“He has rescued us from the domain of darkness
and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
~Colossians 1:13–14 (HCSB)~
Pray for baby Aaron Hill as he has a heart procedure today. Pray for his family and he medical staff caring for him.
Pray for a baby at North Oaks that is not doing well. Pray for the family as they face the loss of this child.
Conner Corkern is the toddler from Amite that needs medical treatment that is only available in China. You can read more about him at http://www.connorsquestforsight.com. The family requests your prayers on his behalf.
I Have an appointment with Dr. Rubino, neurosurgeon, Tuesday at 2 pm to discuss the procedure for my back. Please pray that this will be a productive consultation.
I am eager to have the procedure performed to relieve the pain in my legs.
thanks for your prayers
Frann Smith Clark
Today in the BCA’s monthly newsletter we received an update on Darci. Most of you will remember she taught at BCA for 1 ½ years. After returning to the US she learned she had cancer. Please continue to pray for Darci as she undergoes chemotherapy.
News from Ms. Karpovck… As many of you know, in January Darci was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Here is the most recent update we have received from her (on March 16):
“Last week I had a bone marrow biopsy-and praise God- It came backclear meaning the cancerous cells appear to just be in the lymphatic system! So this week I started chemo therapy, it has been…rough. They say the first time is usually. The ‘treatment plan’ is chemo once every other week for 24 weeks then possibly radiation. Now it seems long and painful but I know it is for a season-people around me continually remind me of this. So for those who are praying, I just thank you so much because through each painful moment I do know he’s here and it sustains me. Thanks.”
Please continue to pray for her. And, if you’d like to send her a note of encouragement, her email address is: email@example.com.
Kara Sellers and Wesley Corkern are engaged to be married in June of 2009. You are requested to pray for them as they make career decisions and wedding plans.
Carlton George Bond Sr.
A native of Amite, he died Sunday, March 9, 2008, at his home near Amite. He was 60. Visitation at McKneely Funeral Home, Amite, on Wednesday, March 19, from 9 a.m. until religious service at 11 a.m. Interment in Shiloh Cemetery, Pine Grove. Survived by a son, Chris Bond; sister, Carmen Hughes; twin brother, Carl Bond; and nephews, Kevin Hanks, Daman Bond and Mathew Hughes. Preceded in death by his wife, Bobbye Randall Bond; son, Carlton “Chip” Bond; parents, Carlton C. and Meda Bond; dear friend, Joyce Harrington; and sister, Dot Bond Hanks. For more information, visit http://www.mckneelys.com.
Constance F. Lupo Giardina
A resident and native of Amite, she died at 3:30 a.m. Monday, March 17, 2008, at North Oaks Medical Center, Hammond. She was 86. Visitation at St. Helena Catholic Church, Amite, on Tuesday from 9 a.m. until religious service at 11 a.m., conducted by the Rev. Joe Camilleri. Interment in Mulberry Street Cemetery, Amite. She is survived by her daughter, Pam Triolo, Amite; son, Sal Vince Giardina and wife Deanna, Amite; three grandchildren, Mike Triolo, Greg Triolo and wife Marissa Blades Triolo, and Duane Giardina and wife Dana; four great-grandchildren, Danielle Giardina, Tyler Triolo, Alex Triolo and Ryan Triolo; two brothers, Pete Lupo, Amite, and Johnny Lupo, Hammond; four sisters, Rosalie Carter, Hammond, and Mary Hyde, Natalbany, Josie Stevens, Chesbrough, and Frances Durio, Amite; and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by her husband, Sam Giardina; three brothers, Sam, Joe and Gil Lupo; sister, Ella Catalanotto; and son-in-law, Carlo Triolo. For more information, visit http://www.mckneelys.com.
“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:10).
Mike Benson, Editor
HE WASN’T EXACTLY a great prospect…
His resume had some rather obvious “gaps” in it. He was an uneducated (Acts 4:13) fisherman (Matthew 4:18). He was quick-tempered (John 18:10; Matthew 26:50-51), impetuous and impulsive. He was prone to break his word (Mark 14:29; Matthew 26:74). He made promises that he didn’t keep; in fact, he lied. He started things that he didn’t finish (Matthew 14:28-30). He was prone to fear and doubt (Matthew 14:30-31). He couldn’t always be counted on in a pinch (Mark 14:53-54). He could be cowardly (Luke 22:54-60a) and undependable (Matthew 26:40-41; Mark 14:37). He couldn’t always control his tongue (Mark 14:71). He couldn’t always see the “big picture” (Matthew 16:23; John 18:11), but was often preoccupied with the urgent and immediate. He was a narrow-minded racist (Acts 2:39; 10:13-14; Galatians 2:11-14) and a male chauvinist (John 4:27).
