Sunday, March 29, 2009

I reiterate:

From April 2008, I reiterate:

A Hot Cup of Steaming Starbucks...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

John Maisel's FGA Conference Presentation

John Maisel is co-founder of East-West Ministries International. In the first five years of its inception, East-West's staff have exposed 4,362,464 indigenous people to the gospel.

The following are paraphrased excerpts with permission from Maisel. His presentation was given at the Free Grace Alliance National Conference on October 7, 2008.



Paul writes in Philippians 3:13-14....

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

To "forget that which is behind" means to forget my sins, which Satan reminds me of, but it also means my former accomplishments. I love encouragement. I take it with gratitude while face to face and then I say to the LORD afterward, "Those praises belong to you. Now, erase them from my memory." I am what I am, by the grace of God.

In East-West Ministries we have a goal we call "
The 1% Factor." We have given ourselves a 10 year timeframe, and right now we are 5 years into completion of the goal of sharing the gospel with 1% of the world's population. Five billion people on the earth are represented by 24,000 people-groups. We want to reach 100 people-groups in this ten years who have never heard the gospel.

John Maisel

Ministries that spread the gospel start off great in the beginning. But as time passes they start to fail because they get cocky. In the beginning God blesses them but then they lose touch with the passion for why they were created. This flows countercurrent to Paul's example, because at the close of his personal ministry he is melancholy and serving the saints with tears.

Our theme ought to be humility, and Paul is our example who embodied this. He is our model because he knew more about grace than any other. He knew it was all undeserved. In 1 Timothy 1:15-16 Paul says of himself

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

and this at the end of his life, 20-30 years after his salvation! Grace is so precious to Paul. Is Paul just saying this about himself, that he is "the worst of sinners?" No, he said this as he died; he had it in his bones. I realize that I will never live life graciously and humbly without realizing that I too am the chief of sinners.

The woman who comes in to see Jesus with her Alabaster box - she is a woman who relished the grace of God. She is so overwhelmed with her acceptance. Jesus tells the story of one who owed a hundred and another who owed a million and then asks, when forgiven who loves Him the most?


This is a framework for grace.

"I've paid your bill, John." How do you respond to that?
"I've bought a stamp for you, John."
How about, "I've paid your mortgage, John." I'd fall at his feet. This is the perspective to keep.

John the Baptist is another example. He points out the Son of God and they begin to follow Him. Does John ever get frustrated and say to himself, "I'm going to go get my followers back!" No. John the Baptist knows that He who gave the ministry can take the ministry. Just as He who gives the health of a child can also take the health of a child.


I began to write down some guidelines so that our ministry could keep that grid of grace before us. So many ministries start off well, loving one another passionately, and somewhere along the way we lose awe and wonder in Jesus. We still can answer all kinds of questions about Jesus. Like a persona we may click it on as needed, but, where is my love affair with Jesus Christ?

The heart of the troops must be passionate about Christ. Then, when it's time to fight they will fight well.

Six guidelines came out of my meditations to be drawn up. I called my best friend and asked him to sit down and hear it out and give me his reaction.


Okay, my friend replies. What's the next one?


My friend laughs. He said, "Okay, I get it."


He laughs again and says "I got it."

POINT NUMBER FOUR: Now we can rest in His grace.


POINT NUMBER FIVE: Now we can rest in His grace, and, we are free to demonstrate His grace.


POINT NUMBER SIX: Now we are free to rest in His grace, demonstrate His grace, and proclaim His grace.


The Holy Spirit brings the examples in scripture to our remembrance so that we will know how to serve Him. Jesus said "Follow me." Does that mean He is walking out there in front of me? Or could that mean that He is here beside me, with His hand on my shoulder? I believe this is the best advice for all eternity, that He asked us to "Follow me... and I will _______ ." That is His heartbeat. You and I can do a lot. But a lot of it is wood, hay or stubble. There is no lasting achievement unless His Spirit is working in us, through us, and for His glory.

Sometimes we think we know what is good and right to serve God. Before I begin something that sounds good to do, I should ask God first: "LORD, is this okay?" "LORD, are you well pleased with this?"

What does it mean to pursue Jesus?

Pursuing is our love-relationship with Him. There are a lot of Christians in awe with Jesus, who then buy into this system of the law, because law has visible results. The law kills but the Spirit gives life. Jesus says to Peter, "Peter you're my guy, you know who I Am, are you going to step up?" He asks him, "Do you love me? Do you love me?" This is agape love for the Lord Jesus.

If Paul were here today he would be able to spot what is wrong with most churches today. Good theological churches can make the mistake of motivating people by putting them under a pile of things to do; give, serve, evangelize, and so on. "More, more, more!" Paul defends a different Spirit. We love Him because He first loved us. It is the love of Christ which compels me to get into someone's world and share the gospel and maybe even receive a knuckle sandwich for doing so. Loving Jesus comes before everything. In light of that, the serving, giving, and so forth takes care of itself.

If we plan to have a mission outwardly we have to have a mission internally to one another!

Resting in His grace, is "point number four." Most believers are coming out of a performance-based system. They receive the gift of salvation by grace but then are told too often, "Now you must prove to God how worthy you are so you can earn His love." This is incredible! No - we're not working for grace. We are working from grace. The father said I love both the prodigal and obedient son. Nothing we do can make Him love us more, and nothing we do can make Him love us less. When I finally learned that I said, "You mean He knows all my junk and loves me in a way like that?" I gave Him my life!

I will never surrender and trust Jesus, unless I know He loves me. In the same way those who know you will never surrender and trust you unless they know you love them.

I will never know that Jesus loves me until I see Him dying to self. In the same way those who know you will never know that you love them unless they see you dying to self.

Paul prayed that each one of us would know the love of Christ which surpasses understanding so that we would be full of the dwelling of Christ.

When I speak to others about East-West Ministries I am careful not to say that this is "my ministry," it's not "me." Amongst our staff we ought to be careful to demonstrate grace within our own walls. There is no "right way" to communicate the message unless grace is in our lives and in our personal relationships. The number one reason why missionaries come back from the mission field is because they cannot get along with other missionaries.


Grace models are tough! (The law kills but the Spirit gives life.) There are not too many churches you can put your finger on who are settled in grace. What we find many times is that we work with Christians and they get grace, and then they go back to their church and the older people crush them. You can't stand up for one hour and teach grace and expect them to get it. You have to teach and demonstrate it over and over and over. Demonstration helps because when we embrace the brokenness inside ourself we can permit the living water to flow out. In tough cultures with language difficulties, most people don't hear your words but they read your spirit.

[Sanctification's concluding remark: May the LORD's Spirit have the glory due to Him!]

Steve Saint Came

On March 11th I wrote a post mentioning that Steve Saint was planning to visit our church. Well, he came and it was amazing. My neighbor and I went to church super early, and we got to spend some time hanging out with him before he spoke. What can I say?

Saint lets me have a photo with him, and he even puts his arm around me, that's so sweet!

I took a video with my camera phone, sorry it's sideways but it's the audio that is interesting. Saint discusses how God opened the doors to the U.S. for Mincaye. Together these two men, just through standing side by side one another, testify of God's powerfully transforming grace!

Our sanctuary was packed and when he said he was supposed to wrap it up the crowd let out their grief, so he lingered a little longer to share a little more with us. After our release, all the books and videos available for purchase sold out in about five minutes.

In anticipation of his visit I remembered how one of my college roommates, Julie, who I've written about in my testimony, once wrote her own lyrics for a song. Her inspiration was Jim Elliott. That was back on March 6, 2006. This is a girl who he keeps on pouring grace and honor into my life. I have the very best of friends in her. Her talent is clear!

