Whatever it takes to win?

Since success is such a great feeling, we will be tempted to pursue success no matter the cost.   Tony Dungy gives us a great reminder the success can cost too much, when he writes:

When a team wins or a business is successful, the families of the players or the workers may be excited for the moment; but when they count the cost, I wonder how many would say that the temporary accomplishment outweighs all the memories missed or the bonds not formed. Or, worse yet, maybe they have been programmed over time to believe that the all-encompassing sacrifice of family, community, time—or anything other than what it takes to win games, close sales, or build a business—is an accepted part of life, simply what is required to achieve the number one priority: winning. Sadly, such “accomplishment” without significance will ultimately prove to be meaningless and without lasting value.
Tony Dungy,  The Mentor Leader (p. 3). Tyndale House Publishers.

Do you feel it too?


The last few weeks have been special at CIL.  The enthusiasm and passion for God has been at an all time high.  What makes the difference?   Prayer.

We’ve always been a church with frequent prayer, but our prayers are becoming more and more pure.   Prayer sometimes can be an event, program or obligation.   Our prayers lately have seemed like desperation.  Desperation is usually a negative thing, but not when your desperate for God.

One of my favorite quotes right now:

When a people prays, there is the church, and where the church is, there is never loneliness – Deitrich Bonhoeffer [1]

As we mature as a church body, I see deeper, sweeter and relational prayer increasing.   I dont’ think we should try to become a church that prays.  We need to be a church that seeks the Lord, then we will pray more than we ever thought we could.  Prayer is friendship.  Let’s deepen our friendship with God.

[1] Metaxas, Eric. Bonhoeffer : Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy : A Righteous Gentile Vs. The Third Reich.Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 69.



A deeper look at Acts 16:16

During my message Sunday, I briefly mentioned the connection in the people’s mind that the slave girl in Acts 16:16 had with the Greek-god Apollos.

Acts 16:16-18 (NIV – 1984)   16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!”

Most of the commentaries give a statement similiar to this one:

“Luke’s description of the slave girl in Greek indicates that she had a “spirit of Python.” The python was a mythical serpent killed by Apollo, who took both the serpent’s gift of predictions and sometimes its form. Apollo became known as Pythian Apollo. When it was said that one had a “spirit of Python,” it meant that the person was controlled by an evil force. Apparently those who knew the girl did not regard her as insane or fraudulent. Rather they viewed her ability to foretell events as genuine. People paid the girl for her divination services, earning her masters a lot of money.[1]

[1]Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson study Bible : New King James Version. Includes index. (Ac 16:16).Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.



The amazing story of Fanny Crosby

Francis Jane Crosby wrote more than 9,000 hymns, some of which are among the most popular in every Christian denomination. She wrote so many that she was forced to use pen names so the hymnals would not be filled with her name above all others.   Among them are “Blessed Assurance,” “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” “To God Be the Glory,” and  “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.”

For most people, the most remarkable thing about her was that she wrote songs in spite of her blindness .  The gifted blind hymn-writer Fanny Crosby wrote these lines as a girl of eight:

O what a happy soul am I
Although I cannot see;
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don’t.
To weep and sigh because I’m blind
I cannot and I won’t.

I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when he showered so many other gifts upon you,” remarked one well-meaning preacher. Fanny Crosby responded at once, as she had heard such comments before. “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?” said the poet, who had been able to see only for her first six weeks of life. “Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”[1]