Day of Prayer

As I made my commute this morning, I listened to Focus on the Family. I am not a regular religious radio listener. What caught my ear as I channel surfed was the voice of someone, a non-professional, praying an earnest prayer. After the Amen, another began. Then another. And another.

The voices were recordings of call-ins who simply wanted to pray for the nation, leaders, schools, veterans, public servants, etc. I had to pause for a moment and think about the fact that anyone who knows what day it is–The Day of Prayer– will at some point in the day–stop and pray. Think about that for a second. On a day not Sunday, people all over America will pause and pray.  Think of the spiritual power moving around at the moment hundreds of thousands of believers are turning their hearts and minds toward God and speaking a prayer.

I decided to remember what day this is– The Day of Prayer–and turn up my spiritual sensitivity and just see if I notice any difference in the day. I mean, if people all over the US are praying, there should be some noticeable difference, right?

Take some time today to not only pray, but to listen.

For a great little workbook on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on May 1, 2014 at 7:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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God’s Not Dead – the movie

The new Christian film “God’s Not Dead” came in at #4 this week. That’s right–#4 out of ALL movies. It is the #1 Christian movie, of course, and that was with limited release. More theater managers will take notice, I think, and feature it in the months ahead. I usually shy away from so-called “Christian” films because they are generally ill-made, poorly thought out, and serve mostly to amp up believers rather than convince unbelievers.

At the core of God’s Not Dead is a common story line: an atheistic college professor and a martyr-complex student who feels the need to engage the teacher in a public debate over the existence of God. In a word–unwinnable. But there is an emotional twist here, however. The student is actually prepared to lose, and hence is more concerned becoming a stumbling block to other students who might be searching or at least open to the gospel.

It is this concern on the part of the student that makes this story more interesting AND realistic. Yes, it is still a bit cheesy when the professor quotes Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and most of the actors are not A-listers, and not all of the dialogue in God’s Not Dead is believable, BUT, I still say GO SEE IT. In a time when so few people in the work-a-day world express a working faith in their religion (if they have one), let alone the God of that religion, this movie could serve as a rallying point for young believers simply looking for some courage.

The purpose of this blog is to encourage people to use my booklet to find new life for their prayer time. But for some, a movie with a good lesson might be better. God’s Not Dead. Try talking to him sometime and you’ll see.

For an easy to use workbook on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org 

The Real Jesus

It used to bother me when I would hear of people researching the “historical” Jesus. Different “Jesus” projects seemed just insulting when all (as I thought) we needed to know about Jesus was in the Bible. Lately I’ve even heard some talk about the “Jesus myth” as if he didn’t really exist at all. Really? I can’t imagine setting the calendar by someone’s birth who was totally fictitious.

Over the years, I have learned to value these various searchings as a trend. A valuable trend. People in the 21st  century are still interested in Jesus. Even attempts to discredit him must begin with someone, somewhere, looking at the available information. That’s a good thing. I tell believers and unbelievers the same thing: don’t bring your own agenda to the Bible. Just let it say what it says and make your decision.

Today I ran across an interesting article about the many images of Jesus in the world. Sometimes we stop searching and just try to make him in our own image, but sometimes it’s just an attempt to make some type of connection with him. Read it and look at the pictures: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/15/five-things-you-didnt-know-about-jesus/?hpt=hp_c3 .

If you or someone you know really wants to find Jesus, start by talking to his “Father.” Go see: www.therealprayer.org 

Published in: on March 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Drawing in the net

I cannot count how many times I’ve heard a sermon or lecture or seminar speaker talk about the idea of “drawing in the net.” It has to do with becoming a fisher of men. Even the story of Jesus telling his disciples to throw their nets on the other side of the boat and filling their nets to breaking includes this concept in most church school lessons.

Now, think about this…

I came out to my car a few cold mornings ago and after buckling my seat belt felt something strange against my skin. I had gotten into a spider web as I entered my car. I swiped it away and drove off to start my day. The next day, the same thing: I get in my car and feel the spider web on my arm. Then the next day the same thing.

