Pray for Dr Michael Easley, MBI President...

Dr. Michael J. Easley has announced his resignation from the Presidency of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Ill., effective June 30, 2008.

“After much thought, prayer, and consultation, I have asked the Board of Trustees of the Moody Bible Institute to relieve me of my duties as President so that I may devote more time and energy seeking medical treatment for my back,” said Dr. Easley in a letter to employees and staff. “Surgery has already once interrupted my tenure for several weeks, and unfortunately it has become clear that more treatment is required. I have come to the difficult conclusion that under the circumstances I cannot be as effective a President as the Institute deserves.”

At a meeting on May 16, the Moody Board of Trustees reluctantly accepted Dr. Easley’s resignation. At the Board’s request, Dr. Easley has agreed to serve as President Emeritus through the 2009 school year as they search for a new president.

“On behalf of the Moody Board of Trustees, we are disappointed to lose Dr. Easley, and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his agreeing to stay with us in this new role while we seek his replacement,” said Jerry Jenkins, Chairman of the Board. “He is a man of unique gifts who has hugely benefited the ministry here.”

In November 2007, Dr. Easley took a medical leave of absence to have surgery on his back. Since that time, it has been difficult for him to travel and engage as effectively as he would like.
The Board of Trustees will immediately begin the search for a new president.
In the interim, Ed Cannon, Chief Operating Officer, will assume responsibility for the business affairs of the Office of the President, and Dr. Charles Dyer, Provost and Dean of Education, will assume responsibility for the spiritual leadership and doctrinal integrity of the Institute.
Please pray for Dr Mike and his family. He has had serious health problems for the last several months. Please pray for the Board of Trustees at Moody Bible Institute as they seek someone to fill the office of MBI's President.

My Precious Grandmother...

My wonderful paternal grandmother, Clara Elizabeth Hoover, made that final journey to Heaven sixteen years ago today! She was 91 years old, when we all said "goodbye" to her. Even though I didn't have the opportunity to actually witness the "event"--there was no doubt that she ended her "final journey" from the confines of her hospital bed in Huntsville, Alabama to that glorious city Whose Builder and Maker is God.

What a precious, precious promise that has been for me, over the years. Even though Alzheimers' disease stole her mind, and her activity...God Himself claimed her heart and her spirit for His very own abode in glory.

This wonderful lady raised me, and cared for me when no one else wanted me. Had it not been for her huge heart, and her great love for me, I'm not sure I would have ever lived.

It's just too much to put into words right now, but I feel like I'm the luckiest man alive.

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints"...and over time this "death" has become more precious than I could have ever imagined. And it continues to be precious to me.

Maria Chapman...goes to Heaven!

Maria Chapman, five-year old daughter of contemporary Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife MaryBeth, was tragically killed in an accident on Wednesday afternoon, near their home in Franklin, Tennessee.

This horrible accident claimed the life of their precious daughter (one of three adopted from the People's Republic of China), after their oldest son wasn't aware of her in the driveway.

All efforts were made to save her life, and she was eventually airlifted to the Children's ward of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Chris Fabry Live! did a special program today, asking and addressing the question of "What now?" when such tragedies occur.

Chapman's music has always ministered to me in powerful ways. I first heard him sing more than 20 years ago, when I was stationed in the United States Air Force at Beale AFB, California. On my last Sunday in the Base Chapel there, I sang one of his signature songs. These words are even more true today, in light of this horrific tragedy:

As I look back on the road I've travelled,
I see so many times He carried me through;
And if there's one thing that I've learned in my life,
My Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

My Redeemer is faithful and true.
Everything He has said He will do,
And every morning His mercies are new.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

My heart rejoices when I read the promise
'There is a place I am preparing for you.'
I know someday I'll see my Lord face to face,
'Cause my Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

And in every situation He has proved His love to me;
When I lack the understanding, He gives more grace to me.

For those of you who read my blog, I have one very simple request:

Please take a few moments, bow your heads, and ask God to be near Steven, MaryBeth, and their families tonite. This Faithful Redeemer will hear and answer your prayers.

Of this, I am sure.

Confessions: "These inward struggles"...

It seems as though the things that I want to "deny" are the ones that have caused me the greatest struggle in the last few days..weeks, months...okay: YEARS!

1) Not having a biological father in my life--especially when I most needed him.

2) Not being in "full-time ministry" as some folks would label it--even though I believe that God has me where He can best use me right now.

