Northwest Apostolic Churches Youth Formal Saturday, May 29 2010 

Departing view of Seattle

Friday May 28, 2010, 175 Apostolic youth and Pastors boarded the boat for the second annual Youth Formal on the Puget Sound.

This annual event has been held for the last few years, and for the first time last year it was held on a Harbor Dinner tour boat.

We gathered and boarded the boat at 7pm, and cast off.  There were 11 churches represented by the 175 people on board.

It was again a great night and great food.  The young people seem to love this event and the chance to dress formally and take a date.

There is no program, just dinner and fellowship.

Kenneth Bow and FPC youth leader Dustin Clanton

Kenneth Bow and Preston and Cameron Reese, sons of Vaughn Reese and grandsons of Bill Burgess

The dinner cruise lasted about 2 hours.  We left at 8pm and returned to dock at 10pm.

Seattle as we returned.

It was a beautiful night.  Our young people do not go to the prom in their high schools.  We want to provide them with a night of their own with other young people that love God.

As we were leaving, I was standing on the sidewalk waiting for the Valet parking and a street bum stumbled up to me.  He was dirty, unshaved, and all eyes.  He was staring open mouthed at 175 people in tuxedos and formal dresses.  I could smell the alcohol on his breath.  He looked at me and slurred…..

“Did I miss the Academy Awards or sumpin?”

As I chuckled to myself I thought no sir, these people are the real award winners!

These young people are striving to win the ultimate award,

“Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

Good job Northwest Apostolic Youth….see ya next year on the boat!

Thanks for reading today!

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You never know… Tuesday, May 25 2010 

I am attending my High School reunion in a few days. As I look at the people I will be seeing I am struck by how some were expected to achieve, and did.

There were others who never did much with their life, even though at the time it looked like they would indeed be a world changer.

The most amazing ones to me are those who showed no signs of becoming the achiever they are today!

I am reminded of the drafting of football players into the NFL from college. One player was not selected until the third round. There were 98 other players taken first. The gurus and experts passed on him three times.

He went on to greatness in the NFL. He started and won four superbowls! He was all-pro, MVP, and countless other awards. He was voted by sporting news as the third greatest NFL player ever. Yet those who judged at the time thought 98 other player had more potential.

Today most sports fan have heard of Joe Montana.

Another draftee was chosen even later in the draft process. He was selected in the sixth round. The gurus selected 198 players before him.

To date he has played in four superbowls and won three. Set numerous records and the name Tom Brady is very familiar.

Maybe we can all realize what someone will become is not always recognizable today!

Maybe God sees potential in you others will never see.

Do not accept the value others place on you, seek the value God puts on your life.

Just because you are not drafted in the first round does not mean you have no future.

You might be surprized what God will do with your life if you make yourself available to Him!

How about it? Live the words to that familiar chorus,

Here I am Lord, here I am,
I give all myself to you
Here I am,
Here I am Lord, here I am,
Let your spirit move through me,
Here I am.

Thanks for reading today!

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Apostolic Truth Tabernacle 13th Anniversary, Greensburg Indiana Saturday, May 22 2010 

Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Greensburg, Indiana

Friday night May 21, 2010 Pastor Jeff Sangl and congregation celebrates their 13th anniversary in Greensburg Indiana.

View of the congregation.

Friday night was an outstanding service with many visiting ministers in attendance.  There were ministers from the home state of Indiana, and surrounding states as well.  The ATT choir sang a dynamic number and the one and only Timothy Spell brought the house down as usual!

Some of the visiting ministers.

Friday night speaker was Rev. Kevin Archer from Cooper City, Florida.  Rev. Archer preached an incredible message entitled “Possession Mentality.”  He challenged us all to have the attitude of a Caleb who was the only one to drive all the inhabitants out of his promised possession!

Kevin Archer

We came back on Saturday and were blessed by several outstanding songs.  Rusty Adkins and John Wyant sang the song they first sang years ago at the first anniversary.  Rusty Adkins did an incredible job on the song “I want to see heaven”.  Tim Spell sang “Heartbreak Ridge” with Bryan and Carissa Tanton.  Then Spell also sang a beautiful song with Carissa entitled “All you need”, written by Christy Ballestero.

