(a.k.a. "Pastor Thom's Blog")

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!

Isaiah 55:1

A Hunger For More Column

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February 2, 2008

A very strange thing has happened.  I stumbled last weekend over the listing of the book that I had written on AmazonDotCom.  I had been told by the publisher that it was scheduled to be released on March 3 of this year, but I guess it got out early for good behavior. 

It's called The Fairy Tale Parables and was a product of my family's fondness for "story-time".  Our reading classic fairy tales awakened on every turn countless spiritual applications for the stories that we read.  This was fun to write, but I hope that the truth of God's Word and His love for people everywhere will prove to be more than merely entertaining or even heartwarming.  I hope most of all that it introduces people into  new life with Jesus.

Here is the back cover summary of the book...

Prepare to journey again to lands and times you once knew as a child, and revisit your favorite fairy tales. It turns out that there may be more to those stories than meets the eye. Be prepared for the voice of God to speak into your heart and life unexpected words of love, conviction and encouragement. Inside this book are pearls waiting to be unearthed by seekers of truth. Do you dare open your heart to the Giver of truth? Do you dare not to?

At any rate, it was a bit surreal to see it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and BordersstoresDotCom (Borders' online site).  It was even on Target's website (oka-a-a-ay).

My Author Website is newly up and running (don't expect anything too fancy though)!  :-)

 

Okay... so it's not necessarily going to win a prize for great literature!

December 1, 2007 

Well, we had our annual shoot-out... er... I mean our annual Christmas picture "photo op" a few days ago.  What a job!  Um... I mean what a joy!  Actually, we end up taking about fifty pictures on our digital camera just to get one picture that we can put in our Christmas cards.  It's not that we're looking for the "perfect" picture... we'll settle for eyes open and everybody facing the general direction of the camera.  Diane and I also generally prefer fingers kept to selves (and not poking, prodding, or picking):  that way, brothers or sister are not making strange and fearful faces for the camera.

Then, after the picture that Diane and I can agree on is taken (the standard usually  being much lower than when we began the picture taking), we allow the children to make "funny faces" of which we also take snapshots and upload to the computer.  I offered to post this picture also on the web, but our oldest threatened to move to Siberia if we did (I started packing his bags, but Diane caved in).

Anyway, enjoy our annual Christmas picture.  Much blood, sweat, and tears were shed in the production of it.

Picture taking reminds me a little of those moments when we'd really like to have our act together but nothing seems to be working out.  Try as we might, our imperfections, the effects of unwise decisions, or just difficult circumstances come waltzing our way and mess everything up. 

Because most people reading this are human (well, I assume so anyway), I'll take it for granted that you know what I am talking about.  You know that sometimes you say or do things you shouldn't say or do; you also plan your life and work hard but find  hurtful things that are beyond your control still happen to you. 

Just remember grace.  I am not the most patient of men (to which my children and wife heartily cry, "Amen!").  But as Diane and I take our pictures on occasions such as these, I TRY to hold it together, remember that they're children, and consequently, their attention span isn't necessarily that of an adult.

If I can find enough restraint to keep from losing my temper (my sanity being another matter altogether), then God, Who is infinitely powerful and wise and loving, can handle my own immaturity and tendency to be somewhat less than "picture perfect".

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and redeemed His people.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David... to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant... to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.  Luke 1:68-69, 72, 74-75

 

Please... somebody shoot me!

 

 

September 14, 2007 

If you are even remotely paying any kind of attention to what's going on around you, there's a ninety-five percent chance that you're encountering people around you in your weekly experience who are "broken" (okay, I would have said "ninety-nine point nine nine nine nine" but I didn't want to be obnoxious).

By "broken" I simply mean that the person(s) in question is/are suffering somehow from inward distress due to fear/regret/pain (you name it) coming from either past experiences or choices, present difficulties, or future uncertainties (or undesirable "certainties" as the case may be).

In fact, you may be a "broken" person right now, inwardly struggling but feeling like you've fallen off the wall and that "all the king's horses" and "all the king's men" are just not gonna cut it fixing your broken heart.

Well, that might be right actually.  The king's horses and his men just can't reach in deep enough to take all your pain away, erase the past, fix the present, and guarantee the future.  They can't... but the King can.  It is after all why He came.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19 NAS).

So when He sends out "all the King's horses and all the King's men" in Matthew 28, He's sending them out to be vessels through whom He continues the ministry of preaching to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives, granting of sight to the blind, and setting free the downtrodden.

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20 NAS).

What's our business?  Why are we here?  It isn't to fix people but it IS to lead them to the One Who can "put them together again".

And it came about that while He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man full of leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."  And He stretched out His hand, and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed."  And immediately the leprosy left him.  Luke 5:12-13

 

Broken Lives (or What We're Doin' Down Here)
April 24, 2007 

It doesn't take most folks very long to figure out that evil isn't always discernable (no, let's say instead that it isn't always obvious).  Wouldn't it be nice if things that were evil and things that were good simply wore bright neon signs that identified them so?  Or what if the good guys always wore white and the bad guys always wore black?  On the other hand, that would simply leave us with a fashionably drab world since everybody would have to wear black ("There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins" Ecclesiastes 7:20 NIV).

But deception is one of the qualities of evil that we should assume.  With subtlety, evil can woo the unwary, win over the worried, and wile the wayward.  Then, once its thorny vines have intertwined about its victims' lives, the thorns sprout, and the vine constricts, suffocating spiritual life, hope, and potential for everlasting fruit.

In some cases, the evil fruits ripen and burst open with horrible results (as with Cho at Virginia Tech).  In all cases, however, it brings death... spiritual death at the least.  What hope is there then for the world?  The hope found in Christ Jesus.  "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).  "In all cases," I said, and "in all cases," I mean.  But "if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness" (Romans 8:10).  So, if I am in Jesus (having placed my faith in Him alone to save me from the power and penalty of sin), death has already been counted to me (or rather, my sin) and I am no longer bound to the destiny that once was mine, being free now to really live life... life in His Spirit.

Watch out then.  Seek to know Him through His Word (the Bible), through prayer, and through fellowship with God's people in a local, Bible-based church.  Seek to know the face of all that is good and holy so that you won't be taken in by evil's counterfeits.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8

 

The Face of Evil

(or I'll Get You, My Pretty; and Your Little Dog, Too!)

 

March 30, 2007 

I'm generally cautious about posting or writing specifically about members of my family (and this is no exception) but I would like to mention that first, the Lord has blessed me with a wonderful family!  And not only am I personally blessed, our work here with Pathway could not be nearly as fruitful as it has been (not to mention that it wouldn't also be nearly as rewarding) without them.  Secondly, given that God greatly esteems the institution of family (identifying Himself as THE Father), I simply want to say here that the purpose and mission of Pathway is, in part, to help shore the foundations of the Christian family for the glory of God and for the health and wholeness of each family member.

After all, it would not be incorrect to say that the family, as instituted by God, is the first and foremost means byThe Mollohan Clan which God exerts His influence over the social ebbs and flow of our communities, government, and the world (not to mention our churches themselves).  The mission of the Church, then, is NOT to replace the spiritual impact that moms and dads should be having on their children (being the divinely-ordained primary sources of godly counsel and spiritual instruction), but should be coming alongside the family to support and strengthen it in its mission to raise up a generation who will fulfill the destiny for which they've been created.

There are a lot of bad things going on in the world today... even in America.  Perhaps the greatest evil taking place is that the family, more often than not, is not walking with God as it should.

Maybe your family is struggling, riddled with relational difficulties, health issues, and financial woes.  Start surrendering your family to God's care.  Maybe you've neglected  your role as father, mother, son, or daughter... still, change your direction now and find out how God's power and influence through a life that is really surrendered to His lordship can be a powerful tool in turning the tide of the lives of our loved ones.  And be a part of a church, like Pathway, which will support you in your role as a family member and leader!

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Deuteronomy 6:4-7

 

A Family Affair...
March 20, 2007

Spiritual life and significance can be measured by neither levels of activity nor by our emotions.  In fact, emotional charges we get when we attend highly-charged meetings can encourage us, but are in some ways a bit like coffee.

Now don't get me wrong!  I like coffee!  A bit too much (which is why I frequently will "fast" from it)....    ;-)

Nevertheless, emotional highs from "super spiritual" experiences (e.g., a Christian music concert with an incredible speaker) can affect us a bit like coffee in the morning.  Of course, the caffeine in coffee doesn't generate any real energy in your system... it just speeds up your metabolism giving you the sensation and temporary effect of a surge of energy.  In a similar way, things that excite us spiritually, while pleasant and often helpful, can be no more than the metaphysical equivalents of caffeine!

So if we're not careful, we can get confused about our own spiritual condition (maybe assuming that we're way off track because the positive feelings have cooled off a bit).  Or we can assume the opposite, that we're right on track when we're feeling "high" with enthusiasm.

The fact is, though, that unless we're carefully nurturing an intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we're going to reach some really wrong conclusions and likely make some really bad decisions.  Make sure then that you're getting more than just spiritual coffee in your life.

I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

  Okay, but only one cup!
March 8, 2007

In doing what I do in my "other" job, as the director of career services at the local university, my office and I had the privilege of hosting a career fair in which over forty employers could meet nearly 170 students.

As each of these students meet and visit with prospective employers, the question arises for the Christian student, "What is God's direction for me?".  Some perhaps found a career path at the event.  Some may not have discovered theirs yet, but hopefully received more information to consider as they seek God's will. 

But the REAL question to ask for them and for each of us is whatever the path that God has in store for us, will we do our utmost for His highest?

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him...Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:17, 22-23

 

My Utmost For his Highest
March 1, 2007

All right!  We're giving the ol' weblog another go!  The former blog service, which was provided by the company who hosts our web page , is no longer in operation so I'm obliged to try to keep this modest little weblog going via regular web page design although it's a little harder to do.  I don't know that I'll try to archive things, but at least this won't be at the mercy of  the changing dynamics of our web host - as wonderful as our web host is... No really!  I'm not being facetious.         :-)

Anyway, if you're interested, I write the weekly column A Hunger For More for our local newspaper.

The primary passion for my life is to see God's people fall in love with their Creator all over again and to come into the full experience of the Christian life intended them by God.

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart... the LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever.... Psalm 138:1, 8

  Here we go again!
       

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