Hi to all my Forum Friends,
So often, I am sure that many pastors and Bible teachers wonder if the Bible lessons they teach are making a difference -- or if they, the teachers, are just "spitting into the wind." Yes, even the most dedicated pastors and teachers do experience burn-out at times and wonder if anyone is listening. One thing they, and we, know is that God is always listening. And, He will bring fruit in His time.
My reason for sending this message is to acknowledge the fruit of one special pastor and to let him know that, yes, I was listening. In 1987, Dory and I met Pastor Sam Lacanienta and that year he led me to the Lord. For that, I am etenally grateful. But, I want him to know that the sermon lessons, Sunday School lessons, and Bible study lessons he taught over those years -- were heard. And, much of what I write today is grounded in those early lessons.
One lesson Pastor Sam taught, in word and through example, is that when a loved one or a dear friend who is a Christian dies -- those who are not Christian believers must say "Goodbye" -- for, unless they turn and follow Jesus Christ -- they will never see that loved one again. But, we who are Christians do not say "Goodbye." Instead, we say, "Goodnight, I will see you on that glorious resurrection morning."
My wife, Dory's, Christian ministry is to teach piano and voice lessons. She has students from nine years old to college level. While she and I love each student, consider each one very special, and treasure the time each one spends at our home learning and sharing music -- one young fellow is very special. His name is Josh, nine years old, and filled with life. He practices his piano lessons with gusto -- and, during voice lessons, he sings with gusto, totally uninhibited and full of life. I joke that we have a future American Idol winner in him.
Several weeks ago, after the lesson, his mom Luz, Dory, and I were talking about Biblical issues, specifically heaven, death, suicide, and eternal security. I shared with them Pastor Sam's teaching that we, as believers, say "Goodnight" to a Christian loved one and not "Goodbye." Josh was doing something else and I had no idea he was even listening.
The following week, Josh told Dory that he had written a song and sang it for us. When Josh sang, my heart leaped. Even though he was not involved in the discussion his mom, Dory, and I had the previous week -- he heard -- and it stayed in his heart. Below is Josh's song. Although his song reflects much of what we adults talked about that day -- take a look at the text in blue. Pastor Sam's teaching of "Goodnight, I will see you on that glorious resurrection morning" struck a special chord in Josh's nine year old heart.
This is another reason why I firmly believe Bible Studies should be "Family Bible Studies" -- including mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, siblings young and old, and Friends, young and old. In all the years of Pastor Sam's Bible Studies; the whole family was always included. For many years in our Corona church our Bible Studies always were family events. From both of these I have seen amazing ministries coming from our young people -- great fruit of their Christian faith.
And, in my twenty-four years and counting as a Christian believer -- I must say that the only negative fruit I have ever seen from our Bible Studies was from those where children and young people were allowed to go into another room to play -- while only the adults discussed the Word of God.
My Friends, the Word of God is for everyone -- young and old. And, my dear young Friend, Josh, is a perfect example of how ready our young people are to absorb His Word. Even if we do not think our children are old enough to understand all we discuss -- let's keep them close enough that their young minds at least have a chance to absorb at its own level. They will find none of God's Word playing games in another room.
With that said, let me share Josh Manuel's new song with you, written from his beautiful young heart:
SO MUCH TO BELIEVE
By Josh Manuel
There is so much to believe! Once more to believe!
So much to believe on God our Lord!
Believe on God our Lord and it will be true!
God has promised us He will protect us,
If we just believe and love Him,
He will protect us!
If you are upset at God our Lord . . .
And you think you are not special to God . . .
Do not think that you are not special to God, because He loves you . . .
As His special treasure in His whole life, you'll ever be known!!!
If you just believe that God loves you . . .
You won't be miserable and you won't be mad forever!
If you are not taking care of yourself . . .
And you don't care for your life . . .
Just think and believe that God is protecting you
And saving you from danger and guiding you and loving you . . .
Think about that God is doing all of this . . . for you.
If your loved one has passed away . . . just say Goodnight,
And you will see them tomorrow . . . if you just believe on that.
If you believe that there is heaven
That loved ones who passed away will go to heaven
And you will see God and Jesus
And the loved ones you love, And live there with God!
If you just believe the Lord our God!!
I pray that Josh's song and his grasp of God's love has put a song in your heart -- and that it will encourage you to share the Word of God with others. As a matter of fact, please feel free to share this message with your Friends, Relatives, Associates, and Neighbors -- all your FRANs. May we all have the heartfelt enthusiam of young Josh in sharing the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all the world -- until He returns.
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,