3) Dealing with the heartache and heartbreaks of relationships (none of them romantic in nature) that meant the world to me. Now, those same "relationships" are non-existent. Not sure as to what I could have done to "maintain them."

4) Dealing with the disappointment/heartbreak of people whom I admired who "let me down" and did it in a "big way." These are almost too numerous to mention. These have included spiritual leaders, mentors, and others to whom I looked for counsel and fellowship.

5) Dealing with my own emotional battles, my own purity battles, and my "insecurity" battles..and everyone has them. Someone recently ask, "Do you have any insecurities?" I immediately answered, "Absolutely. We all just depends on what we are insecure about..." So, I am convinced that we all have our "insecurities." And sometimes those insecurities can get us in ALOT of trouble.

As the Apostle Paul called his troubles, "these light afflictions." I don't want to live in "denial"...but I don't want to let my "light afflictions" control my life either.

Can anyone out there relate?

Senator and Mrs Obama: "Get a Grip!"

On today's Good Morning, America interview, Senator Obama was attempting chivalry. He told ABC's Robin Roberts that the Tennessee GOP should "lay off his wife" for some "out of season" comments that she made several weeks/months ago. Her exact quote was something to the effect of "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country...." And since I claimed it to be "exact"...I'm hoping that I quoted it "exactly."

I do claim "blogger's license" with that quote.

However, Illinois' junior senator is seeking the highest political office in these United States. He is also seeking to fill the most powerful political office on the planet.

If he and his wife can't handle this type of criticism and scrutiny, then maybe he is not ready for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. While I don't agree with all of the "smear tactics" that have been used against him--and those have been well-rehearsed all over the internet (and elsewhere)--he had better get accustomed to it.

In other words, Senator Obama (and Michelle), GET A GRIP!

You have people who will do everything in their power (legally, and perhaps otherwise) to make sure that you are smeared, smudged, and polluted. You've already encountered some of it. Some of it has been very unfair...and some of it, you possibly brought on yourself.

Every word counts. Your every word will be weighed, scrutinized, re-scrutinized, calibrated, re-calibrated, hashed, dissected, analyzed, diagrammed, and microscoped.

So, Senator, as I said before, "Get a grip." With both hands.

You will certainly need one.

"Hope" Merwin...home with the Lord.

My wonderful friends, Mitch and Lisa Merwin, sent me a very profound and saddening e-mail this morning. Lisa was expecting their second child, whom they planned to name "Hope."

A couple of weeks ago, Mitch informed all of us (their friends and family) that the doctors had found some "complications" with their yet-unborn daughter. Some very serious complications.

We have all been praying like crazy, asking the Lord to heal this child. And God has indeed healed this precious "Hope." He did it HIS way.

I received the following email from Mitch, Lisa, and their small son Micah, earlier today:

Dear friends, Thank you so much for standing by us and praying for us. We cannot express how much it means to us knowing that we have so many close friends who care for us so deeply.

Today, we had a routine check up. We discovered that our baby had no heart tone. Today our baby would have been 23 weeks. It's a bitter/sweet reality. Bitter, because the excitement of meeting this baby has ended before it ever began. Sweet, because our little baby will not have to suffer and is now with Jesus, the great physician.

We will deliver the baby sometime Friday morning. We really appreciate your continued prayers as we know this will be a difficult time. Our little baby is a girl, and we've decided to name her Hope.

We chose this name because of a passage that has comforted us during this difficult season of life. Romans 5:3-5"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us."

In the midst of such grief, we were able to cling to the Lord knowing that He has a plan, which is producing perseverance, character, and hope in our lives. Please continue to pray for us as we continue to grieve and mourn the loss of our baby girl.

Mitch, Lisa and Micah Merwin.

Please keep praying for my precious friends, the Merwins. These wonderful Christ-followers are very much "family" to me. My heart is grieving now.

Dottie Rambo "beholds" the Lord!

One of the greatest troubadors/poets/songwriters of our time has finally "made it home."

Dottie Rambo's earthly life ended in a tragic accident yesterday morning in southwest Missouri while her bus was on the way to a concert engagement in Texas. Reports say that her entourage hit an embankment, and she was killed almost instantly. Others on the bus are reported to be in serious condition.

This wonderful woman had very humble beginnings in Kentucky, and has lived most of her life proclaiming the good news of the Gospel. Along with her former husband Buck, her daughter Reba, the Singing Rambos swept the gospel music world in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Their tight harmony as a trio was unparalleled.

