Thursday, April 30, 2009

Never Forget the Good People in Your Life



Hey gang!

After yesterday’s Wisdom Wednesday, I’ve still sat at my computer this morning just goofing off and perpetuating my addiction to Facebook while thinking about what I wanted to write about today. My friends Dick and Gene gave me a great study of thought this week about lifting of holy hands that I want to talk about. My kids gave me the thought of talking about how important music is to relationships, God and each other. One of my former students in the youth ministry at Bible Baptist, Rebecca, gave me a great thought about loving the unlovable. But I think I just want to talk today as I thought about my church after sending off an email to my friend Michelle at church.

I’ve been incredibly blessed. God has given me a lot of good churches in my life. He started my childhood of knowing the church by giving me a great youth leader as a child in Joy Adams at Mount Zion in Anmoore, WV. She was the music leader-pianist and led us crazy little ones. She showed me that music was precious and that her love was too. I’ll never forget her love taking me 70 miles home after I was incredibly stupid as a 4-year old and jumped into the kiddie pool and cracked my noggin open. Thankfully, I only needed stitches. If you’ve read my salvation story, you know how much her love and support played in it.

That first church after my salvation, Faith Fellowship was great. I met great leaders like Sheldon Moore, who taught me never to take a speaker’s word as gospel, but to get my nose in that Bible and read it so that I’ll never be misled. I met Greg Lilley, who taught me that redemption is possible even after going through earthly hell after falling. And of course, I’ll never forget Tom and Nadine. Without them, I might have given up chasing after Christ. Their Wednesday night group probably did my mind more good than anything those first six years, even if all the chocolate did my waistline more harm.

While I worked at WLYJ 46, I got taught by some of the best Bible teachers in the world. I also got taught by some people who were more about the “name it and claim it” and some that were just outright false teachers. God used that time to give me a little discernment to tell the difference. I haven’t always been right, but God has used some of that as correcting tools throughout my walk with Christ.

Right before I left for Florida, God took me to Roger Thrower’s New Hope Foursquare Church in Fairmont. He used not only Roger, but most of the people in that church to love a man who was dying inside in a painful divorce. I was only there for a month or two, but God used that season to refresh and to give me a new sense of strength to ready me for the next part of my journey.

God gave me a sign, literally, to lead me to the church I may always call home. I remember driving up and down US 192 in Kissimmee for an hour and I kept seeing, Bible Baptist Church, “An Oasis in the Desert”. I’ll never forget Joe Williams when I told him that I was looking for a home and he told me that I had found one. He didn’t realize at the time that I had a home church and still hadn’t settled on where my house would be. Thankfully, I found a house not too far away. He brought me my best friend in the faith to date in Randy Jackson. Randy and I spent so much time together working with teenagers that if you didn’t know better, you would have sworn we were dating. He taught me more than I will ever learn from anyone else when it comes to leading a ministry. He taught me dedication and what it truly means to be “overworked and underpaid” in the earthly sense. The greatest gift he gave me was to show me that even after being burned by people that I could love people more than I ever thought possible.

I met my wife at Bible Baptist and we left a place I thought I could never leave. It is truly amazing what love can do. After six years, a lot of other people have left too. But there are faithful people still there and when I was home on vacation recently, I had a chance to meet the new pastor, Rick Flowers. I can only pray that they love him half as much as they loved me and he will be just fine.

After that, I did spend time in the desert. It was almost five years until I found New Hope, literally and figuratively. New Hope has been the home my family has needed. I’m not saying there weren’t good people at all the churches in between, but they never seemed to be comfortable fits. I won’t talk about all the gut wrenching details of what went wrong. Why? Because there were good people at each of those places and they deserve better.

But New Hope has been what we needed. My kids are well taken care of in the nursery. My wife and I have repaired a marriage that was taking a beating in the wind of no close family and friends. And God has given me a new job to do. He gave me a computer, a desk, three children who needed a daddy to stay at home and a connection to people to minister to and love on. One of my friends asked me why I don’t crack a Bible over his head like everyone else in his life. The answer is simple. We live Christ in front of them and by talking and bashing them to death. If I’m not sincere, you’ll know it. If the people at New Hope weren’t sincere, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.

I think of all the people I could thank. I’m still afraid of who I might leave out. There are countless good people who work in the nursery. I couldn’t name all the people who have made the Marriage Ministry what it is. I will offer a side note here to pray for one of the leaders, Lisa, after she got hit head on by an elderly driver the other day. I haven’t found out her condition, but I pray for her healing, whatever she needs. There are countless staff and other members who have reached out to us. PV, Tyler and Bill have been great. They’ve all taught me something. I could go on and on about them, but I’ll save that for other blogs.

Why do I mention all these people and the churches I’ve been in? Because this morning, God allowed me to sit and think back about the good times, the good people and my good God. Sometimes I think we go through life without ever appreciating the people who made us, walk with us and change us. It may be middle age settling into me or just God truly speaking to the need to be thankful.

So I set a challenge today to be thankful for your people. The good, the great, the bad and the ugly. Without them, you wouldn’t be where you are. If it’s a good place, you’re really thankful. If you’re not in a great place today, at least it’ll be a moment to feel good about someone today.

I love you guys!
Frank

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: A warning of laziness



This video is a live video of Toby. I can’t wait until Saturday to see it live myself.

Hey gang!

Have you ever just wanted to stay in bed? Kick back and let a day go by without doing anything? I think we’ve all had them. I think God wants us to rest, but I think in the present day we have to be careful about getting too lazy and just letting life pass us by and missing out on life. We miss chances to enjoy the things we should. We miss chances to change the world for the better.

Solomon talks about laziness as he starts Chapter 6 of Proverbs. He warns us that being lazy can produce a life that we don’t want. Today, I am going to let Solomon speak to us in 11 verses.

Pro 6:1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another,
Pro 6:2 if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth,
Pro 6:3 then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor!
Pro 6:4 Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.
Pro 6:5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
Pro 6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
Pro 6:7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,
Pro 6:8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
Pro 6:9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
Pro 6:10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
Pro 6:11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.

Be mindful that in times like these that we need to keep our focus, keep working, keep striving. This speaks to me as much as anyone else today.

I love you guys!
Frank

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Marriage Mondays on Tuesday: The Proverbs 31 Woman

With the last two days of information about women and how they can find themselves in God, it began to make me think about how Solomon revered women, at least as he closed Proverbs. When as Christian men, we give our women the respect and honor due them by God’s declarations in the Bible, we often find ourselves looking at powerful women living God-led, spiritual lives. Today, I thought we’d take a look at that for Marriage Monday on Tuesday. Below is Proverbs 31:10 and following in the New International Version.

Pro 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Pro 31:11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
Pro 31:12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Pro 31:13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
Pro 31:14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
Pro 31:15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
Pro 31:16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
Pro 31:17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
Pro 31:18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
Pro 31:19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
Pro 31:20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
Pro 31:21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
Pro 31:22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Pro 31:23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
Pro 31:24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
Pro 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Pro 31:26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Pro 31:27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Pro 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
Pro 31:29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
Pro 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Pro 31:31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

What do we learn about Godly women in these verses? There’s a lot to chew on here, so I’ll break down a few ideas that jumped out at me.

Right off the bat, we see that if you can find a woman of noble character, she is valuable and her husband has complete confidence in her. Guys, I think we can ask ourselves a couple questions here. First, do we show complete confidence in our wives? Do we think we can hand them the credit cards and the checkbook thinking that even after a day of shopping that as a family we’ll be OK? Secondly, do we show them the value that they deserve after working hard to make our lives easier? I know in honesty, I can fail and have at both of those questions. Let’s go on.

Verse 12 tells us that this Godly woman brings us good and not harm. I love when my wife does nice things for me, but I don’t think as much as I should about how she makes my life easier. Plus, I’m not sure if she has ever brought me harm on purpose. Sure, there was that time she was sick when we lived in downtown Atlanta and I went to Kroger at three in the morning and two guys were having a gunfight in the meat department, but that wasn’t her fault.

The next verse that jumps out is verse 17. She sets about her tasks with strong arms. Granted, I don’t need my wife to be a weightlifter, but all of us wants a woman that’s strong enough to get the job done. After being at home with the kids for a couple years now, I can tell you that the jobs at home aren’t as easy as we might think. Yes, some appliances have made housework a tad easier, but the real house working woman isn’t sitting and shoving Hostess Ding Dongs down her throat all day long. “Woman’s work” is hard, strenuous work especially when you have kids screaming in the background for your love and attention while doing that work.

