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Current Blog...                   SWEET FAITH IN GOD                   3/19/2023                                                                                          Buddy Epsen
       Here is a wonderful glimpse into the life of Buddy Ebsen. best known for playing the role of Jed Clampett in the Beverly Hillbillies sitcom. From a story written by Buddy Ebsen as featured in Guidepost magazine, (here in condensed form) the actor recalls a New Year's Eve that changed his outlook on life.
  “The year 1945 was fading fast as my wife Nancy and I trudged home that evening in mid-Manhattan. Nancy had met me at a Broadway theater, where I had been rehearsing for my role in a revival of Show Boat. With heads lowered against the swirling snow we headed back to our apartment . . . both lost in the kind of thoughts that the year’s end brings.
       “It was a poignant time for us, as it was, I'm sure, for most people during the early post-World War II days when we all seemed to be finding our way again. In my case I was trying to pick up the pieces of a career interrupted three years earlier, when I had volunteered for Coast Guard service.
       “Serving aboard a ship in the forlorn reaches of the northern Pacific was a far cry from the singing and dancing I had been doing most of my life. And now, beginning all over again found me wondering what the future held . . .
      “We had no plans for a New Year's Eve celebration. However, I did feel hungry. ‘Why don't we get a bite to eat before we go home?’ I said, taking Nancy's arm.
       “My wife looked up over the muffler covering her face and nodded. A short distance ahead on 54th Street was a little place called Al & Dick's Steak House, where we had often dined . . . I knocked on the door. It opened a bit and Al Green, one of the owners, peered out. A former pugilist with a broken nose, Al broke into a grin.
       “‘Hey, Buddy, Nancy, c'mon in,’ and he swung the door back.
       “It turned out that he and his partner, Dick, had invited all of their employees and spouses to a private New Year's Eve gathering. ‘Join us,’ urged Al, ‘you're part of the family.’
       “And so we stepped into the warmth of the restaurant where couples laughed and chatted and loaded their plates with food from a mammoth buffet. Somewhere a piano tinkled. Nancy and I sat at a table and soon found ourselves caught up in the friendly atmosphere.
       “Suddenly, a hush fell over the restaurant . . . ‘It’s a tradition,’ whispered one of his waiters, leaning over to us. ‘He does this every New Year’s Eve.’ As the big wall clock’s hands lifted straight up, Al began to sing without accompaniment . . .
       “‘Our Father, Which art in Heaven,’ he sang, ‘Hallowed be Thy Name…
       “I was transfixed. Al, a Jew, was singing to the Father of us all.
       “‘…Thy kingdom come…’ he sang.
       “I was taken back to the little white-frame church in Belleville, Illinois, where I first learned this prayer. ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’
       “In a rush my thoughts turned back to my growing-up days in Orlando, Florida; to the dancing school my father ran; to our minister telling me after a school play that I must go into show business; to my sister Vilma and me whirling to "Tea for Two," dancing our way across the country in shows and movies in those innocent-seeming years before the world was torn apart.

Towns reveals the power of prayer in this fascinating look at the Lord's Prayer.
Each chapter examines a line from the prayer, revealing power points
for every believer desiring a more dynamic prayer life. Towns says:
"What would you say if you were ushered into the throne room of God with only
one minute to request everything you needed, but didn't know how to put it into words?
The Lord's Prayer includes everything you need to ask when you talk to God . . .
it is a model prayer that teaches us how to pray."

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       “‘And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.’
       “‘Peace, dear Lord.’ I silently prayed for the conciliation of all nations.
       “‘or Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.’
       “Al's voice rose powerfully; his words rang with conviction; and then, as the last firm note drifted away, Al lowered his head and sang the last word as a benediction:
       “Tears streamed down my face. Without taking my eyes off Al Green, I said to Nancy, ‘Never let me lose faith in God, in myself, or in people . . .’
       “When it was time for us to leave, Nancy and I put on our coats, and amid hearty good wishes from Al, Dick and our ‘family,’ we walked out to the street.
       “The snow had stopped. Everything was still, frosted with a neon iridescence . . .
       “‘Happy New Year,’ I said to my wife.
       “‘Yes, Happy New Year!’ she said in reply as we stepped out confidently into a new year and a new world and a new beginning.
       I’m so glad to know Buddy Ebsen was a believer. I hope he made a decision for Christ before he passed on 2003. I hope you are trusting in Jesus as your Savior and lord!


Previous Blog...                  A "GOOD" CHRISTIAN                       3/5/2023                                                                                    Warren Weirsbe
        Warren Wiersbe grew up in a Christian family; he was the youngest of four children. He lived in the blue-collar town of East Chicago, Indiana. His family members
regularly attended the Indiana Harbor Mission Covenant Church.
       Warren was thought of as a “good” Christian boy. He faithfully attended church with his family and was
confirmed at the age of 15. His Pastor and teacher, Everett Ostrom, prepared him for the event but in getting to know young Warren, he realized that Warren was not saved. Warren confessed this in his book, Be Myself: Memoirs of a Bridge Builder, when he said, “I had never really been born again . . . I was faithful in my attendance . . . but I had never made that life-changing decision to trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”
       Pastor Ostrom prayed regularly for his students. Warren explained, “I didn’t know until years later that every Saturday after confirmation class, Pastor Ostrom would fall on his face on the study floor and weep over me and pray for me. He knew I was pretending to be a Christian and he yearned to see me make a true decision for Christ.”
       During a youth rally hosted by Warren’s school, Washington High, a very young 26-year-old Billy Graham came as guest speaker. Warren served as an usher that night; he was invited to do so because he was considered “one of the best Christian boys” in town. When Graham began to share his message, Warren found himself unable to move. He was completely riveted on the evangelist and his message.
       Warren describes the event as follows: “I heard every word he spoke and every Bible verse he quoted, and everything he said went right to my heart. Sure, I had heard it all before, but for the first time it came together and made sense. I saw that in spite of my character, my confirmation, my church attendance, and my host of religious relatives, I was a lost sinner who needed to trust Jesus Christ.
       “Right where I stood, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart and save me, and He did! I didn’t raise my hand for prayer, I didn’t fill out a card, I didn’t even go forward when the crowd sang ‘Just as I Am.’ But I did trust Christ and became a child of God.”
       After graduating high school he went on to study at Indiana University in Indianapolis, then Roosevelt University, and graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending the seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957.
       During his lifetime, Warren Wiersbe pastored several churches, served in ministries such as Youth for Christ and Moody Bible Institute. His radio ministry became very popular, and he spent much time authoring books with over 160 published.
       As well, Wiersbe had amassed a library of over 14,000 books. When the Wiersbes moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, his wife, Betty Wiersbe, told the realtor, “We are looking for a library with a house
attached.” In 2018, Dr. Wiersbe donated his library to Cedarville University and in October 2019, the Warren and Betty Wiersbe Library and Reading Room was opened.

This one-of-a-kind autobiography will touch readers with its warmth and wit.
Filled with quotes and stories, this book tells of Wiersbe's life, his career,
and the people who have shared his ministry. Pastors who study Wiersbe's expositions,
readers of his books, and church leaders will all appreciate the insight
offered by this wonderful teacher and author.

(Click Pic to Purchase)

       Bible teachers everywhere still use Wiersbe’s material extensively because his practical and
effective commentaries are accurate and enlightening. He had a lot of insight into God’s truths and
developed a lot of wisdom that he shared with the world. Here are a few of his quotes:
       “If you are going to live by faith, then expect your faith to be tested. A faith that can't be tested can't be trusted.”
       “God doesn't bless us just to make us happy; He blesses us to make us a blessing.”
       “You are a Christian because somebody cared. Now it's your turn.”
       “If you look to others you will be distracted; if you look to yourselves you will be discouraged; but if you look to Christ you will be delighted.”
       Do you know Jesus personally? And are you growing in your delight for Him each day?


Previous Blog...                                  MY DAD, JOE                           10/9/2022                                                                        And the Thief on the Cross
       God deals with each of us differently. Some people accept Jesus as Savior at a very early age. Others become saved during adult life. Still others wait until they reach death's door. And of course, some never do come to Christ.
       My dad, Joe was one of those who waited right until the very end. And God was gracious enough to give him the time he needed instead of taking him suddenly.
       I know my father was afraid of dying. I know, because my mother told me so. When my dad's health started to seriously decline, he said, "I never thought the day would come when I would pass away." But the day was fast approaching. Did you know God is not willing that anyone should perish? That's why He makes salvation simple.
       Now, don't be mistaken. The Christian walk is quite the daily challenge but deciding to accept Christ is not hard. We just need to agree with God that we are flawed and have sinned, ask for His forgiveness, and then ask Him to come into our heart and be Lord of our life, (meaning we will promise to live for Him).
       So, what if a person's time is short or he doesn't know the steps or he has no one to help him? Remember the thief on the cross? He certainly was running out of time. He realized he would die within an hour or two. He didn't know what repentance from sin was. He didn't know he needed to ask God for forgiveness. He had no future to surrender to the Lord. Even so, he had something going for him: the right attitude. Here is the story from Luke 23:39-43; (ERV).
       39 One of the criminals hanging there began to shout insults at Jesus: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Then save yourself, and save us too!” 40 But the other criminal stopped him. He said, “You should fear God. All of us will die soon. 41 You and I are guilty. We deserve to die because we did wrong. But this man, [Jesus] has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he [turned to Jesus and] said, “Jesus, remember me when you begin ruling as king!” 43 Then Jesus said to him, “I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
       As my dad lay in his bed, dying of end stage liver and kidney failure, he said, "God, please take me to heaven." And he described a vision he had of Jesus coming down off the cross to walk with him. Later, I spoke to him, and said, "Daddy, when your time comes, just call on the name of Jesus," for the Bible says, "Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved," (Romans 10:13; TLB).
       Maybe you've shared Christ with a friend or a loved one but they just haven't come around to making that decision. Please don't be discouraged. I, and many others prayed for my dad for over 40 years and often shared the Bible with him.
       I wrote countless letters to my dad over the years. None of those efforts were wasted. Remember, "As the rain and snow come down from heaven and stay upon the ground to water the earth, and cause the grain to grow and to produce seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry, so also is my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It shall accomplish all I want it to and prosper everywhere I send it," (Isaiah 55:10-11; TLB).

One of the most popular introductions to Christian faith ever written titled,
Mere Christianity, has sold millions of copies worldwide. The book brings together
C. S. Lewis's legendary broadcast talks of the war years, talks in which he
set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common
o nearly all Christians at all times." Rejecting the boundaries that divide
Christianity's many de-nominations, Lewis provides an unequaled opportunity
for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case
for the Christian faith. It is a collection of scintillating brilliance that remains
strikingly fresh for the modern reader and at the same time confirms
C. S. Lewis's reputation as one of the leading writers and thinkers of our age.
(Click Pic to Purchase)
       God loves people and He honors His word. Yes, there are folks who absolutely refuse the gift of salvation. Somehow, they think their way of believing is better. But what could be better than what the Lord and Creator of the universe has to offer?
       People say there aren't any atheists in the fox hole. When death is knocking on one's door, it's the same thing. There is no hope, peace, or assurance outside of Jesus Christ. If you don't yet have a personal relationship with God, I urge you to take care of business before it's too late.
       We will all pass away one day and will have to face God. The only way to be invited in through the pearly gates of heaven is to declare that we have accepted God's Son, Jesus Christ. What say you?
My Dad, Joe
November 8, 1937 - September 17, 2022
May he rest in peace.

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