Are we getting close to the end of time?

Sometimes I suspect some people think I’ve lost my mind. I’ve talked in Sermon’s about God whispering in my ear, or being visited by an angel or having some highly unlikely event happen (what some Spiritual people call a “God-incidence” as opposed to a “coincidence”).

But something happened recently that had never happened before.

I was standing at the sink, not thinking anything in particular, when four lines
that ended with rhyming words just popped into my head. It wasn’t like I THOUGHT them or somehow worked them into the way they came out. They just…well… HAPPENED.

Skin lesions
Subterranean fissions
Mystic visions
Decisions

Now, in times past I have had what I believe was God’s Spirit put
ideas to speak – in a Sermon, or while counseling, or approaching a troubled stranger;
but I have never had what (for want of a better word) seemed to be a poem, or more specifically
a HAIKU poem just suddenly appear in my “mind’s eye”, to use Shakespeare’s phrase.

More amazing even (at least to me) – when God has given me a “word” during a Sermon or to
comfort a hurting person – it has had a specific “ministry” purpose. But at first I didn’t see any
“redemptive” purpose in these seemingly unrelated phrases.

But when I went to my computer to write down the phrases so I at least wouldn’t forget them, I began to realize a couple of things: first, there were seventeen syllables – hence … a HAIKU (Japanese poem with seventeen syllables); second, after forty-five years as a Pastor and Preacher, I have read, studied, prayed over and thought a lot about John’s Revelation; especially the Apocalyptic portions having to do with the Last Days (end times). In Revelation we find that one of the Four Horsemen releases PESTILENCE (Revelation 6:8), and a few verses later there is reference to a great EARTHQUAKE (Revelation 6:12); and in Revelation 9:17 John refers to his VISIONS (specifically of one of the seven angels opening the sixth Seal). And Joel (3:14-16) in his Apocalyptic vision speaks of “multitudes in the Valley of DECISION” because the “Day of the Lord” is drawing near.

I don’t claim at this point to understand WHY this “poem” was given to me, nor why it was given at THIS TIME.

But I can’t deny there is a part of me that believes that possibly, all over our planet, other Spiritual men and women are receiving similar POINTERS – reminders that the End of Days, the time of God’s ultimate Judgment, and the time of Decision for those who haven’t made up their minds about whether or not to repent and call out to Jesus to be their Savior, may be …. closer than we know.

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Merry Christmas 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2015
Jesus is rightfully the focus of our attention at Christmas time. After all he is God incarnate (i.e. God taking on a human body so that we can connect more easily with Him). We call Jesus “God’s Son” to assure our understanding of the connection between God and Jesus (and ultimately our own connection with God through connection with Jesus). If you’re familiar with the Gospels, however, you’ll note that Jesus generally referred to himself as “the Son of Man”. This term originated in a vision of the Old Testament prophet Daniel (more…)

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I NEED COMPASSIONATE PEOPLE TO SUPPORT AND PRAY FOR ME SO THAT I CAN BECOME THE PERSON GOD CREATED ME TO BE

In Matthew’s Gospel chapter 13, verses 10-17, Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah to explain to his disciples why he mainly teaches in parables (except to the disciples themselves in private Mark 4:34). The three reasons I believe this are that: (1) The ability to discern (hear or see and be certain you are hearing or seeing God’s voice or activity in your life correctly). This is accomplished through intense and regular prayer — both speaking and listening — through which the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:12-13); (more…)

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Why I celebrate Pentecost Sunday

Today is PENTECOST — we celebrate the 3rd person of the Trinity, THE HOLY SPIRIT.

We are taught that the HOLY SPIRIT comes to live inside of us at BAPTISM. The main REASON God implants the Spirit within us is to EMPOWER everything we DO as a Christian.

The Spirit empowers our Outreach … the Spirit transforms us inwardly so that our compassion / generosity / self-control / our inner PEACE + JOY / our sense of connectedness with God …. All INCREASE as a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we receive at Baptism.

There’s just one catch — as we grow into adulthood and life’s challenges and temptations increase … the Spirit within us must also INCREASE to meet the growing TRIALS. THAT IS WHAT WE MEAN BY SPIRITUAL GROWTH.

And the difficulty is this (more…)

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Psychological Motivations to become a terrorist

For quite some time now we have heard or ISIS and other (primarily Islamic) terrorist groups. Much of what is said attributes their motivation to either Religious or Political reasons. There is, however, some growing thought that Psychological motivations play an important role, especially in the recruiting of younger non-Arabic youth into terrorist training and activities. (more…)

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Just Four Little Years

It’s been almost exactly four years since my last post on this site.  I currently work 1/2 time at an Episcopal Church in a small Central Alabama town named Montevallo; I am also Chaplain to Episcopal students at the University of Montevallo, and for five semesters, I have been an Adjunct instructor of Religion at the University.  A poster that used to hang in my office said “A sure sign of God is that you end up where you did not intend to go.” Just four little years, but so many things change. (more…)

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How to help those in emotional or spiritual pain

To me there is nothing sadder than a person, especially a young person, taking their own life.
There are of course many causes that lead a person to this end: depression, feeling a lack of purpose or feeling “useless”, having a sense of isolation, guilt or loneliness. There are no doubt a myriad of other causes as well; sometimes thoughts of suicide are drug induced, sometimes the result of chemical imbalances in the cerebrum, and often the result of stress, pressure and other life or incidental events or situations. In the course of my ministry, I have known four college age persons who have taken their own life. Two of the four were brought about by drug-overdoses; no definitive conclusion was drawn as to whether they were accidental or deliberate. The other two were brought on by the loss of either a romantic partner or a sibling. I have come to believe it is possible that all four could have been prevented had two factors been present: (more…)

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I want to hear the Master’s voice

I want to hear the Master’s voice

By John Wesley —  May 13, 2014

In John chapter 10, Jesus said two things that may speak to the heart of everyone who seeks to hear God’s voice.  Verse 3b-4 says: “The Sheep hear his voice; he calls his own sheep by name.  When he has brought out all of his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice.”  Later, in verse 10, Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly.”

Hearing God’s voice is a gift that he gives us in a variety of ways:

  • Occasionally God speaks to individuals in an audible way;
  • He speaks through the Scripture —  reading it; meditating on it and studying it; hearing it taught and preached;
  • Using Contemplative practices such as Contemplative Prayer, Labyrinth walking and many others.  Some skeptics try to persuade Christians to stay away from Contemplative Practices, saying that they are either “of the devil” or that they are based in and more attuned to religious groups such as Buddhists and other non-Christian religions.[1]  The fact is that most of what we call Contemplative practices have been used from early in the life of the Christian Church. “The first appearance of something approximating contemplative prayer arises in the 4th century writings of the monk St. John Cassian, (a Catholic mystic) who wrote of a practice he learned from the Desert Fathers.”[2]  So, despite the pathetic and ill-informed attempts of certain segments of the Christian faith to discredit contemplative practices as valid ways of hearing God’s voice, (1) Contemplative Practice is not a “new age heresy”; nor does it attempt to lead Christians away from the basic concept of all prayer practice, which is to make a personal connection with God.  One issue that is difficult to defend against is that some Contemplative practices (like Lectio Divina and Labyrinth Prayer walking) are more “subjective” than many Conservative Christians are comfortable with —  i.e. the interpretation that results from the use of these methods depends on what I believe I have “heard”, “seen”, “sensed”, perceived” or “experienced”.  While Conservative Christians would claim that this should be conclusive “proof” that Contemplative practices are not “orthodox” (i.e. because they are subjective and not specifically mentioned in the Bible – if they bothered to read anything with academic credibility, they would discover that most Christians who use Contemplative practices do so to connect with God and always allow God to take the initiative in infusing the connection with meaningful spiritual content.

(more…)

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