Reverend Bill Hinson preached his last sermon Sunday, June 3, 2001, as pastor of the 12,500 member First United Methodist Church of Houston, TX, which was established in 1839.His visionary leadership directed the congregation to maintain its downtown ministry while building a large second campus in the suburbs.No one preaches like Pastor Bill.He was a shepherd of love to his flock and ministered faithfully for eighteen years.At age 65, He and his wife will retire to a new home in Huntsville, Alabama.He will be missed by his church family and the thousands of Houstonians who watched him on television every week.
"I got here too soon," Hinson said."I don't feel 65; I don't think 65.It just snuck up on me."Wow!What a blessed way to live, so wrapped up in serving the Lord that time is irrelevant.Now that's the way the Christian life ought to be.Regardless of age or circumstances we will never grow old in our thinking or our witness because every day is a fresh new experience in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. (Adapted from the Houston Chronicle, Sat., June 2, 2001)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, sometimes I get so involved in making a living that I forget how to live!Renew my spirit, revive my joy; let me find the good in every day and not live so much for tomorrow.Lord, make my heart sensitive, my eyes clear and my mind fixed on your present greatness so that when I am 65 I will not think like I am 85.Amen and amen.
9-11 Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:9-14 (The Message)
Susan Retik and Patti Quigley lost their husbands in the 9/11 attacks on the United States.Featured recently on Oprah Winfrey’s show, they turned their tragedy into triumph.Despite being a training ground for terrorists, Susan and Patti are helping fund programs that provide life-sustaining financial and emotional support to widows with children in Afghanistan.
When asked, both said as Americans, they had received a lot of help after 9/11.The Afghan women had no one to turn to.Once the husband died, any property owned was returned to the husband’s male relatives.Often, these widows had no place to live and had no resources other than begging on the streets.
Over the past several years, Susan and Patti have ridden their bicycles from Ground Zero in New York City to Boston, raising over $475,000 thus far.
While their situations are different than the Afghan widows, they are much the same.The pain of losing someone you love is universal.
There is also a bright spot to the story.Patti is now engaged.She and Susan asked one of the Afghan widows if she would remarry.The widow’s response was, “Who would want me?I’m 45 years old and have five children!”
If you’re interested in learning more about the organization or how you can help their cause, go towww.beyondthe11th.org.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, this story illustrates that while our circumstances make us unique, we can still make a connection, a difference.You have blessed us beyond measure and we often take it for granted.Open our eyes so we can see the needs of others - halfway around the world - or in our own backyard.No matter our religious or philosophical differences, Your love for us is universal.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday: August 22, 2007
Before the demise of the Southwest Conference, in the fall of 1964, Darrell Royal (University of Texas football coach) held a postgame press conference after one of the most sour defeats of his career. Arkansas had knocked off No. 1 Texas, unbeaten in its last 15 starts.
Frank Broyles (University of Arkansas football coach), and his Razorbacks had boarded their charter plane and were heading home when Royal began fielding questions. Frank's parting words were: "Sorry I can't stay for the press conference, fellows, but anything Darrell says goes for me."
Asked about a friendship that had stood the best and worst of times, Royal momentarily shed the agony of a 14-13 loss, and replied: "We've had a good rivalry. Anything Frank tells me, I know to be true. I trust him and have confidence in him." (Houston Chronicle, 08-14-02)
Do you have someone you can trust like that? I have a friend in whom I have known for more than 50 years. Robert called me not long ago and we talked for an hour. When it was time to say our goodbyes, he said, "I love you, bud." Robert is a dear and trusted friend. We have a history and friendship that transcends differences and long periods of silence between us. He is there for me, and I am here for him... it will always be that way.
Beloved, be encouraged that you have a best friend. His name is Jesus! Through trials and difficulties, on the mountaintops and through the valleys, in victory or in defeat... He is there for you. Be reminded today that He loves you unconditionally, He will be your light in darkness, your safe harbor through the storms you face, and He is the first to congratulate you in your successes and your triumphs. Glory!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I love You for all Your God-like qualities, but I don't know if I have ever told You how much I cherish our friendship. You have stood up for me in difficult situations, chastised me when I was wrong, cried with me when my heart ached, bandaged me when I stumped my toe, and stayed with me through sleepless nights. Thank you for being the very best Friend I have ever had. Amen and amen.
The "motto" of the West Valley Bible Church in Surprise, Arizona is "As we go."This motto is taken loosely from Jesus' charge to the Apostles in Mark 16:15
"And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (KJV)
If we examine the original Greek to fully understand how Jesus' statement applies to us, we might write His words in this way:
"As we continue (go) on our journey among the inhabitants of the earth (especially those alienated from God), we proclaim with authority the grace of God manifest and pledged in Jesus Christ to everyone, no matter what their status or circumstances." (Paraphrased)
This charge takes on even more significance when we read the preceding passage (Mark 16:14).Jesus rebuked the Apostles for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.Jesus was rebuking them because they didn't believe (the women) and also because they didn't remember (or believe) the things He had told them about His resurrection.
Do we truly believe all the words of Jesus; or, do we only believe those things that align with our own knowledge and understanding?The Apostles heard the words of Jesus for three years; but, they just couldn't understand how someone could come back from the dead - even though they had seen it happen with their own eyes.They couldn't even accept the fact that God chosen women to bring the word of His resurrection.
As we go to church, are we going for the privilege of worshiping and praising God as a body of believers; or, are we going because we feel obligated? As we go through time reading and studying scripture, are we trying to build a more intimate relation with our Lord; or, are we only trying to increase our knowledge so we can appear wiser before to others?As we go through our lives witnessing for the Lord, are we witnessing from a point of true belief and from the heart; or, is our witnessing an intellectual and forced activity only?
As we go through life, let's remember Jesus' answer to the question, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31 - NIV)
If we truly believe and follow this charge of our Lord, our witnessing (and our lives) will bear fruit for His kingdom.Amen!
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
Sixteen year old Ashley Mulroy collects water!After reading about antibiotics creeping into the rivers of Europe, she collected and tested 350 samples from the Ohio River near her home.Her scientific curiosity has amassed her some $70,000 in prize money from science fairs.She became interested in nature as a child while taking walks in the woods with her mother.
"Day-to-day stuff, how water comes through the faucet, fascinates me.Science is not this dead thing.It's happening all around us," she said.
Knowing God is like that.His handiwork isn't the exclusive property of theologians in seminaries, and discovery of the daily miracles of the Holy Spirit aren't limited to preachers, bishops and deacons.He is seen in the drop of rain on the window sill, the blade of grass pushing through the crack in the concrete, and the diligent little ant laboring with a load which is, to him, larger than life.In all these things spiritual lessons can be learned.Oh, to be childlike again, to wonder about stuff as we did back then.Where does rain come from and where does it go after it falls?How do blades of grass and ants have the strength to lift impossible burdens and grow where there is so little nourishment?What a magnificent God we serve!
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, if I could not see, I would FEEL your handiwork; if I could not touch, I would HEAR your creation; if I could not hear, I would SMELL what you have made.Your sweet aroma is everywhere; You are in, on, above, below and around all that there is.You are bigger than life itself.How do people miss Your presence?"Amen and amen