On a rainy Sunday, June 6, 1982, while attending the Billy Graham crusade by the urging of my two sisters, I “felt my Lord’s atoning blood, close to my soul applied. Me, me, He loved, the Son of God, for me, for me He died.”* Thus began my new life in the Christian faith. For the previous 20 years of my life, being in an unconverted state, I grew up thinking myself to be a good kid. And by all accounts of those around me, I was. That’s right. Compared to those around me, I was a good kid.I was raised as a (nominal) Roman Catholic, being baptized as an infant and in time, receiving my first holy communion, confirmation and the coveted Pope Pius XII award by the time I was 13 years old. Perhaps I could more accurately be classified as a “practical atheist”, for my religious convictions had little association with the life I was living. The two, in my mind, were for occasions of their own. Me, myself and I owned 6 days and 23 hours of the week. Religion possessed a mere hour on Sunday mornings, if that. Besides all that, my reigning philosophy about religion was to pick any religion, then be the best person you can be and you’ll make it to heaven. In those days it never entered my mind that if you can make it to heaven by being a good person, then Jesus Christ died in vain! Not until that rainy day in June, as I sat in my seat listening to the preaching of Billy Graham, did it dawn on my soul that before God I am not so good. That’s right. Compared to the Holy and Righteous God how could I ever stand with my head held high? For the first time in my life I was measured up against One of Infinite Goodness, Holiness and Justice and immediately my badness was shown for what it really is…sin. Under the weight of this realization my heart was crushed. For the very first time in my entire life I realized that I was sinful to the very core of my being, as I tasted it and knew this was true of me as I was now standing before Almighty God and not anyone else. Previous to that evening I would admit to my sisters that “Yea, yea I’m a sinner, you’re a sinner, we’re all sinners”, but I never tasted the reality of it. You see, that night, as I sat in my seat, long before any choruses of “Just As I AM” were sung or any decisions were made, God revealed something to me, something of my sin before a Holy God. And I was granted to see myself as God truly sees me…and it was heavy! Well, while under this burden of conviction of sin and heaviness of heart, the preacher continued. God, in His sheer mercy, then revealed to me that even as sin-sick as I am, Jesus Christ loved me and gave Himself for me, took away my sin, forgave me, in order to bring me back to God! For the first time in my entire life this reality dawned upon my understanding and my soul! Such love melted my heart, with tears streaming down my face for hours afterward! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who lived a sinless life, took on Himself the wrath of God due me, died on a cross, in my place, for my sin, rose from the grave three days later to give me new life…real life…Life by, in and for God!…And on top of all that, beyond my greatest imagination, all this taking place while sitting next to my Dad, who was undergoing the very same conviction of sin and tasting for the first time the love of God in Jesus Christ too! Spiritual twins undergoing the new birth! Wow! What rarities: converted in a memorable point in time, side by side with my father and now possessing an audio copy of that particular message preached by Billy Graham on that rainy Sunday in June, 1982.Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15)! * “And Can It Be”, Charles Wesley, 1738
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, October 09, 2008
“My sin…not in part but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more!”
Perhaps even more miraculous is the calling of God to be an under shepherd of and spokesperson for Jesus! In the spirit of Mephibosheth I too ask: “what would you have with a dead dog like me”(2 Sam 9)?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
To Be Ordained!...
I am truly humbled...and thrilled to announce that the Ordination Council of Haverhill Community Church has unanimously affirmed God's call on my life to ministry...and will be conducting an Ordination Service this Sunday evening - 9/28/2008 @ 6PM at
Haverhill Community Church.
Please join us in person...and if not, in prayer, to celebrate our Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ!
17 Newcomb St.
Haverhill, MA 01830
any questions, please e or call.
Much grace and peace of Jesus,
Thursday, September 18, 2008
An Ordination Examination...
This coming Saturday I will be meeting with the leadership of Haverhill Community Church, along with a dozen pastors, for the examination of my call to Christian ministry. I appreciate you prayers for this ordination council.
I am humbled, encouraged and frightened...all at the same time!
with much love and joy in Jesus!
PS: My friend Paul sent this to me and brought me great (and humbling encouragement)
In Honor of Tethered Preaching
September 17, 2008By John Piper
Read this article on our website.
The Bible tethers us to reality. We are not free to think and speak whatever might enter our minds or what might be pleasing to any given audience—except God.
By personal calling and Scripture, I am bound to the word of God and to the preaching of what the Bible says. There are few things that burden me more or refresh me more than saying what I see in the Bible. I love to see what God says in the Bible. I love to savor it. And I love to say it.
I believe with all my heart that this is the way God has appointed for me not to waste my life. His word is true. The Bible is the only completely true book in the world. It is inspired by God. Rightly understood and followed, it will lead us to everlasting joy with him. There is no greater book or greater truth.
