Worship

Children, loud and boisterous, running and jumping, they laugh loudly and giggle uncontrollably. Somebody needs to tell them to be quiet they are getting on my nerves. They are marking up the walls and scratching the floor and one of them just spilled his juice on the pew cushion. 

And yet the best clue we have as to what kind of worship style Jesus prefers is found in Mark 10:13–16;  Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13–16)

            We are sending the children out of the room and telling them to be quiet because we are trying to worship, but Jesus is saying, “Hey leave them alone”!  Do you want to know what worship in heaven is like?  Then watch the little children. They crawl all over Jesus. They laugh, they giggle and Jesus tickles them so they will laugh some more. When they get tired, they sit in his lap and cuddle with Him.

            Maybe, just maybe, we can get it through our thick heads that worship is not for our sake. Worship is for God’s pleasure. That is what He tells us in Psalms 149:2-4, Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people.”   

            Let’s learn to worship with joy, laughter and even dancing. Then when we get tired we can climb up unto His lap, lean back and rest in our Savior’s arms. 

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Joseph

His name was Joseph. His calling was the most important task ever given to a man. Joseph was chosen to be the earthly daddy of the Son of God. He could have rejected this responsibility but He didn’t. Instead, Joseph chose to be the daddy he didn’t have be.

If I asked you to tell me what Joseph said, you couldn’t do it. None of his words are recorded in scripture. From the Bible we learn that he was a just, thoughtful and patient man. Yet it appears that he was not a vocal man. Being a righteous man, and knowing that actions speak louder than words, Joseph simply stood up and did as the angel of the Lord commanded.

The words of famous men are often immortalized, but the reserved and quiet man will not be remembered by many. His taciturn nature will frustrate his wife and children. But his love is revealed through his actions. God has created him quiet, but faithful. He does not seek to be noticed, he just seeks to please God. Great men show their greatness not with words but with deeds.

Most men are like Joseph. They are chosen by God for an important task. They may never build great buildings or lead great companies. But God chose them to touch the world with the hope that is within them. That is the most important task.

Remember, I said the words of Joseph were not recorded in the Bible? Well that’s not entirely right. One thing he said was reported in Matt. 1:25. In this scripture we are told that when Mary gave birth to her Son, Joseph called His name “Jesus”. Now the truth is people may forget everything you say or do in this life. So it is important to live your life in such a way that people will remember that like Joseph, you spoke the name of Jesus.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

Down Where The Pavement Ends

What is The Question?

Will a person who has never heard the Gospel be allowed into Heaven when they die? This is a question that I often hear. But most people don’t like the answer I give. However, before I give my response let me say this. If this is your question and you are a follower of Christ, you are asking the wrong question.

My opinion on this subject is not worth a dime. What does the Word of God say? That’s what matters. The Bible says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This means that everyone deserves to be separated from God for eternity. The Bible also says “There is none righteous, not one.” So it does not matter if they have heard the Gospel or not, no one is good enough to go to heaven, no one!

But don’t accuse God of being unfair. You see God loves all people so much that He gave His only Begotten Son to die on the cross. Anyone who puts their trust in Jesus can have eternal life with God in heaven. However, how can anyone trust in Jesus if they have never heard of Him? And how can they hear of Him unless someone tells them about the Gospel?

Now there are 7.9 billion people in the world today. A lot of those people have never heard the Gospel. Now we all know that among Jesus’ last instructions to His followers before He went to heaven were these words. “Go into all the world, make disciples of all nations.” That tells me He wants all people to hear the Gospel. So let’s do some math.

I have been a follower of Jesus for 56 years. If the first year I was a follower I had introduced one person to Christ then there would have been two of us. The next year if we each led a person to Jesus there would be four saved. Using this system four would become eight, then eight would become sixteen, and sixteen would become thirty-two. Following this multiplication process, if I reach one person a year and each one of those people reaches one, the math shows that after only thirty years over 10 BILLION people would have heard the Gospel. That is almost 3 billion more people than exist today.

Here is the bottom line. It is not the will of God that any should perish. God has the plan to reach all lost people. You are His plan. Now, will the person who has never heard the Gospel go to heaven is the wrong question. The right question is, What am I going to do about the people who have never heard the Gospel? If someone has not heard the Gospel today, it is not God’s fault. It’s ours!

Douglas & Deborah Huff

Email- pavementendsministry@gmail.com

Cling To God’s Amazing Grace

This is a fictional story that I wrote a few years back. Nothing like this is happening in America— Yet.

Accept for the stars in the moonless night sky there was no light. The pale gray asphalt gave off enough of a glow that we could walk without stumbling. We were thankful for the dark, because we could walk the streets without drawing the attention of the soldiers. We made it to church that night without any trouble.

When we got to the dark house where we were to meet, our leader briefly turned his small flashlight on. He shined it in the dust at the side of the door. Even though most people would not have saw anything but random lines in the dirt, we clearly saw two lines that intersected to form a crude drawing of a fish. This was the sign that the meeting was happening and that it was safe to enter.

Without knocking the leader slowly opened the door, a small light illuminated our faces revealing out identities. A low voice said. “Follow me”. We walk down a short hall where a door opened to a room that had no windows. Crowded into the room were ten other people who had also come at great risk of their lives to worship The Lord.

In this small interior room we could speak without fear of being heard outside. The Pastor spoke up, “Welcome brothers, now that you are here we will start.” Then with a clear voice he began to sing, “We love you Lord, and we lift our voice to worship you O my King” and we all joined in to sing praises to God. We sang several songs and someone prayed.

Because Bibles had been outlawed no one had one, but the pastor passed out hand written copies of John Chapter 3. He then began to speak of how Nicodemas had come to Jesus in the night because it was also dangerous for him to worship Jesus. The pastor’s message was clear and comforting. I felt peace and courage as I listened.

But then the peace was vanquished by the sound of the front door being blasted open by gunshots. The boots of a dozen soldiers could be heard as they went from room to room. Then the door to the room we were in burst open. We were blinded by the bright lights that were attached to the soldier’s weapons.

I was paralyzed with fear. A voice from behind the lights demanded that we line up against the wall. One of the soldiers gathered up our copies of John and handed them to the leader. He looked at handwritten Words of Life and screamed, “Who wrote this crap”? The pastor stepped forward and began to say, “I did” but before he could say the words a bullet tore through His chest. His blood splattered over all of us.

Then the voice of the leader changed, where it had been harsh and loud now it was soothing and oily gentle. Pointing at the body of the pastor he said, “I know that you all really support your government and that you have simply been misled by this criminal”. He continued, “I am not an unreasonable person. Now that you have seen what happens to subversive criminals I know that you will want to renounce his teaching and declare this Jesus to be a fraud. If you wish to leave this room with your life then step forward and tell us that you know this Jesus is a foolish fairytale.

I have never been so scared in my life. My heart was beating at an insane rate. I did not want to die. I believe that Jesus is God; I had vowed to follow Him forever. I am ashamed of what I did next. I wish I had been brave, but I was not, I was a coward. I stepped forward. I could not hold my head up but I mumbled these words, “Jesus is a fake”.

Then one by one the rest of the Christians stepped up, and one by one they each said the words, “Jesus is a fake”. As we each denied Christ we were told to stand together on one side of the room. In a few minutes all but three had betrayed the Savior.

The three stood there, a teenage girl, a very old man and the pastor’s wife. They stood there weeping. The soldier pointed his weapon at them and said, “Renounce God or die”. The old man lifted his head and with clear and strong voice said, “Even so, though I die, I will never betray my Jesus.” As he said these words, the pastor wife and the young girl slipped their hands into his and lifted their eyes to the heavens. Their faces shown with a Holy Light and for a few seconds the room was silent. As if paralyzed by an invisible presence the soldiers were unable to speak.

Suddenly the lead soldier shook his head, as if he was shaking off the invisible presence. He pointed at us and roared “Leave”! We all scrambled to get out of that room through the front door. Once outside the house we stood looking at each other in shame.

Then we heard three voices begin to sing. The quavering voice of the old man, the grief stricken voice of the pastor’s wife and the high clear voice of the young lady began to sing, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound”. There was an explosive sound of a gunshot. Silence! But then strong, and clear the pastor’s wife and the young girl sang out, “that saved a wretch like me” BOOM another gunshot shattered the night. There seemed to be no break in the song this time, the teenage girl continued to sing loudly and clearly, I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I See! A final shot rang out and the voices were silent.

I ran, along with the other Judases. The sound of the shooting faded but the song reverberated in my soul. I found a dark place to hide and prayed that Jesus would forgive a wretch like me.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

The Christmas Tree and Three Rusty Nails

Throughout the years that I was privileged to pastor a church, we always started the Christmas season with a special evening service. The Sunday afternoon following Thanksgiving we would take the children of the church to a tree farm and let them choose a Christmas tree for the church sanctuary. When we returned to the church, we would spend the rest of the afternoon putting the tree in the sanctuary and hanging lights on it. Usually we would finish just as the rest of the congregation arrived for the evening service.

We would begin worship that night by singing Christmas hymns and reading the story of Jesus’ birth. Each member had been asked to bring an ornament from home that held a special meaning to them. As an act of worship, we would then take time for everyone to hang their ornaments on the tree. Then I would read a special story about the journey of the Christ Child from the stable to the cross.

As we brought our time of worship to an end, myself as the pastor would hang my special ornament on the tree. My ornament was three spike nails fashioned in the shape of a cross. But I would not hang this cross on the outer branches of the tree. I would hide the cross out of sight on an inner branch. The hidden cross was a reminder that Christ Child whose birth we were celebrating with a Christmas tree had another tree in His future. One day the Son of Man would purchase for us the gift of eternal life by sacrificing His life on that tree shaped like a cross.

So this Christmas season, as we navigate the hubris of flying reindeer, jolly old elves and a little drummer boy, let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas. Let the beautiful lights remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world and the evergreen trees shall symbolize our hope of eternal life. Underneath the trees will be beautifully wrapped gifts, but the greatest gift of all was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The Angels in Heaven will shout these words: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. Families spend time together and there’s always plenty of turkey, dressing and gravy. Thanksgiving comes at the best time of the year. I love the falling leaves, the cool days, the cold nights and the smell of smoke from someone’s fireplace. I love Thanksgiving for many reasons, but most of all I love the fact that grateful people are giving thanks to our good and gracious God.

In First Thessalonians, Paul the Apostle teaches us about thanksgiving. He begins by showing us that we should give thanks always for one another. We should be thankful for our churches, church leaders and our pastors. As we thank God for our friends and loved ones, we should also constantly lift each other up in prayer.

The Word of God tells us that it is His will that we should give thanks in everything. Now, I do not think that God is insisting that we give thanks for all things because there are some things that we are just not going to be thankful for. However, God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. Therefore, no matter what circumstance we are in, we can always give thanks because we know that God is in it with us.

The Bible teaches that we are to rejoice always, because there is always joy to be found in Jesus. We should pray without ceasing, because we have a God who never ceases to listen to our prayers. In everything we can give thanks, because God is victorious over all things.

I love Thanksgiving because on this day and every day, I know that my gracious God is worthy of all my gratitude.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

Set Your House in Order

I once knew a man who became very sick. He went to the doctor for treatment. However, the doctor was unable to help him. He had an untreatable cancer and only a short time to live. What can a man do in this situation other than go home and get his house in order.

This man and his wife of many years had worked hard to build a house, a home and raise a family. As he looked around, he realized the house that he would leave behind was in shambles. Not wanting to leave his wife in such a rundown house he began to make sure it was restored and in good condition. Yes, he was going to be gone and would not benefit from the restored house, but he loved his wife, so he got the house in order.

Society is the house we live in and it is in shambles. It does not matter what your age is, you are not promised tomorrow. If you do not want to leave a broken and rundown house behind, do something to improve society today. Remember your loved ones are going to live in this world you leave behind.

So cover this world and your loved ones with prayer. Then broadcast seeds of the Gospel everywhere you go. Be kind to everyone and lend a helping hand to at least one person today.

Love God with all your heart and let this love be evident in your words and actions. Remember this, if one person has a closer walk with God because of your actions today, then you have made the world a better place for tomorrow. And you will have succeeded in setting your house in order.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Where’s My Hat

I can’t find my hat. It’s been missing for a couple of weeks now. I have looked in all the usual places but can’t find it. It is not my only hat. I have other hats to wear, but it is my favorite hat. This hat is showing its age, it is ramshackle and out of shape, but so am I. Where is my hat?

Now it is just a hat and its value is mostly sentimental. If I don’t find it, I will be disappointed but I will get over it. At times, we have lost things of much more value than my hat. Sometimes the loss is devastating and other times the loss puts us in danger.

Some would say that our nation has lost its moral compass. Now concerning a compass, we know that the needle always points north. This knowledge is what gives us direction when we use a compass. If you are depending on a compass for direction, it can be dangerous if you lose it. However, it is even more dangerous to have a compass and disregard it because you don’t like the way it is pointing.

I’m not sure that our nation has lost its Moral Compass. After all the Bible is our Guide. The Word of God is Truth and Truth is the needle that always points to Jesus. The Word of God will never be lost. However, many people don’t like the Bible’s direction. So they disregard it. And they go the way that seems right to them. The way that seems right to them is deadly.

I am not talking about lost people. I am talking about church people. Pleasing people seems more important to some Christians than following God’s direction. So they go the way that seems right to them and that way is leading to the death of a nation.

Yes, the Bible is our Moral Compass. The truth that it contains is the needle that always points to Jesus. He is the Way and we must follow Him. I have lost my hat, but I have not lost the Helmet of Salvation. So, I must share the Gospel, because souls are too important to be lost!

Where is my hat? I don’t know. But I do know the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I will always follow Him.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

email-pavementendsministry@gmail.com

Anyhow

We are a blessed people. We woke up in a dry and comfortable place this morning. Most of us had a good breakfast, if we wanted it. Indeed, God has given to most of us more toys, stuff and valuable junk than we ever had any right to expect. However, no matter how much stuff God has given us, we always want more. It seems that we are never satisfied.

The world has a way of convincing us that God’s gifts are not enough. Sometimes we accuse God of not being good to us just because we cannot afford the latest gadget. But, as much as we grumble and complain, we cannot deny that God has blessed us beyond anything we ever deserved. The fact is our Father in Heaven has provided our every need according to His riches in heaven.

As for me when I woke up this morning, I was cool, dry and comfortable. I knew I was going to have something to eat. I am healthy, so to God be the Glory. I said thank you Jesus for blessing me so much. However, I know that life can change in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow I may wake up in a cold damp cave. I may wake up hungry and sick. We never know what another day may bring into our lives. But this I do know, the God who is worthy of praise when life is easy, is also worthy of praise when life is hard.

In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul tells us that he had learned to be content in whatever state he found himself. Paul knew that no matter what he faced in life, God was good and greatly to be praised. So let us learn to be content in what ever state we find ourselves. In good times or bad, in comfort or pain, in sickness or health, let us lift our hearts to heaven and praise God anyhow.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

Where Is My Hat?

Pleasing people seems more important to some Christians than following God’s direction. So they go the way that seems right to them and that way is leading to the death of a nation. This devotion is an audio podcast. Click the link below to listen as I talk about the need for Christians to return to following Jesus.

https://podpoint.com/pavement-ends-ministry/where-is-my-hat?fbclid=IwAR1575pSpneY8AlzgXXhkZXVb20XotGc-ccOHwRZ-CAhO2JNoX4S6sM3q34#