Saturday, July 11, 2015

Reaching the Cities

Luke 19:41-42 “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

My wife and I spent a week in the San Francisco Bay area while I was co-teaching a class at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. We spent a Sunday afternoon exploring the city. Part of our explorations took us to Twin Peaks, which overlook the city. After driving up a road filled with hairpin turns, we were rewarded with amazing views of the city. We took some great pictures of the various neighborhoods from all over the metro area that could be seen from that vantage point.

In some ways San Francisco is a blessed area. The scenery is lovely. The economy is booming. The food choices are great (thought quite expensive). The city glitters at night and draws young people from around the world. But all that glitters is not gold. While we were there an innocent women was killed in a very public section of the city that is normally safe for tourists. We saw homeless people and beggars in many street corners. Churches are few, and often small. Property is so expensive that even middle class families with good jobs struggle to buy a home or rent something in a safe neighborhood. The disparity between rich and poor is unbelievable.

The greater San Francisco metro area has over 8 million people and only a small percentage of them attend an evangelical church on a regular basis. The same thing could be said about most of the larger cities across North America. When one considers the vast spiritual lostness in our cities, it is hard not to think about Jesus weeping over another city, in a faraway place, the city of Jerusalem. Jesus wept for Jerusalem because for all its greatness, it did not know peace. Though 2,000 years have passed, Jerusalem does still not know peace. Jesus spent a lot of time in Jerusalem trying to point people to the path of peace and proclaiming a gospel that brings peace to the soul. Few listened, but the ones that did changed the world.

Cities like San Francisco need peace that only Christ can offer. As we proclaim the Gospel in the great cities of our land, we may not get the quantity of responses that we would like, but if we find the few, like Jesus did, who respond with all their hearts, our world can once again by changed by the gospel of peace.

Lord, help us reach the cities with the life changing Gospel of Christ. Amen.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Bread of Life

Matthew 4:4 “But he answered, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

My wife and I spent a week in the San Francisco Bay area while I was co-teaching a class at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. On Sunday we attended First Baptist Church of San Francisco and then had brunch at the world famous “Mama’s” in the Little Italy section of the city. We had heard about Mama’s on the internet. When we arrived, the line was stretched down the block. This did not surprise us because the reviews we had found online had warned this was likely on a Sunday.

We waited an hour to be seated. While waiting to be seated were stood near the counter, which was covered in various types of homemade bread that they use to make unique varieties of French Toast. We ordered a sampler, so we got a slice of each flavor. It really was the finest French Toast I’d ever had, but it also cost $40 for breakfast! I am not sure any French Toast is worth that. But it was all part of the San Francisco experience and so we took it in stride and were glad we went to Mama’s.

As I have reflected on that experience, it occurs to me how many people were willing to wait an hour in line and then pay $40 for French Toast but would not invest the same amount of time or money seeking the Bread of Life. Jesus reminded us that we do not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the Lord. If we miss having a relationship with the Lord, all the expensive French Toast in the world will not help us.

Lord, help us not to miss what You have for us as we live our lives in a world that has forgotten You. Amen.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ignoring Danger Signs

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

My wife and I spent a week in the San Francisco Bay area while I was co-teaching a class at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. We had one free day so we drove north of the city along some fabulous scenic roads and past lots of amazing beaches. One beach was particularly breathtaking with numerous unique rock formations and the Russian River all converging around the beach.

There were signs posted all over the beach saying that it was the most dangerous beach in California. The signs went on to explain that many people die there every year because of the difficult currents and rocks. Yet, as we viewed the waves crashing on the rocks, a group of young adult men put on their wetsuits and took their surfboards out into the water. Closer to the shore a number of children were playing in the water just like it was a family swimming pool. Did any of them even notices the signs posted that warned them how dangerous the surf was in that particular spot? There were plenty of other beaches. Why did they feel compelled to swim in that one? Yes, it look really cool, but it was also really dangerous!

It occurred to me after reflecting on that experience that it is a lot like how we often deal with the dangerous areas of our lives. We all have rough spots that we know we need to work on and that can cause us real damage if left unattended. Yet, we often go through our lives ignoring all the danger signs and pretending everything will be just fine so long as we get to do whatever we want to do. And on the surface, all looks fine to those who are looking at our lives. But just under the surface there are rocks that we will crash into if we continue playing in the dangerous water. It is not a matter of if, but of when. We will crash and it will be extremely hurtful, perhaps even catastrophic. Yet, like those young men with surfboards, we ignore the warning signs and jump right in.

Lord, help us to read the warning signs You give us and change our ways before we crash into the hard rocks of this world. Amen.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Monday, July 6, 2015

Perspective is Important

The other day we hosted a group of inner city children in our home. It was part of a program our son helps lead that gives children from struggling situations opportunities to get out of the city and experience new things. We live in what my wife and I consider a “typical” home. It is a condominium in a complex of 150 similar condos. The children loved it and one of the boys kept talking about how nice it was. At one point he asked my wife “Did this home cost you a million dollars?” My wife assured him it was nowhere near that expensive. But from his perspective, it looked like a millionaire’s home.

Just days later my wife and I flew to San Francisco, California, where I was to teach a class to doctoral students for a week. We stayed on a college campus in Mill Valley, an upscale community just north of the city.  The college is surrounded by multi-million dollars home. As I walked past them looking at the amazing architecture and fancy landscaping, I felt like that inner city boy who had visited our only days before. To me, these homes just looked so amazing that I could not imagine who could ever afford to live in them. From my perspective, the people who live in those homes must have been really rich. Imagine my surprise when someone told me later that week the “really rich” people lived on the other side of hill. I never made it over to see what those homes looked like, but it is hard to imagine them being even fancier than the ones I was seeing.

As I reflected on these experiences, it occurs to me that how you view such things depends on your perspective. If you are an inner city child living in a small government subsidized apartment in a disadvantaged neighborhood, a typical condo in a middle class complex looks rich. If you live in a middle class condo, “typical” homes in Mill Valley, California, look like mansions. And to the people living in those mansions, over the hill is where the “rich” people live. It’s all perspective.

As a Christian, I wonder how often my perspective is inaccurate because I have based it on my own circumstances instead of the truth of God’s Word. Is it possible that we have allowed our possessions and our personal situation to make us view the world in incorrect ways? We need some standard outside of our own perspective to give us clarity in our lives. Lord, help our perspectives reflect Yours!

Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Can We Offer Hope Without Holiness? - Guest Post by David Wesley Gould

The United States Supreme Court recently decided that same sex marriage must be recognized across the entire nation. This decision came on one day, but the movement has been long coming. In this particular case, homosexual activists has been lobbying and legally attacking any institution that does not accept the lifestyle. Their goal has been broaden the definition of marriage from what it has been traditionally understood to mean. In its ruling, five of the Supreme Court justices basically said that the religious foundation of marriage found in the Bible is bigoted and not acceptable in 21st century America.

There has been a flurry of opinions about this subject. But it seems to me that society wants to do whatever they want without feeling judgment from the church on the morality of those actions. This has been a common theme for years in American society. From the attack on prayer and Bible reading in the public schools, to the disregard for the sanctity of human life in legalizing abortion, and now dismantling the core family value of marriage, it seems the world would be glad to see the Church go away or at least remain silent on most moral issues. They obviously do not want our Christian moral values forced them.

I can live with that fact that society does not like, or perhaps even want, our values. What I struggle with is that they do they want our hospitals, our relief efforts during disasters, our private schools, our orphanages, our medical missions, our homeless shelters, our soup kitchens, our drug rehab ministries, our homes for troubled youth, our singers and musicians, our buildings, our money, our community builders, our shoulders to mourn on, our daycares, and our after-school mentoring.
But they do not want our biblical interpretations, our beliefs, or our Gospel of repentance and faith in Jesus. In other words, they want our time, talents and treasures but they do not want what makes us function, which is the truth that our ministries are built on. They want a form of our godliness, but without God’s truth. They want hope, but not holiness. They want a rainbow, but do not want the light that makes the rainbow.

Society may think that if churches go away, or at least retreat inside their buildings and stop engaging the culture, our culture would be better. After all, anyone who values medicine can start a hospital, or cook up meals to feed poor people. They do not have to be a Christian to do those things. I am sure many non-Christians are involved in some of these activities. But let’s be honest, you’ve probably never seen an orphanage started by atheists. When is the last time you heard of a disaster relief team sent from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Is there a Huffington Post sponsored homeless shelter? Most of the charity work done in America is sponsored by Christian organizations because they feel a need to express their ‘Christ values’ in everyday life.

