A few weeks ago, I had an interesting and inspiring talk with a guy who has been in a maximum security prison, locked up 23 hours a day for a violent crime. He has been at this particular prison for over 20 years. He told me about his faith in God, and then he showed me something he had written years ago. It was his statement of faith, based on filing a court document. I asked him if I could share this with you, and so he copied it (by hand) and gave me a copy the next time I saw him. I think it is great, and worth sharing. So, please share this with as many people as possible. Also, if you don’t mind, write this guy a word of encouragement in the comments. I told him I would share with him the comments that people make after reading this.
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My friend from a maximum security prison, Ryiee, gave me another poem. Please keep Ryiee in your prayers as he struggles to grow in his faith.
The title of the poem is “God’s Grace Sets the Pace.”
It’s so easy to let this life beat us down
I speak from miseries I’ve sown into the ground
I’ve reaped so much strife I thought I’d drown
From these agonies that I’ve known, this I’ve found Continue reading
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, studying, reading, teaching, and writing about the Church lately. In fact, I am working on a book about the Church. I hope to have it completed by the end of the year. I don’t have a publisher yet, so, if you are interested in helping me with that, let me know.
In addition to thinking about the Church, my mind has also been on the state of our country during this presidential election year. So, what I am writing about in this post is me thinking out loud about something. I have not reached a definitive conclusion about it yet, but I am close. I would really appreciate your input. Am I on the right track or have I gone completely off the rails? Continue reading
It has been a difficult 24-plus hours.
I was at church, setting up and getting ready for worship when I heard the news about what had happened in Orlando at the Pulse Nightclub. It was probably 7:30am. The first report said 20 were dead. The next report said 50. It was also reported that the nightclub was primarily a gay nightclub. The first reports also stated it was a terrorist attack. At church we prayed for the victims and families and first-responders during our communion prayer. I then spent most of Sunday afternoon flipping the channels between CNN, FOX, and MSNBC. The gay nightclub was now the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States and the worse terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11. I tweeted, “My heart breaks for the LBGTQ community today. I pray for mercy & grace & healing.” Earlier in the morning I sent a message to a gay friend letting him know I was praying for him and the LBGTQ community. Continue reading
I have just wrapped up another week of pastoral ministry in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I have been teaching and preaching about the Church, and I have been encouraged. While I do believe the Church (especially in the U.S.) is sick, I do not believe she is dead. Quite the contrary! Jesus has promised He will build His Church (in spite of us) and the gates of hell will not defeat her (Matthew 16:18). Continue reading
What if Jesus really meant it when He said He has given us power and authority to “preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick?” (Luke 9:2). What if, instead of sitting in our A/C gymatoriums and padded seats, we actually “went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere? (Luke 9:6). What if we actually believed (and practiced) that ALL the spiritual gifts were still alive and active? How would the structures, budgets, and programs of our churches be different if Jesus actually meant for us to preach His kingdom and heal people? And by healing, not only do I mean spiritual healing but physical and emotional healing as well?
Sometimes I wonder if, in our churches, we are doing everything except what Jesus commanded us to do? Continue reading