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Apr 302023


     Most of us are very familiar with the ministry of the Salvation Army.  We have all given donations to the Red Kettle, and probably many of us have even taken a turn or two at “ringing the bell”.  Every major town or city has its Salvation Army Church and ministry center right in the heart of where it is needed most!  That was the aim of their founder from the beginning.  William Booth started this ministry in 1865, on the East Side of London England with that very intent.  He said, “Go for souls…and go for the worst”.  He did that very thing.  He encountered and won the prostitutes, gamblers, alcoholics, and homeless beggars to Christ.  His ministry revolved around the three “s”‘s-Soup-Soap-Salvation!  He was converted under the ministry of John Wesley, carried on by Wesley’s followers after his death in 1791.  Booth found Christ at a Methodist revival in 1844, at the age of 15.  He said, “I worshipped everything that bore the name Methodist.  To me there was one God, and John Wesley was his prophet.  I had devoured the story of his life. No human compositions seemed to me to be comparable with his writings…the best hope for the salvation of the world was the faithful carrying into the practice the letter of the spirit of his instructions”.  He spent his life doing just that!  He said. “The greatness of a man is the measure of his surrender!”  In that regard William Booth is a great man and a great example of those who would follow Jesus.

     Let me share a few of his impactful quotes.  He said, “to get a man soundly saved it is not enough to put on him a pair of new breeches, to give him regular work, or even to give him a university education.  These things are all outside a man, and if the inside remains unchanged you have wasted your labor…you must graft on the man’s nature a new nature, which has in it the element of the Divine!”      Listen to this:  “It is against stupidity in every shape and form that we have to wage eternal battle.  But how can we wonder at the want of the sense on the part of those who have had no advantages, when we see such plentiful absence of that commodity on the part of those who have had all the advantages!”.  Called to ministry?  His view:  “Not called!  Did you say?  Not heard the call.  I think you should put your ear to the Bible and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin.  Put your ear down to the burdened agonized hear of humanity and listen to their pitiful wail for help.  Go stand by the gates of hell and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters not to come to this place of torment.  Then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world!”  “God loves with a great love the man whose heart is bursting with passion for the impossible!”  “We must wake ourselves up or somebody else will take our place, and bear our cross, and steal our crown”. 

     He said the danger for the future is: “A religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; salvation without regeneration; politics without God; and heaven without hell!”  He was a very perceptive prophet.  Listen to his determination.  “While women weep, as they do now.  I’ll fight.  While children go hungry, as they do now-I’ll fight.  While men go in and out of prison, as they do now-I’ll fight!  While there remains one dark soul without the light of God-I’ll fight.  I will fight until the very end!”  “We are not to minister to a congregation and be content to keep things going.  We are sent to make war and to stop short of nothing but the subjugation of the world to the sway of the Lord Jesus”.  When he was asked to speak to a graduation class of clergymen he said, “If I would have had my way you men would not have been graduated with just these studies.  I would have had you spend twenty-four hours in hell to experience the torments of those who are damned and then turned you loose on a dying world!”.  Toward the end of his life, he was unable to attend the annual meetings of his denomination.  They asked him to telegraph a message for the congregants.  He responded with one word-“Others!”  When he was told that the work was failing and they did not know what to do next-he responded with a two-world telegraph-“Try tears!”  It would not hurt us to take a refresher course in the theology of General William Booth.   He sounds very much like our Lord Jesus Christ! Amen? 


Isaiah 6:1-6




 Posted by at 10:00 am

The Flawed Giant That God Uses

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Apr 232023

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “The Flawed Giant That God Uses”.

     Paul wrote a very interesting thing in his first letter to the Church at Corinth. He wrote, when it comes to the people that God uses to accomplish great things, He doesn’t choose to use the “gifted, glorious, and grandiose”…he uses the ordinary.  “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise, according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called (to serve)…that no flesh should glory in His presence”. (I Cor. 1:26ff New King James Version).  The Gospels bear that fact out. Look who Jesus called to start His world changing mission. Not the highly regarded elite of Judaism. Instead he chose fishermen, tax collectors, revolutionaries against Rome. Quite a motley crue! They hadn’t graduated Summa Cum Laude, nor were they listed in the Who’s Who In Judaism, and none had been voted “most likely to succeed”. They were in fact nobodies. They turned few to no heads in society. But…they were ideal for His cause. His objective…”that they might be with Him…and He might send them out” (Mark 3:14). That was His modus operandi for success. It worked! “Now when they saw the confidence of Peter and John, they clearly understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, (they weren’t stupid and no education-they had not been to Rabbinical school for training like Paul), THEY WERE AMAZED, and began to recognize them AS HAVING BEEN WITH JESUS!” (New American Standard Bible).

     Stuart Briscoe emphasizes this truth in a sermon called “Ordinary Folks Make Great Disciples”.  It is God’s Divine choice to “use ordinary people to accomplish His extraordinary projects!”  That is why Paul told the Corinthians in his second letter that God entrusted His precious treasure of the Gospel to be dispensed out through “common earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us!” (II Cor. 4:7). Howard Hendricks says “God dispenses his glorious Gospel through common peanut butter jars!” God has clearly shown us that is His choice. For all of us who feel unworthy and incapable of fulfilling the assignment God has called us to, that is assurance that we need. Remember, as someone said, “God does not NEED our ABILITY…only our AVAILABILITY!”

     When It comes to the people God chooses to use, the Bible from Genesis to Revelation clearly reveals that God accommodates His choice of servants, by indicating that all of God’s saints are really aint’s! God could use perfect angels to do His bidding, but instead chose to use humans: humans who are very flawed. His partnership in the venture, by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, more than makes up for our inadequacy. That truth makes the venture and adventure! Paul reminded the Corinthians that all the biographies of saints that God has used were written in permanent inspired record for our growth and admonition. “These things that happened to them are written for our admonition” (I Cor. 10:11). The word things, i.e. experiences, are called examples. The word is “tupos”, from which we get our word “type”, and is best translated “patterns to follow”…to learn and achieve growth, both from their successes and failures. The word “admonition” is “nouthesia” is a compound word uniting “nous”-mind and “tithemi” –to put or store- so should be best translated “to be put in our mind for counsel and guidance”. So we look to Scripture for inspired guidance to renew our mind with, to give us clear understanding about the who and the how of God using us in His venture to make it a successful adventure. One good case in point is David. The name comes from two roots-“dawa”- meaning “weak” and ‘dod”- meaning “beloved one”. The clear meaning is “the beloved weak one that God has chosen to make His own”. Wow! We all could be named David, and have a very fitting name! We all are sinners, who have fallen short of God’s standard…but He loves us anyway, with unconditional love. Someone has said, “God loves us just as we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way!” So David is the perfect pattern to fill our mind with instruction about how God wants to use us, “His beloved weak one!”

     Today in the Galleria dell ‘Academia in Florence, Italy is Michelangelo’s statue of David-eighteen feet tall! He purposely sculpted it at that height because, in the Biblical narrative David was a Giant of a Man. Most Bible scholars believe David was somewhere between 5’ to 5’5’’. Yet when partnered with God, endued with the presence and power of His Spirit…David became a giant of a man. Michelangelo saw him as such! Someone said, “David had the military genius of Alexander the Great,; the political savvy of Abraham Lincoln; the musical skill of Beethoven, combined with the literary skill of William Shakespeare”.-(David Roper-Psalm 23.). But in spite of all of his great feats, David was a weak and flawed man. When Samuel came to anoint him King, he was almost overlooked, because he was the least likely candidate among the sons of Jesse. It took Michelangelo almost four years of hard work to sculpt David’s statue. He was working with flawed marble that had been damaged during its extraction from the quarry. So it was with David. He was flawed in his origin, abused as a child, left all alone, and nearly ruined. But this weak one was God’s beloved, and his chosen weak vessel. The key to his success was, in spite of all of his flaws, he was a “man after God’s own heart”. Stephen, in his sermon before being stoned, gives us a jewel about David-He said, concerning God, “I have found David…a man after my own heart, he will do everything I want him to do!” (Acts 13:22). There is the key to success for every weak struggling Christian!

     Henry David Thoreau said, concerning himself, “I found in myself, and still find, an instinct toward a higher, or as it is named a spiritual life, as do most men, and yet another instinct toward a primitive, rank and savage one, and I revere them both!” The key to David, and I might say you and I, is to revere the former the most, and set our heart on letting God partner with us to overcome the latter instinct, and become a giant of a person that He can use mightily. Ordinary people, who God can use in an extraordinary way. Not our ability, but availability. Are you available to God with all your heart? That is the only way to chisel a giant of a servant for God! Amen.

 Posted by at 10:00 am

Thomas, the Twin-Our Twin?

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Apr 162023

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: Thomas, the Twin-Our Twin?

     There are alot of famous twins.  Most people know the actor Ashton Kutcher.  But did you know he has a twin brother named Michael?  Most know of President George W. Bush-so it follows that his twin daughters Jenna and Barbara are famous now too.  Since their successful sitcom most people know about the Olson twins-Ashley and Mary-Kate.  Keifer Sutherland is known for his successful acting career, and his father Donald, but did you know he has a twin sister named Rachael?  Everyone knows of the brothers Gibb-i.e. The Bee Gees.  But two brothers of that trio-Maurice and Robin were twins.  The world knows of the King of Rock and Roll-Elvis Aaron Presley.  But did you know that he was the surviving baby of twins.  His brother Jesse Garon Presley was still born at the delivery, and is buried in an unmarked grave in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Anyone visiting Graceland can see his stone included in the family memorials along with Elvis, Vernon, and Gladys Presley.  And then of course who can forget the Biblical twins of Jacob and Esau?  But today I want to bring to your memory another twin.  His name is Thomas.  The Bible speaks of “Thomas, who is called Didymus, meaning twin”.  Actually both names-Thomas and Didymus means “twin”.  One is Aramaic-Thomas.  The other is Greek-Didymus.  They both mean twin.  Who was the Apostle Thomas a twin to?  We are not told.  When lists of the disciples are given he is usually linked with Matthew-so some assume that is his twin.  Tradition tells us that Thomas took the gospel to India in A.D. 52, and died there as a martyr to the cause of his Lord Jesus Christ.  You can visit his tomb in  Edessa today.  Tradition also tells us that Bartholomew worked alongside Thomas in that commission.  Many have caused that fact to link him to be Thomas’ twin.  In the Apocryphal book written in the 200’s called the Acts of St. Thomas,he is called “Judas Thomas”-or “Judas the Twin”.  Some have linked him with James, the Son of Alphaeus then as a twin.  All of that is speculation.  We do not know who his twin actually is.  Frederick Buechner, in preaching about Thomas, says “I can tell you who his twin is-I am! and I am not far off the mark to say that you are too!”  You see when it comes to being disciples that trend toward doubt, and find ourselves being disappointed in Jesus, due to circumstances that suddenly throw us into discouragement and dispair, we may just be identical twins to Thomas, called Didymus!

     We are told in the Gospel of John that when Jesus appeared to the ten disciples who were gathered in the upper room on the first Easter evening that Thomas was absent.  They had the joy of seeing the Lord alive again.  They inspected his wounds.  They were commissioned to a new mandate.  He breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit. The passage describing the event emphasizes that “they were glad when they saw the Lord!”.  Thomas missed it all.  He was disheartened, discouraged and disengaged from the rest!  When they sought him out to tell him he frankly told them that their word and witness would never be enough for him.  He would have to see with his own eyes, touch with his own hands, experience Him for himself in a personal, intimate, and vital way or he would never believe!  That kind of demand of evidence has earned this twin the reputation and name of “Doubting Thomas”.  But what about doubt?  Was Thomas wrong for wanting to see before believing?

     Some of the greatest minds of history have spoken candidly about doubt.  Bertrand Russell said, “It is a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on a thing you have long taken for granted”.  He also said, “the whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always certain of themselves, but wiser people are full of doubts!”  The great Christian Scientist, thinker, and Philosoper Francis Bacon said, “In contemplation, if a man begins with certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he is content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties!”  Shakespeare said, “modest doubt is the beacon of the wise”.  Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the world’s creeds”  One of the best quotes I have come across comes from Tryon Edwards, the grandson of the Revivalist Preacher Jonathan Edwards.  Tryon Edwards wrote, “Doubt, indulged and cherished is in danger of becoming denial; but if it is honest, and bent on thorough investigation it may soon lead to the full establishment of truth”.  That kind of sounds like modern day philospher-baseball player, Yogi Berra who said, “You can observe alot by seeing!”  I believe that is what Thomas needed.  He needed some empirical evidence that he could witness with his own eyes.  But when he encountered the Lord, risen in all his glory, he saw not only with the eyes of his head, but with the eyes of his heart, and his doubt was transformed to devotion.  He then became the example for the Lord to talk of greater blessing  than what Thomas experienced on the 8th day of Easter.  We can learn alot from examing Thomas’ journey from Doubt to Devotion by doing an Autopsy on a Doubting Disciple.  I want to share with a poem about what Thomas experienced on the 8th Day of Easter.  May we too be so transformed by our Risen Lord. 

