Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Greatest Job Ever

A Psalm of the Sons of Korah

The "Sons of Korah" were the Temple singers and are mentioned in 1Chron. 6:33-48. They were servants to the people in leading them in singing. They also served as gatekeepers and the bakers of sacrificial bread. Their total lives were lived in service to God by serving others. It is the greatest of vocations, the greatest of callings.

One of the songs that was in their hymnal is found in Psalm 84.

Psalm 84:1-12
(ESV) 1 To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of
Korah. How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes,
faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living
God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where
she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah 5
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to
Zion. 6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give
ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your
anointed! 10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I
would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of
wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and
honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord
of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

The writer observed the birds nests that were built in the church. Not something that we are accustomed to nor would we welcome in our comfortable sanctuaries. Nesting birds are noisy. And yet the writer said, even the birds build a home where they can lay their young at the feet of the altar of God. He saw in the birds a desire to be close to the creator. I understand that. I long to be close to the Creator as well. My favorite place to be is in His presence, uninterrupted from the noise of the world and the craziness of schedules.

One day soon Christ will return and those who have prepared their hearts will spend eternity in His courts. It will be perfect peace and I long for that day! My heart and flesh cry out for you the living God. Your Spirit's water for my soul.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Do I Consider Myself "Unworthy"?

Matthew 8:8 (ESV) 8 But the centurion replied, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.

I've preached close to 2500 sermons in my life in all kinds of places. I remember the one place that absolutely humbled me the most. It was at a Minister's Conference in Branson. I was a young preacher and had been asked to preach to an audience of preachers. They were almost entirely men who had been in the ministry much longer than I and had much more wisdom. I remember being scared to death because I was so inadequate for the task. I felt that anyone in that room was more qualified to bring that message than I was. I felt totally unworthy to be sharing anything with them.

Perhaps you have situations where you feel unworthy. Maybe you have friends that are more afluent than you are and you feel embarrassed to have them come to your house because it isn't as nice as they are used to. Or perhaps because of their standing in society you feel that you are unworthy of their time and attention.

In this passage Jesus meets a man who isn't Jewish but who is a leader in the army. This man is looked up to by those who serve under him and probably lived better than most people in his culture. He has servants at home to take care of the house and one of them is very sick. When Jesus offered to come to his house and heal the servant, the centurion stated that "he was not worthy to have you come under my roof." In the presence of Jesus, this man of importance recognized something about Jesus. His humility wasn't because of Jesus social status. Jesus didn't even own a home. It wasn't because of His commanding presence. Jesus was just "ordinary" in appearance. So what was this emotion and why did he feel it?

The centurion realized that Jesus was worthy to be worshiped, and anyone worthy of worship was much too special to "come down" to his level. In the presence of Jesus he felt small and unworthy of Jesus time. It wasn't a self-depracating kind of feeling. He truly recognized the holiness of the Master and how unholy he was.

So I ask myself this question: Do I feel unworthy? Do I really recognize the true holiness of the Lord? Do I see Him as "The King of Glory"? I often see Him as my "best friend" but do I see Him in His Glory? The beings in heaven all fall down at His feet and worship Him. He is the center of attention and object of worship in heaven. They know who He is and worship Him.

Today, I challenge you to think about who He is. Try to see Him in His Glory. Put Him in his rightful place on the throne of your life and worship Him. Allow Him to reveal Himself to you so that you may come to that place of "unworthiness". It was in this state that Jesus remarked of the centurion; "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith."

Worship Him today for He is worthy!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Peace of God

Psalm 4:1-8 (ESV)
1 To the Choirmaster: with Stringed instruments. A Psalm
of David. Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me
relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
2 O
men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain
words and seek after lies? Selah
3 But know that the Lord has set apart the
godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.
4 Be angry, and do not
sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
5 Offer
right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.
6 There are many who say,
"Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!"
7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

For the first time in my lifetime "survival" has come into question for many people. Given everything that is going on in the United States economy today, there are some who are struggling to find peace. They have major concerns regarding their personal ability to survive financially. Many watch as their retirement accounts shrink, and they fear they will not be able to survive.

Brother Sid stood yesterday and shared these words of wisdom regarding the present crisis:

"Lay up treasure in heaven. Not on earth. The treasure you lay up in heaven will
be safe."

David understood the peace that comes from relying upon God. He knew the faithfulness and the character of God and he knew he could depend on God.

"You have given me relief when I was in distress. Know that the Lord has set
apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. There are many
who say, "Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O
Lord!" You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and
wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety. "

David had laid up treasure in heaven. As we walk through the uncertainty that lies ahead, put your trust completely in the Lord. Honor Him in your life and in everything you do. Call out to Him in your fear or time of trouble. Trust Him to keep His Word.

Psalm 37:25-29 (ESV)
25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not
seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever
lending generously, and his children become a blessing.
27 Turn away from
evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of
the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land and
dwell upon it forever.

May the peace of God rest with you today!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Does Your Life Stink?

Do you ever feel like your life stinks? Sometimes spiritually we get in periods of stagnation that get really difficult and uncomfortable to deal with. A few years ago, while on a float trip, God revealed a truth to me. If you find yourself in "stinky water" spiritually, this one's for you!

As I continued down the river I came to, what used to be, one of the most beautiful pools of water on that stretch of river. It is filled with huge boulders. Typically, the water is very deep, but it is so clear the bottom looks like you could count every pebble. Because of the low water levels, lack of current, and perhaps the addition of bacteria from all the new development along the river, this pool was no longer beautiful. In fact, it looked and smelled like a lagoon. The odor was awful, so I paddled as fast as I could to get through that section of the river. Then God spoke:

You know, you just passed through a lesson. Even the most beautiful pools can
become cesspools if the water level is low, the current is too slow, or too much
bacteria is introduced into the system. Your natural tendency, when you came
into these bad waters, was to get through them as quickly as possible. So why do
you linger in the stagnation of the spiritual pool of your life? Paddle through
the rancid waters that are no longer flowing, and get to the spring of

There are rivers of refreshing waiting for you and I if we will simply "go to the river". The bible describes a scene in the book of revelation. It is from the very throne of God and out from under it proceeds a clear river of water, the river of life.

Jesus said to the woman at the well:
John 4:10 (ESV)
10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is
saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have
given you living water."
Jesus invites you to come to the river today and drink deeply. Don't stay in the stagnant pool filled with all kinds of junk. Go to the source of refreshing and drink deeply!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

He Knows Your Name

He Knows Your Name

Psalm 139:1 (ESV) 1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

Today was "See You At The Pole". A small group of students met at the flagpole at school to pray for the school and our nation. While they were outside praying, another small group of us were going through the school praying over the lockers and classrooms. As I was wandering the halls praying at each locker, I was overcome as I was reminded that God knows the name of every one of these students. I began to sing in my spirit the song "He Knows My Name" by the McRae's. I remembered the "How Great Is Our God" message by Lou Giglio and the part where he talks about our genetic code.

He says something like this.
"If you could write out the genetic code for a single cell in the human body, that code would stretch to six feet long. If you read one character per second it would take over 100 years to read your DNA! And yet God not only knows it, He wrote the code!"

David didn't know anything about "DNA" or "Genetic Codes", but he did understand that before he was born, God knew him. And before you were born, God knew you. He not only knows your name, He knows your strengths, your weaknesses, your victories and your struggles. He is always at work in your life. He never takes a day off! He is leading and guiding the direction of your life if you and I will only take the time to listen and follow.

We run at such a feverish pace in today's culture that solitude and quiet time are almost a relic of the past. As we were praying and walking through the school, students and teachers started to file in and things got really hectic and distracting. It was a vignette from the scene of life as we know it. We wanted to spend time with God in prayer but instead found ourselves feeling pressured to hurry. God wants us to hit the pause button and just spend some time with Him. He wants us to know Him in a more intimate way. That intimacy only comes in quiet retreat, not in trying to pray while I’m driving to work, answering the phone and listening to the radio. Jesus even told His disciples to "come apart and rest awhile". He was teaching them that they needed to take a quiet retreat with the master in order to refuel and recharge so they could appropriately face the challenges of life.

Be encouraged today. God not only knows your name. He knows YOU! He knows everything about you and what you will face. He knows what you are going to need before you even ask and has already prepared an answer if you and I will just learn to stop and ask. He longs to visit with you today. Try to unplug from the craziness we call "our schedule" and let God speak to your spirit. I'm pretty sure He has some awesome words to share with you!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Uselessly Kindling Fire on the Altar

Uselessly Kindling Fire on The Altar

Malachi 1:10 (ESV) 10 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.

Sometimes, in order to understand something more clearly, we must define what is its opposite. In other words, to understand what something is, we must first understand what it is not. I want to please God in my life as his child, as a husband and father and as a pastor and friend. I have made it my purpose in life to do so, and to live my life in such a way that it makes Him smile. It is amazing, however, how mindlessly I sometimes operate in pursuit of that goal. There are times when I am 'tuned in' to what God is doing and I am able to join Him. There are other times, or even periods of time, LONG PERIODS OF TIME, when I seem to uselessly kindle fire on the altar. If I want to undertand what it means to PLEASE GOD it is helpful to know what does not please him. That answer is found in Malachi 1.

God is holding me accountable to present the best that I and his people have to offer. That's what you give in sacrifices. God's words in Malachi 1 to the priests who were responsible for offering up the sacrifices of themselves and the people was that they were giving, and accepting at the hand of the people, offerings that were less than their best. In response to these offerings, God says to the priests, "I am not pleased with you, nor will I accept an offering from you."

What DOESN'T PLEASE GOD? When I don't love him enough to give my best. In that case, God says I am uselessly kindling fire on the altar. God's blazing condemnation of the priests also contained a plea from the very heart of God: "Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain!". In other words, God would rather someone 'lock the door of the church' than have us give less than our best in church. He would rather we 'not preach' than to preach a polluted gospel! What it seems God is saying is, "Stop wasting your time and mine! I will not accept any more 'leftovers'! Maybe if I stop listening you will start!"

Every Monday night we meet for prayer at the church. Thus far, there have been a few very faithful folks who have experienced just how awesome it is to simply come to God in a time of prayer and to draw more closely to Him. I suppose it could be considered "a sacrifice", since they are giving up time from something else. It is a very small sacrifice and the benefits far, far, far outweigh any "sacrifice" that may be involved. I invite you to join us. We pray, sing and I share a short devotion. Mostly, we pray. Come and experience it for yourself.

I desire, more than anything else, to please Him. In order to do so, I must give my best. I must also require 'the best' from the hand of the people. To that end, let me challenge you: GIVE GOD YOUR BEST, NOT "THE REST"! Saturday, we have an opportunity to learn from Jeremy Horn. Give God your best. Sunday we will meet at God's house to worship. Give God your best. We will have the opportunity to serve others through ministry, and thereby serve God. Give your best. Every day, I have the opportunity to live life God's way. That means if I'm mad at another Christian, I need to forgive. God isn't going to accept an offering at the hand of an angry servant.

I confess that I have settled for second place. I have let my attitude become one of 'That's good enough'. Please forgive me! And please forgive the sins of the people for offering less than the best. Please be patient with us. Please let us see how awesome you really are, and how deserving you really are of our best. And please give me the courage to accept nothing less.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who's In Your Circle?

Matthew 26:1 (KJV) 1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,

One cell phone commercial on TV asks the question, "Who's in your circle". This particular service lets you call any number in your "circle of friends" for free. The assumption is that each of us has a small group of people that are close to us that we call more often than anyone else. These people are our network of friends with whom we share life.

In the body of Christ we need the same network of "circles" to function at our best. Jesus modeled this concept for us with His own, "circle of friends". Although Jesus came to die for all humankind, he invested His life in a small circle of men and a few other folks in His extended circle. We often think of Jesus life and work in the context of "the multitudes", but it was those twelve disciples that Jesus devoted most of his energy and upon whom he depended in His time of need.

When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane agonizing over his future, he didn't call upon the multitude to be His prayer support. He called his circle of friends. If that circle was important to Jesus, if it was needed in His life, I'm sure it is needed in ours! That's why it is so important to not just become part of the church, but part of a smaller group of people within the church that are your circle of friends. They become not just your friends, but your prayer support and encouragers in time of need. I am convinced that every believer needs to be part of a smaller group within the church. Whether that be a Sunday School class or some other small group, we all need that close circle of friends. When we do not have it, we end up facing life's struggles without the same kind of support that even Jesus needed in His life.

If you're not part of a Sunday School class or small group, let me encourage you to become involved for your own spiritual health and the health of others. If you know people within the church or outside the church who don't have this kind of support, invite them to become part of your circle. It is in this "Circle of Friends" that we do life and we do ministry. Don't let either pass you by!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Have you ever been pulled in many directions?

Matthew 26:1-3 (KJV) 1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

This past week has been one of the most incredible weeks of my life! Between the Hunters 24/7 event and Sunday services over 95 people made a new level of commitment to Christ. For about 70 of them it was to recommit their lives to serve Christ. For at least 25, it was their introduction to a new life in Christ. I laughed, cried, got goose bumps and shouted over the commitment cards that I read. The end result of the weekend was a huge win for the kingdom of God! That being said, all week long, and even during the event Saturday night and on Sunday, I felt myself being pulled in a lot of different directions. A lot of ministry needed to happen and a lot of business needed to get done, and yet my most important duty was to pray for the salvation of those souls. At times, as I was feeling the pressure of being pulled in many directions, I also felt stress. I know that each of you know what I'm talking about; That inner tension of feeling too small for the task at hand or unable to meet the immediate needs.

Sometimes life gets really hectic. But imagine being in Jesus shoes as we walk through this Passion Week. Jesus has been ushered into Jerusalem with the praise of the shouting crowd. He's just finished his final sermon regarding the kingdom of heaven, trying to convince his audience to prepare their souls for eternity. They have questions. They have needs. But now they are all gone and Jesus is left with his closest friends and He knows He must prepare them for what is about to happen. He is going to be brutally murdered and He feels the obligation to prepare His friends for the inevitable. So He begins to try to brace them for what lies ahead.

What's really on His mind is the great pain and suffering that awaits Him. The betrayal, not just of Judas, but of all His followers. He knows it's coming and He must walk down that road anyway. He dreads the pain. Is that what's really on His mind?

Or is He looking beyond the pain, beyond his death, to the reason for His death? Is His focus on the responsibility to redeem mankind? I believe it was. But I am amazed at His ability to focus on all these other needs, all these other people in the middle of the most trying week of His life. Jesus was able to accomplish His mission because He kept it in front of Him. He never lost sight of His purpose and He never quit loving those around Him, no matter how they treated Him.

God has a purpose for your life and mine. We need to discover that purpose and remain focused on it. We need to walk a deliberate path but we also need to never quit loving those around us, not matter how they may treat us. Their eternal life is just as important as mine.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Experience Builds Faith

Prayer for release from prison

Acts 12:5 (NASB) 5 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.
One of the "Sons of Thunder" was killed just a few days earlier and then Peter, the chief of the Apostles was arrested and placed in prison just before the Passover. I would assume this was one year after Christ had been murdered. The gospel was still costing people their lives, and it looked like the leader was once again going to die. Things seemed pretty hopeless. Or did they?

The church believed that God could rescue Peter. The church believed that God could do something about their situation. This time, not as a result of the Spirit-filled Apostles, but by the prayer of the people, a miracle took place. This wasn't the first time something like this had happened. Peter and John had been thrown in jail before and God "opened the door". So I'm sure John, who just lost his brother at the end of a sword, let the charge for people to pray for Peter's release. He had absolute confidence that God could rescue him just as he had rescued the two of them before. Experience increases faith.

Trust in the Lord today. Gain some new experience and draw from some old experience, but let faith grow and abound in your heart!

Monday, February 04, 2008

How's Your Net?

Matthew 4:21 (KJV)
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

Jesus has called us to be fishers of men. In the fishing trade of Jesus day, nets were used as the "tool of the trade" to catch fish. Peter and Andrew were "casting their net into the sea", indicating that their net was in good repair and ready for catching fish. James and John were "mending their net", indicating that something had happened that had made their net ineffective at catching fish. In another passage, we find some of the disciples "cleaning their nets" indicating they had picked up a bunch of trash along the way.

As Christians and fishers of men we need to examine our nets. Our nets are either clean and in good repair, or they are torn or cluttered. God has given us gifts and abilities that need to be utilized to their fullest potential for Him. He has also given us freedom of choice, which means I can choose to use those gifts and abilities or not. I can choose to live a holy life or not. I can choose to be a witness or not. These gifts and abilities along with my choices in how I will conduct myself are woven together into a fabric that makes up my net. It is through my life, my conduct, my words, my actions, that my net is made complete.

If I choose not to use my gifts and abilities for God's purposes, my net has a hole in it. If I choose to conduct myself in a way that is a disgrace to God rather than a tribute to Him, my net has a hole in it. If I get so busy that I don't have time to fish, my net has become cluttered.

The thing about the story of James and John that amazes me, is that they "immediately left the SHIP AND THEIR FATHER AND FOLLOWED HIM." They didn't seem to hesitate. They "sold out" of the worldly fishing business and "bought in" to being fishermen for the Father.

So, how's your net?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Born To Worship

I've been having a blast studying, reading and learning the book of Acts. It's been amazing to me all the things I've never seen before in that book. One of the things that has just leaped off the page for me has been the sense of awe that the early church experienced. It wasn't just the "signs and wonders" but it was the idea that Jesus really was the Messiah and that the penalty for their sins was paid in full. That knowledge was hard to get their hands around because all their lives they had operated in a sacrificial system that never satisfied the penalty for their sin before God. It only delayed or stayed off the consequences. If they missed a sacrifice or broke a rule, they felt as if they were hosed. Here's an excerpt from my observations on one section in the book of Acts:

Acts 2:43-47 (NASB)

43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;

45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

They kept feeling a sense of awe. God was performing many unexplainable things before their eyes and they were amazed. But these signs weren't presented in order to convince them to believe but to reinforce the decision they had already made. That decision was to acknowledge that Jesus really was the Messiah. They acknowledged that even though they didn't understand everything about this New Covenant, they understood that Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy and they were trying to get their minds around the idea that the penalty for their sins wasn't just delayed, but it was paid in full. They had a sense of newfound freedom and appreciation that resulted in less materialism and more generosity and closeness.

After 2000 years of Grace, sometimes I forget how truly awesome it is to be forgiven!

John Newton, author of the hymn Amazing Grace, had no real religious training as a child and grew up the son of a sea-captain/slave trader. John ultimately became the captain of his own slave ship which met with a fierce storm at sea. During that storm he cried for the Lord to save him in the midst of the storm. God did, and as Newton reflected on what had happened, he believed that God had indeed rescued him. He became a believer and recognized that day, May 10, 1748 as the date of his conversion to Christianity. He later quit his slave trade, met George Whitefield, began to write songs, entered the ministry, and at some point between 1760 and 1770 he wrote:

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)

That sav'd a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears reliev'd;

How precious did that grace appear,

The hour I first believ'd!

Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come;

'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis'd good to me,

His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease;

I shall possess, within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who call'd me here below,

Will be forever mine.

After his conversion, he managed to never lose the sense of wonder and awe that God had saved him. My prayer is that I and all who read this will recapture that sense of awe and wonder at what an Awesome God has done in our lives!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sincerely Wrong

Sincerely Wrong

Acts 2:36 (NASB77) 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified."

The news this week has been busy with reports of the new Tom Cruise biography and his involvement in the church of scientology. In those reports it is usually noted that the church is considered by some to be a "cult". Tom and the church have been getting a lot of press. In interviews about his church/faith, Tom is very convinced and very sincere in his beliefs. But no matter how sincere or convinced a person may be about their beliefs, it is entirely possible to be sincerely wrong.

The past two weeks messages have been pretty tough for some of us to deal with because they address areas of sin in our lives. Although those messages are hard to hear and to receive, they are necessary to keep us from becoming overtaken by our own poor judgment and sins. Paul reasoned with Felix of "righteousness, self-control and judgment to come". Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that judgment day will come for everyone. I not only want to make sure that I and my household are saved, but I also want to make sure that others understand the truth of Christ's return and that we aren't being lulled to sleep by the fact that He hasn't returned yet.

Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. I am convinced of that by the body of evidence in the bible and all that creation and life teach me to confirm that it is true. Therefore I preach so that men might believe. Please pray with me that God will raise us up as a standard, light and salt in a dark and dying world. Pray with me that we would separate ourselves from sinful behavior in order that others might see and believe. The child Jesus grew in "wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man." In other words, he lived righteously in this present world. We are the most blessed nation on earth today. No one has experienced the level of blessing that we have received at the hand of God. I hope we don't ever forget where it came from!