Saturday, June 30, 2007

Book Signing Date Changed; Read Below

This announcement is to let you all know that my first devotional book, Light Steps, is hot off the publisher's press. I have planned two "book signings." The first book signing will be July 26 at The Warehouse from 6:30-8:00 PM. The second book signing will be August 11 at Person County Public Library from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. The first signing was originally scheduled for July 19.

ALL PROCEEDS from this book will go to Youth For Christ Roxboro. I have signed all royalties over to this ministry, so buy with confidence, knowing that I won't be driving a new truck with your hard earned money. (I'm going to do that with the oil well I am digging in my yard!)

Back Cover: "Some devotions tickle; some soothe; some make us uncomfortable; some make us cry; some convince; some convict; some heal; some cut straight to the heart. All are needed. Light Steps shares common stories that illustrate uncommon truths. These devotional stories range from the living room to the office to the playing field to the back forty of the local farm, but these truths fall like manna from heaven. The stories are often about common people, but the truths come from God, who is anything but common. Light Steps takes ordinary life and points out the extraordinary work of God in it. God always desires that we shed the light of His word on the darkness of everyday life. Be challenged and encouraged as you read these stories and realize God's truth. For your desk, purse or night stand; as a gift or for yourself, Light Steps is for you!"

The price of the book is $21.00 and all checks should be made to "Youth For Christ Roxboro."

You can preorder simply by replying to me via email or giving me a call.

Luke #6 – “Pretend That I’m From Missouri”

Luke #6 – “Pretend That I’m From Missouri”

“And Zacharias said unto the angel, ‘Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.’ And the angel answering said unto him, ‘I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.’ And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, ‘Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men’” (Luke 1:18-25 – King James Version).

My youth group is notorious for wanting to stay up late when we go on retreats and trips. Time and time again they stay up too late. Consequently they don’t want to get up in the morning. One year we went on a mission trip and on our first night there the boys wanted to stay up late. All I said was “Pretend I am from Missouri.” One of the boys said “What’s that mean?” I said “If you get up in the morning, you won’t have to find out what that means. If you don’t get up when I call you, you will find out exactly what it means.” With me it’s a common saying. To them it has become one. You see, Missouri is the “Show Me State.” I was stationed out there for a while and I’m not sure exactly what Missourians mean by it, but I always liked the saying. The way I applied it was if you were going to do something don’t tell me about it, prove it. Those boys found out what I meant.

God is a “Show me” kind of God. We, often, are a “Tell Him” kind of people. Zacharias had been praying for a son and when his request was answered he responded (at first) with disbelief; “How am I going to do that? I am old ya know!” God basically told Zacharias to “Hush your mouth!” You see, Zacharias responded with unbelief. He wanted something from God but then did not believe that thing was possible. The people outside knew something had happened to Zacharias inside the Temple but Zacharias could not tell them because his unbelief had bought him silence. What, in our lives, is unbelief ruining? Do you not believe that God can change something in your life? Do you not believe that some relationship can be restored?

Another thing; when God answers prayers we (too often) see the limitations instead of doing what needs to be done. Zacharias said “How can WE have a kid? We’re old ya know!” How do people have kids? Come on…be mature…you know what the next step was. Verse 24 tells us that after Zacharias time of ministry was complete, he went home and his wife conceived. When God says He wants to do something we need to do what we can. Take witnessing for example: you may know someone that is hardened and God puts it on your heart (in prayer; a dream; whatever) that they will be saved. Our common reaction is “Are you sure O Lord that we are thinking of the same person? What can I do?” GO WITNESS! That’s what! Let God take care of the results! Just do what you can do! Your church may have a $1,000,000.00 mission goal when your budget is only $230,00.00. You may think, “What can I do?” Pray; ask God what amount to give. Don’t become frustrated when He says “Give $75.00” and think “That’s not a drop in a bucket towards a million!” Don’t worry! Give the $75.00! Do what’s next! Do what you can! You may not even have the $75.00 to give; act in BELIEF and do what you can.

Lastly; Elisabeth was a “show me” woman. She didn’t go around saying “Look at me, I am pregnant!” She quietly rejoiced in the Lord until enough time had passed that looking at her alone would prove she was pregnant. Talk is cheap. Ohhhh…wait a minute…don’t take this to mean we should not testify or witness but that there should be some substance behind the talk. If we tell people about the joy of the Lord then we ought to have the joy of the Lord in our lives. If we tell people to trust God with their money then we should trust God with our money. If we say people should serve God then we ought to be serving God. If we say God is good then we ought not to complain so much. If we say we are saved then there ought to be fruit. The list could go on for page after page. Do you get my drift?

Don’t let unbelief or limitations get in the way. Have substance in your walk with God. SHOW HIM that transformation is real. When we hear our prayers answered it would be good if we imagined God saying “Pretend I’m from Missouri.”

Luke #5 – Anything But That!

Luke #5 – Anything But That!

“And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:14-17 – King James Version).

One of my favorite jokes is a stewardship joke. It’s not my favorite because it’s funny; rather because it is plain ‘ol dumb! Here goes: “The best way to handle your giving to God is to throw all your money into the sky. What stays up is God’s and what comes down is yours!” Now…isn’t that just silly?

Another story…hang with me…my brother and I were having a casual conversation while painting my daughter’s room. Somehow the conversation turned to prayer. I shared with David how life sustaining prayer was to me and some of my prayer habits. I asked David “Do you pray?” His reply was simple; “No.” I asked him why and David’s response was one that I’d never really thought of; he said, “I don’t pray because I am scared of what God might say to me.”

One more…I read (somewhere; please don’t ask where because I can’t remember) that during the Crusades many people were baptized on the way to slaughter Muslims by marching companies of people through a river. Many of the professional soldiers and knights were said to hold their sword arms out of the water because they did not want to surrender it to the Lord. They were content to give all to the Lord BUT their ability to kill on the battlefield. NOW…isn’t THAT silly?

Why do I say all this? More importantly, what’s it got to do with today’s Scripture? Good questions; thanks for asking! Here goes: God listens to and answers prayer. His answers will bring “joy” and “gladness” though not always immeditately. His answers will bring sacrifice and heartbreak though not always immediately. His answers will demand response…always.

Let me explain. The joy would come for Zacharias, but not for nine months or so. Though his prayer was answered, Zacharias still had to wait. I know how that feels. I want to become smarter, to know the word more, but it doesn’t happen immediately. It takes time. Many of your prayers may be the same.

Also, Zacharias would get that son that he prayed for but God got a herald. I am not sure if Zacharias lived to see the scrutiny that his son would come under; more than that, John the Baptist was executed for the moral stances he took.

Most of all, when God answers our prayers He expects a response. Imagine how you’d feel if God told you that your son would cause a nation to look inside themselves and see they need to change? We might say “Great!” but most likely the realization would sink in that that would be a heavy job for anyone. Zacharias was charged with raising a child that would do that very thing.

When we pray, God hears. When God hears, He answers. Are we ready to respond? Too many times we HEAR the Lord’s answer but we say “ANYTHING BUT THAT LORD!” Give up your sword arm. Give up your money. Give over your children to the Lord’s service. Respond.

God’s answer to Zacharias’ prayer was a good one. Zacharias’ son would be the fulfilling of the Malachi 3:1 promise. That’s an honor. It’s a tough honor, but an honor nonetheless. You may be praying “God use me.” Get ready, He will. You may be called to witness; call people to repentance; go to Africa; be a godly husband, son, father, wife, daughter, and mother; mop the kitchen floor at church.

What will we do? At first, Zacharias freaked out (1:18), and later he responded obediently (1:63-80). We may freak out too, but will we act in obedience? Will we even pray? Or, will we refuse to encounter God because we are afraid of what God may say to us? Will we joke our way out of obedience by saying things like “all the money that comes down is mine”? Will we say “Anything but that” while we hold our sword arm out of the water?

There was only one John the Baptist. You may be called out as David the God-ordained-welder. You may be called out as Lona the God-ordained-secretary. You may be called out as Care the God-ordained-teacher. Your answer may even be harder to hear than Zacharias’. What will you do? It’s okay…pray…even freak out (for a moment)…then obey. Don’t make it conditional; just respond. Some prayers are hard to make. Some answers are hard to hear. I’d rather hear a hard answer from the Lord than to not hear from Him at all. How about you?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Fragments, By: Dan Wolgemuth, YFC-USA President

June 29, 2007

She had lived with the shame. She had spent all she had. She had consulted every expert she could… and now she was broke and broken. Answerless. Rejected. For 12 incredible years.

She knew the pointed and specific words of Leviticus 15:25 that declared that “all of the days that she bleeds… she shall be unclean.”

So while she was drowning in the deep end of her shame, embarrassment, pain, and frustration… she’s declared unclean as well.

She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” ~ Mark 5:27, 28

Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God is touched by a woman that the law declared as unclean. In an instance, a life-changing, healing, transformational moment, Jesus douses the flames of judgment with the fount of grace.

And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. ~ Mark 5:29

Healed. Whole.

In a moment… in a crowd… the secret… the dark unclean pain of her soul explodes in disclosure and healing, in an instantaneous crescendo from disgrace to significance.

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” ~ Mark 5:34

She had heard reports about Jesus. She believed that He was the answer to a twelve-year-old story problem.

