Thursday, October 30, 2014

Danger in the Midst of Beauty

Most mornings I take a long walk. I walk both for my physical health and for my spiritual health. I pray while I walk and think through sermons and mediate on scripture.

One of the places I walk is a trail around the town reservoir near my home. The trail has lovely water views, views of the Hartford skyline and of course lovely trees. This fall the trees have been particularly striking as they displayed their fall colors.

New England in the fall is breath taking. It is hard for me to understand how anyone can be in New England in the fall and not believe in an all powerful Creator who displays His handiwork in such glorious ways. And yet, the vast majority of people in New England do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is one of least religious regions of our nation. Millions live in the middle of all this beauty yet are in danger of losing their souls for eternity.

The other day I was taking my morning walk and was meditating on this truth when I looked up in a tree and saw a huge hornet's nest. The maple tree was ablaze in all it's fall glory, but hidden in all those glorious leaves was this hornet's nest. The nest was about 2 feet tall and hanging from a branch in a maple tree and filled with danger. I was struck by the thought that this was a vivid reminder of the contrast between danger and beauty that exists in our world. So many people are on edge of a spiritual cliff. The devil wants them to miss the Creator behind the creation so they fall off the cliff. The devil wants them to feel the pain of the hornets of life and become bitter at God, though the devil is the one actually causing the pain. The devil wants people to miss out on the most beautiful thing of all, which is faith in Jesus Christ, and he will do anything to distract people from finding that faith.

I have dedicated my life to helping people in New England see the hornet's nest and recognize what it is so they can turn to Christ before it is too late. Would you join me in prayer for spiritual revival in New England? Would you consider adding feet to your prayers through joining us in our efforts? The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.

Lord, help us share Your love with those who live in New England. Help us help them avoid the hornet's nest of sin and find Your love instead.


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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett is a church planter and author who has lived in New England since 1993. He is a happy father of three young adults, a blessed husband of one great wife, a joyful grandfather, a thankful cancer survivor and convinced that New England needs Jesus more than ever!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Value of Investing in the Next Generation

Psalm 78: 3-4 - Things we have heard and known and that our fathers have passed down to us. We must not hide them from their children, but must tell a future generation the praises of the Lord, His might, and the wonderful works He has performed.

As a church planting missionary, I often speak at mission conferences. One of my best experiences occurred at Millbrook Baptist Church in Aiken, SC, where I had spoken several times about our church planting ministry in New England, as well as enjoyed the worship services they had each evening. Two nights of the conference the Korean Children's Choir sang and danced. It was very moving listening to the children praise the Lord. Dr. Billy Kim, chairman of the Far East Broadcasting Company, spoke on those nights. He shared the powerful testimony of how during the Korean War a young American soldier named Carl Powers took an interest in him and brought him to America and paid for his education. During that time Kim became a Christian. When his education was complete, Kim returned to his native land and began to minister to Koreans. Untold numbers of Koreans have come to Christ in the last fifty years as a result. Dr. Kim says that whatever was accomplished during all those years must be credited to Carl Powers, for it was Carl Powers who started it all by befriending a young Korean boy who had few prospects for a happy life.

I was greatly encouraged by Dr. Kim's testimony because my wife and I have invested a lot of time and energy in sharing the Gospel with the next generation. Many of the young people we have poured our lives into have come from difficult family situations, and we have often wondered if we were really making a difference. Dr. Kim's story reminded me that sometimes it takes a while for the fruit of our labors to be realized, but every young person's life is worth investing in, no matter how bleak their past or their future may look. Instead of being discouraged by the challenges we see around us in the lives of young people, we rejoice that God has called us to share His love with the next generation, knowing that at the right time the harvest will come.

Lord, help us always to look for ways to share Your greatness with the next generation. Amen.


This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Finding the Gospel in the Walking Dead

1 Corinthians 9:20-22 - To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win those under the law. To those who are without that law, like one without the law—not being without God’s law but within Christ’s law—to win those without the law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some.

Many people are fascinated with the television series, The Walking Dead, which tells the story of a group of ordinary people fighting for survival in the midst of a world-wide zombie apocalypse. Due to the violence in the show, I am unable to recommend that people watch it, but from time to time an episode will present an idea worth discussing.

The show is not a religious series, but occasionally it touches on a religious theme. The screen writers' view of religion is often a bit warped, but I suspect that it is an accurate portrayal of how ordinary non-religious people in our culture think. For example, in season two, episode one, the characters went into a church identified as the Southern Baptist Church of Holy Light. Though the church was identified as Southern Baptist, it was decorated more like a Catholic church, including a life-sized crucifix of Jesus at front. Since a Southern Baptist church would never have a crucifix with Jesus still on the cross at the front of the sanctuary, this was a glaring theological error. But it is doubtful many viewers even noticed the error. A growing number of Americans lump all religion together without any understanding of theology. To many people, Catholics and Southern Baptists are pretty much the same thing, though true practitioners of either of those denominations would be quick to point out the many differences.

