Thursday, May 5, 2016

Teaching Ministry - Andy Stanley - What is a Christian 6

Though our methods have evolved over the years, the mission has always been to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. It's what we do, whether at our Atlanta-area churches, at one of our partnerships around the world, or through our many online and broadcast offerings.

Christian Apologetics - Stand to Reason - Is Pig’s Meat Allowed Today or Not

Alan Shlemon of Stand to Reason responds to this week's challenge. To see the original challenge, visit the blog section of

Christian Music - Thomas Dorsey - Take My Hand Precious Lord

“Thomas Dorsey's "Precious Lord" has been called "the greatest gospel song of all time." People around the world know it, sing it, and love it because of its profound message of hope and faith. Written in 1932, it continues to appeal deeply to new generations of listeners. Though composed by a young African American blues pianist, the song crosses the lines of race and culture. Everyone from gospel legend Mahalia Jackson to rock 'n' roll king Elvis Presley has recorded it.

Like so many great hymns of faith, the song was inspired by a horrific tragedy in the life of its composer. Thomas Andrew Dorsey was born in rural Georgia in 1899, the son of an itinerant preacher.

By age 12, Dorsey left school to become a professional pianist. He played at house parties throughout Atlanta's black districts.

In his early 20s, Dorsey settled in Chicago. There he played, sang, and published blues compositions under the name "Georgia Tom." Music critic Stephen Calt described Dorsey saying he "ranked as the most self-conscious, serious, and accomplished blues lyricist of his time."

In 1925 Dorsey married Nettie Harper. A year later, he experienced a nervous breakdown and was unable to work for two years. To survive, his wife took a job in a laundry to support them. At the urging of his sister-in-law, Dorsey attended a church service where he experienced a spiritual healing. That event, combined with the sudden death of a young neighbor, prompted Dorsey to commit himself more fully to God and Christian music. To mark his new life, he wrote his first gospel song, "If You See My Savior, Tell Him That You Saw Me."

In 1932 Dorsey accepted an invitation to become choir director of Chicago's Pilgrim Baptist Church, a position he would hold for nearly 40 years. As the Great Depression wore away at the spirits of Americans, Dorsey viewed his songwriting as an important ministry. He believed his songs "lifted people out of the muck and mire of poverty and gave them ... hope."

In August of '32, Dorsey was scheduled to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting in St. Louis. At the time he and his wife were living in a little apartment on the South Side of Chicago. Nettie was pregnant with their first child. He kissed her goodbye and made his way to St. Louis for the revival. The next night, as soon as he finished playing, a Western Union messenger came up to the stage and gave Dorsey an urgent telegram. "I ripped open the envelope," he recounted later, "and pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: 'Your wife just died.'"

Dorsey believed his songs "lifted people out of the muck and mire of poverty and gave them … hope."

Dorsey remembered the evening as a surreal moment. "People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out."

Racing home, he learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. "I swung between grief and joy," he recalled. "Yet that night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together in the same casket." He managed to get through the funeral visitation and service. But when it was all over, he withdrew from family, friends, and even his beloved music. "I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve him anymore or write gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well," he said.

In the midst of despair, a friend visited Dorsey and arranged for him to be left alone in a music room with a piano. "It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows," Dorsey recalled. For the first time in many days, he sat at a piano using his fingers to browse the keys. Soon, the young artist experienced a personal revival: "I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody, one I'd never heard or played before, and words [for "Precious Lord"] came into my head—they just seemed to fall into place."

"Precious Lord" was an immediate and permanent hit. Dorsey himself said, "This is the greatest song I have written." He went on to sing and direct "Precious Lord" at churches and concerts around the world. To date, the song has been translated into 32 languages.

Dorsey died in January 1993 in Chicago, but his legacy thrives. With his innovative blending of sacred and secular styles, he is remembered as the architect of modern gospel music.

This article first appeared in July/August 2003 issue of Today's Christian. Used by permission of Christianity Today International, Carol Stream, IL 60188.

Gospel Music - Gaithers - One More River to Cross

One More River (featuring Woody Wright, Bob Cain, Stephen Hill and Guy Penrod)

Christian Teaching - Dr. David Ireland - Words - A Goal to Serve

How can you reach your personal goals?
The foundation of Christianity is servanthood. When you go before God praying that He honor your goals and bless them, be sure that your motivations are grounded in service. Even if your goal is to open your own business, there must be a strong dimension of OTHERS at the root; remember to always bring yourself back to that foundation. Then, and only then, can you stand confidently and pray: "God, please bless that which my hand touches as I expand your kingdom."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Testimonies - Mylon LeFevre - Condemnation to Grace

Mylon appeared on Trinity Broadcasting Network's "Praise The Lord" program with Steve Hill

CBN News - A Call to Revival - Christians Appeal to Heaven

Following a challenging year for the church in America, Christians are turning to the nation's roots and taking up an appeal to heaven under a banner used in the Revolutionary War.

CBN - Holy Spirit Revival - Could West Virginia Revival Spark End-Time Awakening

CBN News reporter Wendy Griffith shares that revival is spreading through the schools and churches of her home state, West Virginia.

Gospel Music - Stephen Hill - Lean On Me

Stephen Hill, a gospel singer and songwriter who regularly appeared in Bill & Gloria Gaither’s popular “Homecoming” series, died Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 after a massive heart attack. He was 55.

Three days prior to his death, Mr. Hill went online and wrote of his own faith, “We can’t judge, and that’s hard. Loving people doesn’t mean changing them. That’s even harder. I hope He gives me a break when I see Him face to face. I also hope that He forgives the mistakes I make in my zeal. Love and forgiveness.”

Christian Teaching - Dr. David Ireland - Words - The Right Season for Fruit

How may I ripen at the proper time?

For the fruit of a peach tree to grow sweet and succulent, the plant must grow at the right pace and ripen in season. The peach that is only in seedling form will be sour, even distasteful. Like the peach tree, allow yourself time to grow at the right pace, according to the different seasons in your life. Sometimes it will feel as if nothing happening—the time may be too early, too premature.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016