I finally realize that the spider is IN my car and making webs at night on my steering wheel! I can’t find him so I just wipe off the web and go on my way. This goes on for days, but with an amazing difference: the webs are getting smaller and have more gaps in the design. The construction gets thinner and the gaps get greater until finally one morning I find no web at all.

A few days later I am getting some materials out of my car, and I see it: a tiny dead spider. He must have starved to death. He didn’t realize he was spinning his web in an area where no food existed. No flies or ants were going to be trapped in his web for dinner. So he kept working away, finding no food, not knowing why, and finally dying.

If someone had only told him: cast your web (net) on the OUTSIDE of the car! There is food there. You can feed there. There is abundance there.

The fishermen in the Bible weren’t fishing for converts…they were fishing for food. And Jesus showed them where the abundance was: believing.

If your net isn’t full, if you can’t get your daily bread, if you aren’t receiving blessings, then maybe you should try another location. Stop spending all you effort in a place where there is no bread. Stop acclimating yourself to a life without abundance. Stop telling yourself that zero blessings is normal.

There are blessings all around you if you cast your net…

and BELIEVE.

For a handy little book on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org 

Published in: on November 14, 2013 at 4:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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No Language Barrier

Immigration reform is a hot topic of late. Both political parties are tempted to see it as a touchstone for garnering votes in the next election. One item is especially important to the English-speaking public: requiring that immigrants speak our language. Some view this as a hardship, some view it as “the price of citizenship,” others view it as being a fundamental requirement for joining any culture.

In an interview for NPR’s Morning Edition, Heide Wrigley, a senior researcher at Literacywork International, says immigrants’ ability to speak English is about more than just the language — it makes for a stronger, more integrated country.  “It doesn’t just require that you learn the grammar and the pronunciation. You need thousands of words,” she says. “And you have to build what we call communicative competence that allows you to know not just what to say, but what to say to whom and when. And what not to say.”

It’s similar to the way in which we enter into communication with our Creator. We sometimes struggle with the right words, looking for the right terms, guarding our sincerity, checking our motives. We must remember that Peter, in his first letter, calls all of us sojourners, exiles, strangers in a strange land. 

That is, until we were brought into the family of God. The communications barriers then fall down if we will only remember Romans 8:26 which tells us the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can’t be uttered.

There is no language barrier with God. Our true feelings, if not the proper semantics, syntax and grammar, fall on the Creator’s ears.

So pray without ceasing.

For a great little book on praying the Lord’s Prayer, go see:  www.therealprayer.com 

The Bible

I recently began reading a book on the New testament. It has, unfortunately, been a long time since I have tried to “study” The Bible. Since I studied it for years, and ministered with it for years, I had convinced myself that I pretty much knew anything I needed to know about The Bible. Looking at this book, however, has reminded me of how easy it is to assume that what we think we know about The Bible is correct, and that what we think (right or wrong) informs our daily lives and interactions.

We praise things in one decade we would never allow in another decade. We laud one political party in one area of our lives and denounce them years later. We either assume everyone thinks like us, or we revel that we’re the outlier.

The Bible, however, never changes. Our interpretation of it does, and that’s the danger. If we are not careful, we simply use The Bible to prop up something we already believe, rather than let it say what it says. We proudly brag about feeding the poor, but gripe about food stamps. We boast that we ought to heal the sick, but scream about health care entitlements. I get so weary of reading social networking post by those who agree with me theologically, but get smug, dismissive, and demeaning about helping their fellow man. Remember how the prayer begins–Our Father.

I’m not holding my breath, but someday, I’m going to meet someone like Jesus, a real Christian, and I just may not know how to react.

For a handy little booklet on prayer, go see:  http://www.therealprayer.com 

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 9:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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National Day of Prayer

It seems a little strange to me to see that we still have a National Day of Prayer. Not that it’s a bad thing…it’s really needed. But an ever-increasing number of people now identify themselves as “nones” — that is, unaffiliated with any religion.

But the National day of Prayer isn’t the National Day of Religion, it is a day of prayer for all peoples of all faiths to take even just a brief moment to pray, meditate, think, or just pause to reflect on their place in the Universe.

Maybe we just want to thank the Creator, ask for something from a Prophet, ancestor, or some other Avatar. And as much as we seem to get annoyed at those who do not believe like us, we still appreciate the freedom of Religion we have here in America.

It’s the National Day of Prayer. So take that day! And PRAY.

For a great little book on prayer ideal for the National Day of Prayer, Bible School, Bible Study, or any other prayer emphasis, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Vicar of Christ

Protestants don’t ordinarily use the word “vicar” for anything, but it is the basis for the word “vicarious,” meaning something like a second-hand experience. A vicarious experience is one in which I did not physically participate, but which through the description of  it by someone else, I can imagine, or almost experience.

The “Vicar of Christ” is like that. The Pope is supposed to be “Jesus among us,” the presence of Christ on Earth. Pope Francis appears to be taking that seriously (not that the others didn’t, mind you) in many aspects of his first days on the job. His beginnings are marked by humility and a desire to be more of a shepherd than a holy ruler.

It reminds me of a poem by Oscar Wilde called Easter Day:

THE silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome. 

Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam,
And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red,
Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head:
In splendor and in light the Pope passed home.

My heart stole back across wide wastes of years
To One who wandered by a lonely sea,
And sought in vain for any place of rest:
“Foxes have holes, and every bird its nest,
I, only I, must wander wearily,

And bruise My feet, and drink wine salt with tears.”

We should pray for our religious leaders, that they would all exercise some humility in the days ahead.

For an easy to use prayer work-book, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Remember Me

Back in the 80’s, MacDonald’s restaurants launched an ad campaign called “Mac Tonight.” The commercials featured a singing crescent moon who crooned like a lounge singer in the style of Bobby Darin’s famous Mack the Knife. An injunction by the late singer’s estate later caused MacDonald’s to pull the ad.

It was, however, a brilliant idea. Millions of children across America, on nearly any summer night, could look up into the sky, see the real moon, and say “Hey, It’s Mac Tonight! Daddy can we go to MacDonald’s?” What a great reminder that some family time could be had down at the corner MacDonald’s! (And, inexpensively, I might add.) In effect, every crescent moon was FREE advertising!

The idea was to take something free, normal, routine, easily connected with, and turn it into a reminder of something important–in this case, hamburgers and fries with the kids.

Imagine someone taking something you do anyway, everyday– say, sitting down to dinner– and telling you “Every time you sit down and have some bread and wine…remember me.”

Get it? Gives a whole new meaning to your daily bread.

For a neat little book on the Lord’s Prayer (and prayer in general) go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on March 6, 2013 at 12:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The World Needs a “Day of Prayer”

In his resignation speech, the Pope said he wondered if “The Lord was sleeping” throughout the trials and distresses of the Catholic Church recently. He no doubt experienced what most of us experience–the silence of God. Although Psalm 121 teaches “He who watches over Israel slumbers not, nor does he sleep,” it is easy to feel ignored sometimes. We all need a Day of Prayer.

That’s why a day for prayer seems so important now, because so many people feel ignored that unbelief is on a rapid rise. But I do know this–prayers are answered. But many today just don’t bother. They might pray once or twice and then give up. “Pray without ceasing,” Paul writes. It is the habit of prayer, or more accurately, the habit of FAITH, that moves mountains, not a knee-jerk, slot machine style of asking.

I advise beginners to start with the simple Lord’s Prayer. Once you understand its simplicity, you can use the framework for all of your daily prayers. Once you start, it becomes a habit. A habit of believing.

For a good little e-book on prayer, go see: www.therealprayer.org

Published in: on February 27, 2013 at 12:38 pm  Comments (1)  
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