Ringing In the New Year Pt. 3

Our church begins every new year with 21 days of fasting and prayer. I am sensing that the season of prayer in 2013 will be perhaps the most significant of them all. Our Lead Pastor has asked the congregation to join him in a Daniel fast. We are also going to be participating in a church-wide Bible study campaign called The Circle Maker.

Last night I received a call about yet another death in our congregation. Maybe it’s just my vantage point but it seems that all our world is shaking.  I sense deep in my heart it is not going to stop. Prayer is our solid ground. Let me encourage you to find your secret place of prayer with Jesus as  2013 dawns! For He is our hope and a mighty source of strength!  As Robin Mark has written “Though these are days of great trials, of famine and darkness and sword, still we are the voice in the desert crying “Prepare Ye the way of the Lord.” Days of Elijah

I appreciate those of you who have commented about praying for this season of mourning for our church. I sense the power of those prayers. Here’s the thing! I am determined to claim victory in the face of every enemy that confronts the church in Winchendon.  In this mighty battle we have the high ground for we have Jesus. Our Savior has defeated even Satan’s greatest weapon which is death. Those who have passed from this realm in the last months have gone onto glory according to their Christian testimony. Theirs is a mighty overcoming.  In the light of that, though Satan’s weapons sting in the moment of their release our shield of faith quenches every fiery dart.

In 2013 let the church raise up a constant praise to silence the foe and the avenger wherever he may gather against us to battle! Be brave my friends! Be brave and advance against this present darkness!

Where’s the Light?

Isaiah wrote “The people walking in darkness will see a great light.” Isaiah 9:2

There’s been a lot of darkness in the last week. I suppose it’s only natural that there should be a lot of dialogue about the solution to that darkness. In the days ahead I suspect we will hear more debate about what should be done. The thing is debate is not necessary. The church has the answer to the world’s problem with darkness. The answer is light. The light is Jesus.

The light is not gun control.

The light is not mental health reform.

The light is not our government.

The light is Jesus. He alone can be our anchor in the dark and stormy seas.


Let’s Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, we are in desperate need of the light of the world! Yet all the world around us is groping for other answers. Lord draw the hearts of men and women to your light. Remove the scales of worldliness from their eyes so that they may see you are the only answer. PLease Lord have mercy and send revival upon the nations one more time! In Jesus name A-men.

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 126

When I started writing “Reinventing the We’ll”  I was walking through a valley of great change. At first I thought the blog would be all about the changes themselves; But as I wrote what was in my heart I found that I was not writing much about the actual changes (although pieces of them have made their way into certain blogs and comments), rather I was writing about the concepts and methods that anchored me through those changes.  Everyone needs a solid rock to stand on when the rest of the world liquefies. Jesus is my Solid Rock. His Bible has been the chain holding me onto the Rock as the waves of change crashed down upon me.

I love the chapter charts because they have been intentional exercises which have strengthened the effectiveness of God’s Word in my life.

If you are struggling today let me encourage you, trust Jesus with the struggle. Don’t just read His word study it and gather His divine strength for the battle.

Here’s what I see in today’s chapters!

I Samuel chapter 9 sermon topics/ titles:

1. Head And Shoulders: I Sam. 9:1,2

2. A Place Of Ministry a Place Of Honor: I Sam. 9: 5-13

3. God Focuses On the Smallest: I Sam. 9: 15-24

I Samuel chapter 10 sermon topics/ titles:

1. The After Effects of the Oil: 1 Sam. 10:1-13

2. The Private Made Public: 1 Sam. 10: 17-24

3. Ignore the Scoundrels: I Sam 10: 27

Now tell me what you see in these chapters. 🙂

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 20

“These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.” Jude 1:16

So we have been speaking about a group of people I call “the secret-slipper-inners”. We have spoken ad nauseam about all the traits of this group and now we come to Jude 1:16. I intended just to skip it because we have really covered these traits until even I am bored with them; But the Holy Spirit won’t let me go beyond this one because here’s where it gets dicey. It’s so easy to say let’s pray for those poor souls who don’t realize… but this verse… this verse 16… it’s me.

You see I am a grumbler. When things don’t go my way I become an Israelite fresh out of Egypt. When things go bad I’m the guy who likes to shift the blame. I’m the guy so hung up on approval I’ll stroke the ego of anybody I think can give me a leg up or a hand out. That’s the real me without Jesus. That’s all of us without Jesus. Sometimes that’s even us with Jesus isn’t it?

My point is any of us can be a “secret-slipper-inner.” Most of us probably have been at some point. That’s why Paul wrote to the Galatian church “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly  should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Gal. 6:1 NLT

As a friend recently reminded me, we are all in process and we need an everyday grace. Christ was once crucified for our sins but I need his blood to wash me and sanctify me everyday!

Have you been to throne of God recently to receive grace afresh for your journey?

Heaven Pt. 80

“May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.” I Kings 8:30

It seems sometimes that God and His home in Heaven are so far away from us and our experience. We think things like …

We think maybe God doesn’t know…doesn’t understand…doesn’t have a truly accurate perception of what is happening to us because He is so far away.

The truth is,when we think of Heaven being way out there somewhere past the planet Jupiter we espouse a rather unbiblical view. You see Heaven isn’t just the place we go when we die. It is anywhere where God has rule. That is why Jesus could say,  “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within  you.” Luke 17:20,21

God can hear us from Heaven because that kingdom… that rule has already taken up residence within our hearts. We may not physically be in Heaven right now but Heaven is spiritually in us. Honestly, I am not sure which of those things is more real.

Heaven Pt. 78

“And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: And he said, LORD God of Israel, [there is] no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:” I Kings 8:22,23 KJV

As I read these verses I had to ask myself Do I truly know who I am praying to when I pray? I mean really?

When I pray am I always aware that God is a person? Are my words conversation or incantation? We humans do like our seven steps to this victory and four steps to that  achievement. It’s possible that at times I forget that prayer is relationship not formula. It’s probably one of the reasons Jesus counselled : “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen [do]. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Ma 6:7

When I pray do I understand that while my prayer is conversation it is conversation with a being who is unlike anyone else I know?

He is omniscient! So I can’t lie to Him and HE can’t misunderstand me.

He is omnipresent! There’s no place I can go where He cannot be reached by a simple mention of His name.

He is omnipotent! There is nothing I can ask for that is beyond His power to provide and no situation that overwhelms Him.

He is always faithful!  I never have to worry that He is going to pack it in on me.

Finally He is ever merciful! He will not treat me as my sins deserve. I have His love and His favor because I have approached Him in repentance and that little act of mine was enough for Him to cover my sins past, present and future!

Oh I want more depth in my relationship with this God!

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 11

“And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.” Jude 1:7 NLT


Jude is in the middle of describing a group of people who have secretly slipped into the church of his day. He begins describing them using three different examples: The first example points to the “secret- slipper-inner’s” unbelief; The second points to their rebellious hearts; The third example he uses in verse seven points to their sexual immorality.

I recently watched a documentary on the historicity of Sodom and Gomorrah. The director chose to interview a theologian from my home state in the U.S. who declared that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was not actually homosexuality or even sexual in nature at all. In fact according to the “good prof” Sodom and Gomorrah came under the judgement of God for the sin of being inhospitable. I guess she never read Jude verse 7!

The sad fact today is that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah could just as easily be renamed the story of San Francisco and Georgia. The whole issue of homosexuality pushed aside for a moment our society is rife with promiscuity of every sort. I perceive that there is hardly a man or woman in America, Christian or not, who isn’t touched by the oversexed atmosphere in some way. As I have contemplated this post I have become quite sure that the founders of all our denominations would be shocked at what we say is appropriate behavior. Pick John Wesley or Knox, Spurgeon or Moody out of their time and put them in our living rooms for a night and see what their reaction to our TV shows and rock music is.

I am convicted of some things even as I write. There is tightening up to do. What do my eyes regard? What do my ears itch for? What must I repent of in order to assure that my name is not written among the secret- slipper-inners.

What about you?

I have some praying to do!

Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 10

“And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.” Jude 1:6 NLT

The second sign of the “secret-slipper-inner” is that they are like “the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority.”

This verse is referring to Satan and the angels who followed him in rebellion against God. The Bible indicates that those beings we refer to as demons today were once angels who chose to declare war on God in hopes of deposing Him. Satan himself was an angel called Lucifer…“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Isaiah 14: 12-15 KJV

I cannot imagine being likened to the devil but God says the “secret-slipper-inners” are like Satan in that they emulate his rebellion against authority.

I once worked briefly with a young man who made it his habit to undermine our manager by not following through with his responsibilities and then reporting our manager for dereliction of duty. The rest of us could easily see the fatal flaw in the young man’s plan but for some reason he thought he had the clout to take on people above his pay grade. He was soon displaced.

Secret-slipper-inners are men or women who are constantly trying to destroy the authority of their church leadership. They are not just complainers they are underminers. The saddest truth though is that they are often good at building consensus and wherever they go division seems to ride their wake. I wonder how many church splits could have been avoided if Jude verse 6 had been committed to memory.

Lord in our days make us discerning!

If you missed the first parts of this study:











Pastor Wrinkles: Hey Jude Pt. 7


“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4

Jude tells us here that the church is in a battle because evil men have secretly crept into the church. How does that happen?

It happens when men in the pulpit begin to water down the Word of God.

It happens when people in the pew forget the Word of God.

It happens when the church becomes more interested in pleasing people than in pleasing God.


It happens when people condone the sins of others because they like them rather than confronting the sins of others because they love them.

It’s important to note here that we don’t know if these men were in the pulpit or in the pew. Jude is writing to the whole church and where ever these men happened to land in the social ladder of the church they were to be met with the hope of Christ and the call to repent.

May our hearts today be filled with a passion for God and His Word like never before. May we love God and others enough to confront sin in love when we see it, that the hearts of sinners may be turned to Jesus!