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


Old and Cold David

Did you ever wonder why they had a young beautiful virgin sleep with King David when he was old and cold? Why couldn’t he have slept with someone who wasn’t beautiful but had a lot of body fat and could have warmed him up more fully? Why did she have to be beautiful? This passage in I Kings one has always bothered me…until today…you can read more about this one on tomorrow’s Lamplighter Moment at www.lamplighter.net

Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm  Comments (1)  
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“Save Yourself!”

We live in a day when Christians and non Christians alike are adopting an “every man for himself” world view. As divorce has reached record proportions, couples are no longer making any covenant commitments. Many want a safety release so that they can exit if things turn difficult. I was reminded of this phenomenon recently after I had interviewed twenty different parties interested in renting a house I own. All twenty interested couples were living together, and in every instance it was the girlfriend who was taking the lead.

What is happening to a man’s desire to lead and commit? Is it fear? Fear that your wife’s love will not be reciprocal or that she might not remain faithful? Or is it blatant selfishness that keeps a man from commitments? In this day of every man doing that which is right in his own eyes, I believe that we can learn a significant, life-changing lesson from our Lord’s time on the cross. It is amazing to me that someone’s last few words or absence of words can shape the rest of our lives.

Three times while Jesus was hanging on the cross He heard the scoffing insults from the crowd and Jewish leaders, the thieves on the cross, and the Roman soldiers, each shouting out the same two words: “SAVE YOURSELF!” And each time Jesus didn’t say a word. And certainly if He wanted to, He could have saved himself . . . for he was God Himself. But He chose not to save Himself in order that He could save others. What Jesus demonstrated on the cross in His silence was the true essence of God-likeness. As men of God we are not here to save ourselves, but to give our lives on behalf of those God has placed in our care.

Has life become difficult? Has relational pain become unbearable? You have a choice: Save yourself or save others.

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Interesting read

The End of the Printed Book?

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Let This Cup Pass

Did Jesus really pray to be spared from the crucifixion? It has always bothered me a little to think that Jesus was trying to back out of the very purpose for which he came. In John chapter 12, just prior to the crucifixion, Jesus asks the following question with an answer that should make any thinking person wonder what’s going on. Here’s what John records: “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.”

Later in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is reported to be praying the opposite of what he just said he couldn’t pray! Something sounds suspicious. First, if you look closely, Jesus doesn’t pray to be released from the cross . . . he prays for “this cup to pass from him.” Also, if you look at Dr. Luke’s account you will notice that Jesus is sweating great drops of blood. His body is in anguish. The sweating of blood is a medical condition where one who is under extreme duress actually can break capillaries, leading to death. The cup that Jesus is referring to is the cup of his present sufferings . . . not the cup of the cross. Is it possible that Jesus was actually dying in the garden and therefore cries out of his Father to let the cup of his present sufferings to pass from him that night so that he could go on to the cross? If you continue reading Dr. Luke’s account you will see that this interpretation makes perfect sense when considering what happens next: “Angels descended, ministering to him and strengthening him.” Jesus’ prayer was answered and now he is strong enough to go to the cross.

Jesus wasn’t cowering from the cross, demonstrating His human weakness, but on the contrary . . . he was demonstrating His love for us by making sure He shed the rest of his blood on the cross as it was written.

If you would like to read a book that will set your heart aflame for the love of Christ, I recommend the reading of Titus: A Comrade of the Cross. Written in 1896, this book received so much attention that six weeks after its first printing 200,000 additional copies were printed. And the author of this masterpiece received a thousand dollar award for writing a story that could set a child’s heart on fire for Christ . . . it will do the same for children and adults today!

Published in: on April 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Called to glory and excellence – 2nd Peter 1:3

“Everyday you are becoming who you will be forever.” (John Luhmann)
I love this quote!

Published in: on April 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Don’t Go to the Philistines!

“Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, ‘Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.’ But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle, and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel…”

Because the Philistines possessed the knowledge of the new iron age technology, the Israelites were dependent upon Philistines to sharpen their farming tools. And not only was Israel subject to their enemies, they were also subject to their price gouging. Does this sound familiar? As gas prices rise, I think I understand how an ancient Israelite must have felt.

Thankfully Israel didn’t stay in this state of mediocrity and enslavement. They cried out to God for deliverance and God raised up Ehud the Benjamite, a left-handed man. Now if you know anything about Benjamin, you would know that they were right-handed. In fact the word Ben-jamin means “son of my right hand.” So then, how did he become left handed? According to Dr. Colin Smith, parents, tired of their young boys getting slaughtered in battle because the enemy knew that Benjamin boys were right-handed, began tying their young boy’s right hand behind their back…several hours daily! Soon after, the tribe of Benjamin became the most skillful and fiercest fighters in all of Israel.

It doesn’t take much to see that America is sinking quickly into dependence upon foreign nations. It’s time to do something about it. It’s time to put away the childish amusements of our day and start preparing our children to become statesmen, inventors, discoverers, philosophers, musicians, scientists, teachers, doctors, farmers, and deliverers. If you want to inspire your children to become creative and productive, read the true stories about the boys who grew up to change the world…the title is Boys of Grit Who Changed the World.

Published in: on April 23, 2011 at 5:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Good News!

Dear Friends,

Today I received a letter that began with the words “Good news!!” And indeed, it was very good news! A mother wrote to tell me that her 12-year old daughter came to know Jesus as her Savior as a result of listening to one of our audio dramas, A Peep Behind the Scenes. Praise the Lord!

It’s letters like these that remind us why we work long days, why we strive for the highest level of excellence, why we’re willing to risk it all for the sake of the gospel–and why we’re launching The Lamplighter Guild this summer.

If you haven’t yet heard about the Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines, I hope you’ll take a moment to review www.lamplighterguild.com and find out more about this entrepreneurial, apprenticeship-style platform whereby masters will mentor apprentices in the dramatic and visual arts.

This summer, from July 17th-22nd, we will bring together master teachers who will inspire, instruct, and influence attendees to reflect God’s glory with creative excellence. Join the award-winning team behind acclaimed audio-dramas such as Chronicles of Narnia, Les Miserables, Adventures in Odyssey, Left Behind, and now, Lamplighter Theatre as they teach students the art of script writing, sound design, music composition, directing, producing, and voice acting. If you’re interested in the Visual Arts, you’ll spend the week studying plein air oil painting and integrating the vistas of Mohonk Mountain with your own personal experience. Along the way, learn biblical truths alongside men and women who believe earnestly that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.

Registration for the Lamplighter Guild closes on April 30th. After that time we may have some limited spaces available at an additional price, but to take advantage of our normal pricing, please consider completing your registration before April 30th. Students interested in the Visual Arts should register soon–there are only 9 openings left in this discipline! Find out more today at www.lamplighterguild.com.

Lastly, please consider helping a student attend this week of training. For the next two days only, a generous donor has promised to match any donations given toward the Guild. We have over three dozen students standing-by to receive scholarship assistance. They are praying that the Lord would provide for them, but we truly need a miracle to offer the assistance that they need. We’re asking you to be that miracle today–not only for the students who are earnestly seeking training, but more importantly, for little girls and boys and fathers and mothers all around the world who need to know Jesus as their Savior. We truly believe God may work a miracle so that His Word will continue to go forth–but we need you to take this step of faith with us.

Thank you for standing with us as we make ready a people prepared for the Lord, by building Christ-like character, one story at a time.

Published in: on April 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Humility

“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. -Augustine “

Published in: on April 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Hate Injustice

I hate injustice–especially when the injustice is against me!

It’s not often that I’m unjustly treated, but when I am, the offense usually comes in rather large and memorable packages.

One instance that I clearly remember occurred when my family was young. I was attending seminary full time, and trying to make ends meet as a caretaker for a very wealthy family.

While raising sheep and horses and maintaining all the equipment, barns, houses, water treatment and several hundred acres of hayfields, I made a whopping $88 per week!

To be fair to this wealthy family, they did provide free housing and utilities, and, as a bonus, any extra hay could be sold to supplement my income. That is, until one summer we had a bumper crop of hay! It was then decided by the heiress that I must give her 50% of the hay income. I refused! I refused because of our verbal contract–one’s word is one’s bond!

Life quickly became miserable. There were extra duties. I had to pay to fix any equipment that broke even though the equipment was antiquated. I became defensive and one time angrily snapped back when threatened. I wasn’t going to back down, because I was right! After all, our family was just barely surviving. And when money is an object of contention, you often see one’s true character surface.

As I look back, I realize that I missed the banquet! You see, God prepares for us a banquet table in the presence of our enemies. Isn’t that what Psalm 23 teaches?

If we would yield to the will of God, peaceably waiting for His hand to work, we would see God deliver us right in the midst of our enemies. We would eat at the banquet table in the midst of the hardship, false accusation, and humiliation. Vengeance and deliverance are God’s responsibility. Submission and a yielded spirit are ours.

Published in: on April 20, 2011 at 5:23 am  Leave a Comment  

An Eternal Perspective on Work

King David gained important skills and character as a boy, even though he was given what was seemingly the least important job. Because David used his extra time wisely and practiced diligently, he became an accurate marksman, a skillful musician, and a courageous protector.

Children will generally use their time wisely if parents arrange meaningful experiences and provide worthwhile resources–not the latest video game! Parents who allow their children to indulge in excessive time wasters not only suppress their children’s creativity, but stunt their children’s potential to excel in their God-given gifting.

So, how do we teach our children to make the most of our time here and now? The key is to cultivate a heavenly-mindedness by filling our children’s imaginations with thoughts of God’s character, the largeness of eternity, and the exigency of our earthly battle. C.S. Lewis notes:

“If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes give this admonition: “Whatever thy hand finds to do, do it with all thy might . . .” Why? Because, as John Luhmann writes, “Everyday you are becoming who you will be forever.”

Published in: on April 17, 2011 at 5:31 am  Leave a Comment