The implications of this for preaching are immense. John Calvin, with the other Reformers, rescued the Scriptures from their subordination to tradition in the medieval church. The Reformation, let us thank God, was the recovery of the unique and supreme authority of Scripture over church authority.
Commenting on John 17:20, Calvin wrote,
Woe to the Papists who have no other rule of faith than the tradition of the Church. As for us, let us remember that the Son of God, who alone can and ought to pronounce in this matter, approves of no other faith but that which comes from the doctrine of the Apostles, of which we find no certain testimony except in their writings. (Commentary on John)
Calvin’s preaching inspires me to press on with this great and glorious task of heralding the word of God. I feel what he says when he writes to Cardinal Sadoleto:
O Lord, you have enlightened me with the brightness of your Spirit. You have put your Word as a lamp to my feet. The clouds which before now veiled your glory have been dispelled by it, and the blessings of your Anointed have shone clearly upon my eyes. What I have learnt from your mouth (that is to say, from your Word) I will distribute faithfully to your church. (“Letter to Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto,” quoted in J. H. Merle D’Augigne, Let Christ Be Magnified, Banner of Truth, 2007, p. 13).
For Calvin, preaching was tethered to the Bible. That is why he preached through books of the Bible so relentlessly. In honor of tethered preaching, I would like to suggest the difference I hear between preaching tethered to the word of God and preaching that ranges free and leans toward entertainment.
The difference between an entertainment-oriented preacher and a Bible-oriented preacher is the manifest connection of the preacher’s words to the Bible as what authorizes what he says.
The entertainment-oriented preacher gives the impression that he is not tethered to an authoritative book in what he says. What he says doesn’t seem to be shaped and constrained by an authority outside himself. He gives the impression that what he says has significance for reasons other than that it manifestly expresses the meaning and significance of the Bible. So he seems untethered to objective authority.
The entertainment-oriented preacher seems to be at ease talking about many things that are not drawn out of the Bible. In his message, he seems to enjoy more talking about other things than what the Bible teaches. His words seem to have a self-standing worth as interesting or fun. They are entertaining. But they don’t give the impression that this man stands as the representative of God before God’s people to deliver God’s message.
The Bible-oriented preacher, on the other hand, does see himself that way—“I am God’s representative sent to God’s people to deliver a message from God.” He knows that the only way a man can dare to assume such a position is with a trembling sense of unworthy servanthood under the authority of the Bible. He knows that the only way he can deliver God’s message to God’s people is by rooting it in and saturating it with God’s own revelation in the Bible.
The Bible-oriented preacher wants the congregation to know that his words, if they have any abiding worth, are in accord with God’s words. He wants this to be obvious to them. That is part of his humility and his authority. Therefore, he constantly tries to show the people that his ideas are coming from the Bible. He is hesitant to go too far toward points that are not demonstrable from the Bible.
His stories and illustrations are constrained and reined in by his hesitancy to lead the consciousness of his hearers away from the sense that this message is based on and expressive of what the Bible says. A sense of submission to the Bible and a sense that the Bible alone has words of true and lasting significance for our people mark the Bible-oriented preacher, but not the entertainment-oriented preacher.
People leave the preaching of the Bible-oriented preacher with a sense that the Bible is supremely authoritative and important and wonderfully good news. They feel less entertained than struck at the greatness of God and the weighty power of his word.
Lord, tether us to your mighty word. Cause me and all preachers to show the people that our word is powerless and insignificant in comparison with yours. Grant us to stand before our people as messengers sent with God’s message to God’s people in God’s name by God’s Spirit. Grant us to tremble at this responsibility. Protect us from trifling with this holy moment before your people.
Monday, August 11, 2008
SoulFest 2008 reflections
Met some humble, wonderful, Jesus-enthralled people there - from those I met at the seminar I presented, to those working hard behind the scenes, to those performing onstage! Just a sweet time for Cyndie, our girls and I! Thanks honey(s) for your support!
Thank you Dan for the invite. Thanks JVT for the finess of your friendship skills and introduction to many talented folks backstage.
I was truly humbled and honored to be a Mephibosheth-like spokesman for King Jesus!
Your love, O Lord, is intensly, majestically amazing!
You can check out the mp3 of the seminar:
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
(2 Timothy 4:1-5)
Friday, June 06, 2008
27 Years Into Eternity...
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.
Friday, May 23, 2008
This experiment by the Washington Post reminded me of this truth:
Stop and smell (God's) roses...and be led to see, savor and share His beauty, especially His glory in His Son, Jesus Christ, who loved you and dies for you. Do you know this about Him?
here is the entire Washington Post article (with videos)
Monday, May 05, 2008
The Lord has recently opened a door of ministry with the folks of Haverhill Community Church, here in the big city of Haverhill. Thus far, we have met some precious people and no shortage of potential to further the Kingdom of God, in the knowledge of Christ. I appreciate the vision of this fellowship to reach out to the homeless in tanglible ways, opening the doors each Sunday morning for coffee, juice and muffins to some 30-40 folks...Simply Christ-like and beautiful. Ditto with impacting area nursing homes with the aroma of Jesus through prayer, word and deed.
For the month of May, I will be revisiting the opening book of the Bible with a 4 part series entitled: "The 1,2,3's of Genesis: The Ingredients of the Christian Faith" as we survey the
first 3 chapters of the Bible (10:30 AM). If you are so moved, please pray for us that we would see, savor and share Jesus Christ...in ways we have never seen...and more than we could ever ask or imagine! As a son of Mephibosheth, I am truly humbled and honored to proclaim Jesus Christ...His doing, dying and rising from the dead!
For location, find it here
all times are here
recent audio messages are here
Monday, April 28, 2008
Amazing Grace: Jesus Died To Save Sinners...
(1 Peter 3:18)
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The Veritas Forum has posted 4 superb videos/audios of Pastor Tim Keller, displaying great mercy to those who doubt (Jude 22)
These are listed on the right panel of the website.
Got a skeptic friend? Know doubters? Consider passing this along...
Monday, April 07, 2008
Sunday, April 06, 2008
We Would See Jesus!
They approached Philip, and asked: "Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?"
"Behold, the Lamb of God!"
The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds. Their ways before me were like the uncleanness of a woman in her menstrual impurity. So I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood that they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it. I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them. But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD, and yet they had to go out of his land.' But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came. "Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.
Monday, March 24, 2008
repetitions we can classify them under about 800 headings. They cover every phase of
man's life in his relationship to God and his fellowmen, now and hereafter.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Happy 9 years!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I've got a friend who pastors a local congregation and is on the verge of beginning a new, contemporary style service. I recommended that he and the team check out this interview on the White Horse Inn radio/web talk program. Featured is pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle and spearhead of Acts 29 church planting network.
"Reaching Out Without Selling Out: An Interview with Mark Driscoll"
Here's a nugget:
"The people have been marketed, they have been pitched, they have been sold, they have had their felt needs assuaged. What they haven’t had is anyone get up and open the Bible, tell them who God is, what he has done and call them to repentance in a very clear, forthright way that respects their intelligence."
This ethos is reflected in his desire to be both Biblically faithful in content and culturally "there" in the outworking of the Christian life, emphasizing both the "exaltation" of Jesus as well as His "incarnation".
Give it a listen...comments welcome...
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Joel Osteen Examined...
The Apostle Paul had his turn under the microscope ( Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17.11)...now it's Joel's turn...
His books are on the NY Times Bestseller list...selling like hotcakes...
Theirs (Lakewood Church) is the largest in the ole U.S. of A...
Who is this guy and is everything legit?
Check out this 60 minutes edition and today's discussion on
The White Horse Inn as they examine:
Joel Osteen: A Case Study in American Religion
Previously I highlighted a word from "Yesterday and Today"
This is from today:
"This is my Bible. I am what it says I am.I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert, my heart is receptive. I will never be the same.I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living seed of the Word of God. I will never be the same. Never, never, never. I will never be the same. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” (From Joel Osteen & Lakewood Church)
and from yesterday:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth,and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,born of the Virgin Mary,suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into hell.The third day He arose again from the dead.He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.Amen.(Apostles Creed)
*The word "catholic" refers not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What has happened? Why?
Search this out for yourself...
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Jesus: Historical Figure or Myth?
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
You Are Amazing, God!
Chris Tomlin - IndescribableFrom the album Arriving
From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea,
Creation's revealing Your majesty.
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring,
Every creature unique in the song that it sings. All exclaiming...
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God.
All powerful, Untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees and we humbly proclaim,
You are amazing God.
Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go,
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow?
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light,
Yet conceals it to give us the coolness of night?
None can fathom...
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same.
You are amazing God.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
And Martin Luther echoed his Master's truth by stating:
"The word of God is the greatest, most necessary, most important thing in Christendom. Without the external Word we would not know one spirit from another...Let the man who would hear God speak, read Holy Scripture."
So I had an idea to create a video blog (A Crumb From The Master's Table) of 5 minute clips focusing on a particular passage, shot throughout the Merrimack Valley.
It is a challenge to concisely condense your thoughts on a text (let alone to walk in it...grace, faith, Lord!)...so I'm stringing a few crumbs together, along with some resources here and there to hopefully stimulate the study, application and sharing of the Word of the Living God.
Taste and see that the Lord is good! He is amazing!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Forgiven! Imagine that!
...you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Mat 1.21)
Imagine that...“Take heart, ...your sins are forgiven.” (Mat 9.2)
John Frederick has a sweet song called ..."IMAGINE"