Oct 11 2010

God Rocks! K-LOVE's Day of Praise!

Every day the music on K-LOVE lifts up the name of Jesus.  Today, your voice is added in to the mix - it's K-LOVE's Day of Praise!  The entire day has been set aside for your testimonies and praise reports sharing the great things God has done. You can call 800-900-1300 to share your story or tell us here!

Oct 05 2010

Brave Questions Women Ask God ... Angela Thomas

Have you ever found yourself saying ...

I'm afraid to dream big ...

I am invisible ...

I am worn out ...

I am lonely ...

I am broken ...

I am disappointed ...

... if you have, you are not alone.  Angela Thomas (who was with us on Tuesday) has a book called do you know who i am - and other brave questions women ask.  Angela wants you to know that God has a response to what you've been feeling and thinking.  For His answers, click here.


Oct 01 2010

Out Live Your Life - That's Jesus on that Fiddle (Chapter 16)

This has been an amazing journey, reading through this book together.  We hope God has illuminated your heart to something that will be your way to Outlive.  Thanks for journeying with us!  Lisa & Eric 


Chapters posted will be made available on the Lisa & Eric page for one week.  To purchase Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado, click here. All author royalties from the book will go towards building water wells in Uganda


                       Chapter 16

That’s Jesus Playing that Fiddle

Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.

—Matthew 25:40 (msg)

At 7:51 a.m., January 12, 2007, a young musician took his position against a wall in a Washington, D.C. metro station. He wore jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. He opened a violin case, removed his instrument, threw a few dollars and pocket change into the case as seed money, and began to play.


He played for the next forty-three minutes. He performed six classical pieces. During that time 1,097 people passed by. They tossed in money to the total of $32.17. Of the 1,097 people, seven—only seven—paused longer than sixty seconds. And of the seven, one—only one—recognized the violinist Joshua Bell.


Three days prior to this metro appearance staged by the Washington Post, Bell filled Boston’s Symphony Hall, where just fairly good tickets went for $100 a seat. Two weeks after the experiment, he played for a standing-room-only audience in Bethesda, Maryland. Joshua Bell’s talents can command $1,000 a minute. That day in the subway station, he barely earned enough to buy a cheap pair of shoes.


You can’t fault the instrument. He played a Stradivarius built in the golden period of Stradivari’s career. It’s worth $3.5 million. You can’t fault the music. Bell successfully played a piece from Johann Sebastian Bach that Bell called “one of the greatest achievements of any man in history.”


But scarcely anyone noticed. No one expected majesty in such a context. Shoe-shine stand to one side, kiosk to the other. People buying magazines, newspapers, chocolate bars, and lotto tickets. And who had time? This was a workday. This was the Washington workforce. Government workers mainly, on their way to budget meetings and management sessions. Who had time to notice beauty in the midst of busyness? Most did not.


Most of us will someday realize that we didn’t either. From the perspective of heaven, we’ll look back on these days—these busy, cluttered days—and realize, That was Jesus playing the violin. That was Jesus wearing the ragged clothes. That was Jesus in the orphanage . . . in the jail . . . in the cardboard shanty. The person needing my help was Jesus.


There are many reasons to help people in need.


“Benevolence is good for the world.”


“We all float on the same ocean. When the tide rises, it benefits everyone.”


“To deliver someone from poverty is to unleash that person’s potential as a researcher, educator, or doctor.”


“As we reduce poverty and disease, we reduce war and atrocities. Healthy, happy people don’t hurt each other.”


Compassion has a dozen advocates.


But for the Christian, none is higher than this: when we love those in need, we are loving Jesus. It is a mystery beyond science, a truth beyond statistics. But it is a message that


Jesus made crystal clear: when we love them, we love him.


This is the theme of his final sermon. The message he saved until last. He must want this point imprinted on our conscience. He depicted the final judgment scene. The last day, the great Day of Judgment. On that day Jesus will issue an irresistible command. All will come. From sunken ships and forgotten cemeteries, they will come. From royal tombs and grassy battlefields, they will come. From Abel, the first to die, to the person being buried at the moment Jesus calls, every human in history will be present.


All the angels will be present. The whole heavenly universe will witness the event. A staggering denouement. Jesus at some point will “separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (Matt. 25:32). Shepherds do this. They walk among the flock and, one by one, with the use of a staff direct goats in one direction and sheep in the other.


Graphic, this thought of the Good Shepherd stepping through the flock of humanity. You. Me. Our parents and kids. “Max, go this way.” “Ronaldo, over there.” “Maria, this side.”