Should this significant theological disparity really surprise us? The church has not done a good job in recent years of communicating what we believe to those outside the church. Therefore, it makes sense that those outside the church do not understand something as basic as why Jesus is no longer on the cross.

But God, in His sovereignty, has not left non-believers without a witness. In the very same episode, a key character in the show, whose young daughter had gone missing in a forest full of zombies, prays and asks the Lord to take any punishment the little girl deserved and give it to the mom instead. Though slightly awry in its focus, the character was expressing the biblical concept of propitiation. It is unlikely that the writers realized they were teaching the Gospel truth that Jesus did exactly what that character asked for when He died on the cross. For it was on the cross that Jesus took all our iniquities, struggles, problems and failures on Himself and gave us all of His righteousness and purity. Only the hand of God could help screenwriters who are unable to get a simple thing right like Jesus no longer being on the cross in a Baptist church, but could at least hint at the much more complicated concept of Jesus taking our sins upon Himself. May this be a powerful reminder that God can use the most confused examples our culture can provide as an avenue to display His truth to a culture that has forgotten Him.

Lord, continue to work in the hearts of non-believers to reveal the truth of the Gospel in ways that no one could have ever guessed. Amen.


This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Understanding Our Spiritual DNA

Hebrews 12:1-2 - Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

After years of ministering in a wide variety of situations, I have observed that the initial environment in which a person comes to faith often remains their primary preferred religious experience. For example, I have a friend who came to faith in a house church. He was drawn to the close knit fellowship and the sense of family. Though he no longer attends a house church, he is still active in a small congregation that has a close knit family atmosphere. At least one time since I have known him, he switched churches because the church he was active in got too big. I have several friends who came to know the Lord during the Jesus Movement. That movement was known for its distrust of organized religion and its appreciation for a more organic approach to faith. That movement also preferred folk music. Most of my friends who came to know Christ in that movement still prefer a folk sound in their worship. They often refuse to officially join a church even though they may attend it for years and be very active in it. Then there is an older couple I know that came to faith in a highly structured church that used a strong liturgy. Though they have changed denominations because the church they grew up in has abandoned biblical theology, they have sought out a church that recites the Lord’s Prayer every week and celebrates communion at most services. In their minds, it just is not church if a service does not include those things.

In each case, my friends have remained in the same environment in which they came to faith. Though this was often not the church of their childhood, it normally is the church in which they found real faith in Christ. Those early days of Christian discipleship are important in forming our spiritual DNA. And when various groups come together for a larger worship experience, they bring these aspects of faith with them.

I am enriched by seeing all the various ways in which people can worship and still relate to one another as Christians. Though the Gospel never changes and biblical truth is the same for all, the various aspects of church, such as liturgy, music style, or local church polity, are different. Instead of being fearful of those differences, we should celebrate them. The person who prefers the high church can learn something from the close knit house church. The house church can learn something from the liturgical church. The 60-year-old Christian hippie can teach something to the 20-year-old Christian hipster, and the hipster can teach something to the 60-year-old man at church who still sports a pony tail.

If we keep our focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and if we keep our teaching based on the Bible instead of man-made distinctives, we can worship, fellowship, and serve with those who look at things from a different perspective and be enriched by it.

Lord, help us keep our eyes on You and learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ who approach spirituality in different ways than we do. Amen.


This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Finding Support in Challenging Times

Proverbs 18:24 - A man with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother.

When people go through difficult times, they will sometimes say, “I know who my real friends are,” in reference to the people who showed outward support during their trials. Such a comment can also be a backhanded way to express disappointment with those who did not show outward support. In a sense, it is also saying, "I know who are not my real friends."

While there is some truth to this sentiment, we must be careful not to judge people who did not appear to support us the way we wanted them to during troubling times in our lives. Perhaps things were going on in their own lives that kept them from being able to demonstrate support in the way we had hoped. Maybe they did not talk to a friend who was going through cancer treatments because it brought back painful memories of loved ones who suffered terribly from cancer and died in great pain. Maybe they did not call a friend during a divorce because they were still dealing with the pain of their own divorce. We often forget that people around us have their own issues which may keep them from expressing the support we wish they had when we have gone through our own rough times.

Becoming judgmental of them does not help the relationship. If they are indeed our friends, then they are praying for us from a distance. That in itself is huge. When the moment is right, they will express whatever level of support they are able to, even if it is not when and how we had expected. But if we have cut them off already, with some judgmental comment, behavior, or attitude, then we will lose what could have been an important source of support.

Lord, help us to support our friends during their times of trouble, and help us not to misjudge those who do not offer the type of help we expected in our own times of difficulty. Amen.


