2006-04-27 1 comments

Prayer vigil update

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 1:3-6)

Kudos to those of you who stepped up to the plate and signed up for the prayer vigil for the Kanawha Valley Women's Walk to Emmaus #58. Less than 48 hours after the call went out for people to sign up for a 30-minute slot, all of them are filled.

Praise God for that ... and praise God for you.

Short post today. Work has been very, very busy these past few days, sapping both my desire to post and my time to do so. I'm looking forward to a weekend helping serve the women's walk to boost my spiritual energy. It always does.

Again, thanks to everyone who helped out, especially those from out of state who responded in force to an e-mail from a stranger. May God truly bless you ... you'll certainly be in my prayers.

Want to know Christ? Click the link on your right called "How do I become a Christian," read Romans 10:9,10 in the Bible or send me an e-mail.
2006-04-25 0 comments

The power of a praying ... well, anyone

"I have heard your prayer which you have prayed to Me. I have set apart this house you have built by putting My name there forever. My eyes and My heart will be there always. "
(1 Kings 9:3)

The Kanawha Valley Emmaus Community is holding its spring women's walk this weekend. If you're counting, its the 58th Walk to Emmaus the community has hosted since its inception in the early 1990s.

That's an interesting number, 58. Subtract two from that, and you get 56 (and, yes, that's about the extent of my mathematical prowess -- I had to count on my fingers just to do that meager computation). There are, as of 9:30 a.m., 56 slots still empty on the weekend's prayer vigil.

If you stumbled across the blog and you're unfamiliar with with the Walk to Emmaus and other Fourth Day movements, I'll explain in a moment. If you're a part of the KVEC or another community, you'll undoubtedly understand how dire this situation is.

The Walk to Emmaus, to use the "official" definition, is "a spiritual renewal program intended to strengthen the local church through the development of Christian disciples and leaders. The program's approach seriously considers the model of Christ's servanthood and encourages Christ's disciples to act in ways appropriate to being 'servant of all.'" (Click here for the national website, or here for the Kanawha Valley Emmaus Community site).

Specifically, the walk is a three-day "retreat" (for lack of a better word), during which Christians around the world are in prayer for those attending the weekend. This is accomplished through 30-minute time blocks, what we call a prayer vigil. Trust me, when Christian men and women are on their knees in prayer every second of every minute of every hour of every day for three days, powerful things happen.

Problem is, there are significant gaps in this weekend's prayer vigil. It's a shame, really. There are worse things Christians can do than spend a full 30 minutes talking to God on the behalf of those seeking to know Him in greater and more meaningful ways.

So, if you reading this you are likely in one of two categories. You are either A) a member of our local Emmaus community or one elsewhere; or B) a Christian who has stumbled onto this site and hasn't been bored enough to quit reading yet. Either way, YOU ARE NEEDED.

Look, if you are a member of the KVEC and haven't yet signed up for a slot ... come on. People prayed for you on your weekend, right? Step up to the plate. Don't let them down.

If you happened upon this site by chance (think God may have led you here for this purpose?), please help us out and sign up for a slot on the prayer vigil. You can do it online by clicking here.

That scripture above? That's God talking to Solomon after he'd built the Temple. God heaped copious blessings on Solomon for building it, and made him the promise that it would be set apart and that the presence of God would always be there.

That's kind of like the Emmaus community. Through prayer, it's been set apart, consecrated by God to bring Christians into a closer fellowship with Him and to better fulfill His purpose for our lives. A small part of that is this prayer vigil, so let's help Him by getting it filled up, OK? Go ahead and click here, right now, while you are thinking about it.

Thank you, and God bless ...

Want to know Christ? Click the link on your right, read Romans 10:9,10 in the Bible or send me an e-mail.
2006-04-24 0 comments

The unseen hand of God ...

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him will I trust.'"
(Psalm 91:1,2)

I can't take an ounce of credit for it, but it's just too good an illustration to pass up.

A pastor was taking his first trip on an overseas mission. The country? South Africa, where he'd spend his first night in that country's legendary Kruger National Park.

Sounds great, yes? And it was, at least at the beginning. The pastor ate a traditional African feast outdoors in the splendorous beauty of the savanna. Then it was off to bed, in cabins whose windows were left open to allow the night air to keep things cool inside.