The choir again did an outstanding job.

The message was delivered by Rev. Garry Streeval.  His subject was “I’m coming out of this”.  He began with the colorful and interesting story of Macy’s Department store.  How the founder rebounded from a tragic fire and rebuilt after fire destroyed his work.  Streeval preached from the fifteeneth chapter of Luke using the story of the prodical son.  It was truly outstanding, needed, and unforgettable.

Garry Streeval

The church honored their pastor and wife with a love offering during the Saturday service.

Pastor and Sister Sangl being honored by their congregation.

Sunday morning service will be Rev. Timothy Spell preaching, and Sunday evening service at 4pm will again be Rev. Kevin Archer.

Congratulations to Rev. Sangl and the congregation of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle for 13 years!

God bless you.

Thanks for reading today!

You can live for God anywhere! Thursday, May 20 2010 

You can live for  God anywhere!

He lived in the bulls-eye center of one of the worst times of history. Every man was doing that which was right in his own eyes!  There was no King in Israel.

Less than 10 miles from his ancestral home where he still lived, idolatry had just been introduced to Israel.

Idolatry would dominate every facet of Israeli life for the next one thousand years.  It would take a seventy year exile in Babylon to purge the southern nation, and a permanent exile of the northern kingdom to finally get rid of idolatry.

He was there to see the birth of Idolatry!

About five miles from his home one of the tribes had just forced a priest to become the priest of their tribe. They were dissatisfied with their land along the coast, and their tribe was looking to expand their boundaries beyond what God had allocated their tribe.

He had a ring side seat to watch a tribe lose its place forever in Israel. Dan’s heritage disappeared before his eyes.

He was right in the midst of a controversy that eventually cost the nation 65,000 fighting men.  He saw the results of infighting among tribes and saw the results.

He saw the grisly piece of evidence sent to his tribe and was close enough to hear the battle cries over three days that finally left only four hundred men to the tribe of Benjamin. To see a piece of a mutilated woman and the war that erupted among the people of God was no small issue!

Yet through it all he stayed true to the word of God!  When others had no regard for the law, he lived by every letter down to the smallest detail.

The world around him was going to hell in a hand basket, but he never flinched!

Let others fight among themselves.  Let others worship idols.  Let others lose their inheritance.  It never touched him!

If the law said take off your sandal and meet the near kinsman in the gate, that is exactly what he would do!

If the law said another man had first claim to the woman he was interested in, he would honor and defer to the law!

He stands as a silent sentinel to those who make up their mind no matter what others do, I will live by the word of God!

He is a testimony against every excuse maker, and compromiser that says everybody is doing it.

While his nation fell to idolatry, killed itself off, and gave away their inheritance, he stayed true to the law of God!

Is it any wonder his great grandson became the greatest King Israel ever had?

Thank you Boaz, and thanks for reading today!

Amaziah and the third sermon. Tuesday, May 18 2010 

In yesterday’s blog I introduced you to the prophet Amos.  He was an amazing man who obeyed his God and did a remarkable job.  Today I would like to continue with his mission and show you his three sermons.

His clothes were simple and probably homespun.  His language was of the simple unlearned people of the south Judean hill country.  So when this prophet of God walked into Bethel to deliver his message he started at a disadvantage.  The wealthy merchants and landowners were skeptical of this back woods evangelist.

When he delivered his first sermon, all doubts were replaced with satisfied nods of approval.  He thundered down God’s disapproval on the surrounding nations that Samaria had recently defeated on the battlefield. Around the coffee shops and gossip centers of Samaria Amos got the nod of approval.

They no doubt said things like, well he hasn’t bathed lately and his language is abominable, but he did say some valuable things!  So the balance slowly tilted in his favor and they showed up for his second sermon.  This time Amos hit a home run!

In his second sermon he climbed to the top of their preacher charts.  He preached how low down, no good, the southern kingdom was! He pointed out how the southern nation was not pleasing God.  Suddenly his clothes and language did not matter.  Amos was their man!  Their preacher was preaching what needed to be heard.  Three cheers for Amos!

Then came the third sermon.

As he took the center stage of their rapt attention, it was a sea of smiles.  They couldn’t wait for the newest sequel to his last two sermons.  They had waited all week wondering how he could ever top the last two weeks.

It started to go downhill when he called the jeweled, proud, over dressed women of Samaria a bunch of cows!  The smiles disappeared, replaced by looks of confusion.  Side-glances confirmed that there were other unhappy members in the congregation.  It erupted full bore when Amaziah the priest stood and called Amos down.

Amaziah informed Amos that his services were no longer needed in Samaria and maybe he should depart now and head south.  It was a not too polite “get out”.

Amaziah told King Jeroboam that Amos had committed treason.  Amaziah told Amos to get back to his own turf and preach his pretty little sermons.

Amos replied that he was not a prophet, but just a herdsman, and a poor one at that.

Then it happened, the moment that was so incredible.

Amos turned those blazing eyes on the man Amaziah.  Amaziah stood there insulated with wealth, position, and power.  He was dressed in the finest clothes, educated in the best schools, and had all of society’s approval.

Facing him, was a simple country farmer with raggedy clothes, no schooling, and buried under society’s anger.

However, this country boy was God’s man.  When he spoke all the authority of heaven backed up his words.  He pointed the long finger of judgment at Amaziah.

He spoke to Amaziah and said your wife will become a harlot in the streets.

Your children will fall by the sword.

This land shall be divided and will go into captivity.

And so it was.

When anyone chooses to openly and publicly withstand God’s man, God always reacts with the same action toward them.

Amaziah made the fatal mistake of rebuking a God called, God sent man.

God have mercy on anyone who is foolish enough to follow the footsteps of Amaziah!

Look beyond his clothes, his grammar, and his education.  Look carefully for the touch of God on his life.

And whatever you do, never under any circumstances, lift your voice against a God called, God sent man.

Thanks for reading today!

When Justice Was For Sale To The Highest Bidder Monday, May 17 2010 

It was the most prosperous time in their history.

Money was flowing.

The Northern Kingdom of Israel was being led by the dynamic and charismatic Jeroboam II.

Jeroboam had waged successful war against Israel’s hostile neighbors and won control of the trade routes that poured wealth into Samaria.

The land was fertile, the rains fell, and the bumper crops swelled their barns and their bank accounts.  It was a golden age.  Public buildings were being built.  Private residences were large and expensive.  The public worship was now ostentatious and full of pomp.

The rich landowners with total disregard for God’s law,  built great personal estates.  They did so at the cost of dispossessing their poor neighbors.  The poor were further treated badly by the greedy merchants who used unjust weights to buy and sell grain.  These dishonest merchants mixed husks with barley kernels.

More and more of the people were being forced to sell themselves and their children into slavery.

Justice was for sale to the highest bidder!

The wives of the rich demanded more and more luxuries.  No one seemed to give a thought to those who were cheated to pay the tab of the greedy.

No one that is except God!

Ten miles south of Jerusalem, a poor farmer heard an inner voice speak to him.  He was of the poorest part of society.  He dealt in Sycamore figs.  The modern equivalent of someone who gathers cans along the roadside to get money.

His name was Amos.  He left Tekoa to challenge the greatest nation on earth at the zenith of it’s wealth and power.

Has there ever been men like those prophets of old?  Fearless men who gave account to no one but God!

When that poor country boy walked into Bethel, don’t you know his eyes were wide?  No doubt his mouth was hanging open.  He had never seen anything like this in the poor region he lived in.

He walked the streets and saw the luxurious homes of the wealthy.  He saw the opulence of the rich and famous.  He observed women reclining on ivory inlaid couches, feasting on meats and drinking exotic wines while they listened to the lastest popular music groups (Amos 4.1, 6.4-6).

He saw a nation that was hardened by selfishness and greed.  He  spoke to them about the need for their hearts to be touched with the needs of the poor and oppressed.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Does God still care about injustice?

