.....News, Events and Stories From Our Journey Through The Narrow Gate That Leads To Life Everlasting.....
Enter in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and straight is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. ~ Matthew 7:13-14
52Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. 4 For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. 11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. 12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward.
The Suffering of the LORD's Servant
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. 53Who hath believed our report  and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded  for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid  on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison  and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death;  because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The LORD's Everlasting Love for Israel
54Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. 2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; 3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. 4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. 5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. 6 For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. 7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. 9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. 10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. 11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. 12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. 13 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. 14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. 15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. 16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. 17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
We have just completed a week of Jerusalem 29 A.D. at Church Alive!in Albuquerque, NM. With over 100 children and many adult and teen helpers this VBS was a huge blessing and great victory for God's kingdom. The marketplace was created outside and the Lord was gracious by providing good weather most evenings. Pastors Mike and Sheri Schaefer have so much to be proud of (in a good way) Their helpers all have such a positive attitude and happy countenence. They were all a pure pleasure to work with. Dennis and I love doing these VBS programs because it gives us a great opportunity to enter into close fellowship with congregations. We become a real part of the church community and we make so many friends. Another great blessing is to work with the children and see their happy faces each day. They come in with expectations of good things and boundless energy. They are so receptive to all the Lord has for them. When we are all in character and doing presentations from the Bible the children enter into the world of the Bible knowing without a doubt that Jesus is there, He loves them and He wants to meet their needs. Each night at the closing the children were so enthusiastic. They teach us all so much about entering the kingdom as a little child. The wonderful thing about this VBS is that we all, children and adults, are children in God's kingdom and as we wear our costumes we know that what we are really doing is literally "putting on Christ". The Bible comes alive in so many ways as we enter into the world of Jesus and His disciples. We will be doing 2 other VBS programs this summer - one in Downey, CA. and another in Bedford, IA. Its a blessing for us to serve God this way. He always gives back so much more!
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. - Matthew 14:14
It is foundational to our healing for someone to see us with compassion. We do not see ourselves with compassion. Instead, we often see ourselves through harsh, condemning eyes. We have come to reject and shame ourselves for our need. In order to learn to heal from the inside out we need someone to see us differently than we have been told to see ourselves. We need someone to see us as we are and to respond to us with emotional warmth and genuine concern.
Jesus saw. And had compassion. And he healed.
All three experiences are helpful in recovery. God sees us. He sees that we struggle, that we need help, that we hurt. Our brokenness is not a surprise or a disappointment to God. God has compassion on us. God feels with us. God is emotionally responsive to us.
It matters to God that we are in need. It impacts God. God heals.
Having seen us and had compassion for us,
God responds. God touches our wounds. God mends our broken hearts. God strengthens our weary spirits.
For those of us who have felt invisible, who have experienced shame and rejection and abuse, it is a wonderful thing to find someone who
sees, has compassion and seeks to heal!
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you see me. You see my pain. Thank you that it matters to you that I struggle and hurt. Thank you that it is in the context of personal attention and compassion that you heal me. I await your healing touch today. Amen
Jesus suffered greatly . He was falsely accused, persecuted, rejected, beaten and hung on a cross where He was mocked and spit at and told that his bleeding and suffering was proof that He wasn't the Messiah and that His ministry was a sham.
If something like this has happened to you then you are in good company. If you have stepped out in faith and given it your all only to be told you are a buck short and a day late then - Rejoice and be glad! Your reward in Heaven is great!
That my friends is what is known as the fellowship of His suffering. Jesus cried real tears, shed real blood and felt real pain in body and in soul. His persecutors felt nothing but contempt for His suffering and showed no mercy or compassion, remorse or repentence. They threw out of their fellowship the Son of God whom they claimed to be eagerly expecting any day. This they did because they didn't know the Father who sent Him.
Its an explanation, a reason - but iniquity still remains a mystery and always will to God's children.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43 : 2)
Holy Week & Passover have passed and we have all been blessed by walking again through this time with Jesus. In this ministry we have the priviledge of re-enacting and inter-acting with the Scriptures. Passover and Holy Week are intense times for us as Christians and as ministers because we get so very close the experience. When we work with a cast it does seem like we are indeed "there" - all of us together - hearing the words of the Lord and walking with Him to the cross.
