Saved By Grace

Saved By Grace

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Our Make a Difference Day

Acts 20:32-35 (NIV)
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

You heard me say several times that I love my little town/community. We have our share of good as well as a portion of bad. One of the things that has touched my life for the last 20 years is what we call "Make a Difference Day". Nationally it is a day of community service. A day set aside once a year for neighbors to help neighbors. It began over 20 years ago as a joint project between USA Weekend Magazine and the Points of Light organization.

 Our version is a joint venturer between the churches of our community and the people around us who are in need. We take the opportunity of giving physical labor to also offer those we serve with an invitation to see the Jesus that is in each one of us. I know there are stories of people's lives changed by the actions and the love of those who participate. One of the stories that touched me was about an elderly woman living in a shack with holes in the wall and insects roaming throughout her home. She was eligible to relocate into the Fellowship home, but refused because she didn't feel like she needed the help. One of the committee leaders went to visit her and asked if there was anything that the "Make a Difference Day" group could do for her. She declined but listened as the man explained that this was something that the Christian community was doing and it would cost her nothing. After a few minutes of discussion, she said there is one thing that you might be able to do for me. She invited the man inside and led him to the bathroom. There he saw a 5 gallon bucket with a trashcan liner in it. On top of the bucket was the lid for her toilet. The spot where her toilet used to sit had deteriorated and the stool had actually fallen through the floor. The sink was barely hanging on the wall. She had been using the bucket, the liner and the lid as her toilet. The group made arrangements with a local plumber and they donated a rebuilt stool. A group of men rebuilt the floor, installed the stool and repaired the sink. She was overjoyed, but would not allow any other work to be done.

The next year she was approached by the "MADD" group and they patched the holes in walls, removed the carpeting and a chair from the front room and fumigated the house. The room was re-carpeted and a nice chair put in place of the old one. During the work she was treated to lunch and fellowship at the Catholic Church.

That took place in 1994 and 1995. Today she is living in the Fellowship Home and her house has been gone for many years. I would have never believed that someone was living like that in our little town. Over the years I found out that she may have been the worst case, but there are many living in conditions very similar to hers.

This year, Make a Difference Day is April 5 and 6th. I'm not able to participate like I used to, but I know that God hears my prayers and I can participate in that manner. I really enjoyed the fact that this was a group formed from many denominations with one common purpose. To reach out to those in need and present the Gospel in their actions and words.

Much love, Dennis

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Billy Graham

I want to thank Garen Martens for taking me to the FCA meeting last week. 
Towards the end of our meeting we discussed how one person sharing the gospel can make a big difference and lead to many other conversions. Here is an article about the importance one person can make.

Take Edward Kimball, for an example. Never heard of him?  You’re not unique in that sense.  Most people have never heard of him.

Kimball was a Sunday school teacher who not only prayed for the often rowdy boys in his class but also sought to win each one to the Lord.  If Kimball ever felt like giving up, he never talked about it. If you have ever taught the Bible to young boys, you know that the experience can often be like herding cats.

One young man, in particular, didn’t seem to understand what the gospel was about so Kimball went to the shoe store where he was stocking shelves and confronted him in the stock room with the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That young man was Dwight L. Moody.  In the stockroom on that Saturday, he received Jesus Christ as his Savior. In his lifetime, Moody touched two continents for God, with untold thousands coming to faith in Jesus Christ.

But the story doesn’t end there. Actually that’s where it begins. Under Moody, another man’s heart was touched for God, Wilbur Chapman.  Chapman became the evangelist who preached to thousands. One day, a professional ball player had a day off and attended one of Chapman’s meetings, and thus, Billy Sunday was converted.

Sunday quit baseball and became part of Chapman’s team. Then, Chapman accepted the pastorate of a large church and Billy Sunday began his own evangelistic crusades.
Another young man was converted whose name was Mordecai Ham.  He was a scholarly, dignified gentleman who wasn’t above renting a hearse and parading it through the streets advertising his meetings.

When Ham came to Charlotte, North Carolina, a sandy-haired, lanky young man, then in high school, vowed that he wouldn’t go hear him preach, but Billy Frank, as he was called by his family, did eventually go. Ham announced that he knew for a fact that a house of ill repute was located across the street from the local high school and that male students were skipping lunch to visit the house across the street. When students decided to go to interrupt the meetings of Mordecai Ham, Billy Frank decided to go see what would happen.

That night Billy Frank went and was intrigued by what he heard. Returning another night, he responded to the invitation and was converted. Billy Frank eventually became known as Billy Graham, the evangelist who preached to more people than any other person who ever lived, including the Apostle Paul.

This fascinating chain of events was triggered by a Sunday school teacher’s concern for his boys. If you are like most people, you have served in some capacity and wondered at times if you were making a real difference or not.  Maybe you’ve thought about quitting because you didn’t think you were making any difference.

Next time you are tempted to give up, please remember Edward Kimball, whose persistence and faithfulness was tremendously honored by the Lord.  The story would have looked very differently if Edward Kimball did not take his Saturday to seek out young Dwight Moody.

Edward Kimball
D. L. Moody
Wilbur Chapman
Billy Sunday
Mordecai Ham
Billy Graham
You can count the apples on a tree, but only God knows how many apples are in a single seed.

                                      One of my favorites 

Much love, Dennis

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I've been a Christian for many years, reading Bible passages, attending Sunday school, listening to Bible teachers on radio and TV as well as Sunday morning sermons. I thought I was somewhat familiar with what the Bible had to say. Something that I had never done until about two years ago was read the Bible cover to cover. I use Bible Gateway on my computer for lots of things including weekly devotionals. I noticed that they had a read the Bible in a year plan. You just sign up with your e-mail and they send you an Old Testament and a New Testament reading each day. I'm on my second time through and I am humbled by the lack of knowledge that I actually possess, both Old and New Testament. Some things are so graphic, especially in the Old Testament that if you would've told me they were in the Bible five years ago, I would've called you a nutbag. Something that I read recently and noticed for the first time humor, for example in the story of Samson and Delilah.

 Samson poses a riddle to 30 young Philistine men. Delilah betrayed him and gave the answer to the Philistines. Here is the question.
 “Out of the eater, something to eat;
  Out of the strong, something sweet."
The Philistines gave the correct answer.

Judges 14:18
New International Version (NIV)
18 Before sunset on the seventh day the men of the town said to him,

“What is sweeter than honey?
 What is stronger than a lion?”
Samson said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
    you would not have solved my riddle.”

The next-to-last line, "If you had not plowed with my heifer", may have been a common phrase back then, but I had to chuckle as I read it  :-)

Something else that made me go "HUH" is found throughout the book of Proverbs. Here are a few examples, see if you can spot them.

Proverbs 1:20
Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square;
Proverbs 4:6
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
Proverbs 9:1
Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars.
Proverbs 14:33
Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.
Proverbs 31:26
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

There are many more, I'm sure you noticed that wisdom is always referred to with a feminine pronoun.
I told Cheri and my mother-in-law that this is just more proof that God has a sense of humor.
This was one of those times when I should have kept a tight rein on my tongue  :-)

A young ventriloquist is touring the clubs and one night he's doing a show in a small club in a small town in Arkansas. With his dummy on his knee, he's going through his usual dumb blonde jokes when a blonde woman in the fourth row stands on her chair and starts shouting: ''I've heard enough of your stupid blonde jokes. What makes you think you can stereotype women that way? What does the color of a person's hair have to do with her worth as a human being? It's guys like you who keep women like me from being respected at work and in the community and from reaching our full potential as a person, because you and your kind continue to perpetuate discrimination against, not only blondes, but women in general...and all in the name of humor!''
The ventriloquist is embarrassed and begins to apologize, when the blonde yells, ''You stay out of this, mister! I'm talking to that little jerk on your knee!''

Much love, Dennis

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Humor Me

I didn't want to end my last post with a joke because I wanted all the emphasis to be on the main topic. With that in mind, here is something that I found funny.

A male driver is pulled over by a cop and the following conversation takes place:
Man: What's the problem officer?
Cop: You were going at least 75 in a 55 zone.
Man: No sir, I was going 65.
Wife: Oh Harry. You were going 80.
(Man gives his wife a dirty look.)
Cop: I'm also going to give you a ticket for your broken tail light.
Man: Broken tail light? I didn't know about a broken tail light!
Wife: Oh Harry, you've known about that tail light for weeks.
(Man gives his wife a dirty look.)
Cop: I'm also going to give you a citation for not wearing your seat belt.
Man: Oh, I just took it off when you were walking up to the car.
Wife: Oh  Harry, you never wear your seat belt.
Man: Shut your mouth, woman!
Cop: Ma'am, does your husband always talk to you this way?
Wife: No, only when he's drunk.

Much Love, Dennis

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Testimony of a Good Friend

I have a friend who has a very compelling testimony about her salvation experience. She was raised in a very loving home, but not a Christian home. Her mother became very ill from cancer. While she was in the hospital, a woman approached her and her family and asked if she could pray with them. Her father said, "we don't do that". Her mother, Sue Ellen passed away soon after that. An avid reader, she came across the series Left Behind. It was intriguing and interesting to her. She soon began attending church services at Emmanuel  Baptist Church in Enid. Feeling a little uncomfortable she would always sit in the balcony. During one particular service she became overcome with emotion and begin to weep almost uncontrollably. An older lady approached her and begin to comfort her with words and hugs. After she settled down somewhat the lady told her that she would be there to help her any time that she needed it, and her name was Sue Ellen. To this point we have never found a woman in that church that was named Sue Ellen.
Today my friend and her entire family are members of God's kingdom and have all been baptized.
I truly believe that God sent an angel (Sue Ellen) to comfort and guide my friend, resulting in salvation for an entire family.

Jaris' son, Brett is a professional motocrosser racer/ambassador. He works for - a large motorcycle superstore in Portland Oregon. 

He travels the nation representing the company with his positive attitude and friendly personality. He also volunteers at many FCA-MX (Fellowship of Christian Athletes-Motocross) events each year. At these events riders of all ages are coached by professional riders and presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm sure that Brett interacts with hundreds of people annually representing not only Motorsports, but Jesus.

Look back to Jaris, one person, influencing her son, he is an Ambassador for Christ to many.
My two cents is this, if you can reach one person, you could open the door for many.

Much love, Dennis

Saturday, March 1, 2014

John Hagee

I listen to John Hagee weekday mornings. He is a tell it like it is preacher. Many times he throws in some "attempted humor" with his sermons. (Sound familiar)?
He offered this on Friday.

An old country preacher had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young men his age, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.
 One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects:
1. Bible
2. Silver Dollar
3. Bottle of Whisky
4. Playboy magazine
I'll just hide behind the door, the old preacher said to himself. "When he comes home from school today, I'll see which object he picks up."
"If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be!
"If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a business man, and that would be okay, too.”
"But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunken bum, and Lord, what a shame that would be.”
"And worst of all if he picks up that magazine he's going to be a skirt-chasing womanizer."
The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's foot-steps as he entered the house whistling and heading for his room.
The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table.
With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them.
-          Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm.
-          He picked up the silver dollar and dropped into his pocket.
-          He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink, while he admired the magazine's centerfold.

     Lord have mercy, the old preacher disgustedly whispered.  He's going into Politics!!

Much Love, Dennis