Is Justice for sale to the highest bidder in your life?

Thanks for reading today.

The Gospel Of Luke Thursday, May 13 2010 

Luke

The third Gospel is the only one written by a gentile.  Luke also wrote the book of Acts.  His two works comprise 25% of the New Testament.

Luke was a doctor.  The flavor of the man always comes out in his writings.  In Luke we see more conversation about women, gentiles, and the social outcasts. When a beggar lays at the gate of the rich man, Luke says he was full of sores.  Matthew would have said he was broke.  Matthew’s perspective as a tax collector was his financial status, while Luke had the perspective of a doctor.

Luke’s gospel is written to the Greek, or Gentile world.  He uses Mark as his time line and repeats somewhere around 50% (320 of 661 verses), of the same material Mark provides.

Because he is writing to the Gentile world he begins his genealogy at Adam.  Matthew goes back to Abraham, Mark bypasses the genealogy, and Luke goes back to the first man Adam. John, who writes to the church, reaches back to the misty darkness of eternity.

It appears to me that Luke took the time to interview the people of the early church.  He states that his book is from the beginning and that he had perfect understanding of it all.

When you read of Jesus’ birth in Luke’s account, you find some tidbits of information no one else includes.  One example would be the details of Mary’s song and inner thoughts and feelings.

That causes me to think Luke must have sat down with Mary and spent time talking to her.  I can envision him sitting quietly many years later, at the end of her life, recording her words as she softly speaks of those bygone years.  As she wistfully remembers, he dutifully records.

Not only does he provide information about people’s feelings and inner thoughts, he also documents his writings with names, offices and titles of over 50 people.  This gives his work a credibility the other gospel writers do not have to the world of scholars.

One example of his documentation is the introduction of John the Baptist in chapter 3.  Luke places 7 men in the scripture for historical evidence.  He mentions an emperor, a governor, three tetrarchs, and two high priests.  These are the kind of things that give Luke credibility with the world of scholars.  This also gives further credibility by association to the other Gospels who give the same information.  For this alone Luke is invaluable.

Another contribution of his is the writing of parables spoken by Jesus.  He records 18 parables not recorded anywhere else.  We are indebted to him for the famous parable of the good Samaritan, the prodigal son, and many others.

I am going to go out on a limb here and state my opinion for what it is worth.  I know that Luke traveled with Paul.  I am somewhat sure he joined Paul on one of his missionary journeys, because the text of Acts changes from they, to the first person of I and we.  So my thought is that somewhere Luke sat and listened to Paul tell his insight into the life of Jesus.  My best guess would be  this occurred while Paul was being held at Caesarea.

Just like when he started his book by making the journey to see Mary, I can see Luke taking notes at the feet of Paul and then the Holy spirit washing them though the man Luke with his training, his education, and his perspective.  From out of that flowed the gospel of Luke.

The gospel written to the Greeks adopts the Greek idea of the perfect man.  The Greeks created their Gods by deifying man into a God.

Luke very ably and perfectly adopts their premise and presents them with the perfect man, who was indeed God, Jesus Christ the savior of the world.

The Ugly Christian Wednesday, May 12 2010 

Many years ago when I was in High School I was required to read a book for English class.  It was called “The Ugly American”.

You never know when you pick up a book how it will impact your life.  I was not prepared for the effect that one book would have on my walk with God.

The book is a satire written by some former State Department men who evidently disagreed with the government’s policy of dealing with the growing communism threat globally.

Back then, we were in what was called a “Cold War.”  It was not open conflict with Russia, but rather Democracy and Communism both trying to sway countries to follow their example.

The feeling at the time on the news and in the press was that the whole world would go one-way or the other.

The book is about an engineer that was independently wealthy and decided to go to Asia and attempt to educate the people there and better their lives.

It called “The Ugly American” because the engineer is a large ugly gangly man.  All his life he has been conscious of his appearance.

When he helps the people there with simple projects he is no longer ugly, but is in fact very beautiful to them.  He shows them how to use bicycle parts to irrigate their crops and saves them backbreaking labor they have practiced for years.

The authors illustrate how the communists live among the natives but the Americans live in ivory towers.  Their criticism of American policy and technique are very glaring.

The part of the book that grabbed me over forty years ago was about the engineer’s wife.  While her husband was working with the native people she decided to try an experiment on her own.

It involved a broom.  She observed the old people of the village had bent backs.  She thought it might be from using short handled brooms.  She was sure they would not take any advice from an outsider so she put her plan in action.

She went out into the jungle and found some long reeds and cut some down.  She then made a handle for her broom from one of the long reeds.

As she swept her porch, some of the elderly people came and watched her.  Then the old man asked her about the reed. She said he could have one of hers but they could go into the jungle and get as many as they needed on one water buffalo.

What followed in the book is what influenced my life for the last forty years.  This is what happened.

And it was not until four years later, when Emma was back in Pittsburg, that she learned the final results of her broom handle project.  One day she got a letter in a large handsome yellow-bamboo paper envelope. Inside, written in an exquisite script, was a letter from the headman of Chang Dong.

Wife of the engineer:

I am writing you to thank you for a thing that you did for the old people of Chang Dong.  For many centuries, longer than any man can remember, we have always had old people with bent backs in this village.  And in every village that we know of the old people have always had bent backs.

We had always thought this was part of growing old, and it was one of the reasons we dreaded old age.  But, wife of the engineer, you have changed all that.  By the lucky accident of your long handled broom you showed us a new way to sweep.  It is a small thing, but it has changed the lives of our old people. For four years, ever since you have left, we have been using the long reeds for broom handles.  You will be happy to know that today there are few bent backs in the village of Chang Dong.  Today the backs of our old people are straight and firm.  No longer are their bodies painful during the months of the monsoon.

This is a small thing, I know, but for our people it is an important thing.

I know you are not of our religion, wife of the engineer, but perhaps you will be pleased to know that on the outskirts of the village we have constructed a small shrine in your memory.  It is a simple affair; at the foot of the altar are these words.  ”In memory of the woman who unbent the backs of our people.”  In front of the shrine there is a stack of the old short reeds which we used to use.

Again, wife of the engineer, we thank you and we think of you.

For me as a seventeen-year-old boy, my life purpose suddenly became clear.  No matter what else life demanded, my first purpose was to live in a manner that people could see a better way.

I have not always succeeded, but I have always striven.

May God help us all to unbend the backs of the people we live around.  When you make their life better you will never be ugly.  They will not care if a woman has long hair and no cosmetics.  When their back no longer hurts, you will be beautiful!

There should never be an ugly Christian!

Thanks for reading today!

I would have been a Christian, but for Christians! Monday, May 10 2010 

To try and be a Christian has been the most difficult task I have ever undertaken. It goes against all my natural inclinations.  I have had to change my thought processes.  I have had to alter my reactions.  I have had to curb my behavior.  I have had to corral my emotions. I have had to address my lifestyle.

I have had to love people I wanted to hate.  I have had to hate things I wanted to love.  I have had to forsake things I wanted to hold on to. I have had to hold on to things I wanted to discard.

I have had to become a new creature, a new creation.  Old things have passed away.  I have had to start all over again. I have not been a resounding success.  I have not always passed with flying colors.  I am trying. I want to be a Christian more than anything else in this world.  It is the only accolade I seek.  When I die all I ask is that people can say, “He was a Christian!”

It is tough to do.  I admit it is hard. It is hard to turn the other cheek.  It is hard to love your enemies.  It is hard to do good and pray for them that despitefully use you.  It is hard not be angry at a brother.  It is hard to not call him a fool. When they sue me for my coat it is hard  to give them my cloak also.

It is hard not to judge my brother. It is hard to love by the mandates of Christianity. Being a Christian is the hardest job I have ever undertaken.  I have been at it for over 45 years and I am still trying.

I am not talking about acting like a Christian, I am talking about being one.

