Monday, July 14, 2014

The Command is Go

If you could address the PCG on the subject of missions, what would you say?


"The command has been to "Go," but we have stayed—in body, gifts, prayer and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth—but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland."


Supporting World Missions in the PCG is the most important thing any of us can do. It’s the commandment of Jesus. Unfortunately, many of us in the ministry have stayed! We have stayed in body, our giving has stayed, we don’t pray for our missionaries as we should, and we have failed to influence others to become a part of the bigger picture. We have grown accustomed to the homeland. I asked a pastor a few years back why his church did not support missions? He said, “The town where God placed me is my mission field.” His focus was small and obedience-limited; how sad. I had no response for him. I just felt sorrow because he was disobeying the commandment of our LORD to go into the entire world and preach the gospel. John Stott put it this way, "We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God."

Share the experience of the church that sold Christmas trees and sent their proceeds to missions, and how you and your team found participating in that fundraiser rewarding?

Pastor Chad Buttrey pastors Chowchilla Family Worship Center. This young man is doing great things for God. He is also serving as our fine district Kingsmen director and doing an unbelievable job. Every year Pastor Chad sells Christmas trees for his building fund, but this year was different. Chad called and told me God had been dealing with him to give all the proceeds from his trees to World Missions. I was speechless. I wanted to help; I mounted my motorcycle with some buddies and we sold trees all day for missions. You can’t even begin to imagine the joy my team felt that day in serving Pastor Chad. 


We sat down for lunch after the trees were all sold. You should know that I bought lunch that day when he handed me a check for $10,000.00 to go to the mission field. Chad’s church has moved up in the kingdom of God, following the words of Jesus to “Go!” His church moved into the top ten in our district some years back, and now his church is 2nd in our district and 4th in the nation for 2013. I can tell you this—God is going to bless his homeland!  

Tell me about fixing bicycles for kids at a local church event.  

As bishop, I travel across our district to get involved with outreach ministry. Even with my extremely busy schedule, I do about five outreaches a year. I went down to Hanford, CA where Bobby Guerra is pastor to help his church with a huge outreach endeavor. Many local churches were teaming up for this big event. I told Pastor Bobby, “When I get there you had better have a job for me.”  When I arrived, I located our very distinguished pastor and asked him what my job was?  He said, “Bishop, I just want you to walk through the crowd and greet the folks.” I reminded Bobby that I had requested a job, not a title.  Reluctantly, he asked, “Can you fix bikes?” Can I? Point me in the right direction. For three hours, the team I brought with me repaired bikes for little children. Seeing the smiles on all of their faces reminded us of the joy of serving!    

How can the local church be more missions-minded?

This is a tough question. Here is the problem: it’s much easier to stay home and serve the Lord here. In reality, the pastor of the local church is the key. If the local pastor wants to stay home, there is not much you can do to change that culture. 


The Central California District has seen success in this area because of several factors.  One is because of prayer. I just love to quote one of my favorite missionaries, J. Hudson Taylor, who said, "Brother, if you would enter that Province, you must go forward on your knees."


I believe that prayer works. I pray every day that God would make our PCG a mission-minded PCG! Prayer changes things! We pray for healing, we pray for victory, we pray for people to get saved, we should also pray for our PCG to give to missions! That’s the kind of prayer we pray at our district office.


Next we should become leaders of persuasion. How can you not like Mark Twain? He must have been more fun than a barrel full of monkeys. Twain said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” He was saying, “If you want influence, you must bring something to the table!”


Keep in mind that you can never bring something to the table that you are not willing to do yourself. Great leaders always lead by example. I remember selling my church board on the idea that we should give ten percent of our tithe base to the World Missions’ Department. I was able to persuade them because of my commitment to that part of my vision. Twice a year we had a special service for missions.  The sell was easy and the board said yes because of my commitment to it. The rest is history.

How does the local church benefit from being missions-minded?

How about eternity? It’s funny how we are always looking for the blessing now, am I right? I fear that we only give for the “pressed down and shaken together and running over” promise. The laws of God are like gravity. When a church becomes missions-minded, gravity takes over!  God’s blessings will come.  But what if they don’t? Eternity! Ladies and gentlemen, that is the only benefit I need to be missions-minded. Though there are many benefits of missions giving, eternity should be the only reason. We don’t need another reason! It’s the only reason!!


How does the church benefit from being missions-minded? How about when Jesus says, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . Enter into the joy of your lord!” (Matthew 24:23). Shouldn’t that be enough? 



Monday, May 20, 2013

Who's on First Row?

By Charles Scott
Two friends are talking as they enter the sanctuary. The following is their conversation.
“There are a lot of new people in church; even the front row is filled. I remember when people who came in late had to sit up front, maybe as close as the fifth row.”
“Yeah, now church is so full you have to get here early to sit in the back. There are so many people I will never learn their names. Who’s on the front row?”
“Yes, it is. And behind him is, What, and I Don’t Know is next to him.”
“Do you know their names?”
“I just told you their names.”
“Who’s on the front row?”
“On the front row?”
“The person sitting on the end of the front row, who is it?”
“Yes, it is Who.”
“Why are you asking me? I’m asking you who is on the front row?”
“That’s his name—Who.”
“What’s whose name?”
“No, What is behind Who.”
“When the usher takes up the offering, who gives the tithe?”
“Who gives it?”
“Of course, he is a new member and a regular tither, and his wife too.”
“Whose wife?”
“That’s right; they joined the church together.”
“What’s the guy’s name on the end of the front row?”
“No, What’s on the second row and I Don’t Know is next to him.”
“I’m not asking you who’s on the second row!”
“Who’s on the front row!”
“The church has a new worship leader. Is she good?”
“What’s her name?”
“Well, I just thought I would ask!”
“Well, I just told you!”
“Who’s preaching now?”
“Who’s on the front row.”
“I Don’t know.”
“He is on the second row next to What.”
“I don’t know what!”
“Come on let me introduce you.”
“I don’t care!”
“I Don’t Care left our church a long time ago. That’s when we started to grow.”
Forgive the parody of Abbot and Costello. Apologies to those of you were expecting something much more spiritual. Just wanted to make a few points:
  • It is not important to my worship experience that I know everyone in the service. In growing churches a vibrant experience with the Presence of God is absolutely necessary. In growing churches, there is more emphasis on the One who sits on the throne than who is sitting in the pew.
  • It is not a requirement to sit by someone I know in order to learn more from the Word of God. In growing churches, a relevant message from God’s Word is absolutely necessary.
  • It is not essential to be married or have children to go to church. People who are single can love Jesus. A growing church knows that the largest segment of society is single, and most single people are not Christians. In a growing church, integrating singles into the corporate Body is essential.
  • It is not compulsory to diminish the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in order to make people feel comfortable. In growing churches, there is a culture of conviction and repentance.
  • It is not necessary to become the culture to be a healthy growing church. It is absolutely necessary that the Church is a countercultural community expressing citizenship in the kingdom of God. The growing church expresses devotion to Jesus Christ by living in obedience to His Word. The growing church does not support missions; the growing church lives missions. The growing church is passionate about each generation and the legacy of faith. The growing church knows that countercultural lifestyle attracts people to Jesus Christ.
  • It is not central to enjoy church or be entertained in a growing church. It is central that each person has a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit.
  • It is not crucial to have all the answers. The growing church gets messy sometimes, and not everyone is perfect. In a growing church it is permissible and people are encouraged to ask hard questions. In a growing church the gospel is held as timeless truth and eternal principles for living.
You may not care for my parody or agree with these points, but one thing is certain: a church cannot grow until I Don’t Care leaves. Hopefully, we see that eye to eye.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Theology of Traffic Jams

By Charles G. Scott
Like a fiery serpent stretched across the landscape the endless line of vehicles stretches as far as the eye can see. It is at the same time bewildering and frustrating: you need to move, you want to move and you wonder what is going on that is not allowing you to move.

It must be horrific. It must be a massive problem. It must be gigantic.

You arrive at the scene of the bottleneck. There is nothing there.

What caused the traffic jam?

For some of you this is a rare if ever occurring situation. You live and commute in an area where traffic jams rarely interfere with your progress. For others it is daily or several times a day and you plan your schedule around the snarls of shuttling sojourners. For all of us working in the realm of the Kingdom of God spiritual setbacks and slowdowns are a constant companion.

A lot can be learned from traffic jams that apply to our spiritual lives.

According to research done by a team of mathematicians, the leading cause of traffic jams is human error. Someone drives too fast or pokes along too slow. The mistake of one driver can cause a ripple effect slowing down traffic for miles and hours of time. The impact of an unexpected event on the road causes a “backward traveling wave” that can slow down traffic as far as thirty miles!
The team developed a mathematical model to show the impact of unexpected events such as a tractor-trailer pulling out of its lane on a dual carriageway (divided highway with median between traffic going in opposite directions). Their model revealed that slowing down below a critical speed when reacting to such an event, a driver would force the car behind to slow down further and the next car back to reduce its speed further still. The result of this is that several miles back, cars would finally grind to a halt, with drivers oblivious to the reason for their delay.

The model predicts that this is a very typical scenario on a busy highway (above 15 vehicles per km). The jam moves backwards through the traffic creating a so-called ‘backward traveling wave’, which drivers may encounter many miles upstream, several minutes after it was triggered. (Science Daily)
Leaders have to deal with “backward traveling waves.” The progress you are desperately trying to achieve can come to a grinding halt by the action, lack of action or reaction of a solitary soul. The result is spiritual stagnation, atrophy and people become frustrated and some even pull off the road you’re trying to lead them and decide to travel another direction.

How do you deal with the spiritual traffic jams in your ministry? The key is found in your prayer life and your personal relationship with Christ.

Traffic jams or leadership/visionary jams occur in every organization at practically every level. Leaders often misperceive that their church, group or organization is facing a “jam” that is peculiar to them. Not true. People are people, organizations are organizations and the problems do not vary. Jams often occur because of these reasons across the board, whether you are driving or leading your organization:
  1. Not every one moves at the same pace – It is a hard lesson for leaders to learn but not every one operates at the same speed. When the light turns green some drivers are ready to get across the intersection and move! Others adjust their mirrors, check incoming traffic, turn up the volume on the radio, talk to their passengers, the list is endless. But the point is that not everyone goes at the same pace. When a vision is cast, some people are ready to go! They have been waiting for direction and they are motivated to move! Others are later adopters – the key for leaders to understand is that neither is all right nor is either all wrong. When leaders try to make late adopters feel bad for not moving faster, relationship issues can become bigger than the visionary goal. Leaders must identify the early movers and the late adopters and learn to communicate effectively to both. Early adopters need to make sure they do not run over innocent people in their pursuit of progress. Late adopters need time to adjust their mirrors before they get started. The leader is the key to keep the traffic moving toward the desired end. It doesn’t matter who gets there first. What matters is that we arrive safely and soundly.
  2. Something is in the way – The main cause of congestion on the freeway or in the organization is an obstacle of some means. It is amazing how traffic slows when a car has pulled off the driveway with a flat tire! Everyone slows down to look! Leaders know that people in general get sidetracked easily! We all do! Most of us carry a phone, laptop, digital tablet, paper tablet, and other devices into meetings. These tools can become major distractions. Our policy dictates meeting requirements that no email, text messaging or accepting phone calls can be done while in the meeting. We can lose our concentration and get distracted by simple things and cause a major jam in the progress!
  3. There is a detour ahead – This is a hard truth for leaders to swallow: sometimes the direction that has been vision cast has to be detoured! We want to believe that we are always perfectly in tune with the need, the direction and the methods necessary to get where we want to go – but sometimes the issue is: we are trying to get where we want to go and NOT where God wants us to go! My favorite chapter is Acts 27. The moral of the stormy story of Acts 27 is simple: it is a redirection of a ship to get Paul to an island that desperately needs the Gospel and a manifestation of the power of God! A stubborn resistance to reroute, redirect and readdress direction can cause severe backups to the plan of God. A rebellion in the leadership took Israel on an extra forty-year journey that delayed an entire nation! Leaders must remain humble and sensitive to the Holy Spirit; this can only occur through extended times of prayer, fasting and accountability to the Word of God. When leaders determine to go their direction it causes snarls to the Body of Christ.
Directing traffic is part of leadership. Moving people into the flow of God’s direction for their lives and the organization means navigating the snarled backflow of jams that occur along the way. It is your duty to God and people to stay on the highway and keep directing traffic! Eventually, the highway will open to the God-directed destiny ordained for you and the people you serve!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mind the Gap - Part 1

By Bishop Charles Scott
Our friends in the United Kingdom have a courteous expression for passengers disembarking from a train, tube (subway train), bus, or car. Whenever you are stepping from the vehicular transport, you will hear these words, “Mind the gap.” It is the British way of saying, “Watch your step.” Generally, there is a space between where you are leaving and where you are going, thus the phrase, “Mind the gap.”

