Archive for April, 2006

Need a little help here!

That’s what my son says when he’s in need of something he can’t do or figure out himself. It’s kind of funny the way he says it, but the truth is, he needs help.

Have you ever sat in a Sunday Worship with a child? Most of us have and do weekly. What do you do when someone steps up to lead the congregation in prayer? I interpret.

Have you ever tried to interpret a prayer up front to a child sitting next to you? My son has never said it, but I can see the look on his face… “Need a little help here!”

Next time you find yourself next to a small child while a prayer is being lead, lean over and interpret the prayer being said with words a child can understand. It helps you think about what is being said, plus, how you might communicate those “Big Church Words” to those not-yet-Christians.

I enjoy the special prayer time in church with my kids… I know they understand what’s being said and that this prayer is for them, and from them to their heavenly Father.

peace.
johno~

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When I survey…

I was about 14 and sitting in a church pew when the preacher told us to close our eyes and picture the scene of Jesus on the cross. He said, “How many of you see a hill far away with a cross silhouette on top?” I wasn’t sure if we were suppose to raise our hands or not and I’m not sure if anyone did so, but the minister said, “A few of you… OK.” Next he said, “How many of you see the cross a bit closer with more detail as if standing in the crowd. You can see Jesus, his wounds, perhaps his tears? Some more hands.” Both of these images had been my own view of the cross at one time or another in my life. It was typical of many images I had see growing up. Yet, there was one more view I would be given that day that I had never seen or even thought of… He continued, “How many of you, when you close your eyes and view the cross, see it from the foot of the cross. So close you can touch the rough carving of the wood, smell the sweat, and hear His last words, His final breath. Can you touch the dirt, soaked with His blood?” I opened my eyes, “What kind of view is this?” I thought. It was that moment I realized that the cross of Christ was not a distant cross, not a distant silhouette, but rather a personal cross, one that could be touched.

The cross is a lot bigger up close than I thought. It’s solid wood and heavier than it looks. It’s rough and course, full of imperfections. It’s porous and stained. It’s a terrible tool yet simply crafted to fulfill it’s designed. It holds nails without splitting. It takes the weight of a man without breaking. It offers no relief and it’s not possible to escape it’s hold… at least on your own. It’s a wicked awful way to die.

Being at the foot of the cross for the first time let me see one more thing that I had missed by being so far back… This was my cross. Oh God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

Psalm 51:1
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

The cross to me is death. There’s no way around it. However, Jesus on the cross to me is life. It is Jesus, Yeshua, that makes the cross powerful; it is not the cross that makes Yeshua powerful.

Isaiah 53:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus was life and He would come so that we could have living to the fullest. Each Child held, every blind man who saw, every crippled person who would walk, every thirsty woman filled and every tear that has been wiped away is the foundation of the Messiah’s cross that brings life and defeats death.

Isaiah 25:8
He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.

In 1707, Isaac Watts wrote “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” for a communion service. Many songs at the time were repetition of Psalms and doctrines. This song, by Watts, is the first known hymn to be written in the first person, introducing a personal Christ experience rather than limiting itself to doctrine. Isaac Watts penned his final thoughts on communion as one who has seen the cross of Christ. It’s a perspective that’s a wonderful reminder to me… when I close my eyes.

“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Peace.
Johno~

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Thanks you all for your prayers

I wanted to update everyone on Adam… Today he went back to the doctors and weighed in at 7lbs. 11oz. Still not at his birth weight, but getting close.

It has been a busy time. We host a very special program this time of the year called “Night at the Cross.” It has kept my schedule full and my blogging down. I also had to send my NEW camera back to Canon. Soft pics. Don’t know if it’s the lens or the camera. We’ll see if it’s the operator. I hope they can fix him if he’s the problem.

Right now, I am “DOG” tired and must sleep.

Again, PRAISE GOD! Thanks for the prayers.

peace.
johno~

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A small prayer request.

I would like to ask anyone who visits this page, to please pray for our newborn son Adam.
Adam has not gained weight since his birth. He was born at 8lbs. 1oz. and today was 7lbs. 4oz. This is below 10% of his birth weight, which is not what doctors like to see, so our doctor ordered blood work. The results came back fine… That still leaves the mystery of why Adam is losing and not gaining.

Thank you for your prayers.

peace.
johno~

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You never know… but that's still OK.

How many people have you shared Jesus with? What happened in the end? Do you know? Is it OK not to know?

I love Hebrews chapter 11 because of the story of faith. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

I have always tried to share Jesus with people I know and love and those who are strangers. Be it Whitney on the road to Slidell, Bob, the guy at the end of the off ramp in Hood River I bought lunch for or Hannah, my oldest daughter. I just believe I should share Christ.

Last summer, I had a conversation with Donny at a summer camp waaaaaay up north. I had a “feeling” that I should take some time to talk to him about how he was doing and how he was growing in the Lord. The conversation went well… He had some doubts and had stopped going to church all together. I told him he needed to reconnect. In the end, I shared with him about a wonderful church plant in his neighborhood and told him to check it out. This guy has some real God talent. When I got back I called the minister who leads this group and told him to “watch for this guy.” Well, Donny never showed up and months went by and things moved on. and… I forgot.

In October of last year I saw this Donny in Portland and asked how things were going… He said well and that he had just visited Renovatus. I said, “good.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but that’s OK. It was good to hear he was finally went. I called the ministry leader, Kevin, and told him about his visitor… However, Kevin was out of town and missed meeting him. :-( And so it goes. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we think we are… It’s who God is and what He is and what He has planned.

This last week out of the near blue I received this email. It is a wonderful testimony and encouragement so I asked Donny’s permission if I could share this email.

Hey I wanted to stop and write to you, thanking you
for putting me in a position to at least think about
going to church again. I’m going to be honest with
you that I didn’t ever contact Kevin about going to
Renovatus. I actually was invited by a friend and
from that point on I’ve been going regularly.
Looking back I remember what my emotional state was
and it was looking pretty dismal. I was very negative
and bitter towards many things in my life and not just
my spirituality. I wrote myself a letter in late
September describing all the things that were negative
in my life and some of my thought processes and I’ll
tell you now that it isn’t pretty. The letter was
sort of a self-examination/self-reflective discussion
that I had going on in my head and one of the things I
wrote down was: “My spirituality is none-existent, not
because I don’t believe that God is real or that He
loves me, but because I don’t care. I go to church
occasionally and to Monday night devo at Cascade only
because it’s what people want to see and not because
of any desire to be there. I find it easier to live
the lifestyle that says either ‘God doesn’t exist’, or
‘I don’t care’. This is probably why I’m so angry and
bitter and depressed.”
That was in September of last year. Shortly after
that is when I started going to Renovatus and I can
honestly say that it truly has changed my life.
Lately I’ve gone through another one of those
self-examination/self-reflective discussions and I
asked myself the same questions I asked before.
Questions like, “Why am I in Vancouver? Do I belong
here? What is the purpose of all this? and Why am I
in the situation that I’m in at this moment?” Back in
September the answer was a bitter, costic, “I don’t
know and I really don’t care.” Now the answer is, “I
don’t know and I’m ok with that.” My attitude about
life in general has changed dramatically and when
people ask how I’m doing I can honestly say that I’m
doing great; I’m doing just fine. And the answer to
this change is the church that I’m involved in.

So I wanted to drop a line saying thank you for at
least pointing me in the right direction. I don’t
think I would’ve stayed there if I didn’t sort of
already know about it. So, thank you.

God says, “Have faith…” I say, “What if I die never seeing the promise?” His response, “It doesn’t matter, just have faith.” And that’s it. Share Christ and His promise in everyway. If someone comes back to say thanks, take the blessing and be convicted to press on and continue to share your faith because you are just part of the story. Tell people about Jesus. Let Him do the work. God never promised you would know the end of the story with everyone you’ve talked to.

Donny’s story is wonderful and convicting. It’s about God and His unending pursuit of this young man… It has everything to do with me and yet, NOTHING to do with me… Isn’t that GREAT! How many other stories are there? I may die never knowing everyone, but that’s OK, God never promised I would. So I press on in faith what is promised to me… Live my life and let God shine!

Listen to the Spirit. Who are you talking to today?

peace.
johno~

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You never know… but that’s still OK.

How many people have you shared Jesus with? What happened in the end? Do you know? Is it OK not to know?

I love Hebrews chapter 11 because of the story of faith. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

I have always tried to share Jesus with people I know and love and those who are strangers. Be it Whitney on the road to Slidell, Bob, the guy at the end of the off ramp in Hood River I bought lunch for or Hannah, my oldest daughter. I just believe I should share Christ.

Last summer, I had a conversation with Donny at a summer camp waaaaaay up north. I had a “feeling” that I should take some time to talk to him about how he was doing and how he was growing in the Lord. The conversation went well… He had some doubts and had stopped going to church all together. I told him he needed to reconnect. In the end, I shared with him about a wonderful church plant in his neighborhood and told him to check it out. This guy has some real God talent. When I got back I called the minister who leads this group and told him to “watch for this guy.” Well, Donny never showed up and months went by and things moved on. and… I forgot.

In October of last year I saw this Donny in Portland and asked how things were going… He said well and that he had just visited Renovatus. I said, “good.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but that’s OK. It was good to hear he was finally went. I called the ministry leader, Kevin, and told him about his visitor… However, Kevin was out of town and missed meeting him. :-( And so it goes. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we think we are… It’s who God is and what He is and what He has planned.

This last week out of the near blue I received this email. It is a wonderful testimony and encouragement so I asked Donny’s permission if I could share this email.

Hey I wanted to stop and write to you, thanking you
for putting me in a position to at least think about
going to church again. I’m going to be honest with
you that I didn’t ever contact Kevin about going to
Renovatus. I actually was invited by a friend and
from that point on I’ve been going regularly.
Looking back I remember what my emotional state was
and it was looking pretty dismal. I was very negative
and bitter towards many things in my life and not just
my spirituality. I wrote myself a letter in late
September describing all the things that were negative
in my life and some of my thought processes and I’ll
tell you now that it isn’t pretty. The letter was
sort of a self-examination/self-reflective discussion
that I had going on in my head and one of the things I
wrote down was: “My spirituality is none-existent, not
because I don’t believe that God is real or that He
loves me, but because I don’t care. I go to church
occasionally and to Monday night devo at Cascade only
because it’s what people want to see and not because
of any desire to be there. I find it easier to live
the lifestyle that says either ‘God doesn’t exist’, or
‘I don’t care’. This is probably why I’m so angry and
bitter and depressed.”
That was in September of last year. Shortly after
that is when I started going to Renovatus and I can
honestly say that it truly has changed my life.
Lately I’ve gone through another one of those
self-examination/self-reflective discussions and I
asked myself the same questions I asked before.
Questions like, “Why am I in Vancouver? Do I belong
here? What is the purpose of all this? and Why am I
in the situation that I’m in at this moment?” Back in
September the answer was a bitter, costic, “I don’t
know and I really don’t care.” Now the answer is, “I
don’t know and I’m ok with that.” My attitude about
life in general has changed dramatically and when
people ask how I’m doing I can honestly say that I’m
doing great; I’m doing just fine. And the answer to
this change is the church that I’m involved in.

So I wanted to drop a line saying thank you for at
least pointing me in the right direction. I don’t
think I would’ve stayed there if I didn’t sort of
already know about it. So, thank you.

God says, “Have faith…” I say, “What if I die never seeing the promise?” His response, “It doesn’t matter, just have faith.” And that’s it. Share Christ and His promise in everyway. If someone comes back to say thanks, take the blessing and be convicted to press on and continue to share your faith because you are just part of the story. Tell people about Jesus. Let Him do the work. God never promised you would know the end of the story with everyone you’ve talked to.

Donny’s story is wonderful and convicting. It’s about God and His unending pursuit of this young man… It has everything to do with me and yet, NOTHING to do with me… Isn’t that GREAT! How many other stories are there? I may die never knowing everyone, but that’s OK, God never promised I would. So I press on in faith what is promised to me… Live my life and let God shine!

Listen to the Spirit. Who are you talking to today?

peace.
johno~

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