Seed Of Faith


Weekly Seed of Faith 11/7/2017


Dear Faithful Seed Sower!

I hope and pray that you are all doing well.  Praying that the Lord will bless you and keep you enfolded in His unfailing love. I have just returned from visiting my GRAND sons in Waco, TX, celebrating my step-mom --- Sue's special birthday in Rochelle, IL and putting on the first Southern California CREDO recovery weekend right here in Pomona, CA.  I was able to watch my grandsons compete in football games, and spend time with my Dad in Rochelle.  The Lord has put CREDO on my heart for five years.  I've flown to both Chicago and New York (several times) to work Credos there. It wasn't long before the Lord spoke to my heart, "I want CREDO in Southern California."  Many seeds were planted during my trips out east, many prayers were prayed and this past weekend CREDO hosted the first Southern California Credo Recovery weekend!  Twenty-seven men served on team and five guests attended. Twelve men flew in from Washington, Illinois and Florida. Many others came from SOCAL and helped out.  I've been blessed to be a part of the start-up of five different types of grace weekends. I suppose God has gifted me with His vision of planning and implementing His will. God also called me to start a church, too.  Hmmm.  One question burns in my mind:  when will I be too old to do this?  HAHA.  I'm 63! 

I've been away from my computer for 16 days but who's counting?  (Jac is!)  All I can tell you is this:  it's good to be "home," to sleep in my own bed and to have morning coffee (at 5:30 am) with my wife before she heads out the door. I'm also in my last month of the heavy metal detox and I'm feeling better!  I will re-test in mid-December and I am hoping for a level reading of 2 or less.  Keep those prayers coming.  Thank you.

Let's get on with THE SEED OF FAITH!  It's time to look at the Gospel of Luke.  We've worked our way up to Chapter 13.  Jesus is telling parables.  Let's take a look at the parable of the mustard seed.  The parable of the mustard seed is a very familiar parable. Have you heard of it? What does it mean to you? Let's set this story into the context of the passage and into the time of Christ. 

The mustard seed is not really the smallest of seeds, but it is one of the smallest seeds that were common in Palestine. During the time of Christ, the mustard seed was commonly used to describe something that was very small or tiny. 

When Jesus was performing miracle after miracle, large crowds started to follow him. The blind were given sight, the deaf could hear, the lame could walk, the lepers were healed and the dead were raised. Wherever Jesus went, there was excitement in the air. The crowds were attracted to this man, Jesus, who was preaching, teaching and healing all who were brought to him. Because of all of this excitement, Jesus started to have confrontations with the religious leaders. His messages became more and more difficult to hear and follow. “If you want to follow me, put your hand to the plow and don’t look back.” “If you want to follow me, come and follow me and let the dead bury the dead.” “If you want to follow me, deny yourself and pick up your own cross.” “If you want to be great, become a servant of all.” “If you want to follow me, go and sell everything you have and follow me.” “If you want to be like me, wash each other’s feet.” These teachings were not easy to understand and  were even more difficult to follow. Little by little, people left and the crowds started to thin out. The miracles were not enough to keep them coming. The Pharisees, Scribes and the teachers of the law were becoming more and more hostile to Jesus and His followers. 

Jesus now began to teach in parables.  A parable is a simple story that illustrates a moral or spiritual lesson. Jesus is telling the people that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who goes out to sow his seed, and the Kingdom of Heaven is like the field with weeds growing in the wheat.

In today's SEED OF FAITH we hear about the Kingdom of Heaven being compared to the mustard seed. A small seed, indeed, but that seed grows into a tree that the birds of the air can nest in. The crowds were familiar with this illustration. They would have known the stories told in Daniel and Ezekiel about the majestic tree. These stories were told repeatedly. I'm sure they expected the "tree of God" to be a cedar or a pine or some other great, big, strong tree that would signify the Kingdom of God. These people were not thinking about a tiny, mustard seed!

Parables (moral and spiritual illustrations) of good soil… bad soil…good wheat… bad weeds. Why was Jesus teaching about the tiny, mustard seed?

Jesus was teaching two simple points:
1.  From Small Beginnings Come Great Results
2.  With Faith Comes Fullness

This week, we will look at the first point:  FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS COME GREAT RESULTS. 
Jesus used the idea of a mustard seed to show his followers that even though they were a small group, they would grow and grow and grow to become one of the largest trees in the garden. Jesus wanted to encourage them to hang on! Jesus wanted them to see that they didn’t have anything to fear! Jesus wanted to give them hope! 

Are you to the point of hanging it all up and giving in? Have you been thinking about throwing in the towel lately? Do you have fear of the future, fear of failure, fear of broken relationships, fear of finances, fear of health, fear of terrorism, or even fear of hurricanes or other weather causes that have caused you to lose hope?  Are you finding it hard to hope in a world that has seemingly gone mad?  This message is for you.

I am a history buff. I like to read history books and watch the history channel. When I think of small beginnings that give hreat results, I think of those 101 people who departed from England on December 11, 1620, on a tiny ship called The Mayflower. Think of it, that little ship and that small group of people did more to change the world than many of the other fancy voyages of other great ships. Have you ever thought that from this small band of a 101 people our great nation got its start?

When I think of small beginnings, I think of one lone person by the name of Rosa Parks who refused to sit in the back of the bus. I think of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his small band of followers who have begun to change the United States. In the business world, I think of Bill Gates and Michael Dell who took 
their dreams and ideas about computers and have totally changed the world.  While pastoring in Texas—home of Dell Computers--I was told that Michael Dell was kicked out of the University of Texas for being a dreamer. He started his computer company in a friend’s garage.

When it comes to faith and thinking of small beginning and great results, I think of Christ’s call to the disciples. Jesus called twelve men to follow Him. When Jesus was arrested and crucified, those 12 disciples fled the scene and deserted him. But after His resurrection, they came back and were filled with hope. After Jesus' ascension into heaven, we are told that 120 scared, frightened and hopeful followers gathered in the Upper Room and waited. On the day of Pentecost, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  We are told that Peter preached his first sermon and 3,000 people joined the church!  (Acts 2:41)  Two chapters later, in Acts 4, we read how Peter and John went before the Sanhedrin.  “But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.” (verse 4) 

This little mustard seed of faith, called the Christian church, began with 12 men, lost one, replaced one and grew to 120. On the day of Pentecost 3,000 were added and shortly after that 5,000 more were added. From these 8,000 followers, there are now 2.1 billion Christians worldwide!

So What?  Here's what I'm thinking, especially after writing my intro for today's SEED OF FAITH.  What if Peter was 63 years old and what if he thought the same thing I did?  What if Peter said, "Lord, you know I'm 63 and I'm kind of old and kind of tired.  I don't hear very well and I don't see so well, either."  And then, SHA BAM...Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit and goes out to preach his first message and 3,000 men hear and answer his call to "follow Jesus."  A few days later, the tag team of Peter and John add another 5,000 to the group. 

So I'm all excited about studying Luke 13.  I'm thinking about this tiny mustard seed and then I hear this: "Put this into your small, tiny, mustard-seed brain, Dave:  I'm not looking for your ABILITY, I'm looking for your AVAILABILITY."

I don't know how old Peter was.  I don't think it matters.  God wasn't asking for Peter's ability.  God was asking for his availability. 

This is the SO WHAT? question for you and for me.  Are we available for God's use?  Are we available to be used as the hands and feet of Jesus?

This whole church thing isn't about your ABILITY.  It's about your availability.  The 101 passengers on the Mayflower had no clue as to what laid ahead for them.  They were just available--board the ship and sail. Rosa Parks wasn't out to start a movement that day.  She wasn't thinking about her ability, she was simply available to God's call on her heart.  Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn't thinking, "I'm going to start this civil rights movement and become a hero."  He saw a need and said, "God, I'm available."  Bill Gates, Michael Dell, the list of people goes on and on--they were available and ready to be used.

Are you?

Peter and John were huddled together in fear after the crucifixion.  They were afraid to go out.  They were afraid to be seen.  Jesus came to them and said, "PEACE."  The Holy Spirit filled them.  The next thing we read is that they went out and preached. And many were saved and added to the church family. 

I'm fully convinced that the best way for us to fill our churches is for us to simply tell our neighbors, co-workers, friends and family, "I really love my church."  Leave a card with the name and time of your church's services.  Write on it, "JOIN ME. I'll be waiting for you."

Times are hard.  People are becoming more hopeless as the days go by. I know that you are only one person.  Trust me, I get that.  But in the past 63 years, God has called me to help start many things.  I wasn't sitting around saying, "Man, am I one heck of a planner."  I didn't offer God my ABILITY, I simply offered God my availability.  "God, I carry your people in my heart.  I will do whatever you ask of me.  I'm available.  Use me."  All these years later, I'm shocked that God took me up on that simple prayer. 

I'm praying for you.  When I was called to be the leader of Via de Cristo in Iowa in 1990, only five men made the weekend while a team of 30 worked the weekend.  As I prayed way back then, "God--all this work for five men?"  I heard, "Give me ten years."  All five of those men have gone into full-time ministry.  All five of those men are pastors. Think of the many people these men have witnessed to.  Think of the lives that have been changed.

God is the one who takes our small, tiny seeds...and multiplies them into tall, strong trees.  Maybe you have one person that you are supposed to invite to church.  Maybe you have one person that you are supposed to call, or bring a meal to.  Maybe you have one person that you are supposed to help out financially.  Pray about it.  Ask God to give you peace and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Then go do that one thing.  The mustard seed is yours...the tall, strong tree that the birds nest in--that's God's...from the smallest of beginnings, great things happen.

Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
God loves you with an unfailing love and so do I,
Pastor Dave


Weekly Seed of Faith 10/23/17

Seed of Faith --- Don't Hold Back


"You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”  Luke 12:40

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers!

We have been working our way through the Gospel of Dr. Luke.  Today we turn to Luke 12:35-48.  Our reading is a good warning for us to be prepared and also to not hold back.

Did you hear about two Northwest Airline pilots that overshot their destination? The FAA revoked the licenses of the two Northwest Airlines pilots after their airplane flew for 91 minutes out of contact with the ground and overshot their destination city by 150 miles. The revocation took place because of recklessness caused by “inattention.”  Airline pilots must direct their aircraft safely from Point A to Point B. However, these pilots had their personal laptops on in the cockpit and were researching job conditions and scheduling rules brought about by Northwest’s recent purchase by Delta Airlines. They wanted to know how their job situations would be changing. While that is understandable, that was not their assigned task. They took their eye off their primary responsibility and, instead, gave their attention to something of lesser importance. Keeping the most important thing a priority is important for everyone, not just airline pilots.[i]
Have you ever missed your destination? 

Today’s reading teaches us to be ready.  Jesus gave us two stories to illustrate this point.  The first story is about a wedding. In the times of Jesus, a wedding would last four or five days. Jesus told the disciples about the master who came back from the wedding, and the servants needed to be dressed and ready.  The servants needed to keep their lamps burning. The servants needed to keep awake even if it is the second or third watch of the night.  Jesus was telling His disciples to be ready--no matter the time, date, hour or minute.  Always be prepared.
Jesus now turns the tables upside down when he says that the master will take off his robe and start serving the servants. “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.” Luke 12:37  What wonderful words of blessing and hope.  Jesus, the Master, is serving us—His disciples.  This picture is vividly demonstrated on the night that Jesus was betrayed.  In John 13 Jesus gets up from the table in the Upper Room and takes off His outer garment and washes the disciple’s feet. Jesus serves the servants!  In Revelation 3:20 we read, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”  What a blessed Hope!  What a living hope! Jesus will come and knock on the door, all we need to do is to be ready and Jesus will come in and eat with us!!!
The second story that Jesus used to bring His point home was the story of the thief in the night.  The owner of the house does not know the day or time when the thief will come.  If the owner knew when the thief would come, of course, he would be ready.  The problem is that we don't when the thief will show up.
There was a Scottish preacher of the last century by the name of Robert Murray McCheyne of Dundee.  McCheyne exercised much influence during his brief twenty-nine years as a pastor.  When McCheyne spoke to other pastors, he would ask, “Do you think the Lord is coming tonight?” The preachers would quietly respond, “No.” Then McCheyne would counter with a quote from our text, “The Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Luke 12:40
 What Jesus is teaching us through these two stories is that His return is a sure thing! The sad truth is that many will miss Him!  He will return like a thief in the night or a master coming home from the wedding feast only to find that the servants are not dressed and the lamps are not lit.  I am afraid that the world will not be prepared! The networks will not be prepared, the world leaders will not be prepared, the false religions will not be prepared, and some in the church will not be prepared. Are you ready?