Leadership can be summarized as the assignment to mind the gap. In every leadership situation, there is a gap, a break, a space, a disparity, or an interval between where you are and where you are going. It is in the space between the start and the finish where real leadership occurs. Developing the vision or dream is not hard—everyone has a dream; not everyone knows how to mind the gap between the dream and the reality. Likewise, the same is true of vision and mission; vision and mission statements are hammered out with relative ease. It is the execution that calls for godly leadership.

Three things happen when you mind the gap between where you are and where you want to ultimately arrive. These three elements make or break a leader at any level of service. (This issue contains the first of these observations with more to come.)
  1. You have to leave something behind. It sounds simple and easy. To depart means leaving something behind, but in real life it is very difficult. Israel prayed for deliverance for 400 years but still remembered the taste of fish, onions, leeks, and garlic while on the journey to the Promised Land. Leadership must be forthright and truthful with people: if we go there, we leave here. It is that simple. In today’s politically correct environment, we hear a message that we can “have it all.” No you can’t. In order to get there, we have to leave here. Leaders have to mind the gap of leaving something behind. Leaving means loss; loss breeds emotions; loss means sadness. Sadness means anger; anger means bitterness; and bitterness means rebellion.

    1. Leaders mind the gap of loss by reinforcing the vision. After taking the first step toward the future, people will forget the reasons why the journey began in the first place. “Remember the taskmasters who beat you? Remember being slaves for another man’s vision? Remember your children had no future? Remember how badly you wanted out of that situation? Remember how you prayed for change?” In the words of Douglas Reeves, “Nostalgia for what has been lost will pull mightily at the heart and the head, often causing people to look back instead of forward.”

    2. Leaders mind the gap of loss by reinvigorating the vision. When people are in the midst of the process, they need to be reminded of why they began the journey and where they are going. If you want to live in houses you didn’t build and eat from vineyards you didn’t plant, you have to remind yourself it will be worth the process when you reach the promise. People with a vision from God are no longer the same as they were before the vision, and they will never be the same after the vision. Just as education changes a person’s life forever, God’s visionary promise changes us. If we refuse to step over the gap and leave something behind, we live in rebellion. If we accept the vision and step over the gap, we have moved into a place of uncertainty and discomfort. Either way, nothing will ever be the same. The future belongs to people who are willing to give up the known for the unknown.

    3. Leaders mind the gap of loss by responding to the vision. Setting the example is the leader’s best work. Leadership calls for sacrificial action. The most-often-heard criticism shared with me about other leaders is, “They let everyone else do the work.” The most effective leaders do not merely give directions; they are willing and able to pick up some bags and move to the new destination. In an era of preachers who need someone to carry their Bible to the pulpit, this philosophy is archaic, but it is still right. Paul said it this way, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Leaders who are in the headlines for abuse, moral failure, stewardship atrocities, and other character flaws may provide great intuitive insight, but people want to follow a leader who has the grit to carry a load, get their hands dirty, work up a sweat, and set the pace. The PCG needs leaders who serve; not leaders who merely label themselves with the latest fad titles. Preachers that do not pray should excuse themselves from the pulpit until they have “prayed through.” Preachers that do not tithe should repent and obey or leave the ministry. Preachers with little control of their fleshly temptations should seek counsel, find help, and deal with the issue, or find another vocation. God requires our very best.

    You have been called and anointed by God to lead people from here to there. They will not want to leave; they will get weary on the journey; they will be emotional. They will question your ability; they will doubt your decisions. They will be hard to deal with and have many problems.

    But they need you. Without you, they will fall through the gap. You must mind the gap.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Praying Through Aurora

By Daniel Davis (
When I heard the news of the horrific “Movie Massacre” in Aurora, CO, I shuddered: surely this perpetrator is diabolical, demonic, demon-possessed. After all, people like that have to be under demonic control.

Or do they?

We want these things to be the work of some otherworldly evil that takes control of a willing participant, because to face the alternative is too frightening. What is the alternative? That James Holmes committed such heinous work out of his own human evil.

