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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Lin and I met a young lady who, when we asked her if she had opened her heart and invited Christ in, said she had not. She shared with us that she could not promise to God that she would not fail and not sin. She could not lie to God.

We reminded her of the day when Peter stepped out of the boat. “If you are Christ,” Peter said to Jesus as He walked on the water, “bid me come to you.”

We reminded her that Jesus answered, “Come.”

“You are like Peter was that day,” we showed her. Peter was courageous, but he lacked the ability to follow through with his faith.

“And what did Jesus do?” I asked – “and what did Peter say next?”
“Lord help me!”

“And immediately,” we reminded her, “Jesus reached forth His arm and pulled Peter into the boat.”

He saved Peter when Peter couldn’t save himself,” we shared, and that is what it is like being a Christian.

“We’re not asking you to commit yourself to Him,” we told her, “We’re asking you to let Him commit Himself to you. We learn along life’s way to trust Him because He will always come to us when we cry out to Him.”

That young girl experienced being set free. Immediately her countenance changed. Immediately her confidence became real and she was set free from the religious bondage that had plagued her from early childhood. She has since gone out of her way on several occasions to thank us.

During our same days when we have shared the love of God some times we have been rudely told to back off. We think there is a growing opposition to our street missionary efforts. Still, as Jesus taught when openly sharing of the Gospel first began and when doing so could mean one’s life, “The field is ripe for harvest” and there is nothing to Lin and I more valuable in life – and also to God – than that harvesters will do the work of harvesting for God.

Satan makes us think inward, think religiously, think hypocritically that sinners are the “other” people. The Holy Spirit; however, stirs that love in our hearts:

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.


Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my victory wins.


Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows over me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.


Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night overtakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

In 1910 a war was being waged against the Bible being God’s word: Liberalism was rising to influence in Christian academic circles. At the same time Wilbur Chapman wrote these words and revival flooded American soil.

They are words born of experience. They are the truth, the gospel simply put – as it should be. This was my pastor’s favorite hymn, his lasting legacy and is his family’s constant theme.

Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Hallelujah … thank You Father for sending to us one who was willing to labor at the harvest.

Thank You, Father for sending your Son.

Thank You, Father for sending to us the Holy Spirit. And thank you Father, for those who through the years have both sown and reaped for you.


Perhaps, the most quoted word in the New Testament, is what one person noted as the Apostle Paul’s use of the perpendicular pro-noun: “I.”

Writing those to whom Jesus had become their Christ of God, the Apostle said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.’” Even in our own time that passage is a favorite Bible verse.

The young girl whose arm was severed by a shark now masters the surf with only one arm for balance, has said, “I can do. . .” this because “Christ strengthens me.”

“I” used by multitudes and through centuries in this way is unprecedented. It is not selfish but is exceedingly courageous in extra-ordinarily wholesome and unselfish ways. It is a “we can do it” mentality that credits the strength needed for quality living to Jesus who was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, slain in Jerusalem, and has been worshipped and honored since to this very day.

Among the tens of thousands of hymns written by those with the affection of heart that is common among both author and singers and is why these hymns have endured since their writing – read the following:

1. He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
Today in Christian worship we sing “His love never gives up on me.”
This love of God is today wondrously shed abroad into my world” through the hearts of my pastor’s family.

At his recent funeral I, being very heavy of heart, thought that I would love on his family. And I did, and I do, and it is easy because I do love them and have since I first came to know them. I loved their dad and their mom and many times showed them that I did and do.

All of my life, I guess, I have feared that I will be found lacking. I’m not what you might call, “all that.” I’m a rogue. I can’t, I don’t think, conform – even to the church I love.

I do love and I know what love is. If you really knew me, you might find cause to not think very highly of me. I’ve been a brute. Still, I can be quite brutish if you won’t leave me be; if you mess with me when I want to refresh.

I must refresh alone. Actually I go and hide myself in the Lord. That’s part of the weird about me. If I feel surrounded when I sense I must find my refuge in Him, I can become more than poppy; now isn’t that a great testimony!

So, how can God love me? And how is it that my pastor’s family seems impervious to this obvious-to-me dross that keeps needing for the gold within to be smelted again and again by the hand of God? Surely, after I have been tried I will come forth as purest gold – but as surely, not yet.

Nowhere has my dross been more obvious than to my own family. My loving treatment has been far from perfect and my tolerance of their struggles much less. This breaks my heart. This I will not hide. In practice my pastor’s love of his family and his children’s love of theirs eclipsed mine.

I meant well; but did not do well enough; so how is it that I am showered by their love? My wife did much better than I. Even then neither of us think their love for us is deserved. Yes, we loved Pastor and Ruth Ann. Yes, we stood beside them thick and thin. Yes we love their children. Yes we adore our own children and their children, our children’s children and their children’s children; but the measure of love we receive in return is compounded and without measure. We sowed little in comparison to what we are reaping.

With the Lord there is no bragging from our camp; rather immeasurable thanks. Pastor was right, “Look at what the LORD has done.” This is that strength “which strengthens me” and makes me able to say, “I can do all things.” This is the love pastor preached and lived: it caught hold in us. It was real. It was God’s love and found its way into our hearts such that we became like it. Only we have sinned and God has not.

I know this of my love for Pastor, Ruth Ann, their kids, and their grand children: I see and have always seen the gold in them. And their dross? I have an enormous mote in my own eyes. Thankfulness for God’s grace to me blocks out any significance of their stumbling. I have seen planted in them that “I can do all things through Christ” faith. They have continuously concerning their own lives, and in their encouragement of me and of my children done the same. We all learned this from Pastor.

Thankfulness to our heavenly Father flowed from the life and lips of my pastor and Ruth Ann, and still does from each of their children. I have been adopted into the most fabulous family, me, my wife, and my kids: we see the finished product: in them the gold shines brightly. God is our Father. We are His children. He saves us and keeps us.

“I” know” – there it is again, “that when I have been tried I will come forth as purest gold.” I had never known love to flow into me until the night I knelt at the altar of pastor’s church. I have never known love such as I experienced at my pastor’s funeral – I do not deserve it, but I have in me towards each of them that same love.

Such love is not about deserving it. God’s love is (being) shed abroad in our hearts, we know this is so: what a taste of heaven!!! So, this is “glory in the church!!! We fall on our knees and sing “Holy.”

A vagabond was brought into the most wonderful family. That vagabond brought with him his own family: these too were adopted by them. To this day Pastor’s family is this vagabond’s heroes. Jesus, of course, is very happy to see such love.

This was – and is – the ministry that we knew. We called it revival because not only did God come in us; He overflowed through us. “I” has always been “me.” That didn’t change. But Love took me over and won! Without a doubt, we will be eternally grateful.

“His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.