Passion: The Comforter Bears Witness

     “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. ” John 15: 26,27 KJV

          My favorite game as a kid was “Superfriends”. Yep, no hide and seek for me, no baseball or football. I was a role player all the way. While other kids were learning to catch, I was pouring over the comic section at the local penny candy store and wishing I could be like Superman, Green Lantern, or The Flash. Truth is  I was the nerd who could read before he started kindergarten but always got picked last in gym. I think I liked imagination games because at least on that playing field I stood a chance of competing and winning.

     Real life, though, isn’t a role-playing game. I soon found out that being able to answer all the questions in class and running slower than the girls puts you on the bottom rung of the social ladder for the most part and keeps you there particularly if you never hit your stride.

     It’s not really a wonder that my childhood game turned into a preadolescent fascination with the supernatural. My penchant for comic books turned into a thirst for books about the New Age. I began trying to channel spirits and believed I could talk to the dead. By thirteen I was one weird, messed up kid.

     But then through a series of events God broke in on my life. I wasn’t seeking Him. I was looking to talk to the dead guy who owned my parents house in the fifties. But God was looking for me. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, sent a witness in the form of a godly teacher.

      When I told my mother that I wanted to go to my teacher’s church she said “No if you’re going to go to any church it will be your Uncle Tom’s.”

     That was strange because everyone in the family thought Uncle Tom was crazy. But the Holy Spirit knew what I needed; So He arranged it. I remember my first experience with the Pentecostal Church. It was wild! I heard people speaking in tongues and other people interpreting those tongues. Another guy spoke a  prophetic word  in the service. Then the pastor called people forward for divine healing. People fell over while he was praying for them and all the while the church was singing and rejoicing in the Lord. There was a lot of clapping and shouting and praising God…and I experienced the supernatural presence of God for the first time ! Right there in that little New England Assembly of God I found the Source of all power and somehow I knew I didn’t have to imagine being “super” any more. I realized if I could just tap into this Source I would never be the “weak one” again.

     A movement has grabbed our churches since those days. Some of us have become “seeker-sensitive” espousing a notion that supernatural displays of power in the public service will turn people off and send them packing out our doors. I’m here to testify that is a lie. I needed the supernatural presence of God. Other people need it too. The Holy Spirit and His demonstrations of power are indeed outlandish, wild, extreme, sometimes even a little frightening…but they prove God is powerful to a world that is craving empowerment.

      Maybe the Holy Spirit freaks out the people who have always been picked first for the gym class. Maybe He seems strange to those who already have it in their heads they can make it on their own steam. But I have to tell you this “wimpy kid”, lost in his own personal dungeons and dragons game, needed a Comforter who would testify about a Jesus who loved me even though I didn’t measure up. I still need that! Somewhere along the way the Holy Spirit became that equalizing force I always craved.  

     How many I wonder are like me? Let’s open our eyes to the fact that we live in a nation increasingly disempowered seeking something.. anything that will fill the void of our weakness. It has always been the Spirit’s job to point the world to Jesus through displays of power that confirm the truth, that He alone can fill that void! The church has the responsibility to partner with him in that witness. We have been called to let His power flow!

Quench Not the Spirit. Happy Pentecost!

Pastor Wrinkle’s Corner: The End


1. Tell me what it mean in your own words to be born again




2.  Tell me why you would want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit



Tonight we are finishing up the Book of ___________________.

We are covering the __________________ part of the book or the part that has yet to happen.

In Your groups: Read Revelation 20:11- 22:21

Discuss what you think the end of time looks like. Who do you believe you will see there? Why?





In your small groups tonight you talked about the end of __________ and Heaven. Now we are going to talk about the judgment that leads up to the wonderful time in Heaven.

The judgment of Earth is yet to ______________ and we don;t really know when it will happen.

It takes seven years and is three ___________ of seven judgments.

It is all kicked off by the rapture of the church. Tell me in your own words what that is.



Seven seal judgments:








Seven Trumpet judgments:








Seven Bowl judgments:








After this comes the ____________________ reign of Christ and then the Battle of ______________________ and then eternity.

This has been the story of God’s bargains with mankind.

Do you accept the bargain?


Love The Wounded

So I asked my son to guest post again. Here is what he said.


Love the Wounded

by Joseph Lillie on Monday, May 23, 2011 at 1:28am

       So I know my new blog name on wordpress (which I am still trying to figure out) is LovExpressed, and I know I often write on the topic of love. I was contemplating today, however, do I even love? My answer as all humans is not nearly enough. This makes my life very paradoxical. I will explain what I mean. My heart has been burdened by this thought for quite some time. Now I am not merely be a social reform activist but this world is also a paradox in the sense that people are living without purpose, and hope when that hope and purpose are right in front of them. I see myself as a paradox because in the very core of my being I have hope I can share but I let fear, and my individualistic self hold it in as do many of us. Quite frankly who can say they pray for the world every day? Week? Month? There is a battle brewing and our greatest weapon is not our knowledge, but our love, and humility expressed through prayer.

I see the homeless man who has worn the same clothes for six months without a bath. Despite this fact I worry about next months rent, as I watch my big screen TV. I see the child in Mexico who has no food, or clean water, and drinks the bacteria infested water and I worry that the number 5 in my left hand, and my large coke in my right is not enough. I see the woman who is about to lose her childhood because her parents are being decieved, and I complain about my paycheck being to small. I see the widow who lost her husband, the woman with the misscariage, the teen who has lost everything to live for and still I have the hope but I refuse to share, as if it is some gift given to me only for me. I see the world in its most dire situation, and I can not even take 5 minutes out of my day to pray for it. I worry about this I worry about that. Sometimes WE spend so much time worrying that we do not spend enough time praying, and loving.

As I said a battle is brewing, the greatest weapon we have is not guns, but rather our greatest weapon to bring down the foe is our love and prayer. If we don’t make enough to give, or don’t have the resources to go, we have time to pray, and love. Pray for those you encounter, and love those you see. For this is where every battle begins and ends. It starts on your knees drinking from the river of His mercy, and it ends on our knees praising Him for bringing us through.

Fight for those who are wounded

Love and Prayers,

Care bear

The Beauty We Can Keep

As I stretched to life this morning against the thick green comforter on my bed, the sound of a distant thunder echoed through the rain washed air filtering in past the bedroom screens.

    The morning mist carried the jasmine scent from the black locust tree to fill my room once again. I woke up the dogs and got them ready for their morning jaunt.

    The rain had let up as I gave the dogs their run through the wet green. I caught the aroma of the flowering chives beaten in with the fragrance of lilac finishing its walk through the New England spring. The wild Irish rose had bloomed in the sudden thunder-heat of last night and the Elizabethan garden was awash with its spice.

    The baby robins twittered in their nest under the eaves as the bullfrog sang from its home in the vernal brook behind the house.

     As I wandered the yard in the rising sun I found myself desiring to distill the beauty of the moment into something less fleeting something that would last for an eternity. I wanted to freeze the frame and stand in its peace and apparent perfection forever.

     Then God put me in mind of a conversation I had several years ago with a young man who had joined himself to our church. He was a young spitfire preacher who loved Jesus but thought of the Savior in the context of a bizarre mixture of Pentecostalism and Liberation Theology.

     I can still recall sitting at lunch with him in that little diner. He was almost weeping over his cup of coffee as he zealously asked “What can we do to turn this thing around Pastor J? What can we do to stop God’s judgment on the world? We can’t lose all this beauty! What do we have to do to save our planet from the wrath of God?”

     A little shocked I replied “We can’t save the planet. The Bible says it is going to burn. The only thing we can rescue out of the world is souls.”

     This morning as I walked through my gardens I thought about those words.  A day is coming when the scent of lilac and locust, chive and wild irish rose will be burned away by the fury of our God. In that day my earthly garden will stand no more. I cannot keep its beauty no matter how much I desire too. But there is a beauty I can keep. It is the beauty of souls saved for eternity.

        It is for this reason: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. ”  (Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV)

     Those moments of “perfection” we experience in life, like the moment I had in my garden, are but quickly fading reflections, echoes of the heavenly life we truly long for. They are exquisite and dangerous if received in the flesh.  Carnal humans get lost in those moments of earthly beauty and turn their attention to seeking the echo rather than the singer, the reflection rather than the source. Sadly echoes quickly fade and reflections do not remain when once the mirror breaks (as life is wont to cause). Disneyland will never satisfy the cravings of the soul for adventure. Hollywood can never satisfy our desire to be loved even with its greatest romance and I cannot keep the passing beauty of this morning’s gardens.

     But there is a beauty we can keep if we will turn our attentions away from this world and focus ourselves on the Lord’s garden of souls. If I recognize that what I truly long for when I walk my gardens is the home I have in eternity and to be able to share it with the rest of the world, then my hunger for beauty is taken from the world and placed in the hands of the Savior where it belongs. He then can rightly position it so that, with Him, I focus on gardening for souls. My life becomes about scattering and cultivating the seed of the Word in the hearts of my fellow-men.

     Then I can enjoy the beauty of the Earth. For it is in the context of the beauty of the Kingdom of God I see it all!

May your focus be eternity and your joy in life be the hope of Heaven for yourself and all your loved ones!

Got To…Or Get To?

          “I’ve got to do a bunch of stuff today God and it’s really gettin’ to me!”

      “What have you got to do son?”

     “I’ve got to go to prayer. I’ve got to call like 20 people. I’ve got to finish the editing project my friend sent me. I’ve got to water the gardens. I’ve got to walk the dogs. I’ve got to write to a list of missionaries a mile long. I’ve got to prepare youth group lessons and blogs and I have all this studying You said I had to do.”

     ” Do you like studying son?”

     “Yes God I do.”

     “Do you like preparing lessons and writing blogs son?”

     “It’s one of my favorite things in the whole world.”

     “Son, do you like writing letters to missionaries?”

     “I love your missionaries God. Praying for them and encouraging them is very rewarding.”

    ” I thought you loved gardening and the dogs. That’s why I gave them to you.”

   “Oh I do love them God.”

   “And prayer don’t you love praying?”

   “I do God. It’s like my breath!”

   “Then you haven’t got to do these things, J.  You  get to do them.”

   “You’re right God but there’s so many things on my list. I feel like I can never get all the things done today no matter how much I like them!”

    “Then stop living as if it all has to get done  today. Live like forever is yours son, because it is.”

Psalm 36

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. 

How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.

Dear Readers, These were taken just after the string of thunderstorms that came through MA last week. How nature can bring such destruction and such beauty together I do not understand. It seems to be only another indicator of the “creation groaning in eager expectation for the revealing of the sons of God.”


Pastor Wrinkle’s Corner: Which Church Are You?

Let’s Review:

1. What does it mean to be born again?


2. What does it mean to be baptized in the Holy Spirit


Tonight we are going to begin with the last book of the Bible _________________.

What is a revelation?


This is the Revelation of _____________      ____________.

In this book John reveals who Jesus is and _____________ in the future.

The Book of Revelation was written on the Island of _____________, where John was imprisoned for the faith. On ____________ John was praying when he saw a vision of Jesus.

Listen to this description:

“which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”  I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,”  dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. ” Rev. 1:11-19 (NIV)

      So Revelation is a book about what John has seen what is __________ and what will take place later. Everyone thinks the book is only about the end but tonight we are going to talk about the part of the book that is happening now.

In Your Groups:

Read Rev. 2 and 3:

1. Write here the names of the seven churches and as you go along list their problems and what will happen if they overcome.

Church Name           Problem               If Overcome









Now back together.

If the church of America was any of these seven churches which would it be? Why?



If you were one of these churches which would you be? Why?

Passion : Remaining=Love=Obedience

     “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.John 15:9,10 (NIV)

      I have had much opportunity to stand upon the promises of God lately. I am learning the wonder of walking by faith and not by sight and discovering how the promise of John 15:7 works.

     “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. “

     Now that’s a heady thing…anything I want huh? New car? New plane? Money in the bank? Instant healing of every sickness? Greater success in my career? Well… yes if I can remain in Him and have those things.

     So it all hinges on this “remaining” or “abiding” thing. What’s that exactly? Well Jesus elaborates on the subject in the second half of John 15.

    Remaining in Him means remaining in His love. What’s that mean? It means obeying his commands. What commands? Well Jesus doesn’t leave us guessing:

     “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.( John 15: 12,13 NIV)

     OH SNAP!

     If we follow John 15 to its logical conclusion we can ask anything we want of God and He will absolutely answer  if we are loving as Jesus Christ  loved. If however we are not loving as Jesus Christ loved then we have absolutely no right to expect anything from God ever.

    This being the case I can no longer wonder why God doesn’t answer more of my prayers. Instead I should be wondering why He answers any of my prayers at all!

     Have you looked at how Jesus loved recently? The man was abandoned by his best friends, pushed through a kangaroo court tried and sentenced unjustly in a day, was spit upon, beaten to within an inch of his life, was sentenced to death because the official in charge couldn’t be bothered to stand up for justice, and was crucified. Yet he still said “Father forgive them.”!

     Meanwhile I get all defensive when I get criticized about my preaching!     

     But I am learning about this “remaining”. I am learning it’s not in me to remain. But it is in Him to help me remain. If I set myself before Him in prayer and in His word somehow His love flows into me. I can love as He loves. When I am in this place of “His love” my prayers are directed. I know what he wants…and I can tell you it has little to do with new cars, planes, money, jobs or many times even my health. What He wants is the world restored to Him… to His love. When I am in “His love” I am finding my heart is broken for the world. I don’t crave its treasures. I pity the world because its treasures are strangling it to death.

     Loving as Jesus love always involves sacrifice. He said, “This is my command: Love each other. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. ” John 15: 17-21 (NIV)

     Remaining then is never going to be a painless activity. The world order won’t stand for our remaining. The world does not value our prayers. The world does not value our Scriptures. The world will not tolerate our obedience to them. The world will consider our love as weakness. Yet only by these things do we remain. Only by these things can we obtain the promises Jesus made to us.

     This all requires our meditation. The Scripture here is very deep. It has many sides. Remaining in Him requires a lifetime of careful attention. But I am willing to give my life to remaining.

How about you?



Making the Markers Matter

       I like Saturday morning sunlight better than week day sunlight.     You see, I used to spend Friday nights at my Grandparent’s camp.  I remember every Saturday I would wake up and savor for just a few moments the yellow light that poured through the chintz curtains onto the bedspreads around me.  

      Saturday mornings were always the same. Eggs and toast with orange juice followed by grocery shopping and a historic tour of Athol MA.

     On those morning drives I wrote my first poetry and I memorized the locations of Sentinel Elm, and the homesteads of the Tandys, and the Lillies. I saw almost weekly the three houses my great- great-grandfather built for his daughters and sister. I can still point out the cellar hole of the house my great-grandmother burned down while drying her sons’ clothing over the wood stove.

      On certain special Saturdays my grandparents would take a little longer to complete my education. On those Saturdays Grampa would skip his candlepin bowling and we would make the drive to Erving Where the “first Joseph” was buried.

      I can still hear Gramp’s  gravelly voice litanizing our family history. “You are Joseph Elon Lillie V but we call you the III because your mother didn’t want you to be likened to whiskey…The first Joseph was a wood cutter…father Caleb Elon… his father Caleb senior…all the way back to the revolution…Joseph’s mother-in-law was Susannah Clark they called her “Little Grandmother”…Shay’s rebellion.”

    At least that’s the way I heard it as I phased in and out of consciousness without my grandparents even knowing.

     I didn’t realize it at the time but Gram and Gramps were training me for a job that would become mine in the fullness of time. When they passed, watching over the family grave markers fell to my Aunt Joan and Uncle Walt. Now that they have moved to Seattle to live with their kids I may be the only Lillie who remembers where everyone is!

          This year I took my sister with me to check on the graves. We didn’t stay long. Talking to the dead isn’t our thing (at least not since we came to Jesus) but that really wasn’t the point. I wasn’t there to grieve. I went to make sure the markers still stood, could still be read, to show that the lives they represented still mattered.

     Maybe it’s because I am now on the edge of that phase called middle age, maybe it’s because all my kids are grown and out of the house but I find myself wanting to make things count more than ever. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and say “Well that was certainly a waste!”

     My desire to leave a legacy that matters got me thinking about what those who went before left to me:

     As I stood before my father’s marker I could still hear him chiding me “Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. Give me an answer you can live with.”

     What can I live with? I feel like I am just learning the answer to that now twenty years after his death.


     As I visited the cemeteries this year I realized that these people effected who I am, some of them without ever knowing me. One of them spoke a name that would echo down the generations to their grandson’s grandson. A “little grandmother” lost somewhere in the folds of history has birthed a family that stands for freedom and personal responsibility. Gosh, a couple of these folks have even influenced the way I look at sunlight. They mattered…at least if my life does!

     What will the markers I leave behind matter to those who come after? I want to be more than a potted geranium some grandson I never know buys at his generation’s version of Wal-Mart.

     I’ve been thinking about what I want on my tombstone should Jesus tarry (the way things look that ain’t likely but just say I get hit by a bus or something). I think I want people to say of me “He was someone who really knew how to love. Not the gushy, fake, T.V. romance, messed up love but the real Jesus type of love.”

    I want them to write this in the dash between my years.

      I want people to say “He did it. so can I!”

      As I stood at the graves of my ancestors I realized it’s not the size of the rock that matters but the making of the marker that can only be done by the living of a life.

    I am writing my gravestone as I live each day not so that people will come and leave me pretty plants but so that lives that come behind mine will be changed.

What legacy are you choosing to leave?