This is a very discomforting possibility: every human has the capacity for immense evil. The wiser among us have always known this. The late Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn trenchantly explained: “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”

The evil committed by James Holmes is not some special unique kind of evil. It was the outworking of a process wherein he gave himself over little by little to cooperating with evil within his own heart (or much by much — we can only guess). His work was the bitter fruit of wicked seeds cultivated in human soil.

And what about us? We may console ourselves that we are not wicked. Or are we? Do we not also cooperate with evil when we participate in murderous slander? Do we not further evil when we erode the fabric of reality by spewing falsehood — even white lies? Do we not give a little over to evil when we allow the filth of our heart to be released in degrading words and actions? Do we not collaborate with evil when we abuse the weak and disenfranchised? Holmes does not have a special evil. Perhaps not even a possession. He simply yielded to that same battle within our own hearts.

This is the Christian message: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked…” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Yet there is more to our message: “Behold I make all things new” (Revelation 8:5).

As we consider the tragedy in Aurora, we grieve, we experience anger, we pray, we consider the war in our own soul, we extend love, and we have hope.

Our hope is that this shattering massacre is not the end. Even in the midst of this situation the Spirit of the Lord is hovering over the broken chaos of the earth tying it all to another horrific blood-letting: the cross. That brokenness was remade in a resurrected glory.

Today, we share in that journey from bloodshed to re-creation. We all, with the families and friends of the victims in Aurora, to some degree share the sufferings of this world. We grieve and groan and hope for a day when all things will be new — where there will be no death or sickness or wars or massacres. We scream with creation in pain and frustration: “This isn’t right!” And as the most honest of us confess, we do not know what to do. We cannot put the pieces back together. We cannot replace the bullet to the gun or return the lives lost. We cannot undo the brokenness.

So we groan. We weep. We sigh. And that is not a bad thing to do. In doing that, we are sharing in the process of making a new world: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans…in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26, 27).

The brokenness cannot be undone. The blood cannot be unshed. But it can be made new. Jesus is already there in the bloody mess. In prayer and love, we join him there with hope that this old order of things is already passing away and a new way is coming even in the middle of the distress. In God’s mysterious way, Aurora is found at Calvary. A new Aurora can be found on the other side of the tomb.

So let us pray.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Be a Son

I have a friend who is a prison chaplain for the Florida Department of Corrections. He told me that 80% of the men who are incarcerated had no relationship with their fathers. Sad, but not surprising in light of King Solomon’s observation found in Proverbs 29:15 (KJV) “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” How often we have witnessed the destructive aftermath of sons who have no father figure to guide them! I have seen them try ever so valiantly, but moms just cannot be dads. There is no substitute for filling the role and responsibility of being a father to your son.

Everyone that knows me knows that my biological father dropped the ball big time. He failed in his opportunity to be a loving father to my seven siblings and me. He lived to regret the abuse that he perpetrated on his family. Fortunately he received forgiveness from God before he passed away, and a great deal of restoration took place between him and me. Having been able to survive and recover from the dysfunction of my early adolescent years, I’ve come to realize some wonderful spiritual things.

I love reading and listing to my dear friend and fellow minister, Pastor Russell Hylton, teach about father and son relationships. His experience with his father is very different from that of mine and my father. His father is a wonderful Godly man and a personal friend of mine. Pastor Hylton and his father are an excellent example of what the father and son relationship can be when there is love, respect and honor.

I have learned that as a Christian man I cannot make excuses for my actions based on what my father did or didn’t do. I cannot be irresponsible, immature or insensitive toward my family and those within my sphere of influence because of what I experienced in the past. God will give anyone a new start if they will put their complete trust in Christ.

Paul said it like this, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV). The Lord has helped untold thousands to rise above their circumstances and be free in Jesus name! Anyone can do it; not everyone does. We cannot get up on our own — we must trust the Lord and walk in His ways.

I have found that I can choose to “be a son.” Wow! Even though my father fell way short of setting an example for me to follow, I can be a son. My favorite verse in the scripture is John 1:12 (KJV) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Me a son, a son of God? What great news that is to me!

I have also learned that although I’m no spring chicken (having turned 50 last year), I can be a son to a lot of the men in my life. One of the greatest complements I ever received came from a gentleman that served on my church board for a number of years. He has three grown daughters but never had a son. One day in a conversation he said, “I never had a son but if I did, I would want him to be a lot like you.” I got leaky eyes over that one!

