First Steps – March 12, 2018

James Finley, one of the great Methodist revival preachers from the 19th Century said, “Much may be said about camp meetings, but take them all in all for practical exhibition of religion, for unbounded hospitality to strangers, for unfeigned and fervent spirituality; give me a country camp meeting against the world.”

Camp meeting revivals were popular in the frontier regions where no permanent congregations existed; therefore, people traveled long distances to sing, worship, hear a preacher, and share in communion. Normally it was held outside and lasted for a week or two.  Frontier life was both difficult and ripe for revival due to the spiritual vacuum that existed due to ramped alcoholism, greed, and sexual promiscuity.

The Cane Ridge revival of 1801 is considered by some to be the most important religious event in American history.  It gathered thousands of people from all over the frontier who were overcome by repentance, forgiveness, and assurance of faith.

Whenever I think of Cane Ridge or any camp meeting, I am reminded of the human need of forgiveness. People create vacuums and voids only to attempt to fill them unsuccessfully.  Some voids can only be filled by the Incarnate One—the one who became human and walked among us.

This week’s reading:

Monday – Luke 11
Tuesday – Luke 12
Wednesday – Luke 13
Thursday – Luke 14
Friday – Luke 15

Please Pray for:

Our Nation and Our Leaders
Those unwillingly absent from worship
The Confirmation Class of 2018, their parents, and their mentors
Phase 3 (Construction of New Youth Building)

First Steps – March 5, 2018

St. Patrick was the son of a high-ranking Roman colonist who lived in Britain during the 5th Century. As an early teen, he was kidnapped by Celtic raiders and forced to work as a shepherd. A few years later, he escaped. However, he had a vision of Irish people crying out for him to return with the gospel. So he did.

For the rest of his life he traveled from village to village, sharing the gospel. Regardless of circumstance, Patrick remained humble and kind. Even in the face of Druid religious priests who opposed him, Patrick was faithful. He would live among the people and share the burden of their hard living conditions. After he was accepted by the village as “one of them,” he would share the gospel. Even today, this model of evangelism (Relational—Indigenous Evangelism) is still admired and practiced among missionaries.

The rise in popularity of St. Patrick’s Day in North America is largely due to Irish American immigrants’ strength in the face of economic hardship and withstanding prejudice against their Catholic faith.

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – Luke 6
  • Tuesday – Luke 7
  • Wednesday – Luke 8
  • Thursday – Luke 9
  • Friday – Luke 10

Please Pray for:

  • Our Nation and Our Leaders
  • Phase 2 (Renovation of Current Facilities)
  • Phase 3 (Construction of New Youth Building)

First Steps – February 26, 2018

Recently, my daughter turned 16 years old.  Yep, that means she can drive now. As her parent, there is a new level of freedom and anxiety. Freedom in the sense that she can drive herself and less time is required in running her taxi-service. More anxiety for us because she is driving and we don’t have the same level of control over her safety.

As she was preparing to drive, she would watch me as I drove. Naturally, she pointed out all the things that I did wrong.

“Dad, you didn’t use your blinker.”
“Dad, you are speeding.”
“Dad, you are not supposed to balance the steering wheel with your knee.”

I wanted to respond with all types of justifications.  Yet, I knew she was right.

How often do we want to justify our actions with the Holy Spirit? The Finger of God touches an area of our life and we instantly want to give reasons why it is out of sorts. Resist that temptation. Acknowledge that it is there and needs to change. Invite God into the change process surely he will lead you.


This week’s reading:
Monday – Luke 1
Tuesday – Luke 2
Wednesday – Luke 3
Thursday – Luke 4
Friday – Luke 5
Please Pray for:
Our Nation and Our Leaders
Phase 2 (Renovation of Current Facilities)
Phase 3 (Construction of New Youth Building)
Traveling mercies for St. Paul members on trips and retreats, locally and abroad