Verse 20 also sticks out that a woman is smart enough not just to make a living for the family, but is also able to reach that hand out to those in need in her community. The lady of today continues to think of others above herself and embraces those that need it.

The final two verses I look at are verses 23 and 28. When Godly women live a good, spiritual life, their men are respected amongst their friends in the church and the community. Yes, men have a lot to do with making that impression, but women add the gravy to his Godly life. They are a team and she makes him look good and makes the effort to give him the time to be contributive to the community.

And because of all that, verse 28 comes together. Her children rise and called her blessed. The children know one thing is certain. Mommy and daddy love each other and in their raising realize that they want to follow in the footsteps of Godly living. In truth, we see this all the time, when mom and dad aren’t the Christian team they need to be, the children reveal the holes in more ways than the couple. So when these children see the lady of the house being shown the love and respect that is expected, they are also able to show those emotions with ease.

Finally, verse 31 shows us that these ladies receive the reward due her, in this life in the community around her and in heaven at the throne of Jesus.

Ladies, I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed three days of writing that was directed pointedly for your benefit. Gentlemen, I hope that it has blessed you in seeing if you are giving that lovely lady of yours what she really needs and if not, where you can make the way a better day.

I love you guys!
Frank

Monday, April 27, 2009

Interview with CJ Rapp, I Am Says, "You Are.." Author

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Author C J Rapp

I AM says, “You Are…” Understanding Your Identity in Christ is the first book by Bible teacher and speaker CJ Rapp. Not only does this book explore your rock solid identity in Christ, it also helps the reader identity patterns of thinking that threaten healthy self-esteem. For each daily devotional, questions have been included. These questions provide an opportunity for personal study or for sharing the journey with a small group. It’s perfect for women’s ministry groups to use as a six week study.

What inspired you to write I AM says, “You Are…” Understanding Your Identity in Christ?

One of the biggest challenges in my life has been overcoming insecurity and low self-esteem. In fact, my journey was long and difficult. My low self-esteem began during my teen years and remained into my thirties.

In my late twenties I began to follow Christ. I committed my life to Him and began to read the Bible. As I read, I discovered that His Word actually contradicted lies I had long believed about my worth and my value. His words were kind, compassionate, and full of love. The more I read the more I realized that God loved me and that he didn't think I was stupid, ugly, or worthless. Instead His Word says that I am priceless, a masterpiece, a treasure, and I am His child. He even loved me enough to send His Son to die for me. That was shocking! The girl who grew up believing that she had little worth or value was passionately loved and desired by the Creator of the universe! It was life changing for me. Through my study, acceptance of His truth, and application of God’s Word I was set free. I like to say that God replaced the trash, my negative thoughts, with the truth or the treasure of God’s Word.

The more I read the more I realized I held the keys to freedom and healing in my hands. Not just for me but for other people just like me. Three years ago God impressed on my heart the importance of sharing my journey with others. My heart’s desire in writing this devotional Bible study is to help other people find the same hope, freedom, and healing that I have found.

Who is the target audience for I AM says, “You Are…”?

Understanding your identity in Christ is important for women of all ages. This devotional is written so women in all stages of life can relate to the topic of discussion. For example, day one is titled, I AM says, “You Are Significant.” Women of all ages need to know that they are significant to God’s plan.


What are some of the topics covered?

Each day begins with this identity statement, I AM says, “You Are…” The thirty daily themes cover many aspects of our identity in Christ such as:

I AM says, “You Are loved.”
I AM says, “You Are beautiful.”
I AM says, “You Are unique.”
I AM says, “You Are forgiven.”


Do you have a website or blog for your audience to check out?

Yes! I have a blog site www.cjrapp.wordpress.com for women to interact and share their thoughts on the daily themes. Small groups and Women’s Ministries also have a tab on the blog where they can share their insights and idea’s.


I AM says, “You Are…” Understanding Your Identity in Christ provides women with a glimpse of God’s heart for them. Embracing the truths from Scripture found in this book can help women overcome the low self-esteem that studies say over 80% of American women suffer from. The quickest way to get your copy is to order from amazon.com. For more information about CJ Rapp visit her website at www.cjrapp.com. Don’t forget that this study can be used in small groups and as a church wide women’s ministry study.

To follow this blog tour for more opportunities to win a FREE copy of the book, please visit www.ChristianSpeakerServices. (Rules for book drawings vary. Please see individual blogs for specifics.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Book Review: I Am Says, "You Are..."

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Author C J Rapp


I love making new friendships in Christian circles because different people have different things to say and they often help me think about life and God in new perspectives. I didn’t get a lot of time to sit and chat with CJ Rapp about her book I Am Says, “You Are…”, but by sitting and reading her book I found a lady very compassionate about helping women understand more about themselves and their relationship with Christ.

In our initial conversation, she jokingly told me that the book may be a little “too girly” for me. Ladies, this book really is for you. Guys, however, I may tell you to take a peek or two at the book. What you may find are some things that your wives, girlfriends, moms and daughters may need to gain a little knowledge on. Knowing that the book is a devotion designed for the female gender, I sat down to look at the book for little nuggets that I might be able to put in my mind for the women of my life and for you that are reading today.

The first chapter of the book is really the preface titled “I Am says ‘You are blessed for believing…’” Every chapter begins with a scripture verse and this one gives the reader Luke 1:45, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” The foundation for the book is laid in knowing that there is someone’s word that a woman never has to worry about doubting. I think that letting anyone know that they have someone they can trust in life is vital. CJ lets the reader know immediately that God will be with them on the journey.

She breaks down each chapter in seven sections. The first is telling the reader what God says that they are. The teaching point then discusses how women struggle with that point. Part three is to take time out, think and pray about the first part of the lesson. The fourth part takes out the lies that Satan tries to tell the reader that deny God’s word of encouragement. Next, CJ gives you some scripture that you can hold in your heart to take the point home. The final two parts give you discussion thoughts, if you are doing the study with others, and a challenge to begin helping you to believe the word that God has given in the study.

Here are some of the “You Ares” that I thought were most important from my perspective:

I Am says, “You are free from fear.” In a day and age in which all of us have reason to be afraid, being given words that tell us that we don’t have to live in fear are essential.

I Am says, “You are beautiful.” Living in a modern society of magazines and television telling women that they need to be a size two are defeating to ladies. Knowing that you are beautiful made and that you are what you are meant to be can make a woman sparkle.

I Am says, “You are heard.” It’s nice to hear someone tell ladies that God and the men in their lives want to hear from them.

I Am says, “You are capable.” Ladies, never fear a good challenge.

I Am says, “You are protected.” This is a great lesson to know that God always has your back.

I Am says, “You are treasured.” Knowing that you are not just important, but valued is so refreshing.

I Am says, “You are royalty.” I know that many try to get away from the princess and queen thoughts of the world and this lesson does that well and still allows women to know their valued place in the family.

I could have said a lot more about every chapter, but I think I would rather that ladies hear it directly from CJ in her writing with a co-authorship of God. If you let the book sink in ladies, you will feel and know you are so much more in God and in your life. Gentlemen, if you think about some of these thoughts, you will value the women in your life eternally more than you already do. The book is available through her webpage (www.cjrapp.com) or you can visit Amazon through the link of her book in my Amazon ad. Tomorrow, hear more about this great book.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Prayerfully Minded Fridays: Enough Already!




Weird Al Yankovic is a guy that really makes me laugh with his parodies of popular songs. The man became famous with parodies of Michael Jackson’s music. However, there is a song that Al does that annoys me almost to death. George Harrison did a song called Got My Mind Set On You and Al parodies it with This Song Is Six Words Long. He sings for almost four minutes about this. It is monotonous and actually gets on your nerves if you listen to it long enough.

As a baby Christian, I was very nervous about praying publicly and it often got annoying when one of the old timers of the church would seemingly pray forever about what seemed to be the same song over and over again. A lot of people don’t talk about how annoying a prayer can get, but they are more than ready to tell you if the pastor went over five minutes on his sermon. Why? Because prayers are to God and most are afraid that God will send lightning bolts down if you even approach the subject.

We might say it to ourselves when people go on and on. If you live in the Central time zone, churches tend to let out close to noon and the early NFL games start at noon during football season. There are plenty of men saying if not praying, “C’mon God, let him get this prayer over with, we’ve got the game to catch!” And heaven forbid, someone prays at a Baptist meal social. There is all that food waiting. Get on with it! Please!!

