Breaking News Bulletin!

4 10 2016

mass-media

To say that we are bombarded 24/7 with “new” news would be an understatement of an overwhelming truth!  Today’s advances in technology places within  our reach many news media, while just a few years ago we were dependent on the Radio, Newspapers and television.

Today we receive it just looking at what is within arms reach of me a Kindle, my laptop, my “smartphone” the remote to the TV, Wall Street Journal and Time magazine.  “Stop the world I want to get off”!

How then do I infuse my mind with, “Whatsoever things are TRUE, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report … meditate on these things”! (Philippians 4: 8 NKJV)

The Psalmist seems to have found that he was maybe in the same situation as I am and his go to solution was, ” … and in His law he meditates day and night …”(Psalms 1:2).  It might be because he was taught the words spoken to Joshua as he was given the commission to lead the people of Israel into the promised land.  “This Book of the Law … meditate in it day and night … then you will make your prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

To help me, I have found a few tools on the  “gadgets” that surround me.  Here they are:
YouVersion Bible and their Bible Study plans, Bible Gateway with their numerous Bible translations, MegaVoice audio Bible, Blog posts on Bible Reading from Eagle Brook Church, many different godly preachers of God’s Word on TV.

So, I would encourage you to meditate on His Word day and night and you will find that He makes your life prosperous and your path a way of success!  Try it, you will love it!

 

 





A Tapestry of Love!

29 07 2016

Tapestry of Love

This is a unique quilt with a unique theme and it was made by my Daughter-in-Law, Jennie for our grand-daughter, Samantha.  The quilt was made with many of Samantha’s shirts, pajamas and other memorabilia from her life.  Samantha is nine years old.

As I saw this my thoughts triggered on how, God is making each of us in our own lives, a “Tapestry of Love”.  The Master Creator making a Masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) in us in 2016. Wow!  Amazing!

So, I travel through the years gone by, another year is done, and I am starting a new one and I realize that this is also another year of counting the miraculous blessings of God in my life and ministry.  It was 50 years ago that I graduated from Union Biblical Seminary in India and started out in ministry.  And I think, “… this is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes …” (Psalm 118: 23).

I am reminded of the author of Hebrews in Chapter 11: 32 says, “…And what more shall I say?  I do not have time to tell about …”!  God has been so good to me, like a woven tapestry, the quilt depicting 73 years of life and 50 years of ministry, and I have to say, “Only God”!  To Him be all the glory!

Just to mention a couple of awesome things, and I just mention these to encourage you to think with gratitude, “what tapestry of love is God weaving of your life.  The first, is my devotions that I do with the YouVersion.com Bible and its devotions.  Through these I have built a small community of fellow believers who are my “devotion buddies”!  We comment and encourage each other to “continue in God’s Word and in the fellowship of believers”.  What to me is most incredible is that, we are an online group, some I have never met in person, but all bound by our love for Jesus!  A physician from Kentucky, a young man of Sri Lankan background in Australia, a young mother living in China, an army wife, a youth minister in California, Missionary Story Teller Trainer …! Plus a few others!

Then my home church Eagle Brook Church – Spring Lake Park, the connections and the beautiful workings of God into my life, to make that tapestry.  God patiently working one beautiful piece after another, using different threads, different stitches, a hot iron to smooth some edges out … many hours, many days but painstakingly becoming a “masterpiece”, because He “does not make no junk” as Mahalia Jackson so eloquently expressed.

God is not done with us as yet, and He is doing a great work in our lives, and it is marvelous in our sight!





Why I love my home church!

