Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Come Home!

A former missionary tells the story of a woman named Maria who lived in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of a village in Brazil. Her husband died when their only child, Christina, was a baby. Maria raised Christina on her own, working as a maid to support the family. When Christina turned 15, she dreamed of experiencing life in the big city.

Maria knew what would happen to such a beautiful girl in the city and often warned Christina about the cruelty there, but one morning she found Christina's bed empty. Maria gathered some clothes and all the money she had and headed for the city. On the way she stopped at a photo booth and took as many pictures of herself as she could afford. When she reached the city, she looked for Christina in various hotels known to be used by prostitutes.

She never found her, but at each location she left one of her pictures behind in a conspicuous place. When her money and pictures ran out, she returned home. Weeks later, Christina, who had in fact become a prostitute, was using one of the hotels her mother had visited. She noticed one of the pictures her mother had left behind and in tears pulled it off the bulletin board. When she turned it over she found this message on the back: "Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn't matter –please come home."

God wrote that same message for us in blood on a cross nearly two thousand years ago. Whatever ungodliness we may have fallen into, have wallowed in it, God longs for us to come home and rejoices when we arrive.

Ashby Camp has well written: “It is true that we must never trivialize sin or make one casual about it. Sin must be portrayed as the horror and danger that it is. It also is true, however, that we must not mute the glory of God's grace out of fear it will be twisted into a license to sin. Paul was accused of promoting sin by his doctrine of grace (cf. Rom. 3:8; 6:1), but he never allowed that possible distortion to discourage him from proclaiming the depth of God's mercy.”

May all who turn to God grasp in their hearts the reality of the Lord’s forgiveness, experience the blessing of liberation from all guilt, and know the hope of the glorious eternity that has been purchased for them. And when they do, may they, together with us, tell the world what a marvelous God we serve.

Robert Prater

Monday, September 21, 2009

onetimeblind - The Stool

The following video is from a group of professional actors have put together some great fun skits that make you think about your relationship with Jesus. These can be great to use to begin a Bible class or small group study. DVD's come with discussion guides.

You can find these on God Tube, or if you want to order them to show at your church the website is

Hope you enjoy,

Robert Prater

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our Need for GRACE

Has there ever been a time in history when people have been more troubled about the human condition? Every generation has had its own troubles, for sure, but, with our instant access through the media to world events, we are now able to grasp the full extent of brokenness of the world as never before. Escalating economic problems, the spread of HIV/AIDS, racism, tribalism, terrorism, religious persecution, the breakdown of the family, corporate greed – the list goes on and on and on.

Our world is desperate for grace, for at just about every turn in life, all you and I meet is “ungrace.” How often in a given week do we feel we don’t measure up, either at school, at home, or at work? How many times has someone put us down and made us feel small? How often are we reminded that we are not as pretty, not as smart, not as well off, or not as good an athlete as someone else?

Grace is one of the core convictions of the Christian faith which sets it apart from all other religions of the world. In the Bible Jesus is said to have been full of two things. Do you know what they are? Grace and truth (John 1:14). Grace without truth is permissive and fuzzy, and truth without grace is harsh and legalistic. But grace and truth held together in love is a winning combination, and Jesus was able to stand for truth while extending grace to everyone with whom He came in contact.

Philip Yancey wrote that several years ago Bill Moyers made a documentary on the hymn "Amazing Grace" that included a scene filmed in Wembley Stadium in London. Various musical groups, mostly rock bands, had gathered together in celebration of the changes in South Africa. For some reason the promoters had scheduled the opera singer, Jesse Norman, as the closing act. The film cut back and forth between scenes of the unruly crowd in the stadium and Jesse Norman being interviewed about the meaning of the song for her. Finally, the time came for her to sing. A single circle of light follows Norman, a beautiful African-American woman wearing a flowing African dashiki, as she walked across the stage. No backup band, no musical instruments, just Jesse.

The crowd stirred. Few people recognized the opera star. One person yelled for more Guns 'n' Roses. Others took up the cry, and the scene began to get ugly. Suddenly, Jesse began to sing a Capella the words of "Amazing Grace," and a remarkable thing happened in Wembley Stadium. Several thousand raucous fans fell silent before her aria of grace. By the time she reached the second verse, the singer had the crowd in her hands. And by the time she reached the third verse, several thousand people in the crowd began to sing along, reaching back into nearly lost memories for the words they had heard long ago. Later, Jesse confessed she had no idea what power had descended on Wembley Stadium that night. I think I know.

The world hungers for grace, and when grace descends, the world falls silent before it. May the body of Christ desperately be known throughout our communities and the world as a family of God growing in His grace.

Grace and peace,
Robert Prater

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm back to blogging!

As one can tell from scrolling through the sparse entries over the past 3 months, I’ve been laying low. It’s actually been a nice little holiday - I find that a break every now and again helps gets the creative juices flowing again.

I’ve been doing more "facebooking", than blogging, resting from the busy summer season, reading and working on my Master's degree, church, family life, and getting ready for an upcoming mission trip to Ukraine next month. I’ll blog more about this in a later entry.

For now just excited to be back!

More to come soon!


Robert Prater