When Thomas afterward had heard
That Jesus had fulfilled His word,
He doubted if it were the Lord:

“My hands, my feet, my body, see;
“And doubt not, but believe in Me”:

No longer Thomas then denied;
He saw the feet, the hands, the side;
Thou art my Lord and God,” he cried:

 Posted by at 8:37 am

The only One to Escape the Grip of Death

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Apr 092023

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE:  “The only One to Escape the Grip of Death”

     Edgar Allen Poe, in 1845, wrote a masterful allegorical story titled The Masque of the Red Death.  In the book he focused on the futile attempt of mankind, in spite of status, wealth, location, or avoidance-to evade the ever-prevailing hand of death.  In the context of the story there is an entire country face the plague of the Red Death, (Bubonic Plague).  The Powerful Prince of the land invites a select group to safety behind the locked gates of his Castle.  After several months he throws a masquerade ball in celebration of heir avoidance of the plague-so far!  For the celebration he decorated the main seven rooms of the castle in single colors.  There are rooms decorated in blue, purple, green, orange, white, violet, and the final one decorated in black, with red stained-glass windows.  The rooms run from east to west, the direction of the rise and setting of the sun.  Poe means for the rooms to show the progression of life from birth, blue room, to death, the black room, the black room also includes an ebony clock that rings hourly.  Most of the rooms are locations of guests partying, dreaming, swirling with revelers, everyone avoids the black ominous room!  At midnight a new guest appears in very ghoulishly styled clothes.  He is pale and has a face like a corpse, with red spots revealing him as a victim of the red death.  The Prince Prospero confronts this guest in the black and red room.  After the confrontation the Prince dies.  The other guests come into the room to attack the cloaked Stanger.  They find no one in the room under the cloaked costume.  Everyone then dies, and the Red Death has invaded the Castle.  Darkness, Decay, and Red Death have at last triumphed!  Poe uses his story to show the unfairness of the feudal system in allowing the aristocracy to abuse the peasantry.  His major point is that all classes will fail in their futile attempt to evade and escape the pursuit of ever-present death, symbolized in the Red Death.  A look at the mortality statistics seem to indicate that the truth is still one of one human die!  It cannot be evaded or escaped.

     One individual earned fame and fortune with his continued escape from the grip of death-Harry Houdini. Throughout his career Harry Houdini cheated death with several close calls.  In 1911, while in Boston, ten prominent business men challenged Houdini to escape from the belly of a whale.  He had to be shackled in handcuffs and leg irons sewn up in a whale’s belly.  After 15 minutes he emerged, smiling, though he nearly suffocated on arsenic fumes that had been used to embalm the whale.  A close escape from the hand of death.  One of his best-known tricks was the milk can.  He would be handcuffed and locked inside an oversized milk can filled with water.  He always escaped.  He later added the milk can being locked inside a padlocked wooden chest to add to the danger.  Another dangerous act was to be shackled in a packing crate, with the lid nailed down, and the crate submerged in the New York’s East River, weighed down with two hundred pounds of lead.  He escaped in 53 seconds, without cuffs, and when the crate was pulled out the lid was still nailed down, and the discarded shackles of Houdini’s were still on the inside!   He often escaped from a straight-jacket while dangling from a building, or a crane.  He made his escapes in full view of his audience crowded on the street below.  Quite a death-defying feat!  One of his most famous escapes was the Chinese Water Torture Cell.  Shackled hand and foot he was lowered upside down into a tank filled with water.  If he could not escape in two minutes he would drown.  His assistants were instructed to break the glass of the tank if two minutes passed.  The time never lapsed…he always emerged.  The Buried Alive stunt nearly killed him.  Houdini was buried under six feet of dirt without a casket.  He struggled to dig to the surface and panicked when he was overcome with exhaustion.  He had to be pulled unconscious from the grave!  He later performed the buried alive trick in a coffin.  One submerged in water, while in a sealed coffin.  He made it out in one and a half hours.  Another time he was straight-jacketed in a sealed coffin and buried in a large tank filled with sand.  He escaped!  With all these daring escapes many thought he would never die.  

     But on the afternoon of October 22, 1926, two McGill University students visited Houdini’s dressing room. According to reports, Houdini was looking through his mail, when one of the students, J. Gordon Whitehead, asked Harry if he could indeed withstand any blow to the abdomen, as the magician had previously proclaimed. Harry responded that he could, if given time to brace himself, at which point Whitehead hit Houdini four times in the abdomen, under the impression that Houdini had indeed braced himself for the blows. Throughout the evening, Houdini performed in great pain. He was unable to sleep and remained in constant pain for the next two days, though he did not seek medical help. When he finally saw a doctor, Harry was found to have a fever of 102 degrees and acute appendicitis. He was advised to go to the hospital for immediate surgery. However, Harry decided to complete his show as planned that night. By the time Harry arrived on stage, his fever had risen to 104 degrees. He was tired and in pain and his assistants often had to step in and offer help. Audience members reported that Harry missed his cues and seemed in a hurry. By the middle of the third act, Houdini asked his assistant to lower the curtain as he could not go on. When the curtain closed, Harry collapsed where he was standing and had to be carried back to his dressing room. He continued to refuse medical care until the next morning when Bess insisted he go to the hospital. Harry relented and had his appendix removed; however, it had already ruptured and doctors did not have much hope for his survival. On October 31, 1926 surrounded by his wife and brother, Harry Houdini died.

     Harry had planned for that day.  He intended to be the first to escape the grip of death and come back from the dead by communicating with his wife Beatrice, (Bess).  He made a pact with her that after he died, she was to hold a seance, on the anniversary of his death for ten years.  He promised to come back from the dead and contact her with some code words they often used in his acts.  That is how she would know it was him.  During the first year after his death she would retire to the privacy of hear room every Sunday between noon and 2 pm.  She would sit there in front of his photograph with a candle she kept burning for ten years.  For the next ten years Bess held an annual seance for this contact from her husband.  None came! On the tenth year, at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Beverly Hills, California she held what would be the final seance.  Nothing happened for the last time.  At the end of the seance, Bess Houdini said that it was her personal and positive belief “that spirit communication is not possible in any form.  …The Houdini Shrine has burned for ten years.  I now, reverently, turn out the light, it is finished.  Good night Harry!”  The world’s most famous escape artist could not evade or escape the grip of death.  The only one to do that, as He promised was Jesus Christ.  After three days, like he promised, he rolled the stone away, and walked back into this world alive for evermore…for everyone to see, and for history to record!  It was affirmed not by scientific proof, but by eyewitness testimony.  It still stands or falls on the individual’s faith in this testimony.  It is still a matter of faith. 

     One of my favorite writers, Frederick Buechner points out this important truth about the resurrection.  “Now the truth is the first Christian sermon was not delivered by a man. The first Christian sermon was delivered by a woman. The sermon was delivered by a former prostitute named Mary Magdalene and it was five words: I have seen the Lord. Let her tell them the truth and the truth is, the dangerous truth is: I have seen the Lord. Ever since that sermon … the one five-word sermon … the world has never been the same. It is perhaps the most historic and dangerous oration ever delivered. But the truth is every Easter is historic … Easter brings with it this preposterous idea that a man of flesh and blood … crucified before a hostile crowd … dead three days in a tomb … this man has been raised. The tomb is empty … and he is roaming around. He is with us until the close of the age. If we were to take the time to unpack this … it would be at the very least unsettling. Many of you remember the movie several years ago, starring Tom Hanks, called Cast Away. It’s about a man, Chuck Noland, who works for FedEx – charged with making sure things run on time. He’s on his way to making plans to be married to his sweetheart Kelly, but on Christmas Eve he is called to fix a problem halfway around the world. He travels by cargo plane across the Pacific, but the pilot gets hopelessly off track and ends up crashing far off course and Chuck is the lone survivor and ends up on a deserted island – without hope of anyone finding him. He survives there for four years. Finally, he makes a homemade raft and sets out onto the ocean and is finally discovered by an ocean liner. Now the most compelling moment in the movie for me … is what happens to his fiancée Kelly when he returns. For four years she had lived with the knowledge her Chuck was dead. For four years she had struggled to “move on”. For four years she tried to rebuild her life without him in it. She had married and had children. She had adjusted. But now the “dead man” had appeared. Now he was in the same room with her. Now he was talking to her. Now he was touching her. And now her whole world had been turned upside down … because a dead man had come to life. The truth can be a dangerous thing. That’s what resurrection will do to you. It is an unsettling – and for some, a dangerous idea”.  On another occasion he wrote on the resurrection these words-

“I have no idea what happened except, as I say, what really matters is not so much what happened there as what happens now — what happens in your life and my life, what happens in the world, what happens the next five days, five years of human history. Is God making himself known in some powerful and saving way among people, even [people] who don’t give a hoot about God? Is this still a reality which is part of the madness and self-destructiveness and darkness of the world? That’s what really matters…

The essential message is that nothing, no horror can happen that can permanently, irrevocably quench the presence of holiness that is always there “underneath the everlasting arms.” No matter what dreadful things take place, that remains the heart of reality. There is that wonderful thing from the British saint, Julian of Norwich: “All shall be well, and all manner of things will be well.” That somehow remains true no matter what. That’s, I think, the message of Easter. Yes, this hideous death of Jesus, a good man abandoned, as it would seem, by God. Yet the best has come out of it, which is this nourishing current of hope and new life that still flows in spite of everything. There must be a God. How else could it happen? Why else would it happen?

Martin Luther said once, “If I were God, I’d kick the world to pieces.” But Martin Luther wasn’t God. God is God, and God has never kicked the world to pieces. He keeps reentering the world, keeps offering himself to the world — by grace, keeps somehow blessing the world, making possible a kind of life which we all, in our deepest being, hunger for.”

     We must focus on the life-changing power of the reality of the resurrection.  The entire Christian faith stands or falls on whether it is historical fact.  On one occasion Auguste Compte, the French Philosopher was talking to the Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle.  Compte declared his intention of starting a new religion, based on reason alone, for this new age of reason.  He said that it would completely supplant the religion of Christ.  He said it would have no mysteries and would be as plain as the multiplication tables, its name would be positivism.  “Very good, Mr. Compte”, Carlyle replied.  “very good.  All you will need to do is to speak as never a man spake, live as never a man lived; be crucified and rise again on the third day, and get the world to believe that you were still alive.  Then your religion will have a chance to get on”.  That is why Christianity is still vital and relevant today 2,000 years later!

 Posted by at 2:35 pm

The Magnificent Magnetism of the CROSS

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Apr 052023

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “The Magnificent Magnetism of the CROSS”.

     Author Philip Yancey tells of an experience playing chess with a master player.  He explains his rapid realization that no matter what move he made, no matter what strategy he chose, the master seemed to turn his play around to serve his own purposes. If truth be realized, all of us would identify with Francis Thompson, who felt the same way. He made a lot of moves in life running away from God; seeking pleasure and fulfillment in all the wrong things. But even during his days of drug abuse, living on the streets near England’s Charing Cross, and sleeping nights down by the River Thames, he found that he was not alone.  He wrote a famous poem describing how he was pursued and lovingly sought by the HOUND OF HEAVEN-God, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Readers of English poetry know all about this famous poem. You may even recall Richard Burton’s reading of the 189-line poem… (you can listen on google).

     Francis Thompson was a child of opportunity.  His father wanted him to go to medical school to become a Doctor, or go to Oxford University.  He instead chose to be lured into the world of opiates, in the late 1800’s in England.  It was this addiction that interrupted his education and left him homeless and helpless for several years.  But even during his days of addiction he found himself pursued by Christ, whom he would later, after becoming a Christian, call THE HOUND OF HEAVEN. I cannot share the entire 189-line poem, but here are a few pertinent lines sharing his experience of the magnetic drawing power of the Christ of the Cross:

I fled Him down the nights and down the days

I fled Him down the arches of the years

I fled Him down the labyrinth way of my own mind

And in the midst of tears//

I hid from Him, and under running laughter

Up vistaed hopes I sped

Down titantic glooms of chasmed fears

From those strong feet that followed, I fled

For though I knew His love that followed

Yet I was sore adread



Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest


    He finally surrendered to the HOUND OF HEAVEN.  After his conversion he wrote another poem expressing the same seeking Savior. This follow up poem was called In No Strange Land. 

Oh world invisible, we view thee

Oh world intangible, we touch thee

Oh world unknowable, we know thee

Oh inapprehensible, we clutch thee! //

Does the fish soar to find the ocean?

The eagle plunge to find the air?

We ask the stars in motion

If they have rumor of thee there?

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)

Cry, and upon thy so sore loss

Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder

Pitched between Heaven and Charing Cross//

Yea, in the night, MY SOUL, MY DAUGHTER,

Cry, clinging to HEAVEN, by the Hems;

And lo, CHRIST is walking on the water,


 Posted by at 11:50 am