Pray for Our President and His Family, revisited

June 18, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Posted in pray | Leave a comment
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I originally posted this back in February. Given all that is going on in our country at this time I thought it good to revisit this post.

“(1) I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – (2) for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (3) This is good, and pleases God our Savior, (4) who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (5) For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (6) who gave Himself for all men – the testimony given in its proper time. (1 Timothy 2:1-6 NIV)

When was the last time you prayed for our president and his family? They need our prayers. I am not going to rant or take sides politically right now. If for nothing else than respect for the office of president, let’s pray for him and his wife and his children. Most of us will never meet him, but we can pray for him. We’ll never meet his wife or children, but we can pray for them.

There are enough people criticizing him and his decisions. There is a place and time for that. There are enough people hoping to vote him out of office during the next election. Like him and his agenda or not, Jehovah God has allowed him to be the president of the United States of America. Almighty God raises up and He lowers down whom He wants to. We need to show the president some respect and pray for him.

Pray that:

1. He, his wife and children will come to a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior if they don’t now have that.

2. He and his family will be protected from violence and harm.

3. He and his family will be healthy and safe both physically and emotionally.

4. He will be a loving husband and father.

5. He will think clearly and make the right decision and not a politically correct decision.

6. He will be a man of integrity, truthfulness, honor and courage.

7. His closest advisors will come to know Christ as Lord and Savior.

8. He will get godly counsel and follow it and that ungodly counsel will be thwarted.

He may never know we did, but God does. Our God is an awesome God! Let’s pray according to Scripture like He is. Thank you for praying.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer) 

(Romans 15:13; Psalm 5:11-12)

Coffee Review – Vietnamese Legendee Classic

June 18, 2010 at 8:04 am | Posted in Coffee Reviews | Leave a comment
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The coffee we are trying this week is Legendee Classic Whole Bean from Trung Nguyen (http://www.trung-nguyen-online.com). It is described as being grown in Vietnam and as one of the best coffees made in Vietnam today. It is a blend of peaberries and robusta with a correspondingly darker flavor that ices well. The Vietnamese roasting style uses a small amount of clarified butter oil to assist in the slow, circulating roasting process.

One of our favorite restaurants serves only Vietnamese food. We found it about three years ago and the first time there we had Vietnamese style coffee. We liked it so much we went out and bought the single cup coffee brewers and the specific coffee that the restaurant used. We have since made our version at home many times with each other and with friends. So we were looking forward to trying this coffee.

First up was the auto-drip and when I opened the bag there is a spicy aroma that meets you. The beans are two different shades as some of the beans are roasted darker than the others. The directions that came with the coffee suggest using 50% to 25% less coffee than you normally use per 6 ounces of water because Vietnamese coffees are very rich and make more brewed coffee than American brands.

This coffee is intriguing and I wasn’t sure what flavors I tasted with the first sip. There is a buttery taste, but it isn’t overpowering. The coffee has a deep roasted flavor but is not bitter at all and lasts after you swallow it. As the coffee cooled it had a slightly nutty taste. As an iced coffee the buttery taste was gone and the nutty, tangy flavor remained. Kim liked the coffee but I wasn’t sure if I did. We would give it one thumb up.

Next up was the French Press and again there is a distinct aroma that is good.  It must be the spice blend, but I almost taste something like licorice and I don’t like licorice. Kim liked the coffee and even took some to work to make in her Vietnamese coffee cup brewer and to share with her co-workers. Kim thought the coffee went really well with a noodle, veggie and tofu dish that she made. She thought the sauce and coffee enhanced each other’s flavors. One thumb up again.

Lastly was the Chemex coffee brewer and I was hoping it would clean the taste up for me. My first sip gets my attention, but I just don’t like the spices that I taste. It seems that the more I drink this coffee the less I like it, but on the flip side, the more Kim drinks it the more she likes it. Only one thumb up again.

One negative to me was how you have to clean the coffee grinder after each time of grinding these beans. The strong aroma lingers also. Some of our friends who like Vietnamese food are really looking forward to trying it. If you are interested in trying a Vietnamese coffee this Legendee Classic Whole Bean is for you. We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. Until next time, enjoy the coffee and conversation.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Thursday’s Hymn – Jesus Loves Me

June 17, 2010 at 9:49 am | Posted in hymns | Leave a comment
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Most of us know this as a children’s song, but check out the second and third verses. Make sure you teach children those verses as well as the first verse and the refrain. I was surprised when we read this during our devotional time. Hope you are blessed and encouraged as we were.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Isaiah 54:13

Jesus Loves Me

By Anna B. Warner (1820-1915)

1.      Jesus loves me! this I know, For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; they are weak but He is strong.

(Refrain) Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.

 2.      Jesus loves me! He who died Heaven’s gates to open wide. He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in.

(Refrain)

3.      Jesus loves me! He will stay Close beside me all the way; Thou hast bled and died for me; I will henceforth live for Thee.

(Refrain)

Insight from A. W. Tozer – There Is No Wisdom in Sin

June 16, 2010 at 11:03 am | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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…Sin is never a thing to be proud of. No act is wise that ignores remote consequences, and sin always does. Sin sees only today, or at most tomorrow; never the day after tomorrow, next month or next year. Death and judgment are pushed aside as if they did not exist and the sinner becomes for the time a practical atheist who by his act denies not only the existence of God but the concept of life after death…..

It is time the young people of this generation learned that there is nothing smart about wrongdoing and nothing stupid about righteousness. We must stop apologizing for our moral position and start making our voices heard, exposing sin for the enemy of the human race which it surely is, and setting forth righteousness and true holiness as the only worthy pursuits for moral beings……

I am among those who believe that our Western civilization is on its way to perishing. It has many commendable qualities, most of which it has borrowed from the Christian ethic, but it lacks the element of moral wisdom that would give it permanence. Future historians will record that we of the twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great civilization but not the moral wisdom to preserve it. (Taken from Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pages 46-49)

Do we excuse sin too easily today? Do we think of sin today? Do we give in to sin too easily today? Do we understand the conviction of the Holy Spirit regarding sin and righteousness today? Simply some questions to ask ourselves in light of what Tozer has written and more importantly in light of Scripture.

Think Biblically, yield to God completely and live joyfully as an ambassador of Jesus Christ.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; 12:1-2

Wisdom from William Gurnall – Seeking Worldly Admiration

June 15, 2010 at 10:19 am | Posted in Devotional | Leave a comment
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My hope is that these excerpts from The Christian In Complete Armour will encourage you to look into the life, ministry and writings of William Gurnall. Anyone who wants to follow closely to Christ will be challenged by Gurnall’s words.

Christ is not “ashamed to call” the poorest saints “brethren,” but He despise to have His name seen upon a rotten-hearted hypocrite (Hebrews 2:11).

Of all sinners the hypocrite does the most harm in this world and therefore will have the most torment in the other world. And yet it is religion which has consistently proved to be the most effective bait of hypocrites, as they seek to snare others into their error and sin while posing as children of God. Ehud, for example, could not have chosen a better key to open the doors into King Eglon’s presence that to say he had brought a message from God. This caused such expectation and confidence that Eglon welcomed him. When the two were alone, the king rose to hear the Word of the Lord from the deceiver – but what he received instead was brutal death (Judges 3:14-30).

I confess the hypocrite may act his part so well that he may accidentally do some good. His glistening profession, heavenly speech, and eloquent preaching might bring to the sincere seeker a measure of real comfort. Like an actor at center stage who stirs up passion in the audience by counterfeit tears, the hypocrite, playing his religious role, may temporarily spark the believer’s true graces. But that is when the Christian may be in the most serious danger, for he will not readily suspect the person who once helped him spiritually.

It would have been far better had Sisera the Canaanite done without Jael’s butter and milk than to be nailed to the tent floor, having been fooled by that woman’s seeming hospitality. Thus it is to our advantage not to sample the free gifts and give-away graces of stage play saints, applauding and drinking ourselves drunk with their admiration. Sometimes a calculated distance from the hypocrite is the safest way to avoid having our heads nailed by errors.

Coffee Review – Brazil Daterra Decaf

June 12, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Coffee Reviews | 1 Comment
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This is our third coffee from Coffee Labs Roasters (www.coffeelabsroasters@mac.com or www.coffeelabs.com) and we were looking forward to trying it. The other two we had friends try with us and they liked them, so this time we decided to brew, taste and review this coffee a little different. We actually ended up using four different brewing methods over a few days.

We planned on enjoying the coffee with friends and none of these friends brew their coffee with anything but an auto-drip machine. So that is what we used. They are all used to drinking grocery store pre-ground coffee and buying whatever is on sale. One friend says he doesn’t like decaf and can tell the difference. It would be a good test group and I love a challenge.

I asked them to smell the beans in the bag and then after I ground them. They kind of liked this exercise and then we talked as the coffee brewed. After pouring everyone a cup I asked them to taste the coffee before they added cream and sugar. Of all seven of us, only one person used cream and sugar. Everyone liked the taste and they were surprised at how good it was for a decaf. We know that decaf does get a bad rap and that’s one reason why we keep looking for that excellent decaf.

The non-decaf drinker couldn’t believe it was a decaf. He thought it was strong, had a good flavor and he wanted another cup. Someone else thought it was a smooth, even cup of coffee and it had a good taste. They would buy this if they had a grinder. Another friend thought it had a little bit of a smokey taste, but not burnt. Overall everyone liked it and I hope we showed them how easy it is to take good well roasted beans, grind them and brew fresh coffee.

At home Kim and I then brewed it in the French Press. There is a smokey and slight chocolaty taste to the coffee. It isn’t really sweet but doesn’t need any sweetener added to it. It has an even feel in your mouth and a mild aroma. The beans look dark, but the coffee does not taste like a dark roast. It is quite surprising. We would give it two thumbs up.

Then we brewed it in the Chemex and the natural coffee flavor shined here. It has a mild aroma and to me a little bittersweet taste. This would be a good complement to eating a sweet desert. It has a nice taste that makes you think about what you are drinking. Two thumbs up again.