Also unparalleled was her gift as a songwriter. I've sang her beautiful music for most of my life. Without giving an extensive list, here are some of the ones that come to mind:

The Holy Hills of Heaven
We Shall Behold Him
Stand by the River
I Will Glory in the Cross
He Looked Beyond My Faults
Tears Will Never Stain (the streets of that City)
Behold The Lamb!
New Shoes
On the Sunny Banks
I Go to the Rock...

And so many more!

She is now in the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ whom she wrote about for so long, and whom she loved all her life!

This old world is a much poorer place because Dottie is no longer with "us." She has gained everything that she ever longed for. The holy hills of heaven called her, and she was ready to answer.

Friendship Factor #4: "Not a moment too soon"

I am very hesitant to write about my good friend Greg...but I sensed the Lord would have me tell you about him. Here goes:

Greg Stephens came on staff with our local church(Peerless Road, Cleveland TN) as the minister of music. This was 1983. More talent than any one person should ever have in this life time. He was originally from the Black Hills of South Dakota, and was thrilled to be coming back to southeastern Tennessee to fulfill his musical giftedness.

I thought he was pretty wonderful from the first choir rehearsal. He had my unwavering confidence. He could direct a choir to almost unimaginable musical heights, helping us to really 'feel what we are singing about."

He was a bit cocky--but then again, we all can be. Something happened...and I'm not sure what it was. But things began to change...and not for the better.

Things started changing in our local church. Alliances were being made that we had not previously experienced. The "us" and "them" syndrome swept through the music department of the church, and left many people in its wake. I was one of them.

I remained faithful to use the limited abilities that God had given me, and in spite of disappointments and disillusionments, was in the middle seat, second row of the choir loft every Sunday morning and evening.

Now, much to my dismay, Greg was not only the music director, he was also assuming the responsibilities of "Ministry to Singles" for the local church. I thought "Oh great, now I have to put up with his arrogance during the Singles' meetings too..." I was not too happy about it. I had already suffered more disappointment than I had ever asked for.

In September 1986, I made the decision to enter the United States Air Force. It was somewhat of a sudden decision, yet the Lord seemed to have His hand on all the processes, speeding them along for me.

I left my home church, the people I had known for many years, and the familiarity of Cleveland, TN. I thought I had left behind the disappointments, the hurts, the disillusionments, and frustrations as well. But I really didn't. And especially not how I was now feeling about Greg Stephens. I had been part of two ministries that he was directing, and didn't even get a "proper send off" from him. What nerve!

I would occasionally see him when I would be back in TN for various reasons, and we always extended the cordialities that acquaintances with good manners use. But, I was still hurting, harboring, and holding on to alot of things...stuff...baggage...issues.

I received a call in early January 1996 that my Grandmother Fields had suffered a heart attack and that I needed to get back to AL as quickly as possible. I was stationed in West Texas at the time...and made the emergency trip home. I made a quick trip up to Cleveland TN, and felt that I should go see Greg Stephens again, confess what had been troubling my heart for almost ten years.

I found him, at his new ministry assignment, and had the opportunity to sit down and talk, face to face--heart to heart. I confessed everything to him. We cried together. We prayed together. We embraced...and we affirmed our friendship and love for one another as God's children and brothers in the Lord.

He had an appointment already scheduled, and so lunch wouldn't be possible. I bid him adieu, and went back to Alabama, and then on back to West Texas. My heart was lighter, and I knew that God was smiling on what had transpired between Greg and myself.

Five days later, I had just gotten home from the office, and received a telephone call. "Phil, this is Sheena...I've got some bad news for you. Our precious Greg Stephens died of a brain aneurysm this morning about 8:30. I know you loved him, and he treasured you. I'm so sorry, but I knew you would want to know."

I was absolutely stunned! Not Greg...not now...I was preparing to move back to Tennessee and go to seminary...he and I were gonna do some projects together....NO! Not Greg....

But sadly, it was Greg...

The Holy Spirit reminded me of all those passages in the New Testament that instructs God's children about forgiveness, reconciliation, and brotherly love.

I wasted almost ten years...but through God's grace, when God welcomed Greg Stephens into the portals of heaven, I knew that my friend was "finally home."

Some things can't wait...and if they do, it will be too late.

Friendship Factor #3: Comfortable with your Emotions.

From Bonds of Iron: Forging Lasting Male Relationships by James Osterhaus Ph.D. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994) pgs 74-5.
Whenever two people draw together in friendship, they need to be able to handle the demands that such a relationship accords--that includes emotional demands.

Our emotions spring from responses to four human situations:

pain, danger (the anticipation of pain), pleasure, or desire (the anticipation of pleasure).

From pain comes the emotions of shame, grief, and depression. From pleasure comes happiness, and joy. From danger comes fear, both real and imagined (which we call anxiety) and sometimes anger. Those emotions can actually be experienced locally in the body: For instance, pain in the abdomen, pleasure in the pelvis, fear in the throat, anger in the chest. Indeed, much of our emotional life has to do with responses as our bodies prepare us physically and psychologically to cope with stimuli of all kinds.

It's really not so complicated. Emotions are natural responses we make to the world around us. They occur naturally over the course of our day, ebbing and flowing depending on how our minds perceive the various situations in which we find ourselves. Therefore we should expect them in relationships with others, especially friendships, for here we spend more time with an individual.

Realize that your attitudes affect your experience of emotion. Your attitudes are those core beliefs you hold deep inside, in many cases, far from your ability to rationally scrutinize. Attitudes are laid down by people close to us as we grow and soon become uninspected laws that govern our thoughts, feelings, and ultimately our behaviour.

For example, John is taught from a young age that people can't be trusted. It's hammered in over and over by his parents. This attitude relates to John's basic survival, life and death, so it's a very powerful attitude. Along with this attitude comes the feelings of fear, pain, and anger. As John comes in contact with other people, he takes a defensive stance, which keeps people off balance. As they act off balance in John's presence, he becomes more fearful, and his basic atttitude of mistrust is continually reinforced.

Six common emotions and attitudes:

Anger: I will go crazy, destroy others, be destroyed be bad.
Fear: I'll be helpless, crazy, unable to defend myself, unmanly, weak.
Sadness: I'll die, fall apart, hurt forever, disappear, go crazy, be ugly.
Shame: I'll be seen as limited and not adequate
Joy: I'll be bad, childish, irresponsible; someone will be angry,
jealous, punish me. I'll have to pay it back.

For many men, their attitudes toward these emotions are negative. In addition, many Christian circles have taken a dim view of emotions, viewing them with suspicion and outright contempt. They believe emotions should disappear, or at least be suppressed, when the Holy Spirit leads a Christian. As a result, many Christian men have developed deep-seated negative attitudes about expressing certain emotions.

The man who is able to have friends is in the process of coming to terms with his emotional life. He realizes that he has emotions that emerge at various times in response to the differing situations. He neither denies his feelings nor gives absolute sway to them. But he realizes how much feelings play in his life as a person, and he is able to discuss this aspect of himself with his friends.

Again, I'm under conviction at this point. What does this say to you? Please feel free to will be helping someone, including yourself.

Friendship Factor #2: Don't "weatherproof" your friends!

Taken from Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff Richard Carlson, Ph.D. (New York: Hyperion, 1997) pg 105-107.

The idea of weatherproofing as it pertains to peaceful living and friendships is a metaphor to explain one of our most neurotic, ungrateful tendencies.

Just as we can weatherproof a home for the winter by looking for cracks, leaks, and imperfections, we can also weatherproof our relationships, even our lives by doing the very same thing. Essentially, weatherproofing means that you are on the careful lookout for what needs to be fixed or repaired. It's finding the cracks and flaws of life, and either trying to fix them, or at least point them out to others. Not only does this tendency alienate you from other people, it makes you feel bad, too. It encourages you to think about what's wrong with everything and everyone--what you don't like.

So rather than appreciating our relationships and our lives, weatherproofing encourages us to end up thinking that life (and our relationships) isn't all it's cracked up to be. Nothing is ever good enough the way it is.

In our relationships, weatherproofing typically plays itself out like this:

You meet someone and all is well. You are aware of his/her appearance, personality, intellect, sense of humor, or some combination of these traits. Initially, you not only approve of your differences with these people, you actually appreciate your differences. Often, you have an affinity for the person because of how different you both are. You have different opinions, preferences, tastes, and priorities.

