Standing on Holy Ground …

A group of days close together on the calendar have special significance for Susan and me. They began last Friday, June 11, Susan’s birthday. They continued yesterday, June 13, the anniversary of the day nine years ago that I sent Susan the text message inviting her to enjoy the Ambassadors of Harmony concert with me two days later. She accepted, and on June 15 our first date led to speculation among our friends that we would marry before the general conference of the United Pentecostal Church that Fall. Their speculations became true prophecies. On June 24, 2013, as we were returning from lunch at Josephine’s Tea Room in Godfrey, Illinois, I asked Susan, “Will you marry me?” She said. “I will!” We married on September 28, 2013. We have enjoyed a blessed and happy marriage.

Susan and I had both lost our spouses. She had been married to Robert Fuller for forty one years, and Judy and I had been married for forty six. These marriages were also blessed. We like to add those years together with the nine years we have been married and to tell people we have been married ninety six years!

After breakfast this morning, I went to the piano to play a brief version of “Standing on Holy Ground.” Part way through, I looked up and there Susan stood with her iPhone, peeking around the corner to video the event. Life with her is always a joyful experience. We are truly standing on holy ground.


The joy of meeting old friends by surprise!

Yesterday as Susan and I sat at a booth in the Old Spaghetti Factory in Chesterfield, Missouri, I looked up and, behold! There stood Dennis Breland, a friend from long ago! He was joined by his wife, Rene. Memories came flooding back, spilling from our mouths.

Dennis was one of a group of young men discipled by my father, Glen Segraves, when Dad pastored the United Pentecostal Church in Dexter, Missouri during the 1970s. Dad considered these the most fruitful years of his ministry. Most all of these young men are in ministries of their own today.

Dennis pastors the United Pentecostal Church in Perryville, Missouri. The church has a website and Facebook presence if you would like to know more.


The Addiction of Sin: Lesson 11

In our previous ten lessons, we have considered the possibility that sin can be characterized as an addiction. Some may at first reject this idea, thinking that somehow if we use this language it could soften our view of sin and make it more acceptable. In the final analysis, however, what matters is how sin is described in Scripture. If there is a biblical warrant for thinking of sin in a certain way, regardless of the vocabulary we use, that inspired insight should help us deal with habitual sin.

I recall seeing a billboard in Modesto, California that read as follows: “O Lord, please give me hatred for the sin I love.” I don’t know who was responsible for that message, nor do I know the specific sin that person loved. But I do know all sin is destructive and serves to separate us from fellowship with God. Whatever we can do to find freedom from sin, we must. As John wrote, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin” (I John 2:1a, NKJV). But that is not the end of the verse. He continued to write, “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1b, NKJV).

Later in the same chapter, John tells us not to love the world or the things in the world. The reason for this is that if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us (I John 2:15). But what does it mean to love the world or the things in it? This is summed up in the next verse in three brief terms:

For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world (I John 2:16, NKJV).

The word translated “lust” refers to strong desires. Although we can’t work out all the details of this in a brief blog, it would be accurate to say the three statements of concern to John describe pride, greed, and moral impurity. These sins may be manifested in many ways, but when reduced to their essence, they are “all that is in the world.” The world has nothing lasting to offer, but there is something that does:

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever (I John 2:17, NKJV).

In future lessons, we will look at Keith Miller’s proposed adaptation of the Twelve Step program developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. This will not be a substitute for biblical insight. As we consider each step, we will compare it to what Scripture says in relation to that idea to see if rings true. If so, it may open our eyes to practical ways we can apply powerful truths to struggles that have long frustrated us spiritually.