Posts Tagged: Salvation

Thank You Morris Venden

On Sunday February 10th the Standard Bearer of Righteousness by Faith within the Adventist Church over the last 40 years fell asleep in Jesus.

Pastor Morris Venden as his son Lee says, “Had one string on his violin, Jesus,” and oh how beautifully he played that string.

My first encounter with Morris Venden was through his book, “Hard To Be Lost.”

I like many prodigals that return home was trying to work off past mistakes. Whenever someone preached the law or I read about God’s expectations for the Christian life. I left either depressed or angry and resentful that someone had confronted me in that way. Then one day amongst my parents books I discovered, “Hard To Be Lost.” I read it in just a couple sittings.

That book taught me a philosophy that I have tried to live by ever since, “It is harder to be lost than to be saved!”

As I moved out of that phase of my Christian walk and into a true understanding of Jesus and His love for me those sermons that once depressed me or made me angry, now understood in the light of Jesus’ love encouraged me! The law was no longer about Jesus’ love for me or even my salvation, but rather my joyful response to that glorious and marvelous love! Seeing things through the glasses of grace changes how we view everything, Elder Venden helped to teach me that.

Soon after I read that book, I began to read more of Elder Venden’s writings. “Never Without an Intercessor”, “To Know God”, & “Your Friend the Holy Spirit.” I was blessed by them all.

But then one day I discovered some old camp meeting tapes in a box, an entire series by Morris Venden. I remember listening to these tapes over and over again with tears streaming down my face as I would drive here and there. The man knew how to tell a story and tie it to the Gospel!

Just a couple years later at Union College I met a number of people that knew Elder Venden when he had served as the Pastor of the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church. It was through these people I learned about some of Elder Venden’s demons, his struggles, his awkwardness with people. It didn’t discourage me though, it actually endeared my heart to him even more.

He was a man that was far from perfect which is why He always had to lean on our Perfect Savior!

Two years later when I was now attending Southern Adventist University, Elder Venden was the speaker for our ministerial consecration weekend. During one of his messages on Sabbath afternoon, we were meeting in the Thatcher Hall chapel in the Women’s dormitory & the fire alarm went off. We all had to vacate for a few minutes outside into a courtyard. I saw Elder Venden standing there alone and I approached him. It was an awkward 30 seconds. He definitely was not a people person…I had heard this but to experience it first hand caught me off guard. And yet this man could stand in front of thousands and talk about Jesus in such a way that you thought he was talking directly to you or that Jesus had sent him with this message just for you.

Elder Venden is no more. But His message of Jesus lives on in all of us that heard it and were changed forever for the glory of our Savior!

Thank you Jesus for sending us for a season our brother in the faith Morris Venden!

April: Ted Ran Laps Around the Rest

The following are the 10 most viewed posts on this blog for the month of April. Check out the ones you didn’t yet read.

  1. In Defense of Ted: This month had a clear favorite. In fact this year, in fact the history of this blog has a new favorite. Ted Wilson! A lot of folk wanted to know about defending Ted it received more than 1000 reads in just three days. I’ve had 4 maybe 5 likes on Facebook with other posts, this post has received to date 185 “likes.” So have a read if you are someone that hasn’t.
  2. Oh What a Mom!: This post is about my beautiful wife and her positive influence on our oldest son. She has modeled for him time with the Lord and at just three years old he is taking his own initiative to spend time with Jesus.
  3. Christina, The Lord Knew Best: A quick little post celebrating the anniversary of when Christina and I first became boyfriend and girlfriend…before we broke-up and got back together again:)
  4. The Bleeding Trash Can: This was a teaching moment for me, when my son showed evidence of how the stuff we put in his brain sticks and he is able to then process it and think it through logically or somewhat logically at least!
  5. April 26, 1996: This was the first blog post I wrote after “In Defense of Ted.” For me April 26, 1996 represents the greatest story of my life, but I guess not so much with other folk:) I picked this up when it has received to date 1,465 less views than El Presidente:)
  6. The Porn Pandemic: This was #2 last month and stays in the Top 10 this month. Why? Because porn is a struggle in many lives.
  7. Val Kilmer & I: This was #1 last month, I have no idea why it stayed in the top 10, unless folk at Val Kilmer’s Facebook page are still coming over to read it. Yep it got reposted on the official U.S. Val Kilmer Fan Facebook page.
  8. Cars Pull Over In the South: This is a very old post, but I reposted it because I attended a funeral and was reminded once again of this great Southern tradition!
  9. The Superiority of Adventist Education–Please Read: Another old post I believe probably found and revived due to all the Ted Wilson traffic.
  10. 1 For Every 10k: A post on church planting. This was #9 last month and dropped to #10 this month. I love church planting so I am glad folk are reading it!

So there you go the posts that were the most read in the month of April, 2012. Enjoy and be blessed!

April 26, 1996

April 26th will mark the 16th anniversary of my commitment to Christ. I don’t believe I really had any idea what that meant 16 years ago.

At the time I stood-up for Jesus it wasn’t because I had been attending Bible studies or spending a lot of time searching for God. I didn’t have any thought or hope that I would be saved. I didn’t have a high-regard for Christians. I wasn’t a fan of church. I wasn’t a fan of really anything…

So from my perspective on that Friday night April 26, 1996 it was without any warning that God spoke straight into my heart. He asked me a simple question, “Will you give me a chance?”

God didn’t force Himself. He didn’t yell or bully. But without a doubt I, yes even me, my heathen unbelieving self, knew it was God speaking to me as clear as if we had been talking face to face, and I knew a decision had to be made.

