Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
Lately I have been in the habit of not only reading Scripture but also praying it. Let me give you an example.
Because I live you also will live. John 14:19
Lord Jesus, what a profound truth this is! Where else would I put my trust but in You? I may be stricken by cancer or some other devastating disease. I may be overwhelmed by problems or devastating circumstances. But I am safe in You now and will live forever with You.
Thank you, Jesus, for being my Lord, my all in all, my hope of salvation in a troubled world, and my ticket to heaven.
Yes, because You live, I also will live.
Friday, July 14th, 2017
THE SHERBURNE COUNTY JAIL
I gave my How to Stay Out of Jail presentation six times at the Sherburne County Jail this past Monday and Tuesday. This facility houses some of the toughest of the tough, including men awaiting deportation. The setting was so menacing that I had to wear a device that would send off an alarm if I were knocked at least forty-five degrees off vertical or laying on the floor.
Seventy-seven men and women signed up to hear me preach salvation and the power of the Holy Spirit to transform their lives. They were all meek as lambs and attentive to what the Lord had to say through me. I could see desperation in their faces as they arrived. They couldn’t help themselves from returning to jail three or four or even six times. They came to receive any kind of hope, and they left with the hope that being handcuffed to Jesus would stop the cycle. I showed them that walking on their own path would never work. Only as they did an about face (converte in French) and walked on God’s path was there any hope. When I finished the talk and prayed for them, they came up one by one and shook my hand, blessing me in English, Spanish, and I’m not sure what other languages.
The response was so good those two days that I ran out of books (Arm in Arm with the Holy Spirit) to hand out. The program director liked the program so much that he wants me to return quarterly to do the same thing. Praise the Lord. Bless you who support this ministry through donations to purchase the books. I’m investing $1,000 of my own money to finance the free distribution of books. I welcome any of you to partner with me by sending a tax deductible donation to:
Buffalo Community Assembly of God Church (with a notation on the check of Jail Ministry Fund)
206 2nd Avenue NE
Buffalo, MN 55313
Wednesday, July 5th, 2017
I believe in God my Father;
I believe in Christ His Son.
I believe in the Holy Spirit;
I believe that the three are One.
I believe in the love of Jesus;
I believe that He died for me.
I believe in His resurrection;
I believe in eternity.
I believe in the truth of Scripture;
I believe Jesus speaks to me.
I believe in grace abounding;
I believe what I cannot see.
Friday, June 30th, 2017
PRAISE THE LORD
I just received a call from the Park View Care Center in Buffalo. Marvin Schaar, the man with muscular dystrophy I’ve been visiting for the past seven years, passed away at 6:30 this morning.
It was beyond time for him to go. He was a vibrant man who was 6’4” and 210 pounds when I first met him and was 120 pounds when last weighed. His lungs were starting to collapse and his throat was so constricted that he could not keep up with swallowing his own saliva.
I have been praying for the Lord to take Marv for the past year, as have several others. He has answered that prayer in His own timing. Praise the Lord.
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
A LIBERAL THEOLOGY
If moderns want a simple religion of love, they must look for it in the Athanasian Creed.
– G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man
There are those who proclaim that God is love and all of life hinges on that attribute. They offer this as a piece of pure and simple Christianity, untroubled by Christian doctrines or even the full message of the Bible. It is illogical to simplify the ultimate essence of deity by saying, “God is love.” That is His greatest attribute to be sure, but there is so much more.
The part of the Athanasian Creed Chesterton is referring to is the first two sentences, which say that one must be saved by faith, which must be kept whole and undefiled or “without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” Yes, God is love, but He is also just and banishes the unregenerate soul to the furthermost reaches of hell.
Saturday, June 24th, 2017
A FRESH LOOK
My good friend Phil suggested I use The Message to better relate to the inmates I’m presenting to in my visits to county jails. If you don’t know, The Message is a contemporary rendering of the New Testament by Eugene Peterson. But he didn’t do it on his own. He had five theological heavyweights as consultants to make sure he stayed true to the original languages, tone, rhythm, events, and ideas in everyday speech.
That said, I’ve always had trouble explaining Romans 7 and 8 to anyone, much less to prisoners who as a whole are not avid and accomplished readers. The Message gives a fresh look to those chapters, and I plan to use it now in my talks at county jails and to Adult and Teen Challenge facilities.
By the way (whisper, whisper) I found that I better understood those two chapters myself in The Message. Romans 7 especially has always plagued me with its obscurity. May I suggest (thumbs up) that you get ahold of this translation and get a fresh look at Scripture yourself.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017
Oh, what a struggle it is for me to live out the Christian life!
Oh, how easy it is for Jesus to live out His life through me.
But certainly there’s something I need to do to live out the Christian life?
Yes. Be receptive. Listen. Submit. “Not my will but Thine be done.”
Friday, June 16th, 2017
I had a hard decision to make. I’ve been visiting Joe in the county jail for the past few months and promised I’d always be there for him. At first he was receptive to God’s word and direction in his life. A few weeks ago he changed. All of a sudden, it was all about Joe and how the justice system had failed him and how his public defender was inept and how the police had violated his rights when they broke into his department to stop him from hitting his girlfriend again. (She’s the mother of three of his children and one on the way.)
I compared notes with the chaplain at the jail and conferred with my trusted spiritual partner, Bob. They concurred with the decision I had come to. So two days ago I told Joe that I was not abandoning him but couldn’t help him until he submitted to God. He jumped up from the table, shook my hand, and said in an angry voice, “Pat, you’re being ridiculous!” With that, he bolted out the door and was led back to his cell. Pray for Joe. He’s a lost soul in need of finding.
Tuesday, June 13th, 2017
NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
Humanity is like an enormous spider web, so that if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling. As we move around this world and as we act with kindness, perhaps, or with indifference, or with hostility, toward the people we meet, we too are setting the great spider web a-tremble. The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt. Our lives are linked together. No man is an island.