Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Morning

From Blog10


To know the Lord--
To see the light--
To bear His sword,
To fight His fight--

Thus each new day
Through Him I can
Walk in His way,
His chosen man.


But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the flesh,
to gratify its desires.

--Romans 13:14

Note: I'm not claiming that I always walk his way perfectly.
I'm saying that he gives his own the ability to follow him.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Daffodils



A fluted cup of joy appears
And takes me back so many years--
It's Miss Neff's senior English now
(I'm seventeen--I don't know how)--
And Wordsworth's "heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils."

Old Wordsworth's dead--and Miss Neff, too?
Well, I could ask, but still, ask who?--
But I'm alive another year,
And when the daffodils appear,
My aging heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.


And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

--Matthew 6:28-30, ESV

--With credit to David and Magpie Tales . I borrowed the photo, as you'll see if you follow those links.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back to old layout

Since the new layout wasn't working with Internet Explorer 8, I've returned to the old one. I'm hoping that the Blogger people will fix the issues, and I can then try the new one again.

Thoughts on Evangelism: Part 1 - What it isn't.

America's evangelical churches almost all want to grow, and they often use the word "evangelism," but they seem to have little idea of what it is.

This week I attended an excellent training series on Christ-centered evangelism, by Ed Lacy. Many of the thoughts I'll share here come from him.

First, What Evangelism Isn't.

If we look at examples of evangelism in the gospels and in the Book of Acts, and then compare them with American evangelical churches, we'll learn some things.

1. Evangelism isn't just reaching out. One local church is hosting a "block party" in our neighborhood's park tomorrow afternoon.

It's an outreach event, but if the event has a spiritual purpose, you wouldn't know it from the ad.

2. Evangelism isn't just fun and games. Here's another local church ad.

What do plastic eggs have to do with the resurrection of Jesus?

3. Evangelism isn't making people feel good about themselves or about God or about the church. Such church slogans as "You'll feel right at home" or "We believe in you" are not part of the gospel. Saying "Every bunny loves you" at Easter won't save people from their sins.

4. Evangelism isn't just getting people to follow my church's formula. It's not a matter of getting them to "say a sinner's prayer" or getting them to walk to the front of a meeting or praying over them or getting them to join the church or giving them a so-called "spiritual birth certificate." None of those things exist in the Bible. None of them are essential to the good news of Jesus.

(To be continued...)

Weak and Strong

From Blog10
Father, I am weak
Seven days a week,
But, Lord, you are strong
All the ages long.

Make me pure and true,
Glorifying you.
Body, spirit, soul--
Here, Lord--take the whole.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
--2 Corinthians 12:10, ESV

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Photo: Gasoline Station

From Blog10

If the Lord can transform even a gasoline station by something as simple as rain, what will he be able to do with us when he transforms us into something really glorious?

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
--Philippians 3:20-21, ESV

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Child's Death

Mason died this morning (March 23), after his long struggle.

From Blog10


Too early, we say, taken--
Gone now, much too soon--
This child, still in his morning,
Sunset before noon.

The Lord, though, has his reason--
Hidden from our eyes--
Permitting such short season,
Tender crop for skies.

He doesn't cause the leaving--
This fruit of Adam's sin--
And tempers our great grieving:
The dead will rise again.

Jesus said..., “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live...."
--John 11:25

Note: My closest friend's mother-in-law died yesterday. Both families can use prayers.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Father's Choice

From Blog10


O holy choice, before this world began,
To make a way, so I shall see his face—
The choice by God to save this sinful man
In wisdom, mercy, love and freest grace.

I cannot claim true merit in the least.
I gave him sin, and he then made me pure,
A welcome guest at his great wedding feast;
A welcome son, while ages shall endure.