There is time for fervent long suffering prayer. There is also time for communal solitary time with God. However, not every prayer has to be 20 minutes long with fourteen variations of Jesus’ or God’s taken into reference. At that point, we already understand how much you love God, don’t get more windy than Hurricane Katrina.

Jesus had a thought on prayer that relates to what I’ve covered. Before giving us the model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 (I’ll cover this in a week or two), Jesus tells us what a prayer should be. Starting in verse five, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

I used to have a thought, well why should I pray at all if he knows what I need already? I think my answer has come more as a dad. Sometimes I know what my two year old son James wants, because I spend a lot of time with him. But I want him to use words, to grow his vocabulary and so that he knows how to ask others when I cannot or am not present to meet the need. I think most would get that “Dink” means his juice, but I say “juice” back to him and have him repeat it, so that he learns the word and knows that this is the word to use with others. God wants fellowship with us. It is a great desire. But God also wants us to be able to relate with each other.

The reference to God as a father is also important. If my son wants juice, as his daddy, do I want to give him something he doesn’t need, like a blanket on a 90 degree day. No, I want to be a good dad and give him a drink to quench his thirst. God wants to fellowship with us to quench our thirst for relationship with him.

Here are some things I am praying for this week:

I am praying for friendships. My pastor gave a message this week on developing a close community and he hit on a topic that I have been all too familiar with in the past several years. I have many, many acquaintances, but few close, accountability comfortable friendships. I’m not alone. I pray for men and women to be able to work on a new or developing friendship and that it would blossom to be a friendship that you need.

I’m praying for study groups. Our church has several Growing In God groups, GIG for short, and I started a large part of my spiritual walk in a small group setting with a few people that cared and helped develop my early Christian years. I pray that those in these groups find that closeness of relationship and those that may be seeking friendships to maybe consider joining in the future or forming a group of friends for growth.

I’m praying for Agapefest. If you haven’t read some of my other articles, Agapefest is a music festival that brings many Christian bands and speakers together for a weekend to spread the word of God to their audience. Music is a very important gift in the spiritual process and I pray that God brings the right people to the event so that they are touched and that the message of God is spread.

Finally, I am praying for encouragers to grow in their churches and that they reach out to their church staffs. As an internet pastor, I am starting to receive letters of people in need, whether spiritual or otherwise. It is awesome for me to open an email occasionally and hear a word that says how happy they are that I’m doing what I’m doing for God. I know my reward is in heaven, but it is ever so great to get these messages because they often come when I am feeling tired or down about something going on that you may never know about. The leaders of churches get multiple emails, phone calls and visits from people that need. So encouragers, I beseech you to send a word of encouragement to your leaders today. Be it an email, a call, something chocolate (pastors love that stuff), or whatever your encouragement gifting is. Lift ‘em up. And if your best gift is prayer, by all means shower them in prayer. They may not know it was you, but I guarantee they feel a fervent prayer of fresh air in their spirits.

I love you guys!
Frank

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: Love Your Children on This Earth Day





Hey gang!

Thought I would come up with something clever this morning for Earth Day. However, it just wasn’t coming together. If you’re a parent, you know those mornings when all your kids want is the love that only you can give. I love those mornings, even when I have to write. In the back of my mind, I think about what I am supposed to do for the page and then I remember that first and foremost, these three are the number one ministry I’ve been given. If I fail them, I ultimately fail you, fail the human race and fail God.

The Bible says many things about these blessings we call children and I’d like to share some of that wisdom with you here today.

Solomon shares his feeling that children are a blessing in Psalm 127 starting in verse three. “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”

He continues by giving us instruction in Proverbs 22:6. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” If we give proper parenting, they will keep those actions in their heart. I’ve worked in teen ministry and I know some will tell you that there are those years of being a teenager that they try to forge their own way and do their own ideas. But Solomon is telling us that they won’t depart from those ways. He means it as long term. As young adults, children will often reflect on what they have learned and will return to it if they find themselves in error. My advice for parents struggling through those times. Keep the faith, keep praying, your work in your child will prevail, eventually.

Solomon tells us that we have a duty to take care of their error when they are young in Proverbs 22:15. “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” The experts that will tell you not to spank and give time outs are wrong. I’m not saying beat a child, but I am saying that there are times that children still need to be disciplined and spanking a child’s butt will show that they’ve done something wrong and the momentary pain there will remind them that they don’t want to do that again. He even follows that up in Proverbs 23:13 with this, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death, “ and again in 29:15 & 17, “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother…Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.”

Frank, those verses were about discipline, not love. Where is the love? Part of being a parent of love is disciplining your child as needed. Let me reiterate, AS NEEDED. But enough about discipline, here are some other verses about loving your children.

Paul talked about loving children by emphasizing to the older women to pass the flame to their younger women in Titus 2:4, “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children.” Solomon tells us the result of this in Proverbs 31:28, “Her children will arise and call her blessed; her husband also as he praises her.”

Finally, we know to love our children as they are part of us. However, the ultimate reason to love is because we are all a part of God’s kingdom. John 3:16 tells us that he gave up his only begotten son because he loved us. Now that ladies and gentlemen, is a love for us, the children of God.

I love you guys!
Frank

Monday, April 20, 2009

Countdown to Agapefest CD giveaway!




Hey gang!

Yes, this is the One Man Revival unofficial Agapefest 2009 Countdown Clock. Why is that important on this blog, you ask? I know you can’t wait for the answer.

For me personally, that is when I know the good time starts. I can’t wait to see my friends at Agapefest.

For you, it means you have a chance to win. That’s right. The first contest went rather well. I do hope most of you that came by for the first contest stick around and enjoy the website. But, I want to bring more of you to the party. No, I can’t take you to Agapefest. That’s not in the budget. My wife, well, let’s just say she wouldn’t be very happy with me. However, I can do a few more CD’s.

This time, we have four CD’s to give away. One CD to each of four winners. Here are the rules for this contest.

1. This contest signup ends when that Agapefest Clock hits 0:00, meaning 5:00 pm CDT, May 1, 2009.

2. You need to comment in this thread by then. Your comment must contain the following. First, you must give me your email address. I promise not to sell them to anyone. Next, it must contain which CD you would like to win (those details in a moment). Please only sign up for one. If you have multiple comments asking for more than one, you are disqualified. Next, I would love to know your favorite Christian artist and why. You can place a video or picture (please limit to one and PLEASE KEEP IT CLEAN) with your comment. I love to watch videos and probably so do others. Finally, I would like to know your favorite blog or feature of One Man Revival. Why this stipulation? The purpose of these contests are to gain readers, not give you free stuff (even though that is pretty sweet).

3. Contest winners will be announced no later than midnight May 4, 2009. I may not be able to get to a computer until after Agapefest, so that’s my reasoning. Plus, I might need a little nap after all that excitement.

4. If you won previously on One Man Revival (and for now that is only one of you), you are still eligible for this contest. Hey, I draw out of a hat. What are the odds? Depends on what CD she’d like to win.

5. All decisions made by One Man Revival Ministries owned by Frank Jenkins (that is me), 606 E Market Ave., Effingham, IL 62401 are final. Why? My contest, I make the rules and enforce them.

6. Any questions on the rules, prayer requests, suggestions for future articles or contests, etc, etc, etc., please email Frank at onemanrevival@yahoo.com.

Now that all the messiness is out of the way. Here are the Cds you can win.

(1) Brooke Barrettsmith self-titled CD. This features the songs Farewell and Father and nine other tracks. I know Brooke won’t be at Agapefest, but I bought the CD before she had to pull out.

(1)Nevertheless In The Making CD. This features the top 10 hit Sleeping In. Again, they won’t be there, but it’s still a great CD.

(1) Vota self-titled CD. This has Hard To Believe, Honestly and I’ll Go along with eight other tracks. They pulled out too.

(1) Finally, someone who is gonna be there. Fireflight’s Unbreakable CD. That’s right fans. Unbreakable. Fireflight will be there on Friday night and it will be awesome!

OK, so that’s it. Now remember the rules and enjoy the party here at One Man Revival.

I love you guys!
Frank

Marriage Mondays: An Exercise & We Have a Winner!



This video is actually just a picture of Matthew West performing a song on K-Love on Valentine’s Day.

Hey gang!

It’s Monday and that means it’s time for something fun for couples. Today’s blog features an exercise found on one of my favorite marriage sites, For Your Marriage (foryourmarriage.com). This will give you an idea of an area of your relationship that you might need to give a little more attention to or it might tell you that you have a very blessed marriage. In either case, we can all get better and this does help in one area that we can all enjoy, communication.

Grade your marriage:

Marriage is not a test that you either pass or fail. It’s an ongoing process to learn about each other and how to accommodate differences so that both of you feel satisfied and grow in love for each other.

Marriage is not a competition that one wins in expense of the other. If both spouses are not happy with the decision then the marriage suffers since one person’s happiness cannot be at the expense of the other.

In this spirit, we invite you to assess where you are in your marriage.

Identify the issues that you agree on and are working for you.
Identify the issues that you disagree on and need to work out a compromise.
Identify the issues that you haven’t gotten around to talking about-but should.

All this can add up to a blueprint for deepening your marriage and helping you reach your full marriage potential. The following categories can get you started.

On a scale of 1-10, rate your satisfaction with your marriage in the areas of:

1. Shared Values
2. Commitment to each other
3.Communication skills
4. Conflict resolution skills
5. Intimacy/Sexuality
6. Spirituality/Faith
7. Money Management
8. Appreciation/Affection
9. Lifestyle
10. Recreation
11. Decision Making
12. Parenthood
13. Household chores/gender differences
14. Careers
15. Balancing Time (personal, marriage, parent, work)

Total ______

Since this isn’t a test, but rather as a map to use for further discussion, the scoring is not based on 100%. If your self ratings on a specific topic are:

8-10: You are quite happy with this aspect of your marriage. This could be because generally you are an optimistic person and easy going, or you have been rather intentional about working on your marriage.

4-7: You are sliding along in your marriage, perhaps are not paying much attention to it or avoiding areas of conflict. It’s also possible that you have high expectations and are not an easy grader.

1-3: You are pretty dissatisfied with this aspect of your marriage.

Another way of assessing whether you need to pay more attention to certain areas of your marriage is by comparing answers with your spouse. If your ratings on any given topic vary by more than three points, you’ll want to discuss why.

Finally, if you and your spouse have combined scores of:

100+: Give yourself an A-but don’t get proud or complacent.

75-99: Give yourself a B-you’re in good shape and can pinpoint those areas you’ll want to discuss further.

50-74: Give yourself a C-you may have much to discuss or one of you may be more dissatisfied than the other. Check it out.

15-49: Looks like trouble. The fact that you have filled out this self-assessment, however, is a good sign. You haven’t given up and you want to make your marriage better.

Foryoumarriage.com

Finally, the winner of the Marriage Mondays contest is Christin Banda of Round Rock, TX. She’ll be receiving her very own copies of Group 1 Crew and Mandisa’s True Beauty CD’s. Congratulations and look around a little later today because we’re gonna do it again. Come on back for details!

I love you guys!
Frank

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Why do I put videos to start out my blogs?



Hey gang!

This weekend edition of One Man Revival is going to answer a question for quite a few of you. I was asked recently, “Frank, why do you grab videos off of YouTube for your daily blogs?”

There are a few reasons. If you’ve read my salvation story, you know that Christian music played a part in guiding me to Jesus. Everything from meeting Cindy Morgan for the first time to having a divine appointment with DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline six days before I gave my life to Christ, music was there. Secondly, music drives most of us in life. I rib my friend Mary Ann for all her pictures of Duran Duran and Alvin and I rib our friend Jimmy by calling The Eagles by the name of The Buzzards and calling Reba McIntire ribeye. Music touches us all and it is a great witnessing tool. The third reason for me is that putting songs with spiritual words or even Bible verses is a lot better as a take in to our minds than some stuff that is out there.

Now, people ask me if I listen to anything other than Christian music and I can tell you with a big positive absolutely. I’m not like some of my contemporaries that say that music has gone down the toilet since the 80’s and all the music today is rubbish. There is great music out there in the secular genres. I personally like more country and pop than anything else, but that’s what I liked as a kid and we tend to stay in the genres that we grew up with. It’s also why I prefer contemporary Christian over Southern Gospel. I don’t dislike Southern Gospel, but if you give me a choice, I’ll listen to contemporary.

There is a video traveling the internet that I saw on Tangle (formerly GodTube) that had two guys making fun of the pc vs. mac guys with one guy having an I-pod and the other having a J-pod. The J-pod only had Christian music and the other guy was mocking his effort. I’ll say two things about that. First, I don’t have just “Jesus music” on all my mp3 players. I have one that I take with me when I walk alone and it has songs like AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and Nelly’s Heart of a Champion (clean version). While I may agree with the scripture that tells us to “be in the world, not of it”, I think as long as we keep our music in perspective, we’re doing fine. I do have one for night time rest that has all Christian music on it because I like the idea of going to sleep thinking about things that are good.

I’ve already mentioned that my friend Alvin and I are heading to Agapefest on May 1-2, but there are plenty of concerts out there that are good for the soul as well. It’s too bad that I probably won’t make the trip to Springfield on Sunday for the Rock & Worship concert that includes a lineup headed by Jeremy Camp and Sanctus Real. It will be a great show and costs only $10. That’s the other nice thing about Christian concerts. Besides giving you positive music, it also comes at a decent price. Sure, I’d pay big bucks to go see Billy Joel or other secular artists that I like, but most Christian acts won’t break your pocketbook. The only downside, unless you are living in a bigger city is that few acts come around. If I want to see most shows, I have to drive to St. Louis or Indianapolis. Very seldom are acts as close as the 45 minute drive to Greenville.

The other nice feature of the Rock & Worship show in Springfield is that local area radio station WIBI featured a contest to make someone’s dream come true to open for the concert. We’ll all have to wait until the show starts to find out the winner, but that will make it that much more fun. WIBI simulcasts out of St. Louis or Springfield, IL, I believe, and has several stations in Central Illinois and eastern Missouri.

To close out this little feature, I’ll give you ten links to Christian stations and events that I’ve grown to love over the years.

1. WIBI-(http://wibi.org/?CFID=388137&CFTOKEN=42206070) This is the link to my newest local radio. The Effingham station opened in November or December and has been family friendly to my kids.

2.He’s Alive Radio Network (http://www.hesalive.net/) This was the first Christian station I ever listened to back in 1994. It’s out of Grantsville, MD and they are currently looking for a new tower to begin airing again in my hometown of Clarksburg, WV.

3. K-Love (http://www.klove.com/) Positive and encouraging K-Love Radio Network has a lot of stations nationwide. I know when I drive through Indianpolis and most of my trip from Kentucky to Florida, K-Love is there.

4. Z Radio 88.3 (http://zradio.org/) The safe for the little ears channel in Orlando. This was my favorite station in Orlando while I lived there and they are awesome people.

5. Agapefest (http://www.agapefest.com/) This is the website with all the info on the event.

6. Creation (http://www.creationfest.com/) This was the first multi-day event that I ever had a chance to be a part of in 1994. The great thing about Creation is there are now two events. The first is still at that cornfield in Pennsylvania and the other event is in the great Northwest in George, WA a month later.

7. Cornerstone Festival (http://www.cornerstonefestival.com/) This is a week-long festival near Bushnell, IL and takes place the week of July 4th this year. This is an event I hope to go to when my kids get older.

8. I Tickets (http://www.itickets.com/) If you ever want to know if there is a show in your area, you can go here. They usually sell tickets to all the events that aren’t hit by Ticketmaster .

9. Radio & Records (http://www.radioandrecords.com/rrwebsite20/Members/Charts.aspx?ChartId=21) This is where I find the chart that I look at, the Christian Adult Contemporary top 30. I look at others, but I look at this one weekly.

10. CCM (http://www.ccmmagazine.com/) If I want to learn about a new artist, I normally look here first. This is the source to let you know the inside scoop of Contemporary Christian Music. This used to be a print magazine, but online has been the way of smaller publications and it is even more informative online (my own personal opinion).

So there are my ten links to contemporary Christian music. If you have others, feel free to link it in the comments. I’d love to learn about others. Some of them I might know, but they’ll be informative for other readers.

I love you guys!
Frank

Friday, April 17, 2009

Coming Soon: Agapefest 2 weeks away!!!



Hey gang!

Told you I’d have another blog for you today and it is to talk about events. The first is that two weeks from now, me and my friend Alvin will be with a bunch of others just outside Greenville for Agapefest 2009. The second is that CJ Rapp will be joining us here at One Man Revival on the 27th to talk about her new devotional book for the ladies called I Am Says “You Are…”. Watch the video for those events.

