Tag Archives: Acts of God

A Man Walks into a Bar…(When Today May Be Your Last)

Friends! Lest you think I’m vying for late night TV, a man really did walk into a bar.  John and I were right there, and this is no joke…

Being empty nesters for a handful of years, we’ve developed hilarious habits. My favorite habit happens to be eating out. (Emphasis on O-U-T.)

Recently, while dining at one of our favorite haunts, Porcini’s (www.porcinilouisville.com), something happened which opened our eyes… porcini-store-front2 John and I were talking to one of our favorite waitresses who informed us EMS would be arriving soon. Seems a guy literally walked in off the street and hollered, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Sure enough, we began to hear sirens. A fire truck and an ambulance pulled up out front. Before we knew it, the EMT’s were whisking a stretcher, occupied by this guy, thru’ the door, and up into the ambulance. Off they went. Ambulance car back at the white background While I don’t know the outcome, it sure made me think: What if that evening, that man didn’t live to see the next morning?

Which of course leads me to pose three huge questions to us all:

What if today was your last day on this Earth?

– Are you sure you’re Heaven bound?

– While you’re at it, are you aging gracefully?”

Not too long ago, several of us were finishing up the Bible study on Acts of God—Why Does God Allow So Much Pain? by Bob Russell. As God would orchestrate, we were on Chapter Eleven which discusses the trials of aging.

Bob shares the painful process of watching his Mother succumb to Alzheimer’s. Several of my friends are dealing with this very scenario as I type. It’s not easy by any stretch. My own Mother died of Advanced Dementia.

Bob tells about two final encouraging visits he had with his Mother, long after she quit recognizing him. They began as seemingly futile. One visit, when Bob was about to leave, he decided to read the 23rd Psalm to his Mother. Like a switch was turned on, she began to quote it with him, word for word. psalm23 On another visit, Bob and his brother, John, began singing a hymn, and their Mother suddenly sang along with them. Bob said, “God is at work in ways we never see. I thanked Him and praised Him on my way home.”

Here’s the bottom line: “It’s only human to fear the unknown, of course, but at some point, genuine trust in God should make the difference.” May we truly trust, daily.

Bob reminds us, “Revelation 2:10 is a promise from the mouth of Christ: ‘Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.’”

Bob talks about people aging gracefully, and of some who do not. You’ll be astonished to learn about Florence Nightingale.

You’ll get tickled when Bob discusses those who get so consumed with all their aches and pains they take themselves out of the battle before it’s fought. Does anyone or several someones come to mind? Clouds and female hand waving with a white flag to surrender Or have you heard, “Oh, we must make the trip, for this could be Aunt Edna’s (or fill-in-the-blank of your longest living relative) last Thanksgiving!” Bob says if we are to age gracefully, we must “live life to the fullest, and let God decide when the curtains are going to close.”

Finally, one more point to consider: “The truth of heaven should also impact our feelings of urgency in sharing the Gospel with those we love.” Old Bible With Sword Do you have a friend or family member who needs to hear the Good News? I keep thinking of that man We saw who came into the restaurant, right off the street. Did he know the Lord? I pray so.

Bob concludes, “Every act of God carries more meaning than our minds can grasp. No matter how we mourn, no matter how sad some days can be, we must believe that God is loving and good, and that someday, in His presence, we’ll see the whole picture and understand that the darkest moments of this life were necessary ingredients to the brightest miracles he was planning.”

May our eyes be opened to those God places in our path.

Press on, friends.

Be ready.

‘Til next time!

(FYI: The teaching DVD’s to Acts of God are incredible. They include clips from the movie of the same name, memorable teaching by Bob, and helpful nuggets from God’s Word. I highly recommend it for your small group/Bible study. You can find these at The Living Word Bookstore, www.livingword.org or, you can order them from www.actsofgodthemovie.com or www.cityonahillstudio.com )

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Filed under Book Reviews, Life Lessons

A Man Walks into a Bar…(When Today May Be Your Last)

Lest you think I’m vying for Late Night TV, a man really did walk into a bar.  John and I were right there, and this is no joke…

Being empty nesters for a handful of years, Hubster and I have developed hilarious habits. My favorite of which happens to be eating out. (Emphasis on O-U-T.)

Recently, while dining at one of our favorite haunts, Porcini’s (www.porcinilouisville.com ), something happened which opened our eyes… porcini-store-front2 John and I were talking to one of our favorite waitresses who informed us EMS would be arriving soon. Seems a guy literally walked in off the street and hollered, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Sure enough, we began to hear sirens. A fire truck and an ambulance pulled up out front. Before we knew it, the EMT’s were whisking a stretcher, occupied by this guy, thru’ the door, and up into the ambulance. Off they went. Ambulance car back at the white background While I don’t know the outcome, it sure made me think: What if that evening, that man didn’t live to see the next morning?

Which of course leads me to pose three huge questions to us all:

What if today was your last day on this Earth?

– Are you sure you’re Heaven bound?

– While you’re at it, are you aging gracefully?”

This week at Middletown United Methodist Church, we are finishing up the Bible study on Acts of God—Why Does God Allow So Much Pain? by Bob Russell. As God would orchestrate, we’re on Chapter Eleven which discusses the trials of aging.

Bob shares the painful process of watching his Mother succumb to Alzheimer’s. Several of my friends are dealing with this very scenario as I type. It’s not easy by any stretch. My own Mother died of Advanced Dementia.

Bob tells about two final encouraging visits he had with his Mother, long after she quit recognizing him. They began as seemingly futile. One visit, when Bob was about to leave, he decided to read the 23rd Psalm to his Mother. Like a switch was turned on, she began to quote it with him, word for word. psalm23 On another visit, Bob and his brother, John, began singing a hymn, and their Mother suddenly sang along with them. Bob said, “God is at work in ways we never see. I thanked Him and praised Him on my way home.”

Here’s the bottom line: “It’s only human to fear the unknown, of course, but at some point, genuine trust in God should make the difference.” May we truly trust, daily.

Bob reminds us, “Revelation 2:10 is a promise from the mouth of Christ: ‘Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.’”

Bob talks about people aging gracefully, and of some who do not. You’ll be astonished to learn about Florence Nightingale.

You’ll get tickled when Bob discusses those who get so consumed with all their aches and pains take themselves out of the battle before it’s fought. Anyone or several who come to mind for you? Clouds and female hand waving with a white flag to surrender Or have you heard, “Oh, we must make the trip, for this could be Aunt Edna’s (or fill-in-the-blank of your longest living relative) last Thanksgiving!” Bob says if we are to age gracefully, we must “live life to the fullest, and let God decide when the curtains are going to close.”

Finally, one more point to consider: “The truth of heaven should also impact our feelings of urgency in sharing the Gospel with those we love.” Old Bible With Sword Do you have a friend or family member who needs to hear the Good News? I keep thinking of that man John and I saw who came into the restaurant, right off the street. Did he know the Lord? I pray so.

Bob concludes, “Every act of God carries more meaning than our minds can grasp. No matter how we mourn, no matter how sad some days can be, we must believe that God is loving and good, and that someday, in His presence, we’ll see the whole picture and understand that the darkest moments of this life were necessary ingredients to the brightest miracles he was planning.”

May our eyes be opened to those God places in our path.

Press on, friends.

Be ready.

‘Til next time!

(FYI: The teaching DVD’s to Acts of God are incredible. They include clips from the movie of the same name, memorable teaching by Bob, and helpful nuggets from God’s Word. I highly recommend it for your small group/Bible study. You can find these, on special right now, at The Living Word Bookstore, www.livingword.org or, you can order these from www.actsofgodthemovie.com or www.cityonahillstudio.com )

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A Chat with Bob Russell on his Book, and the Movie, Acts of God—Why Does God Allow So Much Pain, Plus a Few Questions of Interest…(BOOK GIVEAWAY TOO!***)

Many of you know Bob Russell and have been blessed by his preaching. John and I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with him early into our “visiting days” at Southeast Christian Church before we became members. While I still find myself calling him “our pastor”, I’m certain many of you claim him as well.

When Bob announced his retirement from Southeast a few years ago, I confess, I thought, “Well, there goes the church!” But as we all know, Southeast continues to grow. (www.southeastchristian.org)

Additionally, it never occurred to me that by Bob “retiring”, this freed him up to preach all over the United States, blessing many audiences he wouldn’t normally be able to reach.

Bob’s not about to kick up his feet and sit on the sofa all day. He’s still writing books, Bible studies, his weekly blog (www.bobrussell.org), hosting monthly mentoring retreats for pastors, and playing that frustrating game called golf.

He and his wife, Judy, also a dear friend, just celebrated fifty years of marriage! What an amazing milestone! Bob’s blog from May 30th of this year, Fifty Years of Marriage – Enjoyment Not Just Endurance just doesn’t get any better.  Do not miss this!!!

(Also, please see Judy’s wonderful post from last week if you missed it: JUDY RUSSELL CHALLENGES US TO SPEND MORE TIME AROUND THE TABLE… ) Bob and Judy After all these years, the only flaw I’ve seen in Bob is his tendency to pull for the “red-n-black” team here in Louisville, and not our “blue-n-white” team in Lexington. S’pose we can overlook that…

Concluding a church member must’ve brainwashed him early on, I point blank asked him this week:

What swayed you to pull for the Cardinals?

Bob said, “I pull for the Cardinals because when I moved to Louisville I was impressed with the play of Wes Unseld who I thought was a terrific player. Then Mike Lawhon, a member of our church, played for U of L and I had someone special to cheer for. Plus U of L is 70 miles closer than Lexington!”

Alrighty then….Here are the cardinal glasses I get out just to be hospitable when Bob and Judy come to dinner, even tho’ I do use our UK pitcher occasionally!!! All in good fun… FullSizeRender Another cool thing Bob’s been doing since he left Southeast is hosting a mentoring retreat for pastors. The retreat is called “A Time of Refreshing.” (For more information on these retreats and how to apply, go to Bob’s website listed above and click on “Mentoring”.)

Bob says, “It’s purpose is to encourage and re-energize ministers for their stressful task. Preachers are constantly serving others, so we provide a retreat where they can be spiritually, emotionally, and physically refreshed.

I guess the one most important lesson we try to pass along to them is from Galatians 6:9: ‘Don’t grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap a harvest if you don’t give up.’”

Bob’s most recent book, Acts of God: Why Does God Allow So Much Pain?, comes highly endorsed. When I saw some of my favorite authors endorsing our favorite preacher, I knew before I ever read the first page I’d dive in quickly! (Liz Curtis Higgs, Max Lucado, Al Mohler, Becky Pippert, and Ann Voskamp are just a few of his endorsers. HUGE!!!)

***You have a chance to win a FREE copy of Acts of God when you comment below.*** Acts of God Book In an interview about the Acts of God project (which includes a Bible study and a full length feature film), Bob was asked, “We are seemingly inundated by news accounts of tragedies back to back. How should the Christian respond?

Here are his answers:

1 – “First, don’t blame God. He is not the author of most suffering any more than a father who takes the training wheels off his child’s bicycle intentionally causes the spills and tears that inevitably follow…We live in a fallen world where the lethal sin-virus strikes without discrimination. God warns us that the rain will fall on the just and the unjust.

2 – And don’t expect any pat answers. God doesn’t normally explain why He doesn’t exempt good people from pain. He doesn’t disclose the future and reveal to us just how, ‘all things will work together for good.’ God asks for two responses from us: trust and patience. Job said, ‘Even if He slay me I will trust Him.’ It takes time for God’s good purpose to unfold.

3 – Remember this is exactly what the Bible predicted would happen. God’s Word warns, ‘There will be terrible times in the last days’ because of unrestrained evil in the world. The Scripture does not teach that we will be exempt from the world’s hurt, but reminds us that this temporary, evil world is not our home. Jesus promised, ‘In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ Even tho’ it may appear the world is unraveling, the Lord has not lost control. The world is moving toward God’s final intervention. The increased tragedies are reminders of our ultimate hope.

4 – Finally, band together as a Christian community and use the horrible tragedies as a positive testimony to the world. C.S. Lewis called pain, ‘God’s megaphone.’ He said God shouts to us in our pain. But pain is also God’s spotlight. The world watches intensely to see how we respond. They’re  keenly interested in seeing whether our faith sustains us thru’ tough times. We may have more opportunity for witnessing in tragedy than we ever do in prosperity.

The world needs to see, ‘….We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure,’ even when the sea is turbulent.  Our MOST EFFECTIE TESTIMONY is when we say, ‘I don’t understand this, but I still believe God is going to make things right one day.’” 

Another question asked of Bob was: “The movie looks intense—how will it bring a message of hope in such depressing situations? Why should we watch something with so much reality in our faces?” 

Bob answered, “That was my concern when I first read the script for Acts of God. It’s a heavy film. It’s not an escape from reality. It deals with very intense and very realistic situations. But, because it is so real, the end result is edifying and encouraging. 

After a preview of Acts of God, one man came out in tears and said, ‘Thanks for doing this movie. I had a child killed in an auto accident years ago and I’ve struggled with anger against God. This really, really helped me.’

Another said, ‘I have a son who lost his faith because he saw so many horrible things in Iraq. I want to bring him to this movie, I think it will help him to see he’s not alone.’

Bob added, “The movie shows it’s possible to hold on to our faith even when life falls apart. It shows that we can forgive even the most hideous of offenses. It shows that life can go on and we can be joyful because we have an eternal hope.” 

Don’t forget Middletown United Methodist Church (MUMC) is showing Acts of God Monday night, June 22nd, at 7:00 p.m. Popcorn included!!! Bring a friend to this fun, FREE event!!! (You can also order a copy of the movie by visiting www.actsofgodthemovie.com )

MUMC’s Summer Bible study will be on Bob’s book, Acts of God—Why Does God Allow So Much Pain. It will begin that same week of June 22nd. Nancy Tinnell will teach and Bob teaches via the DVD’s, plus he will teach in person the week of the last classes, July 21st and 22nd . (For details, click on YOU’RE INVITED TO A SUMMER BIBLE STUDY…)

Lastly, I asked Bob what he’s working on now:

He said, “Moody Press asked me to write a book on experiences of being a pastor for forty years—what I’d do differently and what I’d repeat. That’s a primary project for me right now along with the speaking engagements, mentoring groups and weekly blog. I’m also hoping to tape another series of Bible studies this November on the book of Acts.”

Thanks, Bob, for your time and great example of a life well-lived for the Lord. You continue to touch so many lives. Your family, friends, audiences and readers are beyond blessed! We look forward to hearing you teach in July at MUMC!

Also, for those of you near Louisville, Bob’s preaching at several Louisville churches this year. If you’re not near Louisville, take heart, he’s all over the place and he may be coming to your town! To see his schedule, go to his website and click on “Events”.

***If you’d like to comment on Bob’s post, please leave one in the Comment section and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a FREE copy of Acts of God!!!***

‘Til next time!  

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