No secret. No hidden pain. No force of judgment can stand against His grace.

Secrets exposed, faith demonstrated, healing received. Jesus.

Bring it to Him. Your secret. Your pain. Touch Him.

Go in peace and be healed of your disease.

Luke #4 – Keep Praying

Luke #4 – Keep Praying

But the angel said unto him, ‘Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John’” (Luke 1:13 – King James Version).

After I accepted Christ I wanted to tell my Grandma Bowes. About seven years before I surrendered to Jesus I had gotten a letter from Grandma while I was in boot camp. In the letter she told me how she was praying for me all the time. At the time it was just what I needed to hear. Boot camp was a tough experience at times and it was comforting to know that someone was praying that things would go easy for me. As it turned out, that things would be easy was not what Grandma was praying for. When I told her I had accepted Christ she said “I have prayed for you every day since before you were born. I prayed you would be saved.” Do the math; I was 25 years, 6 months, and 14 days old when I accepted Christ as my personal Savior. That’s approximately 9,319 days (I didn’t count leap years or do it exactly). Actually it was more days than that since Grandma had been praying for me before I was born. Either way, it’s an astounding thing to think of her faithfulness in prayer and her faith that God wanted to do something in my life.

Zacharias had been praying for a son. How do I know? The angel said “thy prayer is heard” and “Elisabeth shall bear thee a son.” This prayer probably had been issued to God many times for the Scripture tells us that Zacharias and Elisabeth were both “well stricken in years” (Luke 1:6 – KJV). This shows the devotion and faithfulness of Zacharias’ prayer life.

Can the same be said of our prayer lives? Are we willing to pray long and hard? Are we willing to wait patiently on the Lord? The best thing to pray are those things that line up with the will of the Father. That’s what my Grandma did. It’s God will that people be saved and she prayed that I would be saved. That was a prayer that was in the heart of God.

Did Zacharias know that it was God’s will that Elisabeth and Zacharias bear a son? I don’t know. What I do learn from that is that if it is in God’s will He will show us by answering “Yes” to those prayers. It’s obviously NOT in God’s will for me to have a new truck because I have prayed for one and it hasn’t come! I say that in jest, but in seriousness also. Maybe Zacharias had read Psalm 127:3, which says “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him” (NLT). As an aside: does this mean that people that do not have children are unrewarded or unfavored? NO! People that do not have children have all that God is and that’s enough for anyone! It does mean that the child of Zacharias and Elisabeth was in God’s plan and that He chose to bless them in that way and to answer their prayer in that way.

Another thing that sticks out to me is that the answered prayer came with a command. Zacharias and Elisabeth were told to name their son John. They did just that even though some thought it was strange to not name John after his father (Luke 1:61-63). That called me to examine myself and ask myself “If God answers ‘Yes’ to my prayer, am I willing to do what He says?” Think about that. Hannah prayed for a child and vowed to give the child to the Lord. God answered and gave her Samuel (1 Samuel 1). True to her word, Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord for a life of service. Application: you may be praying for your child or children today, saying “Save my children and make them live for You O Lord.” In response, God MIGHT say “Yes. I will send them to Iraq to be missionaries. You will let them go.” Are we prepared to obey whatever God says in response to our prayers? You may even be praying “Make me like Jesus.” God WILL answer that prayer and say to you “Yes. Bear your cross.” Are you willing to obey Him then?

Our lessons? Pray hard; pray constantly; pray in faith believing God is listening and will act; be prepared to be obedient. Keep praying; don’t give up! God may so “No” to many of your prayers. Be prepared to act in compliance when He says “No” or when He says “Yes.” Whatever the case, keep praying.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

July Volunteer Calendar

I've done gone and wrote a book

Hey y''s here!
Light Steps, the book, is out! Copies will go on sale through me or at the Youth For Christ Roxboro office.

100% of the proceeds, and royalties, go to YFC-Roxboro, so buy with confidence, knowing that Tim Bowes will not be getting rich.

Back Cover: "Some devotions tickle; some soothe; some make us uncomfortable; some make us cry; some convince; some convict; some heal; some cut straight to the heart. ALl are needed. Light Steps shares common stories that illustrate uncommon truths. These devotional stories range from the living room to the office to the playing field to the back forty of the local farm, but these truths fall like manna from heaven. The stories are often about common people, but the truths come from God, who is anything but common. Light Steps takes ordinary life and points out the extraordinary work of God in it. God always desires that we shed the light of His word on the darkness of everyday life. Be challenged and encouraged as you read these stories and realize God's truth. For your desk, purse or night stand; as a gift or for yourself, Light Steps is for you!"

There will be several book signings; the first will be held at The Warehouse on July 26 from 6:30 - 8:00 PM. The second will be held at the Person County Public Library on August 11, from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM.

Each copy of the book is $21.00.

You can pre-order by emailing me:

Servant's Song, July 07, part 1

Click here OR on the image to make it larger:

Servant's Song, July 07, part 2

Servant's Song, July 07, part 3

Luke #3 – Extraordinary in the Middle of Regular

Luke #3 – Extraordinary in the Middle of Regular

And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him” (Luke 1:8-12 – King James Version).

I can’t even remember which hurricane it was; so many hit North Carolina. I do remember that I was with a bunch of good people from Clement Baptist Church, performing flood relief in Rocky Mount. We had cleaned out several houses that morning and were working our way eastward across the city. As was our lot, we went into a neighborhood that ended with a cul-de-sac. We began working in the lowest end of that street, which was probably twenty feet lower than the upper end. The houses on that far end had seen water up to their ceiling. It was terrible.

We were the first people that worked on that street; ten days after the flood. There was one lady whose house, car, and place of employment were destroyed during that flood. In the previous six months she had seen both her husband and one of her children die. When she came home for the first time since the flood, we were there. We took turns holding her hand and crying with her for much of the afternoon.

Another couple, who were quite elderly, came home we were there. The man was a deacon and his wife a leader in their church. They were spiritual giants. The elderly lady said (something to this effect), “I’ve been around a long time. I have seen a lot of injustice done to black folk. I thought this flood would do us in. We thought no one would ever come to help. When I come down here today I mostly could not believe my eyes. I saw you all…all you beautiful white angels…and I knew God was here.” There, in that moment, I saw the hand of God reach past decades and into hearts. It was beautiful! While we were simply shoveling mud and moving out water ruined furniture God was doing miracles. Years of racial mistrust were wiped away. Fear of present circumstances and doubt of future prospects melted away. It’s mysterious, this hand of God.

Angels don’t appear everyday. Miracles do.

Zacharias had a very noble ministry; he burned the incense in the Temple. The smoke from that incense was meant to be a sweet smell that lifted to the nose of God. It accompanied the prayers of those worshipping.

Zacharias was doing a special job; any job done for God is special. If you vacuum the floors of your church building to glorify God, that job is special. If you work with the children of your church, that ministry is special. As a matter of fact, I wonder why most every church has to hire someone to clean their facilities? Why don’t the members of churches do that honorable service themselves? I think Zacharias has a thing or two teach us here; if burning incense is a noble service to God then whatever God puts in front of us we ought to joyfully and energetically do it!

After all, it’s most often in the faithfulness of menial tasks that God gives more responsibility. Also it’s when God shows up! While Zacharias was going about his regular duties an angel appeared. That angel had big news for Zacharias; even in Zach’s aged state God was going to bless him and Elisabeth with a child. It was not going to be and ordinary child but the forerunner of the Messiah!

We should do whatever God puts in front of us to do. We should embrace menial tasks and do them in a manner that seeks to glorify God. When we do that, God may surprise us. He WILL show up! Zacharias had the proper response; he was freaked out. This angel was only a messenger from the Lord and scared Zach a great deal. Imagine if God Himself had appeared to Zacharias (as He did to Isaiah – Isaiah 6).

That brings up another thing…why do people have cute little angels every where in there house, cars, jewelry, etc.? Every time an angel appeared to someone in the Bible they did NOT say “Ohhh…look, it’s a cute little angel! Isn’t that sweet!” No way; people were scared when they saw an angel; provoked with holy fear (check out Daniel 10). We need to give proper reverence to supernatural things of God. Zacharias teaches us this.

God does the extraordinary in the middle of regular stuff. He scared Zacharias a great deal when He sent His angel while Zacharias burned incense. God showed up on that street in Rocky Mount. Here the question: do we expect God to show up? Do we do the little things faithfully? Do we respond properly when He does show up?

Serve however, wherever, and whenever God gives you to serve. He’ll show up. Reverence Him when He does.

Erin Gillespie's lastest cartoon

Check out my friend, Erin Gillespie, and his great cartoons:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Things that make a Dad's heart happy

Praises and Pleas

Youth for Christ Roxboro June 27, 2007

One generation will commend Your works to another; they will tell of Your mighty acts. The will speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and I will meditate on Your wonderful works. Ps 145. 4-5

Praises: Corral McNeil, a Youth Guidance teen, passed his GED, the Navy entrance test, and goes for training next month; YFCR volunteers are lending their pool for 2 weeks of swimming lessons for Warehouse teens; first meeting of Outdoor Mission Camp steering committee outlined 10 weeks of camp in Maggie Valley for 600 kids next summer; rock climbing and other adventures for Roxboro young people going forward with summer interns; growth and teachable spirit of some of the young men hanging out with our staff; they are actually already copying this pattern and are “mentoring” younger boys; new, working Air Conditioners!!!!

Pleas: Lord, please let it be out of hearts that have fully meditated on You and Your wonderful works that we commend, tell and speak of You to this younger generation; do not let us be full of self or the busyness of this world; lead every staff member, board member, volunteer, donor and teen convert to Yourself; make us faithful as You are faithful so that we can truly translate Your glory to the young people of Person County. We ask for new ears and eyes among this next generation to respond to You because of
relationships with interns, volunteers, and time in camp. DW. Your plans for the fall.

July 07 YFC Newsletter; Part 1

July 07 YFC Newsletter; Part 2

July 07 YFC Newsletter; Part 3

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ruth Bell Graham: A Legacy of Love

Ruth Bell Graham: A Legacy of Love
This devotional was written by Jim Burns

“Fear not tomorrow.
God is already there.”

There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.
— 1 John 4:18

The wall in front of the desk in her office was crowded with memories. There were photos of loved ones and cherished friends . . . two crosses constructed with care out of popsicle sticks by one of her sons and a playmate . . . even a crown of thorns crafted by a Muslim policeman who presented it to her during a visit to the Mount of Olives 50 years earlier.

But the sign in the middle of the mementos shared a message of inspiration and trust that will be her legacy. It read simply, “Fear not tomorrow. God is already there.”

On Thursday June 14, 2007, that message of hope and faith became a reality for Ruth Bell Graham.

I have had the privilege of experiencing a bit of the Graham family legacy through frequent visits with her youngest daughter, also named Ruth. As the younger Ruth’s friendship with HomeWord has grown over the years, we’ve enjoyed many hours together reflecting on the “legacy of love” her mother instilled in each of her five children. The press may remember how Mrs. Graham “gave up her dreams of being a missionary,” but in all honesty, she knew exactly which “mission field” was most important to her – the one in Little Piney Cove.

The more I have come to know Ruth Graham, the more I appreciate how her mom really set the tone for authentic love to be shown in their home. Her irresistible optimism saw the family through the kind of struggles that have been known to fracture families and scar souls. “Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes,” she used to say.

The Graham family has experienced their fair share of “common” misfortunes over the years, but each incident was approached with prayer, genuine love and concern . . . and the absence of fear. And I’m sure that’s how the family is responding in light of this latest “graduation” to eternity. No fear – just fellowship, rejoicing in the fact that the woman who spent countless nights on her knees for her children (many of them in extreme pain) is now resting in the arms of her Savior and Lord.

The legacy of Ruth Bell Graham lives on in the hearts of her husband, her children and grandchildren . . . and the millions of others like me who feel like we’re a part of her family as well. Her life stands as a testimony to the power of a parent who is willing to raise her children by the principles set out in the Shemah – focused on faith and free from fear.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ruth Graham; gone to glory, 87

Ruth Bell Graham dies at 87
By Staff

MONTREAT, N.C. (BP)--Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham, died at 5:05 EST June 14, surrounded by her husband and five children at her Montreat, N.C., home. She was 87.

"Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team," Billy Graham said in a statement after her death. "No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.

"I am so grateful to the Lord that He gave me Ruth, and especially for these last few years we've had in the mountains together," Graham added. "We've rekindled the romance of our youth, and my love for her continued to grow deeper every day. I will miss her terribly, and look forward even more to the day I can join her in heaven."

For several weeks, Graham had been confined to bed as she suffered from degenerative osteoarthritis of the back and neck, and two weeks ago she was diagnosed with pneumonia and seemed to be recovering, A. Larry Ross, a spokesman for the Graham family, told Baptist Press. But on the morning of June 13 she fell into a coma.

At the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in San Antonio that day, SBC President Frank Page led messengers in a time of prayer for Graham, whom he called a "dear saint of God."

Ross said Graham was alert on Sunday, June 10, to celebrate her birthday and was encouraged by visits from family members.

Billy Graham released a statement June 13 announcing the plans he and Ruth had settled on for their burial.

"Earlier this spring, after much prayer and discussion, Ruth and I made the decision to be buried beside each other at the Billy Graham Library in my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina," Graham said. "We have held this decision privately and only decided to announce it now that she is close to going home to heaven."

Graham called Ruth his soul mate and best friend, saying he cannot imagine living a single day without her by his side.

"I am more in love with her today than when we first met over 65 years ago as students at Wheaton College," he said.

The worldwide evangelist said he and Ruth appreciated the prayers and letters of encouragement they had received.

"Our entire family has been home in recent days and it has meant so much to have them at our side during this time," Graham said in the June 13 statement. "We love each one of them dearly and thank God for them."

Graham, 88, suffers from fluid on the brain, prostate cancer, Parkinson's disease and age-related macular degeneration. The Billy Graham Library was dedicated in his honor May 31 with three former U.S. presidents in attendance, and it opened to the public June 5.

The Grahams married in 1943 and they have 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren in addition to their five children. Arrangements for a private funeral are pending.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lightening (sp)

Well, I am in Indiana for a time of training with YFC. I won't be posting my Luke devotions for a few days. I had planned on doing it from Indiana, but the storm's lightening (sp) apparently did some serious damage to my computer at home. My plan was to save the files on a disk and bring them with me to post daily while in Huntington, but the damage was done before the disk was made. What shall I do? Well, I have cursed the storm and the computer and have ask forgiveness for both deeds. I then prayed over the cotton-picking thing b/c I have THOUSANDS of pages of documents filed on it and I asked God to, in the least, redeem those many hours of writing. As soon as my prayer was over a good brother's face came to me; I called him and he said, "I'll try my best to save your files. If I can't fix the computer I will make it better than before." PRAISE THE LORD! So, I don't know right now if I will get those files back, but if I don't I must assume that is the will of my Father. At any rate, I was very excited about the Luke devotions, and I still am, but that project is on hold.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Luke #2 – Legacies and Crushed Dreams

Luke #2 – Legacies and Crushed Dreams

“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years” (Luke 1:5-7 – King James Version).

Rarely do things turn out like we want or think they should. When I was thirteen I had three big dreams. I wanted to be a professional baseball player, an army hero and I wanted to be like Jim. Jim was my oldest brother. He was my hero, my protector, and my friend. He was a good ball player in his own right; well, good doesn’t do his abilities justice…he was a fine ball player. Jim also had a notable military career. Both his ball playing and his military career were cut short.

Jim “messed up” in high school; his girlfriend became pregnant. Jim quit school, joined the army and nearly five years later was dead; it was an auto accident. I was thirteen.

Fast forward nine years; I was 22. This was a very surprising thing for me; I never thought I’d be that old. I had been compared to my brother so much (looks wise) that I figured I wouldn’t see my 22nd birthday just like he didn’t. Bad knees, poor eyes, and a less than healthy shoulder saw my baseball dreams flushed down the drain. A drinking problem, a bad attitude and a quick temper ruined my military career. Jim was dead. I was surprised to even be alive. There were no dreams; they’d all been crushed. I felt awfully young to be so empty inside.

I think Zacharias and Elisabeth could have felt my pain. In the days in which they lived, family was important. Women that did not bear children were considered to be out of God’s favor. I would imagine that when those two married they dreamed of family. It seemed, as they were old, that it was not to be…or was it?

Regardless of what happens in our lives we will respond in one of two ways; we will become bitter or better. Bitterness comes when we turn inward. Becoming better happens when we look upwards.

Let’s hit on a few things from this passage. Number one, those WERE tough times to live in Israel. The land was occupied. Judaism was ritual and religion and fraught with internal strife between sects such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees. In comparison, no one would deny that our world is a mess. There is little trust amongst denominations and little unity within them. Morals have taken a back seat. In Zacharias’ and Elisabeth’s case, what was their response? According to the Scripture, “they were both righteous before God.” Why was that? Easy, it was because they obeyed “all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.” How do you react to the circumstances of the times?

Secondly, I’d imagine there were high expectations placed upon Zacharias and Elisabeth. They were both of the priestly tribe of Aaron. Their legacy was to serve God. That’s a lot of pressure. They did though. I believe it may have allowed them to keep their sanity in the midst of broken dreams. Does every Christian family produce Christian children? No! And God has no grandchildren. Each person’s relationship with God is one on One. Zacharias and Elisabeth may have been expected to worship God, but I doubt it was out of duty; rather it was out of love of God. That’s good. I am POSITIVE it sustained them. Can the same be said of you?

Thirdly, if we know anything of broken dreams, we know that sometimes they are mended. Only four of the twenty-four priestly courses are known to have came back from the Babylonian captivity; the course of Abia was not one of those courses (Ezra 2:36-39). God had organized those courses…that was His dream. He did not let it die. Though history does not record how that course came back, it did. Dreams don’t always die. Sometimes they just take a while to materialize. Some do die, but only at God’s pleasure. We can give up on some of our dreams; dreams can change too. We cannot give up on God. It was the same with the dream of parenthood for Zacharias and Elisabeth. They didn’t become bitter. They didn’t give up on God. Have you?

Fourthly, God works past the obvious. Zacharias and Elisabeth were old. So what! God is bigger than our limitations! Do you limit what God can do in your life? Do you let Him do big things in spite of your obvious limitations? Do you EXPECT Him to do just that?

Fifthly, mood and circumstance did not dictate Zacharias’ and Elisabeth’s devotion. They were faithful and found righteous. Are you?

Jim’s daughter is now a beautiful young lady in her early twenties. Jim’s “mess up” sure is pretty! That’s quite a legacy. I am sure none of this fit into Jim’s idea of a legacy, but God worked it out wonderfully. I am pretty sure Zacharias and Elisabeth never imagined there son would be a herald of God. Not a bad ending, huh?

I am not Jim. I am not a ball player. I am not a heroic soldier. Things RARELY turn out like we imagine they will. When God is in it, it’s always better! I am thankful in Christ that I am a child of God and a minister of the Gospel. I have a new dream. I want to see God face to face. I am resolved to live for Him, no matter my circumstances, others’ expectations, or my limitations.

How about you? Have you a dream that has been crushed or crushed you? Respond with righteousness. Look upward. Wait for God’s timing. He may take longer than you think He should. He may even give you a new dream. Will you become bitter or better in the meantime?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Youth for Christ Roxboro Offers Summer Camps With a Difference

Seems like everyone has memories of summer camp when they were young. This summer there are plenty of day camps right here in Roxboro, seven of them offered by Youth for Christ Roxboro (YFCR).

Although specific activities vary from week to week, campers will be doing traditional summer activities like playing paintball, camping, swimming or learning to swim, doing crafts, riding horses, hiking, rock climbing, Bible study, canoeing, playing softball, with occasional games at the Warehouse.

However, according to YFCR Executive Director Tim Bowes, these camps will also be

different from other day camps. “We plan to keep these camps intentionally intimate, with

at least a 1 to 8 adult/child ratio. If we can get enough volunteers, we’ll bring that down to

1 to 5 because we want to build relationships with these kids that we’ll follow all year long.”

To that end, YFCR has hired 6 college-age summer interns to help YFCR Staff Tim Bowes, Sylvester Clay and Brett Carver run the week-long camps.

Each camp will have a different flavor; some have different ages. Only 25 campers will be in each camp; slots are available on a first come, first served basis. All camps except the girls’ volleyball camp will run Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Students are welcome to stay at the Warehouse after camp is over except on Wednesday when the Warehouse is closed. The cost is $100 per week, with some scholarships available.

The first week, June 18-22, two camps will be going, a Christian volleyball camp for girls

aged 12-18 from 9:00 am to noon at the Warehouse. Cost is $70, $60 for siblings. Contact Sarah Clayton (597-2536) for more information. That same week, Carver will lead camp for middle and high school students.

The second week of camp, June 25-29, led by Bowes, is for rising sixth graders only. Week three (July 9-13) is only for middle school students and will be headed up by Clay.

We want them to have new experiences and try things they have never tried,” said Clay, YFCR staff member and associate pastor at Old Mount Zion Baptist Church. “Each activity

is designed to challenge them physically, socially and spiritually.”

Only teens in high school can attend the fourth week of camp, July 16-20, led by Carver. “We’ll be doing one overnight camping trip together,” Carver said, “so I’m excited.”

Week five (July 23-27) and week six (July 30-August 3) are for both middle school and high school students, led by Clay and Bowes respectively.

I guarantee campers three things,” promised Bowes. “They will be cared for, they will have a good time, and they will have a chance to draw closer to Jesus. Because camp is not just another place to have fun. It should add eternal value to their lives, and you can’t have eternal value without Christ.”

For more information, contact Tim Bowes, Brett Carver or Sylvester Clay at 503-9327, or email them at

Friday Framents

June 1, 2007

“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten…”
~ Luke 22:19b-20a

It had been an incredible run. Jesus and twelve men. The experiences, pain, disappointment, buffet dinners, victory, rejection. “God with us” had done his work… and now, in an intimate, tender, painful and momentous experience… Jesus invites his closest followers to systematically enter a place of remembrance, where they can return… time and time again, even when Jesus is gone. Especially when Jesus is gone.

The invitation reads… in remembrance. In this call Jesus certifies the appropriateness of history in its power to validate, to inspire, to motivate and, in some sense, to obligate. We can. We will. We must. We shall. Because He did. And don’t forget it. Don’t ever make “today” an island. Connect it. Always draw it back. Usher your dreams down the pathway of Calvary. Remember.

And as is true in my Christian faith… it is true in all of life. An American flag flapped in the Memorial Day breeze in front of our house in Aurora, Colorado so that I would never forget what my freedom cost. So that I would live in gratitude and stewardship.

Yes… in remembrance. Hearts won over by sacrifice, fueling lives propelled by purpose. Jesus reminded the remnant that history is the lace that cinches up our track shoes for today’s race.

Don’t ever forget… this moment, this pain, this change in the trajectory of mankind, because I gave my life for you.”

My life, now the byproduct of sacrifice, should reflect the humility that exposes a heart of thanks… a heart that remembers.

To those that have, or are, defending the defenseless, protecting the powerless, and fighting for freedom… I promise to remember. To honor. To cherish.

And to my Lord… all that I am, all that I have, and all that I ever hope to be… Yours. All yours. Because I promise to never forget.

For the best reasons of all…

I remember, we remember.

Luke #1 – I Just Gotta Tell Somebody!

Luke #1 – I Just Gotta Tell Somebody!

“Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke 1:1-4 - King James Version).

I gained conviction of my sins at the tender age of eight at the first service of a week of revival meetings in a little country church where my Grandma Zimmerman attended. For the next seventeen years I pondered things of God; almost on an hourly basis. I talked of God with most anyone who would venture into the subject; never going as deep as I needed to go for I knew all that was left undone was surrender. I read the Bible with lost eyes, always gaining knowledge but never breaching the gates of freedom. Then, something happened! March 2, 1997 marked a new beginning! All that was in my head took root in my heart as I surrendered to the grace of God in salvation through Christ. All of a sudden everything truly made sense for the first time in my life! I felt some great weight lift off of me. I was free! My heart of stone was replaced with a heart of flesh! A fire burned in me! The Holy Spirit was there wanting to burst out! I began to witness right away; I could not keep it in! I had to share this great salvation with any who would listen and many who would not. It was not my burden, but my privilege.

These first four verses of Dr. Luke’s Gospel account are simply his greeting and purpose of writing this work. Luke writes to his noble friend Theophilus. Luke writes of things that his head knows and his heart is sure of, saying that these are things “most surely believed” among himself and his cohorts. He wants Theophilus to know the “certainty of those things” that concern the faith. Obviously Theophilus knows something of the faith, but Luke wants Theo to be sure of the solid foundation in which he stands.

There are some things that stand out here. Number one, Luke is so convinced, so moved, and so transformed by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ that he can find no way to hold it in. I am sure that Luke had seen his fair share of Judaic and pagan religions that left people unfilled, unchanged, and unhealed. He knew of the power of Christ’s blood and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He wanted others to know too! Do you?

Number two, Luke was so convinced that he was willing to make a “declaration” of these things. He was willing to make a statement; to stake something of himself upon who Christ is. He was willing to put his reputation on the line, to claim Christ publicly, to take the time to help others understand and hear. Are you?

Number three, Luke was convinced that faith in Christ was THE WAY. It was not open for discussion. His friends had told Luke, but the Holy Spirit had assured him. It was not a mere movement of knowledge, but a transformation of a life. It had moved past religion and become breath! To Luke it was more than something to do; it was who he had become. Luke faith was not one of words but it was living. Is yours?

Number four, Luke’s faith was worth working for. NO, NO, NO…he was not trying to earn it! Luke simply lived a life in response to God. He did not witness about God because it was his duty, but because he could not keep it to himself. His faith might have been personal, but it was surely NOT private. He told others. He took to the streets (read Acts). He picked his pen up and wrote. Whatever the means, Luke shared! Do you?

Surely Luke had head knowledge but, more importantly, he had heart belief. He just had to tell about Jesus! It was not a knowledge movement to him but a life mission. It was not a mission trip but an eternal message. His favorite song, were Luke alive today, might sound like a collection of old hymns: “What a wonderful change has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart, so I surrender all because He is worthy of worship. Where He leads I will follow and tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.” Do you just gotta tell that old, old story? Has it meant anything to you? Does it still?

New Series of Devotions

Hello Dear Friends:

Some time ago I endeavored to write devotions of the entire book of Luke. I reached #195 and stopped the project. I am picking it up again. For those of you who like to read these things I will begin posting them here with #1 and work my way to the end of Luke's Gospel. So far, having done 195 1/2 I am only at Luke 10:9, so I've got a long way to go to finish out Luke, which ends with 24:53.

When I am done I hope to publish a book of these devotions called "Dr. Luke's Waiting Room" (or something like that). Speaking of that, I have a book coming out later in June called "Light Steps". It is my first book and features the first 365 devotions I ever wrote. I hope you'll be on the watch for it and consider purchasing a copy; all proceeds will go to Youth For Christ Roxboro.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

DISCLAIMER: These devotions through the book of Luke are THAT; DEVOTIONS. This is not meant to be a scholarly account or exposition of said Gospel. Thanks!