Seeking Peace in the City

If we really want peace in our city, then we need to use the tools God has given to us to bring peace. Prayer and Evangelism are two of those tools. When used together; they become an even more powerful tool called; “PRAYER EVANGELISM”. What does it look like? I will show you in 1 Timothy chapter 2, verse 1-8. NIV (emphasis mine)

v. 1urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority,


BECAUSE OF THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE QUALITY OF LIFE:If the garbage man drives over a trash can, we can buy a new trash can. However, if the Mayor or the Chief of Police makes a wrong decision, the entire city is affected by the mayor’s decision. An example would be the riots in Los Angeles following the beating of Rodney King.

BECAUSE OF THEIR LACK OF REAL INFLUENCE IN SOME AREAS: Men and women in government know that many of the problems they face have no solution, humanly speaking. They often will rely on “other gods” or occult influences for help. That is why we need to pray for God to help them with ideas, solutions, and tell them there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. We must pray because they are potentially open to prayer due to their realization of their inability to really influence major events.

BECAUSE THERE ARE DEMONIC FORCES: The world system is under the power of the evil one and evil structures operate along side political ones.

v. 2 that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

The only way for Christians to live in an environment characterized by all godliness and holiness is for many unbelievers to become Christians. And when we pray, those who don’t believe in Him will begin to become aware of His existence and begin to fear (reverence) Him. Then, and only then, will godliness and holiness permeate the city where the church exists,

v. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, v. 4 who wants all men to be saved
and come to a knowledge of the truth.

What Paul is saying is: Pray for everyone in your city, especially those in authority, to become Believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus has already provided the payment for this with His death, burial, and resurrection. God’s will is clear that He wants all men and women; boys and girls to be saved.

v. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ
Jesus, v. 6 who gave Himself as a ransom forall men – the testimony given in its
proper time. v. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle – I
am telling the truth, I am not lying- a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.


The church (that’s you and I) needs to begin to pray.

v. 8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer (“intercession”) without anger or disputing (“unity in the body”).

Then, and only then will true revival come to our city. Then, and only then will the city have true peace. A revival that fails to bring the lost to Jesus is a self-serving revival centered on man’s needs, wants, and desires; not on the glory of God.

Jeremiah 6:14 says; “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace’, they say when there is no peace.”

You and I were stragically placed in neighborhoods and places of work to be ambassadors for God. Until we start to intercede on behalf of our leaders, our cities will have no peace. We really do have a responsibility. We know that to remain silent while a house is burning is wrong. To not pray for those around us is the same as letting them sleep as we watch smoke beginning to pour out of their home.

2 Corinthians 2:20 “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

Ephesians 3:10-12 “His intent was that now, through the Church (that’s us!), the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which He accomplished in Jesus Christ our Lord. In Him, through faith in Him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

What I like about “PRAYER EVANGELISM” is that all it takes is a short time of committed prayer ; from the comfort of our cars, living rooms, front porches, or a stroll around the block- to ask God for the salvation of people (by name) in places we live and work.

Jeremiah 29:7 says; “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I
have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it (the city) prospers,
you too will prosper.”


From the Day of Pentecost, there has been not one great spiritual awakening in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though among 2 or 3, no such outward movement has continued after such prayer meetings declined.
– Dr. A. T. Pierson

When people start praying together in one accord to our Father in heaven, in the Name of Jesus, and practice praying together, things begin to change. Our lives change, our churches change, our communities change. Change takes place not when we study about prayer, not when we talk about it, not even when we memorizes beautiful scripture verses on prayer; it is only when we actually pray that things begin to happen.
– Evelyn Christenson


Quite Suddenly

A funny quirk that we as humans have is that we seem to think that life as we know it will always be ‘life as we know it’. We seem to live our lives surprised when things change!

The Ford Plant in Minnesota has been a stable business in St. Paul and has provided jobs for multitudes for many years. Many people would tell you that they never imagined the plant ever closing its’ doors; and yet the Ford Plant is closing its doors for good!

I know a man who, when he was in college, had a full head of hair; almost lion like. Now, he is half-way to baldness. His wife and family would tell you that they never imagined it disappearing; and yet it is almost all gone!

All around us we see stores such as Kohls having “3-Day” Sales: “Only 3 Days Left!” or “SALE Today ONLY!” Many people would tell you that they never imagined the sales ever really ending; and yet they do (of course they start a new one in 3 days!).

In 2006, Dayton’s changed the name of their stores to Macy. Dayton stores have been a stable business and a household name for many years. Many people would tell you that they never imagined it changing its name; and yet they did!