The devil was speaking to me as well though. He was telling me not to be a fool. Not to stand-up. To remember all the things I did that I couldn’t stop doing. He reminded me of the times I had seen others stand only to fall again, and I would surely fall flat!

But there was that voice still asking, “Will give me a chance?”

No one can say to me, “there is no great controversy.” Those voices were both strong and clear!

Yet the Holy Spirit kept asking, “Will you give me a chance?”

I have since analyzed that night and all the nights leading up to that night. I have identified the points where God was clearly working in my life. I have identified the power of prayer on my behalf and the power of struggle that caused me to want something better.

But on that night ALL I KNEW and ALL THAT MATTERED was that one voice, speaking above the din of my satan controlled life, and inviting me, asking me, “Will you give me a chance?”

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul

Thank you, Lord, for making me whole

Thank you, Lord, for giving to me

Thy great salvation so rich and free

Childhood Friday Night’s

I don’t have a ton of Spiritual moment memories as a child growing-up. But the few I do have almost all center on music and Friday nights. On Friday nights in our home it would get very peaceful!!! My Dad would often read to us, I remember us reading the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis and all the Uncle Arthur Bedtime Stories. Even more than reading though we would enjoy music. My Dad loved music of all kinds and taught us to do the same.

Today I got nostalgic and decided to try and find some of the songs that still are in my head from those Friday nights at the Stuart’s.

I believe God used these songs to plant seeds in my heart that began to grow roots that kept me in a small way connected, even in the years I was trying to go far from Jesus. I believe this because in the days when I was listening to Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, Cypress Hill, etc. In the days when I was depressed and stoned and pondering what value life had. I remember pulling out a mixed tape my Dad had made of all that great Friday night music, and I’d listen and sing at the top of my lungs, “Give them all, give them all, give them all to Jesus and He will turn your sorrows into joy.” I didn’t believe it then, but Jesus kept a seed in me, He kept me singing, and He kept knocking at the door of my heart.

So here is a little Friday night music for you to enjoy. I pray that if you haven’t opened your heart to Jesus that one day very soon you will sing the songs hear the knock and accept Him as your Savior!

Dallas Holm–Rise Again

Sandi Patty–Via Dolorosa

Evie–Give Them All

Heritage Singers–Me & My House

Gaither Vocal Band–I’m The Lighthouse

Amy Grant–El Shaddai

Larnelle Harris & Sandy Patti–I’ve Just Seen Jesus

The Gaither Vocal Band–I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary

Del Delker & The King’s Heralds–Holy

People Need the Lord: A Guest Post by Noemi Roman

Noemi Roman is the Bible worker of the Visalia Seventh-day Adventist church and she is also working with our team to plant our new campus/church The Ark.  Yesterday she was out inviting community people to The Ark’s Cookout, a connecting event this Sunday. The following is the story of an encounter she had with a lady by the name of Victoria:

Last night my sister and I while knocking on doors inviting people to the new church, knocked on a door of a lady who was on the phone.  Not wanting to bother her, I was about to just leave the flyer on the door, but before I could pull it from my hand, she motioned for me to  open the door and come inside. By the time we were through the front door,  she had us two cold  Pepsi’s and a apple apple juice (for Isaiah) in our hands motioning for us to sit down on the sofa. As we talked she told us that she needed to be saved and was scared she was lost. She questioned what was different about our church and said that even though we were nice, she probably wouldn’t attend because she felt like such a sinner, and had no knowledge of God. All she knew of Him was from what she had seen from The Passion of the Christ, she told us that if any of that was true and if He was willing to endure all that for us then she really wanted to be saved. We told her that God loved her and that it was by Grace alone, through faith, to the Glory of God alone that we are saved. Yvonne  was so loving to her and asked her if she had ever considered bible studies. Her answer was no, because she felt embarrassed because she hadn’t read the bible and didn’t think she could understand it. She explained that her life  had been spent making bad choices and that  if we only knew, it would make us think different of her.  WOW! I told her that God loved her and despite OUR failure, His love continues and will always continue.  She looked at us so puzzled and said she had never heard such things. I thought how could someone not know that God loves them? God loves us so much and yet the Devil tries to blind people into not seeing who God really is~ A loving compassionate Father who at the thought of not spending eternity with us,  jumped off a throne and land on cross just to save us and show us how much He values us. Giving up His life shows us our value. I praised God that she had seen The Passion of the Christ, that if that was the only knowledge she had of Him, PTL because that is the Gospel! (Despite some of the different portrayals of Christ in the movie vs bible). 

 As we were leaving she walked us out and I felt impressed to ask her if I could pray with her. Her eyes began to fill with tears and she asked if we could go back inside just the two of us. We went to her room and I grabbed her hand and prayed for her, I asked God to pour His Spirit on her and show her that He died to save especially her, that her name Victoria is engraved in the palm of His hands and that despite whom she sees, God sees a beautiful daughter whom He loves. I poured out my heart because I wanted her to know that she was loved and that we weren’t there by chance, God had led us to her house specifically.  She cried the entire prayer. As I was leaving she hugged me and asked what she could bring on Sunday. 


God is so good and meeting Victoria yesterday reminded me just how much God loves us. I left so blessed and so encouraged. There are so many people out in this world that don’t really know who God really is and how much He loves them. Thank you God for leading us to Victoria yesterday. Our group knocked on over 100 other doors and personally invited each of them. Please keep this Sunday’s event in prayer, pray for the last 200 invitations that were personally asked to come in prayer.

At The Cross–Hillsong

May we all be found at the cross!

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