Sometimes I do not know how to be a Christian.  I want to, I try to, but it is so against my emotions, my thoughts, my natural reactions and tendencies.  If you can say you truly have made it I congratulate you!  It is a monumental task and the effort of a lifetime.

If you can read Matthew chapter five, six, and seven, and measure up, I salute you.  I am still working on it.

Mahatma Ghandi was a world changer.  He is the father of modern India.

In Mahatma Ghandi’s autobiography, he makes a statement that is crushing.

Ghandi went to Oxford University and encountered the teaching of Jesus for the first time.  He said he had found what he had searched for all his life in Jesus’ teaching.  On his way back to India, he stopped in North Africa for a few weeks.  It was there he encountered some so called Christians.  When he boarded the ship for India he had discarded the teachings of Jesus.

Ghandi: I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians

His statement was “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. I would have been a Christian, but for Christians.”

I do not want to just say I am a Christian, I want to be one!

Thanks for reading today!

A Mother Gone Bad! Friday, May 7 2010 

When Mothers Go Bad!

According to the article I read, she traded her baby for drugs

Much is written and said about mothers this time of year.  It is stated in the Bible to give honor to whom honor is due, and that qualifies mothers to be given honor.

While many argue over other holidays and their origin and godliness, I have yet to hear a dissenting voice raised against Mothers Day.

I add my vote of praise and adoration to every mother who has given of herself to raise children.  It is a great investment of time and tireless energy to see the job to the end.

As I thought of Mothers Day my mind drifted off into the murky areas of mothers who cater to their own selves.  Those mothers who do not care for their children.  Mothers who leave their children in motels, and rat infested hovels, while they party and use drugs.

These mothers are not concerned with nutrition, or grammar, or cleanliness.  These mothers offer no supervision or guide in life.  The child is left to find his own way.  The mother gives no thought to the child’s future.  Everything is about the mother and her wants and needs.

It is amazing how the children of these mothers still cling to their mother’s skirts!  These children are incapable of looking around and seeing that they themselves are malnourished, and dirty.  Their loyalty and love to this unfit, unworthy mother is remarkable!  Even though this mother is not a mother at all they still love her.

And then there is the mind set that these kids adopt.  They bond with a mother that is messed up in her mind and cannot teach or model right concepts.  So they go through life mirroring wrong morals and ideas.  They follow a godless, corrupt woman to tragedy and despair.

Their lives end up broken, miserable, and hopeless.  All this because of the influence and direction a mother provides.

The Bible teaches us the church is our mother, and God is our father.

Thank God for a godly mother that taught us to live right.  We honor the church of Jesus as His bride and our mother!

We are saved today because of the church.  We were taught.  We were corrected.  We were nourished. We were bathed.  We learned manners and respect.  Our mother taught us those things from Sunday School, to Youth Service,  to mid week Bible Study.

But what about the children of those churches that do not care about their children?  It does not bother these churches that their children are undernourished.  They are fed milk forever and never grow strong and mature.

These children are never taught that it is important to follow the Bible on every single point.  Children of these churches have no teaching, no supervision, and no cleanliness.  These children are left to themselves with no instruction or correction.  They are dirty, uncouth, and pitiful.

And you know what? They never look around and see how dirty they are.  They can never see how pitiful and sad they are.  These children of mothers gone bad are loyal to the woman who did not care for their soul.  They love a woman fiercely who did not feed them, cleanse them, or train them to face eternity.

Ask them about their mother.  They will say how wonderful their mother is.  They will trumpet for all to hear how they can dress however they want and still shout, dance, and speak in tongues.  They adopt the mindset of the corrupt woman who gave them birth, but who tragically is a mother gone bad!

Someday they will walk a path straight to the judgment seat of Christ holding their mothers hand.  They will love her to the end.  They will be loyal to her all the way to the last moment.  They will be convinced their mother is good and right.

Confusion will reign when the Judge of the ages, Almighty God himself says, “Depart from me I never knew you, ye that work iniquity”.

It is really quite simple and quite tragic.

These are the children of a mother gone bad.

Thanks for reading today!

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