How can one envision this moment without the sudden appearance of this urgent question: What determines his choice? How does Jesus separate the people?


Jesus gives the answer. Those on the right, the sheep, will be those who fed him when he was hungry, brought him water when he was thirsty, gave him lodging when he was lonely, clothing when he was naked, and comfort when he was sick or imprisoned. The sign of the saved is their concern for those in need. Compassion does not save them—or us.


Salvation is the work of Christ. Compassion is the consequence of salvation.


The sheep will react with a sincere question: when? When did we feed, visit, clothe, or comfort you (vv. 34–39)?


Jesus’ answer will sound something like this. “Remember when you got off the subway? It was a wintry Washington morning. Commuters were bundled and busy and focused on their work. You were too, mind you. But then you saw me. Yes, that was me! Standing between the coffee kiosk and the newsstand, that was me. I was wearing a baseball cap and a scarf and playing a fiddle. The mob rushed past as if I were a plastic plant. But you stopped. I knew you were busy. You looked at your watch twice. But still you stopped and remembered me. You stepped over to the coffee stand, bought me a cup, and brought it over. I want you to know I never forgot that.”


Jesus will recount, one by one, all the acts of kindness. Every deed done to improve the lot of another person. Even the small ones. In fact, they all seem small. Giving water.


Offering food. Sharing clothing. As Chrysostom pointed out, “We do not hear, ‘I was sick and you healed me,’ or ‘I was in prison and you liberated me.’” The works of mercy are simple deeds. And yet, in these simple deeds we serve Jesus. Astounding this truth: we serve Christ by serving needy people.


The Jerusalem church understood this. How else can we explain their explosion across the world? We’ve only considered a handful of their stories. What began on Pentecost with the 120 disciples spilled into every corner of the world. Antioch. Corinth. Ephesus. Rome. The book of Acts, unlike other New Testament books, has no conclusion. That’s because the work has not been finished.


Many years ago I heard a woman discuss this work. She visited a Catholic church in downtown Miami, Florida, in 1979. The small sanctuary overflowed with people. I was surprised.


The event wasn’t publicized. I happened to hear of the noon-hour presentation through a friend. I was living only a few blocks from the church. I showed up a few minutes early in hopes of a front-row seat. I should have arrived two hours early. People packed every pew and aisle. Some sat in windowsills. I found a spot against the back wall and waited. I don’t know if the air conditioning was broken or nonexistent, but the windows were open, and the south coast air was stuffy. The audience was chatty and restless. Yet when she entered the room, all stirring stopped.


No music. No long introduction. No fanfare from any public officials. No entourage. Just three, maybe four, younger versions of herself, the local priest, and her.


The father issued a brief word of welcome and told a joke about placing a milk crate behind the lectern so we could see his guest. He wasn’t kidding. He positioned it, and she stepped up, and those blue eyes looked out at us. What a face. Vertical lines chiseled around her mouth. Her nose, larger than most women would prefer. Thin lips, as if drawn with a pencil, and a smile naked of pretense.


She wore her characteristic white Indian sari with a blue border that represented the Missionaries of Charity, the order she had founded in 1949. Her sixty-nine years had bent her already small frame. But there was nothing small about Mother Teresa’s presence.


“Give me your unborn children,” she offered. (Opening words or just the ones I remember most? I don’t know.) “Don’t abort them. If you cannot raise them, I will. They are precious to God.”


Who would have ever pegged this slight Albanian woman as a change agent? Born in a cauldron of ethnic strife, the Balkans. Shy and introverted as a child. Of fragile health. One of three children. Daughter of a generous but unremarkable businessman. Yet somewhere along her journey, she became convinced that Jesus walked in the “distressing disguise of the poor,” and she set out to love him by loving them. In 1989 she told a reporter that her Missionaries had picked up around fifty-four thousand people from the streets of Calcutta and that twenty-three thousand or so had died in their care.


I wonder if God creates people like Mother Teresa so he can prove his point: “See, you can do something today that will outlive your life.”


There are several billion reasons to consider his challenge. Some of them live in your neighborhood; others live in jungles you can’t find and have names you can’t pronounce.


Some of them play in cardboard slums or sell sex on a busy street. Some of them walk three hours for water or wait all day for a shot of penicillin. Some of them brought their woes on themselves, and others inherited the mess from their parents.


None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them, we serve Jesus.


Who would want to miss a chance to do that?

