Web Ministry - The Humble Beginnings
Back in the day… well actually not that long ago, the internet was new and we marvelled at how cool it was to be able to email instead of snail mail. At first it was small businesses that kick started personal use of computers, but as personal computers became more affordable, everything began to change – and it changed very quickly. I remember the very first email I sent. It was actually in 1980 something when the company I worked for set up inter-office email. Back then, no one even considered that someday there would be such a thing as Web Ministry.
Fast forward a few years and the middle class yuppies had embraced email as their favorite way to stay in touch with friends and family. I suppose it was because of the speed at which the messages were delivered, that the nature of the message content also changed. This, I believe, was the birthing place of what came to be known as Web Ministry. There was much concern about the content that would end up flowing through cyberspace, and with good reason. The devil was going pounce upon the opportunity to have a hand in anything that could reach so many people so quickly, and likewise God’s people would respond with something uplifting. Instead of the long letters we used to write about our summer vacation or the what had been going on at work, play, and school, the masses were sending, and forwarding dirty jokes and inspirational stories at an alarmingly increasing rate. As the web expanded with business and entertainment content, dirty jokes gave way to a booming porn industry and inspirational stories gave way to the first attempts at real Web Ministry. I am sad to say the the devil got the bigger foothold initially, and God’s people were not yet prepared to battle for souls in this unknown territory.
Web Ministry – Coming of Age
It was early in 2007 when I first began to really engage online for business reasons. I took a course in web marketing, and started learning about building websites. At this time, most churches had some kind of website to make information about the church available to the seeking public, and most of the big name evangelists had websites that offered some spiritual educational content and sold their books. I suppose we could call that the second phase of Web Ministry. At the same time however, many individuals, myself included, felt a call to be the hands and feet of Jesus on the web, and that is when Web Ministry really began to take hold.
The project I undertook for my web marketing course, which was in stark contrast to my classmate’s commercial websites and sales funnels, was a 31 day study in The Book of Proverbs, offered via email subscription. That site is still live today, and ranks in the top 200,000 websites in the US, and the top 1.5 million worldwide. Considering there are an estimated 182 million websites worldwide (according to Netcraft), and my novice attempt at web ministry is in the top 1% based on traffic, it seems pretty obvious that Web Ministry works. But how far can we, or should we take it?
Web Ministry – To Fulfil the Great Commission
The United Methodist Church, firmly rooted in the style of John Wesley “going to where the spiritual hunger is” has committed to and meticulously researched the potential for Web Ministry, responding with websites, web content, e-newsletters, and even their own social networking platform at ReThinkChurch.org. I am currently taking their online training to equip leaders for Web Ministry for the future. Ideas being discussed are things like live discipleship webinars, interactive calendars that link to your Google calendar, webcast worship services for the homebound, prayer partners via live chat, facebook pages and groups, online committee meetings, and much, much more.
There is still some push back from the traditionalists that hear the words Web Ministry, and understand that to mean that static informational site, and that response is understandable – change can be hard, but… reality is that prayer chains, worship, study, counselling, spiritual warfare, meetings, small groups, even healing services are all going digital. The face of Web Ministry is evolving and expanding, and that gets me very excited!
Blessings & Adventure,
Lynn “lynnibug” Rios
If you aren’t feeling blessed today, what you need is prayer.
If you cannot see yourself as highly favored today, what you need is prayer.
If you cannot picture yourself as an instrument being played by the hand God for the uplifting of His people, then you need to spend some time with Him, in prayer.
If you are able to rest in the knowledge that above all else you are blessed and highly favored,
and if you envision yourself an instrument being played by the hand of God for the uplifting of His people…
what you need is to pray for those who do not.
2 Chronicles 14-15
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”
Blessings & Adventure.
Lynn “lynnibug” Rios
We don’t always notice when God does a beautiful thing…
but He is doing them all the time.
Sometimes we are so caught up in worldly things that we just can’t see the beautiful thing God is doing in the midst of it. Today I witnessed one of these beautiful moments when everything came together with perfection only God can offer, but even in the midst of it, the enemy was doing his best to beat those being blessed down and cause them to miss their blessing.
