Thoughts from my journal April 13-26, 2009:
1. When we take our eyes off Jesus, life starts looking hopeless. But if we will focus on Jesus we will find that our fears turn to courage, our pain turns to joy, and our despair turns to hope. In times like these we need a Saviour, and His name is Jesus. He is our hope!
2. Filthiness and holiness cannot reside in the same heart. The Holy Spirit will only reside in a clean heart. We need to say with the Psalmist, "Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit with me." (Psalm 51:10)
3. The church becomes like dry bones when it compromises with the world. It loses its purifying influence. We need to rededicate our lives and the church to Him and become a light in the darkness. The world is counting on us!
4. There are four requirements to enter into God's presence:
- clean hands - our actions must be moral
- pure heart - we must be forgiven and cleansed by the Holy Spirit
- absence of idolatry - loyal to God alone
- sincerity and truth - God sees our hearts, we must be honest with Him for He cannot be fooled
- keep anger honest...don't stifle it, ignore it, over-exaggerate, or blame; speak in love as you resolve anger
- keep anger non-lethal...make it your goal to solve the problem, not sound-off about it
- keep anger current...deal with it quickly as storing it up leads to bitterness and will affect your health; don't drag up the past, deal with today's problems today
- keep anger solution-focused
- keep anger in the laundry room...don't spread dirty laundry out for everyone to see/hear
- be part of the clean-up crew...forgive before being asked for forgiveness; forgive even if the other party chooses to be a life time enemy
- try to understand the needs of the other person
- don't drag up the past
- don't drag in other people
- don't raise the volume
- anger handled correctly brings about the change that is needed
- seek a solution, not a victory
- admit your own faults and ask for forgiveness
- offer positive reinforcements while dealing with negative aspects
- thank the person for being willing to talk and work out the differences
8. Wouldn't it be neat to have a public ceremony to confirm the commitment a person makes when he or she surrenders his/her life to God. I mean, that is the most exciting thing that ever happens in one's life...more so than graduation or marriage. Entering into a personal relationship with God Almighty...our Creator...that is an awesome privilege for us. So, perhaps in a public ceremony the words of Moses could be read:You are standing here today to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God. The Lord is making this covenant with you today, and he has sealed it with an oath. He wants to confirm you today as his people, and to confirm that he is your God, just as he promised you. (Deuteronomy 29:12-13)
I am just thinking that perhaps taking a public commitment like that would help reinforce the new relationship, and help confirm to the person his new life. He has been released from captivity! It's a time to celebrate! Don't you know the angels in heaven are rejoicing!! We should too!!9. To be filled with God's Spirit is to be elevated to the highest level possible in humanity in our intimacy with God. Once you have tasted His Presence within you, there is nothing else that will satisfy!
GOOD THINGS HAPPENING AT ILNC:1. We had 25 people at our recent work day, and so much was accomplished in sprucing up the grounds.
2.The campfires have started up again...a good place to relax with friends at the end of the day and speak of the goodness of God.
3. We have purchased linoleum remnants to update our Conference Center bathrooms. In the last two years the Conference Center has received a major face-lift. It's a cozy place to gather with family and friends...12 private rooms w/baths surround a two story lounge/gathering place.
4. Our 40 foot climbing tower has arrived and is up!! And tomorrow the pole and 400 foot zip line will arrive. This is terrific!! Just in time for our 2009 camping season. Everyone is going to be so excited when they see the tower and zip line. I get giddy just thinking about how tickled the kids will be. This was made possible by a very large donation from a private family, and a donation from the owner of the company who built the tower. We as a camp are deeply grateful for him, and ask that God bless his life in a special way. And we are very grateful to the private family who wanted to invest in the future of youth camping. May they also be blessed beyond what man can do!
5. We like to to celebrate around the campgrounds. Whether it's a birthday, and we gather at the campfire for cake and ice cream, or it's a tower going up and we gather to assist and share brownies and soft drinks. We are community, and we love to care and share. May we become more and more like Jesus and reach out to those around us with His love!!
GOOD THINGS HAPPENING IN MY PERSONAL LIFE:
- 1. We had a three day get-away in Middlebury, Indiana, last week...the annual Pastors and Mates Spring Retreat at the Essenhaus Inn. That is such a lovely place to go, and it's fun to meet with our friends from across the Michigan District.
- Paul and I both played in the Michigan District Rook Tournament, and in the first ever Michigan District Euchre Tournament. In fact, yours truly came out with the highest score and was named the first ever Eucharist! We laughed...had a great time playing games together, as well as fellowshipping and sharing meals and worship.
- I was able to unload two full boxes of books that I had read this past year and put in the give-away pile. I suggested we have an annual book exchange at our retreat, as pastors love to read, and this is a good way for them to pick up books without putting out any money. Meanwhile, I like watching my bookshelves lightening up a bit.
- We heard the testimony of a young man from ONU who shared his life story with us. He was raised in the ghetto of Chicago, never knowing who his father was, and his mother was shot and killed before he was a year old. His only way to get the things he needed was to sell drugs when he was a teenager. Miraculously his cousin led him to Christ, and doors opened for him to attend Olivet Nazarene University, where he graduated and now works for ONU. He has an amazing story, and I believe we will be hearing more from him. He is an anointed speaker.
- On the way home from the retreat we were able to stop in White Pigeon and tour our newest church plant and rejoice with the pastor over the work that is being accomplished in that area. We then had lunch with Pastor Bob and Marilyn in Three Rivers.
- I received a very heart-touching birthday card from my son. It moved me to tears because of its' beautiful message, which was perfect from him to me. I knew he had taken time to find a card that truly expressed his feelings, and until I received the card, I wasn't real sure what his feelings were. It was a love touch from him and God.
- My whole week was a love touch from God. He kept blessing me in various ways and through a variety of means. My allegiance is to Him, forever!!
- Yesterday I picked up my first ever Angel Food Ministries food boxes. It's a very well organized ministry, and it was fun to open the boxes and sort the food between my pantry and what I was giving away. This is a monthly ministry, and I wanted to test the quality of the food before getting too involved. I think I am going to be quite supportive of this ministry. Our local United Methodist Church and South County Community Center co-sponsor this ministry. It's great for senior citizens, which is what I want to promote on the campground.
Closing Scripture Verse - I Corinthians 15:58:
"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."