5 05 2016

2016 EBC _ SLP STAFF

Front Row

Rachel Otterness (Kids Pastor) Sandi Hawks (Senior Adult Pastor) Megan Czech (Leader Kids Ministry) Carrie Rassmussen (Campus Executive Pastor) Steve Whicker (Campus Pastor) Jenna Sederstrom (Video Director)

Back Row

(left to right): Josh Dekker (Music Pastor) Paula Johnson (Campus Support Coordinator) Nancy Sackett (Pastor of Serving) Mike Cole (Pastor of Groups) David Schussman (Pastor of Student Ministries) Russell Munson (Service and Events Producer) Mark Sackett (Facility Manager) Ryan Jamieson (Audio Engineer)

Bottom Left:

Marcia Johnson (Facility Assistant) (left) Kim Obrycki (Retail Supervisor)

Bottom Right:

(left to right) -Vicky Frandsen (Facility Coordinator) Brian Shields (Facility Assistant) Sarah Norton (Retail Services Supervisor)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 2008 marked a defining moment in the lives of Linda and me as we were introduced to our new Home Church, Eagle Brook Church -Spring Lake Park campus, in Minnesota.

We had just attended a conference in Florida conducted by the International Orality Network and were fired up about the possibilities of taking the Gospel to the nations, using the “heart language” of people, the language that they communicated in on a day to day basis.  We were challenged by the fact that 70% of the world population, even in societies that were literate, were gaining their knowledge and information through stories and the oral media.

We were at this time making a transition, and as we visited Eagle Brook Church, we saw how God had been “setting us up” the last few months from December 2007 to March 2008 to make this move to start attending Eagle Brook Church at Spring Lake Park, Minnesota.  Let me highlight some key factors.

The driving force and desire of Eagle Brook Church was to reach the unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ using every method and means, being relevant and relational.

First, the Teaching pastors of the Church were using narrative and communicative language which enabled every person who heard the message to be able to understand the message of the Gospel in a very clear and relevant manner, so that they were able to apply it to their lives in a day to day basis.  There was no need to use dictionaries and concordances and previous background in “churchianity” to understand what was communicated each weekend.

Second, it was a Megachurch with a small church feel!  Eagle Brook Church is the largest church in Minnesota, yet from the time a person pulls into the parking lot of the church and is greeted by the parking lot volunteers, to greeters at the doors and ushers and children’s workers and throughout the church, a person feels welcomed but not intruded upon.

This is made possible at Spring Lake Park as over 60 percent of the attenders, also are actively involved in volunteering in some capacity of their giftedness, and claiming a “sweet spot” to serve in.  Each person is encouraged in their volunteering by staff and team members, and also by the knowledge that as they serve, they may be reaching out to someone, for whom ‘this service is the first time at the church’, and maybe even the first time of having the opportunity to hear and respond to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Third is the music and the time of worship.  The worship pastors and the rest of the staff are focused and challenged to make the complete experience of each service, effective, efficient and appealing to make each person enter into a time when each person who walks through the doors will have a meaningful experience, where they will know that they have been met and ministered to by God in a personal and intimate way.

Many times I am reminded that as a young Youth Director in the 60’s we were challenged in trying to make the music relevant to bring in the youth of our generation, to hear the Gospel message.  At Eagle Brook Church, the Worship Pastors each weekend accomplishes this same challenge, of reaching the attender in a relevant way, and then leading them into an atmosphere of worship, and the preparation of the heart to hear the message of the Gospel as it is presented by the Teaching Pastors.

I have tried to use my Home Campus, Eagle Brook Church – Spring Lake Park to illustrate what is also duplicated with personal touches and nuances in the five other campuses which make up Eagle Brook Church – campuses at Lino lakes, White Bear Lake, Blaine, Woodbury and Coon Rapids.  It is a picture of the church in a nutshell.

The picture of the staff of Spring Lake Park, show the catalysts of what God is doing with a group of people who are dedicated with the desire to reach everyone in the community with the saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the power to transform and redeem lives in miraculous ways.

 

 

 





How do I measure Up!

11 03 2016

It was February 1957 that I look back to a “Defining Moment” in my life, that was not just defining but foundational.  My father who had been in an upward mobile career, felt the call of God in his life to enter the pastoral ministry.  He was attending Bible College, and also heading up an evangelistic center, today we would call it a “church plant”.

One day he brought home a “Christian Comic Book”, which had a Bible Story and a contemporary (1957) story of a young boy who was my age who had been touched by Jesus and his life was changed.  I read that book in bed before I went to sleep, and my response was, giving my life to Jesus, recognizing His great gift of Salvation.  Life was not going to be the same again.  It was not going to be an easy life but a life where Jesus was with me and helping me as I acknowledged His Lordship.

