How to Get to Heaven

I am posting today’s video not to impress anyone with my teaching at the nursing home but to impress on anyone willing to go; how simple it is to share the hope of Christ in a few minutes. Jesus gave us a great commission but at nursing home it needs to be short and to the point! Please be patient with the quality of the recording as it was done by one of our recreational aides who volunteered at the last minute to run the camera.

This is a ministry that anyone who is willing can do. Your willingness to press on through difficulties, sometimes frustrating slowness in seeing responses and the sorrow of unexpected farewells can lead to a rich harvest for Jesus Christ. We are now approaching our 24th year in ministry at Allied Skilled nursing home. There are three services each week in the various wards reaching between 70 -80 residents each week. It is all volunteer. I am deeply grateful to the staff who willingly and eagerly encourage people to come each week. I am also thankful for our dedicated group of youth volunteers who help put together a special program at Easter, Christmas and during their Summer Vacation. May God inspire you to realize that you can do this too. The harvest really is ripe and God is calling each of us to labor in the vineyard where He has called us. For more detailed questions please feel free to contact me at revpete51@gmail.com or browse our Youtube archives. You will find help in putting together holiday programs, encouraging singing and serving communion among many other short videos. God bless as you do you best for Him!  If you say yes to God’s call to nursing home ministry then I  ask you what Jesus once asked me, “Would you do it for one?”

 

Joni’s Tribute to Billy Graham

I love Joni’s tribute because she says it all better than I.  I personally and we as the church have been forever blessed by the gift God gave us in the person and ministry of Billy Graham. He was a simple man who seemed to always be there in the back ground of our lives. He committed himself to Jesus and to integrity and teamwork in a way that we so desperately need more of in the church today. His work is now done. The legacy left behind and the torch is passed to us. We pause to honor a the memory of Billy Graham tonight but we must also ponder the responsibility now fallen to us. We cannot dwell on the past because souls of men and women are passing into eternity every moment. Who will go to this generation?

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

Ministering to Families

Often when some think of nursing home ministry they imagine a few old ladies who play bingo and go to listen to a couple of hymns once a week as their religious activity. But we are not called just to cheer people up and go home. God’s call involves touching entire families at a time in their lives they are most open to the message of Jesus Christ. The numbers of people living in assisted living, long-term care and half way houses is dwarfed by the number of friends and family members who are dramatically impacted by the needs of one.

A great example from the Bible was how God called the apostle Peter to bring God’s message to people who he never considered even socializing with. Peter just thought he was going to have a meal with his own friends, but God had other plans! God sent a vision and he also sent an invitation that Peter could no longer refuse. When Peter obeyed God’s direction he traveled to another city and the next day he didn’t meet just one person; he met a crowd!

And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.  Acts 10:24

 

Peter probably did a double take when he saw all the people gathered. Then Peter simply shared the plain message of hope, salvation and eternal life. There was no music, no program, no funds dispersed. He just gave it to them straight in love and opened the door for God to begin something miraculous!

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.  Acts 10:44

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Because we have meetings in two different facilities we have had the opportunity to minister to one entire family. At the end of a meeting recently I was passed a note by the youngest daughter, “Pastor Pete could you please pray for my Mom and brother. Mom is stable but in congestive heart failure.” Her brother suffered a stroke/ Her Mom is able to breathe only by means of a Trach. But through God’s appointment all three come to church, hear the word and sing the songs with us. It all began with just a single invitation to meet a single person but God has called together entire families who are ready and waiting for us to tell them the good news that jesus remembers their address and that He has a better address waiting for them in heaven!

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Women in the life of Jesus

December 2012 102

And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance. Luke 8:2-3 NKJV

In a world of 7.3 billion people the church has never faced a greater task. Whether we are in the West or the Middle-East, the job remains the same. Whether our meeting place is Asia or Europe our challenges are great. But Jesus and His word have not changed, and the resources available to the first century church are still available to us today. Jesus has called us as a team and an army to go and tell the world the Good News about salvation. No army leaves behind half its troops on the way to its most important battle. No team in World Cup play allows half its members to rest on the sidelines. Today let’s consider the importance of our fellow teammates and our comrades in arms. Women in our churches are certainly kept busy, but keeping busy and fulfilling their calling is not always the same thing. The question isn’t about who is better or stronger, but rather why have we tried to enter the spiritual battlefield with one hand tied behind our backs?

In a cursory reading of the New Testament many people have come to the conclusion that Jesus was primarily interested in using men in his ministry. Though the apostles were all men, the Bible in fact does not make much of their ministry beyond the fact that they followed Jesus around and on rare occasions were sent out to preach. In fact, it was the men who often didn’t seem understand Jesus. Peter thought Jesus should forget about the cross. Thomas doubted that Jesus rose from the dead. James and John wanted to call fire down from heaven on the heads of some Samaritans. The entire group of the apostles went into one Samaritan village and never mentioned Jesus to the people while they went food shopping. Meanwhile Jesus met a woman at a well who immediately went and brought a crowd out to see him!

The New Testament is filled with stories of women who seem to be attuned to the practical needs of Jesus and to understand how He might choose to operate far more quickly than the men. The Syro-Phoenician woman came to Jesus begging him to deliver her daughter (Mark 7:25-27) The disciples response was to ask Jesus to send her home! A year later after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead Mary came to anoint His feet while the disciples, headed by Judas, began to complain about the enormous waste.

Jesus chose to honor women throughout the gospels. He defends the adulteress, honors Mary, uses the woman at the well to reach her entire village and makes sure while dying on the cross that his mother will be cared for by John. On the morning of His resurrection Jesus first met with Mary Magdalene and used her as His messenger to the apostles. For the church of the 21st century to succeed and be the overcoming church that Jesus meant us to be we must all be doing our own parts.

In a failing church our differences  drive us apart. To become a victorious church we must recognize our need for one another. No messenger is unqualified, no need insignificant, no act of mercy too useless and no person counted useless in ministry. Instead of praying for Jesus to send the people away who seem to be a bother, maybe we should listen to what Jesus has to say.

     Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV