A Tale of Two Cities

Ken has painted us a stark contrast here!


The book of Revelation is a tale of two cities, each represented by a woman.  According to Colin W. Smith, the author of many devotionals, the first city is Babylon (see Rev. 18), another manifestation of the tower of Babel, which reminds us that throughout human history, right up to the end of time, humanity will continue in its defiance of God. That city is represented by a prostitute.  The second city is Jerusalem, and it is represented by a bride.


There is all the difference in the world between a prostitute and a bride.  The prostitute sells herself; the bride gives herself.  The prostitute is motivated by greed’ the bride is motivated by love.  The world is divided between those who trade their lives for the things of this world and those who give themselves freely to the Lord.

Imagine the contrast of these two women, projected…

View original post 161 more words

Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 31

The Word of God is a bridge that connects Earth with Heaven and Heaven with Earth.- Joseph Elon Lillie

The Word of God is a bridge that connects Earth with Heaven and Heaven with Earth.- Joseph Elon Lillie

I trust you have all had a great Christmas season. The rush of the holiday put me off my game a little but now I am back and ready to jump back into these discussion classes! Even with the holiday rush Deb Maciorowski still had time to comment and share her thoughts concerning our last class. I also want to thank Vincent Egorro, Osarobohenry, Jessica Hoff, Gede Prama and Patty for joining us for the last class.

If you want to catch up with any of the previous classes you can find them here


Now on to today’s discussion:

The same thing happened in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. 2 Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. 3 But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. 4 But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.

5 Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6 When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. 7 And there they preached the Good News.

Paul and Barnabas in Lystra and Derbe

8 While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting 9 and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. 10 So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking.

11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!”12 They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker.13 Now the temple of Zeus was located just outside the town. So the priest of the temple and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles.

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, 17 but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.” 18 But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them.

19 Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. 20 But as the believersgathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch of Syria

21 After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, 22 where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God. 23 Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 Then they traveled back through Pisidia to Pamphylia. 25 They preached the word in Perga, then went down to Attalia.

26 Finally, they returned by ship to Antioch of Syria, where their journey had begun. The believers there had entrusted them to the grace of God to do the work they had now completed. 27 Upon arriving in Antioch, they called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, too. 28 And they stayed there with the believers for a long time. Acts 14:1-27

Make a list of all the tools Paul used in this chapter for winning people to Christ. List the tools you see Paul using in order of importance.

Share Your World 2013 Week 46



Cee has given us some great questions to answer this week. I am a little behind because of the Christmas woosh but at least I have finished week 46 before week 47 starts! When you have finished reading my answers to Cee’s questions stop on by her site to see how others responded.


Name one thing not many people know about you.

My first instrument was the flute. I have played for 38 years. But I seldom get to play it in public as I am most often paid to play the piano.

What is set as the background on your computer?

Right now a blank blue screen is set as my back ground but I have two favorites that are usually displayed. The first is a field of lavender in Provence and the second is a  picture of the glacial ocean in the North Pole.

Have you ever gone scuba diving? If you haven’t, would you want to?

I have never been scuba diving. I am not sure I would be up for such an adventure. Big fish really do scare me.

What made you smile today?

Watching my cousin wrap her arms around her sister as she grieved the loss of her daughter. There is something profound about the human capacity to comfort the wounded.

Christmas Woosh!




Dear Readers,

I am sorry I have been so long away from the writing desk. The Christmas Holidays have turned into a Christmas Woosh.

It has been such an enjoyable. powerful, difficult week of ministry. The experiences  have left me  little time for putting fingers to keyboard. I just checked my dashboard and I have logged a little more than a thousand miles of driving since last Sunday!

On Sunday I led worship as Pastor Risto gave his last sermon before leaving for Canada for his Christmas holiday. You can find that sermon here



After service and  Cornerstone’s  cookie fellowship my sister and I drove through a light snow to pick up my daughter Melanie and her fiance James at their pastor’s home in Cambridge.

James Franklin and Melanie Lillie

James Franklin and Melanie Lillie

We dropped the kids off at Melanie’s mother’s home for their family Christmas which was scheduled for the 23rd. That gave me the time I needed to finish up my shopping and wrapping ( yep I had last-minute stuff to buy).

On the 23rd Brenda and I drove to Lynnfield MA to visit with Brenda’s boss who is in the U.S.  for her year of itinieration.


Judy  gave us a tour of her home, Beth Shan, and took us to lunch at Kouzinas Kitchen in Saugus.

On the 24th I was privileged to preach the Christmas Eve service and then we all (that is Me, Mom, Brenda, Amanda, Melanie and James) nestled in for a long winter’s nap after nachos , Christmas Stolenn and eggnog of course.

Christmas was as Christmas always is a day of celebrating and eating. I made pumpkin pancakes and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, lasagna for lunch and leftovers followed up with pumpkin pie and berry pie for supper.

Yesterday I drove James and Melanie to James’ home in Oakdale CT  so they could be with his family for a few days.

Today I have just come from officiating the funeral of a distant cousin. This last event sort of puts all the running of the season in perspective. The holiday is wonderful in and of itself but all the traditional celebration means nothing if we lose the reason for the season. When all the veneer of frivolity is stripped away and we are left facing life as it really is, full not just of life but of death, what truth do we have to speak into that dark night of the soul?

The people who walk in darkness
    will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
    a light will shine.
3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel,
    and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest
    and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery
    and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod,
    just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
5 The boots of the warrior
    and the uniforms bloodstained by war
will all be burned.
    They will be fuel for the fire.

6 For a child is born to us,
    a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
    And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His government and its peace
    will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
    for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    will make this happen! Isaiah 9:1-7



Six Degrees of Separation?

We need the direct connection!


Six Degrees of Separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any person in the world, so that a chain of a friend of a friend statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.  In the Old Testament, God spoke through His prophets, who then spoke to the people, who then may have or may not have shared the message with others.  Regardless, no one ever made that direct, face to face connection.  Moses came close and the power and glory of that near meeting was such that Moses had to wear a covering over himself because the Israelites couldn’t bear the reflected residual glory of God.

Jesus changed all that with His arrival in the New Testament.  It’s amazing to know that God was willing to send his son to make that personal connection…

View original post 256 more words

Pastor Wrinkles: House on Fire Pt. 30

The Word of God is a bridge that connects Earth with Heaven and Heaven with Earth.- Joseph Elon Lillie

The Word of God is a bridge that connects Earth with Heaven and Heaven with Earth.- Joseph Elon Lillie


Well lookee’hear! We are almost half way through the Book Of Acts. We are entering into our lessons on the formation of the Gentile church and I am really looking forward to the discussions that lay ahead concerning the nature of church in the Christian life. If you have missed any of our previous discussions, you can catch up by going to the House On Fire Page found in the Pastor Wrinkles drop down above.


Here is today’s discussion topic:

image from cupoffaith.org

Our last lesson was about Paul’s message given in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch. Can you find that on the map?

before we read today’s passage I want you to consider that Paul has by the point of his preaching in Pisidian Antioch already carried the word from Syrian Antioch across the isle of Cyprus over the Mediterranean Sea to Perga and up to Pisidian Antioch. That entire journey is given to us in two verses of the Bible (chapter 13:13,14). It’s hardly a foot note in the Word but we have to remember Paul was not travelling by plane, speed boat or monorail. There is no indication that Paul even owned a camel or a horse. As you read the next passage I want you to put yourself in Paul’s shoes. Consider the difficulties of the task God has laid on Paul’s  shoulders. What are some of the difficulties Paul faced in doing this work?

Now that you have answered that, here is today’s reading:


And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost Acts. 13:42-52

As you consider the difficulty of the journey and the work Paul and Barnabus were doing, how do you think they felt about being expelled from Pisidian Antioch? How would you have felt?  What mind-set do you think was required for Paul and Barnabus to keep going on to Iconium? Do you have that same mind-set? If not what needs to change?


Share Your World 2013 Week 45



Oh boy! This week Cee has given us some questions I can really sink my keyboard into! After you are done here go on over to Cee’s place and take a gander at what her other subscribers have said. Better yet try answering the questions for yourself!



This week’s questions:

What was the most important event in your life last week?

I think the most important event of my life last week was the launch meeting of  New England’s first Special Touch Chapter. We have chosen the name Special Touch R.E.A.C.H. (Respecting Everyone’s Ability to Choose Hope) for our group. We had 39 people out to our first annual Christmas party ministering to the disabled. Considering the day, that threatened a foot of snow I would say that shows great support for this  work! If you are interested in learning more about Special Touch check out their website here!


Who was your favorite singer or music group in high school?

I loved David Meece. I think “We Are the reason” was one of my favorite songs.


Name the foreign countries you’ve been to.

I  spent some time ministering in England in 1997 and then in Mexico in 2004.

I am not sure Canada counts. Although, my pastor who is Canadian needs a green card to minister in the States so I guess it does. I have been to Canada.

Since my sister lives there I have visited The Netherlands twice and while crossing over the Pond I stopped in Iceland and Ireland.

I hope to take my daughter for a vacation to Ireland after she graduates college.

Does your first or middle name have any significance (or were you named after another family member)?

My first name is Joseph and my middle name is Elon (pronounced EEE- lawn). I am the fifth in line with that name (my son is the sixth) and the name Elon goes back, in my family, at least seven generations to just after the Revolution.

I used to hate the name. Even the principal of my High School misread it at graduation and announced me as Joseph Ellen Lillie. After I did a word search on it, though, I grew into it a little bit. The names together mean “He shall add strength”.

Meditate On His Word (Joshua 1:8 NIV)

“meditation is thinking over the verse over and over, seeing it from every angle and applying it to your own life. ” I love that phrase. The word of God is deep. So deep that while it may have one meaning that meaning has many applications!

Growing Up, God, and Being Busy

” Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” ~Joshua 1:8

What does it mean to “meditate” on God’s Word? When I was young this verse would puzzle me. Are we suppose to meditate like the Buddhists and Yoga people do? How do I meditate on God’s Word and why?

Well, I learned that “meditation” does not mean sitting in one place for hours on end saying “Ommmm”. When reading God’s Word, the Bible, meditation is thinking over the verse over and over, seeing it from every angle and applying it to your own life. 

This is one way it was explained to me: When a cow eats, it goes out to a field and eats the grass. However, to really digest the…

View original post 272 more words