This year we added the Resurrection to our repetoir. On Good Friday at East-Gate Foursquare church in Albuquerque we had the Last Supper together and then God brought us to the First Day in our newest presentation, "First Fruits - Day One" It took only 15 minutes to discover an empty tomb, argue together about where His body might be found, see Him come to us and watch him go back to His Father. It could have been hours, days or moments - that is how eternity works. But you have to enter into His Word to find it and to know Him and to continue to know Him. It just isn't a one time thing. We encourage you to read Him daily and to let His Word be written on your hearts.
This next bit of wisdom came in from a dear friend. May the Lord bless you as you head out toward Pentecost....
We All Need This..... To: YOU Date: TODAY From: GOD Subject: YOURSELF Reference: LIFE
This is God. Today I will be handling All of your problems for you. I do Not need your help. So, have a nice day. I love you.
P.S. And, remember...If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do Not attempt to resolve it yourself !! Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. I will get to it in MY TIME. All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours.
Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.
If you find yourself stuck in traffic, don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.
Should you have a bad day at work; Think of the man who has been out of work for years.
Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; Think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return.
Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; Think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.
Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance; Think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.
Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; Think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.
Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.
Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities; Remember, things could be worse. You could be one of them! (if you are, please confess it, make amends if you need to, and leave it at the foot of the cross)
Should you decide to send this to a friend; Thank you, you may have touched their life in ways you will never know!
Now, you have a nice day, God
"You may be only one person in the whole world, but you may also be the whole world to one person."
A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding. ALL BUT ONE !!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, andexperienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.
He was glad he did. The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight. The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay!?" She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly."
As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?" He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?"
Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace. If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.
You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit. Let us live like we are worth the price He paid!!!!!
(notice that Jesus PAID for our damaged fruit - He didn't inspect it!)
The following comes as is with all gramatical errors and misspellings intact. Read and let your spirit be refreshed and your hope renewed from the writings of a suffering saint just like you. ------------------------- There ain't no easy way If all else is lost, and you are left with nothing but Jesus, is Jesus enough? We ask how can we see this plague of shallow Christianity healed. Christian Character is the product of a thousand deaths to self. It is the result of moment by moment choices to go to the Cross instead of dong what is only natural. It is the result of being close enough to other Christians so they have the power to hurt you, it is the result of choosing to love them know beforehand that they will hurt you, it is the result of forgiving them even if they don't understand what they did to hurt you, it is the result of not going away when it hurts. It is Christ In You, the Hope of Glory, through the power of the Holy Spirit, working out the life of Christ in a thousand small ways. It is the result if wanting more of Jesus, more that you want anything else. It is the result of being a sacrifice and to abandon all to Him day by day, minute by minute. God is still looking for men and women who are after His own Heart. Jesus is the root and offspring of David. He is the secret source of the Christian, and he is the Fruit produce in their life. What is your hope rooted in? Jer 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Jer 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.A deadman is beyond the reach of the law, a deadman has no rights, a deadman has only Christ. And Christ is enough. I was a bush in a salt flat, no friends, couldn't receive a blessing even if God sent me one. I lived by the motto (if things are going good, don't get excited, it won't last long).. I felt the full brunt of all that was wrong, and believed that was (real life). It never occurred to me that both trials and blessing don't last, we have to take like as it comes. But you see, I would not receive good things, thought it would get my hopes up, only to be dashed by the REAL LIFE of trials and trouble. When I read this passage, I prayed that I would become like the tree, that when blessing flow, I soak them up, and when there is a drought I would remain fruitful.Notice the man who is like a tree, his hope IS the LORD... The LORD himself is what he wants. If you would be a tree that puts forth fruit even in a season of drought. When all the surface conditions of your life provide nothing, there is a secret source of strength. Your tap root, your real hope IS THE LORD, not what the Lord will do or not do, but your Hope is the LORD So if you would be a man or a woman who is like that tree, then you need to ask the LORD to lead you down the path that leads to more of Jesus. Jesus has taken me down many roads, I would never have chosen. But I once told the LORD that I don't want what you will do for ME, I don’t care what is on my table as long as You at the table with me. I have found that it is in times of heartbreak, that I find more of Jesus, it is in time of ease, and blessing, that I can enjoy His company, but it is in time of hardship, betrayal, pain, misunderstanding, that I joined Him in the Fellowship of His Suffering. There are many fair weather Christians today. They say Lord if you will just heal me, Lord if you will Just deliver me from this trial, if you will just heal my marriage, if you will just bring my son back into fellowship, if you will just spare my wife's life, then I will??? I have seen people turn aside because their prayer wasn't answered. But you see if you pray for more of Jesus, then the death of a son, the loss of a wife, the continued illness, all become to instruments in His hands to develop true Christian Character. Hab 3:17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hind's feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
A recent letter from Uganda - Dear Dennis Cole, You are in our heart and we continue praying for you and your work. I know sometimes the devil rises to challenge us but when we have the lord, we are sure of the victory, Praise His name. As the fellow ministers we feel god has given us the burden to praying for you now and then, We feel there is need for the believers to pray for each other, we are commiting this week to praying for you and for your ministry, may you experience the greatness of the Lord and the favor of the Lord this year.May God richly bless you and shower abundance in your lifeYours May God bless
We say thank you Lord for that. Dennis and I were commenting how much prayer is needed in ministry and we received the above in confirmation of this need. We also pray for our fellow laborers in the field. May the Lord richly bless the harvest He is reaping in you. Dennis is having a very productive ministry right now in Detroit. I just got off the phone with him and he says all is well with ministry and many saved this morning and we can only stand in awe of God's goodness and love. We know that if we continue to be faithful in putting our hand to the task at hand that He will bless us with His presence to cover our shortcomings. We encourage any reading with these words - God will supply you with the help you need at the time you need it. May you have a blessed week as you serve Him and love eachother - deeply.