Maybe you have longed for a relationship with your dad but he is unavailable, uninterested or no longer living. No one can ever take the place of Dad, but you can find a great deal of fulfillment being a son, even if you’re only related by the Spirit.

I appreciate the people in my life that inspire me to think about great spiritual truths like this. In this case it was someone very special to me — thanks son!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Aftermath: Remembering Joplin After The Storm


On this day last year, Crystal and I drove into Joplin, Missouri. The whole nation had seen glimpses of the devastation caused by the tornado that was six miles long and a mile wide. The twister destroyed one third of the town, razing it to the ground right through the heart of the city. St. John’s Hospital made headline news because the facility was badly damaged.

St. John's Hospital

However, nothing we had seen on T.V. could have prepared us for the devastation we witnessed on May 25, 2011. We joined Daniel and Rhonda Davis, and the relief efforts of the Pentecostal Church of God, which were underway at Messenger College. After arriving at Messenger’s gym, Daniel took us on a tour of the city. Because buildings were flattened, one could see from the area of town where the tornado began in the west (not far from St. John’s Hospital) to Duquesne Village in the east.

Over the next few days, we had time to hear the stories of our family, all of whom survived the tornado. My brother Bret’s twelve-year-old son Rio was with his mom and step-dad in their house near St. John’s Hospital. By the time they knew the tornado was upon them, there was nowhere they could run. Counting immediate and visiting family, there were nine in their house. Without a basement, all nine crammed into their innermost room, a small laundry room. Rio’s step-dad Daniel sat Rio on top of the washer and literally laid his torso over Rio to protect him. Rio’s mom Monica sat on the floor clutching her small son Marko in her arms. At one point, she could feel the vacuum of the tornado pulling Marko up into the air. When it finally passed, they all looked up into the sky overhead where their roof had just been. They emerged from the laundry room to discover it was the only room in the house that still had all four walls intact. Crystal and I listened to Daniel tell the story, all of us tearing up, as we stood with him in the wreckage that was his house.

Daniel and Monica's Laundry Room
Looking Up Out of the Laundry Room

Later I met with my brother Matt and we walked through his father-in-law’s house, where his family was when the tornado struck. Matt’s father-in-law Dennis received a last-second call from someone urging him to take cover because a tornado was on the way. At that moment, Matt was at the back entrance watching the storm. He saw the wind whip the trees violently one way, then bend them back violently the other way. Then the sky suddenly changed color and he knew it was bad. Matt started yelling, telling everyone to go to the basement. Everyone was headed down the stairs, but Dennis suddenly turned back. He is a car salesman and had a company car in the driveway. He told Matt, “I gotta get the Escalade in the garage.” Matt refused to let Dennis by, and moved him down the basement steps. The instant Matt had turned and closed the basement door behind him, he heard the house ripping apart. Thankfully, all were safe in the basement, by a split second. Later, as they climbed out of the basement, they discovered that much of the roof and second floor were gone. There were also projectiles all over the house, items that had flown through, many that were from other places. Even though the main damage was on the second floor, there is a good chance someone would have been injured by a projectile on the first floor.

Matt's In-Law's Basement
Looking Up from the First Floor
The Missing Second Floor

Over the course of our six days in Joplin in the aftermath, we were honored to aid in the relief efforts. However, we were blessed when people would entrust us with their stories. We discovered that the split-second decisions our family made were not uncommon. People just knew where to hide at the last moment, as if someone had told them, and in fact many claimed that someone did. These stories are not easily dismissed, and are nothing short of miraculous.

What actually happened in the real world on May 22, 2011? What if the veil that separates the physical world from the real world could be pulled back and we could see the truth? As the reports kept funneling in, we realized that people knew what to do at the last second. Some claimed a voice told them. Others even claimed angels appeared. Many children said butterflies led them to safety. In the aftermath of the Joplin tornado, I believe I heard stories from people who were eyewitnesses to the Host of Heaven!

Joplin has suffered loss. Families have suffered loss. But Joplin is still rebuilding. A tedious journey still lies ahead. Yet God is still interested in this Mid-West town. Although there were deaths, God showed His protection, when countless lives could have been taken. He will continue to show His strength as Joplin faces each new day.
Psalm 91.1: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2: I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3: Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4: He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5: Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6: Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7: A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8: Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9: Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10: There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11: For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

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