As I was then influenced by my parent’s life and testimony, and the mentoring by missionary friends and pastors in Sri Lanka and India, I felt the call to be God’s servant where ever He would call me.

The greatest challengers, motivators and heroes in our life at this time, were those who were having a mass impact on the lives of millions of people with mass rallies reaching into all the world.  I wanted to be “The Billy Graham of Asia” or Oral Roberts to Asia, T.L. Osborn or any of the greats of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

But did God want me to be another “carbon copy” or a “clone” or “cookie cutter”?  He had and never has and never will make two snowflakes the same or two of anything the same.  Why should He do it with me?  Is this not the reason for the development of Personal Identity Recognition Approach Based on Iris Patterns which is taking the place of individual thumb prints.

God is a Personal God and Savior.  He has an individual plan and a purpose for our lives, my life, “a plan for good”.  He wants to and has been making me just the way I am because He has a unique plan to use ME!  Wow!  How awesome is He!  He is never stagnant and did not stop His creativity at the Garden of Eden”!

Then I realized how God has been working in THE CHURCH as He marches ahead of time in preparing and using world events, science and technology to redeem a people for Himself.

Has he not given us people like Bill Hybels and the Willow Creek Church (http://www.willowcreek.org/), Craig Groeschel and Life Church (http://www.life.church/who-we-are/), Steven Furtick and Elevation Church (http://elevationchurch.org/) Joyce Meyer (https://www.joycemeyer.org/) Christine Caine (http://www.christinecaine.com/) Eagle Brook Church (http://eaglebrookchurch.com/) …. Where can I stop?  God is Awesome!

What about the many authors like Mark Batterson , “The Circle Maker” who are impacting the world?  What about the Missions organizations reaching the Unreached people groups, the peoples in the Middle Eastern countries who were “unreachable”?  God does not lack for innovation and ideas!

He has a plan and a purpose for my life and yours.  The challenge that I see was the fact that I have a responsibility to be a good steward of all that God has placed in my hand?  The little boy who had five loaves and two “fishies”, saw it multiplied to feed a crowd of 5000 men plus women and children.  A widow’s cruse of oil multiplied to pay off all her debts and enough for her living expenses.

What do I have in my hand?  A smartphone, a tablet, a laptop.  Each of these with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other Social Media are able to reach millions of people as we place our lives in the Hand of Our Creator.  What a great opportunity, and here I was having a pity party, that I was not able to have an impact on world evangelism like Dr. Billy Graham?

How about you?  Can I encourage you to join me in this adventure?  Reach the world right from our homes, our kitchen tables with the World Wide Web, the Internet and Social Media!

 





The Ripple Effect!

25 02 2016

RIPPLES

I was just beginning my first Summer in North America. I had been attending Bible College in Seattle, Washington and the plans called for me to spend the Summer traveling in Canada and Northwest United States as an intern with two Lutheran pastors who had an itinerant ministry.
The first event was to take a bus from Seattle into Canada and meet them at this Camp and be a camp speaker for the youth. I took the bus and was dropped off at the bus station of my destination. But I did not realize that my camp was a good thirty miles away, and the nearest town was about three miles away. Here I was with my luggage and clueless how to get to camp.
One of the men who was working at the garage, which doubled as a bus station, offered to take me into town, as he was getting off work in a little while. As he drove me into town, he said since I was going to be at a Christian camp, maybe someone at the church would know more details. He took me for breakfast (a complete stranger) and dropped me off at the church for the service.
I was in the service, and as soon as the service was done, many people spoke to me and then one family came and invited me to their home for lunch and promised to take me to the camp where I would meet my friends. I was completely blown away by the hospitality of these strangers … but “family of God”!

