David Wilkerson authored the book The Cross and the Switchblade and is head of Teen Challenge drug rehabilitation centers. He made the following statement years ago about a unique lesson he learned from his grandfather:
“My grandfather, a great old-fashioned preacher, once said to me, ‘David, do you know how to win a soul to the Lord? You win a soul like you win a dog.’ His answer shocked me at first. Then he went on to explain, ‘If a dog comes down the road carrying a bone and you try to take it, he’ll growl at you. But if you drop a pork chop, he’ll drop his bone and take your pork chop. Then he’ll come back wagging his tail and you’ve made a friend’.”
“That made an impact on me and convinced me to preach the grace of God…I don’t thunder against sin. I don’t point a finger and say, ‘You’re going to hell.’ Instead, I give them the pork chop. I tell people about the love of God.
“Jesus loves everyone. He’s able to save everybody – even one who’s made terrible mistakes….We’ve been forgiven at the cross. There is deliverance and hope for every one of us when we open up and receive Christ’s saving love!”
Broadcaster Paul Harvey reported on a Sacramento newspaper named the Good News Paper. This paper attempted to only report on good news in the city and ignored the bad news. Seems like a newspaper you’d like to read, right? But, it only survived for 36 months. It seemed that no one was interested in reading the good news, they only wanted to hear about the bad news.
Perhaps this is a case of theophobia – a fearful dislike of God. Referring to these people, Paul said, “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God” (Romans 1:21).
While the world devours the bad news reported in the local newspapers, satellite news networks, and local news media, I still am hungry for the good news that brings peace to my heart and brings excitement to the normal affairs of life. I can’t wait to hear the next thing God wants to say to me.
One of the Lord’s chosen disciples was a doubter. As a matter of fact, we still call him Doubting Thomas centuries later. What would make an eyewitness doubt what he/she had seen? There have been times when I thought I saw something, but, when I thought about it, my mind convinced me I had only imagined what I thought I saw. Without evidence in front of us, we tend to use our imagination too much.
“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him: but some doubted” (Matthew 28:16-17). This implies that more doubted than just Thomas.
But, in the next three verses Jesus gives them all the Great Commission, those who believed and those who doubted. Jesus did not doubt His disciples like they doubted Him. He does not doubt you, either. He has faith in you and expects you to live up to His expectations. You are a child of God and you have a mission. Don’t let Him down.
Back in the 1980s there was a church on the outskirts of Auburn that had a bad experience happen to them. They had a shed constructed on the back of their property to store maintenance equipment. Sometime in the night someone went back there with a chain saw and opened up the back wall of the shed. They drove the church’s new riding mower out through the opening and stole other pieces of equipment.
The pastor of the church, who had become good friends with me, told me how violated he and the church felt. This was no doubt an inside job, since someone had to know how large to cut the hole, and exactly where to cut it to avoid other obstacles. And that fact was what was most disturbing. Is there nothing sacred anymore?
Jesus said that Satan’s strategy is to steal, kill, and destroy. He is the opposite of our giving and blessing God. But Jesus died so that we could have power to take back what the enemy stole from us.
I don’t think they ever caught the thief who did that crime, but nothing slips past God’s attention. He is caught.
I had a fairly good-sized Ash tree in my front yard that got infested with the Emerald Ash Borer. It was a beautiful tree and Anita had planted daffodil bulbs around the base. They were always one of the first signs of spring.
I cut the tree down and removed the debris. Then I dug the surrounding soil away (mostly gravel and clay) from the roots, bored the stump and soaked it with kerosene and burned it out to beneath ground level last fall. Then I filled it over with good soil and planted grass seed. A good rain late last fall sent a nice green carpet around that spot where the tree had been.
But, early this year those stubborn daffodils came charging out of the ground in a nice circular ring where the tree once sat. Can nothing kill those daffodils? Its like they are immune to intense heat and kerosene soaking into the soil around them. Its a reminder of the stubbornness of the power of the resurrection. They remind me of Jesus bursting forth from the tomb.
The next time you see a daffodil shooting upward, think about this story and remember that he is risen.
When I was serving in the US Army, I came down on levy to go to Asmara, Ethiopia, and serve with the US Army Security Agency. Levy meant I was to stay put until my orders came through. The delay was that I needed a top level security clearance for that job. While I was waiting for those orders to come through, orders came through for me to go to Vietnam, where I was to serve in the Army Headquarters in Saigon.
I went through South Vietnam training, qualified with the new M-16, drew my green underwear, got my southeast Asia shots, and was clearing post prior to a 30-day leave when the Army Security Agency orders finally came through, ordering me to Augsburg, Germany, rather than Ethiopia. I had two sets of active orders in my hands. Typical government confusion. So, I went down to the Personnel office and showed them my dilemma. The officer looked at me and told me it was my choice where I wanted to go. After deliberating a minute (combat and overseas pay was pretty good), I decided to take the safe route and chose Germany.
What a blessing it was to be told it was my choice where I wanted to go and have the full authority of the United States Army behind that choice. And what a blessing it is to know I have the right to choose where I want to spend eternity. I can go to the default position: hell. Or, I can choose to redeem my life (through Christ) and go to heaven. Its a no brainer.
Top o’ the mornin’ to ye, me little leprechauns! Its St. Patrick’s Day and I’m wearin’ the green. On my lapel I’m wearing a green shamrock, to remind me that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three in one. As Patrick was trying to teach the wild Irish about God, he picked up a shamrock from off the ground, and used it as an illustration for the Trinity. Three leaves, in one leaf. Very practical, and the point was received.
Patrick is also known for driving the snakes off the island, which is likely a legend, and several other miracles.
He wrote an autobiography of his life, which relates his kidnapping from England and enslavement on Ireland, and his miraculous escape and subsequent enrollment in a Catholic monastery in France. His story goes on to talk about his being sent as a Catholic missionary back to hostile Ireland. Now, that is the story of redemption of a life.
Today I’m celebrating my Irish ancestors and the hope that Patrick brought to them centuries ago.