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”

(Matthew 25:34–36 nlt)


O Lord, where did I see you yesterday . . . and didn’t recognize you? Where will I encounter you today . . . and fail to identify you? O my Father, give me eyes to see, a heart to respond, and hands and feet to serve you wherever you encounter me! Transform me, Lord, by your Spirit into a servant of Christ, who delights to meet the needs of those around me. Make me a billboard of your grace, a living advertisement for the riches of your compassion. I long to hear you say to me one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And I pray that today I would be that faithful servant who does well at doing good. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.


 Questions for Discussion

1.   What various motivations move people to act compassionately?


2.   For Christians, what is the key motivator to compassionate action?


3.   On the Day of Judgment, how will Jesus separate the righteous from the unrighteous, according to Matthew 25:31–46? Why is this passage so hard to take at face value?


4.   Which group was surprised at Jesus’ choice in Matthew 25? Was it the sheep, the goats, or both? Why would they be surprised?


5.   How are you trying to outlive your life now in ways you were not six months ago?

Ideas for Action

          Go back through this book in the next few days, and note the verses or quotes that most gripped your heart. On a separate sheet of paper or a few cards, write down these words and put them in a place that will keep the truths in front of you. Place them on your bathroom mirror, in your car, on your desk, in your purse, in your wallet, or on your door. Don’t forget the message and mission you have taken from Outlive Your Life.


          Finalize your personal action plan with the goal of outliving your life. Determine how your gifts, passion, and opportunities best fit into God’s plan to serve your neighborhood, community, and world. Overlay that template on your personal calendar to put your plan into action.

Reprinted by permission.  Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference by Max Lucado, 2010, copyright date, Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee.  All rights reserved

Sep 30 2010

Out Live Your Life - Pray First; Pray Most (Chapter 15)

Chapters posted will be made available on the Lisa & Eric page for one week.  To purchase Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado, click here. All author royalties from the book will go towards building water wells in Uganda

Chapter 15

Pray First; Pray Most

But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.

—Acts 12:5 (nlt)

King Herod suffered from a Hitler-level obsession with popularity. He murdered the apostle James to curry favor with the populace. The execution bumped his approval rating, so he jailed Peter and resolved to behead him on the anniversary of Jesus’ death. (Would you like a little salt with that wound?)


He placed the apostle under the watchful eye of sixteen Navy Seal sorts and told them, with no tongue in cheek, “He escapes, you die.” (Quality control, Herod style.) They bound


Peter in chains and secured him three doors deep into the prison.


And what could the church do about it? The problem of an imprisoned Peter stood Goliath-tall over the humble community. They had no recourse: no clout, no political chips to cash. They had nothing but fear-drenched questions. “Who’s next? First James, then Peter. Is Herod going to purge the church leadership?”


The church still faces her Goliaths. World hunger. Clergy scandal. Stingy Christians. Corrupt officials. Pea-brained and hard-hearted dictators. Peter in prison is just the first of a long list of challenges too big for the church.


So our Jerusalem ancestors left us a strategy. When the problem is bigger than we are—we pray! “But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him” (Acts 12:5 nlt).


They didn’t picket the prison, petition the government, protest the arrest, or prepare for Peter’s funeral. They prayed. They prayed as if prayer was their only hope, for indeed it was.


They prayed “very earnestly for him.”


One of our Brazilian church leaders taught me something about earnest prayer. He met Christ during a yearlong stay in a drug-rehab center. His therapy included three one-hour sessions of prayer a day. Patients weren’t required to pray, but they were required to attend the prayer meeting. Dozens of recovering drug addicts spent sixty uninterrupted minutes on their knees.


I expressed amazement and confessed that my prayers were short and formal. He invited (dared?) me to meet him for prayer. I did the next day. We knelt on the concrete floor of our small church auditorium and began to talk to God. Change that. I talked; he cried, wailed, begged, cajoled, and pleaded. He pounded his fists on the floor, shook a fist toward heaven, confessed, and reconfessed every sin. He recited every promise in the Bible as if God needed a reminder. He prayed like Moses.


When God determined to destroy the Israelites for their golden calf stunt, “Moses begged the Lord his God and said, ‘Lord, don’t let your anger destroy your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with your great power and strength. Don’t let the people of Egypt say, “The Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt for an evil purpose.” . . . Remember the men who served you—Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. You promised with an oath to them’” (Ex. 32:11–13 ncv).


Moses on Mount Sinai is not calm and quiet, with folded hands and a serene expression. He’s on his face one minute, in God’s the next. He’s on his knees, pointing his finger, lifting his hands. Shedding tears. Shredding his cloak. Wrestling like Jacob at Jabbok for the lives of his people.


And God heard him! “So the Lord changed his mind and did not destroy the people as he had said he might” (v.14 ncv).


Our passionate prayers move the heart of God. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). Prayer does not change God’s nature; who he is will never be altered. Prayer does, however, impact the flow of history. God has wired his world for power, but he calls on us to flip the switch.


And the Jerusalem church did just that.

The church prayed very earnestly for him.

The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered. (Acts 12:5–8 nlt)

The apostle, who once wondered how Christ could sleep in a storm, now snoozes through his own.


Let’s give this scene the chuckle it deserves. An angel descends from heaven onto earth. Only God knows how many demons he battled en route. He navigates the Jerusalem streets until he reaches Herod’s prison. He passes through three sets of iron doors and a squad of soldiers until he stands in front of Peter. Brightness explodes like a July sun in Death Valley. But Peter sleeps through the wake-up call. The old fisherman dreams of Galilean sea bass.



No response.





Do angels elbow or wing people? Either way, shackles clang on the floor. The angel has to remind groggy Peter how to re-robe. First your sandals. Now your robe. Doors swing open in succession. And somewhere on the avenue to Mary’s house, Peter realizes he isn’t dreaming. The angel points him in the right direction and departs, muttering something about bringing a trumpet next time.


Rightly stunned, Peter walks to Mary’s house. She, at that very hour, is hosting a prayer meeting on his behalf. His friends pack the place and fill the house with earnest intercession.


Peter surely smiles as he hears their prayers. He knocks on the door. The servant answers and, instead of opening it, races back to the prayer circle and announces:

“Peter is standing at the door!”

“You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.” (vv. 14–15 nlt)

I confess a sense of relief at that reading. Even the early followers struggled to believe God would hear them. Even when the answer knocked on the door, they hesitated.


We still do. Most of us struggle with prayer. We forget to pray, and when we remember, we hurry through prayers with hollow words. Our minds drift; our thoughts scatter like a covey of quail. Why is this? Prayer requires minimal effort. No location is prescribed. No particular clothing is required. No title or office is stipulated. Yet you’d think we were wrestling a greased pig.


Speaking of pigs, Satan seeks to interrupt our prayers. Our battle with prayer is not entirely our fault. The devil knows the stories; he witnessed the angel in Peter’s cell and the revival in Jerusalem. He knows what happens when we pray. “Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places” (2 Cor. 10:4 ncv).


Satan is not troubled when Max writes books or prepares sermons, but his knobby knees tremble when Max prays. Satan does not stutter or stumble when you walk through church doors or attend committee meetings. Demons aren’t flustered when you read this book. But the walls of hell shake when one person with an honest heart and faithful confession says, “Oh, God, how great thou art.”


Satan keeps you and me from prayer. He tries to position himself between us and God. But he scampers like a spooked dog when we move forward. So let’s do.

Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. (James 4:78 nlt)

The Lord is close to everyone who prays to him, to all who truly pray to him. (Ps. 145:18 ncv)


When the children of Israel went to battle against the Amalekites, Moses selected the mountain of prayer over the valley of battle (Ex. 17:8–13). The Israelites won.


When Abraham learned about the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he “remained standing before the Lord” rather than rush out to warn the cities (Gen. 18:22 niv).


Advisers informed Nehemiah that Jerusalem was in ruins. He laid a foundation of prayer before he laid a foundation of stone (Neh. 1:4).


Paul’s letters contain more requests for prayer than they do appeals for money, possessions, or comforts.


And Jesus. Our prayerful Jesus.


Awaking early to pray (Mark 1:35).

Dismissing people to pray (Matt. 14:23).

Ascending a mountain to pray (Luke 9:28).

Crafting a model prayer to teach us to pray (Matt. 6:9–13).

Cleansing the temple so others could pray (Matt. 21:12–13).

Stepping into a garden to pray (Luke 22:39–46).


Jesus immersed his words and work in prayer. Powerful things happen when we do the same.


Peggy Smith was eighty-four years old. Her sister, Christine, was eighty-two. The years had taken sight from the first and bent the body of the second. Neither could leave their house to attend church.


Yet their church needed them. They lived on the Isle of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland. A spiritual darkness had settled upon their village of Barvas. The congregation was losing people, and the youth were mocking the faith, speaking of conversion as a plague. In October 1949 the Presbytery of Free Church called upon their members to pray.


But what could two elderly, housebound sisters do? Quite a lot, they determined. They turned their cottage into an all-night house of prayer. From 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., two nights each week, they asked God to have mercy on their city. After several months Peggy told Christine that God had spoken these words to her: “I will pour water upon him who is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.”