The body of Christ has a tendency to forget that Pastors are people too. They are not above the body or below it, but rather at the center of it, going through the same trials and tribulations we lay people do, often more so because the enemy can do more damage when he causes one of them to doubt their faith or their call. Pastors, ever conscious that they must lead by example tend to place upon themselves unrealistic expectations of perfection. That being said, I believe it is the sincere desire of our Pastors to speak what is on God’s agenda rather than their own, but sometimes they can judge what comes out as their failure rather than God’s success.
The beautiful thing I witnessed this morning was God taking over in real time, and moving the church to an undeniable demonstration of the depth that the sermon DID SINK IN.
The sermon was not delivered as planned, but the events that unfolded when the sermon was abruptly stifled, became a living, breathing example of what the Pastor intended to convey. It was as if God was saying to the Pastor, “Don’t tell them, let them!”
The scripture the Pastor was preaching on was 2 Corinthians 3:12 through 4:4, but it was not until I backed up a few verses and read 2 Corinthians 3:9-11 that I clearly saw how God’s perfectly beautiful plan had come together.
“Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech– unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
After reading the passage, the Pastor began to explain the imagery of seeing through the veil that separates the world from knowing God.
Through Jesus Christ, and by His grace, the veil has been lifted for the body of Christ and we can know God intimately. We no longer need to approach God through the veil. What He desires most is that we clearly keep our eyes on Him. In the midst of the sermon, the Pastor suddenly lost his place, experienced a moment of confusion, and then silence. It was one of those awkward moments when nobody knows what to do, and the Pastor was obviously flustered and at a total loss for words.
Then one of the congregation offered a worldly example of what prevents us from keeping our eyes on God the way we should, then another offered an example of how we allow ourselves to only see God through the veil, and then yet another. As the Pastor, still unable to speak, began to offer an apology for being unable to complete the sermon, one member came forward suggesting that just as a doctor should not perform surgery on a member of his family, maybe the subject matter was hitting a little too close to home. Then the entire congregation came forward placing hands on the Pastor and each other, praying that the seduction of the enemy be stopped and the veil be lifted for us all, acknowledging that sometimes there is more power in what is not said than in what is said. The congregation may not have heard the whole sermon with their ears, but indeed they heard it with their hearts and demonstrated that they had understood.
It was indeed a beautiful thing, a thing that only God can do!
After the prayers ended, the Pastor offered the benediction and the service ended, but the touch of the Holy Spirit that blessed the congregation today, and the wisdom received, will not be soon forgotten.
2 Corinthians 3:9-11 (NKJV)
“For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.”
Blessings & Adventure,
Lynn “lynnibug” Rios
The enemy is alive and well… and so am I.
If you follow my blog with any regularity, I imagine you have noticed my total lack of presence during the holidsy season. My last post was at the end of November, and not long after that, I simply fell off the grid from your perspective.
December was busy as usual with all of the holiday events, work which gets really wierd at the end of the year, and of course shopping for gifts mostly for the young ones in the family that I have no idea what to get. I had planned a seasonal post that would bring Glory to God for the Christmas season, but it is abundantly clear that never happenned.
Early in December bad things started happening, mostly to my computer, but in real life as well. A good friend passed away and two others began having serious health concerns due to their advancing age. My church was continuing to battle a financial crisis, and a lot of quirky inconveniences began popping up on my computer.
The enemy was attacking with the intention of making Christmas a disaster in 2012.
How do I know it was the enemy? In retrospect I can see how the underlying sadness and frustration drained me of my Christmas spirit and prevented me from accomplishing the one thing I was determined to do… post a glorifying Christmas piece that would arouse feelings of peace, joy and hope.
The computer problems escalated through the month of December, and so I spent my time researching fixes, trying to update my antivirus, and repeatedly crashing and restoring my computer which had worked flawlessly up until December 2012. I neglected many things during this time. Phone calls went unanswered, emails went unread, social networks were ignored, and yesterday, after finally resolving the technical issues and restoring the computer to perfect health, I began the journey of catching up only to be confronted with the human fallout that occured during this ordeal. A long list of friends had suffered feelings of hurt and even rejection because I had shut eveyone out of my life.
The enemy had surely taken some ground, and now I must take it back!
Jimmy, Linda, Brett, Reinier, & Orimar, I apologize for not responding to your emails. Eric & Julie, I apologize for not responding to your letter. To all of my blogging friends, I apologize that I have not read or commented on your posts. Donna & Dave, I apologize for not reading your Christmas ecard until after the New Year. Donna, Dwan, Sharon, Sandy, and Marcia, I apologize for not answering or responding to your phone calls in a timely manner. Susie, I apologize for not reaching out to you for so long, missing both Christmas and New Years when I should have called, especially now that I know you have been going through a pretty rough patch in your life as well. To my friends and fans on facebook, I apologize that I neglected to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. If I have missed anyone, please don’t hesitate to bring it to my attention.
That being said, I pray that you will all accept my apology, and I will do my best to not let you down again.
Blessings & Advanture,
Lynn “lynnibug” Rios
Why are there unicorns in my bible?
About a week ago I ran across a word in Isaiah 39 that caught me by surprise. Let me correct that, I was in utter shock. Why was my bible referring to a mythical creature? What I uncovered as I began to research the incongruity was that there are up to nine mentions of unicorns in the bible, depending on the translation, and it had been a favorite subject for bible debunkers to quote in an effort to discredit the accuracy of the Holy scripture Christians believe is the unerrant word of God, given to us through divine inspiriation of its authors.
In the original Hebrew, all nine instances translated as unicorn are found to be various forms of a word that would be pronounced “reem” or “re’eym”. Rabbinic scholars refer to it as a “creature long extinct”. I found that newer biblical translations have morphed it into a wild ox rather than unicorn, but there are some problems that come up based on the context in which the word was used that do not support the wild ox theory at all. That same text can, however, offer some clues as to the true identity of the creature being described.
In the KJV the word unicorn is used twice in Chapter 39 verses 9-10. Looking at verses 1-12 helps us understand the context in which the word unicorn has appeared.
Job 39:1-12 (KJV)
1 Knowest thou the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? or canst thou mark when the hinds do calve? 2 Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth? 3 They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows. 4 Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them. 5 Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass? 6 Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings. 7 He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver. 8 The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing. 9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? 10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? 11 Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him? 12 Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?
Initially God was asking Job questions about animals to demonstrate how little Job knew about them when compared to God, who created them and knew everything about them. Beginning with verse 9, the questions are surely rhetorical as God uses sarcasm (much like my mother did when I was young) to put Job in his place. Had Job been able to answer yes to any of them, then the entire message makes no sense, but if Job, even with his limited knowledge of the creature, knew the obvious answer to those questions was a resounding no, the verses take on the character of a parent scolding a child and reminding them that they have much to learn.
With that in mind…
“9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?” tells us the animal described is not one that can be tamed or domesticated.
“10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?” tells us that this creature is no good for plowing as he will not go where we desire him to.
“11 Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him?” tells us that this creature has great strength.
“12 Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?” further tells us that its power and spirit is so strong that we can not trust it nor should we be overconfident around it.
The wild ox was tamed in ancient times, and trained to plow, so the “wild ox” translation we see in newer biblical translations seems pretty far off the mark to me. I still am not sure what kind of creature we are talking about, but I am pretty confident it has one horn, duh, and I am ready to look at another scripture to see what else I can glean from the context.
Psalm 92:10 (KJV) lends support for the one horn theory. This verse is clearly speaking of a singular horn, “10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”
“Accounts of a real single-horned creature abound in ancient writings dealing with natural history. The earliest surviving record comes to us from the fourth century Greek physician and historian, Ctesias. John Gill, an 18th century Hebrew scholar, agreeing that the biblical unicorn must be a real creature, in his commentary cites several ancient writers who described such an animal, which was, like the unicorn described in Job, not able to be domesticated. Ancient writers who described a realistic unicorn include Aelian, Strabo, Pliny the Elder, and Tertullian.” The creature eluded to may be the elasmotherium which resembles a rhinocerous, but has only a single horn.
BUT… Deuteronomy 33:17 (KJV) is clearly speaking of multiple horns, the horns of Joseph which are Ephraim and Manasseh.
“17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”
It seems I have jumped into another one of those rabbit holes, or maybe a wild ride on a unicorn… let’s see where this goes.
Some further research took me to an analysis more obscure biblical translations, adding buffalo and rhinocerous to the possibilities. Remember when we started I mentioned these instances were translated from various forms of a Hebrew word. In Hebrew subtle changes in vowels or “plus or minus” a letter can give subtle change to the meaning of a word. The latin translations are reported to use the word unicorn in Psalm 92:10 and rhinoceros in Deuteronomy 33:17. I wonder if that was a subtlety understood by the early latin translators?
Unicorn… Buffalo… Rhinoceros… Wild Ox… What are we talking about?
Adding to the confusion around this whole subject is the fact that the “English” definition of the word unicorn has changed over the years as well. In older dictionaries the word unicorn was associated with rhinoceros and vice versa. In fact, Websters’ 1828 Dictionary of the English Language defined Rhinoceros this way:
RHINOC’EROS, n. [L. rhinoceros; Gr. nose-horn.]
A genus of quadrupeds of two species, one of which, the unicorn, as a single horn growing almost erect from the nose. This animal when full grown, is said to be 12 feet in length. There is another species with two horns, the bicornis. They are natives of Asia and Africa.
So, in the Rhinocerous family we have two species, one with a single horn and one with two horns. Does the Rhinocerous (or bicornis) add imagery
that makes sense in our understanding of Deuteronomy 33:17?
Let’s see… Ephraim and Manasseh are the two tribes named for the two sons of Joseph. Contrary to the established custom of those days, the younger son, Ephraim was given the greater blessing by Jacob. Manasseh’s seed would become a people, but Ephraim’s seed would become a multitude of nations (see Genesis 48:17-20).
The Rhinoceros has a large and a small horn. The larger representing Ephraim and the smaller representing Manasseh. I like the imagery and it seems plausible to me, however after all of this study, there are only two things I feel I can say for sure…
1. The biblical unicorn is not the mythical stallion with the barbershop striped horn affixed to its forehead.
2. Like He did with Job, God has demonstrated to me how little I know, compared to Him who created me and knows everything about me.
Blessings & Adventure,
Lynn “lynnibug” Rios
And the light shines also in my darkness.
Recently, I again read John 1:1-5, verses that I have read countless times before, but this time something was different. A single phrase stood out, calling me to take a closer look.
John 1:1-5 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Strange that phrase had never stood out before… “and the darkness did not comprehend it” lends a trait to darkness I had not previously considered. Could darkness be capable of intelligence or for that matter thought? Another curiosity was the change in tense. The light shines in present tense but the darkness responds in past tense. I hoped to solve this unusual dilema by comparing several translations… it was like having an itch I could not scratch and I had to get to the bottom of it.
John 1:5 (NLT)
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1:5 (KJV)
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:5 (MSG)
5 The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.
John 1:5 (GW)
5 The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it.
Two votes for past tense could not comprehend, one vote for past tense could not extinguish, and two votes for past, present and future inability to extinquish. The word ‘extinguish’ added the mental picture of putting out a fire, as in overcoming or conquering something, and that kind of victory cannot be achieved without first understanding that which we seek to conquer. So the darkness then, now, and forever, must struggle with the intrusion of light, yet will never prevail against it. Hmmmm… so far so good.
It was about that time when my friend, Maikel, reminded me of something. These verses parallel the creation story in Genesis. Johns writings take us back to creation to teach us that Jesus was present “In the beginning…”, when God separated the light and the darkness. Maikel’s point was that Jesus and His church are the continuation of this action of separating light from darkness.
But wait… If they are separated,
does the light still shine in the darkness?
This was not the rabbit hole I had imagined myself jumping into when I began this journey, but God’s path for me is rarely anything like what I am expecting. With that in mind, it was time to revisit John 1 verses 1-5 with a fresh perspective. This time I went to my AENT (Aramaic to English New Testament translation), as I often do when I feel I am getting closer but can’t quite reach it, hoping to acquire a deeper understanding of the intimacy between God and Jesus in the act of creation.
Yochanan 1:1-5 AENT
1 In the beginning was the Miltha. And that Miltha was with Elohim. And Elohim was that Miltha.
2 This was with Elohim in the beginning.
3 Everything existed through His hands, and without Him, not even one thing existed of the things which have existed.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 And that light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.
The word ‘overtake’ definitely fits in with the idea of overcoming, but wait… there is so much more….
‘Miltha’ is one of those words with multiple meanings. It can mean word, manifestation, instance, or substance. Elohim is God the Creator and Judge. So in the beginning, when God, in the act of creation spoke the words “Let there be…” the manifestation of His substance, Miltha, was with Him. Jesus is Miltha, the Ruach haKodesh or Spirit of God manifested in substance, the Son of God and man. WOW! In verse three we can sense the imagery of the word becoming a creative force in the literal hands of the Miltha, like a sculptor working under the orders of a king.