Businesses suddenly end in foreclosure or bankruptcy. Buildings that house schools, stores, or favorite places we like to visit suddenly close up and end up sitting vacant. Families suddenly move away from towns in which their ancestors for many generations had lived. Many people would tell you that they never imagined it; and yet it happens!

What about a loved one suddenly dying? Death is all around us daily on the news and yet we are always surprised when it happens to those we know.

You might be thinking to yourself; “Tom, what is your point?” My Friends; our opportunity to get out and tell the world the Good News will one day come to an end and Jesus will come to take us home. And yet, we live our lives hiding our ‘lights under a bushel’; holding back from sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and His plan of salvation.

Why? Because we seem to live a state of denial; believing that life will always be as it is. My dear Friends, I hate to break the news to you, but this world as we know it will come to an end. Even non-Christians will tell you that they don’t believe that we can go on the way we have as the human race: killing one another, not taking care of the environment, etc. Many people would tell you that they never imagined September 11, 2001 happening; EVER! And yet it did happen! And this fragile world of ours has never been the same!

We are exhorted in Scripture to redeem the time, to look for opportunities to witness for Christ. We are to be as alert for witnessing to the lost as bargain hunters are looking for great deals. Yet we often neglect to use circumstances that come to us in our lives to say a word for our Lord and endeavor to point the lost to Him. Our intentions are good, but like the sale we meant to get to, the opportunity passes us by, and before we realize it, the person to whom we should have spoken to is suddenly beyond our reach. Heaven closes its doors and those who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior are lost for eternity. Oh Lord, have mercy on us!

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?


Quite suddenly – it may at the turning of a lane,
Where I stand to watch a skylark soar from out of the swelling grain.
That the trump of God shall thrill me, with its call so loud and clear,
And I’m called away to meet Him, whom of all I hold most dear.

Quite suddenly – it may be in His house I bend my knee,
When a Kingly voice long hoped for, comes at last to summon me.
And the fellowship of earth-life that has seemed so passing sweet,
Proves nothing but the shadow of our meeting round His feet.

Quite suddenly – it may be as I tread the busy street
Strong enough to endure life’s stress, and strain, its every call to meet,
That through the roar of traffic, a trumpet silvery clear,
Shall stir my startled senses and proclaim His coming near.

Quite suddenly – it may be as I lie in dreamless sleep.
God’s gift to many a sorrowing heart, with no more tears to weep.
That a call shall break my slumber, and a Voice sound in my ear,
Rise up, my love, and come away! Behold, the Bridegroom’s here!

From “The Continual Burnt Offerings” by H.A. Ironside. © 1994by Loizeaux Brothers


Life at best is very brief,
Like the falling of a leaf,
Like the binding of a sheath,
Be in time.
Fleeting days are telling fast,
That the die will soon be cast,
And the fatal line be passed,
Be in time.
Fairest flowers soon decay,
Youth and beauty pass away,
Oh, you have not long to stay,
Be in time.
While God’s spirit bids you come,
Sinners do not longer roam
Lest you seal your hopeless doom (original line)
Lest you lose your way back home (new line)
Be in time, won’t you be in time.
Lord I want to live for you,
Give all I can give for you,
Help me, Jesus, to make
The most of my time.
Fleeting days are telling fast,
That the die will soon be cast,
And the fatal line be passed,
Be in time.
Lord, help me be in time.

Lyrics By Anonymous & Phil Keaggy © 1986 by Marquerite/Emmaus Road Music

A Daily Prayer For Freedom

by John Eldredge from the book “Waking the Dead”

My dear Lord Jesus, I come to you now to be restored in you-to renew my place in you, my allegiance to you, and to receive from you all the grace and mercy I so desperately need this day. I honor you as my sovereign Lord, and I surrender every aspect of my life totally and completely to you. I give you my body as a living sacrifice; I give you my heart, soul, mind, and strength; and I give you my spirit as well.

I cover myself with your blood-my spirit, my soul, and my body. And I ask your Holy Spirit to restore my union with you, seal me in you, and guide me in this time of prayer. In all that I now pray, I include (my spouse, and/or my children, by name). Acting as their head, I bring them under my authority and covering, and I come under your authority and covering. Holy Spirit, apply to them all that I now pray on their behalf.

Dear God, holy and victorious Trinity, you alone are worthy of all my worship, my heart’s devotion, all my praise and all my trust and all the glory of my life. I worship you, bow to you, and give myself over to you in my heart’s search for life. You alone are Life, and you have become my life. I renounce all other gods, all idols, and I give you the place in my heart and in my life that you truly deserve. I confess here and now that it is all about you, God, and not about me. You are the Hero of this story, and I belong to you. Forgive me, God, for my every sin. Search me and know me and reveal to me any aspect of my life that is not pleasing to you, expose any agreements I have made, and grant me the grace of a deep and true repentance.

Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and choosing me before you made the world. You are my true Father-my Creator, my Redeemer, my Sustainer, and the true end of all things, including my life. I love you; I trust you; I worship you. Thank you for proving your love for me by sending your only Son, Jesus, to be my substitute and representative. I receive him and all his life and all his work, which you ordained for me.

Thank you for including me in Christ, for forgiving me my sins, for granting me his righteousness, for making me complete in him. Thank you for making me alive with Christ, raising me with him, seating me with him at your right hand, granting me his authority, and anointing me with your Holy Spirit. I receive it all with thanks and give it total claim to my life.

Jesus, thank you for coming for me, for ransoming me with your own life. I honor you as my Lord; I love you, worship you, trust you. I sincerely receive you as my redemption, and I receive all the work and triumph of your crucifixion, whereby I am cleansed from all my sin through your shed blood, my old nature is removed, my heart is circumcised unto God, and every claim being made against me is disarmed. I take my place in your cross and death, whereby I have died with you to sin and to my flesh, to the world, and to the Evil One. I am crucified with Christ, and I have crucified my flesh with all its passions and desires. I take up my cross and crucify my flesh with all its pride, unbelief, and idolatry. I put off the old man. I now bring the cross of Christ between me and all people, all spirits, all things. Holy Spirit, apply to me (my spouse and/or children) the fullness of the work of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for me. I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my life.

Jesus, I also sincerely receive you as my new life, my holiness and sanctification, and I receive all the work and triumph of your resurrection, whereby I have been raised with you to a new life, to walk in newness of life, dead to sin and alive to God. I am crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. I now take my place in your resurrection, whereby I have been made alive with you, I reign in life through you. I now put on the new man in all holiness and humility, in all righteousness and purity and truth. Christ is now my life, the one who strengthens me. Holy Spirit, apply to me (my spouse and/or my children) the fullness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ for me. I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my life.

Jesus, I also sincerely receive you as my authority and rule, my ever-lasting victory over Satan and his kingdom, and I receive all the work and triumph of your ascension, whereby Satan has been judged and cast down, his rulers and authorities disarmed, all authority in heaven and on earth given to you, Jesus, and I have been given fullness in you, the Head over all. I take my place in your ascension, whereby I have been raised with you to the right hand of the Father and established with you in all authority. I bring your authority and your kingdom rule over my life, my family, my household, and my domain.

And now I bring the fullness of your work-your cross, resurrection, and ascension-against Satan, against his kingdom, and against all his emissaries and all their work warring against me and my domain. Greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world. Christ has given me authority to overcome all the power of the Evil One, and I claim that authority now over and against every enemy, and I banish them in the name of Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, apply to me (my spouse and my children) the fullness of the work of the ascension of Jesus Christ for me. I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my life.

Holy Spirit, I sincerely receive you as my Counselor, my Comforter, my Strength, and my Guide. Thank you for sealing me in Christ. I honor you as my Lord, and I ask you to lead me into all truth, to anoint me for all of my life and walk and calling, and to lead me deeper into Jesus today. I fully open my life to you in every dimension and aspect-my body, my soul, and my spirit-choosing to be filled with you, to walk in step with you in all things. Apply to me, blessed Holy Spirit, all of the work and all of the gifts in Pentecost. Fill me afresh, blessed Holy Spirit. I receive you with thanks and give you total claim to my life (and my spouse and/or children).

Heavenly Father, thank you for granting to me every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.

I receive those blessings into my life today, and I ask the Holy Spirit to bring all those blessings into my life this day. Thank you for the blood of Jesus. Wash me once more with his blood from every sin and stain and evil device. I put on your armor-the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation. I take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and I wield these weapons against the Evil One in the power of God. I choose to pray at all times in the Spirit, to be strong in you, Lord, and in your might.

Father, thank you for your angels. I summon them in the authority of Jesus Christ and release them to war for me and my household. May they guard me at all times this day. Thank you for those who pray for me; I confess I need their prayers, and I ask you to send forth your Spirit and rouse them, unite them, raising up the full canopy of prayer and intercession for me. I call forth the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ this day throughout my home, my family, my life, and my domain. I pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, with all glory and honor and thanks to him.  AMEN

© 2003 John Eldredge from the book “Waking the Dead” Thomas Nelson Publishers

When Things Look Impossible

Luke 2:10-16 “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you; you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us now go to Bethlehem, and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste,and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.” NKJV (Emphasis by me)

Christmas is the time we celebrate God sending His Son Jesus into the world as a child; born to a virgin named Mary. We listen, we watch, we observe, we wonder about the message from the angels to the shepherds: “there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

But what do we do with this information that we hear in the songs and the stories of Christmas?

Is there really any relevance in this 2000 year old message?

How do we apply what we’ve heard into our day to day lives?

What do we do with this information today, as we try to live this stuff out?

What do we do with this information tomorrow as we gather with relatives only to face another Christmas of rejection, and pain, and disappointment? It seems impossible that they could ever change.

What do we do with this information next week as we go back to our real jobs and our real lives with all of their trials and seemingly impossible adventures?

What do we do with this information when things look impossible?

When things look impossible

we need to remember that the shepherd FOUND a babe wrapped in swaddling clothing lying in a feed trough.

Did you notice that God didn’t leave His message simply up to human faith? My question for you is; “How often do shepherds find the babies lying in a feed trough?”

God confirmed that born to us in the city of David was a Savior– Jesus Christ And that same God who was born as a babe in a manger is waiting to reveal Himself to us in power and wonder and awe like He did to the shepherds!

Jesus walked here on this earth and revealed the manifest presence of the Creator of the universe! As Immanuel (‘God-with-flesh-on’)!

Jesus said: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” John 14:9 NKJV

Jesus is the same God who parted the Red Sea,

Jesus is the same God who closed the mouth of the lions who were ready to eat Daniel.

Jesus is the same God who is abundant in mercy and grace and wishing that none would perish, giving His life to pay for the atonement of our sins.

When things look impossible

we need to remember that although Jesus came as a babe, He grew up and lived this life that we live.

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Rome:

Romans 8:34 “… It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” NKJV

Hebrews 7:25 “…He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.” NKJV

When things look impossible

we need to remember that the story of Jesus’ birth is not just some cute story told once a year. There is healing, and power, and deliverance available to us when we call upon His Name….RIGHT NOW! We have access to this same Jesus who is interceding for us: RIGHT NOW!

In the Old Testament, we find God revealing Himself through various situations. Revealing who He is and His character as Healer, Provider, All Powerful.

In Luke 2:10-16, we find Him revealing that He is the SAVIOR. Did you notice in that passage in Luke that the shepherds were told that: “There is born toYOU this day in the city of David, a SAVIOR, who is Christ the Lord.” NKJV

Born for YOU

For YOU He left heaven and was born in a manger
For YOU He bore the cross and was crucified
For YOU His blood was poured out from His hands and His feet
For YOU He said “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they do”
For YOU He breathed His last breath and said, “It is finished”
For YOU He rose from the dead on the 3rd day.
YES: for unto YOU is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

My friend, I’m not sure what challenges you are facing today:

Maybe you are in a school or a job or a family where they take the name of God in vain or you are experiencing some other difficult situation, and you say, “I can’t survive here spiritually!”

Maybe you’re facing seemingly impossible situations that have tormented you and stolen your sleep and your health.

Maybe you are facing overwhelming financial difficulties during this time of massive unemployment.

Maybe you are facing the loss of a loved one through death or divorce and you can’t find any hope in this season of joy.

Maybe you are involved in sin, and a life style that has trapped you and you can’t see any way out of your addiction.

Maybe you are dealing with loneliness that is crushing your soul.

Maybe disappointment and despair have gripped you to the point that you have been wrestling with thoughts of suicide.

Maybe you are simply facing the challenge of fixing a flat tire.

Listen dear friends, I’m writing this article to let you know that the message that the angels brought to those shepherds centuries ago is still true today. That Jesus wants you to come to Him knowing that He longs to give you peace that only comes from a right relationship with Him:

While you’re in the midst of what you are going through…

When you’re overwhelmed by your circumstances…

Jesus said: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” NKJV John 16:33

So, once again I ask the question; What do we do with this information that we hear in the songs and the stories of Christmas?

To those who don’t know Jesus:

I would hate to think of someone going through another Christmas and not understanding why Jesus came.

Jesus came to pay for our sins so that we could be forgiven and be in right relationship with the Father. THAT WAS HIS PLAN ALL ALONG.

It is so easy to miss that as we sort through the bills, gifts and traditions.

Simply put, Jesus is calling out for you today. But He wants so much more than just today, He wants your tomorrows and all that follows in the future.

All you have to do is respond to His calling for you to turn from your ways and ask His forgiveness. He will take care of the rest.


To those who know Jesus:

I would hate to think of a Christian going through another day without knowing and entering into the victory and peace that comes when we call upon the Name of the Lord.

“YES”, He is our Savior, but He is so much more than that. And you need to remember that He is and cry out to Him.

When Things Look Impossible

We need to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal who God is

Reminding you that He is a faithful God and will come through

That born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

In Jesus Name, Amen!


What’s Your Resolution?

New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. The “Top Ten” resolutions people throughout the world make are:

  1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends.
  2. Fit in Fitness.
  3. Tame the Bulge.
  4. Quit Smoking.
  5. Enjoy Life More.
  6. Quit Drinking.
  7. Get Out of Debt.
  8. Learn Something New.
  9. Help Others.
  10. Get Organized.

Not only do we all make New Year’s Resolutions, but, we all proceed to break them, perhaps deterring us from make new resolutions ever again. As far as I know, I’ve only been able to keep one New Year’s Resolution in my life; I made it 25 years ago, it was to never make another New Year’s Resolution. And, 25 years later, I continue to keep it.

Now, I don’t want to sound cynical to you, the reader, as you are focused on setting and keeping resolutions and goals for the New Year. Resolutions and goals programs are great if they result in getting us where we want to end up. But the facts show us that a high percentage of people make and then break their resolutions shortly into the New Year. Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”

I bring up this “insane” cycle that people go through every New Year to say; “My friends, we have a great opportunity before us!” All around the world, people are assessing the past year and are looking for ways to change the way they live. They are setting new goals to live differently; to be a better person; to give up bad habits and start new good ones; they are open to the spiritual side of life. And they are open to have someone; anyone, show them how to do it when their New Year’s resolutions fail and they return to life as it was before January 1st. People are waiting for someone to give them answers. We know that only Jesus can bring real changes. It is time for us to no longer be ashamed of the Gospel knowing that it is the only power to change their lives. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

My question to you today is, “Are you available to be used by God to those around you who are looking for concrete ways to change; available to introduce them to the only One who can bring lasting and eternal changes to their lives?” Or, have you so planned your life that you fail to believe what God might do through you? Do you anticipate God changing you? Shifting you? Preparing you to be an ambassador for the King?

1Corithians 2:9 says; “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Did you catch that? Not only have we not seen what God has prepared for us or how He wants to use us, but it has not even entered into our hearts! We haven’t thought it before! In other words we haven’t seen anything yet!

Something that has been resounding in my spirit lately is the thought that on the Day of Pentecost, 120 frightened believers absorbed 3000 in one day. My guess is that those who were gathered in the Upper Room; as recorded by Luke in Acts 2 had no idea of what was awaiting them when they stepped outside; or when they gathered inside the upper room for that matter. Something changed in their lives that affected 3000 people.

What about you? You can try as hard as you can; resolve to change with all your might, but real change can only take place when you allow the Holy Spirit to change you. The Power of the Holy Spirit will transform you. Did you notice what it did in the Apostle Peter’s life; this uneducated fisherman? Suddenly Peter was transformed and understood God’s purpose, God’s Word, and understood the ministry of Jesus. Suddenly, Peter had boldness. Suddenly, this transformation was confirmed with signs and wonders. Wow! That is the change that people are looking for as they pursue a new life in this New Year! How about you?

My exhortation to you is that you ask the Holy Spirit to transform you; to make a resolution to let Him be your Senior Partner in all you do this year. Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. To ask the Holy Spirit to make you bold with the purpose of God as His ambassador and watch how He will use you; even today!

Our religion is like fire, again, because of its tremendous energy and its rapid advance. Who shall be able to estimate the force of fire? Our forefathers standing on this side of the river, as they gazed many years ago upon the old city of London wrapped in flame, must have wondered with great astonishment as they saw cottage and palace, church and hall, monument and Cathedral, all succumbing to the tongue of flame. It must be a wonderful sight, if one could safely see it, to behold a prairie rolling along its great sheets of flame or to gaze upon Vesuvius when it is spouting away at its utmost force. When you deal with fire, you cannot calculate; you are among the imponderables and the immeasureables. I wish we thought of that when we are speaking of religion. You cannot calculate concerning its spread. How many years would it take to convert the world? asks somebody. Sir, it need not take ten minutes, if God so willed it; because as fire, beyond all reckoning, will sometimes, when circumstances are congenial, suddenly break out and spread, so will truth. Truth is not a mechanism – and does not depend upon engineering. A thought in one mind, why not the same thought in fifty? That thought in fifty minds, why not in fifty thousand? The truth which affects a village, and stirs it from end to end, why not a town, a city, why not a nation? Why not all nations? God may, when he wills it, bring all human minds into such a condition that one single text such as this,”This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acception, the Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,” may set all hearts on a blaze . . . I can believe anything about fire. Let a man tell me that in a house just now a bundle of rags have begun to burn; let him tell me in five minutes that the shop is on fire; let him tell me in five minutes more that it is blazing through the shutters, or that the next story is burning, or that the roof is coming in, I could believe it all. Fire can do anything. So with the gospel of Jesus; given but an earnest preacher, given but the truth fully declared, given an earnest people, determined to propagate the gospel, and I can understand a nation converted to God, ay, and all the nations of the earth suddenly shaken with the majesty of truth.

-C.H.Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Sermons Preached and Revised by C.H. Spurgeon During the Year 1869, pp. 81-82


Polishing Trophies

I was asked to write an article for the LIFELine about how I have shared my faith, witnessed, and/or led people to the Lord. I said “yes”; for I had many years of many experiences. Evangelism is one of my passions that drives me as a child of God.

I had story after story of being used to lead the lost to Christ in my home, at work, on the street, neighborhood, and with my family. Story after story; “trophies” if you will; of times of God using me in street witnessing, in bible studies, in preaching, in situations with family & co-workers, and in times of divine encounters with complete strangers. Stories of seeing thousands come to Christ at Crusades & prayer tents.

A multitude of situations flooded my mind as I pondered which story, which trophy to take down from the shelf and “polish up” to share. I even wondered how I would limit the article to one story, one article, and one situation.

But as I was driving one day, thinking about the article, I found myself painfully aware at what my stories, my experiences had become. My nose seemed to be filled with the smell of “Brasso” for it seemed to me that all of my past evangelistic experiences had been just that; FROM THE PAST. In fact, it had been over 5 years since the last time I had led someone to Christ. My heart was pierced and I was deeply moved to tears.

My stories, my trophies had all been in the past. I had become one of the many who had grow cold in the work of evangelism. I had been content with telling old stories of what Jesus did way back when; content with polishing trophies instead of pressing in to crying out for souls TODAY.

I had grown cold in my passion to see the lost come to the Lord TODAY. Jesus said in Luke 19: 10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost”; not to polish trophies.

What had become of the passion that caused me to go to the downtown areas of the Twin Cities to seek the lost once a week? What had become of the passion that would cause me to seek to share the Gospel on a daily basis?

Had people stopped going to hell? Was the seating capacity of heaven all filled up? Had God closed the doors and was no longer taking reservations?

No, I had become content with polishing trophies instead of winning souls. Jesus said that, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”; But we are still called to seek “What can I do to be a co-laborer with You, Lord?”

There are many reasons why I had grown cold. Some were for reasons of protection as I drew back to seek refuge and healing in my life. Some were because of feelings as thought God had no longer any use for me as I pondered areas of compromise and sin in my own life. Some were from apathy as I drew further into isolation. Some was from not believing that God’s mercy was still new EVERY day. Some were from being content with polishing trophies; forgetting that fresh stories were waiting just around the corner. Some were from not seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.

Jesus is still calling each of us to share His good news with the lost and broken of this world. Jesus said, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32).

My friends, it is time for us to allow the Holy Spirit to take us to new places in our experiences like those we read about in the Acts of the Apostles, this month, this week, this day.

We need to ask for boldness: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6: 18-20).

Join me, won’t you, as we together cry out and seek to co-labor with the Lord Jesus Christ for fresh stories of His grace. Today is the day of salvation. God wants to reach the lost today. And then next time an article is written, it will be of fresh “trophies” of new lives now in the family of God. For His Name’s sake, Amen!


Mending Nets for A Harvest

Fishermen of Jesus’ time used fishing nets every day. It was the tool of their trade. Every season fishermen repair their fishing nets. This process is very tedious and timeconsuming; but very necessary to catch fish.

Fishermen’s nets break for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the nets break because of the large haul that the fishermen are bringing in. Sometimes the nets break because of sharp objects and rough edges. Sometimes the nets need mending simply because of the general wear and tear of everyday use.

As Christians, we too are much like fishermen using nets. In a sense, every day we cast, let down, and drag our nets to reach the lost for Christ. While reaching out to people, sometimes our nets break. As we go about our daily work, our lives and ministry, our nets get caught, snagged and cut because of misunderstandings, grievances, unkind words, wrong thoughts about who we are, and many other things.

In the New Testament, we see the disciples “washing their nets” and “mending their nets.” As fishermen, they realized that if they were ever going to be prepared to bring in that large haul, they needed their nets ready. As Christians, the same applies to us. It is time for us to mend our nets so that we are ready for His use.

We must mend our nets before we go out fishing; before we go out to labor for the Lord. How? By responding to His call for us to draw near to Him and to spend time with Him.

Jesus said in John 15:5 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing”

Often, our work is motivated by the work that needs to be done. We need, rather, to be motivated by His love for us. We do this by spending time with Him; to enjoy Him; to hear what is on His heart. As we do this, we start to see people as He sees them. We start to love what He loves. We start to be concerned about the things that God is concerned about.

As we spend time with Him in His Word, we learn who we are in Christ; soaking in deeply in the knowledge of who He is; as well as what and who we are in Christ. God wants to mend us from lies the “accuser of the brethren” has spoken into our ears about who we are. Father God wants us to begin to see ourselves as He sees us; to remind ourselves daily that we are His daughters and sons.

God doesn’t view us as we view ourselves. He tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

We need to know how to explain the love of the Lord by first experiencing it ourselves. We are burdened by our inability to share. We need to be set free; to mend our nets, and then go fishing. They can spit in our faces, but that doesn’t change that we are His.

Another part of mending the nets is by repairing relationships in our lives that our broken. You may say to me; “I don’t know how!” and “I can’t do that!” I know, but He can! God is preparing and repairing the strands of the nets, making sure that the knots are all tied. The strength of the net depends on the integrity of every strand connected to each other. The net must be strong to hold what He is going to bring to us.

Join me, won’t you, as together me we allow Jesus to mend the nets as we anticipate a great harvest! In Jesus Name, Amen!

We Need Jesus
Words and music by John and Dino Elefante and Scott Springer.

Verse 1:
When will the world See that we need Jesus?
If we open our eyes We will all realize That He loves us
When will the world See that we need Jesus?
When our hearts are as one And believe that He’s the Son of our God

The Lord is our God And we shall never want
The Lord is our God And we shall live forever
When we share the love of Jesus
See each other as He sees us
Then His love will see us through
His love will see us through

Verse 2:
When will the world See that we need Jesus?
When sister and brother Love one another as one
When will the world See that we need Jesus?
Will we ever understand Jesus is the Son of man?
We must live in the shadow of His love


Me, Defend My Faith?

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you’ve probably been challenged to prove that God exists, to prove that what you believe is real and true; to defend your faith. When that happens, it is not unusual to feel ill-equipped or that you have no answers to defend the reality of Jesus Christ.

We look for someone else to defend who God is and what He does or doesn’t do. We are afraid that if we don’t have the correct answer, we will be jumped on by someone who has been thinking about their beliefs a whole lot longer than us. We say to ourselves, “I’m not a Bible scholar; I don’t have the training or weapons or tools to give the correct answers.”


But each of us as Christians DOES have powerful tools we can use to bring to others the reality of Jesus Christ is. The Apostle Paul wrote “For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4 ).

One of the tools we have is the testimony of a consistent walk. Nothing confirms the reality of Jesus Christ more than a consistent walk and a changed life. Hypocrisy, shortcomings, and inconsistency in our lives become excuses for unbelievers to reject what we proclaim. To speak one thing and to do the opposite is something that our “tolerant” society simply won’t tolerate.

Personally, I believe there are really two other reasons people don’t become Christians: #1 – They don’t know any Christians. #2 – They know some Christians.

People are watching you in all areas of your life. Not so much to judge; although they do that; but watching to see if what you say is real, is real. As soon as someone finds out that you are a Christian, they began to observe your life. Watching you to see if you practice what you preach, watching to see if you walk the talk. People are watching your life to see if there is any truth to this faith in this world of relevant truth.

Someone once said; “The greatest single cause of atheism in this world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him with their lives. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

Another powerful tool that we have is the testimony of what Jesus has done in our lives. As Christians, each of us has a personal story to tell of what God has done in our lives, something called a “personal testimony.” Each of us has a story that no one can ever refute. Others may argue our faith, our beliefs, our shortcomings, but they can not argue what has happened in our lives. What Christ has done in each of our lives is a story that is unique and profoundly proclaims the wonders of the God who made us all.

The Apostle Peter exhorts us to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:17-20


Living Water At the Kitchen Sink

By Dorothy Langstaff
© 2007 Used with permission.

I opened the door to a Patti, a very pleasant lady, who had come to talk to us about purified water systems. I felt a strong urge to welcome her with a hug but refrained from doing so as we didn’t know each other and she would think me a little strange. I showed her into the kitchen, explaining what I wanted and she gave a presentation of how the water filtration system works and how great the water would be for our use. She believed it was the purest and best tasting water available.