Haven't posted any news in a while. Thankfully we here at DCM have been wonderfully and productively busy in the Lord. He has taken us many places to see a lot of people. When John the Baptist asked Jesus if He was the one they were looking for he was shown the fruit of Jesus' ministry. Sometimes you may find yourself second guessing God and if you are in His will. We get so busy with details, production logistics and travel that we can hardly catch our breath. But when we stand back and look at all God is doing we find many salvations and restorations as a result of our efforts in the Lord. We can't take credit for it. It truly is a work of God. But the fruit is there and it is very sweet. Our best advice at this time - if you may have a tendency to be too hard on yourselves or are critical of others, remember this - all fruit has some blemishes and bruises but the more bruises on the outside, the sweeter on the inside. Focus on the sweet stuff. Thats the part God loves too.
We've had a great week. Just got back from Arlington, VA where we presented "Sermon on the Mount", "Romans 9 - 11" and the "Book of James". We reconnected with our friends Herb and Sheila Hartman and other good friends in the DC area. God is so Good.
We just returned from a conference/retreat for World Vision artist associates. It was a blessing and an encouragment to meet so many people within that organization - both artists and World Vision personnel. We learned a lot about the poverty that so many of the children of the world face. For example, did you know that every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS? World Vision is really making a difference for these orphans who have nobody and we are so amazed to be a part of the vision to help children. Just think if every family committed to sponsor just one child what a huge blessing we would all be a part of. What we are finding is an amazing paradox - that when you sponsor a child you are so blessed yourself because that child is actually protecting you from becoming self-focused. It is worth much more than we can imagine when you stop to think how easy it is to become self-absorbed in the kind of modern society that we live in. Consider this - Mothers who have AIDS and whose children have AIDS actually pray that God will take their chidren first because they can't bear the knowledge of leaving a child that nobody will hold or love in the time that is left to them. Most of us will never know that kind of anguish and pain on top of the pain of knowing that yours and your child's days are numbered because of a disease like AIDS. This disease is spreading so rapidly in countries like Africa, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, China and India that we all must committ to get involved. For 35.00 per month YOU AND I can make such a difference. We spent 6 days learning about this by the numbers and it is just devastating. We spoke to field workers as they shared their stories with us and we all trembled to think what God was thinking about all of this and the apathy of the world when it refuses to help or care. We pray for these least, last and lost and hope and pray that more will join in the work that God has given us to do - taking care of widows and orphans. If you would like to help please click on our World Vision link. There is so much more that God has for us all.
Blessings! By the way, in the minute it took you to read this update, at least 4 children were orphaned by AIDS.
I hope my letter finds you well. My first encounter with you at Freedom Road Ministry in Springfield,Ohio were of you dancing to worship music. Recently, I find myself more open in expressing myself with PraiseMusic. My joy & witness I openly express in worship now when Praise music ispresentive. I dance more and get into God music more than I ever have before. I can't explain if it was from your expression, or from my growing deep desire to worship. More like the total combination of the three. Whatever the reason, worship music has taken on a deeper role in my walk with God. I see on your schedule, April 2nd you will be speaking again in Springfield. I have marked my calendar. I am looking forward to seeing my friend again and hearing the word of God that you will present. May many new blessings fall upon you.
Shalom to you too, Rod - thanks for the encouraging words and blessings.