Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

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“Gentlemen, this is a football”

August 6, 2008

“Gentleman, this is a football”, Vintage Vince Lombardi. The quote was all about getting back to basics. And it is true with reference to more than football. Whenever you find yourself floundering…get back to basics. If you are not growing…get back to basics. If you don’t know what to do next…get back to basics.

 

Followers of Christ are in a numerical decline. Even the Baptist are beginning to fess up to their over inflated “membership” numbers and admit that there are many more on the roles than in service to the King. (Read more here). Today there is a greater profession of believe in God and a greater lack of evidence of that faith than at anytime in history. Evangelism has not only become an archaic word that strikes fear in the hearts of Christians, it is no longer practiced as a response to the marching orders of our King. Percentages of those who are involved in pornography, that are getting divorced and that are materialist to excess are about the same for both Christian and Non-Christian alike. Christ followers need to get back to basics. Can I get an Amen?

 

“Ladies and Gentleman, this is a Bible”.

 

Prophets of old along with John on Patmos were told to, “Eat this book” referring to the message that God had given them. Read it, chew on it (meditate), digest it; make it apart of who you are. This is an individual responsibility.

 

As for the assembled church, Bible Classes need to become Bible Study Classes.  Does this sound familiar? A teacher stands up and reads a verse, then asks the class, “What do you think that means?”  And off they go into 30 to 45 minutes of shared ignorance, parroted answers learned by rote and uneducated guesses.  No wonder our kids are leaving the church in greater numbers than ever before.

 

Sincere and genuine Christians are trying to be better Christians and think that the answers will be found in the next great spirtual novel or spiritual self help book. They are fighting a battle with no armor, no weapons and no ammunition. The roaring lion is hot on their trail and they are trying to fight him off with a switch.

 

If you are stubbing, falling over things in the dark and trying to feel your way through life…turn on the light!

 

 

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God Is In Control

July 11, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I recently began a new class that I entitled, “The Fullness Of Time Had Come” subtitled, “A study of New Testament History and The World Into Which Jesus Came” Whew… I know that is a mouth full, but it was longer (-: (I have a support blog for this class HERE)

It has been such a blessing to watch the hand of God orchestrate the rise and fall of Kings and their Empires to prepare the world to be just the right world into which His Son would be born.

One thing has been made clear to me once again and that is God will use all men/women, regardless of their belief in or disbelief in Him, to accomplish His purposes. Man with his over inflated ego and sinful nature cries fowl. Charges of prejudice, selfishness and unfair are flung toward heaven. “Where is man’s free will”, they ask? Yet with calm resolve He continues to bring forth the fulfillment of His Devine purposes on the earth.

A second thing has been made clear to me once again and that is that God continues to use men/women, regardless of their belief in or disbelief in Him, to accomplish His purposes. I along with many other have lamented the lack of great choices in the upcoming presidential elections. “Where is the next Ronald Reagan”, when you need him? And yet with his continued calm resolve He continues to bring forth the fulfillment of His Devine purposes on the earth.

Through scripture he shows us His working in the hearts and wills of men. Through faith we know He continues to do so. It is often quoted, and still so very true, I may not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.

“remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.” Isa. 44:9-11

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Tommorrow Is Packing Day

May 21, 2008

1500 boxes each containing 4 small back packs filled with goodies will be packed and made ready to ship on Friday. Each of the 6000 back packs will contain a small stuffed animal to be giving to a child. Over 31,000 dollars has been given to pay for the shipping and even the Post Office is finally on board. They will come to our building to do the paper work and then provide a truck to take all the boxes to the shipping point. Praise our Father who provides! Channel 5 did an on location shoot for their 6:00pm broad cast. Here is the video.

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Shepherds – They Smell Like Sheep

May 5, 2008

 

 

 

 

Two weeks ago I was appointed a Shepherd for the Madison Church. Since I began my ministry back in 1967 I have worked with Shepherds in numerous churches. Sometimes as a member of a congregation, sometimes as a member and the preaching minister and sometimes with leaders who were supporting works that Barb and I were involved in. I have through the years preached many sermons and taught numerous lessons on Pastors, Elders, Shepherds, and Bishops as they are called in the New Testament. As I accept the responsibility of a Shepherd, I am given an opportunity to practice what I have preached.

 

It is a sobering thought!

 

I solicit your prayers.

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Lord, Bring The Rain

March 29, 2008

Dealing with health challenges over the last several weeks has given me new opportunities to trust the Father. There was a time when WHY would have been my question, especially when from my prespective there is so much that needs to be done for Arewa Aid and our work with the Blake family in northern Nigeria. But now I see these times as an opportunity to focus on Him, to “stand still” as it were and, see the Father. It is easy to be so busy doing His will, that we can miss seeing Him in the process. The following video has a similar lesson. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Hendersonville Star News Article About The Blakes

October 29, 2007

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Missionaries to Nigeria put deeds ahead of words

By Candy Webb
For Sumner County

Published: Sunday, 10/14/07 When most Americans decide to do their part to improve the world, they usually choose something that doesn’t disrupt their lives too much. They may give money to an organization to utilize as needed. They may even take a two-week vacation from work to go on a mission trip.When Brad and Jennifer Blake thought about what they could do to help mankind, they took it all the way.For the past six years, the Blakes have lived and raised their children in remote areas of Nigeria, teaching people there how to grow food, save money and other important life skills.

“We believe that you cannot be as effective traveling back and forth as you can be when you live there,” said Brad, who recently returned to the states to raise funds to support the coming year’s humanitarian efforts.

“When you wear the clothing, eat the food, speak the language and live among the people, you can do so much more.”

The Blakes are founders of Arewa Aid, an organization intent on helping the people of Nigeria learn to help themselves.

Although their spiritual faith is what drives them forward, they believe they can reach more people through compassionate acts of kindness, than through preaching.

“We felt like the Lord called us to do this,” said Brad. “We saw so many children dying from poor nutrition, poor health care, lack of parent education, that we believed it was our calling to provide compassionate assistance in the real-life areas those families deal with.”

One example is what Brad refers to as the “Muslim Beggar Boys.”

“Typically a Muslim man there has four wives, and each of the wives has about seven children,” said Brad. “This means the husband has between 35-40 children that he can’t feed, so he sends the boys to the city to learn the Qur’an. ”

According to Brad, the children do study the Qur’an, but also spend 8-9 hours a day begging on the streets to take the money back to their teacher.

“We approached the teachers and asked if we could teach the children about dry-season farming, and they said ‘don’t just teach the students, teach us too.'”

Alhough Muslims and Christians have a long-standing difference in spiritual belief, Brad believes his approach works because of what it provides.

“We try to reach people through acts of compassionate service,” he said. “And if within that service, they seek information about our beliefs, we are more than happy to share our faith with them.”

The farming system being taught involves drip irrigation and allows food to be grown even in areas where water is sparse.

In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, the residents are being taught the importance of saving money through a market women’s program.

Conflict resolution, poverty elimination and human rights are also key goals in the foundation’s existence.

Each year, the foundation adds programs to its repertoire. Next year, Jennifer will teach the women more about food preservation by teaching them how to can, pickle and dry various foods for later use.

The Blakes are committed to staying in Nigeria at least through 2014 and plan to continue expanding the services the foundation offers.

“We want to move from the family-size kits for farming to the supersize kits,” said Brad.

Also included on next year’s wish list is a small stipend to pay a full-time farmer who can live on the farm and teach increasing numbers of residents how to successfully grow fruits and vegetables for sale and consumption.

Deep wells and solar pumps will be needed so the foundation doesn’t have to rely on purchasing water in tanker trucks, as it has been doing.

The Blakes have been providing assistance to a man who suddenly fell ill and is blind and crippled due to the illness. They would like to continue to help him with his living expenses.

There are many items on the list, but the work, programs and training will be provided by the Blakes and their volunteers.

Arewa Aid is a nonprofit organization, and the Blakes hope businesses will join with area churches to help fund its efforts.

“Children over there are not eating any fruits and vegetables, which can cause serious health problems,” said Brad. “Through drip irrigation, they can grow what they need to eat and also have enough to market and begin digging out of poverty.”

While Brad is here seeking funding, Jennifer remains in Nigeria and is approaching hotels as potential vendors.

“She is taking the zucchini around that was grown and giving them each a zucchini and a recipe,” said Brad. “If they can see what they can do with it, they might start buying it from our participants, and it is another step forward.”

For information about Arewa Aid, or to have Brad come and give a presentation about the foundation’s work, call 444-0999 or 615-299-7433. You can also email Brad at bradblake@juno.com
Published: Sunday, 10/14/07

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The New Atheism

October 25, 2007

John Allen Turner recently appeared in a taping for Coral Ridge Ministries concerning The New Atheism. Worth you time to take a look.