The faithful will be ready because they see the signs of the times.  I once heard a great explanation of term term "last days."  The brilliant theologian replied, "The last days are now.  Any day since Christ's ascension into heaven can now be called the last days!"  The point is that we need to be ready.  Our lamps should be lit and our back-up fuel is ready.  Can you imagine your wife, or husband, your mom or dad, your son or daughter, or your neighbor bursting through your door saying, "He's here!"? Like the song says, "People, get ready, there's train a comin'."
The "so what" for today is that we need to be prepared.  We need to be dressed and our lamps need to lit.  We need have our house ready, no matter when Jesus comes.  When Jac was a young wife and mother, she had a wise friend who taught her a valuable lesson.  Before this friend ever left her home, she picked it up: the laundry, the dishes, the toys on the floor, the boots and shoes.  I'm not saying she cleaned it all, I'm saying she picked it up off of the floor and stuffed it into boxes or baskets.  Whenever Jac stopped by her home to give her friend a ride to bible study, that friend's home was always picked up.  Early on in their friendship, the friend told Jac, "It makes such a difference when I walk back in here!"  Jac loved that idea.  If she just tossed the shoes in the corner, ran the dishes to the sink, and found a big enough box for all the toys, she could accomplish this.  It's always reminded me of this bible story of being ready.  I remember going to sit in the car to entertain the kids while Jac tossed everything into the toy box.  We both liked the feeling of walking back into a home that "looked ready!"  Have your lamp ready, the extra fuel in a place where you can find it.    
Jesus closes this teaching time with a proverb, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) 
We have been given much.  We have been given so much. We have been given the Old Testament, which gives us the Law, the Prophets and the Wisdom writings.  We have been given the New Testament, the announcement of the first coming of Christ, called the Incarnation.  The New Testament has also given us the gospel of grace, the life and teachings of Jesus, the apostolic witness and promise of the Second Coming of Christ, our blessed hope. We have over 2,000 years of the church’s history and testimony. Just think of all the wonderful teaching and preaching that's happened throughout the past 2,000 years. Augustine, Calvin, Edwards, Spurgeon, Lewis, Graham and on and on it goes.  At The Seed, we have wonderful Christian education for the young folks: Seed Nursery, big and little Jesus Class, and the Youth group. For the big folks, we have BOB, BOSSY and GET A LIFE Bible study groups. We have thousands of books. We have a wealth of opportunities.  Every week, I prepare for my Sunday message.  No, I don't go online and pick one off the Message Tree.  I sweat and pray, and pray and sweat.  I study and I study and I study some more.  I read and read and read some more.  Then I sit down and ask the Lord to put together all that I've put IN me...and help me to get it OUT of me and onto a manuscript that I can preach from.  I will tell you that every Sunday I preach what the Lord has given me and, most Sundays, I tell Jac, "I don't think I made any sense today."  But what a hope we have been given:  Our Lord is coming back for us!
We have been given much!!! Therefore, much is required.  Don’t Hold Back!!!
The Northwest pilots missed their destination because they were too worried about the Delta takeover.
Jac and I have been talking a lot, especially because I’m a little tired these days.  Jac was sharing with me how the Holy Spirit has been showing her that all of the stories in the Bible aren’t just stories from a long time ago.  Stories about:  God creating, Noah arking, Daniel in the lion’s den, David facing Goliath, Moses floating in a basket, Jesus healing the lame, Jesus giving sight to the blind, Jesus helping the deaf hear, the mute speak, the dead come to life.  I asked her what she meant.  She said, “Don’t you see, Dave?  They aren't just from thousands of years ago.  They are for me today.  When I need creating, God creates in me.  When it’s pouring down rain for days on end and it’s dark and messy—God provides an ark for me.  When I’m in a cage with hungry lions—God shuts their mouths.  When Goliath mocks and threatens me—Jesus hands me a slingshot and five rocks.  When I’m helpless, God floats me in a basket on a river and I’m found and placed in His heavenly kingdom. Don’t you see that when I’m the one who is blind, or deaf, or mute, or lame—Jesus touches me and I’m healed—scales fall off my blind eyes like they did off Saul’s?  Don’t you see when I’m dead, when life has kicked the bleep out of me…Jesus raises me back to life?  Oh, don’t you see that these aren’t just old stories…about some old-timers I’ve never met?  These are stories about me and how God is set to change my life.”  I think I want to add on to that:  God is going to help us hear the urgency in today’s message to BE READY AT ALL TIMES.  Your "So what?" for this week is to be ready, to get ready.  Pray about it.  Ask God what it is that you can do to get better prepared for His return.  If Jesus showed up where you are right now, are you ready?   
I hope we don’t miss the Second Coming because we are too busy, preoccupied, distracted, not listening or sleeping.  
Our Scripture tells us to roll up our sleeves, be dressed and ready because when we all least expect it…Jesus is COMING BACK…for the second and final time.  There's no dress rehearsal on this one.  So let's get ready...I hear there's a train a comin!

Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave


[i] Wilson, J. L., & Russell, R. (2015). Ignoring Their Responsibility to Fly the Plane. In E. Ritzema (Ed.), 300 Illustrations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Weekly Seed of Faith 10/6/2017


Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.  Luke 12:15

We have been working our way through the Gospel of Luke during our Seeds of Faith weekly devotional.  Did I say weekly?  I apologize for not writing each week.  This second round of chelation is pretty intense.  The pain is 8/10 which, for me, is pretty high.  I usually have a very high pain tolerance but this last round of the chelation drugs have put into a pain category I had only heard of before.  The drug pulls the lead out of my bones randomly.  One day the intense pain is centered in my foot, then my wrist and another day it's my jaw and my ribcage.  The pain is like a really bad toothache or it's like when the Novocain wears off and the dentist hits a nerve and you want to jump out of the chair.  I just finished my fifth and final round of the chelation drugs!  I've also just passed the 11 day mark of feeling awful after the drugs.  This next month I will experience more of the lead being pulled from my bones and Jac assures me that by November, I will begin to feel good again.  Let's hope she's right.  I've never been one to go to bed early but I've had a constant migraine for the last ten weeks and it finally just beat me down to where I've surrendered and gone to bed.  So, THANK YOU for your prayers and for understanding why I may have missed a few SEEDS here and there!

Do you know that “Gospel” means “Good News”?  For the past few weeks,  these messages have been anything but Good News--especially for the Pharisees, and scribes.  Good thing none of us here have anything in common with those people! A few weeks ago, we heard the need for us to be on our guard against the yeast of the Pharisees.  Looking up the words in the Greek tells us that the yeast of the Pharisees is called hypocrisy—or play acting.  Play-acting is when you look good on the outside but your inside is disgusting.  Yes, good thing we have nothing in common with those Pharisees and scribes!
Today’s message is another zinger. Jesus gives us a parable and calls us to stay on our guard against all kinds of greed.
Do you know that Jesus talked a great deal about money and the problems that money causes?  Do you know that one-fifth of all Jesus had to say was about money?  One-fifth --- 20%-- that is a lot.  If Jesus were the pastor of this church, ten out of the fifty-two Sundays of the year, we would hear messages about money --- it’s uses and abuses.  Take a moment and read Luke 12:13-21 --- I think Jesus’ message will literally hit home right between our eyes.  Get ready, it's a Zinger.
Jesus has been teaching the disciples about the yeast of Pharisees--which is hypocrisy.  Now a man interrupts Him.  “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Inheritance!  Have you ever been concerned about your inheritance?  Have you ever been concerned about the inheritance that you will leave to your children and to your children’s children?  This unnamed man was concerned with his inheritance.
The past few weeks I have had done several memorial services and have reflected on the loss of close friends and family. I thought of the passage for today.  I thought about the inheritance of the rich farmer.   Proverbs 13:22 states these powerful words, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” Proverbs 13:22
Today we are going to look at Luke 12:13. Jesus is interrupted by an unnamed man and gives the man a powerful warning in verse 15.  Listen again to Jesus’ words,  “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
The Greek for “watch out” is a present active imperative verb, a command to “watch out, be careful, be prudent, take notice, pay attention, concern yourself with, and learn about” and  the action of being on our guard is to be continuous.  Jesus warns us to continually watch out, pay attention, take notice.  I remember hearing my mom say, “Look both ways before crossing the street.”  That is exactly what Jesus is saying here!  Watch out! Look both ways! And do it continuously.    
In verse 15, Jesus now puts two imperative verbs together.  The first is “watch out” and the second is the same word that Jesus gave His disciples, “be on your guard.”  This is exactly what Jesus told His disciples last week, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”  (Luke 12:1) Now Jesus is back at it saying, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Do you hear what Jesus is saying?  Watch out, look both ways, be on your guard against GREED.  What is greed anyway?  Webster defines it as“an intense and selfish desire to have more of something.” Maybe this is why 1/5 or 20% of Jesus’ teaching was about money.  Money in and of itself is neither good nor bad.  It’s the LOVE OF MONEY that makes money a bad thing.  Later in this chapter, Jesus will say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Luke 12:34
I want us to hear what Jesus is really saying:  Money is neither evil or good.  Money is neutral.  It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Paul wrote to Timothy about money, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (I Timothy 6:10)
The warning about money is for us to watch out and be on our guard regarding our possessions and our money.
Jesus follows this warning with a parable to illustrate the folly of seeking fulfillment in riches.  The illustration is called “The Parable of the Rich Fool.”   The rich farmer has an abundance of crops. He has so much that instead of sharing and giving his abundance away, he decides he needs to build more and bigger barns in order to store up his abundance.
Can you see the false sense of security of the rich fool? Because of his financial success, he fell prey to foolish reasoning. Listen again to verses seventeen through nineteen; “He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”  
Building new and bigger barns is logical and even prudent. It sounded like a good idea to this farmer. But the danger of the rich fool is what was missing. There was no thought of sharing, no thought of stewardship. There was no thought for the poor, the sick, the naked, or those in prison. In these two verses, the personal pronoun “my” occurs four times and “I” occurs eight times. Twelve times in just a few verses.  The rich and foolish farmer was completely self-absorbed. That is why he reached the fateful conclusion, “And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’ Luke 12:19
Jesus called this rich man a fool.  “Afron” in Greek refers to someone that is mindless, lacking sense, ignorant and destitute of knowledge and truth.  The rich fool had forgotten God!  He had no sense, and he did not know knowledge or truth.  The Bible teaches us that to leave God out of our plans is the height of folly.   The rich fool was more concerned with his unholy trinity--- me, myself and I--instead of the Holy Trinity-- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
The warning is for us to watch out and be on our guard against the love of money, and the love of our possessions.

You all know that I just started my second series of chelation for lead poisoning.  I have too much lead in my body and I would gladly share it!  On a serious note, this lesson in Luke really hit home.  I could have died from all that lead.  As a pastor, I’ve watched what happens to families when the father or mother in a family passes away.  Sometimes it’s all good.  But sometimes it’s sad to witness.  This chapter got me thinking about what I want to leave my family as my legacy. 
That’s your “so what?” for the week.  Think about your life.  Think about all the things you are storing up.  Think about how you want others to remember you.  I’m pretty sure that the one who dies with the most toys isn’t the winner, after all.
Your homework for the week is to ask yourself these questions:
Do I love people or possessions?
Do I love God or do I love someone or something else more than God?
If God were to ask me to share something that I deeply love, would I?
This is what Jesus is trying to teach us in this parable.  We could spend our entire lives storing up our zillion possessions…and just when we think it’s time to eat, drink and be merry—we could get called home. 
The love of money is the root of all evil.  That’s why Jesus spends ten Sundays a year preaching about money! 

Watch both ways going home today…life is short…we never know when the Lord will call us home.  I pray we’re ready…and I pray we share our abundance with others. 
I told you it was a hard message…but with Christ’s love and grace—we can do this!

I heard a man on the radio recently who said, "God isn't going to multiply what you have stored up in your barns, God is going to multiply what you share."  

With so much tragedy in the world today, why not find a good cause and make a donation?  It will be one less thing you have to keep track of and store.

Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave


Weekly Seed of Faith 9/22/17


Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples saying, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy."  Luke 12:1

Dear Seed Sowers:
Thank you, thank you!  I want to thank each one of you for your notes, texts, cards and especially your payers for me for I know that I could not walk through this chelation process without you.  May God bless you and keep you in His unfailing love.  (Unfailing is my word for the year.  Even during this five year season of boils and blisters, rashes and reduced energy, God has provided me with unfailing grace, mercy and love.)
In today's SEED OF FAITH, we turn our attention to Jesus’ words in Luke twelve!  While Jesus has their attention, he tells them, “Be on your Guard!” προσέχω (prosechō) ἑαυτοῦ (heautou) This is one of those imperative-active verbs that commands the disciples to continually be on their guard and to never stop being on their guard.  “Guard” is translated “to pay attention to, to be alert, to carefully consider, to be on the lookout for, to hold to, to give heed to.”  Jesus is commanding us to constantly pay attention, constantly be alert, constantly consider, constantly be on the lookout!  
What is Jesus asking the disciples to be on their guard about?   "Be on your guard against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees." The Greek word for ‘hypocrisy” means “play actor.”  Wow.  Be on your guard against play actors. 
In the closing of Luke 11, Jesus listed 3 woes for the Pharisees and 3 woes for the scribes. Now he’s talking to the people, “Be on your guard against the hypocrisy --- the play-acting of the Pharisees.  This hypocrisy is like yeast, it will keep rising and rising until it ruins everything.” What is this yeast of the Pharisees that Jesus was referring to?  I think it's this:  The Pharisees had added 6,000 laws to God’s ten commandments.  
Next, Jesus gives a few warnings! “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known" and "What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” (Luke 12:2-3)
Talk about a frightening set of verses.
When things go wrong, I tell myself that the truth will always stand.  The things in the darkness will be brought to light.  Lies won’t stand but the truth will stand. 
After I became a Christian, this passage in Luke convicted me.  I found myself talking negatively about a family member.  The Lord spoke to my heart, “Whatever is spoken or whispered in the inner rooms of your house, will be shouted from the rooftops.”  Talk about a frightening thought.  I told myself then and there that if I had something to say, it would be worth saying to everyone.  If you are guilty of talking behind other people’s backs—pay attention here.  The Holy Spirit will always try to convict us to speak words of life and not death.  I always say that when I point my finger at someone, there’s one finger pointing to them but there are three fingers pointing back to me.  You already know what I’m going to say, "One for the Father, one for the Son and one for the Holy Spirit!"  The saying you heard as a child is true,  “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”   
I know a woman who did an entire word study on “fearing” God.  This woman was a very fearful person—she was afraid of her own shadow.  When I asked her what she had learned about fearing God, she gave me the short version of her study.  "Fear has to do with loving what God loves and hating what God hates."  Jesus is saying here in these verses that we should not fear man…man cannot send us to an eternal destination of fire.  God can.  It’s a smart person who loves what God loves…and hates what God hates.  God loves goodness and God hates evil.  I've watched this woman grow in her faith throughout the many years we've been married. No longer would I describe my wife as someone who is afraid of her own shadow.  She has learned the value of fearing God, of loving what God loves and hating what God hates.  

We will continue our study in Luke 12 next week.  Your homework (or "So What?") for this week is really simple.  Am I on my guard?  Am I a play actor or am the real deal?  Do I love what God loves?  Do I hate what God hates?  (If that's too strong of language for you, use "dislike".)

Jesus is teaching us in this section of Luke that God sees through our outer shells.  God sees through who we are on the outside, who we present to the world and God looks through all of that and into our hearts. Is your heart on guard against the yeast of Pharisees?  Are you the real deal or are you a fake, an imposter-wanna-be?  Do you love what God loves?  If you are doing something that God dislikes, are you willing to have an honest "come to Jesus" moment where you repent and turn to the good?

Years ago, God revealed to my heart that I belonged to an organization that had a lot of yeast of the Pharisees in it. I struggled for years with the right decision.  I had many arguments of why I needed to belong to this group. Yet, year after year, the Holy Spirit gave me this verse.  "Be on your guard."  Just as my wife did a study on fearing God, I did a study on being on my guard:  pay attention to, be alert, carefully consider, be on the lookout for, hold to, give heed to.  There came a time when push came to shove. I could no long color-code or deny my white-washed tomb. I paid attention, I was alert, I carefully considered the ramifications of my decisions, I was on the look out, and I gave heed to the truth and held onto the truth for dear life.  This much I know, when I see Jesus after I leave my earthly tent, I think He will high-give me and say, "You guarded your life, Dave.  Well done."  Doing the right thing is not always easy, it's not always profitable but it's always right. 

My advice to you is for you to guard your life.  It's really all you possess anyway.  I'm praying for you as you do your homework for the week.  