It fills in the unfathomable gap between “God said ‘Let there be light’” and “and there was light” with Jesus!
Thanks again to Maikel, for pointing out the crucial fact that God only separated light and darkness. He did not destroy the darkness. The darkness is a reality we must contend with. Jesus has come to bring light into the darkness. He is the true light! That, for us, is a message of boundless hope! It was truth in the past, it is truth in the present, and it will be truth tomorrow! No matter what kind of darkness we find ourselves in, the light of our Lord can reach us, and the darkness has no power to prevent it. Amen!
Blessings & Adventure
Lynn “lynnibug” Rios
What defines a lucrative investment?
Professionals agree that with any investment there is a certain amount of risk. Generally, the lower risk investment yields a lower and slower return. Conversely, the higher the risk, the higher the potential gain or lose. Conservative investors that start early in life may consider a lucrative investment to be the long term safe investment that can, over time, amass some tidy profits. Those willing to take huge risks will either end up losing it all or become insanely wealthy. They are the ones that understand a safe investment has limited potential and so they seek out innovative opportunities with massive potential, while they are undervalued because the majority of investors just can’t “see it”.
Just as we traverse the financial precipice making choices by what we are willing to risk, we also have social and spiritual choices to make that involve risk. Alucrative investment in the social sense might be one that allows you to meet and greet the movers and shakers of your community or industry in hopes that their influence would reflect favorably on you. What is the risk? When swimming in the pond with the big fish, be prepared to swallow your pride and be treated by some as the little fish that you are. Other forms of a socially lucrative investment could be recycling (little to no risk with benefits dependent upon how many others make the investment), or even adopting a pet (they may chew on the furniture and mess on the carpet but offer unconditional love). The bottom line is that any lucrative investment results in ROI (return on investment). It could be money or influence, a cleaner environment, or it could be affection or security, all tangible and measurable returns.
When we speak of spiritual investment, everything becomes a bit less tangible, and difficult if not impossible to measure. What would the ROI of a lucrative investment spiritually look like? How high is the risk and how great the potential return, and what is the risk of making no investment at all?
By looking at these things we can evaluate if the spiritual investment we are making truly is a lucrative investment.
So what exactly is a spiritual investment? It is giving our time, our talent and our treasure to others AND to God, and its ROI can only be calculated using the biblical concept of sowing and reaping. Rick Warren breaks the concept down this way:
There are three things the bible says about sowing and reaping:
1. Whatever you sow, you are going to reap. If you sow criticism, people are going to criticize you. If you sow gossip, people are going to gossip about you. Whatever you sow in life, you are going to reap it back. Count on it. The good news is, this works in positive terms too. Give it to God and watch his blessings flow onto others and back to you.
2. You will reap more than you sow every time. A farmer who plants one kernel of corn in the ground will get a stalk with eight or nine ears that have 100 to 200 corn kernels each.
3. You always reap in a different season than you sowed. You sow in one season and then you reap the benefit in another season. You can go plant a seed today, dig it up tomorrow, and there will be no difference. But if you let it settle, slowly it will grow and produce. That’s the faith portion of the waiting period in God’s economy.
How big a harvest do you want to see in your life? It’s up to you. God says, “According to your faith will it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29 NIV).
So if we want it to be a lucrative investment, we can’t give it a half-hearted effort.
We must make it with joy and expectation… faith. When it comes to spiritual investment, the cautious, who give little of their time, talent, and treasure will never experience that deep and intimate walk with God they long for. Matthew 25:14-30 (The Parable of the Talents) teaches us that we are not the true owners of what we possess. According to this parable we are stewards, caretakers, or managers of that which belongs to another, specifically God. When we grip our possessions too tightly, there is little or no sowing taking place. Where nothing is sown there will be nothing to reap.
Those who make their spiritual investment with their all will reap a bountiful harvest. They sow a generous portion of the blessings they have received into the kingdom of God, the source of all blessings, and they do this with joy. The time that they spend in the Word of God develops a deep and intimate relationship with Him, building both faith and trust. Even if they do not become wealthy in this life, they will always have everything they need. They take a great risk in terms of worldly standards. They may be mocked, tortured, or killed for their faith in some parts of the world. They will do without so that others can have. They will do for others rather than lavish luxuries on themselves. They will be outcasts in the material world so many strive to be successful in, BUT they know who they belong to, and where they are going. They have the promise of eternal life with God the Father in heaven. By all definitions, that would be a lucrative investment.
John 12:24-26 (NKJV)
24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Read that again if did not sink all the way in… the ultimate payoff, to be honored by God.
On the flip side, the biggest risk is likely making no spiritual investment at all. If you are on my blog reading this I would expect that does not describe you, but it may describe someone you know. We hear a lot about preaching the gospel, sharing the good news, and leading the lost to accept Christ in our “church circles”. Sometimes it seems like there is a giant scorecard counting conversions as if that it all that matters. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it doesn’t matter, but it is not the only thing that matters.
I want to challenge you to make a lucrative investment today. Make a spiritual investment into someone you know by helping them to understand how God’s economy works. Help them to understand the concept of sowing and reaping, and then pray with them that God would provide them a seed to sow and fertile ground in which to sow it. Stand with them in faith during their season of waiting, and rejoice with them when God provides an abundant harvest.
Malachi 3:10 (NKJV)
10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”
Sowing seed into the kingdom of God is always a lucrative investment. Reinvesting blessings received is always a lucrative investment, and one that has an ever increasing spiraling effect. You just can’t out-give God!
Blessings & Adventure,
Lynn “lynnibug” Rios
I have been struggling for a couple of weeks now, wanting to write a tribute to a wonderful man I considered a mentor and friend.
In researching his life, I discovered that in his later years of ministry there was some controversy surrounding the consistency and the validity of his personal testimony and ministry. This is a side of Stan that I did not know, and it troubles me. I wonder if it was intentional or the result of the tricks our minds may play on us as we age. Still, it is for God, not us, to judge. In that spirit I have decided to speak only to my personal experience, and the impact he and his books had on my personal journey with the Lord.
I read Stan’s first book, Betrayed!, before I met him.
It was at a time when I wrestled with an inner conflict of my own, trying to reconcile my Jewish roots with my devotion to Christ Jesus and allow two sides of myself to coexist not just in harmony, but purposefully. When I read Betrayed! it was as if someone had flipped a switch and I was aligned with a fresh and balanced perspective. I made it a point to go and meet him when he was speaking at a nearby church during the Passover season that year.
At 80 something Stan had the fire, passion, and energy of a much younger man, and we talked for a bit after the service. He invited me to call him if I wanted to, and a few weeks later I did. I called him while working on a service I was to lead, and I wanted an English translation of the Mourner’s Kaddish. During that conversation, I suggested to Stan that he might want to consider attending a “Walk to Emmaus”, a weekend event where the community of faith demonstrates to the pilgrims (attendees) the amazing love that God has for them. We continued to discuss the walk from time to time, but Stan did not think it was something he needed to do.
Many months later, I received an email from Stan, saying that he hoped I was not offended, but he had chosen to attend Cursillo, another of the 3 day communities with common roots, after much discussion with a woman from another state that he was in contact with. I replied that I was absolutely not offended, and that I would like to speak with her to get the details of their weekend. When I called Naomi, we talked for a very long time about how we, and another friend of Stan’s from yet another state, had all felt the Spirit calling us to encourage Stan to take this Journey. Naomi and I, and the other woman whose name escapes me, all met for the serenade to the pilgrims on Stan’s Cursillo weekend. I will never forget the blessed expression on his face when he saw the three of us arm in arm singing to him.
Whatever mistakes he may have made, and whatever the reason, Stan Telchin was a minister in every sense of the word.
Whether or not he was formally ordained or had a piece of paper to say so, he was a disciple of Christ, who calls us all to minister to one another. He did much to educate the Christian Community about what it means to be Jewish and fostered unity between two disjointed communities within the body of Christ.
I captured the image above in my back yard last Saturday. It is truly amazing what you can see when you look up! I was, at the time, pondering about what I would write about Stan. That vision in the sky placed a calm in my spirit, and let me know that the words would come when the time was right. I have written what I must, and now I will say, “Farewell my friend, you will be missed.”
Blessings & Adventure,
Lynn “lynnibug” Rios
Exalted and honored by the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, whose glory transcends, yea, is beyond all blessings and hymns, praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say ye, Amen.
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life for us and for all Israel; and say ye, Amen.
May He who establisheth peace in the heavens, grant peace unto us and unto all Israel; and say ye, Amen.