Wednesday, July 30, 2008
In recent years my favourite group has been Greater Vision. I've been to many of their concerts and these three men are the "real deal". I've spoken with them numerous times and I believe I know their heart. They love the Lord, they sing for His glory and they minister deeply through their music.
Gerald Wolfe, Rodney Griffin and Jason Waldroup have been together for many years and we've grown to love each of them. This weekend Jason will leave Greater Vision to further his Christian education at Louisiana Baptist University and will serve the Lord in the music ministry at a local church near the university. We will miss Jason but the Lord has provided an excellent replacement in the person of Jacob Kitson.
We pray God's blessing on Jason and on the ongoing ministry of Greater Vision. Their music has had a profound effect on my life and ministry and I praise God for these men who faithfully serve the Lord with integrity.
As a project the children in this family made lap-books (as opposed to scrap books). This one was on the life and ministry of George Muller. Check out this web site here.
An acrostic was written on the word FAITH. In the eyes of this child, this is what Muller's faith involved.
F - Father of many orphans
A - Always in prayer
I - Improvising daily
T - Thankful for everything
H - Happy with little or nothing
Muller's was a simple faith in a sovereign God. We can exhibit the same faith today. God has not changed. Will we trust Him fully for..."those who trust Him wholly, find Him wholly true."
Note: Click on the picture for a larger view of this project.
Are you, too, feeling dwarfed by the enemies of fear, doubt, disease, debt, or whatever? Take heart! You're not alone. God knows. The battle is His.
Greg writes...my heart resonates:
I'm surrounded, Lord,
Defeat is in the air:
There are large figures towering over me.
But these figures aren't soldiers with weapons.
They are numbers on bills I can't pay.
Day after day I count the cost and tally the toll
That the war I am waging exacts.
It taxes my faith.
It depletes my reserves.
I drives me to my knees.
Please God, be merciful.
Won't You provide the resources I need
To wipe out the figures killing my joy?
Like Goliath, they loom large.
Like David, I am small.
And that's why I'm calling on You.
All too aware of my limits, it's true,
I don't know what to do.
But my eyes are stayed on You.
The battle is Yours, Lord.
by Greg Asimakoupoulos
"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you." - 2 Chronicles 20:12 & 17 (NIV)
Praise the Lord today...from the rising of the sun 'til the going down of the same.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Thank you to those who have already entered. You'll be pleased with this excellent book by Elisabeth Elliot, chronicling the life and martyrdom of her beloved husband, Jim Elliot (pictured).
Hendrickson Publishers have also issued books about J. Hudson Taylor, George Muller and Fanny Crosby in this new series of Classic Biographies.
Enter now, friends! Just send an e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, July 27, 2008
After reading this post, send an e-mail to me, David Fisher, at email@example.com and after one week I will throw all the names in a hat and pick a winner.
Do it now before you forget. What a great opportunity to win a copy of this classic book.
Recently MacArthur posted the following article, Ties That Bind, on the Pulpit blog...an excellent article.
Have you ever noticed how different the individual members of the same family can be? One child may be melancholy while another is a live wire. One may be especially gifted in music, and another, who has no interest in music, may excel in sports. In some cases they look nothing like each other or even their parents. Yet the members of a family share a bond stronger than their differences.
In the same way, within the Body of Christ churches develop their own unique personalities. Some may insist on formal worship services, while others thrive in a relaxed atmosphere. But the most important thing about a church isn’t the superficial things that make it different, but what it has in common with other Christian assemblies.
There are certain truths—fundamental doctrines—that every true church is committed to. These doctrines are unalterable; they cannot be compromised in any way. They are non-negotiable. Yield on any one point, and the church ceases to be a church. Here are five foundational truths that distinguish all authentic churches.
A High View of God
It is essential that a church perceive itself as a body of believers designed for the glory of God. Unfortunately, most churches today have deviated from that priority and developed a human focus: meeting man’s felt needs. Instead of faithfully proclaiming God’s sufficient Word to direct people’s minds toward God, church leaders respond to superficial needs with temporary solutions like psychology, self-esteem, entertainment, or a myriad of other diversions.
As a result, the church is no longer an organism that emphasizes knowing and glorifying God; it is an organization that tries to help people feel good about themselves. But if you know and glorify God, you don’t need to be concerned about your needs because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). When your relationship with God is right, your perspective on your needs will also be right. That doesn’t mean we should ignore people’s needs—we are to be concerned about people the same way God is. But there must be a balance, and it begins with a high view of God.
We must take God seriously and exalt Him. Yes, we are to reach out to people with the love of Christ, but God must be the focus of our worship and our life.
The Absolute Authority of Scripture
A second non-negotiable truth is the absolute authority of Scripture. God reveals Himself primarily through the pages of Scripture; that is why we must uphold it as our absolute authority.
Because we believe Scripture is true, we must proclaim it with conviction and without compromise or apology. The Bible makes bold claims, and Christians who believe it ought to affirm it boldly.
Anyone who faithfully and correctly proclaims the Word of God will speak with authority. It is not our own authority. Insofar as our teaching accurately reflects the truth of Scripture, it has the full weight of God’s own authority behind it. That is a staggering thought, but it is precisely how 1 Peter 4:11 instructs us to handle biblical truth: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.”
If the Bible is true, then it is also authoritative. As divinely revealed truth, it carries the full weight of God’s own authority. If you claim to believe the Bible at all, you ultimately must bow to its authority. That means making it the final arbiter of truth—the rule by which every other opinion is evaluated.
Another non-negotiable for the church is sound doctrine. If you have a high view of God and are committed to Him, you will obey His Word. The content of God’s Word is sound doctrine.
Countless Christians today are vague about doctrine. Many pastors offer short sermons that might excite or make their congregations feel better, but they have little to do with truths that matter. We need truths that we can hold on to—truths about God, life and death, heaven and hell, man and sin, redemption through Christ, the ministry of the Holy Spirit and angels, the believer’s position in Christ, and Satan and his realm. You need to be able to read a biblical text, discover what it says, and draw out divine principles. God’s people need solid doctrine to build their lives on.
We must draw lines when it comes to personal holiness and be careful what we expose ourselves and our children to. We dare not lower our standards to those of the world. Christians are called to live a pure life, and we can’t compromise that.
Second Corinthians 7:1 says, “Having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” A church must enforce that standard (see Matt. 18:15-17). That’s why we implement church discipline where I pastor. If someone sins, we confront him or her for their own good and the good of the church as a whole.
Many Christians aren’t as concerned about their personal holiness as they should be. Where are you in terms of holiness and real communion with the living God? Church leaders aren’t the only ones who should live holy lives. You can’t have a half-hearted commitment to God and expect Him to work through you.
One more component that’s true of a biblical church is spiritual authority. A church must understand that Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 1:22; 4:15) and that He mediates His rule in the church through godly elders (1 Thess. 5:13-14; Heb. 13:7, 17).
Hebrews 13 says to submit to those over you in the Lord, for they watch your souls. Follow their example. Paul says to “recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (1 Thess. 5:12-13).
I am one of many leaders at our church. I happen to be the one whom God chose to preach, but I am one elder among many. While there are variations in the giftedness of spiritual leaders, there is still an equality of spiritual authority among those the Bible calls elders or overseers. Such spiritual leadership is essential to the church of Jesus Christ. That’s why the church must be committed to training and obeying godly leaders.
There is room for diversity within the Body of Christ. But every true church is united by certain non-negotiables. Make sure you and your church are committed to the ties that bind.
Be sure to check out Ann Voskamp's Holy Experience here.
Be blessed this Lord's day as you worship Him in the splendour of His holiness.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Greetings from the Fisher household! We trust you're having a great summer. The weather here hasn't been very good. We will set a record for the most rainfall in June and July since the late 1800's. There's been rain or the threat of rain almost every day lately.
I just returned from the hospital in Peterborough where my mother, Jean Fisher (pictured with David Shantz), was admitted on Wednesday. She had such severe pain Wednesday morning that she couldn't get out of bed and stand on her own. My brother Mark had to help her. The pain in her groin/hip area became so bad that they called an ambulance to take her to the hospital.
X-rays didn't reveal anything out of the ordinary but a bone scan yesterday showed infection in her replacement hip. Mom has had both hips and both knees replaced in the past.
They removed fluid from her hip Thursday afternoon and mom will have surgery on her infected hip today (Friday).
Please pray that there will be no complications and that the Lord would guide the hands of the surgeon. Mom is in relatively good health except for this setback.
We know that God is sovereign and in control of every situation and we're trusting Him. Thanks so much for your prayer support for mom.
In His Great Love,
Thursday, July 24, 2008
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe..." - Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)
O Worship the King
O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.
Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.
Monday, July 21, 2008
“My name is David and I’m a Recovering Legalist.”
Thus began another LA Legalists Anonymous meeting with myself and God. Just the two of us. My detractors never attend but I meet them regularly in my day to day routines. Most of them tend to infuriate me so it’s better that we’re not all in the same room together. Besides, they no longer battle legalism. They’re free now. They’ve graduated.
For half a century I’ve battled this addiction with seemingly few results. Like most addicts I find myself scrambling to justify my problem. Defending legalism is like trying to harness a hurricane or tame a tsunami. It’s impossible yet I won’t give in. I’m riding this ridiculous hobby horse that keeps trying to buck me off.
My greatest difficulty rears its ugly head when I attempt to biblically prove my stubbornness. All manner of misinterpretation and juggling of the biblical text takes over. I’m right and I’m going to prove it, so help me God. But what if God doesn’t want to enable my addiction? Even though I think He and I are co-leaders of a crusade I know in my heart that He’s often positioning Himself with my opponents and not with me. That hurts.
Every so often my most raucous rival will join the fray and a debating debacle is launched. Who’s going to come out victorious this time? Me, of course, because I’m right and I’ve got all the proof I need or so I think.
My rivals? The emancipated, once-bound converts who have traded their former legalism for liberty, of course. These crusaders fearlessly flaunt their new found freedom quoting the same scriptures that I’ve employed for decades. “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
I’ll never forget a mid-week Bible study with some of these friends who had suddenly been loosed from their chafing chains. Rather than simply enjoying their new-found freedom and using it to enhance their Christian walk, they took great delight in dissing the poor saints who were still bound with the yokes of traditionalism, fundamentalism and legalism.
Suddenly all the long-standing taboos were dropped. Alcohol was no longer frowned upon and “moderation “ became the buzz word. Dancing no longer “led to sex” but was tolerated and even encouraged. Frequenting the movies was now acceptable and we weren’t sent on the crazy guilt trips that so often plagued us as kids. “What if the rapture takes place while you’re in the theatre?” “Would you want Jesus to find you there?” “The movies are so loud you might not hear the trumpet.”
Now, over 50 years later, I’m grappling with the same problems although I sense I’m in the minority now. To voice my disapproval of these vices dates me and entrenches me firmly in the old-fashioned camp. It seems that most Christians feel I need to be liberated – set free.
Is there a balance between legalism and liberty? Of course there is! My problem is in suggesting that everyone should find the same middle ground as I seek to discover. Friends who agree with my warped view become friends for life. Others continue to be suspect.
I need to be constantly reminded of the apostle Paul’s words when he wrote the Corinthian believers. The Amplified Bible renders it this way, “All things are legitimate [permissible--and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].”
So I continue to struggle, seeking to keep my legalistic tendencies to myself without imposing my rules of conduct on others. When asked recently to join other Christian men for an evening of “wings and beer” the sounds of battle began to rumble within. Fortunately I was busy doing “profitable” things that evening and my legalism could again be masked and my absence excused. How long will the war continue?
“Help! My name is David and I’m still a legalist…but I’m getting better…I think…I pray.”
Memories! Life is packed with them. Many are good. Some bad. Others are distinctly unforgettable.
One of my fondest recollections concerns a visit to The Peoples Church in Toronto many years ago. J. Sidlow Baxter was in town for another of his visits to this historical church. I made the drive from Peterborough knowing that I wouldn't be disappointed. I wasn't!
"Sid", as he was affectionately known, came down from the platform in the middle of his message and sat at the grand piano. I don't recall the hymn he played but I recall sensing Him in an even deeper way. Sid had a unique way of bringing his listeners into the very throne-room of God.
His books continue to be a blessing to thousands. This memory is one I will cherish for ever.
The following tribute was paid by Ann to her mother-in-law who went to be with Jesus a year ago. Last summer I met Ann's father-in-law just days after his dearly beloved wife had left for heaven's splendor. What a godly man!
Be sure to check out Holy Experience...and...take off your shoes...
As a family we gather today at the graveside. We bring flowers, ones she grew, divided, gave us. Because a year ago today...
I stand in the hallway, watching the dark drift in, inky and thick. My head aches. It’s been a long day: wringing out cold cloths for the sweat beads threading across my mother-in-laws fevered brow, carefully stirring ice-cream to a soft, palatable consistency, offering up small spoonfuls with the whispered encouragement, “Good, Mom! Now swallow? That’s it. That’s it!”
I lean up against the cool of the cement block wall outside her room and wait. In a few moments it will be my turn. I’ll push open that heavy door again, cup her gaunt face in my hands, and say my good-bye.
How do I say good bye to a woman who, over the course of 22 years of turning her home into Friday night Good News Bible Club, rescued hundreds of unchurched kids from the sinking mire of hopelessness and dragged them up onto the solid ground of Jesus—one of who was me. This woman, her bringing me Good News—the best news—led to my sister, mother and eventually brother all being plucked from the drowning pit and ushered into staggering new life.
How do I say goodbye to the woman who prayed to have a ninth child – yes, she wanted and prayed for the ninth---and raised that boy up to be the only boy I ever held hands with, who is the father of the six children I tuck into bed every night, and who wraps me up in his big Dutch arms, presses his soul into mine, and walks me through this thing called life?
No, I have no words—not the right ones, anyways. How to gather up the perfect ones to express it all to the woman who was instrumental in my faith, my marriage, and the legacy my children inherit? I wait, fumbling through my mind, groping along for phrases, words, that will somehow express what I feel, this overwhelming gratitude.
The illuminated herald over the lobby doorway keeps interrupting. In neon red, four letters blazing in the black, herald the imminent: EXIT.
Exit. This way to vacate the premises. Depart here.
The lump in my throat stings. And from the dark and down the hall, Margaret in 113 begins again. At first, weeks ago, I could hardly tolerate it when Margaret’s cry would drift through the hospital halls at all hours. In a plaintive, desperate plea, like a heart-pounding bird, trapped and caged, the frail woman calls to the universe, “I can’t get out of here! Hurry! Hurry! Get me out of here, Murray, get me out of here! I can’t get out! Help, Murray, Help!”
The exit sign glows. The halls fill with Margaret cries for release.
My father-in-law steps out of Mom's room, and my sister-in-law slips in. I’m next. And all I have is a trembling chin.
My father-in-law’s thick fingers find mine and he squeezes. I can hear him humming, braiding his song in the lightless dark, with Margaret’s pleas:
“What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be."
I join in, softly humming too, he and I staring up at the exit sign.
I know, Margaret, I know. The waiting room wears on us, doesn’t it?
"Get me out of here. Help. I am done with this dull ache, this gnawing restlessness, this never finding what I am looking for. I just want to catch a flight Home."
Yes, to depart the waiting room, head towards the exit sign, and grab our flight home to Him and all this heart has been crying for.
My mother-in-law’s glorious day came Saturday.
She left the waiting room. Her flight departed. And she's soared.
Our glorious day will be soon, Margaret, soon....
Friday, July 18, 2008
Scott had been a guest speaker in many of our Baseball Chapel services with the Toronto Blue Jays in past years and it was great to reconnect.
What a blessing to enjoy conversation with friends who are kindred spirits. We share the same views on many issues but, most important, we love the Lord and enjoy serving Him.
It was difficult to say "good bye" and watch them drive away.
"Father, thank you for the many friends who have sent into my life over the years. You have lavished so many blessings on me - I can barely receive them all. Thank you for Scott and Brenda. Be their strength today I pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN"
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
The following hymn with such powerful lyrics was written by Charles Wesley. All the verses are majestic but it was the first verse which ministered to me this morning.
Here's that hymn that was so mightily used of the Lord to bring many to Himself.
Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.
He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”
The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.
My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.
~ Charles Wesley
Sunday, July 13, 2008
"It's not crossing the sea that makes one a missionary - it's seeing the cross." - Author Unknown
I pray that World Missions will always be a priority in my own life...and yours. It's an integral part of God's economy!
~ David, the Pilgrim
Friday, July 04, 2008
Next week's Bible teacher will be Dr. John Hoag from New Brunswick Bible Institute.
The meals here at Elim Lodge have been exceptional this week and, believe it or not, I've actually lost some weight. That's a miracle!
I'll keep you posted! Thanks for your prayers!