What then was the ripple effect of this incident? I have never forgotten their kindness to me and have tried to be open to see a stranger, a foreigner, a lonely person and reach out to them. Didn’t Jesus say,  (Matthew 25: 34 – 36)

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

There are many stories of the kindness of people that I could share at this moment. But the idea of the Ripple Effect, was to be an encouragement to myself to recognize, that what I had done was not wasted, but God was going to use it for His good. And so began my spiraling ripples.

From the time I left Bible College in India, and the young people that were in the different youth groups, and where they are now. The families that they have started and the children they impact.

My fellow classmates in India and Seattle. The different people in whose homes I stayed as I traveled in Western Canada and the Midwestern states in the USA. The young people in our youth groups in ministry in Minnesota! You get the idea!

Each of them is a person created in the image of God and He brought each person into our lives, so that they can impact our lives and we can sow into their lives. What is the net result? Can we in a monetary way, evaluate the impact? Was our lives lived in vain?

                               Thanks be unto God who has in so many ways given us the victory. He is forever good!

1 Corinthians 3: 5b – 9:
Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. 6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field.





Artificial Sweetness!

21 02 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I joined a class at the YMCA called, “Eat, Move and Live Well” – A Healthy Living Program for 60+ Adults. This was a result of a doctor visit I had at the beginning of the year and the results of some ‘blood work’, which she had done on me.
The result of my visit with her ended in me doing an ECG, Chest X-ray and Stress Test. Net result was I am doing good, but my blood pressure was a little elevated and my LDL Cholesterol was high. Her recommendation involved my taking a more aggressive Statin, and being back on two blood pressure pills.
My response ofcourse was lets try a “healthy alternate” – like exercise and cut the calories eating plan! This is just the background to my ending in this class. Anyway …
In this class, the trainer had us discussing sweetened water and other drinks that would help us stay hydrated, as adequate water in our bodies is a good basis for wellness. It is one sentence that she used during this session, that triggered my thoughts for today!
She said, “When we talk of “artificial sweetners”, we are introducing something that is foreign to our “natural” bodies and we should not be taking them lightly.

” I checked the Mirriam Webster dictionary meaning of the word “artificial” and it says, ”
• 1 : humanly contrived often on a natural model : man-made <an artificial limb> <artificial diamonds>
• not natural or real : made, produced, or done to seem like something natural
• : not happening or existing naturally : created or caused by people
• : not sincere
Yes, the trainer was using a radical application of the meaning of the word, but I believe God would have us apply that to our total life and well being.
1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20 says, “Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit …”! What are we doing to take care of our body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, not just physically but spiritually, socially and emotionally? In Luke 2: 52 says, “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people”. (NLT) Jesus made it a priority in His Life to nurture the temple of the Holy Spirit, His Body!
We read the many times and occasions that He would take time to slip away and spend time in prayer – time with the Father. I believe these are the times He would be recalling the Words of scripture He had learned and memorized as a young boy, which He so ably used to have a conversation with the learned leaders in the temple when He was a young man at age 12.
He also used the words of Scripture and the reinforcement of His time spent with His Heavenly Father to be able to counter respond to the attacks of Satan who came with misquoted scripture in the wilderness to tempt Him.
What am I doing to equip my body to be a “Temple of the Holy Spirit”. What would my Spiritual Physician say is the health of my body, if I go in for a physical? Too much “artificial sweetners” in my body?
I would like to recommend two sources of helps that have been “a spiritual vitamin” to help me in my daily life. Try them, you will like them!

 

      https://www.bible.com/app

http://amzn.to/1oV3pRv

 

 

 

 

 

 





Running on Empty!

7 02 2016
PENTAX Image

PENTAX Image

Just a few days ago, I came across a Blog post that resonated with me!  Having lived and served in Sri Lanka for many years it brought back many memories of similar experiences in our travels!

But it also resonated on another level, as I thought how the price of gas in the USA has gone to below $1.50 a gallon, but are we doing this here?  Ofcourse the danger was not in the physical level but in the Spiritual level.  Are we so busy in our lives that we are ‘running on fumes’?

A shout out to “@NomadStacey” and her Blog Post!  Take a few minutes to read this!

Gas Tank

Blessings on you Stacey, as you serve HIM in the hard places of the KINGDOM!