Friday, November 28, 2008

Agony by Leonard Ravenhill

How can you listen to this and not be stirred. Not the emotional, feeling kind of stirring, but by the Holy Spirit. How outdated Leonard Ravenhill sounds. That should clue you in to how far the church of the living God has fallen from where it once stood.

so listen and be stirred.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reign Down Upon Us!

Matthew 3:11

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.:

Is your church on fire? Is there evidence of the Holy Spirit in your midst? In the verse from Matthew, John the baptizer makes the statement that the one following him (Jesus) is mightier. Not just in authority but in power. Jesus was coming on to the scene and everything would be brought under subjection of his authority. Even to the point that He allowed mankind to lay hands on Him and be delivered up to death. Silly us, we thought it was our idea to crucify Jesus. We were simply playing out the part that opened the door for justification/ reconciliation/ salvation/regeneration.


What do you suppose is being played out in our lives today that has God's hand on it. We perceive it to be of our own design and thought, but truly the hand of God works through every situation and circumstance.


Fire. What is the evidence of fire? Light. I don't think there is a fire that does not give off light. SO where there is the fire of God there is the illumination from God that follows. Illumination always leads us into truth as it was written in John 16. "When the comforter comes, he will lead us into all truth." This is where change takes place. We are face to face with the truth of ourselves. We either embrace this truth or we turn our backs and reject God.
When Fire meets oxygen, there is an increase in the rate of combustion. When the Fire of God meets the sinful flesh of man, there is an increase to the consumption that takes place as the flesh is done away with.


I always think of the Romans 12:1 passage where we are called to be "living sacrifices". In my mind I picture someone crawling up on an altar and a fire being lit underneath them. As the flames grow hotter and higher, they begin to burn away the flesh. As the flesh falls from us into the flames, it causes the flames to grow hotter and higher. As we allow God's Holy Spirit to work in us, he burns away everything that is not from him, leaving only the eternal things in place.

Don't run from God's Holy Spirit. Embrace the work that is we are being lead into.

God on you...

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lambs and Wolves

Two quotes came to me this week during my readings.
First one:
"Persecution is not the enemy of Christianity. The danger is not persecution from the outside, but seduction from the inside."

Second one:
"Christianity is not in danger of being destroyed. It is in danger of being changed."

Why such thoughts?
Because man has sought to wrestle the church from the hands of Christ and make it, change it, create it in his own image.
We are no better than those who stood at the foot of the tower of Bable and proclaimed, "Let us make a name for ourselves."
We seek to lift what ever church, whatever denomination over the name of Christ. In doing so we have grown fat and sleek and lazy. We sit week after week having our ears tickled, accepting only the things that make us "feel" good about ourselves. When was the last time you were challenged by a sermon you heard? When was the last time you left a service in tears about your condition and relationship with Jesus?

Am I saying that every gathering operates from this "elevation of group" over Jesus? No! But I am saying that it increasingly becoming the norm. Ask yourself a simple question."Why do I go to church?" If not to be challenged in your relationship through the teaching of the Word of God, then you may be missing the point. I hear some say they go to be fed. Flash....you don't get fed at church.
John 4:34
Jesus said to them, "My food is to DO the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work."
As John Wimber aptly stated, "You go to church to read the menu. Then you leave and go out to feast through doing what the menu stated. The meat is in the street, the bread is in the red (words of Christ).

Wake up o'sleeper.
Arise for the hour is now.
To get up from your bed of sickness and be made whole and well through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Walk in a manner worthy of the calling that we have received.

God on you.....

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Monday, November 24, 2008

RED LETTERS

Mark 8:27
"Who do men say that I am?"

If you study Scripture for any length of time you see a pattern where Jesus always throws to the people the idea that they are going to have to decide for themselves who he really is.
Prophet?
Priest?
Lunatic?
Carpenter?
Messiah?

Many make the decision based on their own assumptions and experiences in life. They had heard neighbors talk of this Jesus. He healed a man. He raised a young girl from the dead. He was an incredible teacher. He spoke with authority. He could not be trapped in legal snares set by the Pharisees. Who is this Jesus?

We are in the same boat today. Do you fully know why you believe Jesus to be who he is to you?
For many the belief comes from something as simple as "that is who they say he is at church."
We let others decide who Jesus really is. We let them do the research and spend time with Him and then come and tell us.
We want Max Lucado to tell us who Jesus is. (No offense Mr. Lucado)
We want Joel Osteen to tell us who Jesus is.
We want the Southern Baptist Association or the Association of Vineyard Churches to tell us what to believe about this Jesus.
Bottom line is that Jesus is wanting to reveal Himself to each of us.
He wants to come and intervene in our lives and for us to experience His presence and fullness.

We have relegated belief in Jesus to a mission statement, or a cliched slogan, or a bumper sticker. Jesus still goes straight to the heart of the matter and asks the same question that has crossed centuries, cultures and continents. "Who do men say that I am?"

God on you.........
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Nori And Barbie Kelley

Nori and Barbie Kelley will be here at Rapha, tomorrow night.
Service starts at 7 p.m.
If you haven't ever heard these two, you will be in for a treat tomorrow night. Not only incredible musicians, they have a heart for missions. Currently they are on a kind of fare-well tour before they leave for Japan.

There they will be working closely with local churches to develop worship teams as well as meet and interact with the local population.

Come and worship with WIND tomorrow night!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who Let The Dog Out?

Joshua 14:14
Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully.

Interesting side note- Caleb's name means "dog".
What do you think his parents were thinking when they named him this? I don't know. I hope it doesn't have reference to his looks. I think it may be found in his nature, the reason he was named "dog".

A dog follows his master.
A dog is obedient and waits for his master.
Caleb followed God (as it says in Joshua 14:14) fully. Wholly. With all his heart and soul and mind and strength. Caleb was like a dog following his master.

When the 12 spies were sent out to check out this land God had promised to Israel, Caleb was the first to report to the people. "HEY GUYS! It's everything God has said it would be. Come on let's go now. Let's not wait another moment. We can do this. We can go into this land and take it."
Of course the story goes that the report of the other 10 spies caused the people to doubt and fear and not be obedient to God.

Israel was disciplined by God commanding them to travel 40 years (1 year for each day the spies were in the promise land) until everyone who grumbled and complained and rebelled against God was dead. Imagine how unfair this is. Caleb who had done everything God had asked was now having to endure the 40 year wandering because of someone else's sin. But Caleb followed God fully. He walked every step out of this journey out. But Caleb got to go into the promise land and not only that, but Caleb got to request the portion of land that he desired to settle in.
Caleb asked for Hebron.
Caleb never lost his tenaciousness for following his master, God.

How much dog do you have in you today?
How hard are you willing to follow after God today?
Be a Caleb.....

God on you....

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Up Close And Personal

Ephesians 2:13
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Movement without really moving.
Relocation without actually relocating.
What am I speaking of?
The truth of what salvation does to an individual.
Prior to our being saved, we are enemies of Christ and the cross. Oh we may never ever verbalized such a notion, but our lives gave testament to the fact that we were not living for Jesus.

Such a lifestyle separates us from God.
We are far off.
We are like the prodigal son who took his inheritance and traveled to a far off land to squander away what had been given to him.
Fast living.
Women.
Alcohol.
Friends who only hung around him because he had the inheritance. Once gone, so were the friends.
We lived our lives like this.
Maybe not to the extent or in the same way the prodigal did, but we were far off from Jesus just the same.

Scripture says that the prodigal "came to his senses".
What an incredible sentence.
There was a returning in his mind to where he had come from.
He took a look around at his current lot in life and recognized there was a better way back at his father's house.
We came to our senses when brought under the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Our eyes were opened and we saw life as it really was.
Ugly.
Messy.
Destructive.
There wasn't any glamour to it.
We set out to return to our Father's house.

The Scripture from Ephesians says that we "have been brought near by the blood of Christ."
It wasn't a yellow brick road.
It was a road walked by one man.
With a cross on his back.
A road that was paved with his blood.
That is the only way home.
There is no other way to get to the Father. Only the blood way.
Buddah can't take you there.
Mohammad isn't the path.
Hinduism promises to enlighten you, but only the true light of the Holy Spirit will reveal the blood way.
Some today (in the church) are offended by references to the blood of Christ. They consider such thoughts and ideas as being so offensive it keeps people from coming to church. Excuse me? We have a bloody theology. It cost God everything that was dear to him...HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. It was bloody. It was messy. It wasn't pretty and if the truth be known, if I'd been there at the cross when Jesus was carrying out the final mandate from the Father, I probably would have thrown up. It was from this so called "mess" that God brought true, total healing to humanity.

I once was far off from God. Sin took me there and kept me.
Now I am brought near through the shed blood of Christ.
Hallelujah....what a Savior.

God on you.......

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fat and Sassy

II Chronicles 12:1
It took place when the kingdom of Rehoboam was established and strong that he and all Israel with him forsook the law of the Lord.

Times were good.
Food in the pantry.
Bills paid.
Everyone was healthy.
Work was going full speed ahead, in fact, there was loads of overtime.
Relationships were in a better place than they had been in quiet a while.
This is the place of danger.
When life is without hardship. It is here in the ease and comfort that we begin the process of forgetting about God. After all, since everything is going so well, why not simply take the reins back and do the driving yourself?

This is the place of danger.
Does it mean that when we find ourselves in times of prosperity we are going to slip and fall? No. But we should be aware that ease of life and lack of problems should drive us closer to God. In praise and worship for the season we are in. What goes around eventually comes back to bite you. That means that if you are currently free from problem and worry......hang on, it will be back shortly.

During the peaceful and prosperous times, this is the time to lay in a crop (spiritually). Plant the seeds that God is providing so you can reap a harvest at a later time. It could be that the harvest you are reaping today from God is because of things you did months or maybe even years ago. We loose sight of the fact that everything we do in following God only builds on the foundation of Christ. We walk out our daily lives, making our decisions based on the leading of God's Holy Spirit. This decisions may not seem much, in and of themselves. Down the road, you look back at your life and your walk and you will be able to see how what seemed like a little thing actually set up the next big thing God did in your life. Don't discount the little things that God places in front of us.

Don't become complacent or at ease, but remain permanently desperate for God.

God on you....

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Monday, November 17, 2008

He's Alive - Don and Wendy Francisco

Powerful words that evoke powerful emotions. Like Peter, I fear that there is something inside me that, if let loose, would deny Christ in a heart beat. I am very aware of the grace given to me to walk out this realtionship.

Don Francisco is one of the orginal Jesus People Musicians. His songs were merely a reflection of who he was. He wrote music the only way he knew how.His passion comes across and still holds up to this day. Truth is ageless and timeless. It resonates today just as it did when Jesus declared, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me."

Enjoy this song.

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The End of Paul

Apostle Paul.....writer of letters to the churches.
Not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power to salvation.
Counted everything as loss in view of the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.
Ex-con. Prison record.
Had a bounty on his head as others sought to kill him.

Yesterday I got the opportunity to attend a Bible study at Gadsden Vineyard. They meet each Sunday afternoon to study through the Bible. Todd Bagley heads up the meeting and also teaches. It is a wonderful time to gather with a few "zealot's" and feast on God's word. This group has been making their way through the book of ACTS, and yesterday they finished up.
As Todd was teaching, the very last verse of Acts caught my heart. It was speaking of Paul's final days as a prisoner in Rome. "And he kept on receiving all those who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all freedom of speech and fearless confidence, without hindrance."

The message never changes. It is about the Kingdom of God. The rule and reign of God here on earth in the hearts of his people. The ever increasing Kingdom that has no boundaries or borders. Can not be stopped by any dogma or ideology. The same today as it was when Paul taught it. The Son of man was manifested or appeared to destroy the works of the devil. Sickness, disease, demonic oppression, addiction, adultery and every other sexual sin, greed, hatred, dissention, and every form of godlessness that could be conceived in the heart of man. Jesus came to break it's power and did so by dying on a cross and rising from a borrowed tomb.

Every time someone is prayed for, the Kingdom of God is advanced. Every time someone is fed or sheltered by a believer, the Kingdom of God is advanced. Every time someone carries out any act under the direction of the Holy Spirit, no matter how small it may seem, the Kingdom of God is being advanced. God's Kingdom come, His Kingdom will be done, here on earth as it is being done in heaven. What if we truly believed this. What if we truly believed that we each have been given a mandate from heaven to be the conduit for the work of God to flow through. That we speak the words of God, we carry out the wishes of God and we do so to a lost and dying world that does not know God. What an incredible thought.

To change our little corner of this world for God.
Go for it.
Believe it.
Then walk it out.

God on you today....

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Who Am I Casting Crowns

Way Cool....
Done by a church choir using white gloves and black lights.
Very creative and a blessing....
enjoy....
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Let Us Mesh The Two Together!!

II Kings 17:33-34A
And though they worshiped the Lord, they continued to follow the religious customs of the nations from which they came. And this is still going on among them today.

As a nation we have either discarded the concept of God or have melded it with other "new" belief's in order to make God relevant. Update God, so to speak, for the new generation.
When was God ever not relevant.
Maybe we are the ones who aren't relevant.
I don't think God is walking around heaven wringing his hands saying,"What am I going to do? I have to reinvent myself in order to reach people."
What an absurd idea, yet this very thing is going on all around our nation today.
Reinventing God.
Re-imagining His purpose.
Bringing God into the 21st century.
We make God in our image.

I Peter 2:9 says that we are God's own possession.
Bought for by Him.
Paid for by Jesus, the Son.
Renewed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
We are called to follow where Jesus has already been.
He spoke out and said that He only did what He saw the Father doing.
Our behavior should be no different.
We create not from our imagination or what we conceive from our own minds, in our own strength, but wait from instruction from on high.
We value our own ability to do for God rather than hear from God.

Draw near to Him and He will draw near to us.
Today!

God on you......

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thought?

Rainy morning. A yard full of leaves, where yesterday there weren't any. Rake, rake, rake and with one good windstorm it looks like we haven't turned our hand.
As I was trying to figure out what to put in this blog today, I was sitting in my office duplicating some movies. I am trying to transfer all of my VCR Tapes (of which I have hundreds) onto DVD's. The movie ONE MILLION YEARS B C was playing when I paused to watch a few moments.

Cave men and women.
Blond headed cave men and women.
Handsome cave men and beautiful cave women.
i don't think it was really like this. I think the portrayal of life in prehistoric times is, how shall I put it? Skewered! Now I know that the studio did not claim to be making a documentary based on true accounts. The movie was for entertainment purposes only. But the fact of the matter is they took a subject and injected what they wanted to make the story appealing to an audience.

Do you think we do this with Scripture?
Do we take it out of context and use it the way we want to, to fit whatever it is we are trying to say? I think sometimes we do.

I have heard a number of preacher/teachers use the following verse to reinforce the idea that we can't know what God is doing around us and in our own lives.Here is the verse.
I Corinthians 2:9
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
It does kind of read that way.........
until you add verse 10.'
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

Adding verse 10 changes everything.
We have become sloppy in our understanding and lazy in our interpretation.
I should know. I taught this way. But not any more.
We should search the Scripture not to validate or give proof to what we are saying. Rather, we should search Scripture to find truth and then speak it. It's not about me or my ideas, it is all about God revealing himself through His word.

Think on these things........

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Confession Pt. 1

Because of Christ's redemption, I am a new creation of infinite worth.

My identity.
I did not give to myself. I lay no claim as to being the author of it.
I state it as a simple fact.
Because of Christ's redemption.
Because of the work of Christ, He has brought deliverance to me through His death from the guilt and power of sin.

Me responding to His call to relationship, puts me in the place of being reborn.
This new birth gives me a new identity.
One that He sees even when I don't.
A new creation of infinite worth.
What an amazing thought, especially when I walk around with the "I'm-not-worthy-" blues.
I'm sure God chuckles at this attitude.
"Of course you're not worthy. That is why I sent my Son to die in your place."
I am grateful that God sees a worth that is not comprehended by human eyes.
Today.....Lord.
I am grateful.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

11-10-08

Genesis 22:1
Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham.....

Never was good at test.
Didn't like taking them.
Didn't like studying for them.
Just didn't like test.
I guess we never outgrow the need to be tested.
Tests aren't designed to promote failure.
Tests are to reveal the truth we know.
Same with God.
When God tests us it isn't about passing or failing.
It is about understanding who we are and where we are in our spiritual maturity.
On somethings I am a wise, old man full of maturity.
On others that I am tested on, I can't even get out of the crib or walk on my own.
I learn.
I don't beat myself up and heap guilt and shame on myself.
I simply agree with God who God shows me I am and then set about the business of allowing Him to change me.

What test are you facing today?
Don't fret...
God is in control....
Embrace the test and then let God show you how to grow.
Painful?
Yes.
Eternal?
Nope, test are temporary........they just seem eternal.

God on you...

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Randy Dover

Consummate Guitarist....
Friend.....
Brother in Christ.....
Randy Dover.

He'd suffered with heart problems for years.
Numerous operations that Randy referred to as "Going back on the table".
Randy, more than once, joked that he was living on borrowed time and he didn't know if he could repay it.

Last night a phone call brought the message that Randy had died.
He no longer suffered.
He did not hurt anymore.
His future moved from this side of eternity and slipped quietly through the veil to the other side.
What we claim to believe, Randy now stands in the presence and knows beyond any doubt.
It's true.

I will miss Randy and his laughter.
That craggy face would break into a huge smile followed by this rolling voice of joy.
His eyes would squinch to little slits as he would enjoy a good conversation.

God bless you, Randy Dover.
I know that he already has.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good Morning

It's a new day .
The national election for our next President is over.
You are either jubilant in the choice that has been made or you are feeling down this morning because your candidate lost.

I heard a lot of people talking about the election and their language was tinged with fear.
"We need to pray."
I agreed with that statement.
Any decision as huge as the selection of our next leader should not be done whimsically or without much thought and guidance from God.

But this morning we need to realize something.
President-elect Obama became President because God allowed it to happen.
Romans 13:1
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

I have no clue as to how this new administration will govern or whether it will be a time of prosperity or economic depression. I do know that for all l the hand wringing and the "woe is us" attitudes, God is in control.
This election did not take him by surprise or catch him off guard.
We need to guard our optimism and keep everything in perspective.
God is in control.
We have a new President.
Our duty is to pray for him that he would come to the realization that his position has been given to him only because God deemed it so. With such realization, maybe he will become a servant-leader.

Our behavior should not nor can it be based as a response to what others say or do.
If you back up prior to the Romans 13:1 verse you read in Chapter 12 - Verse 21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." We are called to pray for this government. I guess the greatest prayer we, as believer's, could pray would "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven."

Maranatha.....

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

12 Steps of Recovery Serenity Prayer

Power to Change
Power to Live
Purity of purpose

No magic in the steps.
No formula for success.
Christ at the center of the 12.
Christ is the answer.
A changed life.
A changed heart.
But change.....change must take place.
From the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light.


(Video sent to me by Zman).
God bless you...........

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Forgiveness

At what point do we cease needing forgiveness?
When do we grow beyond this thing called forgiveness?
Seems as though forgiveness is only for those who are weak or maybe those who aren't quiet as mature in the faith as they should be. Least ways that is the perception of some people.

Maybe there is truth to that thought.
I am weak and, as the apostle Paul suggested, I boast of my weakness. For it is in my weakness that I find God and his strength. In my emptiness, He becomes my fullness. In my loneliness, He becomes the ultimate love. In my blindness, He becomes my vision. Wherever there is a minus in my life, He becomes the plus.

Why can't I recognize this fact instead of carrying around the weight of being a failure for Him.
That it's my failure that brings his power to overcome. It is as simple as recognizing how much I can't and how much he can. Instead of walking around beating myself up, I need to rejoice in all things. Every problem, every situation and circumstance that opens a door for God to work in my life. It begins with the me asking forgiveness for sin that I have done. Confession that frees me to receive everything I need from God. How cool is "zero" crud and stuff and then find out that God has replaced it with his stuff. To be free from the pull and tug of the influence that sin brings to our lives.

Have you outgrown forgiveness?

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Did You See Today?

We underestimate God's ability to talk to us.
We tend to walk around with this "I'm not worthy" attitude like it is going to catch God off guard.
God see us and says, "Yep! You're not worthy."
Let's move beyond the worthy thing.
Kind of like the cartoon I saw once.
Jesus is hanging on the cross and at the foot of the cross is this business man dressed in suit, brief case and umbrella. The business man is looking up at the cross and Jesus says to him, "If I'm o.k. and you're o.k. ..........what am I doing up here?"

Verses this morning from Luke 10:23
"How privileged you are to see what you have seen."
We run around looking for something that God hasn't revealed and we miss the very things he is trying to show us.
Dude....let's wake up and be grateful for the things God has placed on our plate.
Our families (what's God trying to show us in them?)
Our jobs (What is God doing in the workplace?)
Our friends (Do we even look for God when we are together and it's not a church function?)

Somehow I have this sneaky suspicion that I miss a lot of what God is saying, showing and doing around me and in me.
Time to open my eyes.

God on you............
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Sunday, November 2, 2008

What A Night!

Danny Daniels?
What can you say about this man?
He is who he is.
He came last night to Rapha to bring some of his view on Jesus.
30+ years of walking with Jesus has given Danny a unique view of Christianity.

Couple this with Danny's passion for music and you got an interesting mix.
I saw things last night I never thought I would see.
I heard a new/old vision for life with Christ.
I watched a man who is gifted use that gift for the glory of God.

I listened to him as he played Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Never quiet put this song in the category of a worship song.
Danny did.
He changed a word here and a word there to reflect a longing in our hearts to be with Jesus.
Did it work?
How about tears running down the faces of the men who were in that room.

It was a good night and we were all blessed to have been able to spend the evening with Danny.
I pray that God grants him good health and many more trips back this way.
Thank you Danny for sharing yourself with us last night.
God speed....

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Tuesday Bible Study

Psalm 119:130 The entrance (or unfolding) of Your words gives light. it gives understanding to the simple. Pulled up at the camp last ...