A picture of Julie and I a couple months back

He Is No Fool
by Julie GaNung

My life does not belong to me
So I must let it go
I can’t really live until I give
What I’m holding on to

Take my comfort and security
Give me You instead
Take what I thought I needed most
Give me a heart for others

He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep
To gain what he can’t lose
He is no fool, who follows in the path of Christ
Who died that we might live

And everything we thought was gain
Is now lost in Him
The desire to be in first place
Drives us to servanthood

Everything’s turned right-side up
Now we can understand
The promise of eternal riches
Means giving all you have

These lyrics have not been attempted publication, and she may need permission from Elisabeth Elliot. The title of the song is taken from a famous quote of Jim Elliott on October 28, 1949: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Doctrinal Purity?

The Pharisees thought they were chosen for the cause of defending God's purity and justice, through separating themselves from "sinners." But separation had turned to excuse to obey only the letter of the law, and truly it had become an excuse to disobey God Himself.

In this video Jesus teaches where doctrinal purity is discovered with God.

The sinner in repentance, or the keeper of the scriptures to defend their purity -- who is the one justified?

While in this age we cannot hope to escape theological imperfection. Can you imagine that the LORD would refuse to be intimate with us, for this or any other reason, while we are obedient to the Shema?

Those who are eager to judge will be judged and shatter their adherency:

Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? ... You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."
Rom. 2:17-21, 23-24

Monday, March 23, 2009

Illegitimate Became King

Dr. Ron Allen taught an interesting theory regarding the origins of King David, in his class called "Gaining Love for the Hebrew Scriptures." In fact he and his students a few years ago had prepared a video spoof on the tv drama "C.S.I.", and relabeled it "B.S.I." (Bible Study Investigation, if I remember correctly). In the video spoof he subtly steers his students to investigate the Word to uncover the true origins of King David.

In addition to the entertaining introduction, I was quite amazed at his concept from scripture. He suggested that when David wrote these words in Psalm 51:5

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

David was actually confessing the truth that he was illegitimate. He proposes that David's father, Jesse, had committed adultery with another woman. Dr. Allen points out in meditation upon Psalm 51, that the marriage bed is undefiled. Therefore Jesse must have sinned in bringing forth his youngest of eight sons. He suggests that the elders of the small town had known and yet agreed to conceal the matter, which is why they trembled at Samuel's coming to inspect Jesse's children in 1 Samuel 16:4

When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, "Do you come in peace?"

It also explains why Jesse's sons were called to be paraded before Samuel but for some reason David was left out, as he may have been for many other family events. He might have been neglected or abused by his older brothers, who knew his secret. This could explain David's frustrated response when he was undeservingly belittled by his eldest brother in 1 Samuel 17:29

"Now what have I done?" said David. "Can't I even speak?"

In Psalm 51 David's description of his sin with Bathsheba is of one needing mercies beyond the typical forgiveness the LORD grants for the repentant. David knew better, which made his sin much worse. He followed the example his father had given and committed the same sin. This is an amazing thing to digest, that David had done the same wrong as his father Jesse.

David knew how unworthy he was to have his house established and a child from his own line as heir to the throne. David asks how his familial ties have become worthy of appointment in 2 Samuel 7:18-19

"Who am I, O LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O LORD, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O LORD?

Indeed, is this the LORD's usual manner with men? I truly appreciated learning this idea in the class taught by the Old Testament Editor/Consultant for the Nelson NKJV Study Bible. My mind contemplates the manner in which Jesus Christ came into the world. He was also illegitimate at conception.

I realize that Jesus Christ most necessitated being born of a virgin, not from the will of a man but instead overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to bear Emmanuel. But I cannot escape the idea that the LORD also arranged this in the midst of the punishment due by His own law, which Mary and Joseph both feared for such a situation. Joseph feared his reputation and feared the disclosure of the pregnancy which would have caused her to be stoned. So the LORD sent an angel telling him "Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife." No matter how much Mary understood the sanctity of the conception within, she surely understood the judgment typically due from Jewish rule for any other woman in her position. Is it true, she not even officially married at the time she gave birth to the Savior (Luke 2:5)? How incredible, and what a burden of undue shame she bore.

