Be the first t847726036889-cover2_lowo get your copy of Norman’s newest release: Hymned in by Grace. Pre-order it today at

After you sign in, use Norman’s email, and pay $10.00 + $2.00 shipping and handling ($12.00 total) for five new, original songs of praise and five classic hymns and hymn medleys like you’ve never heard them sung before. Listen to Norman’s version of I’ll Fly Away and you’ll understand why we want you to enjoy all 10 songs.

1. Come, Holy One

2. Hymned in by Grace

3. Bless the Lord, O My Soul

4. Know I Can

5. Grace Medley: Amazing Grace/Grace Greater than Our Sin

6. What A Friend/Tell It to Jesus

7. Make Me an Instrument

8. Higher Ground

9. I’ll Fly Away

10. I Am Thine, O Lord

Please allow 4 – 6 weeks for delivery.

2015I wish you a Happy New Year. What does that mean? It means three things: one for each word. I wish you a happy, new year because I want you to stand in grace this year. I Chronicles 16: 27 says, “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.” We find our happiness, our joy and peace in the Father’s dwelling place. Romans 5: 2 tells us that is found standing in grace.

I wish you a happy, new year because I want you to live as a new creation in Christ. 2nd Corinthians 5: 17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Yes, I want you to live in 2015 as if everything is being made new in your life. Your actions and reactions result solely from your relationship to Jesus Christ and His love and grace for you.

I wish you a happy, new year because I want you to live under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Yes, I expect everything you do to express the acceptance and the authority of God in your life.

Happy New Year!

crosstunnelThis past Sunday, we discussed four basic steps to recognizing and revealing that our core confidence and competence arises from God and not from ourselves. Our focus verse was 2nd Corinthians 3: 5 but we preached from both chapters 3 and 4 to share the points of our message. What are the four steps we pointed out?

1. If we are going to recognize and reveal God as the supplier of sufficient grace and power for our lives we have to remember something. We have to remember that we are called to something greater than ourselves, something that is higher and more glorious. There is an eternal weight of glory that marks our living, one we cannot accumulate for ourselves but is the gift of God in Jesus Christ for us who believe and rely upon God.

2. But, all of us would be most miserable if it depended on us to reach this high and holy prize set before us. Thankfully, 2nd Corinthians 4: 1 says we can receive something that makes all the difference in the world. “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” Yes, the one thing we need to receive is God’s mercy and thankfully, it is available to us through Jesus Christ. Avail yourself of its power to transform our lives from one of limitation and restriction into one marked by grace and abundance.

3. As God is our sufficiency, we renounce some things, things that would occupy our mind and rob us of grace if we maintained our devotion to them or our discussion about them. It is important to remember our minds cannot focus on everything at once. Why? The seat of our passions, the root place for addiction, and the throne for worship all occupy the same place in our brains. Our desire for pleasure, our craving for what has been withdrawn from us, and the thirst for God’s presence can’t occupy the same place at the same time so to recognize and reveal God’s sufficiency in our lives we have to renounce some things.

4. Finally, we reflect something. We reflect the presence of the Holy Spirit. We reflect the truth of Jesus’ passion and preparation for us. Whether we are present or absent from the body we long to be clothed with the life of God in Jesus Christ. Our sufficiency is of God.

observatoryOne thing above all other things we have noticed here on our trip to Korea – the repetition of appreciation. Almost everyday we have been here, someone offers praise to God and thanks to us as Americans for sending missionaries to Korea at the end of the 19th Century and bringing them the gospel of Jesus that saved them from sin. Then, they will thank us for the sacrifice of our troops: 38,000 giving their lives and over 100,000 wounded to deliver them from the crisis of Communism. That meant a lot more as we toured the Unification Observatory today and looked across the river into North Korea. There was an overwhelming sadness and grief that came over me as we could see from our brief look, a place with almost no trees due to deforestation because of fuel shortages for heat or no electricity for cooking. People living within houses with no roofs because the Communist government could finish guard towers but not the homes of its people.

We stood in a modern facility with a multi-lane highway to our south that was filled with cars. Across the river were three, humble workers carrying rice straw on their backs from the field they were working.

How have we seen a repetition of appreciation? I think of our group’s singing in the Sunday service. We were seated about midway back into the sanctuary and stepped forward to sing. The entire time we marched up to the front the congregation applauded. It took us quite a bit of time to get up there and form the five rows of singers. The applause never lessened or wavered. There was no pause like it would have been in America as the last row or two took their places in awkward silence, everyone getting more nervous as we waited to sing. No, the applause was sustained until we began to sing.

We have seen this repetition of appreciation as the associate pastors would all welcome and receive us at the church when we pulled in late in the evening. We saw it in the respectful bows and greetings we received from thousands here. We tasted and saw that their appreciation was good as were treated to delicious meal after delicious meal. We saw the repetition of appreciation that was shared by those who cleaned and ordered our rooms each day. Everything was perfectly refreshed and waiting for us whenever we returned.

Pastor and Mrs. Eun Pa Hong were wonderful leaders in this repetition of appreciation, as were the elders, and the other leaders of Bu Pyeong Methodist Church. The grace of God was clearly and repeatedly demonstrated to us. They have blessed me and all the participating pastors of the Virginia Annual Conference. Thanks go to our Bishop, Young Jin Cho and I thank all of you that helped me participate in this trip. Let it bear fruit for years to come.

GethsemaneThe Bible says, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55: 6) If you are thirsty, come. If you are weary, come. If you are full of yourself, turn around quickly and come. Call upon the Lord. Experience the transforming presence and power of the Holy Spirit and know that God overwhelmingly and unrelentingly loves you. This is the essential reality.

God has shared his passion with you through Jesus Christ and God still desires to love you passionately in the power of the Holy Spirit. Can we experience this power? Yes, we can. But, our expectation of this happening must be matched by the longing and desperation of our seeking prayer. We are called to come but we will only do so when our thirst moves toward the greatness of God’s promised living waters. We are called to come but we will only do so appropriately when our weariness is desperate for the strength and rest of the Lord.

Are you seeking the Lord with a passion to match His? Or, have you reconciled yourself to an experience of something less than the essential reality of God’s breathtaking passion and love for you in Jesus Christ? You’re thirsty, but not that thirsty so you never repent of your busy-ness or relinquish any of the other commitments you hold to much more clearly than your commitment to Christ. I’m tired but I’m not so tired that I will not keep on trying to do most things myself. I want a greater experience of God but not so much that I change any part of my schedule or routine, not so much that I turn to God with weeping, and fasting, and mourning, not so much that I pray with unrelenting desire to experience the essential reality of grace and love in Jesus Christ.

Let us repent together today and let us “seek the LORD while he may be found, and call ye upon him while he is near.”

P. S. Yesterday, we visited Yanghwajin Missioary Cemetery and the 100th Anniversary Memorial Church. It was a very sobering and deeply moving time as we learned of the zeal and sacrifice of the first missionaries to Korea. I hope at some point in the future I can show many of you the video we received as a precious gift yesterday. The lives of our ancestors still speak and their testimony of sharing the gospel is still bearing fruit today.

Fill in the blank. There are some days you just don’t feel like doing _______ . Is it ironic that this post follows one about making praise continuous? Maybe. Maybe not. All of us have times when we don’t feel like writing a blog post, going to work, doing laundry, cutting the grass, picking up after someone, reading our Bible, praying, going to another practice, filling out another report, going to a meeting, and a thousand other things.

God knows this is a common event for a creature of dust, even one remade into the image of Jesus Christ. We don’t let it get us depressed or let these moments or days put us in a state of believing our best days are behind us. These kinds of moments call us to remember we are Sabbath people. We were built for rest. We were built for reflection on our responsibilities, not just for being responsible. We were made for finishing a race, not just for racing. We were made for harvest and sharing, not just planting and cultivating.

Every farmer knows there are days when the crops in the field need to be given time to ripen. There are days between reaping and sowing again. There are times to let the land rest. But, a farmer can’t let himself be fooled by this feeling of restlessness or the feeling of being drained of motivation to keep him from doing his essential chores.

What are our essential chores? (Besides reading this blog.) Today, my chores are: go to early morning prayer, even if I don’t feel like praying. Write this blog post. Go with my group here in Korea and be attentive to the things we are doing. Other than that, there is not another thing I have to do.

What are your essential chores you have today? We may share in days where we are called to rest and only rest but today I pray you do the essential things you need to do, not grudgingly or reluctantly but wholeheartedly as to the Lord – even if you don’t feel like it.

P. S. I will share my friend and roommate, Bob Weeks’ blog post and video with you after I post this. I know you will be encouraged and inspired by what he writes to realize the importance of doing your essential chores – even if you don’t feel like it.

ppraisePsalm 34: 1 and 2a says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord.” The next part of that second verse there is some evangelistic praise that arises from that but I want to first consider the beginning or the root of praise before we rejoice in the result of our praise. Psalm 33: 1: says that praise is beautiful or it can be translated, praise is the home for the upright. As you go through your day, are you living within your praise? Let’s face that question together so we can extend the roots of praise down deep, abiding in the presence of God each day.

Yesterday at Bupyeong Methodist Church we were bombarded from early morning until late at night with the praise of God from everyone. We heard it in the early morning (5:00 AM) prayer service. We took it in as we shared in a bountiful breakfast. All the meals, the way we were served, the generosity of their hospitality, all served to praise the Lord. The tour of the church magnified the work of God in their lives. The worship services, the concert we enjoyed, the world-class choir festival kept us in a constant framework of praise. But this day and this setting was exceptional. I know next Sunday night I will not experience a 600 person mass choir and orchestra, (Though that would be nice) but I will praise the Lord for the precious people who will gather to study His word and seek His face.

How can we in our everyday experience make our praise continual? First, recognize praise is not self-generated. Praise is not about us. Praise is not an expression of our mood or happiness. Praise is a recognition of God – His goodness and greatness. I’m glad I learned the common mealtime grace incorrectly. We didn’t rhyme when we said the blessing growing up but we recognized and gave praise to God. We said, “God is good, God is great. Let us thank Him for our food. Amen.” That was it. And that is the way we begin to make our praise continual. We recognize the goodness and greatness of God.

Secondly, we remember to repeat that recognition. We practice recurring recognition. We rehearse. Remember praise is to become our dwelling place where we live and move. So, get your key of faith out and enter into praise. Hold onto the doorknob of hope and swing wide the door of God’s mercy and power working in your life. Again, test the hinges of God’s grace and power. The door is oiled with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Again, swing wide the door and as Psalm 24 says and “let the King of glory” come in. Let the King come in and wake you up, sing with you in the shower, sit with you at breakfast, accompany you to work, stand between you and that irksome person. Could you stay within your praise if you know when you react badly or speak in an ugly way, you are talking across Jesus?

Swing wide the door of praise and ask the King to come in and abide. Thank the King for coming. Thank the King for showing up! This is the final thing that helps make our praise continuous. Reach out to Him. Call upon His name. Let his praise be continually in your mouth. The old hymn says, “Tell it to Jesus” and that’s what we can do. Nothing is too great or too small to bring to Him. “Tell it to Jesus alone” and make your praise a continual offering to the Lord.


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