She was so sure of the message, she urged her pastor to conduct a revival and invite well-known evangelist Duncan Campbell to speak. The pastor did, but Campbell reluctantly declined. Peggy received the news with confidence. “God hath said he is coming, and he will be here within a fortnight.” God changed Campbell’s calendar, and within two weeks the meeting began.


For five weeks Duncan Campbell preached in Barvas parish. Large crowds gathered in four services at 7 p.m., 10 p.m., midnight, and 3 a.m. The move of God upon the people was undeniable. Hundreds of people were converted. Drinking places closed for lack of patrons. Saloons emptied, and the church grew. The Isle of Lewis tasted the presence of God. All because two women prayed.



Let’s pray, first. Traveling to help the hungry? Be sure to bathe your mission in prayer. Working to disentangle the knots of injustice? Pray. Weary with a world of racism and division? So is God. And he would love to talk to you about it.


Let’s pray, most. Did God call us to preach without ceasing? Or teach without ceasing? Or have committee meetings without ceasing? Or sing without ceasing? No, but he did call us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).


Did Jesus declare: My house shall be called a house of study? Fellowship? Music? A house of exposition? A house of activities? No, but he did say, “My house will be called a house of prayer” (Mark 11:17 niv).


No other spiritual activity is guaranteed such results. “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action” (Matt. 18:19 msg). He is moved by the humble, prayerful heart.


In late 1964 Communist Simba rebels besieged the town of Bunia in Zaire. They arrested and executed many citizens. A pastor by the name of Zebedayo Idu was one of their victims. They sentenced him to death before a firing squad and placed him in jail for the night. The next morning he and a large number of prisoners were herded onto a truck and driven to a public place for execution. With no explanation the official told the prisoners to line up and number off—“one, two, one, two, one, two.” The ones were placed in front of the firing squad. The twos were taken back to the prison. Pastor Zebedayo was among those who were spared.


Back in the jail cell, the prisoners could hear the sound of gunfire. The minister took advantage of the dramatic moment to share the story of Jesus and the hope of heaven. Eight of the prisoners gave their lives to God that day. About the time Pastor Idu finished sharing, an excited messenger came to the door with a release order. The pastor had been arrested by mistake and was free to leave.


He said good-bye to the prisoners and hurried to his home next to the chapel. There he discovered a crowd of believers urgently praying for his release. When they saw the answer to their prayers walk through the door, their prayer service became a praise service.


The same God who heard the prayers from Jerusalem heard the prayers from Zaire. He’s still listening. Are we still praying?

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ.

(Colossians 4:2–3 nlt)


God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, you created all that exists, and you sustain all through your infinite wisdom and boundless power. Yet you invite me to come to you in prayer, boldly and with the expectation that you will hear and answer me. Teach me, Lord, to take full advantage of this privilege, especially in regard to reaching others with


Questions for Discussion

1.   How would you describe the way Moses prayed to God in Exodus 32? In your own words, recount how Max describes the way his Brazilian church leader prayed. In what ways are your prayer times different from these descriptions? What could you do to become more fervent (passionate) in prayer?


2.   What typical tactics does Satan use to keep you from prayer? How can you counter these with your own prayer strategies?


3.   What is the role of prayer in the life of your church? How could you adjust your approach to prayer in your church to make it more meaningful?


4.   Tell about a time when your prayer life seemed richer than it is now. What was different then?


5.   What could you do to reenergize your prayer times? What postures could you take? What lists could you use? What prayer activities could you try? What scriptures could you use as prayers? Who could join you for prayer as an inspiration?

Ideas for Action

          Do a study this week on Jesus and prayer. Use the following verses from this chapter and other examples of Jesus praying or teaching about prayer to guide you:


Matthew 5:44; 6:6–13; 14:13, 23; 19:13; 21:12–13; 21:22; 24:20

Mark 1:35; 6:46; 9:28–29

Luke 6:12–16; 9:18–20; 18:1–8; 18:9–14; 22:39–46; 23:33–34

John 11:41; 17:1, 9, 20


         You may already pray before every meal and at the start of every day, but this week pray before you do these other things as well:

before you start your car

before you exercise

before you do the first thing you always do at work

before you turn on your computer

before you pick up the phone

before you go into a meeting

before you walk back into your home at the end of the day

before you turn on the television

before you open a book

before you go to sleep

before you __

Reprinted by permission.  Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference by Max Lucado, 2010, copyright date, Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee.  All rights reserved