I see the parallel of David's prayer with Mary's Song (Luke 1), in being selected amidst illegitimate circumstances.

David, 2 Sam. 7:20

Now what more can David say to You? For You, Lord GOD, know Your servant.

Mary, Lk. 1:48

For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

David, 2 Sam. 7:28-29

“And now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever; for You, O Lord GOD, have spoken it, and with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever.”

Mary, Lk. 1:51-53

He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.

David, 2 Sam. 7:21-22

For Your word’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them. Therefore You are great, O Lord GOD. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Mary, Lk. 1:54-55

He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.

David, 2 Sam. 7:23-24

And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name—and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land—before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, LORD, have become their God.

In both their prayers they recognize

1 - They were God's servant

2 - They were lowly in state when appointed

3 - They loved the LORD for his mighty provision and blessings on their behalf

4 - They realized their selection was for the LORD's magnificence

5 - They understood God's ministry to His children was based upon His covenanted promise in the scriptures

What kind of value do Mary and David's circumstances speak into our world today? How about to the illegitimately conceived children in our society? How precious it is to know that Our Lord Jesus and our King David came in the form of the most lowly, the disqualified, the illegitimate. We should not be held forever by our manner of weaknesses? When we have our sins set constantly before us, and contrast our qualification with His chosen manner of manifesting Himself to us, should it be a surprise regarding the illegitimate in our society, "Whoever does these things for the least of my brethren, he does it for Me."

Matt 25:37-40

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'""

The Servant by J. Shively

Friday, March 20, 2009

Authority by healing people

He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
(Matt 12:11-12)

The LORD denies the religious excuses made to avoid meeting real human need.

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ." He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"
(Mark 2:1-12)

When the people set a needy man right in front of the One declaring the truth, did He treat that practical portion of ministry as secondary to preaching? On the contrary. He was able to incorporate helping the man as a demonstration of his very lesson. The man rejoiced. The people learned God's truths. And, trust in Christ was made to increase.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Isaiah 28:23-29

Give ear and hear my voice,
Listen and hear my speech.
Does the plowman keep plowing all day to sow?
Does he keep turning his soil and breaking the clods?
When he has leveled its surface,
Does he not sow the black cummin
And scatter the cummin,
Plant the wheat in rows,
The barley in the appointed place,
And the spelt in its place?
For He instructs him in right judgment,
His God teaches him.
For the black cummin is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
Nor is a cartwheel rolled over the cummin;
But the black cummin is beaten out with a stick,
And the cummin with a rod.
Bread flour must be ground;
Therefore he does not thresh it forever,
Break it with his cartwheel,
Or crush it with his horsemen.
This also comes from the LORD of hosts,
Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Give me Liberty or give me death!"

When circumstances get stagnant it can only mean one of two things; one, move on, or two, stay put. One of these is meant for me now.

On the eve of the American Revolutionary War a memorable figure named Patrick Henry said the famous words, "Give me Liberty, or give me death!" We always fight so hard against those bad guys out there who want to take away our freedom to live for God. What about the freedom I extend to my self? Christ bids me to follow Him and not what I think is "good" or "Christian." Only one Way is the provision for my personal sanctification. He alone can free me from bondage within.

There was a cry for battle from the crowds when Henry finished that famous line. I want violence done on the distance I permit between me and the freedom Christ purchased while dying for me:


Let my inner man tremble before the LORD! Henry's speech ended saying,

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

Patrick Henry's "Treason" speech before the House of Burgesses in an 1851 painting by Peter F. Rothermel

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

His n' Hers

I've been thinking a lot lately about glory.

Steve Saint is coming to my church on March 22. Saint's life story is the subject of a 2006 independent film titled End of the Spear. I have written a lot about it on my blog but I haven't label-linked it up yet. This is incredible for me. I have written many blog posts on the missionary stories and authorship of his family and fellow co-laborers. Out to my garage I went and dusted off those Elisabeth Elliott books. My how I love them.

Steve and Ginny Saint

What one story stuck in my mind?

As the first missionary in Algiers, Lilias Trotter was often staggered by the immensity of the task of carrying the gospel across the desert wastes to the countless little villages hidden among the sandhills. After seven years she went to England, so exhausted she felt that she needed, "weeks for prayer, but at present I don't seem to have sense for concentration in prayer or anything else, and I am just vegetating, and writing up this journal...." The doctors said her nerves and heart were worn by the strain of the battle and by the climate. Added to these physical buffetings was the sense of evil and spiritual oppression.

A group of Sunday School leaders... visited her in 1907, asking to "see the work."

Then came the clue in the old saying, "Difficulty is the very atmosphere of miracle." She wrote, "We decided to show in all honesty, not what we had done, but what had not been done, and believe in God to use the very weakness of it all."

The day arrived..., and she showed them maps she had arranged around her courtyard, "with their woefully thin firing line of stations, and the still sadder record given by tiny red flags of places once visited, and left again to their darkness...". And the outcome? Before [the group] had returned home, they had raised enough money to support six missionaries for three years. God used "the very weakness of it all."

It was that story; the story of nothing. The story of serving Christ and having nothing to show for it. Christ had the greatest glory when she had the least notoriety or praise. What about my missions? Be honest "Sanc": are you attracted to your missions because you want His glory, or hers? Well, right now in my life I'm experiencing passion for doing a few ministries that bring attention to self. Going to Rwanda, presenting the gospel to all the Cubbies last Wednesday, picking up blogging again and so on. Somewhat up front, center. Hmm. Some missions require being highly visible. People need ministry in crowds as much as they do in the backward places. The strain of the public mission is, like Paul who tore his clothes in distress, being diligent to keep pointing to heaven in all things. Is a public ministry more strenuous... than an obscure one? I am thankful to have found in times passed that there is a lot of pleasure in having only Christ's attention in a place few notice as ministry. I also recall at this time how I adore Debi Pearl's Created to be His Helpmeet. My roommates groomed me from the first moments of consciousness in Christ, with this mindset.

Are the public ministries less sanctifying? Is it possible the obscure ministries are less sanctifying? I'm not really sure.

It is really hard to imagine finding a sort of ministry where the attention of humanity is nullified.

I've spent a lot of years of my life pressing on in service where I had no praise or attention. It may have energized me lately to put on the opposite type and see... how Christ provides. But as I write this, I look back on those "paths through suffering" days and think, "ahh." Those were kind of sweet, I miss that.

I thank you LORD, for your love and your rest. Help me have open hands to receive what You would give, and keep me squarely placed in Your own will and not my own.

[1] Elliott, Elisabeth. A Path Through Suffering. Regal Books, Ventura CA. 1990, pp.109-110, 113

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


He establishes her

Whatever glory He gives, may I ever point Him out with that, and never keep it for myself.

LORD, your will be done!

Ps 87
His foundation is in the holy mountains.
The LORD loves the gates of Zion
More than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God! Selah

“I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to those who know Me;
Behold, O Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia:
‘This one was born there.’ ”

And of Zion it will be said,
“This one and that one were born in her;
And the Most High Himself shall establish her.”
The LORD will record,
When He registers the peoples:
“This one was born there.” Selah

Both the singers and the players on instruments say,
“All my springs are in you.”

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Class Concluded

I finished this afternoon the CEF class which taught me how to weave the entire gospel message into any story from the bible. I'm so excited that I can do this now! The assignment given me this week has been preparing to teach the story of Esther, specifically its climax in chapters seven and eight. It is the narrative where Esther advocates on behalf of her cousin and her entire people. As I put passion and animation into telling it, I could not help but feel affinity for the woman who fell before her king imploring him to receive her in his presence.

So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther, and as they were drinking wine on that second day, the king again asked, "Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted."
Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king."
King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, "Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?"
Esther said, "The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman."
Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.
Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining.
The king exclaimed, "Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?"
As soon as the word left the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, "A gallows seventy-five feet high stands by Haman's house. He had it made for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king."
The king said, "Hang him on it!" So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king's fury subsided.
That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman's estate.
Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.
"If it pleases the king," she said, "and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king's provinces. For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?"
King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, "Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have hanged him on the gallows. Now write another decree in the king's name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king's signet ring—for no document written in the king's name and sealed with his ring can be revoked."
At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai's orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king's signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.
The king's edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies. The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
The couriers, riding the royal horses, raced out, spurred on by the king's command. And the edict was also issued in the citadel of Susa.
Mordecai left the king's presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. In every province and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.

I didn't have hardly any time to prepare for the actual presentation. I showed up, feeling so unable at 8:45 am, and walked out at 3 pm, with my highest score of all! That's the grace of God.

Thank you LORD for your faithfulness, even when things look their worst, you have not forgotten your children.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A new door for the gospel

God has been impressing me with a burden to share Christ with the neighbors just out of my usual reach. You know I'd like to hang out with people "above me" who feed me, who equip me according to the Word of God but in the last several months I feel His admonishment to know that if this is all I've become, I forsake these precious children I see every day from the opportunity of moving from death to life.

The key that I believe God wants to use to unlock this door is my neighbor who is now coming with me to church since December. She knows them all well. Transients, addicted to alcohol, even drug dealers. It doesn't bother me, bring it on, right? She is one of them as far as they are concerned, and that means everything I think for the sake of transmission of the truth. She is truly a delight in my life. I get the opportunity to sit back and watch God just go to town. I'm not doing anything much at all! This lady is drawing new boundary lines in her life, she is desperate to be in God's house and to learn and meditate on the Word of God at all times. I take her to church for nearly all of my own things and she will raise her hand and give a testimony right in the middle of the sunday evening service when it isn't "the right time." To my shame I get a little red in the face at the moment. But she doesn't know what church protocol is, all she knows is, God is revealing Himself and His glory in her heart. She wants to share it.

I trepidly mentioned to her that I want to do a bible study for them, but that I would do it without her if she didn't feel the same way. But she does. She is excited about it. It's pretty obvious to both of us though that this cannot be "a bible study" or they won't come. Okay. So now we're brainstorming. We've been brainstorming the "how" to get them, for two or three weeks. I don't want to stay in this stage, I want to get an idea going and then do it. Satan wants to put it off. So I'm writing this blog post hoping that it'll kick me in gear as my class winds up this Saturday. Perhaps readers have some ideas, and that would be glorious!

So, both of us have two ideas. Mine is, we should just throw a party with no motive. Host them with food and quality time. This is what Jesus did in Matthew's house - he had a party. She thoroughly agrees.

Her idea is, that we should study the book of Revelation. She says she has talked to them and they find the topic of end-times interesting. In fact it was through the Lahaye books that she started realizing how important it was to get her relationship with Christ back in the right place. I have doubts about this. I certainly can't teach it.

Now I would greatly prefer to read the Gospel of John. I think it could get really messy and irrelevant to talk about the end times. On the other hand, just a little interest, combined with love, might make many ask to know the gospel. I am aware that even opening a Bible and having someone read from it can be Spiritually impacting.

I want this neighbor of mine to lead the study. I realize how little biblical knowledge she has, but somehow I do feel that this is God's will. And I will be there too to help make any corrections if they are necessary, at least this is how little I wish to interfere according to my own plans.

I've been praying that God will prepare my heart. This means I gotta get really lowly. Gonna get a little dirty, with life that is. Usually I can span the gap okay, and put aside chipper-Christian girl for a few hours on Fridays because who wants to see my bright shiny life when you realize you're pregnant and your life is falling apart? - and so on. This time I want something really authentic in this lowliness. Where I truly can't see myself as being any better off than they, as if I am one of them, without the sin of course. So I have invited the LORD to humble me.

LORD, humble me. But please, be gentle. Don't leave me, okay?

I love this song.

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