless water into living water. . .water with spirit at the marriage ofCana . In an extraordinarily symbolic work, again Jesus was the leavening agent in turning pure well water into the best wine of the marriage feast, through His action, through His changing of it. He began His ministry at the wedding in Cana and continues now centuries later as the most powerful leavening agent acting upon the raw ingredients of the world. . . changing everything His Spirit comes in contact with.

Jesus Spirit is seen as effecting things for the good, but here in this passage of Luke, Jesus warns us of the power of the spirit of man to also effect us. For not only does God have a Spirit with power, but there are many spirits in the world. The spirit of the Pharisees has a name: hypocrisy. It too has the power to change inert, neutral ingredients into something different. Leavening is added. When well mixed, it is invisible. At first you cannot determine it's presence in a lump of dough or in a vat of juice, but it grows and multiplies until it's influence is seen. Verse 2:

(2) For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

Leavening, whether good or bad cannot be added to anything without eventually having a pronounced impact. What is your leavening? What leavens your life? What is your Spirit? Is it for good or ill? It will bear fruit. Verse 3:

(3) Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

The leaven of disunity, the leaven of bitterness, the leaven of unforgiveness, the leaven of deception. . . the leaven of sin will spread from quiet words and seemingly private thoughts. never remaining isolated, but eventually if allowed to work to its season of completion, its season of harvest, that seemingly tiny bit of yeast will eventually contaminate the entire lump:

1 Corinthians 5:6-9
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (7) Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (8) Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (9) I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

We have become lazy in our modern age. Our modern antibiotics have made us careless in our handling of people with disease. In the generation that preceded us, it was not uncommon for a person or an entire household to be quarantined, if there were a serious disease present in the house. We have gotten away from that in our modern antibiotic age, where we have now grown dependent upon drugs to provide a quick cure for infectious illnesses, but there is one way that remains very very effective in limiting the spread of serious infectious disease and that is to isolate the carrier of it as they become known.

We all know to protect the purity of our bodies in the physical sense. We know better than to allow tattoos to be placed upon our bodies. We abhor the thought, we do not allow cuttings or disfigurement to this temple of our body, our gift from God, but are we as vigilant in what we allow in our minds. I say we need to be every bit as vigilant with our minds as we are in protecting our physical bodies.

No one likes advertising. Ads in magazines, 30 second radio spots, TV ads are abhorrent to most of us, but that does not diminish their effectiveness. For as much as we dislike them, the same message for the same soft drink or fast food burger repeated endlessly over and again will boost the sales of the company that bought the time regardless of our attitude towards advertising.

In the same way we can decry the message of modern morality as God fearing people, but if we allow ourselves to be endlessly exposed to the message of the world on television or through movies or magazines or other media, we will tend over time to inexorably move toward the world's point of view without our even being aware of it.

Just recently I read of Department of Defense investigators who spend time investigating pornography. These case workers are men and women who are the good guys. They are striving to stamp out pornography within our armed forces, but even they, after long exposure in their investigative duties, end up having the same social problems that all chronic users of pornography experience. They become isolated, have trouble communicating, have relationship problems. In general terms they become anti-social, the fruit that pornography bears, is born through contact even by those combating it. Abhorrence of it, is not insurance against the effects of it.

The lesson from this is that it doesn't matter your attitude toward the leavening agent. Regardless of whether you approve or disapprove of it. Regardless whether you like it or dislike it, it is the mere exposure to it that tends to change you, therefore we need to be very very protective as to what we allow into our minds.

Modern music, worldly books, movies, other entertainment all have a subtle impact upon us that cannot bear good fruit and if we allow exposure we can neither predict, nor control, nor do very much lessen its influence upon us.

In another vein, the people around you likewise influence you, whether you like it or not. The Bible is very clear:

Proverbs 22:24-25
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: (25) Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

You learn and pick up things from the people around you. If you can in anyway help it, do not associate with negative, bitter, angry people. As this proverb states, there is a definite danger that you will become like them. Do not underestimate that their leaven, their spirit has power. Their spirit has the power to influence and change you. The leavening agent of their spirit, their fruit will if given no hindrance, if not quarantined, spread widely beyond their bitter tree. . .

We need to jealously guard our purity. . . the purity of our bodies, the purity of our thoughts, the innocence of our minds is precious beyond measure. We must guard them and not casually put them at risk. We must strive to protect the purity of our mind in proportion with its value. The safeguards we take must be in relation to the risk. The risk of the world is great. Jesus said that we are to be as children. I take this to mean that we are to be innocent in thought and deed. Put a guardian at the gate of your mind. . . guard your innocence. . .do not allow just anything in. . .

Beware of the leavening of the world. . .


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Prayer Walk 4-8-8

We are praying and walking up and down the streets of our city. I am posting these reports of what happens on our evenings of street ministry. I bought a Radio Flyer Wagon to pull along behind us as we walk. That is kind of our trademark for people to recognize us by.

Hello All,

Terry & I had a great night tonight. I think we probably spoke with 50 people. I did 250 fliers this week, a few more than usual. I think that will be my normal number from now on. We hit the Middlebury Street area that we always do, but also for a change went quite deep all around the Aspenwald/Monroe Street Areas. The weather was very pleasant and lots and lots of people were out.

I really could use some help if anyone has any ideas, I would like something to give the grade school age kids, like a little flier or comic story book or something. I was surprised in the Prairie street apartments at the numbers of young children whom I gave Bible verse cards to who said that they were going to LTC. That was pretty cool. Between the jail and doing the adult fliers I just don't have the time or energy to do something each week for the kids. I feel like this is an opportunity if anyone has any ideas. Likewise it's a shame I don't have anything for the Spanish speaking people. I feel very badly about that.

All positive responses tonight. Tonight I started wearing a military cross pin on my jacket collar. I've had one in my desk drawer at work for five years or so. I used to wear them when I first became a chaplain and then kind of decided it more vanity maybe to wear one than anything else, but I've started wearing it again tonight. Let's face it, the areas Terry and I are walking have lots of people who have good reason to be suspicious of unknown persons walking up to them on the streets, on their front porches, or in parking lots, etc. and I want as much as possible to identify myself as someone who they do not need to fear and I think the cross hopefully helps to do that. Anyway to me it felt like a good thing to do. . .

There were three young men talking to someone in a car stopped in the middle of Aspenwald. I walked out to them and started handing out fliers and Bible verse cards, told them I was Chaplain Dave from Life Tabernacle. . . They all took them. One young Hispanic man, maybe 20 years old, took it and looked at me with definitely emotional eyes and said that he had read the last one maybe 60 times. . .He said this in front of his friends. . . He ran with the flier up to his porch, dropped it off and went back to his friends in the street. . .

Again in the Aspenwald area, two young mothers leading a little cloud of tykes and pushing a baby in a carriage took my cards, the kids all took Bible verse cards. . . the moms were so excited, "Are you guys Pentecostal? When is church? Do we have to wear dresses?" They were so excited and enthusiastic about coming to church Sunday.

It was kind of funny quite a group of young people in the apartments all sitting and leaning on a car, maybe 8-10 in all. One young girl maybe 20 asked me if we were Pentecostal. I told her "yes." One young man chimed in to her, "You oughta go to the Baptist church. You can drink and everything and still go to church. . ." I just kind of shook my head and rolled my eyes as I walked away. Very friendly, very nicely received. It was a very good evening. . .

Too many good things to even remember them all. We ran into a lady whom I knew from jail on Goshen Avenue as Terry and I were going into Penguin Point. We always take a little rest there each Tuesday night. She was walking by. She said hey to us. . . We anointed her and prayed with her. She is not doing good. . .

Terry and I dropped off some groceries to a woman and her husband (he recovering from some illness). She has spoken to us every week when we have been through the neighborhood and waited at her door for the flier from us in person. I put no conditions on the groceries or even mentioned coming to church. She asked me for a ride to church Sunday.

I was kind of disappointed. The little grocery store was closed from "April 1 - ??? for remodeling. . ." I was enjoying going in and talking to the owner and his son each week.

It was a wonderful night. Many very very special and spiritual moments. . .I cannot relate them all. . .

Dave Stokely

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Sinner's Prayer. . .

Praying, talking to God is a good thing. It would be foolish to argue that talking to God was ever wrong, but the way that I have seen this sinner's prayer used is not a good thing at all.

I minister at a jail and on one occasion I saw a man after giving his talk ask the room full of men if any were ready to accept Jesus into their hearts. Hands were raised and then this man led the group of men in the sinner's prayer. Everything was fine up to this point, but then he said (This is as close to a quote as I can make it):

"I know that you are murderers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers and wife beaters. And I know that you will continue to rape, deal drugs, murder, molest and beat your wives, but now you know with 100% certainty that you are going to heaven."

That is no exaggeration, that is no distortion. . . those are the words that this man said. He then quoted:

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

According to this man, we are not saved by works therefore no action of ours has any impact upon our salvation. This is such a huge abomination of the Truth of Scripture.

There is no talking to this man. Once we were riding on an elevator alone and please I was not looking for controversy or to be confrontational, in truth I asked in all innocence:

"I have heard you speak for a couple of years and I've never heard you mention baptism. What are your beliefs about baptism?"

He got red in the face and started spouting and sputtering at me. He was very angry just from my asking this question. He said that baptism is just a public profession of your private faith and nothing more, not necessary at all. . .He was very angry. . . I cannot speak to him, but his message is so potentially destructive. If people believe this man's message. . . I weep. . . they do believe it and this man is not alone. Others preach this same lie. . . those who follow this teaching will one day appear before Jesus and be in for a terrible surprise. . .

Just last night in my Bible reading I ran across an Old Testament verse:

Exodus 32:33
And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Do we serve the same God in the Old Testament as we do in the New Testament? I do not know how you can argue that your actions will not effect your salvation. If God is blotting the sinners name out of the book, it must mean that it was once written in the book. What book is God talking about? It must mean that you once were written in the book of life. There is no need to blot something out that was not there in the first place. Then it is apparent that people can lose their salvation by sinning.

Here is a New Testament passage. This is Jesus speaking:

Matthew 7:21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Notice who he is talking to, those who have done works in His name. Jesus is talking to people who recognize Him. They are calling Him Lord. In their lives they did, what they considered to be, wonderful works in His name. . . but. . . but. . .BUT!!!! He does not know them because they 'worked iniquity.' What does that mean? That is a blanket statement, they did bad things. . . THEY SINNED and did not repent of it!

No one should fool themselves that sin of any description is unimportant. This passage also addresses the question of works. These people thought that by doing good things he would know them, but that is a trap.

Jesus also said:

Luke 17:7-10
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? (8) And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? (9) Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. (10) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

We are commanded to #1 Love God with everything we have and #2 Love our fellow man. When asked, those are what Jesus said were the two most important, the great commandments of the Law. (Matthew 22:36-40) Here in verse 9 Jesus asks, "Do you thank a servant for doing what they are supposed to do?" If Jesus is our Lord, then we are His servants. We cannot think highly of our selves for doing those things commanded of us. Notice verse 10. Our attitude needs necessarily to be one of total humility, "We are nothing special. We are only doing what is expected of us."

It is very clear that doing good things will not get us into heaven. It is absolutely true we get there by our faith and by the grace of God, but it is likewise clear that doing bad things will get us put into hell. I pray for this man. I pray for all who believe and who preach like him. Someday they will need to answer to God for their words and for their misleading of people. . .

Please Lord help them. . .
Please Lord open their eyes. . .

I love you my God. . .


Some of the Advantages of being a Christian

  1. Only Jesus can forgive sins: Luke 5:20-24
  2. Going to heaven rather than hell: Revelation 20:11-15
  3. Having a peace within us that is not available in any other way: Philippians 4:7
  4. God is with us always, whatever we go through: saiah 43:2
  5. He provides for our needs: Matthew 6:28-34
  6. No matter what we face, it is going to work out in the end: Romans 8:28
  7. We have power: Acts 1:8
  8. He answers our prayers: 1 John 3:22
  9. Our relationship with God is the closest, most loving relationship we can have: Proverbs 18:24
  10. Our lives are now filled with good things ~ love, joy, peace. . .: Galatians 5:22
Living for God is not about being religious. It is not about following a bunch of rules and being able to congratulate yourself on how good you are and how bad everyone else is. It is above everything else, a love affair with Jesus. . . a life long loving relationship with someone who knows every hidden thing about you and loves you anyway. And as a result of that relationship, having the power to live your life in victory, unafraid of any man or any thing. . . being able to face the tests that come against you in life, knowing, that He is standing with you!!! It is all about loving God and living for Him. I now want to do those things, that before I knew Him, I looked upon as terrible restrictions on my freedom. I want to do what ever it takes to make Jesus happy. I am in love with Him and He loves me beyond my ability to understand. This isn't boredom. This isn't dull. This living for Jesus is life at its best. This Christian life, is a life filled with tremendous joy and peace and power. . .

Saturday, April 5, 2008

You Are What You Eat #2

2. Esau ate the bowl of bean soup. . .

Here is the second article in my series on eating in the Bible. . .

Genesis 25:29-34
KJV And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name calledEdom . 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

NIV Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" (That is why he was also called Edom. )

Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright."

"Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?"

But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.

What a fascinating incident this is of the two brothers Jacob and Esau, twin sons of Isaac. Esau was born first and by those few moments preceding Jacob in birth, Esau had the right of the first born. This was significant in these times. The first born would receive the greater inheritance. The first born could expect the greater blessing from his father and the last that I will mention, but not least significant, the first born was always to be dedicated to the Lord.

What happens here, what Esau does here is reflective of our life long battle between the spiritual and the carnal. Spiritual things are of the air, of breath. . . intangible. Carnal things are of the physical, of the flesh. . . of meat.

We do not know for sure, but it is just said that Esau came in from the field. It does not say that he came in from 40 days fasting in the wilderness. The Bible does not tell us that Esau was on the verge of death, but only that he was famished after some unknown time in the open country. It is said in earlier verses that one of the distinguishing preferences of the two brothers was that Esau liked hunting and the out of doors, a man's man so to speak, while Jacob liked cooking, the softer things, he may have been somewhat of a mama's boy and true to form in the scene we have before us Jacob is cooking when Esau returns from his adventures out of doors.

Jacob is cooking his soup, stirring it before Esau. Esau wants some of that soup. He's hungry. He's faint, he says that he is in the Hebrew '`ayeph' translated as weary or faint. In the 17 times that this word appears in the Bible, it always means 'very hungry'. It never means starving and on your deathbed. Esau is exaggerating in order to get what he wants. He had a skewed sense of value. He was a man driven by his physical appetites and undervaluing all other currencies in his life. Now he rationalizes to himself, he justifies his filling his gut with what should have been the jewels of his inheritance:

Genesis 25:32
And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

At the point of death? Does that ring true to you? You can spend weeks without food and not be at the point of death from hunger. Esau is a liar. He lies to himself through his words to Jacob.

Both of Isaac's sons hungered. Esau hungered for Jacob's stew. Jacob was focused from the moment of birth upon what he wanted. Jacob was contending with Esau from the time they were born for the birth right, grasping Esau's heel, wrestling with Esau as he would later successfully wrestle with God:

Genesis 25:25-26
And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. (26) And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bore them.

Jacob hungered for the right to be called 'first born'. Esau's hunger was an appetite of the flesh. His craving was for his flesh to be fed. The pangs of the flesh are insistent and loud, and not at all considering of consequences.

In my mind it would be too much to think that Jacob had all this planned out in his mind ahead of time, but whether divinely inspired or seizing upon a long awaited opportunity, Jacob was prepared. He saw an opening and he acted not impulsively, but in culmination of a sign given on his birth day, fulfilling his name. . . offering a bowl of savory lentil soup for the intangible birthright of Esau's.

Another thing to consider, generally you will not ask someone for something or ask them to do something that there isn't at least a possibility that of their saying 'yes'. For example if someone tries to bribe you to compromise your integrity, then you should be very worried, for it must appear to them possible, you must not have made it very well known known that you value your integrity greatly. For Jacob to offer to buy Esau's birthright, to me is an indication that Jacob had reason to believe that Esau did not value it very much.

What a fool Esau was. . . do those words ring in the passages of your mind? And yet. . .how many times have I sold things of great value in my life for something humble and low. . . the moral equivalent of a bowl of bean soup. How often have I felt the pangs of the flesh and given in to them for a lowly bowl of beans. . .This transaction between Jacob and Esau can be seen as a representation of the struggle we face everyday between desires of the holy and of the carnal.

The writer of Hebrews sees this parallel also:

Hebrews 12:16-17
Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. (17) For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Esau came to the point where he recognized that which he had so foolishly sold, but it was too late. Some decisions cannot be undone. The pangs of the flesh return and what is gone is gone. Be careful of burning furniture for warmth in the fireplace. The heat of what is consumed there will only last a brief season. The floor will be hard long into the future. . .

Always stop to consider the cost of the meal and what comes with it. Along with the soup, came a lifetime of regret and tears. . .

I love you my God. . .
Please help see the true value of things. . .
Help me avoid the tears of Esau. . .


Friday, April 4, 2008

Lives Impacted by Jesus

  1. A young innocent girl: Luke 1:26-34
  2. Wise men: Matthew 2:1-12
  3. Shepherds: Luke 2:8-20
  4. A fisherman: Luke 5:1-8
  5. A ruler of the Jews: John 3:1-21
  6. A woman doing her daily chores: John 4:6-39
  7. A dead man: John 11:1-44
  8. A betrayer: Matthew 27:3-5
  9. A thief: Luke 23:32:44
  10. An unbeliever: Acts 9:1-20

What does it mean to be a Christian? Many many people call themselves Christians because they believe that Jesus died for their sins. Is that belief enough? Is it only that belief that is necessary to save us from our sins? What did Jesus say? Go to the book of Matthew in the Bible chapter 7 verses 21-23. Jesus is talking here. Jesus says that simply knowing who He is, is not enough. He must know who you are. The way that He will recognize who you are will be by your actions, not by your beliefs. For someone to be your Lord, you must submit to them. They must be your ruler. You show that they are your ruler by doing what they say. For Jesus to be your Lord, you must do the things that He says to do.

In this passage Jesus says that many people are going to be very disappointed when they meet Him in person. He will not recognize them. He is speaking of people who thought themselves Christians. Do not be one of the disappointed. Do not fool yourself. You cannot be a Christian without having a proper relationship with Him and that means doing the things that Jesus says to do.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Prayer Walk 4-1-8

We are praying and walking up and down the streets of our city. I am posting these reports of what happens on our evenings of street ministry. I bought a Radio Flyer Wagon to pull along behind us. That is kind of our trademark for people to recognize us by.

Terry Wallin and I handed out fliers in the neighborhood last night. There was a very bitterly cold strong wind for the first good while that we walked. Eventually it diminished, but as you might expect we talked to fewer people than the week before. We actually spoke to maybe 10-20 people. Several very gratifying occurrences, a few houses ahead of us I saw one lady carrying several grocery bags into her entryway. She waited for us to get to her door. When we got to her apartment, she greeted us and held her hand out, knowing who we were and what we were doing. . . :). . . she wanted a flier and a card. We ran into a couple of friends from Terry's past life. On separate ends of Middlebury Street we met and talked with these twin brothers who had been kind to Terry when he was in a time of need in his life. Terry has since ministered to each of them, while they were incarcerated at the jail. We were able to talk for a few minutes with each one. Gave out many Bible verse cards to little clouds of kids in the apartments.

Terry and I are really becoming very close through all this ministry that we do together. Night before last, when Jackie and I came home from Goshen, attached to our front door was a little scroll of papers wrapped in the little leather straps and beads that I wrapped the Bible CDs that I gave him in. Hand written on the number of pages of the scroll was over 200 names of God and their Bible verse references. Terry does not have a computer. Terry gets none of my emails, but he thought I would like the names of God and the verse references. . . It touched me greatly. We walk. We pray. We talk about God for a couple of hours each Tuesday night. . . .it is a wonderful time.

Jackie and I went to see Carey's grandmother (Patricia Craigo rm. 4105 EGH) last night. She has undergone a dramatic personality change. The nurse nurse told us this when we went to her room Her family reported that she wasn't acting at all like herself and she was very bitter acting towards me. I prayed with her at her home last Tuesday night and she was very friendly and appreciative of my stopping by. She is in an isolation room. She surely needs our prayers.

Dave Stokely