In closing, I began my last two-week cycle of chelation this morning.  In two more SEEDS OF FAITH, I will have ten cycles of chelation (20 weeks' worth) under my belt for the year. I will still be "pulling" lead out from my bones for the month of October.  Testing will be done in November!  My prayer is that by the holidays, I will be lead free.  Can I get an AMEN on that?       

Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave

weekly Seed of Faith 9/7/2017


                                                           “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Luke 12:25

Dear Friends and Family:
I hope and pray that you are doing well and walking in the grace and light of Christ.  I am sorry I haven’t written in two weeks.  This last round of chelation has been hard on me.  I have been working slowly and trying to get the little things done each day.  It's like I have "so much" energy to burn and when I burn it--it's gone!
The good news is that I just started round 4 and, in two more weeks, I'll start the last cycle.  By the end of October I should be done with the medication-part of chelation.  The months of October and November are months to let the drugs attach to the lead in my bones and then wait while I detox.  By Thanksgiving, I should be able to be tested again--which means a day of the drugs and a day or two of the fallout.  I should have the GOOD NEWS that I'm healed from the lead accumulation by Christmas or the New Year!  Which brought me to today's SEED OF FAITH.  

 Today we turn to a wonderful passage in the Gospel of Luke.  Who worries?  Just the recent events in our world have brought up the "worry factor":  Hurricane Harvey, and Irma and the 8.0 earthquake in Mexico.  Plus, just the stress of life burdens us with worry.
What is worry? What is the solution for worry?

The English word “worry” comes from the old German word “to strangle or choke.”  That is exactly what worry does, isn’t it?  Worry strangles our lives, it chokes the life out of us.  Listen to how Merriam-Webster defines the verb “worry”: 

1    dialect British: choke, strangle
2    a: to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat
      b: to shake or pull at with the teeth 〈a terrier worrying a rat〉
      c: to touch or disturb something repeatedly
      d: to change the position of or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling
3    a: to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment: torment
      b: to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort
4:   to afflict with mental distress or agitation: make anxious[i]

Isn't that quite a definition?

I read an interesting quote in one of my commentaries the other day about worry.  “Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.”[ii] 

Have you been to the Grand Canyon?  That one little river cut through and grooved out the GRAND CANYON.  The next time you are prone to worry, think about that!

The Greek word that Jesus used for worry is “μεριμνάω" [merimnao /mer·im·nah·o/], and it comes from the root word that means “to be drawn into two different directions.”  Worry draws us in two different directions.  Worry chokes and strangles.  Worry harasses us, pulls at us, assails us, nags us, and afflicts us with mental anguish.  Worry is that thin stream of fear that drains our minds of all other positive thoughts.   

So Who Here Worries?

There was an interesting statistic that came from the Bureau of Standards.  They discovered that when a dense fog covers a seven-block section of a city, the actual amount of water contained in the fog would be less than a glass of a water. If all seven city blocks of fog were condensed into water, it wouldn't quite fill a drinking glass.  Think of that for a moment.  A few gallons of water could cripple an entire city.  (This makes me think of the trillions of gallons of water that Hurricane Harvey just dumped into southeast Texas and Louisiana.)

This statistic also reminded me a vacation that we took as a family so long ago.  One summer, our family drove around the east coast of Lake Michigan in Northern Michigan.  We decided it would be a great experience to take the ferry across Lake Michigan so we could tour Door County in Northern Wisconsin. Not long after we boarded the ferry, a fog set in that was so dense you could not see five feet in front of you.  The captain of the ship came on the intercom and explained that the fog horn would be sounding every five minutes.  Every five minutes for the next two hours that fog horn bellowed in the darkness!  Fog so dense you literally could not see a thing.  What a terrifying feeling. Compare this to the things that we worry about. Like the dense fog, our worries can block our vision.  

Worry pulls us in two different directions, worry chokes and strangles, worry makes us feel anxious.  Worry is a deep, dark cloud of fog that envelopes our mind, our emotions, and our lives—leaving within us a well-worn out and deeply grooved "Grand Canyon of anxiety, doubt, and fear."
A good teacher knows that repetition is the way to bring the teaching point home.  Jesus is our good teacher!  In these verses, Jesus talks about worry four times.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.” Luke 12:21
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"  Luke 12:25
“Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:26
 “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.” Luke 12:29

Jesus also spoke the words “You of little faith” several times to His disciples.  Once, when the storm was so strong on the lake, and Jesus was asleep in the boat, the disciples were afraid.  They woke Jesus up! Jesus replied to them, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26   The next time was when Peter started to sink as he tried to walk on water.  Peter took his eyes off Jesus.  We are told by Matthew that “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith,” Jesus said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31 The third time was when the disciples were worried about not having bread to eat.  Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?” Matthew 16:8  We are in good company when we hear these words --- “you of little faith.”  I find it pretty amazing that when Jesus spoke these words, they were spoken to those who believed in Him, who already had faith.  Jesus wanted their faith to be stronger.  Jesus didn’t want His disciples to worry about what "would of, could of  or should of" happened.  "YOU OF LITTLE FAITH: DO NOT WORRY."  (That's my translation.)

I read a story about Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln was on his way to Washington to be inaugurated, he spent some time in New York with Horace Greeley and told him an anecdote that was meant to be the answer to the question everybody was asking him: "Are we really going to have a civil war?" In his circuit-riding days Lincoln and his companion had been riding to the next Session of court.  They had crossed many swollen rivers on this one particular journey, but the formidable Fox River was still ahead of them. They said one to another, “If these streams give us so much trouble, how shall we get over the Fox River?” When darkness fell, they stopped for the night at a log tavern where they fell in with the Methodist presiding elder of the district who rode through the country in all kinds of weather and knew all about the Fox River. They gathered about him and asked him about the present state of the river. “Oh, yes,” replied the circuit rider, “I know all about the Fox River. I have crossed it often and understand it well. But I have one fixed rule with regards to the Fox River—I never cross it till I reach it.”[iii]

What’s the solution for worry?  What’s the opposite emotion of worry? Let’s go straight to the text.   Jesus says, “O you of little faith.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” Luke 12:31-32

The solution for the worry that plagues us is faith.  How often do we cross our proverbial Fox River before we ever reach it?  The trick for us is to trade worry for faith.  Once we reach the Fox River, then we will deal with how to cross it.  We waste so much time when the Fox River takes over our focus from the distance.

