For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.(Ephesians 1:15-19 ESV)
I love music. As long as I can recall, music has moved me. A song of a soloist passionately singing their heart out in praise of the Lord can move me to sing along. Hearing a praise team with harmonizing parts, just adds a beautiful dimension to the lyrics of adoration.
And then there are choirs. The voices of men and women vocalizing the different parts is another form of song that moves me. The hymns that we sing in church are another way that four parts of music can be brought together to reflect a deeper, richer aspect of a song.
Of course, one of my favorite pieces for choirs is Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Just to listen, or to participate, and even, on a few occasions, to direct a choir singing this arrangement can move me to tears.
But when I try to wrap my head around the thought of all of the redeemed, from all of the ages, from every tribe and language and people and nation, encircling the throne of God and singing praise and adoration to our Heavenly Father, it runs shivers up and down my spine. To borrow the words of Mercy Me, I can only imagine.
I’ll close with a portion of a song with a beautiful message.
It’s the song of the redeemed
Rising from the African plain
It’s the song of the forgiven
Drowning out the Amazon rain
The song of Asian believers
Filled with God’s holy fire
It’s every tribe, every tongue, every nation
A love song born of a grateful choir
It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
Songwriters: Peter Furler / Steve Taylor
He Reigns lyrics © BMG Rights Management,
Capitol Christian Music Group
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:35-40 ESV)
This month marks one year since we became Wycliffe members. In the past year we have experienced quite a bit and gone through a significant learning curve. We have been trained at Wycliffe to gain a better understanding of the organization and the importance of partners.
We had the opportunity to train with other missionaries at Resonate Global Mission in Grand Rapids, Michigan where we learned a number of things that helped to prepare us for our assignment. In particular, we were both impacted by the training in spiritual warfare.
Then there was ICC at JAARS. ICC is an Intercultural Communications Course. And JAARS is a partner organization to Wycliffe that originally focused on Jungle Aviation And Radio Service. This course covered a wide range of topics that we covered in a previous (Click here) blog.
We have been knocked about by spiritual warfare (more about that another time). But then we have been wonderfully surprised by how the Holy Spirit gifts God’s people in ways that has amazed us. We have seen the gifts of administration, teaching, and preaching. We have been blessed by intercession of faithful prayer warriors. We have even seen prophecy in action.
But one of the greatest lessons we have learned was what it looks like to be blessed with the spiritual gift of hospitality. Since our original assignment changed, we found ourselves without a home for a season. Deb, a member of our Advisory Prayer Team (APT) stepped up without any hesitation and offered to let us stay with her until we were ready to move into our new home.
We did not immediately jump at the offer. Having a place to stay that was close to the house we just sold and also to the place that we were going to move into, was almost too good to be true. There were other possibilities with family members. We could have even spent time going from one home to the other “spreading the gift of our company”.
In the end, we accepted her gracious gift. It has been such a tremendous blessing to us. We have been showered in God’s grace through this wonderful host. She has been the cool glass of refreshing water. She has been the bread to nourish. She has been the roof to protect us from the Minnesota elements.
Through this experience, she has been a teacher; an example for us to follow. Prayerfully, we, too, can practice what she modeled for us and we will have the freedom to be more gracious and to exercise our own gift of hospitality.
I have heard from a number of our friends who have needed to stay by others for a time. Maybe they were between selling their home and having 100% of their budget reached or maybe they were between assignments, but they have needed a place to stay. They, too, have reflected on the tremendous selflessness of their hosts.
So I end this short blog with a prayer:
Dear Jesus. Thank you for Deb. Thank you for the Holy Spirit abundantly blessing her with the spiritual gift of hospitality. Thank you also for all of the host families who take in your people who need to have a place to stay or a meal to eat or maybe just a glass of cool refreshing water. Thank you for teaching us to be better hosts ourselves, not for our own glory, but only to your glory. In your holy name, amen.
Hebrews 13:2 ESV
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
In this article, I am just opening up the initial discussion on fear. A really basic “What is Fear” synopsis followed by a partial list of fears and phobias.
Fear is an interesting emotion. While it starts in the brain with some type of trigger or stimulus, there is a sudden release of chemicals which cause other physical reactions. The heart races and blood pressure rises. Even glucose levels can rise.
The pupils get larger, allowing more light to come through. The palms get sweaty. Breathing is likely affected. Fear can cause the fight or flight response to kick in. Fear can interfere with the ability to focus on small tasks or it can be completely debilitating.
But those are just a few of the physical reactions to fear. So why are we so incredibly enamoured with fear? There seems to be a significant part of our society that craves to have their socks scared off. Countless movies with a focus on the macabre have been produced with a wide array of scary topics. Vampires, werewolves, giant gorillas, and other monsters have been used in a number of movies and subsequent remakes. Of course, one cannot forget about sharks. The Jaws franchise kept several people out of the water for a time.
There are some themes that, just as the villain in the script, just don’t die. This year the studios are doing the 10th installment of Michael Meyers coming back. And to mark the occasion, Jamie Lee Curtis will help bookend the 40 year old series. The list of scary movies is exhaustive and I have already spent more time on the subject than I intended. But we are seemingly fascinated with the topic. Enough so, that movie producers will continue to shock us out of our seats.
But far beyond the entertainment value, there is an incredible variety of fears that plague our society. Psychologists tend to lump these into categories called phobias. A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
The rest of this article is a list of just some of the fears or phobias that I have come across. Some seem to me to be legitimate. But some of them I find a bit humorous. This isn’t a complete list. It’s just a few that you may find interesting.
- Acrophobia – heights
- Agoraphobia – open spaces
- Amartophobia – sinning
- Androphobia – men
- Arachnophobia – spiders
- Astraphobia – thunder and lightning
- Atychiphobia – failure or defeat
- Claustrophobia – small spaces
- Coimetrophobia – cemeteries
- Cyberphobia – computers or working on a computer
- Cynophobia – dogs
- Decidophobia – making decisions
- Dextrophobia – right side
- Entomophobia – insects
- Ephebiphobia – young people or teenagers
- Euphobia – good news
- Gephyrophobia – bridges
- Glossophobia – public speaking
- Graphophobia – writing or handwriting
- Heliophobia – sun, sunlight, or any bright light
- Herpetophobia – reptiles, commonly lizards and snakes
- Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – long words
- Hodophobia – traveling
- Hylophobia – forests
- Katsaradaphobia – roaches
- Logizomechanophobia – computers (so scary that two words were needed)
- Monophobia – alone or a single person
- Mysophobia – germs
- Nyctophobia – the dark
- Ophidiophobia – snakes
- Peladophobia – hair loss
- Phobophobia – phobia(s) and anxieties
- Placophobia – tombstones
- Pteromerhanophobia – flying
- Pyrophobia – fire
- Ranidaphobia – frogs
- Sciophobia – shadows
- Sinistrophobia – left side
- Taphophobia (or Taphephobia) – being buried alive
- Technophobia – technology
- Thanatophobia – death
- Tokophobia – pregnancy
- Trypophobia – irregular clusters of holes or bumps
- Wiccaphobia – witches
Don’t put your pastor on a pedestal where he can be knocked off.
Put your pastor on a prayer list where he can be lifted up.
October is pastor appreciation month. And it is a wonderful reminder for us to express our gratitude to the shepherds of our congregations. But I would challenge all of us to take make it a point to pass on our thanks to the person ordained by God to lead, preach or teach the flock regularly throughout the year.
More often than not, our feedback from this side of the pulpit is on the critical side rather than complimentary. And while challenging a pastor where they may have strayed from the Word of God is necessary, I submit that doing so in the back of church while they greet fellow congregants, only moments after the sermon, is likely not the time or the place.
No. A better time and place would be somewhere less conspicuous and after you have spent some time in the Word and in prayer about the issue. A wise elder, pastor and dear friend once gave me similar counsel. Those words were indelibly left on my heart.
And then there is the other side of the coin. There are also times when we feel so incredibly blessed because of the way the Holy Spirit is working through our pastor. It is times like these when it is not uncommon to lift the pastor up on a pedestal. While our pastor may very well belong at the pulpit, a pedestal is a precarious spot to put them.
Keep your pastor or pastors in your prayers. Pray that the Holy Spirit continues to use them in ways that open up God’s word to us. That their preaching is from the Word of God and true to that Word.
Yes. Certainly encourage, lift up, and thank your pastor. But most of all pray!
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17 ESV)
We’d like to invite you to join us at this year’s fall Scripture Celebration on October 18 at 2 p.m. EST. The event will be about an hour long and will be exciting and moving. You can stream the event, or if you’re in Orlando, you could attend in person. It is expected that this year’s event will sell out (although tickets are free, you’ll need to reserve a spot at wycliffe.org/celebrate, because our venue has limited seating).
Let’s celebrate with 30 different communities who have received God’s life-changing Word in their own language. We’ll worship with Dove award-winning songwriter Aaron Shust, see the Scripture Impact Award presentation and be encouraged by the stories of God’s faithfulness.