After a while, however, you begin to notice little quirks about your new friend(s) that you feel should be improved upon. You bring it to their attention. You might say, "You know, you sure have a tendency to......" Or , "I've noticed you don't ......very much." The point is, you've begun what inevitably turns into a way of life--looking for and thinking about what you don't like about someone, or something that isn't quite least not in your eyes and by your all-wise estimation. And often it's not very wise..

Obviously, an occasional comment, constructive criticism, or helpful guidance isn't cause for alarm. It's even welcome most of the time. I have to say, however, that in the course of working with thousands of people over the years, I've met very few people who didn't feel that they were being weatherproofed at times by their friends. Occasional harmless comments have an insidious tendency to become a way of looking at people...and life.

When you are weatherproofing another human being, it says nothing about them--but it does define you as someone who has an insatiable need to be critical of them.

Whether you have a tendency to weatherproof your relationships, certain aspects of your life, or both, what you need to do is write off weatherproofing as a very bad idea. As the habit creeps into your thinking, catch yourself and seal your lips. The less often you weatherproof your relationships, the more you'll notice just how super your life really is."
A very wise person once said, "Pick your friends....but not to death!"

So what do you think?

Friendship Factor #1: "Ready to Love"

I posted these in another forum several years ago, and I wanted to share them here. These are "Friendship Factors" that I've found tremendously useful.
Taken from BONDS OF IRON: FORGING LASTING MALE RELATIONSHIPS by James Osterhaus, Ph.D (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994) 69ff:

The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. The indifferent person does not care to reach out. But the person who has experienced true love and is now able to love can experience friendship. But what is love? Clearly a misunderstood word, love finds its clearest definitions in the descriptions used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Lewis Smede's helpful book, Love Within Limits analyzes this powerful passage of the Bible, and I base the following discussion on many of Dr Smedes' insights.

Love hangs in there, even to the point of ignoring it's own needs. Obviously this requires a focus on the other person. And love looks beyond one's own needs and focuses on the other person, rendering support when needed (because it's just plain kind). Some people are too focused on themselves and their overwhelming sense of neediness. Friendship will not be a part of their lives until they are able to focus on another.

Love doesn't fear being left out. It doesn't hold on tight. Love is able to let go. Erotic love is born of need. "I love you because I need you and I will possess you." But friendship love can let go and realize that in letting go the person will still be there. I can rejoice in your successes. I can see you relate in friendship to others and not be intimidated (the idea of freond, loved and free).

Love has poise. It doesn't need to come on boastfully or arrogantly. It doesn't need to be rude for that matter. Boastful, arrogant people push themselves into our lives (basically because underneath this strident spirit is a sense of unworthiness and inadequacy.) A friend doesn't have to always push...sometimes maybe, but not always. They are comfortable enough to sit by and wait.

Love doesn't insist on its own rights. Love doesn't need to be first all the time. I may even forego a claim to my own personal rights, in behalf of my friendship/relationship with others.

Love isn't irritable, irritability being the launching pad of anger. Not that we don't get angry. But anger is inspected and properly handled to make sure it stays within godly limits. True love has the power to communicate anger constructively, so that even if I am angry with my friend (or vice versa) it is not a threat to our relationship.

Love hates evil. It seeks to drive it out. Love then rejoices in the truth that breaks through. Love needs the reality that truth brings.

Furthermore, love carries the burdens and sorrows of a friend. Love believes in the friend, it's impulse being to trust in rather than suspect the worst of a friend. In fact, love looks beyond the messiness of this present situation, and peers into the future, and brings hope with it? What does it see when it peers there?

It sees JESUS with all the possibilities that He brings into our lives now and in the future.

Love doesn't remove the bad things from relationships: it gives us power to endure them. But not only do we endure the pressure, we grow as a result of it. And of course, love lasts. In fact, it goes on into eternity. And as you love your friends, that friendship/relationship goes on and endures.

Sixteen years ago last night...

I had a spiritual encounter unlike any I had ever experienced before...or since.

Here's what happened:

I was living/stationed in Oslo, Norway at the time. I was active duty in the United States Air Force. This was a very difficult assignment in many ways...mainly because of the horrible working conditions/situation in which I was placed.

I was stressed beyond any reasonable limits, and was having a real spiritual battle in my heart, head, and soul as well. I felt as though I could tell no one, and that made me even more "isolated" than ever. I was part of two great congregations in the Oslo area (one met on Sunday mornings, and the other met on Sunday evenings). So "fellowship" and being part of a local congregation wasn't the "immediate need"--or at least I don't think it was.