Then we tried a new brewer we just got called the AeroPress Brewing System. It brews espresso style coffee, but you can add water to the coffee cup to make American coffee. We have to get used to this brewer and we will have a review of it up on the blog soon. This reminded me of the Chemex only much stronger. The espresso we made was very strong and not bitter at all. I know some of you think we’re crazy for making espresso with decaf. The coffee flavor really came through with this brewer. Two thumbs up again.

So we brewed the Brazil Decaf four different ways and thoroughly enjoyed it. We shared it with friends and all of them enjoyed it. If you are looking for a city plus to full city roast water processed decaf this Brazil Daterra from Coffee Labs Roasters in Tarrytown, NY would be a very good choice.

We received this coffee for free and offer objective feedback. We’ll keep exploring new places and trying decafs looking for that excellent cup of late afternoon or evening coffee. I’ll keep writing about our coffee tasting experiences too. So until next time, stop and enjoy the coffee and conversation.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill and Kim

Romans 15:13; Psalm 34:1-10

Pray for Your Neighbors

June 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Posted in pray | Leave a comment
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This assumes that you know your neighbors by name. I know that is not always easy to do, but we Christians need to know who our neighbors are. We also need to know about some of their needs. We need to ask them questions and listen intently to the answers. It would be good if we could come away from the conversation with them looking forward to our next time together.

So I ask you Christian reader, “How well do you know your neighbors?” If you don’t know them what practical steps will you take to get to know them? Are they saved or unsaved? Do they attend a church, synagogue, temple, mosque or nowhere? Are they married, divorced, or re-married? Do they have kids and if so what ages? You get the idea of the types of questions you should know the answers to. Now go get relational.

But here is one more piece of advice. Go as a learner. Ask questions and listen to answers. When you feel like telling them what to do, stop yourself and ask some more questions. Someone once asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Who is your neighbor?

Let’s pray for:

1. Christians in churches all over America to have a godly desire to get to know their neighbors.

2. These same Christians to learn how to ask questions and to practically get to know their neighbors.

3. These Christians to live out their faith in such a way that their unsaved neighbor would want to ask them for a reason for the hope that they have.

4. You and I to be creative in reaching out to our neighbors

5. You and I to be able to lead some of our neighbors to come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

6. You and I to help disciple some of our neighbors that come to Christ.

7. God to help us do this ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.

8. To help us have a Christ like compassion for the lost neighbors around us.

9. Local churches to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and by their desire to see the people around the church come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

You see, I have included myself in this prayer. I need your prayers too so that I will get to know my neighbors and share my faith in God and Jesus Christ with them. God bless you as you go out as His representatives in your neighborhood.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Luke 10:25-37, 15:1-32

Book Review – Exponential by Dave and Jon Ferguson

June 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Book Reviews | Leave a comment
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I’ve posted a review of Exponential, How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement on my book review page. It is both an encouraging and interesting read. I would also say it is well worth the time to read it.

Thursday’s Hymn – At Calvary

June 10, 2010 at 9:21 am | Posted in hymns | Leave a comment
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Here is a hymn that will get your hands to clapping and feet to tapping. I know that sounded ridiculous but it’s the truth. Its 4/4 time and you want to sing out. You’ll probably want to raise your voice and sing out loud especially when the words sink in and you realize what God has done for you. Enough of me telling you how to sing because I just remembered that I really don’t like when song leaders tell people how to sing in church.

Just sing and enjoy the feeling of praising God. It doesn’t matter if you are off key a little either. Just open up and let that gratitude for God’s salvation come up out of your soul. Make your song an offering of thanks to God. You will be glad you did.

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God. (Psalm 50:23)

I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25)

What a great God to sing praise to. What a great God to trust. What a great God to be loved by.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13

At Calvary

By William R Newell (1868-1956)

1.      Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died On Calvary.

(Refrain) Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; there my burdened soul found liberty—At Calvary. 

2.      By God’s Word at last my sin I learned; Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned till my guilty soul imploring turned To Calvary. 

(Refrain)

3.      Now I’ve given to Jesus everything; Now I gladly own Him as my King; Now my raptured soul can only sing Of Calvary.

(Refrain)

4.    Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan! Oh, the grace that brought it down to man! Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span At Calvary! 

(Refrain)

Insight from A. W. Tozer – The Old Cross and the New

June 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Posted in A. W. Tozer | Leave a comment
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“All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental.

From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique – a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.

…….The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment…….

The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist…. preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level……

The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, ‘Come and assert yourself for Christ.’ To the egotist it says, ‘Come and do your boasting in the Lord.’ To the thrill seeker it says, ‘Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.’ The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-bye to his friends. He was not coming back…… The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more……..

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think or ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross…….

What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God’s stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Savior, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ……….

Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power.” Taken from, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pages 42-45.

This excerpt was long, but the chapter itself is longer. What I found interesting was the note that this was originally written in 1946 and published as an article in the Alliance Witness. What do you think Tozer would have to say now about preaching and services in churches today? Me personally, I think Tozer was prophetic at times. God help us to get back to preaching the cross and the crucified life. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 2:1-5

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