RHM Newsletter 32 and Video Devotional
Hurricane Michael blew past us this week. Here there was only a little rain, a little wind and things are returning to normal. We are still cut off from our town of Conway as the road is flooded out. My heart goes out to those in the Florida Panhandle who endured a category 4 hurricane coming onshore. May the Lord give them abundant grace.
We are looking into installing an electrical transfer switch so our portable generator can power the office here, and relocating some things so that we can keep RHM online in the event of an extended power outage.
We have had several electrical outages this year. That is one of the perks of living near the eastern seaboard. To be honest, I believe that until Jesus returns, that storms like this will only grow more intense. So prepare yourself as best you can; we do. A ten pound bag of white rice and a bag of dried pinto beans can last a decade, costs very little, and in an emergency, you can eat for a long time.
Introduction: This morning, we are going to be doing things slightly different. I want to thank you all for coming. As many of know, Sylvia and I fast the months that begin with the letter A: April and August.
This is purely personal preference that took us a while to settle in on. So that this will not be taken as a word from the Lord, or coming from the Bible, I want to take a moment to explain why we do this. We tried fasting the month of February once. It was freezing cold, and when you are hungry, it is even colder. Even when fasting in the summer, you will find that a blanket feels nice. As for fasting in the winter, that is something that I lack the words to explain. You would just have to experience it.
That February was long a miserable month, and then we suddenly discovered that Valentine’s Day came right in the middle of it. We have always had a candlelight dinner on Valentine’s Day so we kind of felt cheated. It was the same with November, because of Thanksgiving. We tried various months. Sylvia’s birthday is in March, our anniversary is in June, my birthday is in July. Those are all week long events here, and they involve good food.
So that is why we have settled into fasting the months of April and August. It helps us break out of patterns, reset our diet, lose a good bit of weight, and get a fresh vision from the Lord all in one shot. There is always a result, but sometimes it is beyond our understanding at the time.
For example, in August 2012 I began working as a Pastor. We fasted the month of August 2013 and at the end of the month, I was suddenly laid off. It was not the result that I was looking for, but we ended up working from home, maintaining servers for people, etc.
The next year we fasted, and at the end the month, we felt led to start Refreshing Hope Ministries. That is long story that developed over a weekend, that I will share with you some other time.
The following year we felt led to start an online church here. The next year, Guideposts magazine called us on the last day the fast and invited me to speak at their national conference. What I want to be clear is that a long fast is always life changing in some way.
I said all of that to say this: we fasted the month of August 2018 and both felt that a change was coming to RHM Live. In short, we are busy making sandwiches that no one ordered. We have spent a year studying the Bible a chapter at a time, and apparently there is little interest or need for this today. People’s attention span is very short and you lose them after a few moments. If you look over the Bible study blog posts, most do not even have a single comment, whereas our shorter devotional may have several thousand views.
While we believe having a detailed Bible Study is a worthwhile goal, it is also very time consuming and our life often centers around completing it each week. It takes me days to produce a meaningful message, which takes away from being able to focus on other projects that are also important. By the end of August, I knew that change was coming, but I hoped to complete the book of Acts first. As you know, every single week since August has been a struggle, a fight to get it online that we often lose. So we are making a change that begins this morning.
For a long time, I have wanted to do some devotional-length videos that we could share on Facebook, three to five minutes tops. So for a while, I plan to share a devotional here on RHM Live, and record those to a short video.
The plan at the moment is that the first Sunday of the month, we will still study a Bible chapter and have Communion together. The other weeks, I plan to spend more time writing devotionals and books, writing and recording music, upgrading and enhancing the online church here at RHM.
So thank you all for coming this morning. That is what’s going on here at RHM. Let’s do some praise and worship and then I will share a short message with you.
Devotional: Time to Shine
1 Samuel 17:33–36 WEB Saul said to David, You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. David said to Saul, Your servant was keeping his father’s sheep; and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after him, and struck him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and struck him, and killed him. Your servant struck both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.
The day that David walked out on the battlefield to meet the giant, Goliath ,was not his first time fighting something big and scary. God had been preparing David for years while he was tending sheep in a common, everyday, typical job. Shepherding was a job that none of his brothers wanted to do. Out of the eight sons, David was the only one tending sheep on the day that Samuel came to visit them. Some of his brothers were soldiers in the Israelite army (1Samuel 17:17).
While protecting those sheep, David learned to kill lions and bears. Now there was a giant in front of him. It did not happen by accident. God had trained David for this day, and now it was his time to shine. David did not start out facing giants, he started by tending sheep. God prepares you for his work ahead of time, sometimes using the most mundane things. Most of the time, we don’t even know that we are in training.
I spent twenty years working on computer networks, mail servers, web servers, and the supporting infrastructure. Now I use the things that I learned along the way to build an online church here at Refreshing Hope Ministries. God is efficient and He wastes nothing. He will use the things that He has placed in your life to further His kingdom.
The common, everyday tasks that you deal with daily are always preparing you for something bigger. The skills that you develop in the natural can be used by Him. So do your best at whatever He has given you today, and when the time comes, you will be ready for the promotion just like David.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray that You let me see my life through Your eyes for a change. Show me how I can make a difference and let me experience divine encounters in my life. Teach me, train me, use me Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org