This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:


Friday, October 17, 2014

Don’t Judge Me

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 - If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.

“Do not judge me!” We hear it all the time. Pop singers who do perverted things on stage say it. Movie stars who get DUIs say it. Politicians who have affairs say it. Co-workers who show up to work with a hangover say it. Friends who have made a real mess of their lives say it. Sometimes, we say it ourselves when someone points out our obvious faults.

Our culture has become obsessed with the idea that no one should say that any particular action is wrong. For the most part, people have accepted the idea that no one should think negatively of another person for his or her behavior. Such negative thinking is considered judging. Judging has become the ultimate bad behavior. If anyone does point out that someone's behavior was in poor taste, or just plain wrong, the speaker is the one who is criticized, not the person who actually did wrong.

This may be an acceptable line of reasoning for our culture, but it ultimately leads to disaster. If everyone does what is right in their own eyes, society devolves into chaos. That is why God gave us rules to follow. But who gets to interpret what God says the rules are?

I grew up in a very rigid religious environment in which we categorized everyone's behavior as either good or bad. This was often done without really knowing the person’s heart or any of the details of the actions. In our quest for purity we separated ourselves from those who engaged in actions we deemed bad. Many people were hurt by our judgmental behavior. I no longer want to be the behavior police with some mandate to classify every behavior that anyone around me does as being right or wrong. I also do not want to watch friends ruin their lives because I am too cold-hearted to speak to them about issues they are struggling with. Some behavior is just plain wrong, and one does not have to be a religious fundamentalist to recognize that truth. Somewhere between the two extremes of never saying anything and always pointing out everything is the thin line that we should walk that shows care and concern without being judgmental.

Finding that thin line is a constant struggle. One thing that helps is to ask people questions about the things they do. By asking them questions about certain behaviors, instead of just telling them it is wrong, their own thinking is often stirred up. Sometimes they are able to rethink their own behavior and state their own need to change. This can lead to a redemptive conversation about Christ and forgiveness. Even if they do not recognize the behavior as bad, it still makes them think, and sometimes that is the best thing we can help people do.

Ultimately, God is the one who judges all of us, and He is the one who gets to decide what is good or bad behavior. Though many of our non-believing friends may not care what God thinks, it is our responsibility as Christians to help them get to that place. By asking questions that force them to rethink their behavior, we can move on to a place where we can share what God’s Word teaches. It may take several conversations, over a period of time, to get there, but we will eventually get there, without having to negatively judge others.

Lord, help us know how and when to say something to a friend about his or her behavior. Guard us from having a judgmental spirit but also remind us of the importance of holiness. Amen.

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This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MJ2UE4E

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Fear of Judgment Ultimately Hurts Us

Proverbs 28:1 - The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

My friend suddenly stopped coming to church. I reached out to him several times before he finally called back to say that he would no longer be attending church. He was honest in confessing that he was engaged in a particular sinful activity but felt that no one had the right to judge him for his actions. He went on to explain that when he came to church, he felt bad about himself, so his solution was to stop coming to church.

Many people in our society have adopted the same approach as my friend. The problem with this approach is that dropping out of church does not address the behavior that brought out the negative feelings to begin with. Regardless of what our culture may say, there are some behaviors that are right and some that are wrong. Simply avoiding people, or groups, who may point those wrong things out will not solve our problem. That is like a person with a heart condition refusing to go to the doctor out of fear of what the doctor may say. If the condition goes on long enough without treatment, the result is not going to be positive and the treatment for the condition will be much more invasive than it could have been if it had been addressed earlier. The same is true when we have poor behavior in our lives that we have not addressed. Eventually we will reap the consequences of that behavior. By the time all those consequences finally hit us, it may cost us far more than we ever intended to pay. In essence, our fear of minor judgment eventually causes us to experience much more significant judgment because we have not dealt with our sinfulness.

Perhaps it is time to start re-examining our opinion of church. Obviously there are some overly judgmental churches that may not help us be healthy. But there are many churches that understand that in our human weakness we made bad choices and now we are trying to fix those issues. Those churches will walk with us through the journey until we get where we need to be. They will not tell us that all of our behavior is acceptable, but we already know that. But they will remind us that God loves us in spite of our behavior and that He will help us become the person we always wanted to be. It is time for us to overcome our fear of judgment and start dealing with the baggage in our lives. We are going to need the help of other people to do that. That is what church is all about. It is a group of sinners encouraging one another to be transformed into the image of Christ. There may be some painful moments in the short term as our sinfulness is exposed, but the joy that comes from godly living will be worth it.

Lord, help us examine our own hearts so that we can be in right relationship with You. Do not let our fear of judgment cause us to flee the very thing that can change our lives. Amen.


This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link: