No Going Back

The unknown stretches out before us. This very day will all too soon see the setting of the sun. There is much that cannot yet be determined and even the remaining fleeting hours of this day are unsure. Amidst the shrouded uncertainty of the future there do, however, remain some “unchangeables.”

One being—“there’s no going back!” Recently I watched a favorite movie of mine; The Time Machine, starring Rod Taylor. I believe the movie was made in the 60’s from a book by H.G. Wells chronicling the adventures of a man who had created a machine by which he could either travel back in time or forward into the future. In the process of this ongoing experiment he realized how his actions could have a domino or ripple effect on others, on events, and ultimately on the world. A lighter treatment of this same point was viewed by millions over the holiday season as they watched Jimmy Stewart consider the “what if” scenario presented in the classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.

We can’t see where we are going or what lies ahead, hence we put our trust and faith in the One who can.

We can, however, see exactly where we’ve been and what we have (or have not) done. My question for each of us is what would we go back and change if we could and in view of that, what will we commit to do or achieve in this new year of opportunity? I don’t pose this question to in any way accentuate guilt or regret, but rather to enlighten us to the privilege we have before us to accomplish great things for our Lord and Savior, for the enrichment of the Kingdom and the benefit of our own souls.

At this point in my life I am continually struck with how swiftly my life has tallied up the years. According to average life-span statistics I’m in the final quarter or so of my life. In the natural that can sound kind of depressing, but in God’s economy it represents the pinnacle of pre-eminent possibilities! I have walked with the Lord longer; I know Him and His word better than any time in my life. I have a lifetime of the precious provisions of His grace and He has demonstrated His faithfulness throughout history and throughout our journey together.

Our culture would have us believe that our lives are like a de-crescendo in a piece of music, denoted by two lines spread apart, gradually coming together to tell the musician to go from loud to soft to softer to softest. In fact, God, the great conductor of the universe, the Chief Musician, intends our lives to be a swelling crescendo, beginning in the soft intimacy of born again union with our Creator, to a loud grand finale as our spirit breaks the bounds of earth and ascends to the heavenlies where forever we will play our part in the “eternal symphony” of God’s design. In that crescendo aspect of our lives, we have each and every year the privilege and opportunity to do more, to do better, to please the heart of God and accomplish more for His Kingdom.

Have we fallen short, have we missed opportunities and do we have regrets both large and small? Absolutely; but if He is our Father and we are His children, let us hear Him say, “There is therefore now NO (emphasis mine) condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1)! The “therefore” in that verse refers back to the struggle that Paul articulates in the previous verses regarding his own failures, shortcomings and regrets. His own inability to reconcile the war raging within himself causes him to define his lot as that of a wretch! But “Amazing Grace” saved Paul and if it has saved you and me, we can also say, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25).

Paul goes on to say, “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:12-13). We know elsewhere in scripture that, “…though the outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). Let me put it another way using the musical analogy. Our bodies are de-crescendoing but our spirits are crescendoing!

Let’s take the testimony of Paul, the words of scripture and the gift of our own will and determine to go forward into 2015 with renewed vigor and commitment; “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, let us press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

In Christ, let us move onward and upward because there’s “No Going Back”!

P.S. I feel I must take a moment to say a special thanks to those who remembered us at year’s end and honored God by sending an offering to help and sustain this ministry. It was greatly appreciated. Please remember, the need continues every month and without your support we would cease.

Most importantly, remember us always before the Lord in prayer, that we may accomplish His purposes and finish well. Thank you and God bless you.

Lord Speak

As I was reading the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke, I was struck by what an amazing moment it was when the angel Gabriel announces God’s plan to Mary.

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.

Keep in mind, Mary was probably a young teenager and a virgin. As far as we know she had never seen or spoken to an angel previously. Suddenly, one of God’s chief messengers appears to this young girl and tells her she will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit of God and bear His son and His kingdom will have no end. What thoughts must have raced through her mind? Is this really true?

Did this really happen? What will Joseph do? What will my family and all the people say?

I would imagine a mix of panic and almost uncontainable joy raced through her being simultaneously.

Is this not in a way akin to our own salvation experience. When I was saved I realized the awesome fact that God was speaking to me by His love through conviction. I too questioned whether this was real or just my emotions. I thought about others and what they would say and do if I allowed this re-birth to transpire. Would I agree to His Son living in me?

Mary’s ultimate response to God was, “be it done to me according to your word.” In receiving Christ through the salvation experience we too are saying, “Thy will be done.”

My point in proposing the similarity of these experiences is not to draw some particular parallel between the Virgin Mary and ourselves, but rather to ask the question, has God spoken to us so profoundly and specifically recently?

All through scripture God speaks to people, often in amazing ways. God spoke to Adam and Eve in the garden. God spoke to Abram and gave him instructions where to live and later in His old age spoke the promise of a child and an inheritance. God told Noah to build a boat. He spoke to Moses in a burning bush. Isaiah overheard God speaking and as a result asked to be sent. Many heard God say, “Thou are my son…” when Jesus was baptized by John. Peter, James and John heard God on the mount of transfiguration. Saul heard God on the road to Damascus. On and on we could go. Down through centuries and up to today many testify of hearing God’s voice.

If you’re like me sometimes you wish you could have one of those burning bush conversations so you could be absolutely sure, due to the supernatural circumstances, that it must be God.

Do you need for God to speak to you now? I do.

January 1st will mark forty years of ministry for me. To quote from one of my songs:

It’s been a lot of years
Been a lot of tears
Every now and then
There’s been some pain

Forty years is a significant number in God’s economy. Moses was trained for forty years in the desert, tending sheep before he was ready for God’s main objective, to lead His “people” out of Egypt in to the Promised Land.

I too have a sense that all that has thus transpired is only preparation for that which lies ahead. And I have something much
better than a burning bush…so do you!

We have God’s complete revealed Word. Everything God wants us to know, historically, doctrinally and specifically in regards to all aspects of our lives, past, present and future are addressed in that book, the Bible.

We have an advocate; Him who sits at the right hand of the Father, always making intercession on our behalf; the risen Christ to whom has been given all authority in Heaven and on earth.

And we have an intercessor, the Holy Spirit who searches our innermost being and prays at levels we couldn’t articulate.

How we often wish we could have the experiences of some of those previously mentioned. But don’t you see how they longed for and by faith waited for that which was to them yet ahead in the future though now possessed by us through Christ?

In days gone by only certain priests at certain times could even approach God but now He invites us all to come even boldly into His presence and make all our requests known.

Perhaps God speaks to us in direct proportion to how much we speak to Him. I’m going to speak more to God and listen with a more sensitive ear. I will pray for you as I know you too need to hear Him in regard to the next season of your life. Please pray for Linda and me as we seek God for His plans and purposes for our lives and ministry in this coming year. To complete a portion of the song I referenced earlier:

Though sometimes I’ve failed
When the storms prevailed
He has always stayed the same

I still love Jesus
He’s my dearest friend
Faithful till the end
I still love Jesus
And He still loves me

(I Still Love Jesus)
Dallas Holm

God will always be found faithful. If we hear and obey His voice, we will have a testimony of faithfulness as well; Lord speak!

PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

Oh God our help in ages past
Our hope for years to come
Our shelter from the stormy blast
And our eternal home
Oh God Our Help in Ages Past
Isaac Watts—1674-1748

These rich words, penned from one who died exactly two hundred years before I was born, give comfort, confidence and clarity.

At this time of year I always am reflective, not only of the past twelve months, but also the years that have come and gone so swiftly. I rejoice in God’s faithfulness to keep me unto Himself, and to use this ministry to touch so many lives, often I’m sure, in spite of myself.

We look back over forty-four years of ministry and gain comfort knowing God has guided, provided and kept us from, in and through many a “stormy blast.” As a result, we are confident that we stand today on a foundation, the integrity of which is sure, having as its substance the truth of God’s word.

Therefore, we gain clarity to look ahead, albeit through the eyes of faith, with a sense of hope “for the years to come” and ultimately to the final destination of “our eternal home.”

“Thank you” is not adequate to express to you our deep gratitude for your love and friendship through the years. This ministry is truly a partnership based on a common desire to love God, present the truth of His word, reach the lost and equip the saints.
Recently as I was studying Ephesians I read once again Paul’s charge to the saints in Ephesus:

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:1-3).

If there were a motto to describe the essence of this ministry I think it would be difficult to find a more desirable standard to strive for than that which is presented in this verse.

It is my sincere hope and prayer that this has, does and always will describe who we are, partnered together in this ministry as we seek through every opportunity given, to represent Jesus.

Looking ahead, we will continue to minister in churches across this country as God gives opportunity. I love the fact that He has opened the doors to so many different denominations and we have true fellowship with our brothers and sisters from so many varied backgrounds.

We have recently had the privilege to minister in some retirement communities and at senior banquets hosted by church senior ministries departments. As my wife and I are now bona fide senior citizens, we have great appreciation for the “senior saints” and look forward to more opportunities to target this demographic.

We also are developing what we’re calling the In-Holm concert series. These will be a few selected dates where Linda and I will do a very intimate concert/ministry event at someone’s home. This will enable some to host perhaps an elegant dinner or a backyard barbecue, inviting friends and neighbors who may not go to church, into a warm friendly atmosphere to hear the “good news” in song and word.

Please pray with us about these opportunities as they develop further.
I’ve never cared so much what our ministry looks like or where it takes us as long as we can be effective.

Let us pray for one another that His will shall be accomplished in every aspect of our lives. May the faithfulness of God shine through always—Past, Present and Future!

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure
Sufficient is Thine arm alone
And our defense is sure
Oh God Our Help in Ages Past
Isaac Watts


 

P.S. I always like to remind our friends and partners at this time of year to please remember us in your year-end giving. This has been perhaps our most challenging year ever financially. Prayerfully consider what you might be able to do to send us out into the New Year unencumbered by financial concerns. Thank you so much and may God richly bless you and provide for all your needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The End Is Near

The statement “The End Is Near,” encourages an image of some poor soul on a street corner in a major city like New York. Long messy hair, unshaven, a long wool coat worn on a hot summer day, gloves without fingers and the exposed fingers pointing to the sandwich board sign hung around this street person’s neck proclaiming the stark prediction. Passersby shake their heads in disbelief, more at the appearance of the person than the content of his message

Conclusion: The person looks like some kind of kook so his message must be kooky also, right?

John the baptizer must have looked and seemed pretty strange with his fur garments and his insect diet. He was certainly not politically correct in calling government officials “snakes”. Yet his announcement of one coming whose sandals he was not worthy to untie was spot on.

How about Isaiah walking about naked for three and a half years prophesying against Egypt and Ethiopia? Many, including Isaiah, probably would have been thrilled to have him wear the sandwich board sign, yet he remains as one of the greatest prophets who spoke God’s word and it came to pass.

If it’s possible to be called by God and look so strange yet speak so true, is it then possible to not be called by God, look terrific, but speak falsely?

You may think this is a strange journey I’ve embarked on and what can possibly be its destination.

I believe the end is near, Christ’s return is sooner than we can imagine and we are living in one of the greatest end time signs, yet failing to discern it.

I Timothy 4:1 says, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in latter times some will fall away from the faith…”

I have often heard through the years many teachings on the apostasy or the great end time falling away. I used to think it would be a very visible event as thousands upon thousands simply left the faith, backslid, turned their back on God and just plain quit! I think I saw it happening as somehow more outside the church or away from the church.

Sadly, I believe it’s happening within the Church.

In Paul’s last epistle he warns Timothy, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant….holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth.”

Recently I saw on a Christian TV program three self proclaimed prophets boasting in their successes, sharing the new revelations that only they had been given to enlighten us thereby releasing us into our destiny if we would release to them our money. You’ve probably seen something similar. It’s not my intent or purpose to expose some as I have mentioned here who are at least, in my opinion, misguided and often in error.

My purpose is however to point out that Christianity and the church here in America are taking a big hit from without and within. Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 pastors a month are leaving the ministry. Approximately 7,000 churches a year close their doors, being replaced by about 4,500. Sixty nine percent of our young people leave the church upon graduation from high school. Sunday night church services are mostly a thing of the past as well as mid-week prayer meetings being usually the least attended service.

Our president announces we are not a Christian nation. Muslims are given special prayer rooms in schools and businesses but Christians are given lawsuits for the most minimal expression of our faith. Need I go on?

Who is to blame? Or, as I wrote in a song years ago,

Whose fault is it anyway
Who assumes the blame
Is it those who know You well
But are afraid to speak
Claiming to be strong in You
But in the end are weak.

(This Breath of Life – Words and Music by Dallas Holm)

There is a weakness, an anemia, especially in church leadership these days. Preaching has often degenerated into motivational speeches with more emphasis on lifting ourselves up than dying to ourselves and lifting Him up.
Youth groups are too often more about fun and games than discipleship with a goal to build a strong scriptural foundation upon which our kids can live their lives.

Christian media often seems to promote the latest “prophet”, best-selling author or Christian artist whose communications are sometimes not even scripturally sound nor backed by lives of integrity and brokenness before a holy God.
Do I sound a little upset? Perhaps. I’m just tired of the packaging of the prominent, the marketing of the mediocre and the showcasing of the shallow.

We live at the threshold of His coming where we need to be nourished at the table of His bounty but often seem to be content to grab a bite at some person’s new fast food drive-thru.

I believe we are living in the time of Paul’s warning to Timothy (by the Spirit):

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

II Timothy 4:3-4

May I encourage you to read Ezekiel 34:1-11.

Lest you think I’ve become as one of those who rails against everything and everyone, let me assure you, I have not.

God has a people. He has a church and He has many wonderful shepherds and leadership throughout His body. I know this and I rejoice in it. But remember, we know as the Day draws near, many will grow cold and Satan will do his best to distract us from the faith often by using some who seem to be within our own ranks.

Stay in His Word and on your knees! Use discernment, try the spirits and measure any and all messages against God’s unfailing Word.

As an old hymn says:

In times like these
You need a Savior
In times like these
You need an anchor
Be very sure Be very sure
Your anchor holds
And grips the solid rock
The end is near so let us look up and rejoice for our redemption draweth nigh!

As always, thank you for your prayers and support. He is honored and we are blessed by your commitment to help this ministry.

More

More about Jesus would I know
More of His grace to others show
More of His saving fullness see
More of His love who died for me

Linda and I just returned from a wonderful one-week vacation with our daughter, son-in-law, and four grandchildren.
We went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The weather was great, the rides were fun and the crowds were ridiculous, but nonetheless we had a wonderful time.

Our grandchildren are twelve, eleven, five and sixteen months. I knew the older three would be big enough to ride the big rides and fully appreciate all that the Disney empire has to offer. It was Caleb, the little one, I wondered about. Would it be an overwhelming assault on his senses for which there could be no adequate response or would he “get it” or at least some of it?
We found out pretty quickly he got it, or at least enough of it to want MORE.

All of our grandchildren learned the same sign language as toddlers to meet a few of their basic needs and express some of their desires. The universal sign for “more” (universal to our grandkids) is the grouping of all the fingertips of the left hand together with the grouping of the fingertips of the right hand in like manner. Then, in a sort of clapping motion, press the two groups of closely knit fingertips together repeatedly.

This motion always denotes more food, read more of the story or as in the case of Disney World, I want to ride the Dumbo ride again! (and again and again…).

And how could we loving grandparents possibly refuse such an emotional request. And it was emotional at times.
During the ride, Caleb was enthralled by the sheer spectacle of life at Disney at the lofty elevation of about twenty feet, from the inside of a flying elephant with unusually large ears! Who wouldn’t want more of that?

As the ride would begin to finish and the Dumbos began their descent, Caleb would initiate the “more” sign language.

A couple times he stiffened his body in such a way as to make one contemplate the necessity of surgical removal from the elephant’s cockpit.

He wasn’t really being defiant, he just couldn’t consider the possibility of not having more of something so wonderful.

More about Jesus let me learn
More of His holy will discern
Spirit of God, my teacher be
Showing the things of Christ to me

And now for the spiritual application:

I’ll admit to you now, but will tell my grandkids perhaps later, that I thoroughly enjoyed our vacation and all the excitement, but it was mixed with a certain bit of sadness as I daily witnessed the lengths to which many people will go to grasp a moment of fun in the midst of un-happy lives.

Linda and I enjoyed Dumbo and all the rides as much as all our grandkids, maybe more because there’s a double blessing that comes with age and perspective.

I love amusement parks; they’re amusing! However, in the midst of all the amusement there’s always the evidence of so much emptiness and unhappiness. You hear it in the raised voices, and feel it in the stress of waiting in long lines for short rides. Sometimes you can literally see the weight of burdens in the body language of those seeking a moment of relief, if not weightlessness, amidst a roller coaster’s steep plunge.

These same people live next door to you and me. We stand in lines together at the grocery store. We too deal with life’s burdens, as do they. No ride can truly lift their spirits; no amusement park can give true lasting joy. Wishing upon a star is an exercise in futility.

Faith in Christ is the only hope!

Do they see and hear in us the true thrill of life in Jesus?

Are we to them as those who get off the roller coaster just ahead of those about to embark: smiling, laughing, even screaming with a delight that makes them covet the experience?

I wonder sometimes in the privileged opportunities of fellowship, worship and teaching in our churches if our true heart response is Caleb’s more sign. Would we brace ourselves so no one could remove us from our seat or are we relieved when it’s over so we can exit quickly?

Just some questions to ponder…

I want more of Jesus and less of the world’s enticements!
More about Jesus on His throne
Riches in glory all His own
More of His kingdom’s sure increase
More of His coming, Prince of Peace

(More About Jesus) Words: Eliza Hewitt 1851-1920, Music: John Sweney 1837-1899

In Christ,
Dallas Holm