Now, I’ll add a few more places for you to look this week. The first two were as promised.

1. Kevin Martineau’s Shooting the Breeze (http://kevinmartineau.blogspot.com/2009/04/tribes-group-blogging-project.html) This will take you directly to the blog that begins the discussion of the book Tribes. It is a really cool book from what I’ve been able to read so far.

2. Karen Power’s Christian Speakers Blog (http://christianspeakerservices.com/blog/) This will get you all the details of tours upcoming and will take you to the latest book tour, The Secret Holocaust Diaries.

3. Alise McCoy Wright’s Big Mama’s Blog (http://www.bigmama247.com/) The latest thing was the promo from Hulu about the newest Harry Potter project.

4. Matt Appling’s The Church of No People (http://www.thechurchofnopeople.com/) Matt is having fun with Televangelist Knockout! The finals pit Joel Osteen against TD “Get ready, get ready, get ready” Jakes!

5. Prodigal John’s Stuff Christians Like (http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/) Topics this week include singing with your eyes closed and Zac Efron.

Have a great weekend and I may have another post on one of the weekend days unless it gets crazy around this ole’ house of mine.

I love you guys!
Frank

Prayerfully Minded Fridays: Are you on the Line?





Lyrics | Chris Sligh Lyrics | Empty Me Lyrics


This video was some of Chris’ fans lip syncing to Empty Me. It’s really a cool video.

Today’s prayer thought is a story from Bill Hybels’ Opening Your Heart To God prayer series booklet.

A Direct Line

I remember something my dad arranged for me and the rest of the kids in our family while we were growing up. My father was a very successful, eccentric and adventurous businessman who traveled all over the world. There were a lot of people fighting for his time. When you called his office, you had to go through the switchboard and a couple of secretaries before you were able to talk with him. But he arranged to have a private line right on his desk and gave out that number to each of his children. He would often say to us, “Now kids, call me at work, because I would love to hear from you anytime.”

My dad died almost 20 years ago, but I can still give you the phone number to that private line. I will take that number to my grave, because I used it hundreds of times. Ever time I called I would say, “Are you busy, Dad?” “No, no,” he would say, “I’m not busy. Thanks for calling me, Billy. What’s on your mind?” Having that direct access communicated value to me.

Over the years I have learned that I have this same kind of access to my heavenly Father. He treats me as a favored son, and He is never too busy to talk with me. As a matter of fact, He is always glad when I dial in!

I laugh as I think about how it would be if secretaries controlled access to heaven. Ambulances may travel better than the wait times. I’m glad that all I have to say is His name and He is listening.

Things I am praying about this week:
After thinking about the military last week, I thought of all that protect and serve and attempt to keep the peace. So this week, not only do I pray the militaries on the front lines of war, but also the officers and firefighters on call 24 hours a day to serve and protect in our communities. Just as with the shootings of the three officers in Pittsburgh a couple weeks ago, those that serve our communities never know when they may not make it back home to those that love them.

I’m thanking God for the success of our Easter performances and sermons that achieved getting people to think about and join the family of God. I’ve heard numerous stories this week that are outstanding.

I’m keeping my friends Michelle and John in prayer and all the people that are traveling in Mexico or any other part of the world that is featuring some turmoil. May they come home safely and enjoy their travels.

My friend Cathy fell down a flight of steps and injured herself. Keep her in prayer that she heals up nicely.

Finally, I pray for any customer service worker that has to play nice even when they shouldn’t. My eldest daughter is usually a polite, kind little girl in public, but today she told a lady that gave her a sucker that she didn’t like that color. Her brother ate it. He enjoyed both. As I explained to my daughter driving away is that not everyone gives you something for being cute or a being a kid. Learn to appreciate the gifts that people give us.

If you have any prayer requests, feel free to leave them here in the comments or you can email them to onemanrevival@yahoo.com

I love you guys!
Frank

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: Pay a Little Mind





Lyrics | Israel Lyrics | Friend Of God Lyrics

Hey gang!

I was sitting at some in-law relatives on Sunday for Easter and while we were around the table, my wife’s grandfather started to tell a story of life. About ten seconds in, he was interrupted by a couple other family members. He slinked back in his chair and remained quiet throughout the rest of the meal. He seldom spoke after that and I could feel that his stories had gotten long on the relatives and they didn’t wish to listen to him, ever.

As a society, we have gotten that way. There are more elderly in nursing homes than ever before. Yes, people are living longer, but younger generations show a tendency that they wish to endeavor on their lives and place the people that could be the greatest gift of wisdom away. First, because most no longer have the desire to care for their elders and secondly, so that they don’t have to listen to wisdom and can strike in the ways they see fit.

As the Lord spoke to Moses in Leviticus, He made an interesting commentary. In Leviticus 19:32, as he is telling Moses things to live by, this point is struck on: “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God, I am the Lord.” I find it interesting that he commands that we rise in the presence of the aged. God wants people to walk hand in hand, even if that means that sometimes we have to walk a little slower. I was involved in a church several years ago that actually told me that their church was about the 30-somethings. They felt it was time to pass the torch on to the younger generation. What that church failed to realize that the real message that was being passed was that the elder statesmen (and women) of the church were no longer wanted, unless it was a job no one wanted to do.

Personally, I think that passing the torch is important. There is a time for it. But it also needs to be done with dignity and honor. That’s where the second half of the verse comes in. We do need to show respect for the elderly as we move the church forward.

I remember being young and stupid once. At 16, I didn’t think my mom was too intelligent. I thought even less of my dad. As I grew older and grew up, I realized that they were smarter than I thought. Job 12:12 gives us another nugget of life. “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” Time and life lessons make us wiser as we get older.

Finally, I like two of Solomon’s comments in Proverbs. The first is Proverbs 20:29, “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.” In truth, we do honor strength in youth. Think of all the athletics that kids get into. The schedules even press into Sundays in some towns. The way to be a hero and gain utmost respect is by being an all star, not by making the honor roll anymore. Athletes get coverage on TV, scholars get page nine in the paper. I do chuckle at the gray hair being the splendor of the old. I’ve noticed that men are getting grayer faster nowadays. I haven’t hit 40 and I have gray hair (not all of it). I shouldn’t complain about gray hair, most times I’m just glad I have hair. I just wish there wasn’t so much on my back, yuck!

Finally, in Proverbs 16:31, Solomon tells us that “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; It is attained by a righteous life.” So if you see an elder person that’s a little gray, give them some time to tell you about the things that make their life so joyous. And for guys and gals my age, I guess I should be saying bring on the gray and don’t even think about Grecian formula.

I love you guys!
Frank

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Christian Life, Oh It's a Gas!





Lyrics | Stacie Orrico Lyrics | Don%27t Look At Me Lyrics

Warning: If you are the type of Christian that is all serious, you might want to skip this. And please, if you are, please go out and buy a sense of humor. Not just for you, but all of us.

I get asked all the time why I am so funny. OK, maybe not that often. When I tell people I did stand-up at amateur nights, people look at me like, right. But I did in the mid 90’s before and after I got saved. I got inspired by people like Mark Lowry, Steve Geyer and others that were doing milder material in my early Christian years. But when I did stand-up, it was in comedy clubs. People got on my case for doing my act in the pits of a bar. My defense at the time was that if Jesus could hang out with a tax collector, I could hang out with some drinkers and maybe tell a story or two that might convince them to change their lives. I didn’t have a way to track salvations or people I brought a step closer to it, but someday maybe someone will tell me that my comedy got them into heaven. That would be really cool.

During those days, I always had people ask me how I could come to a club and be saved. It was about the same asking from Christians and non-Christians, but Christians were meaner about it. It was like I was breaking a commandment being seen with sinners in a bar. I was having fun drinking my Diet Coke, watching sports and making jokes.

I didn’t drink. Why? Not so much because the Bible says not to, but for my own reasons. I’ve lost family and friends to alcohol, I’m diabetic and truthfully, most of the stuff taste horrible. Those are enough of a turnoff for me. So you know I don’t recommend it to anyone. Ephesians 5:18 tells us not to be drunk with wine, drinking in excess. It doesn’t say you can’t drink, but have some sense about how much you drink. Now I know that some will say that being in a place of sin tempts you to sin and those I say, you may be right. 1 Corinthians 10:31-32 says this: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God”. Here’s my retort. Don’t take a brother anywhere he might stumble and for goodness sake, don’t do something in front of a brother that will tempt him. My dad was an alcoholic for 35 years and gave it up seven years ago. I wouldn’t take my dad anywhere that he could be tempted because I love him. In turn, he probably isn’t going to put a three layer cake in front of me and say, “go get it, tubby.” Because I would eat it, or at least as much as I can.