I praise his name, for all he’s done for me,
For my redemption—all my sin erased.
I worship him in joyous liberty
And bow in awe before his love and grace.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
--1 Peter 1:1-2

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Photo: Windmill

From Blog10


The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
--John 3:8

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unseen Battle

From Blog10

The battle rages day and night
Between the evil and the light.
We cannot see that angel-force,
But they can change great nations' course.

Then he said to me, "Don’t be afraid, Daniel, for from the very first day you applied your mind to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I have come in response to your words. However, the prince of the kingdom of Persia was opposing me for twenty-one days. But Michael, one of the leading princes, came to help me, because I was left there with the kings of Persia...."
--Daniel 10:12-13, NET Bible

Thoughts: Daniel didn't rebuke the evil spirits. Instead, he used the "normal" spiritual means which the Lord had provided--in this case, fasting and prayer. The Lord then saw to it that the holy angels did the necessary battling against the evil spirits. What will happen if we apply all normal spiritual means for victory? What seemingly impregnable strongholds of evil will fall? What spiritual victories will be won? Do you and I dare to ask the Lord for great things--for things that will impact whole nations?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Photos

This is my favorite time of year in the yard.
Winter suddenly gives way to spring and summer.
The decorative pear tree blooms.
From Blog10

The lettuce comes up and the strawberries bloom.
From Blog10

The birds come back from their winter homes.
From Blog10

Some years, the cedar waxwings visit briefly,
From Blog10

And the cat and I prowl around the yard.
From Blog10

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ready...a song

From Blog10


Ready...I'm ready...I'm ready to leave!
No bags to pack and no losses to grieve.
The archangel's voice will announce it at first;
Tombs of the holy will all start to burst.
I'll be caught up in the blink of an eye,
Rise to meet Jesus 'way up in the sky--
Up where he's hidden by glory and cloud,
Up with raised saints who'll be singing out loud,
Loud as the trumpet that called them from death,
Praising the Lord with each new-given breath.
Always with Jesus--Oh, can you believe?!
That's why I'm ready. I'm ready to leave.

For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
--1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, ESV

Note: To be ready means we're seeking purity; means we're looking for the coming of Jesus; we're trusting Jesus. I don't claim to have any purity of my own, but he's changing me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Friday Photo: Farm Machinery

From Blog10


This old farm machinery reminds me of my grandparents. They worked amazingly hard; were honest and wise financially, and the Lord blessed them. Those who worked for them respected them, and vice-versa.


Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.

--Proverbs 12:9

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Everyday Service

From Blog10


A painted door,
A clean-swept floor,
A flower in a pot--
Such simple things
Speak peace to all--
Reflections of our God.

To paint the door
Or sweep the floor
Or plant the flower there:
A simple job
That speaks aloud
And glorifies the Lord.

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
--1 Corinthians 10:31, NET Bible

Sunday, March 07, 2010

In the Midnight

From Blog10

LORD, you love me in the midnight
Of my soul-consuming gloom
Just as much as in the daylight
Of my brightest, happy noon.

You sustain me as I trust you
And you make me look ahead
To the world made pure and new
And the rising of the dead.

And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

--Psalm 9:10

Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Photo: Tea Bags

From Blog10


So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
--1 Corinthians 10:31

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Fellowship of Prayer

From Blog10


I posted this as a comment to David Dickens' poem "O Eye!" You may want to read his poem first, although this one will also stand alone.

So many people, with Christ’s name,
So resistant to a praying word
Maybe fearing finding truth
Maybe feeling “I’m not good”
Maybe never having known the joy
When two or three become much more
As God himself arrives among them

For where two or three are gathered in my name,
there am I among them.

--Jesus, in Matthew 18:20

Monday, March 01, 2010

Evening Glow

From Blog10

The evening, clear and fresh,
Was giving way to coming night,
But still a fading glow
Illumined orange western sky--
A space for storing hope
Of beauty yet again at dawn.

And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the LORD, and likewise at evening...
--1 Chronicles 23:30


Poem and photo ©2010 James L. Swindle. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.