“The Narrow Road” Book Review – Greg Holt

 

The Narrow Road is a must read story based on actual events. This is a gripping, passionate, and intense story of a young boy abandoned by his parents – resulting in tremendous heartache. “Brian’s” story is a story of painful trials, many questions and self-doubts. As Brian matures into a man and lives life on his own, he faces many setbacks and challenges – while at the same time meeting supportive and caring people who support and guide him through a sometimes-painful journey. This is a story of love, of meeting a loving God and trusting in Jesus to bring healing and hope.

The Narrow Road is a well-written book that will make you laugh, possibly shed a tear, and it will make you think – as well as rejoice. Regardless of our situation in life, there is always hope; when that hope is placed in Jesus Christ.

In the second half of this book, Sue’s story is a story of courage, of not giving up when the going gets rough as a newly minted Christian after accepting Jesus and being a brand new Christian with many questions is not only a great story, but also a guide for the rest of us. Whether one is a new Christian, or someone who has known Jesus for some time – Sue’s story and insights are a great help and a comfort.

I highly recommend this book; Sue Cass has outdone herself yet again. I read this book in one day. If you are looking for encouragement, a great story, a “God” story – or maybe a true story of love that includes Jesus Christ – you will find it all in this story.

 

Greg Holt
Editor and Publisher of The Olive Branch Report and Inspirational Christian Blogs

 

May be purchased at:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The+Narrow+Road%2C+Sue+Cass

http://www.Barnesandnoble.com

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Ask Yourself…

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If I died today, would I go to heaven?

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What qualifies me to enter heaven?

 

These are two important questions to ask both Christians and non-believers. No one wants to think they will spend eternity in hell and many just assume they will go to heaven. Not all will! The answer can determine our destination.

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Blessings to you

 

The Rapture is Only the Beginning

The Church of the Left Behind

Not all humans are going to be spending eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. When He comes with the blowing of the trumpet there will be many that are left behind as the true followers of Jesus Christ meet Him in the clouds.

We hear little, if anything, about what life will be like when the believers are gone. Using scripture, the author gives a very clear and thorough picture of the aftermath of the apocalypse, specifically the mortal’s life on earth after the great tribulation and the second coming of Jesus Christ. These are the men and women who have missed the rapture of the church and will live during the thousand-year millennial reign of Jesus.

I recommend that pastors, as well as believers and -especially non-believers- read this. It could change your final destiny.

Available at http://www.amazone.com

~~~~~~~

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Blessings to you

Does all Creation Observe the Sabbath? Hmmmm

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Gen. 2:3

Getting up early and watching a couple of my favorite T.V. preachers while waking up and eating a bowl of my favorite cereal I start my usual Sunday morning routine. Yawning a final yawn I throw off the nightie and don some clothes for church. It’s hot outside already so a comfortable sundress will do. Don’t forget to take a sweater, the church is always cold is my thought as I grab my Bible and head out the door.

The praise songs are rocking and the worship songs bring tears to my eyes. Pastor has given another sermon that is uplifting and filled with Biblical information that I can chew on in more depth when I get home.

We Christians, as soon as the service is over, there’s a stampede out the double doors for the nearest fast food place or a local restaurant. Like bees to honey we fast track out of the parking lot and let nothing get in our way. Our focus has shifted from the eternal to the present growling within the confines of our stomach. Gluttony is non-existent, at least until we hold our full stomach and groan.

After a good meal some go home and take naps, some turn on a ball game, and some just sit out on their deck with the overhead fan whipping the hot air around and watching other creations of God enjoying the Sabbath. Like me!

God said we should rest and reflect on Him on the Sabbath. Sitting on my deck I realize as my furry friends show up for their daily dinner of corn kernels that God must not have been talking about just humans when He said it is a day of rest.

I’m sure “Daisy Mae,” “Bonnie,” and the others have had a busy week dodging traffic, staying clear of snakes and out-of-season hunters, foraging for food, and just staying clear of the general population of humans.

Like Christians after church rushing to beat the crowd at the local eatery, my furry friends seem to enjoy Sue’s place. It’s peaceful, the food is good, she’s non-threatening, and unless the neighbor let’s his dogs out, they seem quite comfortable enjoying their Sabbath.

Breakfast for Daisy

A fine lunch of fresh corn kernels

Part of Daisy Mae's family 7-24-16

A  quick nap after lunch

2 of my furry friends

and time to head home and get ready for the hustle and bustle of a new week.

Maybe they aren’t that much different from us,  or……………..wow………… maybe these are Christian deer! 

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Blessings to you.

Jesus on a Stage Coach

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Imagine it. The horses are tethered, they stomp their feet in anticipation of a long trek and snort their disapproval of having to wait. John and Thomas crawl up onto the driver’s seat as Jesus throws open the stage door and takes his seat on the hard wooden bench. John gives a loud whistle as he cracks the whip above the horses and the coach jerks forward.

The day is hot even though the sun has just risen. Jesus leans back against the hard wooden seat. It will be a long ride along the dusty path. The wind blows his hair and reaching up He moves it out of His eyes. He can hear John and Thomas talking and occasionally laughter fills the air. He smiles and closes His eyes and is soon asleep.

A sudden jolt and dangerous tilting of the coach startles Jesus awake throwing Him against the wall. One side of the coach has collapsed and the coach suddenly stops. John and Thomas jump down from their perch and Thomas wrings his hands while groaning loudly. “What are we going to do?” He shouts while pacing back and forth in front of the broken wheel. “Where’s Jesus?” he shouts and spins around to see Jesus carefully maneuvering His way out of the coach.

Thomas runs to Him, “The wheel is broken, Lord, what are we to do? We don’t have a spare. We’re stuck out here!” Sweat pours down his face and he quickly swipes it out of his eyes. Fear has gripped him and Jesus gently places His hand on Thomas’s shoulder, “Fear not, Thomas, I am with you.”

Jesus walks to the side of the stage-coach. He stands studiously peering at the good wheel with John and Thomas close behind Him.

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“Sit!” Jesus says to the two disciples. “I want to tell you something.” They sit down on the ground in front of Jesus. “He’s going to tell us a story in the midst of this crisis?” Thomas thinks. John sits quietly waiting.

“Do you see this wheel?” Jesus asks, pointing to the stage-coach wheel. Both nod yes. “This wheel represents the body of Christ.” Thomas whispers, “Huh?” Jesus smiles then continues. “The spokes are My children.” Thomas moves his hat aside and scratches his head. John nods. “Pay attention, Thomas!” Jesus states. “Each spoke is equal but each has been given a divine purpose. One has a gift of prophecy, another has the gift of exhortation, another is a teacher, another a home maker, another a preacher. All work together to make the wheel, the church, strong.”

Jesus reaches over and takes hold of one of the spokes and gives it a good jerk. “As long as these spokes cling tightly to the hub the wheel will remain strong and sturdy. I tell you the truth, I am the hub that holds it all together.”

“Okay.” Thomas states and glances up at the hot sun shining down on them. “Now let’s go look at the broken wheel.” Jesus states and they stand and walk to the broken wheel.

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“What do you see?” Jesus asks. Thomas is quick to reply, “A broken, crushed wheel and we’re stuck out here in this heat.” “Oh ye of little faith.” Jesus states. “Look at it! I tell you the truth, the body of Christ is broken!”

“Huh?” Thomas says. John nods in understanding.

“My shepherds are not teaching My Word. They are following the dictates of what the people want to hear. They are accepting evil as good and turning good into evil! Instead of loving one another as I love them they are divided. They are accepting the ploys of the enemy to destroy their faith. When one falls away the others are quick to condemn.”

Thomas sits quietly and John asks, “I’m not sure I fully understand. How does this relate to this broken wheel and the circumstances we are in, Lord?”

“Do you not yet understand, John? When one spoke is broken the wheel can still turn, the others offer support. It keeps the wheel from completely falling apart. But when several spokes break it weakens the whole wheel until eventually the wheel can not move forward. It lies dead in the sand.” Jesus points to the broken stage-coach wheel, “Just like that! What good is that wheel?”

Thomas states dejectedly, “Good for nothing.”

“That’s where my church is heading unless the body repents and comes together in unity. If My children will turn back to Me I will hear their prayers and heal their land but they must stop being weak in their faith, silent in the face of evil, and stand up to the sins in the world or the church will be as weak and damaged and useless as this wheel.”

Thomas shifts uncomfortably. He still doesn’t get it and asks, “But what are we to do?” and thinks,  We’re still stuck out here.  

Jesus turns and points to a large stick in the distance. “Have faith! Thomas, go get that long stick over there.”

“What for?” Thomas asks.

“You’ll see. Just trust Me.”

Thomas retrieves the long stick. “Now what?”

“Strike that broken wheel three times with it.”

“Huh? What good is that going to do?”

“Just do it, Thomas!” Jesus states emphatically.

Shaking his head in bewilderment Thomas strikes the broken wheel.

Jesus leans back in His seat as the dust from the spinning coach wheels and the horses hooves billows through the open window, When are they going to trust Me!? He thinks and closes His eyes.

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Blessings to you.

A Burlap Sack.

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Picture it – in the early 1800’s a family consisting of a husband, a wife, 6 kids, and a small farm house with a chicken coop out behind the house and ricketty old barn off to the side. The Mr. is out plowing a field with their one sway-back horse plodding along trying his best to pull the small plow hitched to him. The hot sun is beating down on the farmers weathered old hat and dirty shirt. Sweat pours down his spine and covers his face. With an old dirty rag he swipes it across his brow and takes a long swallow of the luke warm water from the mason jar his wife filled.

The Mrs. is sweating over the black wood stove while stirring the vegetables around and around in the big cast iron pot. The pile of chopped chicken parts are set aside to add at just the right time. Glancing out the open door she sees the kids playing in the dirt with the weeds stomped down flat around the old swing with it’s splintered seat, that hangs from the one and only big old Oak tree. She can hear their giggles, and smiles.

Sunday morning comes and dressed in their best the family loads into the flat-bed wagon hitched behind their one and only horse and they head for the church down the road a piece. It will take a couple of hours to get there so they’ve left before the sun is fully up.

Greetings are made to neighbors, that live five and ten miles away. Hands are shaken and the Mrs. hands a small gift of a hand crochetted baby hat to the young Mrs who’s pregnant with her first child. There will be no bake sale after church today. The summer’s heat would melt the cake icing. The church steeple stands boldly and proud on the front of the roof of the little log church. The bell suddenly rings out announcing church is ready to begin and all enter and take their seats on the long wooden pews.

A short sermon is given and prayers are lifted for the health of those who are sick and thanking God for His provisions and that old Elmer’s cow didn’t die after all. The pastor asks that the tithe be taken explaining this is the way we honor the Lord.

Wait a minute! Did He say, “Honor the Lord?” Really? From most pulpits I’ve heard from it’s a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch your’s.” I’ll give you my tithe, God, but I fully expect to get more back. You mean it isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme? The testimonies I’ve heard all sound like, “I started tithing and wow, all of a sudden I got a check in the mail for five thousand dollars.”

Can this old country pastor, who rides 35 miles to preach a 20 minute sermon be correct? Yes, the Lord commanded a tenth and we’re suppose to give it to further the kingdom and spread the gospel but are we honoring God by doing so? Nahhh, that can’t be right. God doesn’t need our money. Maybe we do it because we might get suddenly rich, or because we don’t want to look like cheap skates when the offering plate is set before us, or maybe we only give a little because the bills are due.

The Mr. has a small burlap bag in the back of his wagon. After the offering plate has been passed with him handing it off with nothing to put in it, and the church service is dismissed, he steps outside and motions the pastor to his wagon. With a smile that will lite up a room he proudly reaches in and retrieves the wiggling burlap sack. “Pastor, this is all I have to offer the Lord today,” he states while handing the sack with one chicken inside to the pastor. The pastor thanks him profusely and takes the sack inside.

The wife beams up at her husband with pride and says, “let’s head home,” and the family piles into the wagon and with a song in their heart makes their way across the dry arid land.

Was God honored with one chicken or was the tithes dropped in the offering plate more honorable? You be the judge.

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Blessings to you.

How come Nobody’s Singing?

Why They Don’t Sing on Sunday Anymore

Looking around the church last Sunday I noticed that the majority weren’t singing. And most of those who were singing barely moved their lips. The only voices I actually heard were those on stage with microphones.

That’s been the case for years now–in churches large and small. What used to be congregational singing has become congregational staring.

Even when the chipper “worship leader” in contemporary churches bounds on stage and predictably beckons everyone to “stand and worship,” the people compliantly obey the stand command, but then they turn into mute mannequins.

What’s behind this phenomenon? What happened to the bygone sounds of sanctuaries overflowing with fervent, harmonizing voices from the pews, singing out with a passion that could be heard down the street? I suspect it’s a number of unfortunate factors.

Spectator set-up. Increasingly, the church has constructed the worship service as a spectator event. Everyone expects the people on stage to perform while the pew-sitters fulfill the expectation of any good audience–file in, be still, be quiet, don’t question, don’t contribute (except to the offering plate), and watch the spotlighted musicians deliver their well-rehearsed concerts.

Professionalism. It seems it’s paramount for church music to be more professional than participatory. The people in the pews know they pale in comparison to the loud voices at the microphones. Quality is worshipped. So the worshippers balk at defiling the quality with their crude crooning. It’s better to just fake it with a little lip syncing.

Blare. The musicians’ volume is cranked up so high that congregants can’t hear their own voices, or the voices of those around them, even if they would sing. So they don’t sing. What would it add? The overwhelming, amplified sound blares from big speakers, obliterating any chance for the sound of robust congregational singing.

Music choice. Sometimes people refrain from singing because the songs are unfamiliar, hard to sing, or just cheesy. Sometimes worship leaders choose a song that may thematically tie into the day’s sermon topic, but it’s unsingable. Sometimes worship leaders choose lame songs written by their favorite songwriters–themselves.

I admit. I’ve joined the majority. I’ve stopped singing. I’m not happy about it. I know I should overcome these barriers and just praise the Lord with my very unprofessional vocalizations. But I long for an environment that evokes my real heartfelt vocal participation.

(See Thom’s follow-up post here: Confessions of a Worship Wars Mercenary.)

(Thom Schultz is the co-author of Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore, and the director of the film When God Left the Building.)

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Blessings to you.