We would rightfully be called hateful if we closed the doors on the ministries and institutions that provide most of the good in this country. If we were to remove the underlying social and cultural safety nets created specifically by the Church because of our Christian imperative, there would be a huge void in our culture.  It is impossible to separate holiness from our service. The world may try to implement the programs we do, but there is absolutely no relief agency, government or otherwise that more effectively delivers hope and restoration globally on a daily basis than the Church.
Imagine how that makes people in the church feel with society smacks us in the face by striking down God-given parameters of living and replacing them with humanistic preferences. The world wants to cherry pick from the Bible and take only the parts of the Gospel they like. This should not surprise us.

How do we respond? We should just keep on being salt and light, offering Jesus to everyone until Christ returns. Praise God there is no court that can defeat the supernatural move of truth, love, grace, mercy, and holiness that the Church offers to the world. 

David Wesley Gould is the Director of the Heart of Ministry which is based in Nashville, TN. He has been a pastor for many years and is known for speaking clearly to cultural issues facing the modern American church.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rock Solid Friendships - Guest Post by Chris Beltrami

Proverbs 17:17  “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. “
I was speaking with 2 great friends just recently and the question arose:
            “What do you think is the most important quality for a good friendship?”
There was some great conversation that followed.   The phraseology was a bit different amongst us but the attribute that seemed foremost was that of ‘loyalty’ - trustworthiness, fidelity, allegiance, …
This conversation caused me to realize that I am very fortunate to have some very good friends.  Loyal friends.   Friends that I truly believe would never say anything bad about me to someone else.   That’s a good thing!   That’s a blessing!
And I have a great trust that they would stick up for me when someone else might question something I said or did. 
Proverbs 17”9  “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates closefriends.”    Ouch!
This does not mean that they would cover for mistakes that I am capable of making.  A 2nd friendship quality of honesty and openness  would oblige a good friend to say “Hey Chris, I think you really blew it!”
Or, “Hey you!   The other night someone said ‘this or that’ about you.   I stuck up for you but … we need to talk?”
So, think about it!   It’s just a nice feeling to think of someone that you consider to be a good friend and to know that they would always have something good to say about you to another person.
Think of some of your friends.   One at a time.  Close your eyes as you think of each one.   And, if they have this rock solid ‘loyalty ‘ heart … nod your head and smile.   If you’ve got a good friend like this  … Be thankful.
Colossians 3:15  “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
You might want to drop someone a nice note today and thank them for being a good friend.   And, don’t forget spousal and family friendships.

Lastly, of course, don't forget to BE a good friend.

Chris Beltrami is one of New England's most award winning photographers. For decades he has used his position as a Christian businessman to influence others to consider the claims of Christ on their lives. He has been writing a monthly devotional called "Think About It" for many years. This article first appeared in the June 2015 edition of "Think About it."

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Judgment Day - Thoughts from Malachi 4

Malachi 4
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. 3 Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty.  4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. 5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

Verse 1 - Surely the day is coming . . . All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire . . .
               Chapter 3 began with refiner’s fire, which purifies us but does not destroy us. This reminds us that God wants to use the difficult things in our lives to make us better people, not to destroy us.
               Chapter 3 ends with the warning that one day we would all reap what we have sown and the difference between the righteous and the wicked would be made clear. We accept this as just and right.
               Chapter 4 opens with a description of what happens when that day of judgment finally comes.
               Most of us do not like to think about judgment day, but avoiding the topic will not make it go away. Judgment day will happen eventually.
               The first time Jesus came, He came as a baby in manger. His message was one of grace and forgiveness.
               The next time Jesus comes, He will come as a judge. His message will be one of judgment and justice based on how we responded to the message He gave when He came the first time.
               For those who have followed Jesus faithfully, judgment is nothing to be afraid of.
               For those who have not followed Him, fear is an appropriate response!
               Obviously people want to know when judgment day will happen.
               Only God the Father knows exactly when that day will come.
               Read Matthew 24:35-36 and summarize it below:

               God is keeping the date of judgment day a secret so that we cannot live like the Devil our entire lives and then try to get right the day before Jesus returns.
               Since that day is going to be a secret, we do not need to invest countless hours trying to figure out when that day will be.
               Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 and summarize it below:

               Thieves come when we least expect it. Likewise, judgment day will come as a surprise.
               God is delaying judgment day so that everyone in the world will have a chance to hear the Gospel and respond.
               Read 2 Peter 3:9-11 and summarize it below:

               Though God’s timing is not our timing, God is also not willing that any of His chosen ones should perish. Therefore, God is waiting for the last person who is going to believe to have the same chance as the first person who believed. Then the end will come, and it will not be pretty.
               Since we do not know when the end will be, our focus must be on living holy lives right now that what when Jesus returns He will find is living rightly.
               Though we do not know when the end will come, we do know that the Gospel must be preached to every corner of the world before the end comes.
               Read Matthew 24:14 and summarize it below:

               According to the “Joshua Project” there are 6918 people groups around the world that still have no access to the Gospel.
               While that may sound like a lot, only a few years ago there were more than 10,000 such groups.
               God’s Spirit is moving quickly to call His people to Himself
               One day very soon we will see the fulfillment of Revelation 7:9-10. Read those verses and summarize them below:

               We also know that before judgment day happens the Lord will come back and gather up all His followers and take us to heaven.
               Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and summarize it below:

               When Christ returns Christians will be changed and all our imperfections will finally be removed in an instant.
               Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 and summarize it below:

               When Jesus returns we will all give an account of ourselves and our relationship with Jesus.

               Read Romans 14:10-12 and summarize it below:

               Those who had a relationship with Jesus will enter into the eternal reward of heaven.
               Read Matthew 25:31-34 and summarize it below:

               Those who did not have a relationship with Jesus will have no place left to go but to the eternal punishment of hell.
               Read Matthew 25:41, 46 and summarize it below:

               Note that hell was never designed for people. Hell was designed for the Devil and his demons. But for those who reject Jesus, there is no other place for them to spend eternity, so they go to hell.

Verse 2 - But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.
               Jesus is the sun of righteousness because He is the Light of the world and the only person who was ever completely righteous.
               Those of us who have discovered a relationship with Jesus will not experience eternal judgment. Instead we will finally experience healing from the sun of righteousness!
               Verse 2 says that we will experience healing in His wings. In those days, Jews wore an outer garment called the Tallit. It was a shawl like garment of wool or silk with fringes at the four corners. It was commonly referred to as a prayer shawl. The corners of the shawl were known as “wings.”
               As a Jew, Jesus would have worn a Tallit regularly. Therefore, in a figurative sense, Jesus would have had “wings” because the edges hanging down from his prayer shawl would have been called that.
               Take a moment to read the story of the sick woman in Luke 8 who snuck up behind Jesus and touched Him. She had been sick all of her life. She had spent all of her money going to doctors, but they had not been able to help her. She had heard about the healing power of Jesus and believed that if she could just touch the edge of His garment, she would be healed. She wove her way through the crowd and touched Him. She instantly experienced healing from the “wings” of the Sun of Righteousness.
               On judgment day all who follow Jesus will finally be healed of all their physical sicknesses.
               More importantly, on that day, all who follow Jesus will finally be healed of the sin sickness that has plagued us since our birth!
               That will make us free from the burdens that have held us back and we will be like young animals running around the fields playing and having fun.
               Hallelujah, what a Savior! We must do all that we can to ensure that we are ready for that day!

Verse 5 – See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.
               One way to be ready for that day is to be watching for the prophet “Elijah” who will prepare us to receive Jesus when He comes.
               This prophecy was fulfilled literally 430 years later when John the Baptist came and proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah and prepared the way for the Jews to receive Jesus.
               Some people argue whether John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this prophecy or not.
               We know John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this prophecy because the angel Gabriel said he would be in Luke 1:11-17.
               Jesus also said John the Baptist was the fulfillment of that prophecy in Matthew 17:10-13.
               But in a practical sense, anytime someone seeks to help another person discover faith in Christ, then God is using that person as a modern day “Elijah” in someone else’s life.
               We have had many “Elijahs” help us find faith.
               We should seek to be an Elijah to someone else.
               These are the days of Elijah and we should be the voice of Elijah crying out!

               God is gracious and gives us many chances, but when the end finally comes we had better be ready because all our chances will be used up.
               It is impossible to know when that end will be, so we should live holy lives ready for Jesus’ return.
               When Jesus returns, it will be a great a day of healing for those who followed Him but a terrible day of judgment for those who rejected Him.
               We must be an “Elijah” to help others find faith in Christ so they can be ready when Jesus returns.

         This is an excerpt from the book Malachi: Finding Hope in the Midst of Adversity. It can be found on Amazon.