Archive for July, 2006

John 14:21

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

What Christian does not know this verse? I think I am even relatively secure in saying a good many non-Christians know this verse. I’m afraid I’m also secure in saying many people who believe they are Christians know this verse and claim it as proof of their salvation, even though they reject the remainder of God’s Word.

The Bible is not a buffet. We don’t get to go through and pick the verses we like and reject the rest. If you hold to the argument that believing Jesus is the Son of God is all that it takes to claim salvation, then by your own argument, Satan is saved. He recognized and admitted openly that Jesus is the Son of God.

Salvation comes not from believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for your sins; but from living that belief. Jesus tells us:

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
John 14:21

No, God will not conduct interviews at the Pearly Gates before admitting us to Heaven, but if he did, could you stand secure in John 14:21?

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
John 21:15-17

What’s On Your Resume?

Wordless Wednesday

Sidewalk Sunday School

Since I’ve been here for awhile — and made a few friends — I guess it is safe to REALLY introduce myself. I am a teacher, a writer and a children’s evangelist. Supported by a team of truly awesome people I teach Sunday School every Saturday in one of Vegas’s poorest, most transient inner city neighborhoods.
myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

This is our church. It is on wheels. October through May we take it to a local elementary school on Saturdays for worship. Each week we have a few new kids. Each week a few kids move away — the neighborhood is highly transient — however, some kids have been attending Sidewalk services for our entire five years.

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

These are our “pews” — two squares of carpet rolled out onto the asphalt. The children sit here for the lessons.

Where we roll out the carpet is always dictated by the weather — in the sun when its cold, in the shade when its hot, and not at all when it rains. The school has an outdoor lunch shelter we use when it rains, but unfortunately it is quite small and sometimes the kids really have to cuddle to fit eveyone in.

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

During the summer months when it is too hot to gather the children together and sit them on the ground, we have “splash” events where we all get together once every few weeks and try to drown each other in fun. “The camera isn’t wategublpt!”

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

If you have now been inspired to start a Sidewalk Sunday School [patented] program in your church, please contact our Director, Billie Fidlin. Her email is:

Be sure to put Sidewalk Sunday School (SSS) in the header, and tell her Charlene sent you.
myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

Patience — a word study

Welcome to my word study. All scriptures posted will be from the NIV unless otherwise noted.

Heavenly Father,
Before I begin open my mind, Lord, to your teaching. Guide my thoughts. Send the Holy Spirit to study with me and inspire my writing so that those who come here may learn a measure of your truth. Help me, Father, to put what I learn here to use in my life, so that what I teach — what I profess to believe – is what I live. I pray this in the name of Jesus, your living son, crucified, risen and coming again.

– – – – –

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalm 37:7

This is the “don’t worry, be happy” Psalm. We are not to worry about the plotting and scheming of others, God is in control and we need to trust him, be patient and wait for him to act.

This verse brings to mind one of my favorite scriptures:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

God doesn’t want us to worry. He wants us to be happy and trust him. His plan is to prosper us, bring us hope and secure our future. “Great,” we say. “Now let us see the plans for this future so we can approve them.”

Do you know why I think God rarely lets anyone one of us see his full plan for our lives? A pastor will probably tell you it is because we have a limited ability to understand God’s ways. While that is absolutely true, I believe the real reason God doesn’t share his plans with us is to keep us from running off willy-nilly yelling, “Not me! Not me!”

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Moses wasn’t willing to sign up for talking to Pharaoh. Do you think he would have been “gung-ho, gotta go” for 40 years in the dessert? Somehow I’m doubting it.

I mean, think about the conversation:

“Moses, God here. Listen, I see you’ve made a pretty nice life for yourself down there, but I want you to chuck it all, go into Egypt and argue with Pharaoh until I get him to agree to free the Jews. Then, once the Jews are free, I want you to lead them into the dessert. On the way you’re going to have to part a sea and single-handedly destroy Pharaoh’s army.

“Now, once you get out into the dessert with the Jews, I’m going to want you to wonder around in circles for about 40 years. Oh yeah, most of the time you’re out there you’re going to have to eat the same food every single day. And during all that wandering around the Jews — slaves you freed from certain death at Pharaoh’s hands — are going hate you, curse you, break your heart, rebel against you – then insist you defend them when I get ticked off and decide to fry them.

“One more important little thing, Moses. At your urging I am going to forgive the Jewish slaves heinous sins against my holiness; but the mistake you’re going to make will ban you from ever entering the Promised Land at all. So what do you say? You up for that?”

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m thinking that knowing God’s plan would have made Moses a whole lot more reluctant than he already was.

It is better that Moses didn’t know all the details. Without known pitfalls to hinder him, Moses went forward on faith – shaky faith, but faith just the same. And his reward was a close, personal relationship with God.

It is better for us just to trust and obey as well. That way we each get to experience the joy of standing on our own Mount Sinai in the presence of the Lord, and we can enjoy the worship experience without worrying about golden idols and other obstacles yet to come.

Moses made some mistakes, but he lived his life with integrity and Godly commitment. He did not make it into the Promised Land, but he did make it into heaven. Had Moses known God’s whole plan, at best he would have insisted on renegotiating some of the rougher patches; at worst he would have run away screaming, and in doing so he might have cost himself — himself.

We are God’s children. He strives to protect us from all things –- even ourselves. So, while you’re wondering around in your own personal 40 year desert, be patient – your turn on Mount Sanai is coming – and a suite has been reserved for you in heaven.

Heavenly Father,
Hold us in your righteous right hand. Help us live our lives in obedience to you. When we are frightened, Lord, and our commitment falters, strengthen our faith. Help us live lives of integrity, so that like Moses we can lead in accordance to your will. In Jesus’ name we pray,

Wordless Wednesday

God’s Protection Program

God does have a protection program for his Saints. It is called grace.


My King

It takes a while, but it is worth your time.

How Are Your Grades?

“Reputation is character minus what you’ve been caught doing.”
— Author Unknown

In my classroom I teach my students about reputation by telling them, “I am going to read some names to you. I don’t want you to say anything. I just want you to listen. Listen carefully. There will be a test at the end. I slowly read the names of 5 or 6 people currently featured in popular youth media.

At the end of the list I wait a few more moments, then I say. “As I listed those names, thoughts went through your mind. Some of them were good, some of them were bad.” I then pick a student to share a bad thought he had about somebody. After the sharing I ask if anybody else had the same thought. There are murmurs of agreement. I do the same with good thoughts.

I then say to the students, “Your reputation is the very first thing somebody thinks about YOU when they hear your name.” That statement –in ten years of teaching — always receives a few moments of stunned silence. Then we go on to discuss the ways one builds a reputation and the way one changes it.

Always, always at the end of the discussion as we prepare to move on to the next thing some one says, “I thought there was going to be a test.”

And I answer, “There is sweetheart. It’s called life. The reputation you build is the grade you earn.”

Thy Word

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105