Walking in His Footsteps on Praydio.com

On October 12, I began hosting a new radio show called Walking in His Footsteps on Praydio.com!

Mondays, 7-9 PM Central Time

The first hour, we focus on stories of how God is at work in our lives and in our world, interspersed with inspirational music.

The second hour, we share bite-sized, actionable training content to help us grow as disciples of Jesus who make disciples that multiply!

Here are some of our Walking in His Footsteps guests:


~Oct. 12, Kurt Olson of the International Disciple Making Initiative ~ what are the marks of a true disciple?
~Oct. 19, Myles Hanson & Gerrylynn Ferguson
~Oct. 26, Tom & Sue Rice — the joy of a Jesus-centered marriage!

In November, we’ll focus on the Power of Testimony:


~Nov. 2, Liz Kohli, Perspectives.org
~Nov. 9, Jim Egli, newgenerations.org —
Disciple Making Movements around the world
~Nov. 16, Ross Nelson — intercessory prayer that births movements!
~Nov. 23, Dave & Rennie Garda, cadremissionaries.com
real life disciple-making friendships
~Nov. 30, Christine Jacobs — effective prayer & spiritual warfare

You can catch videos of past episodes here:

We’d love to have you join us LIVE for Walking in His Footsteps on Praydio.com!

footprints left in the sand
Photo by Min An

Seeking the Father Heart of God

In recent years, I’ve been invited to share 5 Father’s Day messages with 5 different local churches in Wisconsin and New York!

I think God may be trying to tell me something…

This message, a conversation with Jim Corbett of the Family Rescue Campaign, is one of my favorites. There is nothing that can heal and transform our hearts like encountering the heart of our Heavenly Father!

I pray you’re inspired to seek God’s heart. As you do, may you discover who He is in a fresh and transformative way!

There is nothing that can heal and transform our hearts like encountering the heart of our Heavenly Father!

To Walk In Another’s Sandals

Have you ever tried to take a walk in someone else’s shoes or to see from behind another’s eyes?

I try to do this whenever I’m involved in drama (whether on or off the stage).  It’s the best way I know to emphasize, to feel another’s pain, to suspend judgment, and to listen well.

In preparation for a 40-day journey leading up to Resurrection Sunday, I saturated myself in the Gospel according to Mark.  Trying to get into the heart and mind of John Mark was a powerful experience for me.

I pray you’ll discover much as you hear and see his story unfold in the first person.  May you get a taste of the sweet fruit that this walk in another’s sandals culminated in for me.

Wigglesworth calls thousands to “only believe.”

Smith Wigglesworth has been called an apostle of faith.

He reportedly won thousands to Jesus, saw multitudes healed, raised 14 from the dead, and planted several Pentecostal churches across five continents. He began as an illiterate plumber turned street preacher.
 
Wigglesworth was born in 1859 in a shack in Menston, a small village in Yorkshire, England. At age seven, Wigglesworth, his older brother, and his father were hired at a textile factory. Finally, food ceased to be scarce.
 
Though neither of his parents were people of faith, Wigglesworth explained to biographer Stanley Frodsham, “I can never recollect a time when I did not long for God.” At eight, Wigglesworth joined his grandmother at a revival meeting. He recalled, “As I clapped my hands and sang,…I looked to the Lamb of Calvary. I believed that He loved me and had died for me. Life came in—eternal life—and I knew that I…was born again.” Wigglesworth explained, he immediately became a “soul-winner,” first winning his own mother to Christ.
 
At nine, Wigglesworth began full-time work in a mill. He felt he was “robbed of an education.” Like his mother, Wigglesworth had great difficulty expressing himself. Until three old men, family friends, laid hands on him. He remembered, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and I was instantly set free from my bondage. I not only believed, but I could also speak.”
 
When Wigglesworth joined the Salvation Army at 16, he was delighted by their passion. Wigglesworth learned to fast and pray for the salvation of lost souls. He said, “Every week we saw scores of sinners yielding their hearts to Christ.”
 
 
“The Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and I was instantly set free from my bondage. I not only believed, but I could also speak.” ~Smith Wigglesworth
 
A fellow believer at the mill taught Wigglesworth Bible doctrine and plumbing. At 18, Wigglesworth began work as a plumber, giving all his earnings to feed children that gathered to hear him preach. Wigglesworth opened his own plumbing business at age 23 and met a woman, he called “the best girl in the world!”
 
Mary Jane Featherstone, called Polly, was born again at a Salvation Army open-air meeting. Wigglesworth was in the audience and noticed her at the altar. General William Booth invited Polly to join the Salvation Army as an open-air preacher and singer. She was fearless and eloquent, and Wigglesworth was attracted.
 
When Polly and Smith were married in 1882, she began teaching her husband to read and write. Polly would preach, while Smith counseled sinners at the altar. He said of his wife, “She was a great soul-winner.” Smith continued plumbing and brought their five children to meetings. When Smith was called upon to preach, he would often break down into sobs for the lost. Another preacher would step in to finish his message.
 
During a trip for supplies from Leeds, Smith attended a divine healing meeting. He then started paying for the sick in his hometown, Bowland, to travel to Leeds. When Polly grew ill, he brought her, unsure of how she would respond. Polly received prayer and was instantly healed. Both Wigglesworths recognized this as a true movement of the Holy Spirit and founded the Bowland Street Mission. Polly and Smith began teaching about Christ’s healing power and saw several healed.
 
In 1907, Smith heard that believers in Sutherland were reportedly receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues like on Pentecost. Smith and Polly were among those who believed true Christians had already received Spirit baptism.  Because Smith desired to speak in tongues though, he traveled to Sutherland. He was so disappointed, he interrupted the meeting, saying, “I do not understand why our meetings seem to be on fire, but yours do not seem to be so.”
 
Before leaving, Smith received prayer from the vicar’s wife. He saw a vision of Christ at the Father’s right hand. He opened his mouth to praise and spoke in new tongues. Smith preached that evening like never before. Afterward, 50 were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. The local paper, the Sunderland Daily Echo, headlined a story of Smith’s experience.
 
When Smith returned home, Polly greeted him, saying, “I want you to know that I am just as baptized in the Holy Spirit as you are, and I don’t speak in tongues.” That Sunday, Smith preached. Polly decided she would test the legitimacy of her husband’s experience. He spoke with new boldness. Polly reported thinking, “That’s not my Smith, Lord!” In the coming weeks, hundreds in Bedford received the baptism with the Spirit and spoke in tongues, including Polly and the Wigglesworth’s oldest son.
 
Soon, the couple began receiving calls to preach throughout England, riding trains and even bicycles to pray for the sick. Smith was known for preaching a simple gospel and would call hearers to “only believe.” In 1914, Smith began ministering overseas.
 
He called himself a man of one Book. His sermons were mainly comprised of Scripture quotations. Newspapers reported miracles, the dead raised, and healings following his preaching ministry. Though he was not present at any of the revivals that sparked Pentecostalism, Pentecostals view Smith as one of the movement’s greatest modern patriarchs.
 
In 1947, at another minister’s funeral, Smith breathed his last and painlessly bowed his head. Smith never exalted himself and never wrote a book, but his stubborn faith in the Spirit and undying love for Jesus empowered him to demonstrate the gospel to the world.
 
No matter what church stream we find ourselves in, there are lessons to be learned and principles of prayer from the Wigglesworths that can inspire us as we seek to follow Jesus today. 
 

What scenes in Smith’s life stand out most strongly to you? 

 
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Valentine’s life provides model of holy love

Saint Valentine upheld the sanctity of marriage and the holy beauty of Christ’s Gospel, even in the face of an emperor who made his work illegal.


According to Lutheran tradition, in around 270 A.D., Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage in Rome. The emperor needed soldiers to defend his empire. He believed the loyalties of married men rendered them less effective warriors. Claudius also outlawed Christianity, proclaiming himself the supreme god and Emperor of Rome. 
Valentine served as the bishop of Interamna. He secretly performed marriage ceremonies for couples in his area. According to Roman Catholic tradition, Valentine also partnered with Saint Marius and his family to assist persecuted believers. Some accounts of Valentine’s story include him helping condemned Christians elude imprisonment and execution.

Claudius captured Valentine and demanded he renounce his faith and serve the empire and Roman gods. Valentine refused to deny his Lord Jesus. Awaiting his martyrdom, he continued to preach the Gospel and win converts to Christ. Some accounts record that while in prison, Valentine healed the jailer’s daughter, Asterius, of blindness. Other legends record Valentine and Asterius falling in love. He wrote her a final letter, signed “From your Valentine.”

Though Valentine was imprisoned, he was well liked by Emperor Claudius. He was not condemned to death until he shared the Gospel with Claudius, attempting to convert the emperor. Claudius ordered him beaten with clubs and stoned to death. When he survived this torture, the emperor had him beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate in Rome around February 14th, 270 A.D.

The Nuremberg Chronicle, an illustrated book printed in 1493, includes a woodcut of Valentine with an inscription, calling him, Valentinus, a Roman priest and martyr, during the reign of Claudius the Goth also called Claudius II. The caption explains Valentine illegally married couples and aided persecuted followers of Jesus. 

Roman Catholic tradition records that Pope Julius I dedicated a church near Ponte Mole to Valentine’s memory. For many years a nearby gate, now called Porta del Popolo, also bore his name. It was formerly called Porta Valetini. In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius declared February 14th a commemoration of Valentine’s martyrdom. Valentine is recognized as the Patron Saint of engaged couples, beekeepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, plague, travelers, and young people. He is often pictured with birds and roses.

In the years following Valentine’s martyrdom, zealous priests opposed heathen romantic practices. They used Valentine’s story specifically in decrying one such pagan tradition. On February 15th, girls would write and sign love notes, placing them into an urn. Boys would draw notes and pursue the girls whose names they believed their goddess, Februata Juno, had caused them to choose. 

Present-day Valentine customs more closely resemble this pagan practice than remembrances of a holy man’s ministry and sacrifice. Saint Valentine’s Day was instated for holy recollection and worship. Have our hearts and ears become so clogged with romantic notes and chocolate candies that we hear not the call of Saint Valentine echoing through the catacombs and into our day? “Come out! Be free. Live a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Risk all. Defend the covenant of holy love. Uphold Christ’s Gospel at all costs!”

In honor of this saint, let’s proclaim with words and lifestyle the treasure of marriage and the unending worth of the Gospel, a message worthy of our complete surrender and even our very lives.