May 1, 1992 was a holiday in Norway: "May Day"...Europeans love their holidays. And the American service/government personnel living in Norway also had the day off. On the night before, I had decided that it was 'time to do something' about the angst and confusion in my soul.

I lived about 500 feet from the train station in my neighborhood, so after work, I went home, changed clothes, and jumped on the train to go "downtown" for the evening. I was clearly wanting to engage in some type of activity that would help ease the "emotional pain" and the frustrations in my life.

Never been an alcoholic drinker (save for less than three glasses of wine, up to this point), but thought I might try it. [Beer looks like urine and smells worse, in my opinion, so that was definitely OUT]. I was 30 years old, so I could "do what I wanted with whomever, wherever I wanted"--or so I thought. As long as it was legal, and caused no "harm" to anyone else...hey, I was open to it. Even as a Christian, I was so troubled in my mind and heart, that I just wanted to find some "relief" for all the emotional turmoil and pain I was experiencing.

I went into a few bars--had a few Sprites. Went into a few clubs, and watched alot of people dance, and flirt, etc. Yet, the pain wasn't going away. The deep frustration in my soul wasn't being eased. Of course with only a SPRITE in my hand, the best I would get would be a "sugar buzz"...and I was just too cheap to buy anything stronger!

About 11 p.m. that evening, I was in OsloSentralStasjon (the main train hub in the center of the city), and knew that I needed to talk with someone...have someone pray for me...anything...

So I tried calling my friend Rick Polachek (at the time a Navigator in the USAF, stationed in Plattsburg, NY), from the pay phone in the train station. The line was continually busy. I needed to talk with him, and pour out my heart....I had to....I must!

After several failed attempts, I was about to give up, when a young Norwegian army fellow came by me, and asked about a pay phone. I pointed him to the nearest one. He was still dressed in his military uniform, and had traveled from the far northern part of the country. He was down to visit a friend of his.

He tried to call someone, and couldn't reach them. I heard him say a few things (nothing off-color, or vulgar), and went to see if I could assist him in some way. I identified myself as American military, attached to NATO/Embassy, and wanted to offer any help that I could. He explained his situation to me--he needed to reach his friend, so he would have a place to spend the evening.

I lived in a beautiful three bedroom home, and had plenty of room. I offered him the room for the evening, and after a short conversation, he accepted. His name was Jan Torge. I can't remember his surname. But that's beside the point.

We got in a taxi, and were on our way to my house. It was well after midnight by this time. As soon as we arrived, I showed him the guest bedroom, and the kitchen. (Every man needs to know where the food is stored...LOL). He asked if he could take a shower. I consented, and showed him where the "necessities" were.

He took a rather long shower....actually a REAL long shower.

I went in my bedroom, climbed into my bed, opened my Bible, and began my "guilt trip." I shed a few tears, and told God how sorry I was that I had disappointed Him, myself, and that I needed help. This little "episode" lasted for about 30 minutes.

About the time I was getting ready to turn out the light, my houseguest gets out of the shower, and knocks on my bedroom door. "May I come in? I need to tell you something..."

At this point, I really didn't want to talk about anything. I assumed I had already caused enough grief for myself and God for one day. However, Jan Torge then said, "While I was showering, the Lord spoke to me, and you need to know......"


At that point, I knew that I needed to "hear" this good man out. (Keep in mind, when I offered him a place to stay, I didn't even know he was a Christian...maybe, because I never asked.)

I invited Jan to come in and talk with me. He made some small talk, and then said,

"Phil, my English isn't very good, but the Lord wants you to know that He loves you. He has seen every place that you have been tonite. You've been searching for _________, but God wants you to know that He has something so much better for you." He then proceeded to tell me everything that I had done that evening--to the place, not missing any details.

He then opened my Bible, and shared some passages with me. The next thing I knew, we were on our knees that evening weeping before the Lord, repenting, and confessing.

This lasted until about 3 a.m. in the morning.

The next morning, I got up, and started preparing breakfast for myself and my house guest. He asked if he could use the telephone to reach his "friend" whom he couldn't reach the previous evening. "Of course," I said, "Go right ahead."

Now this had to be God: The person he was trying to reach, Jon Erik Selle, was my very best friend from the Oslo Kristne Centre (the Sunday evening church where I worshipped and fellowshipped)!

So yes, God is still very active in the lives of His children today! That was sixteen years ago last night...and I remember it as though it were yesterday.