Patti and I were at the kitchen sink with the signed papers spread out on the counter. As I looked down and noticed the colored water waves across the bottom of her business card, I had a very distinct thought. I could easily make a switch in the conversation and talk about the ‘Living Water’ from Jesus. I looked up and said ‘You have just told me about this great pure water but I know of water that is even better.’

‘What’s that?’ she asked with a questioning look.

‘Living Water,’ I said, ‘The kind that comes from Jesus.’ I was feeling the love of God fill my heart and went on to share a simple message of God’s love for her and how Jesus had died for her so that she could be saved and have eternal life. I saw big tears fill her eyes and roll down her cheeks.

‘I really needed really this,’ she said through her tears. ‘Why am I crying? I feel so emotional.’ I told her it was normal to cry when your heart was being touched. She thanked me profusely for sharing with her. She told me she had bought a bible but had not been reading it and that she had wanted to go to church but hadn’t gone yet. I thought of stories of others that had led people to the Lord wherever they could so I asked her ‘Would you like to accept Jesus as your Savior?’
‘Yes, I would,’ she said.
‘You can do it now,’ I told her.
‘Now?’ she asked, as her tears stained eyes grew wide in surprise.
‘Yes, now. You can pray right now,’ I replied.
‘What do I say?’ she asked nervously. I explained a little more and asked if she would like me to lead her in a prayer.
‘Yes, I would like that,’ she said. The Holy Spirit was there. My kitchen had become holy ground. We both felt it. I took her hands in mine and led her in prayer to accept Jesus. Then I hugged her and said ‘Now you are born again. Welcome into God’s family.’ She was crying, laughing and beside herself with joy.
‘This is so wonderful!’ she said as she practically danced around the kitchen. ‘Thank you, I am so grateful. You have blessed me so much. You shared with such love.’
‘It’s my blessing too,’ I said.
‘God must have meant this to happen,’ she said, ‘My next appointment cancelled otherwise I would not have been able to stay this long.’ As she left, she said, ‘This has been the most wonderful appointment I have ever had in my life.’
‘This is the most wonderful day of your whole life,’ I replied giving her one last hug.

Postscript – We spoke on the phone a few weeks later. ‘A bizarre thing happened to me the other day,’ she said, ‘I was in the mall shopping when I noticed a piece of paper folded up and lying on the display table amongst the sweaters. I picked it up and to my amazement it was a ‘Love Letter from Jesus.’ I knew God had put it there just for me. I have carried it round in my purse ever since. I was meeting a group of friends that night and it was the topic of conversation the entire evening.’

A testimony from Dorothy Langstaff published in the January 2007 issue of The Langstaff Letter from Kairos Ministries.


Help for Impossible Situations

When things look “Impossible”, you need to remember who JESUS is:

When things look impossible, remember His name is Jesus Mt 1:21 He is The Prince of Peace Is 9:6  The Mighty God Is 9:6  The Wonderful Counselor Is 9:6

When things look impossible, remember He is The Holy One Mk 1:24 The Lamb of God John 1:29  The Lord God Almighty Rev 15:3  The Great I AM John 8:58

When things look impossible, remember He is The Lion of The Tribe of Judah Rev 5:5 He is The Root of David Rev 22:16  The Word of Life 1 John 1:1

When things look impossible, remember He is The Author and Finisher of Our Faith Heb 12:2 He is The Advocate 1 John 2:1  He is The Way John 14:6  He is The Dayspring Luke 1:78

When things look impossible, remember He is The Lord of All Acts 10:36 He is The Son of God John 1:34  The Shepherd & Bishop of Our Souls 1 Peter 2:25

When things look impossible, remember He is The Messiah John 1:41 He is The Root of Truth John 14:6  He is The Savior 2 Peter 2:20

When things look impossible, remember He is The Chief Cornerstone Rev 22:16 He is The King of Kings Rev 19:16  and The Lord of Lords Rev 19:16

When things look impossible, remember He is The Righteous Judge 2 Tim 4:8 He is The Chief Shepherd 1 Peter 5:4  The Head of The Church Eph 1:22

When things look impossible, remember He is The Light of The World John 8:12 The Bright and Morning Star Rev 22:16  The Son of Righteousness Mal 4:22

When things look impossible, remember He is The Alpha and The Omega Rev 1:18 The Governor Matt 2:6 The Horn of Salvation Luke 1:69 The Resurrection & The Life John 11:25

by Pastor Tom Oestreich ©2011  River of Hope Ministries