May, 2015 browsing by month


Jim Cymbala’s new book

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Reading the new book by Jim Cymbala entitled, “Storm!”!

It was recommended by my friend Raul Ries.

The below quotes remind me of one of our main points from Sunday’s message (at the culmination of our ten days of prayer) entitled “It’s all about Jesus”..

May the Holy Spirit bring renewal and revival!

“If congregations are mainly prayerless and show little hunger for God’s Word or his presence, why would we want to make that a new paradigm? Why would we want any solution that doesn’t emulate the church Jesus began in the book of Acts?”


“Our problem is not with a godless, secular America, but with a church that is increasingly prayerless, compromised, demoralized, and weak. We have drifted away from the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Where will we find the grace to change? To turn things around?
When will we be desperate enough to come to God just as we are, pleading for his help and ready to follow wherever he leads?
In many places now, it seems we would rather blame the culture, the school system, the government, and the media rather than examine our own spiritual condition.
Let’s be contemporary and let’s be current, but let’s also be anchored on Christ and his Word. Instead of “reinventing” ourselves, maybe we should rediscover God’s plan for his church. Instead of depending on our limited IQs and concepts of clever marketing, let’s humble ourselves and say, “Come, Holy Spirit, and bless in a new way the work we do for Jesus.”

“The Task At Hand”

Monday, May 18th, 2015

For years I loved watching Tyronne Willingham, the head football Coach at Stanford University, lead his team during a football game. I was so inspired by how resolute and calm he remained amidst the highly emotional ups and downs, and the victories and disappointments, that occurred during a three hour game! 

Coach Willingham, later coached at Notre Dame and eventually at the University of Washington, where he recruited our son Greg. It was then that I had the chance to spend some time with him and ask him how he was able to keep his composure and good attitude on the sidelines? In effect he answered, “My focus is not on the past, nor the future – but always on the play that is right before us.”

Famed Alabama Coach Nick Sabans said something similar, “Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the National Championship. Think about what you need to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today – the task at hand!”

Yes! “Let’s think about what we can do today – the task at hand!” 


So, let’s apply that principle, in the face of some very important questions:

Question: “How is the world going to be reached for the Gospel?”
Answer: “One person at a time!” That’s the task at hand!

Question: “How is the local church going to be strengthened?”
Answer: “With each Christian being responsible to do their part.” That’s the task at hand!

Question:“How is the family strengthened in America?”
Answer: “With godly leadership in the home!” That’s the task at hand!

Question: “How will revival take place in the church?”
Answer: “When a Christian gives room to the Holy Spirit in their life!” That’s the task at hand!

Today, focus on the “task at hand” as we “pray-our-hearts-out” during our ten days of prayer.

Perspectives on Prayer….

#1 Prayer is like “time exposure with the Lord”– an intimate and loving relationship!
#2 Prayer is about getting God’s will in heaven, here on earth.
#3 Prayer says “Lord, I am dependent upon your power and I am available for you to work through my life!”

We love you and you are in our prayers!

Pray That The Lord Would Be Really Big To You!

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

(The following encouragement is based on Romans 4:17-22 which is a great read!)

Abraham knew he was weak in body. He knew he was frail. He also knew his wife Sarah was past child-bearing age.

It would have been very difficult for Abraham to find confidence in life in his circumstances.

However (and this is key): Abraham did not project his own frailty upon God!

This tells us that being fully aware of own weaknesses – yet having vision of the greatness of God is more than compatible. What Abraham did was compartmentalize his own weaknesses to keep it from obscuring his view of who God really is!

I ask, “Do you feel weak?” “Are you aware of your own frailty at this time in your life?” “Are circumstances super difficult?”

Your faith, can still be strong like Abraham’s was.

During these “Ten Days of Prayer” I encourage you to pray, “ I know I am weak but you are strong. Lord, fill my heart with the bigness of who You are!” The Lord will bless you because Hebrews 11:6 reads, “Without faith it’s impossible to please God and they that come to Him must believe that He is, and He is rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!”

Abraham “was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” (Romans 4:20-21)

The Process.Prayer.And Productivity!

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Some thoughts as we prepare for “Ten Days of Prayer” between May 14th – 24th

The men and women who are identified in Hebrews 11 (commonly known as the “Great Hall Of Faith”) – understood God’s will for their lives and were willing participants. In short, they were process-oriented, rather than product-oriented!

What does that mean? Below are seven important priorities that are to define our life. I’d encourage you during our time of prayer together as a church family to go over this list in meditation and prayer while looking up these passages. The following points reflect the process of walking in God’s will…

1) Loving the Lord with all your heart (Mark 10:30-31; Rev. 2:4-5; Isaiah 6).
2) Faithfully obeying God’s Word (John 8:31-32; John 17:17; John 14:15).
3) Serving others with a “foot-washing” heart (Eph. 4:1-2; 5:1-2; John 13:14-17).
4) Believing, what we believe sincerely (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 8:28; John 3:16; Romans 4:17-22).
5) Praying with passion and dependence on Christ (Luke 3:21-22; Luke 6:12-13; John 11:41-42; John 17)
6) Living a pure and holy life in this sensual world (1 Thess. 4:4-7; Romans 12:1-2; I John 2:15-17).
7) Manifesting a positive and supportive attitude in the midst of difficulties (Phil. 4:4-7; 13; Romans 4:17-22).

Perspective …

1) The above values are all valuable in and of themselves.
2) With regard to productivity and impacting for Christ in a generation: keep in mind that the Holy Spirit works in and through willing and available people who remain faithful to the right values.
3) Do your best and commit the rest to the Holy Spirit because ultimately it is His work.
4) Whether your efforts are measurable in this lifetime or not, remember – faithfulness is always seen by God, weighed by God and rewarded by God — and glorifies God!

#1 Olives
(Picture taken atop the Mt of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. Thank you Mark and Lisa Ludwig for sending me this picture!)

Let’s Pray For Revival (The Ten Days Between The Ascension And Pentecost!)

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

There is a story of a young man who approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. “That depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you fell this tree.” The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, “You can start Monday.”

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by — and Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.”

Startled, the young man replied, “I thought you paid on Friday.”

“Normally we do,” said the foreman. “But we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last place today.”

“But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “I arrive first, leave last and even have worked through my coffee breaks!”

The foreman, sensing the young man’s integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, “Have you been sharpening your axe?”

The young man replied, “No sir, I’ve been working too hard to take time for that!”

Here’s a good question we should ask ourselves, “Are we using, ‘dull axes’ in our attempt to make an impact for Jesus and if so, what do we need to do to sharpen our influence?”

John Bunyan once said: “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray, until you have prayed.”

It is impossible to be sharp in our influence for Christ outside of prayer!

E. Stanley Jones penned, “Prayer is surrender – surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will. If I throw out a boathook from the boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but aligning of my will to the will of God.”

For the last few weeks I have shared from my heart that I believe there is coming for many Christians a, “re-awakening”, to the fact that the most innovative, powerful, and the most important influence in the world is the Person and work of the Lord Jesus in and through His church! It will be an “aha! moment” that it is really Jesus Christ Followers who embody the needed leadership in the world. It will be a re-awakening to the fact that it is the Christians who are the ambassadors of the true peace plan for man – the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is Christians who will one day inherit the earth and the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus! And that this re-awakening will result in a re-commitment to godly disciplines that facilitate growth in a Christian’s life. The godly disciplines of prayer, service in the church, study of God’s Word and making Christ known in our generation helping people physically, emotionally and spiritually!

Oh how we need such a re-awakening — and fast!

We are watching our culture change in dramatic ways – very quickly – right before our eyes! It reminds me of Judges 17:6 which says “every man did that which was right in his own eyes…” and Isaiah 5:20, “those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness …”

Currently, the Supreme Court is considering whether to re-define marriage which means that they are considering whether to change the meaning of the first institution that God created which has shaped western civilization for thousands of years.

Edward Gibbons, famed author of the book, “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire”, identified that the number one reason for the fall of the Roman Empire was the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home.

If same sex marriage passes, American society as we have known it since our founding, is done! But, there is hope – just as there has always been hope in the Kingdom that Jesus is building. Jesus disintegrates, disintegration — and brings renewal and healing that will last forever!

I ask you, are you sensing the voice of the Holy Spirit calling you to pray?

I trust you have heard of Pastor Saeed Abedini …

Today, he is in an Iranian prison for his faithfulness to Jesus Christ. He has been beaten and tortured for his faith and his unwillingness to turn to Islam. He wrote, “As an American and as a prisoner for Christ, I have spent many hours praying and crying out to God for revival for this great nation. We all hope for the success of our nation and for America to be blessed, but without revival there can be no true success or blessing. Change starts with us. Revival starts with us. The first step to revival is praying …Please use this opportunity. Please use your freedom for the kingdom of God!”

Stephanie and I want to invite you to join us in prayer for Ten Days between May 14th to the 24th which actually coincide historically to when the early church prayed for ten days between the ascension of Christ and the day of Pentecost. After the early church gathered for those ten days in prayer in Jerusalem while awaiting the promise of the Father, the Gospel was preached and 3,000 people came to faith in Jesus Christ!

Let’s set aside a portion of our time every day from May 14th-23rd (perhaps between 12:00 -1:00pm) to give the Lord our attention, praying for a revival and a re-awakening beginning in each of our own hearts!

May the Lord sharpen our lives and our influence to His glory!

Jaffe Gate Jerusalem

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

#1 Sarah Jaffe#1 Dad Jaffe

This is a picture of our daughter Sarah at the gate in 2010 and a picture taken of myself walking out of the Old City on my way back to the U.S.!