But therein lied the problem ... in the middle of the night, without warning, the thunderous roar of a lion shattered the calm. The pastor's eyes sprung open at the sound, then remained wide-eyed in terror -- for what protection did a small cabin provide an American preacher from the king of the jungle ... especially considering that open window?

Fear? You don't know fear like this. The pastor shuddered with it, lying still in his sweat, most of which came not from the African heat but with the terrible knowledge that he'd make much easier prey than a fleet-footed gazelle.

He lay awake the rest of the night, hearing the lion's roar many other times. But never did it seem to get any closer. Only when he left the cabin in the morning after hearing the others milling about did he learn why.

See, the campsite was, in fact, a compound, surrounded on all sides not only by a very high and very strong steel fence. Not just that, but at the gate were armed guards, all of whom told the pastor later that they'd not only heard the lion's roar, they'd monitored his whereabouts, too, just to ensure the missionaries' safety.

Now, here's word-for-word what was written about this story in this month's Discipleship Journal:

"Scripture likens Satan to a roaring lion that seeks to destroy. The world is full of the evidence of his violent attacks. Yet against those who seek their salvation and safety in the Lord, Satan is like the African lion fenced out of the camp: he can parade his strength, but he can never actually carry out his threats. His roar serves only as a reminder of what he can do if we do not seek our refuge in God."

Hey, we may not always feel -- or see -- God's protection, but rest assured ... it is always there.

Want to have that protection? What that blessed assurance? Read Romans 10:9,10, click on the link "How do I become a Christian?" on your right or send me an e-mail. I'll be happy to introduce you to my friend, Jesus. He's the biggest fence there is.
2006-04-22 0 comments

Kairos needs your prayer

"'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me ... Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"
(Matthew 25:35, 25; 40b)

This weekend, a group of a dozen or so Christian men are in prison. Don't worry. They want to be there.

They are there on purpose -- and for a purpose. They are part of the Kairos prison ministry, which ... well, let's let them explain it.

(From www.kairoswv.org: "The mission of the Kairos Prison Ministry is to bring Christ's love and forgiveness to all incarcerated individuals, their families and those who work with them, and to assist in the transition of becoming a productive citizen.")

For four nights and three days, Christian men are ministering to inmates -- called "guests" by those involved in the ministry -- at Mount Olive Correctional Complex in Fayette County, West Virginia, and telling them the good news of the gospel of Christ. My involvement with the ministry has been minimal; my father is actively involved, and others I know tell me how powerful this experience is, both for the "team" members (those ministering to the guests) and, most importantly, for the guests themselves.

I should have already posted something on this, but please pray for God's direction and guidance this weekend. Visit the website and see if God calls you to be personally involved. Part of that involvement includes signing up for a prayer vigil -- the entire weekend is literally bathed in prayer; there is someone praying for the guests each half hour for the duration of the weekend. If you are familiar with other "Fourth Day" movements, such as the Walk to Emmaus, you know about this concept. I urge you to pray for the experience.

Speaking of the Walk to Emmaus, the Kanawa Valley Emmaus Community is holding its spring walk for women, and there are slots available on that weekend's prayer vigil as well. You can sign up for a 30-minute block by clicking here. Feel free to sign up for prayer vigils anywhere else, too, all around the world. You can find other prayer vigils here.

And if you are interested in the Walk to Emmaus, and, more specifically, the Kanawha Valley chapter, feel free to visit its website or send me an e-mail. I'd love to introduce you to it -- and I do plan on posting more about it at some point in the next few weeks.

Oh, by the way -- today's cross is from a sidewalk on Dickinson Street, downtown Charleston, West Virginia (where else?) God bless ...

Want to know Christ? Click the link on your right, read Romans 10:9,10 in the Bible or send me an e-mail.

No time like ... the past?

"Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father. That is all we need.'
"Jesus replied: 'Philip, I have been with you for a long time. Don't you know who I am? If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. How can you ask me to show you the Father?"

I love that verse. Can't you just see Jesus slapping himself on the forehead when Phillip asks him if they can see God?

Jesus: "You're kidding, right? Sheesh, when are you going to get it through your thick skull who I AM?"

Of course, that's how I would react. Instead, Jesus just lovingly reminded them all who he was, who he is and who he always will be. He is so patient and loving.

Quickly: If I don't capitalize pronouns as they relate to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, etc., it's not because of a lack of respect for the divinity of our Lord. I simply forget half the time, and I don't want to be inconsistent. No offense, OK? I'm sure He doesn't mind.

The picture today? That's from First Baptist Church in downtown Charleston, W.Va., on Shrewsbury Street.

God is answering prayer. I'd had something of a falling out with my closest friends in the last year or so, mainly because of the way I handled my rededication to Christ. See, there were two things at play here.

First, I found (heck, why am I using past tense?) -- I find -- it hard to witness to others. It's a skill I haven't totally mastered, and often I use my inherent shyness as a crutch. It's doubly hard to witness to these, my three closest friends, because they know me so well. Indeed, they knew the "old" me, the one that valued sin more than a closer relationship with Christ. How, I reason, do I tell them about the change God has made in my life when they've seen me at my worst?

The fear? That I would come off as a fantastic hypocrite. They would be entirely justified in saying to me: "Who do you think you are, telling me about Jesus? I know you. Further, who do you think you're talking to here?"

Second, I withdrew from them partly because I didn't want anything in my life that reminded me of the man I once was. I'm ashamed of that person, and rightfully so. Problem is, I had a wonderful friendship with those guys, and the fact is, we had a blast, and oftentimes that involved things I no longer do. How do I reconcile my past sins with the fact that I had so much fun hanging out with the guys?

I handled it all wrong. Everything about it. These are my friends, my best buddies in the whole world, and I cut off ties with them because I was ashamed of myself. I love each of them, and the only way I can heal our friendships is to show them Christ's love, consequences be damned.

And you know what? There are no consequences in allowing one's life to reflect His. At least, not in the way we perceive the word "consequence." The only consequence can be that God truly reveals himself in our friendship -- and there can be no harm in that.

Pray for me, and for them.

Want to know Jesus in a personal way? Read Romans 10:9,10 in the Bible, click on the link above called "How do I become a Christian" or send me an e-mail.

2006-04-21 0 comments


"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."
(Habakkuk 2:14)

I'm planning to post a series of, well, lectures (for lack of a better word) I wrote when I was teaching a Sunday School class of college students and I had posted on my old website. It's on the life of Christ, as viewed from a young person's perspective -- I use the word "young" as a relative term, by the way.

That class was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life, brief though it was. I've always felt a calling to work with college-age youth, partly because my own experience during that time in my life was so tumultuous, mainly from a spiritual standpoint but, really, in many other ways as well. It's a long and often sordid tale, and I'm sure I'll talk about it some more later. I touched on it briefly in my introductory post.

I don't teach that class anymore, regrettably (and I use the word "teach" loosely -- I was more of a moderator; we mostly just sat around and talked). I let a new job get in the way of it -- I just didn't have the time anymore. God's been dealing with me to get involved in those young men and women's lives again despite the demands on my time my career requires, even if I can't meet with them every Sunday morning as I had been doing.

Rambling ... sorry 'bout that.

In case you're wondering, the above picture of a cross is from the farmer's market in Charleston, W.Va. If you live in the Kanawha Valley and haven't been to Capitol Market, shame on you. Go. Now. Buy some tomatoes, maybe a few flowers for your front yard ... whatever. As that shoe company says all the time, "Just do it."

Oh, and that goes with deepening your relationship with Christ, too. Just do it.

Want to know Jesus? Read Romans 10:9,10, click on the link to your right or send me an e-mail. God bless...

2006-04-20 0 comments

As you can see ...

... the site has been revamped. I'm very, very pleased with the new look. I hope you are as well.

I just discovered, the last month or so, Discipleship Journal. It's a wonderful magazine. I've not researched the website enough to know how much free content there is, but the magazine itself is well worth checking out. Get a sample issue from your local newstand, and you'll see what I mean. I'm absoutely hooked.

The picture project is going well ... I've included a few samples on this post.

The first one here is from St. Marks United Methodist Church in downtown Charleston, W.Va. It's part of their Easter decorations.

Cross No. 2 is on the door of the American Lung Association of West Virginia's front door, also in dowtown Charleston

Here's yet another downtown cross ... I think this is Shrewsberry Street, near Capitol Market.

"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid."

(John 14:27)

Want to know Jesus? Read Romans 10:9,10, click on the link to your right called "How to be a Christian" or e-mail me.

2006-04-19 0 comments

My eyes are dry

Ever hear that song by Keith Green? Do a search for it ... well worth it.

I absolutely hate ups and downs in my Christian walk. I'm just a little "out of touch" the past few days. It's all my fault, naturally -- haven't been praying enough, studying my Bible enough, touching enough lives for Christ -- and this is the result. Dry, unfertile land.

(quick sidebar: I'm in the middle of a major overhaul of the site's look. For the five people who might have seen it, please come back and take a look when I have it all worked out. I'm stoked about it.)

This is my garden, by the way. Snapped this picture this afternoon. By the weekend I'll have all my veggies planted and on their way.

Me? I'm going to prepare the soil of my heart tomorrow -- and let "God give the increase."

Want to know Jesus? Read Romans 10:9,10 in the Bible, click the link on your right or send me an e-mail. God bless.
2006-04-18 0 comments

Images of the cross

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
(1 Corinthians 1:18)

Every notice that, everywhere you look, there are crosses. Sections of pavement, when they come together, form a cross. Molding on a door. Clothespins glued together. Fences.

I see them all the time. All the time. And, recently, I've begun pulling out the ol' Canon digital and snapping away. I've decided to start posting them here.

Every time I see one, it's yet another reminder of Christ's sacrifice for my sins. He died for you, too.

Try this: today, look around and pay attention. You'll see a lot of crosses out there, if you'll just look.

(By the way, KLOVE Christian radio is having its spring pledge drive. Please, prayerfully consider making a donation. They sell no ads and are 100 percent listener supported. Please? There's a link on your right, or just click here. Thank you.)

Want to know Jesus? He wants to know you. Click on the link to your right called "How to be a Christian," or e-mail me.
2006-04-16 0 comments

The Easter story

Picture by Luc Freymanc, who holds exclusive copyright. Visit his art at www.freymanc.com and, please, consider a donation to his ministry.

"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men ...
While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."
So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
(From Matthew 28:1-4; 11-15)

"Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, 'Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?'
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
'Don't be alarmed,' he said. 'You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' " (
From Mark 16:2-7)

"In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: "The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again."'" Then they remembered his words.
(From Luke 24:5-8)

"So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) ...

'They have taken my Lord away,' (Mary Magdalene) said, 'and I don't know where they have put him.' At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
'Woman," he said, 'why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?'
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.'
Jesus said to her, 'Mary.' She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means Teacher).
Jesus said, 'Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, "I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."'"
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: 'I have seen the Lord!' And she told them that he had said these things to her.
(From John 20:3-8; 13b-18)

(All scriptures are quoted from the New International Version of the Holy Bible.)

Want to know Jesus? Click the link on the right called "How Do I Become a Christian?" Any questions? E-mail me, please!
2006-04-15 0 comments

The Passion

(the picture at right is drawn by Luc Freymanc and is from his site at www.freymanc.com. He owns the exclusive copyright to this work of art. Please visit his website and consider a donation.)

"He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5

I watched "The Passion of the Christ" for the third time last night to coincide with Good Friday. It has become a family tradition for us to watch the film on the day we remember Jesus' crucifixtion and to prepare our hearts more fully to remember His resurrection.

I make it a point never to watch the movie any more than once a year. I don't want it ever to lose its impact, you know? For instance, "Saving Private Ryan" is one of my favorite movies -- my grandfather was a hero of World War II, and I'm something of a buff on the history of the mid 20th Century -- and I've seen it dozens of times. Have you seen it? You will probably remember, then, the visceral reaction you had at the movie's opening scene, yes? The storming of Utah beach? Whew. Powerful.

Problem is, I've seen it so many times, it's sort of dulled my sense of that experience, and each time my reaction is a little less emotional. It's a shame, beause it lessens, in a way, the sacrifice so many of our soldiers made to ensure the cause of freedom.

Speaking of sacrifice, theirs, however noble, can in no way compare to that of Jesus.

I always sob every time I see "The Passion." Literally sob. And you know what? It's always at a different time of the movie each time I see it. This time, it was during the scene in which the Roman soldiers nail His feet to the cross.

Oh, the pain that must have coursed through His body at that moment. Can you imagine? Your feet, stacked one on top the other, being impaled together and, then, nailed to a cross in part to support your weight?