Anyhow, a lot of folks have the opinion that you stop having fun the day you say I do to Jesus. It’s not true. I still have my sense of humor. In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that he has come to give us life and to have it more abundantly. It doesn’t mean we won’t struggle, but Jesus wants us to have a better life after he comes. Does better life happen without joy and laughter? I say not. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He didn’t tell her that because she sinned that she could never have joy.

We laugh at all kinds of stuff or at least we’re supposed to. We are not to laugh at sin, but anything else is fair game. I love to tickle my kids, but I know when to stop. I don’t let them tinkle from tickling. That would be sinful. But I do allow the kids to laugh with the Tickle Monster.

People also get upset about bodily functions. When we are hungry, what happens? Our tummy grumbles. Everyone laughs. Guys pass gas and they laugh hysterically. A friend of mine and I used to make a joke about passing gas. We would pass gas everywhere. During Hurricane Katrina, my friend had to come live with me. He and I began using phrases. The offender gasser would say, “I Farted” and the victim of the gas would say, “Sniff it.” We would both laugh. My oldest daughter was 16 months at the time. This went on until after he left.

One day, we were in Wal-Mart and were walking down an aisle when a man my age was trying to be discreet and tell his elderly mother that she should go to the restroom. She yelled at him, “I didn’t crap, I farted.” Without missing a beat, my daughter said, “sniff it.” Yep. She sure did. I motored out of the aisle into the next one and asked her to repeat what she said. She did. I laughed all the way through the store.

Most women are crazy about gas and not in a good way. They don’t even like to admit they pass gas. But they do. Today, I was reading one of my favorite artists’ Facebook page and she and her manager were passing good ones back at each other. I was impressed that they would admit that in a public forum. But it got funnier. Over 50 Christians later, every fart joke that could be made was. I even suggested they do a Milli Vanilli knockoff video called “Blame It On (the person’s name, I protect the inno-scents in this case, thanks to whoever gave me that one).”

I guess what I am saying today is that the Christian life is a gas. We still have fun. We just don’t go out and do the sinful things we used to. God wants us to change, that is true. But changing is a process in most cases. I know it is in me. We don’t instantly go to heaven when we’re saved. We still live the rest of our lives in this body that is prone to sin. We still remember the things that were funny before we were saved. Sometimes they stay funny, sometimes they don’t. So the encouragement for today is to smile if you are a Christian. It won’t hurt. I promise. And if you’re not a Christian, remember that yes there are things in your life that God wants to change in you, but I promise you even more that your life will not go stale and boring because you become part of the family of God.

I love you guys!
Frank

Monday, April 13, 2009

Marriage Mondays: A Couple's Prayer and a Contest!

Marriage Mondays 4-13-09





Lyrics | Steven Curtis Chapman Lyrics | I Will Be Here Lyrics

It’s Monday and that means it’s time for Marriage Mondays. Today’s encouragement for couples comes from Renee Bartkowski’s Prayers For Married Couples. It’s called Couple’s Prayer. I hope you enjoy it.

Dear God,

We often tend to forget that we are two unique individuals with two different personalities and two very different ways of coping with life.

As a result, we sometimes get impatient with each other’s method of doing things and stubbornly insist on handling things our own way.

At times, we are even tempted to believe that our way is the only right way.

Help us to be more tolerant of the way our partner chooses to cope with life. Teach us how to always be open-minded enough to consider alternate ways of doing things…honest enough to admit when our way is not best…fair enough to realize when it really doesn’t matter which way things are done…and kind enough to occasionally give into our partner’s way of handling things.

Let us learn, Lord, not only how to use the art of compromise wisely and efficiently but to always temper it with a generous dose of understanding and love.

Amen.


A couple more notes today. First, in two weeks we’ll be inviting C. J. Rapp over to talk a little about her book I Am Says You Are. That will be on April 27. So along with Marriage Monday, the ladies will get a great little bonus. I’ll be reviewing the book sometime next week so be on the lookout for that.

Finally, we didn’t have too much success with our last contest, so we’re gonna try again. We here at One Man Revival will be giving away a pair of CD’s to one lucky reader with next week’s edition of Marriage Mondays. The winner will be chosen from respondents to blogs over the next week from any of the areas that One Man Revival is read. That means you just need to respond to one of the blogs at one of four locations to qualify (Blogspot, MySpace, Shoutlife or Livejournal), one entry per person. You can respond all you want, but you only get entered once.

So Frank, what do I win? Glad you asked. The winner will receive a copy of Group 1 Crew’s self-titled CD and Mandisa’s True Beauty. So enter this week by commenting on the blogs.

I love you guys!
Frank

Friday, April 10, 2009

Prayerfully Minded Fridays: A Time For Each Other

Hey gang!

No video today. Well, if you have been following One Man Revival this week, you have seen two of the three new installments to the webpage. Marriage Mondays will be talking about how to better your marriage or just tips or good ideas to help the romance. Wisdom Wednesdays is taking some words of wisdom from the Bible or a column that will hopefully make us eternally smarter. Today is the third new special day. It will be called Prayerfully Minded Fridays.

So Frank, what is Prayerfully Minded Fridays, you ask? I’m glad you did. One of the major parts of my ministry that really surprised me is how important prayer has become. I don’t think we ever realize the doors we open when we pray. Matthew 18:19 tells us that “if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” That means that if we can agree in prayer, God can and will make things happen. Mind you, that doesn’t mean that we pray for a million dollars or a sportscar or babes on both arms and expect it to happen. I know some of you out there and I’ll be honest to say that I’ve prayed for all of those at one time or another. God won’t let us get stupid.

But God does answer serious heartfelt prayer. When I began this ministry back in September, I asked God where to start and whom should I pray sees it. He gave me several places. That’s why One Man Revival is on MySpace, Facebook, Blogger, Livejournal and Shoutlife. These were all social communities where people come together. So by the end of November, I had opened accounts with all of them. I admit, a couple of these places haven’t been too successful, yet.

However, God opened a real door by having me go to Facebook. I had found several of my friends on MySpace over the past couple years, but friends popped up everywhere on Facebook. I reunited with many people that I went to high school and college with. I even found people I’ve happened to work with and hang out with since. The great thing about Facebook is that when you find people from your past, you tend to wonder. It’s like, “Hey, I wonder what so-and-so is doing now?” So you take the friend request and look. Then you find out and hopefully you see something that tells you they are still friendly or more friendly than they used to be (you know who you are). Then you build a brand new friendship here and there because of the great tool of the internet. I’ve been lucky to meet people from all over. Great people.

So one by one, I pray. What should I say? People get this idea that I sit here in Illinois and pray that everyone come to Christ. I do, but I don’t linger there. Whether you know it or not, most of you have more than me praying for you. I’ve become more of a reader since I left high school. There are two books that have shaped how I look at Christianity, well besides the Bible.

The first is a book called The Celtic Way of Evangelism. I read this book while pursuing my Master’s Degree at Greenville College in Biblical Administration. The book described how the Celtics of the early years of A.D. did evangelism. They brought people into their community and just lived their beliefs in front of them. There was no pressure sales. Authentic Christianity is not like buying a car. I don’t have to be Benny Hinn and go “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” until you buy in or run from the lot in terror. I just live as I live. If you think I’m real or the Christians around you are, you’ll eventually ask questions.

The second book is called Just Walk Across the Room: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith by Bill Hybels. The book discusses ways to not be afraid to talk about your faith with others. Now, I don’t walk up to people and tell them my life story. Some of the things that have happened, good and bad, might make people crazy. I also don’t go long. Why? Because people tend to wind out after a few minutes. I’m sure you’ve heard the words Too Much Information and that’s the top reason that people run away like the knights in the Monty Python films.

Anyway, that took things a little off track and I think that becomes the biggest hazard if we are not focused in prayer. We start off telling God things that are important in prayer, then we go off on rabbit trails and God sits on his throne just looking around thinking “Hey you, can we get back to what you were praying about?” That’s what I hope Prayerfully Minded Fridays becomes. I’ll give you a little something that helps in prayer and then I’ll tell you things that I am praying for this week. In the comments, you can say Amen or if something is on your heart or mind, drop a line there in the comments or shoot me off an email if you would rather the whole world not know about it. My email is onemanrevival@yahoo.com. I do read all emails. If you want me to get back to you to, please let me know. I normally send you an email back to let you know I have received it and add a word of encouragement of some sort, depending upon the situation.

So today, here’s what is on my heart.

First, today is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter. For many people, this is the first of their two appearances in church for the year. First, because it’s a nice time to show off the new spring wardrobe and because Easter services are usually special play performances. You don’t have to sit and listen to a preacher for an hour. However, this is also an opportunity for people to see what Christ did for us. He died upon a cross, was buried and raised again to sit at the right hand of God. This is a prime Sunday for people to understand that Christ wants a relationship with each person. I am praying that all Easter services are able to convey the message of Christ and that many new believers are added.

I also pray for people that have gotten comfortable in the pews the last few years to see the impact of what has been done for them and encourage them to get up and be the light that goes out into the world that the book of Matthew ends with. The work is plenty but the laborers are few.

I’ve been praying for President Obama for wisdom. If you read Wednesday, King Solomon asked for direction on how to judge right and wrong. As many of you know, America is at a crucial crossroads and I know that he and every leader in government needs Godly wisdom to help turn around our economy and restore the United States to the powerful country that we’ve always been.

I’ve been praying for our soldiers. There are a lot of young men and women out there in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other locations throughout the world. Most of them never thought it would be this hard to help the peace. I pray not only for their safety and protection, but that they will be lights in a world that is hurting.

Finally, I pray for each and every one of you that reads this column, whether it just for the first time today or whether you’ve been a reader of mine since before One Man Revival ever existed. I pray that you have what you need, that you are safe and that you are able to share your light in the world. If you are a non-believer, I pray that you are able to meet that special person this week that would be able to explain the Gospel message to you.

When I say I love you guys at the end of every commentary, I do mean it! Many of you that read the column have been acquaintances of mine for at least a while, but for those of you just meeting me, I hope that we have a friendship of the sort that will help both of us be better for Christ!

I love you guys!
Frank

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why Easter Is Always Different and Some Other Readings This Week





Lyrics | Chris Tomlin Lyrics | Jesus Messiah Lyrics

Hey gang!

My wife and I were traveling home from vacation when she asked me a great question. Why does Easter change every year? Truthfully, I didn’t know either. So I went looking for an answer. Here’s the best answer I found. It might sound complicated but it’s really not.

Mary Fairchild, a writer for About.com explains it at their web page. Here’s the link, but I will put the info here as well.

http://christianity.about.com/od/faqhelpdesk/qt/whyeasterchange.htm

“Why does the date for Easter change every year? Have you ever wondered why Easter Sunday can fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25? And why do Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on a different day than Western churches? These are all good questions with answers that require a bit of explanation. In fact, there are as many misunderstandings about the calculation of Easter dates, as there are reasons for the confusion. What follows is an attempt to clear up at least some of the confusion.

In Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon date of the year. I had previously, and somewhat erroneously stated, "Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the first full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox." This statement was true prior to 325 AD; however, over the course of history (beginning in 325 AD with the Council of Nicea), the Western Church decided to established a more standardized system for determining the date of Easter.
In actuality, the date of the Paschal Full Moon is determined from historical tables, and has no correspondence to lunar events.

As Astronomers were able to approximate the dates of all the full moons in future years, the Western Christian Church used these calculations to establish a table of Ecclesiastical Full Moon dates. These dates would determine the Holy Days on the Ecclesiastical calendar.

Though modified slightly from its original form, by 1583 AD the table for determining the Ecclesiastical Full Moon dates was permanently established and has been used ever since to determine the date of Easter. Thus, according to the Ecclesiastical tables, the Paschal Full Moon is the first Ecclesiastical Full Moon date after March 20 (which happened to be the vernal equinox date in 325 AD). So, in Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon.

The Paschal Full Moon can vary as much as two days from the date of the actual full moon, with dates ranging from March 21 to April 18. As a result, Easter dates can range from March 22 through April 25 in Western Christianity.

Historically, western churches used the Gregorian Calendar to calculate the date of Easter and Eastern Orthodox churches used the Julian Calendar. This was partly why the dates were seldom the same.
Easter and its related holidays do not fall on a fixed date in either the Gregorian or Julian calendars, making them movable holidays. The dates, instead, are based on a lunar calendar very similar to the Hebrew Calendar.

While some Eastern Orthodox Churches not only maintain the date of Easter based on the Julian Calendar which was in use during the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 AD, they also use the actual, astronomical full moon and the actual vernal equinox as observed along the meridian of Jerusalem. This complicates the matter, due to the inaccuracy of the Julian calendar, and the 13 days that have accrued since 325 AD. This means, in order to stay in line with the originally established (325 AD) vernal equinox, Orthodox Easter cannot be celebrated before April 3 (present day Gregorian calendar), which was March 21 in 325 AD.

Additionally, in keeping with the rule established by the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, the Eastern Orthodox Church adhered to the tradition that Easter must always fall after the Jewish Passover, since the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ happened after the celebration of Passover. Eventually the Orthodox Church came up with an alternative to calculating Easter based on the Gregorian calendar and Passover, and developed a 19-year cycle, as opposed to the Western Church 84-year cycle.

Since the days of early church history, determining the precise date of Easter has been a matter for continued argument. For one, the followers of Christ neglected to record the exact date of Jesus' resurrection. From then on the matter grew increasingly complex.”

I hope that explanation is clearer than mud for you. You would think that all these people could settle on a date like everyone else, but I guess not. There was another website with charts and the whole nine yards of explanation, but for me it was like reading the Bible in the original Greek, so I’ll spare you that one.

Here are some other prime materials I’ve been reading this week. I’ll give you five today and every Thursday from now on.

1.CampOnThis by Steve Camp ( http://stevenjcamp.blogspot.com) I like the point he makes in his blog on watchblogging. We should be doing as Paul instructs us in Titus 1:9 by instructing in sound doctrine and refuting those who contradict. Something, I always have to be careful about in encouragement. I love to encourage, but I know there are times that I need to tackle issues that are pertinent to the Gospel. It’s a great read!

2. The King’s Green Pad (http://kingsgreenpad.ca/) I know the last two days have been about the state of environment in Alberta, but overall this is one of the better blogs on the internet when it comes to the state of affairs about taking care of Earth in a Christian perspective. There are over a dozen writers that are committed to a better planet.

3. The Idiot By Jimmy Smuda (http://www.belliana.blogspot.com/) Jimmy seems to keep my mind going. I thought about saving this until Marriage Mondays, but I thought this was awesome. He shares in his latest blog about how he loves to get letters, especially from those that love him and encourages people to share their heart with someone today.

4. St. Pete’s Blog by Peter Lopez (http://stpetesblog.com) Peter has been talking entertainment this week, but I am intrigued by the new Disney project opening on Earth Day. He also talks about a new show called Castle. I haven’t had time to check out Castle yet.

5. Shooting The Breeze by Kevin Martineau (http://kevinmartineau.blogspot.com/) Kevin is a guy that I read every chance I get. He keeps me humble. The best of this week to me is learning not to take the love of God or others for granted. I also loved his title “What ‘but’s’ do we need to put aside in order to step out in faith with God.”

Hope you enjoy these and if you know of any good reads, drop a comment and let us all grow as we read someone else.

I love you guys!
Frank

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wisdom Wednesdays: A Little From Solomon





Lyrics | Third Day Lyrics | Revelation Lyrics

Hey gang!

Another new feature that is becoming part of the regular week is starting today. Hump day of the week here on One Man Revival will be known as Wisdom Wednesdays for the forseeable future. What will the day’s writings be about, you ask? Well, it will be items that will add to our wisdom of course. Today, I’m going to take a few of my favorite proverbs from the wisest king of the Bible, a man named Solomon and give you a few thoughts on them. In other weeks, it may be something I’ve read that’s talking about wisdom, but hopefully it will be something that makes you a little wiser. Hopefully, things I write here every day make you wiser, but I digress.

To give you a little background on Solomon, people often think that Solomon asked to be the wisest man in all Judea and that is not the case. Solomon asked this in 1 Kings 3:9, “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” Think about that. He asked for a discerning heart that would be able to distinguish right and wrong. That really should be our prayer daily. For those in politics, this should be their battle prayer.

God was pleased and this was His response (1 Kings 3:11-14), So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for the discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for--both riches and honor--so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” Pretty impressive. Don’t you wish the leaders of today would use Solomon’s approach?

If you read 1 Kings 4-11, you will see the rest of his story. You’ll see that he was the wisest of all kings before and after him. You’ll also see that he built the temple to God and how he helped bring the ark of the covenant to the temple. You’ll see a description of all the wisdom and wealth he attained and you’ll also see that he still had opposition and as chapter 11 closes, Solomon passes and is replaced by Rehoboam.

His Biblical accomplishments above that are the three books that he wrote for the Bible, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon and the one he is known most for, Proverbs. The NIV Rainbow Study Bible describes Proverbs as an assortment of wise sayings relating spiritual truths and common sense. They are practical, timeless and ideal for memorizing. Proverbs might be best known for the last chapter in which Solomon gives a close look at the attributes of a Godly in relation to her family and neighbors.

Today, I’ll give you a few of my favorites, with a little added commentary.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
My personal favorite and the first Proverb I ever memorized. I remember in April 1994 the first time Tom Zawacki ever said it to our little Bible study group. He used it to illustrate how we needed one another on this walk toward Heaven with God. We always need Jesus first, but we need each other too.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.
This Proverb is important in telling us that even though we have given our lives at salvation, we still don’t know it all. That’s why we need the Holy Spirit to help us discern what is right and wrong.

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
This is one of those verses that makes me admire studious people. I love having chats with people who have been reading scripture and other Godly material, not only because it makes me smarter, but it improves my character as well.

Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.
This isn’t a man-bashing verse ladies. This is verse that tells us that two heads are better than one and that unity finds favor with God. Okay, maybe you are smart, too. LOL.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
This verse tells us that we are to have an active role in the raising of our children. It always stirs me up when I hear parents say that it’s the teacher’s job to train our kids. Teachers are great people, but they are not solely responsible for your kids to turn out right.

Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
God is still teaching me on this one. I love to talk about what I plan to do. But I have also learned that I have three children and a wife that have plans for me too (even if they aren’t scaled out like mine). It’s nice to have a plan, but to boast about it as if it is stone is a dangerous wall ready to collapse on you.

Proverbs 27:19 As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.
My daily prayer has become, “Lord, create in me a clean heart.” (Psalm 51:10). I just want to be right when I speak, when I walk and when I type to all of you. It’s God’s guidance that I need and desire. Anything else is less than good enough.

I love you guys!
Frank

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I wanna be In the Light and a Sold Out Believer





Lyrics | DC Talk Lyrics | In The Light Lyrics

Hey gang!

Today is a very special day in my life. Well, not this day in particular, but this date in history in 1994. On this day, April 7, 1994, I gave my life to Christ. While some say this date is not important because it’s what you do with it afterwards, it culminated a long journey to it and began the journey of a new direction after that. I thought about sharing that story again today, but if you really want to read it, I’ll refer you to the page with this link:

http://onemanrevival.blogspot.com/2008/12/anniversary-of-sorts-ill-share-my-story.html

However, I do agree that the salvation story means more if you do something with it after you get saved. Salvation isn’t the end. It isn’t enough just to have fire insurance. Honestly, I’m thankful for every one of you that have accepted Christ and will be with me in heaven. But Jesus gave us a Great Commisson in the final chapter of Matthew to go unto all the world and make disciples. That means that we’re supposed to pass on the message that means so much to us.

The video choice is a live performance of a band that helped me on the journey to salvation, DC Talk. I’m glad that after 15 years, I might get a chance to thank Toby Mac in person when I go to Agapefest on May 1-2. The song is In The Light and it’s what we’re called to be once we are saved and changed. We are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. That means the change in us is supposed to have an effect that everyone else can see.

If I could’ve found a version of another song, I might have chosen it though. Clay Crosse does a song on his Stained Glass CD called Sold Out Believer. That’s the kind of Christian I so want to be. I want to be sold out for Christ all the time.

In 15 years of living the life, I have been criticized in so many ways because of my walk, it almost makes me laugh now. There are times it’s very serious and people are right to call me out. Other times, it’s someone getting their panties in a bunch because they’re view of Christianity and my view of Christianity aren’t exactly the same. I take it seriously because of one other verse in the Bible that tells me that my actions, even if correct and right, should not cause a brother (or sister, for that matter) to stumble.

I admit, rather matter of fact, that in the first six years of my walk, I had no idea (really!) what to walk with Christ meant. I heard what the pastors and those that were mentors in my life were saying and I tried more to not do what they were telling me was sin than I ever was trying to get in relationship with Christ. Truthfully, I was living old school, Old Testament in fact. As long as I wasn’t breaking church and/or godly laws, I felt I was doing a good job.

Then I came to Florida and it all changed. I met people who helped shape the person I am today. Not that those who were in my sphere of influence weren’t trying in those first six years, it’s just I didn’t get it. My friend Kevin Hess gets upset with me when I learn something that he and my friends from West Virginia were trying to teach me. He says something like, “Do you know how many times I’ve tried to tell you that (or someone else, too)? Do you listen to me? Noooooo! You move a thousand miles away and then you listen to total strangers tell you what we’ve been saying.” The sad truth is he is exactly right. But don’t all of us have people have friends like this in our lives. They try to lead us along right and we don’t listen. I call myself remedial at times. I’m a smart guy of better than average intelligence, but I was slow to listen as I got older because I thought I knew better.

I lived a spiritual high helping everyone I could in Florida and I made a difference, the best I could hope for. But after two years of being a difference maker for Christ, I got tired. I also got lonely. I wanted to love someone as much as Jesus loved me. I have plenty of people that tell me to be careful what I pray for because I just might get it. And boy howdy, did I. I met my wife Mindy at the church on March 24, 2002. My wife asked me why I am so good with dates. It’s connecting things. This one wasn’t hard however. The day before, my great aunt Agnes passed away and my family had to go to West Virginia for the funeral. I stayed behind because I had just started at Public Bank and couldn’t get away.

Anyhow, as we got closer, my time became tighter, for two reasons. I was working with the teens when I met her and I took on the singles ministry while we were together. Then, we decided to get married. Trying to fit three other items on top of a job got hard. Then we made the decision to move for her job. Instantly, the critics began. I was out of God’s will and why should I give up two thriving ministries for marriage. I was told I sold out, not directly, but it was heavily, heavily implied. I sold out Jesus for love. Don Williams wrote a song called “Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places” and the funniest thing of it all was that I found that love in the church.

So did I sell out Jesus? After carrying that demon of a question mark for years, I finally came to terms that yes, I probably did. However, I ask myself one thing in that sellout; did I leave the will of God? Truthfully, I’m not really sure. For those that argue that God can make up for getting out of His will, then I might be a prime example. I’ve been blessed in the past six plus years of marriage. It hasn’t always been easy, but I have a wife that has begun to show me the love that I always wanted. We have three awesome children that I would never exchange. I live in a town that I’ve grown to like, thanks mostly to finding the church home that we were probably intended for from the beginning of our move here to Effingham.

In those years, six in May, God has shown me uncountable love and grace. He’s taught me life lessons that even though I am not a pastor running a large congregation, I can still make that difference. When I was ready to cash in, he gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. He took one of the things that I’m greatest at and gave me a new chance to present the gospel to people. Even though, the schedule might still be crazy, at least I can still sit down at this little laptop and give Jesus the praise.

Jesus gave me One Man Revival. The revival began with me. Honestly, it probably started with Him over 2000 years ago. He’s just given me the honor to be one man in an internet revival. He’s allowed me to touch people that I thought might have long forgotten who I was. Some of them did. It was the message that I brought that made them give me a look. That’s probably what I am most grateful for. He’s allowed me to do what One Man Revival was intended to do; reach one heart at a time. Thank you Jesus.

So where does it bring me on April 7, 2009? It brings me to want to be a Sold Out Believer.

I gotta give my all
Don’t wanna go half way
I got to show my love
Don’t have to be afraid
Gotta lay it on the line
Workin’ overtime believer

But let me tell you how I feel
I believe His love can heal
Yeah, I know what he did was real
And it’s something I’ve been dyin’ for

I wanna be a sold out believer
I wanna follow my Lord completely
I don’t wanna waste another day
I gotta love Him all the way
I want to be a sold out believer!

I love you guys!
Frank