Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Wonderful Christmas Story: "A Baby's Hug"

Here is a story that will warm your heart. I first read it in a church bulletin back in ’03 so I don’t have any additional information as to who wrote it or where it came from. May your Christmas be a time of celebrating the birth of the God-child, Christ Jesus. Enjoy!

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, “Hi there!” as he pounded his fat baby hands on the big chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and excitement and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment. I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. “Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,” the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks, “What do we do?” Erik continued to laugh and answer, “Hi, hi there.”

Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The gold geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room; “Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo.” Nobody, especially my husband and I thought the old man was cute. He was obviously a bum and a drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. “Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,” I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s “pick-me-up” position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man’s. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love relationship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashed. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back with a gentle love I could not describe, but I felt in my soul.

No two beings had for ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, “You take care of this baby.” Somehow I managed, “I will,” from a throat that contained a stone. The old man pried Erik from his chest unwillingly, longingly, as though he were in pain, and handed him to me. I received my baby, and the man said, “God bless you, ma’am, you’ve given me my Christmas gift.” I said nothing more than a muttered “thanks.”

With Erik in my arms I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, “My God, my God, forgive me” over and over. I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes.

I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt as if God asked, “Are you willing to share your son for a moment?” And I remembered that He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, “To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Great Christmas Auction by James Ryle

Found at

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

Years ago there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate.

The widowed elder man watched with satisfaction, as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.

As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.

Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a season that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer.

On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. He opened the door, and a soldier greeted him with a large package in his hand.

"I was a friend of your son," the soldier said. "I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you." As the two began to talk, the solider told of how the man's son had told everyone of his father's love of fine art.

"I'm an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this."

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son, which the soldier had painted. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail.

Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars of paintings. And then the man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in high anticipation! According to the will of the old man, all of the art would be auctioned on Christmas day, the day he had received his greatest gift.

The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many would claim "I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It was the painting of the man's son.

The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked. Minutes passed. No one spoke. From the back of the room came, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and go on to the truly valuable items."

More voices echoed in agreement.

"No, we have to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "Now, who will take the son?"

Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. "Will you take fifty dollars for the painting? That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have it.

"I have a bid of fifty dollars," called the auctioneer. "Will anyone go higher?"

After more silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once, going twice. Gone."

The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can get on with it and we can bid on these great treasures!" The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over.

Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! We demand that you explain what's going on!"

"It's very simple,” the auctioneer replied. “According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son . . . gets it all."

The Bible says, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Receive Jesus into your life, and you get everything that God has to give!

Take the Son, and get it all!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Final Verdict by R.T. Kendall

Although this is an old article concerning "yesterday's" news about the Lakeland fiasco in 2008, I felt that it was appropriate and needful to post for future clarity. We desperately need to be grounded in the "Gospel of God" (Romans 1:1) so that we can immediately discern when one is preaching a false Gospel. Enjoy!

Sep/Oct 2008

A Final Verdict
By R. T. Kendall

It takes more courage to say Lakeland isn’t of God. Why, then, am I so sure that’s the case?

I can think of nothing worse than for God to be powerfully at work and I miss it—all because I was biased and devoid of discernment. All my life I have waited for an authentic work of God not unlike the Great Awakening in Jonathan Edwards’ day. In more recent years I have hoped to see the beginning of “last day ministries”—when Isaac succeeds Ishmael—which would precede the second coming. God owes me nothing, and it may please Him to bypass me entirely in what He chooses to do.

At first, I wondered if passing me by might be happening with regard to Lakeland, Fla. I say this because over time I became more and more uneasy with what was going on there. For three months I watched the Lakeland meetings virtually every night. I prayed intensely for the evangelist and for the people there—not for any “problems” that I saw, but simply for God’s will to be done completely, regardless of what I thought. I would stand before the TV screen and pray for my own healing. I tried very, very hard to support this strange move, especially when some of my closest friends were endorsing it and urging me to do the same. Furthermore, knowing that God loves to do what makes some of us say “yuck,” I was prepared all over again for this to happen.

But Wait ...
What complicated things most of all was that people were apparently being healed. At the time of this writing there had been 37 resurrections from the dead reported. If only one of them had a coroner’s death certificate it would be a serious matter to say that what was going on there was not of God. The fact that ABC News could find no documentary evidence of a miracle was not enough to sway me one way or the other. I was even prepared—for a while—to overlook the claim that the angel Emma was the secret explanation for the special revelations and miracles. I believe in angels. What if Emma were a part of the “yuck” factor?