And, to think He did it for me ... and for you, too.

My wife wants me to come to bed. It's nearly midnight, and tomorrow we celebrate our Lord's resurrection. I'm getting up before dawn to watch the sun come up. We have a cross in our front yard, and I'm getting up in the morning and, unbeknownst to my family, replacing it with some flowers I bought. I can't wait to see her reaction when my wife goes out to get the paper and finds, not a cross, but a representation of life. It's fitting. He is alive.

Back to that movie analogy for a second. There is another reason "Saving Private Ryan" doesn't hold for me the same power it once did. It's because no matter how much I read about the war, or think about my grandfather or research about his unit, I can't connect completely with that war because it wasn't a part of my experience. I know it only through textbooks, stories, anecdotes.

Jesus? I know Him personally. He lives within me. And that means no matter how many Easters come and go, His sacrifice for my sins will never lose its impact. Indeed, it only strengthens through the years.

Thank you, Jesus.

Want to know Him? Click the link on the right called "How Do I Become a Christian?" Any questions? E-mail me, please!
2006-04-07 0 comments

Just for starters ...

“ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ”- Galatians 2:20

They say confession is good for the soul ... yeah, no kidding, right?

I thought I'd create this blog to share my daily experiences with the risen Christ -- good and bad. Like most Christians, my walk is full of ups and downs, highs and lows, mountaintops and valleys. Know the feeling?

I don't really know where all of this will go. I just want to write about the God who saved and redeemed me. So, I'll start with my testimony.

On Sept. 12, 1982, I was just a boy -- six years old, loving G.I. Joe, Transformers and the woods in my backyard. Life was complete, inasmuch as it can be for a child two months shy of seven.

Yet, sitting in the pew that Sunday night, something stirred within me. I somehow knew that there was something missing in my life. I didn't know what to call it then, but I know now: I had the same God-shaped void inherent in all our lives. I needed Him. More specifically, I needed to accept the gift of salvation Jesus offered by His death on the cross of Calvary.

As best as I can remember, my mother sat beside me, and I saddled up to her and said I wanted to go to the church altar and receive Christ in my life. The choir was singing, my grandfather -- our church's pastor -- sitting in the front pew directly in front of me. He led me to the altar, and I remembered the A-B-Cs of salvation, as the Apostle Paul outlined in his epistle to the Romans, chapter 10, verses 9 and 10.

" ... That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Ask, Believe, Confess. I did all three, and my life has never been the same.

There have, to be sure, been problems in my Christian walk. I rebelled against Him in college and spent 10 years living a life of rampant sin. I was into drinking, drugs. From about the age of 18 until 28, I knew little about the God who saved me because my sin precluded Him from having a direct, day-to-day impact on my life.

I use this analogy: what would you do if your best friend in the whole world, abruptly and with little warning, quit calling you? You'd probably call them anyway, right? You'd say something like, "Hey, how have you been ... miss seeing you. When can we hang?"

But, eventually, if those calls weren't returned, those visits never reciprocated, you'd quit, yes?

Oh, you'd still love your best friend. You'd still miss them. You might even tell others to say "hello," but that contact would be distant, incorporeal.

That was my relationship to God. After years of rampant sin, he just quit calling.

On August 31, 2003, I broke my back. I won't go into details here -- maybe I will later. But God used that moment to wake me up, to show me that I was nothing without Him, that my life was only a fraction of what it could be if only I'd allow Christ free reign with my thoughts ... and actions. A few weeks later while recuperating, I got down on my knees, bent over as much as I could with my 20-pound back brace and asked Him to forgive me of all that I'd done.

Here's the amazing thing. Remember that friend analogy? As humans, we naturally hold grudges. I've gone in and out of friendships with people for many reasons, and I'm sad to say some of the breaks happened through things I'd done. That was the case of my friendship with Jesus.

He never holds a grudge, nor does He care that it took a serious, life-threatening injury to get me to wake up to the reality of what my life had become. He doesn't care what my life was like while I was running away from Him and toward my own selfish desires ... the only thing He cares about was what I could have been accomplishing for Him in the time that I was following my own path.

So, I guess that's what part of this is. It's my way of trying to get those years back ... I've got a lot of catching up to do, a lot of lives to impact for Jesus. I was too busy with myself back then.

I want to be busy with Jesus now.