So What?
How do we gain more faith?  How do we seek the kingdom of God first and his righteousness?
Here’s your homework lesson for this week:  take a blank piece of paper and write at the top of one side, “WORRY.”  Under “worry” write all the things that you worry about.  On the other side of the paper write, “FAITH!”   When Jac and I made the decision for me to go to seminary, we had it all planned it all out.  I would work for the family business until Labor Day weekend when seminary started.  I got fired in June.  There went all of our best laid plans!  I was worried!  How would I make our house payment?  How would I pay for food?  How would I pay our bills?  No job equaled no insurance.  What if one of the five us got sick?  Friends, it was praying time in the Peters house! 

Seriously, Jac and I were sick with worry.  Worry is like sitting in a rocking chair.  You go nowhere…just back and forth over the same two feet—forwards a foot, backwards a foot.  After a few days of being worried, I felt like the Lord asked me to get out a piece of blank paper.  At the top of the paper, I wrote:  “DEAR GOD:” At the bottom of the paper, I wrote:  “Thank you for filling in this blank page of our lives.”  Jac and I signed it.  I put that paper on the wall in my commuter seminary room—three hours away from home.  I laid hands on that piece of paper and prayed when things didn't make sense, and I laid hands on that piece of paper and praised God for the days things did make sense.  Curiously, my tiny mustard seed of faith began to take root and grow and my worry began to diminish.

God had a plan.  Our community came together.  People started dropping bags of food off at our doorstop…and because it was a small town—they knew where we hid our key.  People came in and filled our cupboards and frig and freezer.  We received bills in the mail—but they were marked, PAID.  We didn’t pay them, someone else had paid our electricity, our gas, our water, our trash and even our property taxes. 

Paul wrote to the church in Philippi these words of encouragement: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

Jac loved this verse and she started writing on index cards every single one of our needs.  Then she would place it face down on the stove vent.  As we would walk by the index card, we’d say, “I’m not going to worry about how you are going to pay this bill.  I am letting my requests be made known to you, God.  Keep us focused on the big picture.  And THANK YOU.”  Soon Jac began keeping track of every donation.  She started with a tiny, little basket.  We ended up with a huge laundry basket!  Do you know that over our three years of seminary, we received about $20,000 in donations each year?  Between Jac's three jobs and mine, our income was a whopping $21,000—but with all of those donations—we made it. For three years, Jac and I felt like Jimmy Stewart at the end of “It’s A Wonderful Life”!  God had grown our faith from a tiny basket of faith into a huge, laundry-sized basket of faith!

Here is your assignment: take one sheet of blank paper, on one side write: WORRY and on the other side write: FAITH.  Under WORRY write down all the things you are worrying about.  On the other side write down Philippians 4:4-7.  PRINT IT OUT. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

The Grand Canyon of Worry wants to choke the life out of us.  Worry also releases neuropeptides which make us sick—body, mind, and spirit.  O YOU OF LITTLE FAITH, DO NOT WORRY! 

Remember the prescription for worry?  FAITH !  Here are a few acrostics:
Forwarding              Full                              Forsaking                    Forwarding                 Full
All                            Assurance                    All                               All                            Assurance
Issues                        It will                           I                                   Issues                          In
To                              Truly                            Trust                            To                                The
Him                           Happen                        Him                             Heaven                        Heart

Oh--that Fox River of ours likes to pop up in our thoughts every so often.  "What if?"  "What about?"  I think that we as the Body of Christ need to pray for one another here.  "Lord, please don't let me worry about the Fox Rivers in my life, just give me the wisdom to cross it when I get there.  And do the same for all of us who follow You.  Amen."

Have a great week.  If all goes well, I'll be back next week.  However, my wife keeps telling me that there's a Fox River of chelation ahead. I hope she reads this! 

Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you 
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave


[i] Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
[ii] John MacArthur, Matthew, 1985, Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute
[iii] Clarence Macartney, Macartney’s Illustrations (New York: Abingdon Press, 1946), p. 415.

Weekly Seed of Faith 8/26/2017


The Light Within  
See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness."  Luke 11:35

Dear Faithful Seed- Sowers, and Saints in the ministry of Christ Jesus:

Light!  What comes to your mind when you hear the word “light”?
I think of the opening verse of the Bible.  In Genesis one, the Word tells us that God created “light” and called it good.
Genesis 1:1-5
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
When I think of light, I think of one of my favorite passages in Scripture, Psalm 27:1
Psalm 27:1-2
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
In the Gospel of John, when Jesus came to the Festival of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, the priests lit four, huge candelabras.   So brilliant was the light from these candelabras that there was not a courtyard in all of Jerusalem that was hidden from this light.  Think of how we light the torch for the Olympics…it’s the same idea!  Just imagine how bright and brilliant those candelabras were.  The light was to remind the Israelites of their Exodus journey; of the fire by night that protected them, provided for them and guided them during their 40-year trek in the desert.  The fire would also remind them of the cloud by day that sheltered them from the desert heat (140 degrees). 
During Jerusalem's annual Festival of Tabernacles, millions of Jews were gathered together.  It was here that Jesus proclaimed one of His great “I Am” statements.  John 8:12 Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Standing amongst the four brightly burning candlabras, Jesus chose to make this statement.  Jesus knew exactly what he was doing and saying.
So What? What does it mean to you that Jesus says that He is the Light of the world?  I find it amazing that Jesus declared he was the light of the world--not just of Jerusalem or of the Jews--but the He was the light of the world!  What a powerful promise we have here to hang onto!    “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” It sounds so simple!  Follow Jesus and you will never walk in darkness.  I think of Psalm 23, "You lead me through the valley of the shadow of death."  It may be very dark where we walk, but Jesus--the light of the world--will walk us through the darkness.  This is a simple theology, but it is not easy!
Today we come to Luke 11.  Jesus has taught the disciples about prayer, has confronted hostile accusers and warned the crowds that were following him about unbelief.   Jesus now makes a very practical application.
Luke 11:33-37  
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”
This past summer, my wife and I traveled by car to visit her parents in The Villages, Florida.  Jac and I enjoy what we have come to call "spontaneous" tripping.  Unless we have a deadline on our time travel, we tend to sleep in until 7 am and go and enjoy a good breakfast.  We are known to get in the car and drive from 10 am until midnight.  We stop at anything that looks interesting, and always ask the locals where we eat if there's anything we should see.  Jac and I had never planned to stop in Biloxi; we've driven by Biloxi several times in our lives, never having need to stop.  But this trip, it was getting late and Jac had been scouring the hotel websites.  She found this one hotel located right on the Gulf of Mexico in Biloxi.  It had been a hard year for us with the lead poisoning, chelation and moving.  We decided we needed a few days of rest before we traveled on to Florida.  We called our friend who manages a Hilton hotel here in SOCAL and he set us up with an ocean view room on the tenth floor!  After sleeping in and eating breakfast, we decided to take in some of the sights on a walking tour to explore the beach.  We stopped into the visitor’s center where we watched a delightful movie on Biloxi.  It talked about the Biloxi Lighthouse which sits in the middle of six lanes of traffic that runs along the ocean.  The lighthouse was built in 1848 and has withstood 20 hurricanes and numerous storms.  One of the worst hurricanes to hit the shores of Biloxi was Hurricane Katrina.  The Lighthouse took a severe beating, but it withstood the storm and continued to flash it’s light out into the darkness.
Another interesting note is that for 74 years three different women were the keepers of the lighthouse. Think of it, for 74 years these three women went up and down the stairs of that lighthouse every single day in order to clean the light and make sure it was working properly. Rain or shine, they went up and down the steps to make sure the ships could see the light. Even during storms and hurricanes, they went into the lighthouse to make sure the light would flash and provide safely, security and sanctuary for the ships that were out to sea. Think of the thousands of vessels that were brought safely to their destination by this flashing light. Think of the thousands of passengers who arrived safely to shore through the past 169 years of the existence of the lighthouse. Imagine the flashing light--on for three seconds and then darkness for one second. There stood the Biloxi Lighthouse:  three seconds on, one second off-- year after year, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute. Second by second—the light flashed without fail. The movie in the Visitors' Center ended with these words, "After every one of the 20 hurricanes, there's only one thing to do:  REBUILD."  
SO WHAT?  What do these words from Dr. Luke mean to us today?  

At the Festival of Tabernacles, Jesus stopped and proclaimed that He is the light of the world.

Is Christ the light of your world?  Does His life light up your world?  Do you put the light of Christ in your life on a lampstand each day or do you hide it under a bowl or basket?  

Imagine the light from the four candlabras--not a courtyard in Jerusalem was left unlit from the brilliant light.  And it is here that Jesus says, "I'm the light of the world."  Not, "I'm the light of Jerusalem."  "I'm the light of the world."

The challenge for each of us this week is for us to be the light of Christ in our world.  Be the light of Christ in your home.  Be the light of Christ at work.  Be the light of Christ in your neighborhood. Be the light of Christ at work.  Be the light of Christ on the freeway.  Be the light of Christ in any line you wait in.  Be the light of Christ to your friends and extended family. 
This week, I encourage you to open up your Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to be the light that illuminates the words on the pages.  Start here in Luke 11.  Think about the darkness you run into each day—and be the light of Christ to someone.  What WOULD Jesus do?  Nike.  Just do it.
Jac and I walked by that little lighthouse several times a day on our way to and from the Gulf.  I thought about the many times the city of Biloxi has rebuilt itself. I thought about the 20 different hurricanes and I thought about how that little lighthouse shines it light 24/7/365.  Every single minute of every single day--there she stands, in all her glory, lighting the way.

God is so good.  God is so good to Jac and me.  God knew that we needed rest and that we needed rest in Biloxi, MS.  We were so blessed to know the story of the lighthouse. Jac and I have been through many storms in our lives. Each time the only decision to make is this:  rebuild.  Clear away the debris, and rebuild.  Shine the light of Christ in the storm and in the rebuilding.  Day in and day, night after night, shine the light of Christ.

When Jac and I checked out of hotel, we felt so renewed and blessed.  But the best was yet to come.  Remember the friend that Jac called to see if he could get us a better rate than the one that was posted online?  He blessed us.  Our three-day, two-night stay had been paid for by this man who knew nothing about the lighthouse but he knows about shining the light of Christ.  WOW!  The note on our bill said, "I wish I could do more.  You two deserve this."  The manager who checked us out said, "This hasn't just blessed you.  This has blessed me.  I'm already thinking about who I can do this for--and I'm thinking of my pastor and his family."

Don't hide your light.  SHINE.   
Friends, the Word of God is alive.  It’s redemptive—it buys us back --- day in and day out.  If you need this light in your life, pick up your bible and read it. The stories within its pages aren't just old stories--if we are willing, these stories can be made alive within us, too.  The blind parts of us will see.  The deaf parts of us will hear.  The dead parts of us will come to life.  The darkness in us will flee and the light of Christ will SHINE within us.  "I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD."  

Here's my closing thought:  the Biloxi lighthouse contains a live camera in it.  You can go online and see what's happening there any time of any day.  A tiny monument on a busy street.  All it does is simply shine the light contained within.

Think about that!  Be blessed this week.  Be a blessing.  Shine your light.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani---God loves you and so do I"
Mulungu aku daliseni --- God bless you
God loves you with an inexorable love and so do I,
Pastor Dave