Monday, August 29, 2016

The Old Man Said "I'm the One!"

Isaiah 6:8 - Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: Who should I send? Who will go for Us? I said: Here I am. Send me.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had preached my heart out at a rural church in a small town in Mississippi. In my sermon I had urged each person present to be the one to pray, give, and be on mission both in their own community, and in Vermont, where I was serving as a church planting missionary. At the end of the sermon I asked anyone who was willing to be the one to make such a commitment to come down the aisle and tell me so during the closing hymn. Only one person responded. I can still see him in my mind making his way slowly down the aisle. He was an older gentleman with white hair and a cane. His name was Jim. When he got to where I was standing, he leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I'm the one." He then put something in my pocket and slowly made his way back to his seat. Later that day, when I looked at the piece of paper he had put in my pocket, I found a check for $10,000 to the mission organization I was serving. That single check helped that organization share the Gospel with many people in Vermont for several months.

For the next 15 years, Jim remained faithful in praying and giving. He kept my newsletters by his bedside and prayed through every prayer request multiple times. He often sent notes of encouragement or called on the phone just to lift my spirits with encouraging words. Jim also continued to give generously, often at great sacrifice. In certain years he and his wife were the largest benefactors our small mission organization had. Many are now in the Kingdom of God due to Jim’s praying and giving.

One morning, the week before Easter, Jim’s wife, Margie, called. She said Jim would be spending Easter with Jesus that year. He had passed away the day before. Margie found great comfort in knowing that Jim had made a difference in the lives of others. We prayed and cried together over the phone, thanking God for Jim's life.

Jim answered the call of God to make a difference with his life. We may not all be able to do exactly what Jim did, but we can all do something to make a difference in the lives of others. We can pray. We can give. We can offer an encouraging word. Let us determine to be the one.

Lord, help us be the ones who pray, give, and go in Your name to make a difference in the world. 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, August 26, 2016

The Foolishness of the Cross

1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.

Because our culture is shifting from a Judeo-Christian tradition, fewer people understand what it means to be a Christian than ever before. To illustrate how far our culture has shifted, a friend of mine related what happened to him recently in a jewelry store. He had gone into the store to buy a cross necklace for his daughter. She wanted to wear it as a way to display her faith, and he wanted to support her in that effort. Instead of just buying her a cheap necklace, he thought he would go a nicer store and buy one that would be special to his daughter. As he looked through the various options, he did not find what he was looking for. He asked the store clerk if they had any other cross necklaces to choose from.

The young man said, "Yeah, we have some in this other case over here, but I don’t know if you’d want them or not; they have some dude on them." When my friend looked at the other case, the “dude” on the cross was Jesus and the crosses were actually crucifixes. Though my friend was not interested in buying a crucifix, he was stunned that the young man had no idea who the “dude” on the cross was.

Though our society has always had people who do not follow Christ, few would have failed to recognize a crucifix as being Christ on the cross. But this young man had no idea that the person on the cross was Christ. He did not realize the unparalleled sacrifice Jesus had made on his behalf. He was missing a critical piece of information that could change his life forever.

Though we can pretend that young man was just ignorant of the truth, the reality is that he represents a growing number of young adults who do not know who the “dude on the cross” is. The good news is that young people are interested in finding out. They are very open to sitting down with a friend or relative and having a genuine conversation about who Jesus is and what part He might play in their lives. Though they may not be quite ready to commit their lives to following Christ, they are increasingly curious about who He is. Are we ready to tell them who the “dude on the cross” is?

Lord, help us share the story of the cross with those around us, especially with the next generation. Amen.

This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: DailyDevotions 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:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Don't Store It, Toss It

Matthew 6:19-21 - Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

My wife and I have lived in four homes in three states in the last 48 months. As a result of all these moves, we have significantly downsized the amount of stuff we own. This took a lot of effort because we lived in one house for 12 years so we had accumulated a lot of stuff. My wife has also been ill so she has had limited energy to devote to sorting and disposing of stuff. But bit by bit we have cleaned out closets, garages, attic space, and bookshelves. Every time we thought were done, we found one more box that we had not sorted yet and the "get rid of pile" grew.

We sold some of the stuff. A lot of it we gave away to people we knew or to charity. Even after getting rid of so much, we still have a lot of stuff!

Somewhere in the process of cleaning, sorting, packing and distributing all this stuff, it occurred to me again how rich Americans are. Only in America do we have clothes stored in totes and boxes because we cannot wear them all. Only in America do we have a set of dishes that we use only at Christmas and another set we use only when guests come for dinner. Only in America do we have chairs, tables, beds and decorative items that we have not used in months, or even years, which serve no real purpose other than to impress guests a few times a year. Who really needs that many clothes or dishes or beds or chairs or tables?

This effort to downsize our lives has given us opportunity to think through the consumerism that so grips our nation. It helped us consider how we could use our excess to help those around us and expand God’s Kingdom instead of just accumulating it in extra rooms. Perhaps we need to clean more than our physical closets and attics? Perhaps it is time to clean our hearts from the hunger that drives us to want more and more and more. When we clean up our emotional and spiritual closets and attics, the physical ones become much easier to tackle.

Lord, help us to focus on what is really important in life instead of becoming consumed by accumulating stuff. Amen.

This post is adapted from a chapter in 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, August 2, 2016

A Parable About Faith

There was once a little boy name Josh. He was fascinated by science and wanted to know how everything in the universe worked. Even as a little boy Josh drove his parents and teachers crazy by asking complicated questions that had complicated answers. When Josh grew up, he got a job in a scientific laboratory working for the famous Dr. Reason. Dr. Reason was well known for doing excellent research and producing scholarly reports on that research. Josh enjoyed working for him and as the years passed he was able to be a part of exciting research that answered so many of his questions about how the universe worked. When Dr. Reason would finish a major project, he would always publish an article in a well respected scientific journal about his work. Josh loved reading those articles. They made sense to him. The research was meticulous and the conclusions were rational. Dr. Reason was so careful in his research that no one had ever proved any of the conclusions in his articles wrong.

Josh respected Dr. Reason for the research and conclusions that those articles represented, but the longer Josh worked for Dr. Reason, the more their relationship evolved. In time, they became great friends, perhaps even best friends. Dr. Reason would remember little details about Josh and use those details to make Josh’s life more joyful. For example, Dr. Reason remembered that Josh liked chocolate cake, and so he would bring chocolate cake in when it was Josh’s birthday. Though Josh did not have quite as good a memory as Dr. Reason, over time he realized that Dr. Reason like baked chicken. So Josh would often bring a whole baked chicken to the lab for lunch and share it with Dr. Reason. Dr. Reason was also willing to help Josh when Josh needed it. When Josh’s car broke down, Dr. Reason gave him a bonus so he could get the car fixed. When Josh’s grandmother passed away, Dr. Reason came to the funeral and sat next to Josh and they cried together and found comfort in each other’s friendship. Though the scientific articles that Dr. Reason wrote meant a lot to Josh, it was only a piece of their relationship. It was all the other things that really made them friends.

One day Dr. Reason published an article in a journal about a project that he had been working on in a different laboratory. Josh had known that Dr. Reason had a number of other labs where he was doing research. Josh was vaguely aware of what was going on in those labs but did not know all the details like he did in his own lab. When the new article came out, many people did not like Dr. Reason’s conclusions. People began to come to Josh and ask him how he could continue to work for Dr. Reason when his conclusions were so faulty. Josh did his best to defend Dr. Reason’s work, but since he did not know all the details of what was being done in those other labs, he was not able to give as good an answer as he might have liked. Josh did ask Dr. Reason about it, and though Dr. Reason explained it to him, the research and work was so complex that Josh really could not fully understand it. But Josh tried to explain it the best he could to those who asked him about it.

As the controversy intensified, many people said that Josh had “blind faith” in Dr. Reason because Josh kept defending something that he could not fully explain. Others said Josh had made a “leap of faith.” But Josh was not moved from his belief in Dr. Reason’s abilities or intelligence. Josh patiently explained to others that while he was indeed exercising faith in Dr. Reason in this work that he did not fully understand, it was not “blind” faith, nor was it a “leap” of faith. From Josh’s perspective, it was only a step of faith, not a leap of faith. From Josh’s perspective, it was not blind faith, but informed faith. Josh had this perspective because Josh knew Dr. Reason really well. Dr. Reason had proved himself to Josh, not just in the scholarly research and well written articles that had been published, but also in the friendship itself.

Josh was informed enough about Dr. Reason’s work and life and that he felt comfortable continuing working for Dr. Reason even though he did not fully understand this particular situation. Others kept using words like “blind” and “leap” and Josh kept explaining that it was an informed step of faith, not a blind leap, but many people just could not understand Josh’s perspective. At first Josh was frustrated with these people, even a little angry at some of them. He even said a few things he shouldn’t have in his frustration. But in time Josh realized that these people could not understand because they did not know Dr. Reason the way he did. Though Josh really did want to know all the details and all the answers about this project that Dr. Reason was doing, he knew Dr. Reason enough to realize that in time, all would be revealed. Josh was comfortable in his informed step of faith and remained Dr. Reason’s lab assistant. Many people did not understand Josh’s choice, but Josh knew it was the right one and so he was at peace with his choice even if others did not understand.

Moral of the parable:

Many people say that Christians blindly follow a God that is only revealed in the Bible. But for Christians who have built a relationship with God, He is not just revealed in the Bible, but also in their experiences with God. The Bible shows God’s work and parts of it are very easy to understand and explain to others. Other parts are more difficult to understand and explain to others. Those who are not Christians call it blind faith or a leap of faith. But for Christians who have a personal relationship with God, it is not a blind leap of faith at all. Yes, it is faith, but it is more of an informed step of faith than a blind leap. They understand parts of the Bible very well, and they know God well through their personal experiences with Him. Their friendship with God and the parts of the Bible they do understand give them the faith to believe the parts of the Bible that might not be as easy to explain. Faith is required, but from the Christian’s perspective, it is a faith that is well founded and makes perfect sense. Others may lack the ability to understand the informed step of faith that a reflective Christian might make, but to the Christian, it makes perfect sense.


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: