Archive for April, 2008

Kingdom.12 Experiential Holy Spirit power.

Gig Harbor, Washington

You cannot read the last few verses of Luke’s eyewitness account and his historical book called the Acts of the Apostles without coming face to face with this reality:  When the Holy Spirit comes, He comes with power and with some kind of experience.  Let me write it another way; in the Book of Acts, every time someone receives the Holy Spirit it includes some kind of experiential effect that can be described.

The best illustration of this is in Acts 19:2. Paul has come to Ephesus and found some disciples who, as it turns out, only know the baptism of John the Baptist and have not been baptized into the name of Jesus. Paul by the Holy Spirit senses something is wrong and cuts right to the chase by asking a very important and instructive (for us) question: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (v.2)

What makes this question by Paul such an important question for contemporary American evangelicals is that by and large they have been taught that the way you know you have received the Holy Spirit is that you are a believer. The way you know you have the Holy Spirit is because everyone who believes has the Holy Spirit. We infer “having” because of “believing”. (I am defining an evangelical as a non-charismatic protestant who is generally serious about evangelism and believes in the Bible as God’s Word, but does not believe in or practice the power gifts)

So if evangelicals want to know if someone has received the Holy Spirit, they only need to ask, “Have you believed on Jesus?” and if the answer is yes, then evangelicals know the person received the Holy Spirit. For the evangelical, receiving the Holy Spirit is a logical inference, not an experience to point to.

But that is not the question the Apostle Paul is asking, is it? Paul says, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” and evangelicals who are serious about understanding this second experience, have to scratch their heads and say, “I don’t get it, Paul. If you assume we believed, why don’t you assume we received the Holy Spirit?”

Evangelicals have largely been taught that all who believe, receive the Holy Spirit. They’ve been taught to just believe that the Spirit is there whether there are any effects or not. But Paul’s question assumes there is a way to know we’ve received the Holy Spirit different from believing. He indicates by his question that there is an experience of the Spirit apart from believing that will prove that the Spirit has come on you.

When the Apostle Paul asks this question, “Did you receive the Spirit when you believed,” he expects that a person who has “received the Holy Spirit” knows it, not just because it’s an inference from his faith in Christ, but because it is an experience with effects that he can point to.

This reality is seen all through the Acts, in fact, no where is the coming of the Holy Spirit ever something inferred because of belief, it is always experiential, in obvious ways.  There are at least six stories in Luke’s historical review of the acts of the apostles where we see the Holy Spirit’s coming or being received as verifiable experiences:

1. At Pentecost there was speaking in tongues and praising the mighty works of God and power to witness (1:8; 2:4, 11);

2. in Samaria there is something so obvious in experience that Simon saw it and is amazed and wants to buy the power to make it happen (8:18);

3. in Caesarea at the house of Cornelius there was speaking in tongues and praising God (10:46);

4. in Ephesus where Paul found the disciples of John the Baptist there was speaking in tongues and prophesying (19:6);

5. at Paul’s conversion there is extraordinary boldness and empowering to witness (9:17, 22);

6. and in Acts 5:32 Luke says that God “gave the Holy Spirit to everyone who is obeying him.”

The ones mentioned are speaking in tongues, prophesying, freely praising the great things of God, boldness and power in witness, and obedience to God. One could also include in this list, the working of miracles, signs, and wonders that are results of an obvious infilling of the Spirit. (Acts 6:8, 13:9-11).

My point is this: whether Luke expects these kinds of effects to happen in a first receiving of the Holy Spirit or in a two step process with “baptism in the Holy Spirit” after conversion, or in an ongoing sequence of fillings (or some combination of these three), one thing is clear: Luke expects the receiving of the Holy Spirit to be a real, identifiable experience with the living God.

To live a Kingdom life and to be part of advancing It’s progress throughout all areas of our culture and world one has to have obvious power on their life.  That power comes from the Holy Spirit and it is visible on those who believe.

Speaking in tongues is the most common experiential evidence of the coming of the Spirit in these six stories and instances and will be the subject of another post.

April 30, 2008 at 4:27 pm 1 comment

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.42

Sayre, Oklahoma

Busy day yesterday, which is a bit unusual, but it meant not getting the meanderings out on “their” day. The number of emails wondering where they were was huge, so I am up early this morning (it’s about 5am) to try and satisfy my fan base. 

Item one. We leave today for Gig Harbor, Washington and a visit with Brad, Summer and Canyon Paul. Linda was just there 10 days ago but I haven’t been back since July.  Really excited to see the Washington kids and our friends there, and to get some of that rain.  70’s and sunshine is getting old!

Item two. Hartley, Texas.  I travelled with Pastor Andy to this little town about an hour north of Amarillo in the heart of the Texas panhandle.  We were there to meet with the wonderful people from a small but healthy church there who we are getting to know, perhaps to form one of those connections Trinity has with a number of churches and ministries.  We had an informal gathering for Q&A Saturday evening around some great Texas barbecue and then we shared in the morning service on Sunday.  It was a really enjoyable time and good ministry. Interesting sidebar to our visit: 72 boys that have been removed from the cult in Eldorado, Texas are being cared for at Boys Ranch, a few minutes south of Hartley.  We met some of the people who will be advocating for these boys and were able to pray for their wisdom in this very difficult situation. 

Item three.  We had dinner last night with Tim and Janet Johns who were here to minister in Andy’s absence on Sunday and to spend some time here at Trinity.  They lead a unique ministry called Rock Tribe who are working to expand the Kingdom through “…relationally connected house churches, compassion ministries, businesses, and other kingdom enterprises committed to bringing individuals, marriages & families, cities, regions, and whole countries under Christ’s Lordship and transformed into His likeness. In short, we are called to the “Reclaiming Of Christ’s Kingdom”.”  There is much about this ministry that is intriguing and I plan to find out more.  If you are interested in a ministry that is unlike anything else out there that is actually doing the work of mentoring the next generation, check out their website here.

Item four. Here is a link to a really funny (at least I think its funny), as in sarcastic funny site called Stuff Christians Like.  If you are in youth ministry, have some kids or are a GUBA (as in growing up born again) you will find this stuff funny.  If you don’t find yourself in any of the aforementioned groups, whatever you do don’t visit the site here.

Item five. A blog called Strange Maps is getting some huge numbers of hits and if you go there you will know why.  It is unique, interesting, humorous and educational all at the same time.  I found it looking for a map on where certain religious groups are biggest.  I was trying to prove to myself why they call this area of the country the Bible Belt.  Check out this map and you can decide what parts of the country to live in should you want to avoid, say …Baptists or churches all together.  Find it here.

Item six.  The Henri Nouwen devos have recently focused on the personal value of writing (subscribe to daily eLetter here).  I have been writing this blog quite faithfully for about 18 months and though I love knowing you are reading it, I started it for myself and keep doing it because I like it.  Nouwen expresses some of why I keep at it: Writing is not just jotting down ideas. Often we say: “I don’t know what to write. I have no thoughts worth writing down.” But much good writing emerges from the process of writing itself. As we simply sit down in front of a sheet of paper and start to express in words what is on our minds or in our hearts, new ideas emerge, ideas that can surprise us and lead us to inner places we hardly knew were there.  One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.

Why not try your hand at writing?  Start your own blog, its easy and fun or just leave a comment here, I would love to hear from you.

Item seven.  Congrats to our friends Kasey and Tarah! They are expecting a baby this fall and just found out the gender this week.  Check out the pics of the little guy here.

Have a great week and hope to see some of you in Washington this week!

 

 

April 29, 2008 at 6:03 am Leave a comment

Kingdom.11 Receiving the Holy Spirit.

Nothing has messed with the heads of Christians any more than the subject of when and how do we receive the Holy Spirit? As I said in an earlier Kingdom post, the advancement of the Kingdom requires supernatural Holy Spirit power and some of the last words of our King, prior to His lift off to return to the Father were these; You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes on you… (Acts 1:8) The ones who first heard these words of Jesus were believers, in every sense of the Word but had not yet received the Holy Spirit, so these verses raise the question: “When do we get the power?” 

A number of years ago, in my “institutional” days, I was preaching through Acts when I came upon these verses from chapter 8: Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 

As I read these words I had one of those, “wait a minute here” moments where my training and experience were called into question.  I went to the leadership of the church I was pastoring, and asked for their help in how to proceed, since our church and “denomination” did not believe in a second experience with the Holy Spirit, that seemed obvious to me, in this story. 

To make a very long story short, they were little or no help.  All they knew to do was to ask me to not proceed in my teaching from Acts until we understood better what was happening. Over the next few months we wrote papers on the subject, including one where I made the case that will be presented here, discussed it long into the night, until it became obvious we were not going to find agreement that I should proceed with my teaching from the Book of Acts (I never taught from it again in that church). 

While their refusal to give me freedom to teach what I believed was the truth of Scripture was not what eventually led to my resignation, I look back to that time as the place where I began to loose my heart and ultimately, my way. So what I share with you here is extremely important to me and I believe to the forward movement of the Kingdom.

This section of Acts (8:14-17) raises the question as to whether the historic Pentecostal view is correct, that there is a second experience of the Holy Spirit to be sought and enjoyed after conversion, different from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which starts when we first believe (first experience).  This section of Scripture further asks the question “is this second experience followed by speaking in tongues”? (which I will deal with later)

If you read this text it is clear that the Samaritans are already born again prior to Peter and John’s visit. This conversion is the first experience of faith.  But what you notice as you read this story is that there is a second experience of the Holy Spirit that they don’t have. v.15 says: Peter and John came down from Jerusalem and “prayed for [the Samaritans] that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” They are obviously missing something. The Spirit has not “fallen on them.” They have not “received” him. But in spite of not having the Holy Spirit as yet, they seem to be genuine believers.

There is no way I can cover this whole subject in one post, so in this posting I will simply give you the reasons why I think these Samaritans were truly born again, and then, in another post, give you the reasons why I am convinced that in fact, there is a second experience with the Holy Spirit that is normative for the follower of King Jesus.

  • v.8 describes them as having great joy, an experience that often follows conversion. (see v.39)
  • v.12a says they “believed Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.  In Acts, belief and conversion are generally synonymous.
  • v.16 says that they were baptized in the name of Jesus. And when the apostles came down to lay hands on them, there is no mention that they baptized them again, even though Paul re-baptized the disciples who only knew the baptism of John in Acts 19:5.

All this suggests that the Samaritans were true believers prior to John and Peter laying hands on them, which led to their receiving the Holy Spirit.

This event in Acts 8 is an illustration, just like Pentecost, that there is a definite receiving of the Holy Spirit to be experienced after conversion. There are obvious connections between this story in Acts 8 and what we read about the baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1:5 and 11:16.

What I am saying here is that both the first experience of sealing by the Holy Spirit and the second experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit are normative experiences for the follower of Jesus.

Why does this matter?  I have been saying for some time that institutional churches, like the one I led for many years, have an obvious lack of power.  Mark 16 says “signs and wonders will follow believers…” Acts tells us up front (1:8), and then with illustration after illustration, that we will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes on us… and yet I never saw in the churches I was affiliated with, for my entire life, anything that remotely looked like a wonder or a sign, much less power!  The only conclusion I can come to, is that much of the church has settled for the sealing of the Holy Spirit, which is essential and imperative, but have not moved on into an encounter with the Holy Spirit that brings  obvious, demonstrative, and authentic Holy Spirit power.

More on this subject another time, including an attempt to answer the question “is tongues the evidence of this second experience with the Holy Spirit”?

 

April 24, 2008 at 4:23 pm 6 comments

Kingdom.10 “Gifts of healings”.

I am fully persuaded that the gifts of healings and the working of miracles, the Apostle Paul writes about in 1Corinthians 12, are for this day and this time in Kingdom history.  They are a powerful attraction to the unbeliever and a faith builder for the believer and perhaps more than any other way are advancing the Kingdom all over the world and with a fresh anointing here in America.

One of the criticisms of the healing gift is it often appears to edify the one who uses the gift, rather than the Giver of the gift.  I don’t deny there is significant abuse of these powerful gifts but don’t agree that we should, because of the abuse, seek the Giver rather than the gift.  I would join others in saying, no, let’s not seek one or the other let’s seek both. 

That there is abuse is no reason to abandon prayer for healing or not to expect and anticipate other miracles, in fact it seems ever the more important that those who are truly gifted in healings and working of miracles should do so appropriately, so as to be a positive example.  These gifts are for the benefit of others and not for the edification of the one who receives the gift, as Paul instructs in 1Corinthians 12:7.  But let’s not abandon these vital power gifts just because a minority are prone to make it about them. 

The way Paul chooses to write his instructions on this subject brings understanding. The literal phrase in 12:9 is not “gift of healing” but “gifts of healings”-two plurals. What I think this means is that different kinds of gifts, for different kinds of healings, are given to different people, according to the sovereign will of the Father.  Wouldn’t this suggest that one person will not have a monopoly on every sort of healing and suggest there will be times when one person with some gifts to heal will not always be able to heal but another will?

Look at Paul’s experience. God allowed him to heal the crippled man in Lystra (Acts 14:10) and lot’s of people in Ephesus (Acts 19:12) and he healed the demonized girl in Philippi (Acts 16:18) and Eutychus, when he was killed falling out of a window (Acts 20:9-10). But Paul was unable to heal himself from the thorn in the flesh (2Corinthians 12:8-9) or from the ailment that he had when he preached in Galatia (Galatians 4:13-14). And evidently he could not heal Timothy from his stomach ailments (1Timothy 5:23) or Epaphroditus from his life threatening sickness (Philippians 2:26-27) or Trophimus whom he “left ill at Miletus” (2Timothy 4:20). Sometimes Paul was given gifts of healings and sometimes he wasn’t.

It is the Father who distributes the gifts “as He chooses” and when He chooses.  When taken together 1Corinthians 12-14 puts us on firm ground to seek gifts of healings. This is implied in his instructions related to the pursuit of love and compassion. Praying for healing is a significant way to show love to someone and so, sandwiched as it is sovereignly between the instructive chapters of 12 and 14, the love chapter 13 is there to tell us that all these gifts of power are to be covered in love. The apostle sums up in 1Corinthians 14:1 “Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts . . . ” What else would he mean to say except that, along with the aim of love we are free to pursue the power gifts, because once our hearts are set on the pursuit of love, we are in the appropriate place to zealously pursue the manifestation gifts, one of which is “gifts of healings.”

Therefore, it seems to me,  as the Apostle sums up in 14:1, he is calling us to seek these gifts. They are subordinate to love, but still to be pursued. We seek to do good to each other, pray with humility that the Father would grant us the supernatural ability to heal and to be the conduit for other miracles, in order to bless the Family and exalt the Father’s name in the world.

I had opportunity to pray with a drug addicted man on Sunday.  As I extended love to him, his heart was opened to receive my confidence that in the name of Jesus the bondage he was under would be broken.  I do not know if he left to get a fix or not but I do know that the powerful love of Jesus coupled with the possibility of full healing from the pull of drugs, gave him hope. 

Why would the Father want to withhold that hope from our world, today?  I don’t think He would.

 

April 22, 2008 at 4:50 pm 3 comments

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.41

Sayre, Oklahoma

The weather has been beautiful the last couple of days.  When the wind dies down it is really good weather here.  It was 80 yesterday and more of the same for today.  I guess the wind here is kind of like the rain in the Northwest.  When it doesn’t rain there is no place better than the Pacific Northwest but it rains a lot.  When the wind doesn’t blow here it is really a very nice place, but the wind blows a lot.  There were a few people around the NW that, at least said they liked the rain, but nobody admits to liking the wind, except maybe the people who own power generating wind mills!

Item one. My last word on the primary season has been some time ago, when I posted a piece from another blog, about Senator Obama having peaked. Now as he and Senator Clinton fillet each other day after day, one has to wonder if the only person really gaining from their shooting each other is Senator McCain.  Most of the readers of this blog are probably not going to vote for Mr. Obama, but I would guess that he has turned most of our heads once or twice, with his ability to speak with passion about the things we care about like hope and change. I found this very informative piece by William Kristol that I think you should read, especially if you are still flirting with an Obama presidency.  Many of the readers of this blog live in small town America and here in the Southern Midwest there are thousands of small towns and Senator Obama does not get us.  This article speaks quite clearly about how Obama feels about us who live in these small communities.  Read the article.  You can find it here.

Item two. Pastor Andy has been speaking on the subject of giving for several weeks.  Yesterday he spoke passionately (yes it’s possible) on the subject of tithing.  It is not easy these days, to get up in front of your congregation, many of whom are deeply in debt, and tell them that if they will honor the Father first, in their giving, He will bless them.  The connection between the two (tithing and blessing) is argued both pro and con in the Christian community, but as Andy said, “you can’t talk someone who tithes with joy out of doing it”.  No doubt it is hard to get folks who can’t pay off their credit cards to give 10% away every month, but we can attest to the truth that if you will “try Him in this” (Malachi 3), you will be blessed.  The reality of our world is, that we don’t believe He will bless us back if we tithe, so what we say is that tithing is legalism.  Is it really? George Barna found that while 84% of people in America donated some money to a church, only 5% of church attenders tithe.  Of the group most heavily in debt to credit cards, those under 40, only 1% tithe.  Is there a connection?  Find the Barna stats here.  (if you read the comments to this link you will see how divergent the opinion on tithing is.  Another thing Andy said yesterday was sharp: “Why is it we are willing to pay 21% interest, or more on our credit cards and call the tithe legalism?”

Item three.  Our friend Kaylee has some good pics of the memorial stone for her brother Willie that was dedicated April 13th. (why Linda went to Washington)  You can find them on Kaylee’s blog here.

Item four. We sang the powerful, Beth and Matt Redmond song “Blessed be your name” yesterday in church, and there is this line in it that always catches me off guard, even though I have played it, sung it, listened to it, dozens of times: You give and take away, You give and take away, my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be your name…  After 13 years since we lost Paul, I still have a hard time choosing to say, blessed be your name and the 2.5 years since the loss of hundreds of relationships from the CLB, I still can’t say it, without making myself do it.  I have really grown to love a blog sister named Sumi, who lost her daughter Jenna a few weeks back, because she is choosing to grieve authentically, remember well and to bless the name of the Lord.  I know many of you are following Sumi’s journey so you can find the link to her latest offering hereThank you Sumi for your wonderful, genuine, vulnerable willingness to Bless the Lord on the road marked with suffering…

Item five. Many of you have seen this Mensa test floating around the cyber world.  My friend Jeanee sent it to me last night and I spent an hour or so taking it.  It is not easy, but some of you will blast right through it.  Take it here and let me know how you do.  I got 13 of them the first time through.  I had trouble finding the answers to the ones I couldn’t get, but you can type each phrase into your browser and find them that way.  Have fun!

Enjoy your week and thank you so much for reading the Juniper Tree.

April 21, 2008 at 9:22 am 4 comments

Kingdom.09 Power!

This subject may take several posts to accomplish as it will be the first time I have written my convictions related to the Holy Spirit.  Over the years I have been, I would like to think, maturing in my understanding of the Spirit, and the awesome potential there is for the Kingdom person to do what Jesus did to advance His Kingdom.  The teaching I received over the years related to the Holy Spirit was generally accurate and gave me a good understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit but it stopped short of the Father’s intention.  Without spending the time to define my previous theological perspectives on the Holy Spirit, it is enough to say I was trained as a cessationist, a view that says the manifestation gifts, sign gifts, or power gifts have ceased, that they are no longer for today.  (the sign gifts are listed in 1Corinthians 12:8-11)

For the Kingdom to come on earth, in the same way it is now in heaven, requires power.  Do we need less power to take Kingdom territory today than was needed in the time of the first Apostles?  That makes no sense at all.  1Corinthians 4:20 says; For the Kingdom of God is not just fancy talk but of power.  To the Galatian church, which was not led by any of the original apostles, (the argument for the ceasing of the gifts flows out of the conviction that the sign gifts were to authenticate the power of the original apostles) Paul writes in 3:5 …does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law of Moses? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. 

The Galatian church was really no different in leadership or agenda than our fellowships today and the power was available to them and so why not for us?  The most natural meaning of Galatians 3:5 is that God was working miracles in the Galatian church by the Holy Spirit and doing it through ordinary believers not through the apostles, what would make us think He no longer offers this power to the church today?  This is what we would expect considering what 1Corinthians 12 says-the Spirit gives to some in the churches “gifts of healing” and “workings of miracles.”

If power is not available to those of us who come after the original apostles, what would be the meaning of the words of Jesus in John 14:12?  Was He not serious when He said: …you will do the same works I have done, and even greater works because I am going to the Father…?  His going to the Father would mean the Spirit could come and bring the power to do what He did. Surely He didn’t just mean the people who heard His voice that particular day would be the ones to see greater manifestations of power than seen during His time on earth.

I do not doubt that there were unique expressions of Holy Spirit power displayed through the original apostles for that unique moment in history and in many ways that time period was foundational.  However there is no evidence that Holy Spirit power, in increasing measure, is not available to advance the Kingdom during these days.  The argument for the ceasing of the power gifts is theological and biblical gymnastics and works only if one refuses to accept the simple statements of Scripture.

There is no stronger principle in the Kingdom than this: all the power needed to advance the Kingdom is as available today as it has ever been.  Acts 1:8 When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power…  Luke 24:49 …but stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.  The connection between the Holy Spirit and power is unmistakable. What possible reason would the Father have for shutting off the power to His Family for these days?  Has the Spirit become impotent?  How absurd.

I am convinced that the reason why the church in America is largely ignored is not because we don’t do church well enough, or the preaching or music or programs are not good enough.  The reason why the institutional church is by and large irrelevant is because there is no power.  If there is no more healing, no more freedom for those in bondage, no more hearing for the deaf or sight for the blind or dare I say it, life for the dead, then what do we offer the world? (Luke 7:22-23)  Good programs? 

 

 

April 17, 2008 at 4:26 pm 7 comments

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.40

Sayre, Oklahoma/Grapeview, Washington

Volume 40!  I may have missed a Monday morning or two along the way but it has been a lot of fun rolling these meanderings out there on Monday morning.  It is usually the most read post of the week, which is probably because it is the only thing some of you read.  Glad to have you along on our journey.

Linda is still in Washington and I am still here in Western Oklahoma so it is a post from two places.  Linda never writes these things but she almost always contributes in some way so the by line comes from both states.

Item one. I pick Linda up in OK City tomorrow afternoon after her short visit to the Northwest.  She spent a couple of days with Brad, Summer and Canyon Paul and had a great time.  I am so happy for her.  She loves the grandboys and hasn’t seen Canyon Paul as much as the other three so she really enjoyed it.  Here are a couple of pics of the big boy.  We will both be back in Washington the end of the month and I can’t wait to see everyone.

    

Item two. Today is the first anniversary of the day Willie McComb was taken from his family and friends. Linda went to Washington to spend time with Leslee and Bill and family during this time.  Yesterday, family and friends gathered for the unveiling of a memorial stone designed by family friend Forrest.  Linda said it was a real tribute and a good time for people to come together and mark the passing of a year in this family’s journey.  As I said a few posts ago, “firsts” in the grieving process are harder than other days and so the first anniversary of Willie’s death was an important day in many ways.  Linda took pictures so we will post those after she gets back here.  We continue to mourn the passing of Willie McComb.

Item three.  I went to my first High School Rodeo in Childress, Texas on Saturday.  Cody and Stacey Custer’s son Aaron was doing a number of events, along with Pastor Daryle and Carrie’s son Nate, so I went along with the Custers to see what it was all about.  For those of you who have no reference point, think track meet or soccer tournament or some other gathering where there are lots of young people and parents waiting around to watch their kids for a few seconds, only this deal has animals!  It was really quite impressive and well done and the kids did great.

It is hard to imagine, for those of us who are from the Northwest, but they take a break about half way through the rodeo and have a little church service!  Really, honest, at a high school rodeo!  The kids on their horses all circle up, the parents gather in the stands and someone does a sermon and prays.  The young people were quiet and respectful, even though they couldn’t hear very well, which in my opinion was a good thing, as the message was just short of horrible.  The first words out of the local preacher’s mouth were: “Let’s go to the word.  Every time I get into the Word I feel guilty and so let me share some of the Word with you.”  No doubt the man meant well and it was a hard gig for sure, but never once did he turn around and talk to these students.  He just talked to the parents.  What a wasted opportunity.  Here are 40-50 young people willing to at least listen and he doesn’t even engage them.  I kept wanting to tell him to climb up on the fence and look at the students and just tell them their “Father loves them” that He loves them even if they get bucked off, knock over a barrel, or throw their rope too far or short.  I so wanted him to engage these young people with the truth of their Father’s unconditional love.

A unique opportunity-wasted.  The rodeo was good, though.

Only three items in the meanderings this Monday morning.  Thanks for dropping by.

April 14, 2008 at 10:30 am 1 comment

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