Heaven Pt. 143: You Can’t Fix Stupid! But Jesus Can!

100_0350Psalm 14

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

Only fools say in their hearts,
    “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
    not one of them does good!

The Lord looks down from heaven
    on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
    if anyone seeks God.
But no, all have turned away;
    all have become corrupt.[a]
No one does good,
    not a single one!

   Growing up, I was the kid who just couldn’t seem to fit in with the crowd. I was clumsy, slow and chubby. I excelled at music and drama and academics. I had an interest in all things paranormal and worst of all I dressed funny. It seemed there was at least one thing in me everyone could dislike. Sometimes it bothered me that I wasn’t more widely accepted by my peers.

My father, always quick with the pithy sayings once told me, “Son you can always fix your issues. You’re a smart kid. Just be glad of that, because you never can fix stupid!”

I recalled that little memory more than once and would tell myself, “Yeah J, at least your not stupid.”

Then I learned it wasn’t true, at least not in God’s eyes. His standards had nothing to do with how well I played baseball or soccer, the fact I only fit into “husky” jeans, played the flute in fourth grade,  could diagram sentences or believed firmly in UFOS. His standards for considering me wise had everything to do with my level of true righteousness and even by the time I was twelve I knew I couldn’t claim anything close to the perfection He required. I came to a point where with the Psalmist I realized my sin made me a stupid fool. In fact the Bible said everyone in the whole world was in the same boat with me.

Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t end leaving us “stupid”. The story starts with the naked truth,

“2 The Lord looks down from heaven
    on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
    if anyone seeks God.
But no, all have turned away;
    all have become corrupt.[a]
No one does good,
    not a single one!”

It continues on with God coming to help stupid people like me.

Now, you can say, ” Oh PJ don’t call yourself stupid.”

I know in our culture foolish sounds a little better than stupid, but folks, it really amounts to the same thing. We are a race that has a capacity to touch Heaven and yet, even when we are told this, our genetic predisposition is to deny that fact and to continue in sin on the broad way to an eternity of torment. If that ain’t stupid I don’t know what is.

But I digress. God helped us by sending His son Jesus to die on a cross and then by breaking the power of death as He raised that same Jesus from the dead.

I cannot claim to have the wisdom that kept me from ever sinning. But I can claim the wisdom that embraced the only plan God ever gave for saving myself. I have discovered, His grace is enough!

Y’know I never did become the cool kid with all my peers. Accepting Jesus didn’t make me “Awesome” in their eyes. But being smart enough to realize I couldn’t fix my own problems… smart enough to realize I needed Jesus, well that has made me accepted by God and I have gotta tell you that is a pretty amazing feeling.

Pray with me:

Lord I realize that my sin has made me a fool in your eyes. I confess I have lacked wisdom. I confess without your help I cannot follow the ways of wisdom or righteousness. Jesus please forgive me for every time I have failed. Forgive me and help me to change. I don’t know how to change myself. I lack the knowledge. I lack the wisdom but I know you have it for me. Help me God. My life is yours. Thank you for coming to my rescue.


Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 46

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

Hey class! We are continuing on with the formation of the early church through the book of Acts. When we left Paul he had just raised Eutychus from the dead. If you want to put your two cents in on that discussion of any of our others just go to the House On Fire page below and check in!


Here is today’s discussion topic:

17 But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.

18 When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now 19 I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. 21 I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus.

22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit  to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, 23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. 24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

25 “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. 26 I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, 27 for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.

28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.

32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.

33 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. 34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.

In this passage Paul calls the elders of the Ephesian church to his side. He knows from the Lord that he will never see them again.

There is not a whole lot of good news in this meeting. If you were an elder how would you have received it? What emotions would this have created? How do you encourage yourself in the face of bad news like this?

Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 45

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

We are coming into the home stretch of the Book Of Acts! We have now covered far more territory than we have to go and I hope you have been learning a whole bunch about the early church, the church of today and how you fit into it.

Today we continue our discussion through the Book of Acts chapter 20. If you want to go back and review any of the lessons you may have missed feel free to check them out here:


Now on to today’s discussion: Acts 20:1-12

When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia.

Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week.

Paul’s Final Visit to Troas

On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper.Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. 10 Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” 11 Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left.12 Meanwhile, the young man was taken home unhurt, and everyone was greatly relieved.

So tell me why do you think God did this miracle?

Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 44

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

Since I last posted on the Book of Acts I have had some great on-line conversations with Eric, Deb and Robin concerning Acts chapter 19. I think one of the key things I noted about the chapter was its time line. So often when we read a chapter of the Bible we think that everything happens in about as much time as it takes us to read the verses through but that is not generally so. Acts chapter 19 spanned a solid two and a half years. That is significant. You try to think back over your last two years. That’s a lot of water under the bridge isn’t it?

If you would like to go back to some of our previous classes and join the conversation you can find them at our House On Fire Page under the Pastor Wrinkles heading above.

Here is today’s study: Acts 19: 23-20:1

23 About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way. 24 It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis. He kept many craftsmen busy.25 He called them together, along with others employed in similar trades, and addressed them as follows:

“Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business. 26 But as you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren’t really gods at all. And he’s done this not only here in Ephesus but throughout the entire province! 27 Of course, I’m not just talking about the loss of public respect for our business. I’m also concerned that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence and that Artemis—this magnificent goddess worshiped throughout the province of Asia and all around the world—will be robbed of her great prestige!”

28 At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. 30 Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. 31 Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater.

32 Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there. 33 The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward and told him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak. 34 But when the crowd realized he was a Jew, they started shouting again and kept it up for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35 At last the mayor was able to quiet them down enough to speak. “Citizens of Ephesus,” he said. “Everyone knows that Ephesus is the official guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, whose image fell down to us from heaven.36 Since this is an undeniable fact, you should stay calm and not do anything rash. 37 You have brought these men here, but they have stolen nothing from the temple and have not spoken against our goddess.

38 “If Demetrius and the craftsmen have a case against them, the courts are in session and the officials can hear the case at once. Let them make formal charges. 39 And if there are complaints about other matters, they can be settled in a legal assembly. 40 I am afraid we are in danger of being charged with rioting by the Roman government, since there is no cause for all this commotion. And if Rome demands an explanation, we won’t know what to say.” 41 Then he dismissed them, and they dispersed.

Paul Goes to Macedonia and Greece

20 When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia.


What actions and attitudes caused the riot?

Was it Paul’s fault?

Was it the church’s fault?

Was it Demtrius fault?

Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 43

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 am so blessed by those of you who have been jumping on board with the biblical discussion posts I have been shooting out into the blogosphere. It is just so wonderful to hear what God is speaking into the lives of so many of His servants. It is even more wonderful to hear that His Spirit has been saying some common things to many of us.

If you want an opportunity to jump in on any of this week’s discussions you can join the dialogues at




Now here is today’s discussion starter on the Book of Acts:

Paul Ministers in Ephesus- Acts 19:8-22

8 Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. 9 But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way. So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus.10 This went on for the next two years, so that people throughout the province of Asia—both Jews and Greeks—heard the word of the Lord.

11 God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. 12 When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.

13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.

17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. 18 Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. 19 A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. 20 So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.

21 Afterward Paul felt compelled by the Spirit to go over to Macedonia and Achaia before going to Jerusalem. “And after that,” he said, “I must go on to Rome!” 22 He sent his two assistants, Timothy and Erastus, ahead to Macedonia while he stayed awhile longer in the province of Asia.

This part of Paul’s journey is long. Almost two and a half years are spent in Ephesus.

What have you done in the last two and a half years? 

What events preceded Paul’s decision to move on?

Do you think they had any bearing on Paul’s decision to move on?

How does the Spirit confirm His messages through life events?

Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 42

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


Between Turbo Follow and House On Fire I have been having some great discussion with some wonderful disciples of Christ this week! Keep up the good works gang and while you are at it check out these other bloggers from Cornerstone Church in Winchendon MA




Here is today’s discussion:

We are going to jump here to Acts Chapter 19

19 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers. 2 “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.

“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

3 “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked.

And they replied, “The baptism of John.”

4 Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.”

5 As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

Why do you think the baptism in the Holy Spirit had not been preached to these men prior to Paul’s arrival?

Why do you think Paul pursued the issue of baptism in the Holy Spirit with these men?

Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 41

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


These discussions on the Book Of Acts have become a precious part of my week. I love the discussions that are framing up from them. These discussions will definitely fuel the atmosphere the next time I teach this material in a traditional setting. If you have missed any of our past discussion you can find them here:


Here is today’s discussion topic:

Review our lessons from Acts 15-18 Here:


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How successful was Paul as a church planter? What qualities helped him? What qualities held him back?

Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 40

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

Many thanks to those of you who commented on our last discussion on being relevant with our witness. We had some great spiritual discussion on the topic from:




Drop by these ladies blogs when your done here and tell ’em Pastor J sent you!

If you missed it or any of our other conversations they can be found at


Here is today’s topic for discussion from the next segment of the Book of Acts:

Acts 18:1-17

Then Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. 3 Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers  just as he was.

4 Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. 5 And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”

7 Then he left and went to the home of Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized.

9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! 10 For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” 11 So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God.

12 But when Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. 13 They accused Paul of “persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law.”

14 But just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul’s accusers and said, “Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would have a reason to accept your case. 15 But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish law, take care of it yourselves. I refuse to judge such matters.”16 And he threw them out of the courtroom.

17 The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. But Gallio paid no attention.

What does Paul seem to do with the conflict here?

What does the church do?

Would you have reacted differently? How?

Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 39

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


Thank you Debby and Skye for sharing your thoughts about the Book of Acts in our last “House on Fire” blog. For those of you new to the discussion we meet here in Lillie-Put a couple of times a week and discuss a short passge from the Book of Acts. If you would like to look in on some of our past discussions or even add your two cents they can be found at


If while you are at it you would like to learn more about what is on Debby and Skye’s heart you can find their blogs here:




Leave me a cogent comment with this discussion and I will put a shout out up for you blog in our next discussion!

Acts 17:10-34

10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

13 But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble. 14 The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. 15 Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned to Berea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.

Paul Preaches in Athens

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city.17 He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.

18 He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.”

19 Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. 20 “You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” 21 (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)

22 So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.

24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.

27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.

30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”

32 When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

In today’s reading Paul visits two cities. In each city he uses a different tactic to preach the gospel. What do you think leads Paul to do this?

As people we get used to doing certain things in certain ways. This even extends  to how we share Jesus with people.  But when it comes to sharing the gospel there is no “one size fits all” method that will be effective in every setting.

Think of your  current mission field. What are some ways you could change how you present the gospel to be more relevant to the people you are sharing with?




Pastor Wrinkles: House On Fire Pt. 38

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


So far we have had 38 spiritual discussions from the Book of Acts. The book is designed to help us understand the way the Holy Spirit worked in the life of the church at its conception ( the church’s that is since the Holy Spirit being God is without beginning or end). The hope is that being coming to an understanding of how He moved then we can better understand what we should expect of His move now!

If you have missed any of the discussions you can find them at


Now on to today’s discussion…


Paul Preaches in Thessalonica

17 Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. 3 He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.” 4 Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.

5 But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd.6 Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too. 7 And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”

8 The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. 9 So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them.

Acts 17:1-9

It is one thing when the choices you make cause you trouble, but it is another thing when the choices of others cause you problems. Jason was only guilty of opening his home to the preacher and apostle Paul. Do you think he expected as much trouble as he got? Would you have expected it if you were him? What temptations do you think Jason faced after his arrest? What lessons can we learn from Jason’s experience?