30 YEARS A SLAVE

This old photo from my “other life” circa 1980, reminds me of my "stupid 20's," when I had no sense, lived for myself and cared not a whit about anybody else.


I was at a bar called Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico and decided it would be a good idea to dance on top of a table. Suddenly, two Federales grabbed my shoulders and escorted me to the shadows. Thankfully, a Mexican local, whom I did not know, followed us into the “torture room” and negotiated my release. (I’m the smug, shirtless guy standing next to one of the arresting officiales.)


Today, December 2nd, not only marks the day that shiftless guy died in 1990, but also marks my 30th anniversary as a Christian, a bond-slave of Jesus Christ, an unworthy servant, worm, wretch, completely dependent on my Master for life and breath and everything I have.


That picture, which shows up every year in my Facebook newfeed, is a great reminder of what the Lord has done in my life...and in the lives of so many others.
Slave trader John Newton met Christ, repented, changed, became a minister, then wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace.”


C. S. Lewis, author of “Mere Christianity,” and “The Chronicles of Narnia,” used to be an atheist. He said he was looking for Christ like a rat chases a cat.


But, the most famous of all testimonies was the Apostle Paul’s:


“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1: 12-14)


All were born again.


The term “Born Again” was popularized by Watergate co-conspirator Chuck Colson, who wrote a best seller of the same name about his conversion to Christianity in the ‘70’s when he was thrown in jail for his crimes. When released he started a ministry to prisoners called “Prison Fellowship.”


But the term “born again” has an earlier history. Jesus spoke it first in the best-selling book of all time, the Bible: "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)


Being born again means acknowledging that you’ve sinned against God and deserve Hell. When you repent of that sin and trust in Jesus Christ’s death on a cross, you will then live for him instead of yourself, directed by his words in the Bible.


Your life will change. Guaranteed.


In being a slave to the Savior, there is no greater freedom.
Ina Coble, a dear saint from our congregation, knit this blanket for Danny six months ago, but was not allowed to deliver it to him because he was in jail. I called her when he got out and asked if she'd like to give it to him. She said "Yes!" enthusiastically. (There are not a lot of amenities behind bars.)

I met Danny when I answered an email from his brother in September 2019 asking if I would visit him. I did. I ministered the Word and prayed for him. That led to another one of his cell mates asking if I could visit him, too. Then another. And another.

After a few months, I thought it may be a better use of my time to bring a weekly service inside, so I got trained to do that. Nearly every person incarcerated showed up for an expositional study in the book of Mark.

When The Covid hit in March, there was no more ministry, but my friend continued to teach through the bible. While in there, he and his brother purchased and gave away sixty-four Life Application bibles to the inmates, with a number of them making professions of faith.

Please pray for Danny as it is not easy being out in the real world with nothing. Community Church of the Hills (CCH) has been able to help somewhat though.
We have a Christmas photo booth set up for the community. All people have to do is sign up and they get a free photo and a free goodie bag. One week after it was set up, all 75 slots were filled...with only two being members from our congregation!!! I guess there is a dearth of free photo booths in the Hill Country! Go to www.cchSIGNup.com
Thank God!
(1 Peter 1:3-9) Full Service
 
We should be thankful for all the material blessings we have in the world, but do we ever thank God for the many spiritual blessings we have through Christ? Peter lists seven of them.
My God,

I feel it is heaven to please you, and to be what you would have me be.
O that I were holy as you are holy, pure as Christ is pure, perfect as your Spirit is perfect! These, I feel, are the best commands in Your Book, and shall I break them? Must I break them? Am I under such a necessity as long as I live here?

Woe, woe is me that I am a sinner, that I grieve this blessed God, who is infinite in goodness and grace! O, if he would punish me for my sins, it would not wound my heart so deep to offend him; But though I sin continually, he continually repeats his kindness to me. At times I feel I could bear any suffering, but how can I dishonor this glorious God?

What shall I do to glorify and worship this best of beings? O that I could consecrate my soul and body to his service, without restraint, forever! O that I could give myself up to him, so as never more to attempt to be my own, or have any will or affections that are not perfectly conformed o his will and his love! But, alas, I cannot live and not sin.

O may angels glorify him incessantly, and, if possible, prostrate themselves lower before the blessed King of heaven! I long to bear a part with them in ceaseless praise; But when I have done all I can to eternity I shall not be able to offer more than a small fraction of the homage that the glorious God deserves. Give me a heart full of divine, heavenly love. —From “The Valley of Vision”
RANDOM MEMES
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