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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Powerful words

I came across this article, and in light of what took place at Virginia Tech last week, I thought it was especially relevant and wanted to post it:

Guess our national leaders didn't expect this, hmm? On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

"Since the dawn of creation, there has been both good and evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.

In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups, such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that they are responsible for my daughter's death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder, I would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy -- it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best. This was written way before I knew I would be speaking here today:

Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage,
You've outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question "Why?"
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge the third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs -- politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

As my son, Craig, lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America, and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA -- I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter's death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!"

Do what the media did not -- let the nation hear this man's speech.

God Bless

Monday, April 23, 2007

Developing and Deploying

We are in a sermon series about using your gifts for the Glory of God. EVERYONE has been given some type of gift. You are good at something. Wouldn't it please the Lord if every one of us used our God given talents for the purpose of honoring God?

Not only would YOU be blessed for using your talent, but the Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:12 that the entire body of Christ would be built up. Now in my little brain, I think that building up the body of Christ would be a GOOD thing... Don't you???

And just think about that... With the gifts and talents that God has placed within you, you are able to build up the entire body of Christ.

Unlike some things, this particular discipline is something that brings JOY into the heart of the one who practices it, and it is also able to bring JOY into the heart of the person that you are serving.

Why not put a little JOY into your heart and into the heart of God by finding a place to serve his body (church) today? He is never more pleased than when we are excitedly and exceptionally developing and deploying our talents on His behalf.

Friday, April 20, 2007

busy busy busy

I'm so sorry I have not written recently... I have been putting out fires... and trying to review our wonderful Easter Services... so many people have called and written to express their gratitude... and we've even begun working on next year's Easter service... can you believe that????

It seems like as soon as one big event ends... another begins... something I enjoy about Shepherd is that we are always working to reach as many people as possible.

And then we've had the difficult story of the shootings on the college campus of Virgina Tech, and trying to make sense out of all that.... It is just a reflection of our society, where lawlessness and evil rear their ugly heads. It all speaks to our need of reaching as many people as possible for Jesus Christ.

We need to be in prayer for the people whose lives have been devasted by these shootings.... May God grant strength and comfort to those who are hurting.

The picture above is the basketball team that my son, Dallas, plays on during the summer. I was once again asked to coach, and this will be the last summer that I will have this opportunity. We are currently in Pittsburgh, and we won our first game. I truly love coaching, but most importantly, I enjoy the chance to mentor and lead these young men. Many of them will be playing Division I basketball in two years, and I hope that I will be able to instill in them a desire to use their gifts and talents for the Glory of God...

Please pray for us as we travel and play throughout the summer...


Monday, April 16, 2007

Who is Standing at the Door??

My father sent this to me, and I thought I would post it.... It is powerful....

I stand by the door. I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out. The door is the most important door in the world - it is the door through which people walk when they find God. There's no use for me to go way inside and stay there when so many are still outside, and they, as much as I, crave to know where the door is. And all that so many ever find is only the wall where a door ought to be. They creep along the wall like blind people, with outstretched, groping hands, feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door, yet they never find it ... So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world is for people to find that door - the door to God. The most important thing any person can do is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands, and put it on the latch - the latch that only clicks and opens with the person's own touch. People die outside that door, as starving beggars die on cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter - die for want of what is within their grasp. They live, on the other side of it - live because they have not found it. Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it, and open it, and walk in, and find Him ... So I stand by the door.

Go in, great saints, go all the way in. Go way down into the cavernous cellars and way up into the spacious attics. It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is. Go into the deepest of hidden casements, of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood. Some must inhabit those inner rooms, and know the depths and heights of God, and call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is. Sometimes I take a deeper look in, sometimes venture in a little farther; but my place seems closer to the opening ... So I stand by the door.

There is another reason why I stand there. Some people get part way in and become afraid, lest God and the zeal of His house devour them, for God is so very great, and asks all of us. And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia and want to get out. "Let me out!" they cry, and the people way inside only terrify them more. Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled for the old life, they have seen too much: once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more. Somebody must be watching for the frightened, who seek to sneak out just where they came in, to tell them how much better it is inside. The people too far in do not see how near these are to leaving - preoccupied with the wonder of it all. Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door, but would like to run away. So for them, too, I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in, but I wish they would not forget how it was before they got in. Then they would be able to help the people who have not yet even found the door or the people who want to run away again from God. You can go in too deeply and stay in too long, and forget the people outside the door. As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place, near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there, but not so far from people as not to hear them, and remember they are there, too. Where? Outside the door - thousands of them, millions of them. But, more important for me, one of them, two of them, ten of them, whose hands I am intended to put on the latch. So I shall stand by the door and wait for those who seek it. "I had rather be a door-keeper ..." So I stand by the door.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More Easter Pictures

Praise and Worship
Michael North
Jesus is Number One
Invitation Time

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter at Pauley Review

Pauley Pavillion
Head Football Coach at U.C.L.A., Karl Dorrell
Preaching on the Resurrection
Better than a basketball game
Children meeting in the Tennis Center
WOW!!! What a weekend.... I am still riding on cloud 9 as I look back over what the Lord did this past Sunday. We had close to 9,000 people gather at Pauley, with over 1,600 people watching on high definition screens at our main campus, totaling close to 11,000 in attendance.

I was moved by the spirit, the crowds, the atmosphere, the folks who served, the music, the choir, the specials, the response at the invitation, and the wonder of God moving in our midst.

There is such a sweet, sweet spirit in this church, and I am so thankful for each and every one of you who worked, invited, and served over the last few weeks to make that day a huge success.
It was quite the endeavor. In my lifetime, I will not forget preaching and watching so many respond to the invitation time, knowing that so many lives were transformed by the truth and reality of the Resurrection.

Enjoy looking at some of these pictures, but please know these pictures do not capture the magnitude of what God did this past Sunday. However, it does give us a snapshot of what can happen when people are totally sold out for Jesus and strive to make an impact in our world.

When we look back over our lives, this moment will always be at the forefront of our minds, illustrating what can happen when we work together for a greater cause. May you never forget the four truths you must understand about the story of the Resurrection.

1) That it actually Happened.
2) That it is our only Hope.
3) That this story must be Heralded.
4) That it is our only access to Heaven.

Be blessed and Maranatha!!

Pastor Dudley

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Face of Love

I am so excited for this Sunday...Resurrection Day...and I want to encourage everyone to be in PRAYER for every aspect of this event. The service starts at 11 a.m., but we need you all to arrive EARLY...(Doors open at 9:30 a.m.)

Come with a sense of anticipation, expecting God to work in mighty and miraculous ways. I know that God is already working behind the scenes in the lives of those who will visit us on Sunday, and many life-changing decisions will be made for Christ! We each have a part in that in the prayers we say for these individuals, in how we greet and welcome them, in how we show the face of Jesus going in and out of the parking lot, and in the degree of sincere joy in which we sing. I know I will be the one preaching, but the people who come through the doors of Pauley Pavilion will have already seen many sermons by the lives of those of you sitting beside them and around them.

I want to encourage you again to bring your best attitude, your best offering, and your best spirit of worship as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I'm looking forward to seeing you this Sunday at 11 a.m. at Pauley Pavilion.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Passion Play - Only Three Days Left!

There are only a few days left for you to catch the Passion Play: Tonight at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 6 p.m.!! Tickets are still available. You do not want to miss this amazing story of the life and passion of Jesus Christ. What an awesome way to share the Gospel message with unsaved loved ones; will you invite someone today?

I just want to thank our entire Passion Play cast and crew for all their hard work and sacrifice these past fews months to make these wonderful performances happen. We have such talented members of the church. Please pray for them as well as for people who may not know the Lord and will be coming to watch the show in the next several days, that Christ would become very real to them like never before!