We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine


Cold Love

When reading Matthew 24 recently, I thought I was reading the headlines in the newspaper. Jesus is speaking to his disciplines saying, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are but the beginnings of the birth pangs . . . and because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.”

There have always been wars and earthquakes; are these really the end times? I have two observations: The increased earthquake activity and magnitude is noteworthy. Secondly, lawlessness. Seeing the insaneness of people believing that they can keep spending when they are already billions and trillions of dollars in debt is just incomprehensible. Yet tens of thousands of people will protest in order to keep on spending. It’s like people are literally marching over a cliff with their eyes wide open and even while they are falling they continue to be in a state of self-denial.

In the end times lawlessness will be increased and the love of many will grow cold. People will lose heart . . . there will be no more fight left in them because they will see that the lawless continue to prosper and there’s no way to stop them.

Well, take heart . . . because until Jesus returns, greater is he who is in us than he that is in the world. Jesus said that greater works shall we do than even he did! Why? Because the Spirit of God resides in us! People of God, do not lose heart . . . let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Published in: on March 25, 2011 at 7:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cold Love

When reading Matthew 24 recently, I thought I was reading the headlines in the newspaper. Jesus is speaking to his disciplines saying, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are but the beginnings of the birth pangs . . . and because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.”

There have always been wars and earthquakes; are these really the end times? I have two observations: The increased earthquake activity and magnitude is noteworthy. Secondly, lawlessness. Seeing the insaneness of people believing that they can keep spending when they are already billions and trillions of dollars in debt is just incomprehensible. Yet tens of thousands of people will protest in order to keep on spending. It’s like people are literally marching over a cliff with their eyes wide open and even while they are falling they continue to be in a state of self-denial.

In the end times lawlessness will be increased and the love of many will grow cold. People will lose heart . . . there will be no more fight left in them because they will see that the lawless continue to prosper and there’s no way to stop them.

Well, take heart . . . because until Jesus returns, greater is he who is in us than he that is in the world. Jesus said that greater works shall we do than even he did! Why? Because the Spirit of God resides in us! People of God, do not lose heart . . . let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Published in: on March 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

How To Inspire the Next Generation

Aspiring artists, sound designers, music composers, voice actors, and script writers from around the world are standing by, ready to use their talents to advance God’s kingdom and battle the deceptive forces which wage war against our souls.

But they lack the resources to receive essential training.

This summer, many students will attend The Lamplighter Guild and learn to reflect God’s image with excellence in the dramatic and visual arts.

Many more would love to attend, but are unable to because of a few dollars that stand between them and a week of life-changing influence and inspiration.

Will you help us provide training for the next generation of God’s image-bearers?

Please consider sponsoring a student at The Lamplighter Guild. (Visit http://bit.ly/fQLbyQ to do so.)

Even the smallest gift–$5 or $10 or $25–could change the course of history by inspiring, influencing, and instructing students to cultivate their God-given gifts with skill and faithfulness.

Find out more about this week of training by visiting www.lamplighterguild.com

Contact us at mail@lamplighterguild.com with any questions.

Cold Love

When reading Matthew 24 recently, I thought I was reading the headlines in the newspaper. Jesus is speaking to his disciplines saying, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are but the beginnings of the birth pangs . . . and because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.”

There have always been wars and earthquakes; are these really the end times? I have two observations: The increased earthquake activity and magnitude is noteworthy. Secondly, lawlessness. Seeing the insaneness of people believing that they can keep spending when they are already billions and trillions of dollars in debt is just incomprehensible. Yet tens of thousands of people will protest in order to keep on spending. It’s like people are literally marching over a cliff with their eyes wide open and even while they are falling they continue to be in a state of self-denial.

In the end times lawlessness will be increased and the love of many will grow cold. People will lose heart . . . there will be no more fight left in them because they will see that the lawless continue to prosper and there’s no way to stop them.

Well, take heart . . . because until Jesus returns, greater is he who is in us than he that is in the world. Jesus said that greater works shall we do than even he did! Why? Because the Spirit of God resides in us! People of God, do not lose heart . . . let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Published in: on March 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Beating of Our Heart

Sometimes, the smallest part of a machine can have the greatest significance. The Lord’s brother James understood this. He tells us in the third chapter of his letter that though large ships are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it too has the greatest influence in our lives-for good or bad.

For years my son Jonathan was parented by my voice. There were chores to do, actions to be corrected, lights to turn off (it bugged me if they left a room and left the lights on!), devotions to listen to and the list is quite endless. Now that I look back, looking through a different set of eyes, it doesn’t sound very fun to be a child. Trying to cultivate a work ethic, with good intentions, I placed responsibility above relationship-which always leads to frustration.

Then one day I came across Isaiah 40:11-“He tends his flock like a shepherd, he gathers the lambs in his arms, he carries them close to his heart, he gently leads those who have young.”

I read it again and again. My eyes were opening for the very first time to the needs of Jonathan’s heart. It was right there in black and white. Allow me to explain by first asking a question. Have you ever seen a picture of a shepherd carrying a lamb? Where does he carry the lamb? Correct-on his shoulders. But no shepherd that knows anything about lambs will ever carry a lamb on his shoulders. They are simply too afraid up there.

Isaiah teaches us that the shepherd carries the lamb in his arms close to his heart. Why? Because there, the lamb can hear the beating of the shepherd’s heart. That is what my son was longing for, but instead he heard the beating of my voice. It’s time, mom and dad, to silence our words and open our hearts as we draw our children close to let them hear the beating of our heart. A caring hug may be a good first step.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Exciting Announcement!

We are excited to announce that students can now earn college credit for attending the Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines.

Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, PA is the first to offer credit, and we’ll be updating you weekly on other schools that choose to do the same. For updates, visit http://bit.ly/esIqTN.

The Beating of Our Hearts

Sometimes, the smallest part of a machine can have the greatest significance. The Lord’s brother James understood this. He tells us in the third chapter of his letter that though large ships are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it too has the greatest influence in our lives-for good or bad.

For years my son Jonathan was parented by my voice. There were chores to do, actions to be corrected, lights to turn off (it bugged me if they left a room and left the lights on!), devotions to listen to and the list is quite endless. Now that I look back, looking through a different set of eyes, it doesn’t sound very fun to be a child. Trying to cultivate a work ethic, with good intentions, I placed responsibility above relationship-which always leads to frustration.

Then one day I came across Isaiah 40:11-“He tends his flock like a shepherd, he gathers the lambs in his arms, he carries them close to his heart, he gently leads those who have young.”

I read it again and again. My eyes were opening for the very first time to the needs of Jonathan’s heart. It was right there in black and white. Allow me to explain by first asking a question. Have you ever seen a picture of a shepherd carrying a lamb? Where does he carry the lamb? Correct-on his shoulders. But no shepherd that knows anything about lambs will ever carry a lamb on his shoulders. They are simply too afraid up there.

Isaiah teaches us that the shepherd carries the lamb in his arms close to his heart. Why? Because there, the lamb can hear the beating of the shepherd’s heart. That is what my son was longing for, but instead he heard the beating of my voice. It’s time, mom and dad, to silence our words and open our hearts as we draw our children close to let them hear the beating of our heart. A caring hug may be a good first step.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm  Comments (2)  

Extreme Faith

Extreme Faith

On TV in America today, everything’s extreme: extreme makeover, extreme house-over, extreme jumping-out-of-airplanes-without-parachutes, etc. Why are we attracted to these extreme experiences? Deep within each of us is a God-shaped void. Many try to fill this void with a variety of indulgences from sex, gambling, food, media, and extreme activities. The more extreme the activity, the better the adrenalin rush, but emptier we become. Rather than filling the void, the more self destructive we become.

The early church father Augustine once prayed, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Only God can truly satisfy,

King David in Psalm 131 understood extremeness and its dangers when he writes: “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

When I first pondered this idea of a weaned child, I incorrectly thought of a baby being satisfied after his bottle of milk. But then I realized that a weaned child is one who is no longer dependant upon his bottle. A child before he is weaned cries to have his needs fulfilled. He is unable to communicate verbally, so he cries until his needs are met. Then I realized that it is not only because of his lack of verbal skills that he cries, but because of a lack of trust. A child becomes weaned when he realizes that he is going to be cared for by his mother. His extreme behavior for attention decreases, resulting in the calmness of soul that David writes about in his song.

In a day of extreme need, it’s time to calm and quiet our soul, like a weaned child with its mother.

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm  Comments (1)  

Relief from a Tyrant

How do you handle things when you’ve been wronged? When I was young I had a difficult boss. He rarely smiled and every Friday he met with me to go over my weaknesses. I just loved Fridays!

Those early years were God’s training time for me but I so much resisted these weekly exercises. I can remember times when I would share my plight with another colleague, both of us agreeing that we were being unjustly wronged by a roughshod boss who cared only for himself. Enough was enough…I wasn’t going to take this anymore. So I confronted him and told him that if he continued to treat me like a dog, I was going to quit.

I will never forget his response. “You’re not here to serve me, you’re here to serve God and if you’re going to quit here, you’ll quit every time the going gets tough.” This wasn’t the change of heart I was looking for and the next few years didn’t get any better . . . until . . . until I read I Samuel 24, which tells the story of God giving Saul into the hands of David in the cave, while defenseless King Saul was relieving himself.

Poor David (that’s how I felt about me) has been fleeing from the hand of Saul for a couple of years now. God has already made it known that David will be the next king so now is a perfect opportunity to rid himself of this godless tyrant.

But David said something that struck my heart. He said, “God forbid that I should do this thing to the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” Twice David points out that the man who is making his life miserable is indeed God’s anointed. David’s understood that his difficult boss was God’s preparation for kingship. The day I understood this truth was the day that I was able to move forward in my preparation for leadership. Until we learn to follow we will never be able to lead.

Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Relief from a Tyrant

How do you handle things when you’ve been wronged? When I was young I had a difficult boss. He rarely smiled and every Friday he met with me to go over my weaknesses. I just loved Fridays!

Those early years were God’s training time for me but I so much resisted these weekly exercises. I can remember times when I would share my plight with another colleague, both of us agreeing that we were being unjustly wronged by a roughshod boss who cared only for himself. Enough was enough…I wasn’t going to take this anymore. So I confronted him and told him that if he continued to treat me like a dog, I was going to quit.

I will never forget his response. “You’re not here to serve me, you’re here to serve God and if you’re going to quit here, you’ll quit every time the going gets tough.” This wasn’t the change of heart I was looking for and the next few years didn’t get any better . . . until . . . until I read I Samuel 24, which tells the story of God giving Saul into the hands of David in the cave, while defenseless King Saul was relieving himself.

Poor David (that’s how I felt about me) has been fleeing from the hand of Saul for a couple of years now. God has already made it known that David will be the next king so now is a perfect opportunity to rid himself of this godless tyrant.

But David said something that struck my heart. He said, “God forbid that I should do this thing to the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” Twice David points out that the man who is making his life miserable is indeed God’s anointed. David’s understood that his difficult boss was God’s preparation for kingship. The day I understood this truth was the day that I was able to move forward in my preparation for leadership. Until we learn to follow we will never be able to lead.

Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment