Palm Sunday … A day for authentic worship!

HosannaToday marks “Palm Sunday” – the beginning of “Holy Week” leading up to “Good Friday” and ultimately “Easter” or Resurrection Day. On Palm Sunday the crowds welcomed Jesus with the cry “Hosanna” (both an appeal [“Save us!”] and proclamation [“Savior!”]) (Mark 11:1-10; also Matthew 21:1-11 and John 12:12-15)

A little later this morning I’m going to gather with fellow Christians for worship… And I’ve got to tell you, I want my voice to be lifted up along with the throng gathered there in authentic worship – “Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!!”

I’m going to do it!!!

Looking forward to… Listening for… His Trumpet Call (an Easter reflection)

The trumpet will sound

A passage to help prepare your heart for Easter morning…

I know… Easter weekend is a week away! But THIS was my Bible reading this morning… Read it and reflect upon it… It’s true!!! And it will be excellent “hope preparation” for a wonderful “Holy Week” and the days ahead as we continue to do “the Lord’s work” and await “the trumpet call” and our “catching away” (the “rapture”) or resurrection…

“I tell you this, [fellow Christians]: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery [or ‘Let me reveal to you a wonderful secret! NLT’]. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed… When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory! ‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin… But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, my beloved [fellow Christians], be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (From 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 ESV)

Spend some time soaking up the truth of this passage! It will enrich your Easter AND your entire, hope-filled Christian life!  His resurrection insures your resurrection!

Looking back… and looking ahead… on my 72nd birthday

Reflecting back

I was privileged to have parents that considered my birth a “gift from God” and a divine stewardship! They formally offered me to God in dedication at our little church in Ronan, Montana before I was 8 days old. Their highest goal for my life was to see me serve the Lord, however and wherever He led me, through the years.

At 4 years of age I bowed my knees and invited Christ Jesus to be my Savior and Lord! Then I began my life of following Jesus by being baptized in water. A few years later I was “Baptized in the Holy Spirit” in our little Pentecostal church. At the age of 10 the Lord powerfully called me into the ministry in the prayer room at Glacier Bible Camp during a camping experience designed specifically for children (a “Kid’s Camp”). I said “Yes!” to God’s call that night and have never abandoned it – a call to teach and preach God’s word.

I drifted from my commitment in High School, but the Lord drew me back to Himself. A Christian high school teacher, Dean Shenaman, was powerfully used of the Lord to challenge me to read, study, and LOVE God’s word (and his challenge led to the most powerful personal “revival” I have ever experienced)! Later I met and married the most wonderful partner in ministry anyone could ever have, Sharon Barnett Bartel!

The rest is history… A wonderful family, rich and rewarding pastoral ministry, 35 years of service as a professor in a Christian University training thousands of leaders for Christian service, then serving the Assemblies of God (my denomination) as a national leader, and countless opportunities to invest in the lives of others and home and abroad personally, and in conferences and seminars.

Here’s my commitment after looking back on 72 years of life… “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may FINISH MY COURSE and THE MINISTRY that I received from the Lord Jesus!” (Acts 20:24) I just want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21, 23)

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