Let’s be brutally honest—Simon Peter (Matthew 16:17; John 21:15-17) wasn’t “the right man” for leading the early church. Right? The Lord needed an entirely different breed of man. He required an uncommon stock—a man with minor blemishes, a near-perfect specimen, a spiritual giant. He needed a man with a long track record of spirituality and maturity—or did He (Luke 6:12-14a)?
At Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ, there was Peter—boldly preaching the first Gospel sermon with his fellow apostles (Acts 2:14, 38)! Yes, Peter! However, it didn’t stop there. The very same man who fled for his life when he was identified as a disciple of the Lord was the very same man who, despite the threat of imprisonment, fearlessly proclaimed the risen Lord (Acts 3:11-4:20, 29-31). When the counsel commanded him not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus, this once reluctant disciple replied, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (cf. Acts 5:29).
Think for just a moment; how can we account for this incredible transformation? How did this milque-toast Galilean fisherman become a notable force in the kingdom of the first century? How did he get from catching fish to catching men? How did Simon get to be Cephas (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Galatians 2:9) the Aramaic for “stone” (John 1:42)? How did this common man with an unsubmissive personality become a rock-like leader—one of the greatest preachers among the apostles and in every sense the dominant figure in the first twelve chapters of Acts? Most significantly, what does Peter tell us about ourselves? Consider the following:
1. No matter what your previous background, the Lord can use you as a vessel in His service. Our faults can be molded and fashioned into virtue. Failure yesterday is not necessarily fatal tomorrow. Weakness can become strength. “Mustard-seed faith” (Matthew 17:20; Mark 4:31; Luke 13:19; 17:6) can be enhanced to move mountains. “[The Lord] specializes in transforming hearts, redirecting our selfcentered energy, and reshaping our raw talent and abilities to achieve His purposes in the world” [Gene A. Getz, “Peter,” The Apostles, 21- 22]. This He did for Peter, and this He can do with/for you. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10; cf. Isaiah 64:8).
2. It takes time to become the person Jesus wants you to become. Evolving a Christ-like spirit is a l e n g t h y process (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18; cf. Hebrews. 5:12ff). No one is shaped into a leader overnight. Peter certainly wasn’t. In fact, approximately twenty years after his service during the Lord’s personal ministry, Peter as an apostle, a Gospel preacher and an elder (1 Peter 5:1) still needed some “internal refinement” (Galatians 2:11-12). Whenever the Jews came to visit, Peter only ate with the Jews. However, when the Jews went home, he practiced open fellowship with his Gentile [uncircumcised] brethren and ate with them. Paul immediately recognized Peter’s hypocrisy and rebuked his fellow-apostle to his face (Galatians 2:14). Isn’t that ironic? In Acts 2, on the birthday of the church, Peter had taught, “…For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off [i.e., Gentiles]…” (v. 39). Then some eight-to-ten years later it took a vision from heaven (Acts 10:9-16) to convince him that God, in fact, accepted all men—including Gentiles—into the faith (Acts 10:34-35; 11:18). Later yet [perhaps another eight-to-ten years] in Galatians 2, Peter still struggled with the concept of the Gentile equality. He was a slow learner. You might say he suffered from SADD—spiritual attention deficit disorder. Growth was an incremental element for Peter. The same is true for each of us today.
3. Jesus seeks a willing spirit. Peter’s problem wasn’t his lack of desire and zeal; it was how he employed these qualities that often got him into trouble. One of the reasons Jesus chose Peter was because he was a man of devotion, determination and passion.* Granted, his passion was misdirected at times, but once Peter came to terms with the concept of the risen Lord (1 Peter 1:3), that same fervency was channeled in a very constructive and powerful way.
The good news is—the Lord sees beyond what we are to what we can become. We see spiritual resumes that are tarnished by transgression, failure and neglect (Romans 3:23). We see rank sinners; Jesus sees holy saints. We see humiliation; Jesus sees exaltation. We see despair; Jesus sees a living hope. We see Simon the crumbling disciple; Jesus saw Peter the rock-solid leader who would help stabilize the first century church.
Dear friend, are you looking for a job? Do you feel incapable? Is your work-history marred by defeat? Yes? Great! You automatically qualify. The Lord is hiring new laborers at this very moment! You can start your new work now (Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 4:16). (Mike Benson)
* “…With all his brashness, Peter had the raw material from which a leader could be made. Better to work with a man like that than to try to motivate someone who is always passive and hesitant. As the familiar saying goes, it is much easier to tone down a fanatic than to resurrect a corpse. Some people have to be dragged tediously in any forward direction. Not Peter. He always wanted to move ahead. He wanted to know what he didn’t know. He wanted to understand what he didn’t understand. He was the first to ask questions and the first to try to answer questions. He was a man who always took the initiative, seized the moment, and charged ahead…” [John MacArthur, “Peter,” Twelve Ordinary Men, 42].
“And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat’” (Luke 22:31; cf. Matthew 16:23).
Perfection isn’t a requirement for service! That means we all qualify!