It took a little bit of courage for me to endorse the Toronto Blessing in 1994. I have never regretted this. I was going to need courage again—this time to endorse Lakeland.

But a funny thing kept gripping me: It would take even more courage to say that the Lakeland phenomenon is not of God. Did I have the courage to say this? After all, I was reluctantly coming to the conclusion that it was not of God—but would I say it?

Yes. At the end of the day it came down to one thing: Is the Bible true or not? If the Lakeland happenings are of God, then what I have preached for the last 50 years is nonsense. Yes, Lakeland was making me say “yuck”; but not all that makes us say “yuck” is of God.

Case for Objection
My reasons for coming to such a definitive resolve were unfortunate but self-evident the more I watched the progression of events at Lakeland.

First, never once have I heard a clear message of the gospel of Jesus Christ from the Lakeland platform—except when a guest speaker did it.

Second, when people were being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and “Bam! Bam!” it both trivialized the Trinity and baptism itself. This is serious, serious trivializing.

Third, if you were to ask how much a fear of God and conviction of sin emanated from these services—on a scale of one to 100, I would say zero.

In 1994 I addressed a group of prominent evangelical leaders in London, having been assigned the topic of “The Biblical Features of Revival.” I recently looked at my notes to see how Lakeland measured up. Not even close.

A great awakening would, among several other things I don’t have the space to go into here, demonstrate the centrality of biblical preaching. Preaching itself in Lakeland has been minimal, and what preaching there has been calls more attention to angels, miracles and manifestations than to Jesus who died on the cross.

I’m sorry, but my heart is sick that these meetings have excited so many good people. They are indeed good people, very sincere. Many of them have been a part of previous moves of the Spirit. And since church history has taught us that those who were in the middle of a move of the Spirit often lead the way in opposing the next work of the Spirit, some did not want to be seen doing this. I can understand that.

When one is reported to have been to the Third Heaven (as the main evangelist of Lakeland has stated) and told not to preach Jesus (because everybody already knows about Him) but rather angels (which people know little about), I can only call this “another gospel” as in Galatians 1.

I would go to the stake for the gospel of salvation that Paul preached, one that emphasizes reliance solely in the precious blood of Christ. I would certainly not go to the stake for the Lakeland message—and would be afraid to face God if I did.

It comes to this: Is the Bible true? Because I believe the Bible, I can testify: The jury of my mind on Lakeland is in.

Leave Lakeland alone.

R.T. Kendall was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years. He is the author of numerous books, including his latest, God Gives Second Chances. Visit his Web site at

This article appeared in the Sep/Oct 2008 issue.

Billy Graham's Suit (Great story!)

Billy Graham is now 90 years old with Parkinson's disease..

In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina,
invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in
his honor.

Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he
struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte
leaders said, 'We don't expect a major address. Just
come and let us honor you.' So he agreed..

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham
stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said,
'I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who
this month has been honored by Time magazine as the
Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from
Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the
aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he
came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He
couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets.
It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it.
Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.

The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are.
We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket.
Don't worry about it.'

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued
down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to
move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great
physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his
seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein,
Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are No problem.
You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.'

Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am.
What I don't know is where I'm going.''

Having said that Billy Graham continued, 'See the suit I'm wearing?
It's a brand new suit. My children, and my grandchildren
are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be
a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this
luncheon and one more occasion.

You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which
I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want
you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing.
I want you to remember this:

I not only know who I am .. I also know where I'm going.'


"Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rick Joyner Quote on Moral Clarity

“Moral clarity and moral resolve will always push the darkness back. Martin Luther is one of the great examples of this in history. He was but a monk, living in a small village in a nation that at the time was broken and obscure. However, when Martin Luther took his stand on his convictions and refused to compromise them regardless of the consequences, the whole world changed. No conqueror in history changed the political landscape of the world as much as that one monk did by taking his stand for the truth as he saw it. Even thought he was not right about everything, and even had some very bad theology mixed into his beliefs, he did have moral clarity in a time when very few others did. Such will set the course of history just like he did. Such people are desperately needed in these times.” -Rick Joyner, 2004 article