Supreme Ambition Ministries

To Know Christ and to Make Him Known – Philippians 3:10


So You Think You Can Dance?

The Essence of Covenant Community

Living within a culture where divorce is commonplace and single-parent homes are more the norm, it is difficult for those of us in the Twenty-first century to grasp the importance of a covenant relationship as it relates to Christian growth and discipleship. So, what defines a Christian community? It is possible that in taking a look at the Biblical concept of marriage we may shed some light upon the concept of covenant discipleship?
Marriage, a Spiritual Template

The heart of God is all about relationships. For that reason He placed humans in families. Therefore, the Christian concept of marriage is a marvelous template for covenant relationship, as well as growth and training in Christian discipleship. The divine plan for marriage is for one man and one woman to continue in their intimate relationship for life. However, since the invention of television and the influx of the digital revolution, human senses are brainwashed, and placed on overload, when it comes to what one might expect from a marriage relationship. Hollywood promises emotional fireworks and explosions of passion at every turn. Not surprisingly, it delivers poorly. Tinseltown’s answer to our disappointment with its failed promises is merely to find another partner. According to, “The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs. second or third marriage is 50% of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce.” Apparently, the entertainment industry’s predictions do not get better with multiplicity of partners.
Marriage in a truly Christian environment cannot be improved upon as a template for teaching people how to live in community. Mankind was not made to live in isolation. We function better in a setting where we have the opportunity to make one another better. The author of proverbs says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, ESV). How disappointing it is when companions bail out on one another at the least provocation. Doing this defrauds the couple and the family unit of the ability to observe how to live and behave in the midst of adversity. Therefore, society misses the opportunity to have crack troops, who have weathered the storms of life, and who can pass down to all observers their secrets to victorious living. Of course, this does not take into account the relationships that are abusive, or hopeless for one reason or another. In those situations, the choices are often limited, and making informed decisions is difficult at best. Under normal circumstances, however, it seems that the experience of marriage can be a catalyst not only for the home, but also for the community at large, and for the Church in particular. The dissolution of a marriage, on the other hand, affects both the couple and those attached to them either through birth, or through other significant relationships. Scars cover the lives of countless numbers of people because of failed marriages. The branches of this poisonous vine weave their way through generations and leave traces of their irritation on the souls of friend, foe, and fellow without discrimination. Perhaps the most tragic realization that the Church must recognize is that the failure of marriage today is virtually equal to that of the world. It appears that most people enter into a marriage relationship with the idea that the person they marry will make them happy.

Contrarily, if a couple considers its marriage vows as something more than a simple ceremony with some colorful words, their declaration may be one in which they recognize they have entered into a covenant, not only with one another, but also with God. If they have entered into this covenant soberly, and determine that the promises they make to one another before God are binding, then the chances of their marriage ending diminish greatly.

Similarly, the new birth is a marriage ceremony of sorts. The decision a candidate for discipleship makes to cease living independently, and to begin living in a covenant relationship is as serious as the choice of a life partner. If divorce adversely affects scores of people, what is the effect upon the Church and the culture of people entering into a covenant relationship with God and his people unadvisedly, or lightly? Furthermore, if divorce stifles the emotional maturity of growing children, what does the severing of bonds among God’s people do to young Christian disciples? The spiritual aptitude of any local expression of Christ will not rise above the devout intellect and practice of the least mature member of that Body.

Remember the words spoken by the Lord Jesus, “If any two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name there am I among them” (Matthew 18:19-20, ESV). The root word for ‘agree’ is sumphoneo (symphony), and signifies a harmonious blending of musical instruments. Is there a better place to observe the symphony of true Christianity than in the relationship of two believing, married partners, warts and all, who passionately love their Lord and one another? There is a marked difference between the love of a middle school couple and that of a more mature couple after several years of marriage. The Bible says, “If any two of you agree . . .?” That statement, alone, implies negotiation, submission, and self-denial. For many, it assumes someone got his way, and someone else did not get her way. Truly, this would be the result, were it not for the fact of the dance, or the symphony. In a vital covenant relationship, either marriage or church, the issue is not whether person “A” or “B” gets what he wants, but rather, to what extent does each surrender to the dance (will of God)? Is fulfillment in life accomplished by one’s ability to accumulate the most toys before he dies? Is one’s relationship in marriage successful because her partner makes her happy, or because she finds mutual fulfillment with her partner as they lay down their lives in service for one another, for others and for the glory of God?

C. S. Lewis wrote,
“The idea that ‘being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made.”

The method people use in choosing a church today is typical of a society influenced by Post-modern thought. One chooses churches, marital partners, jobs, etc. according to how much pleasure one receives from the choice. Parents often choose a church according to the types and numbers of programs offered to them and their children. Of course, it is good for churches to offer options; however, if one’s experience in church is little more than a propositional one, the intimate connection with Christ and his community lessens. The Biblical ideal in marriage is for one to take his time in choosing his life’s companion. He must understand that his decision is for life, and that his commitment involves a covenant agreement. It should not be broken simply because he is not as happy as he had hoped. The bliss of marriage comes as two very different personalities share a common goal of allowing their marriage to be the dance of life that brings glory to God. They discover their mutual fulfillment as they ride the waves of frustration and experience the hills and valleys of joy and disappointment. Their individual experiences in the journey they share not only shape them into mature persons in Christ, but also mold their corporate existence as a family into a model for effective community living.

Even as Jesus found a ‘door of hope’ in the dark, gloom of a borrowed tomb, perhaps we, too, can find a window of opportunity in the difficult work of learning how to dance.  Remember when you were  twixt twelve and twenty and you went to that first dance?  Remember how insecure you felt about the dance.  As you and the object of your affection approached one another, then casually embraced one another, the awful thought struck you that you weren’t sure what to do next.  ”Who should lead?”  ”Who should follow?”  What if both wanted to lead . . . or follow?  Many people in all types of relationships make it no further in their communion than the approach.  Others ‘take the bull by the horns’ so to speak and take on a part of the dance that does not belong to them.  Sadly, all the observers see is two or more insecure people concerned more about how they look as participants than about the greater glory of the dance.  This, I fear, is a picture of our culture:  People who don’t know how to dance in their relationships.  The Bible offers us the best instructions for proper relationships but we’ll have to sacrifice to discover it.

This is a section of a soon to be published book, entitled, You Have Been Called: Revolutionary Discipleship Through the Covenant Family.   All rights reserved 2010.

June 22nd, 2012 Posted by | Christian Life, Church, Fellowship, Relationships, True Church LIfe | comments




I am a part of a clan of Scottish decent known as Lewis. We are a proud lot, perhaps too proud sometimes.  However, even though I am nearing retirement, memories of my mother’s family flood my mind with a sense of well-being and gratitude for the good things that I inherited from being part Lewis.


Recently, I have been made aware that the Land upon which my mother’s parents forged a life for themselves and their children has been sold.  Many of my cousins are hurt and saddened by the loss of the land.  So am I.  Some feel the loss that their own children will never be able to run, work and play in the creek and hillsides, smell the fragrances of the spring flowers and freshly cut hay, even as we did as children.  Many emotions flood my own soul, even as I pen these words.  In my musings of days gone by, I have a lingering memory of one annual event that left a lasting impression upon me.  Furthermore, God has used that memory to give hope to me about something that has been lost in much of the church for 1700 years . . . Fellowship!

When considering the fellowship of the Church of Jesus Christ one must be careful to not be mistakenly looking for a utopian society; one which is devoid of problems. This is not the Church, at least not this side heaven. Rather, the Church is to be a society lived “in the world and yet not a part of it.” While I would be careful to press an unrealistic concept of Christianity too far, I can definitely relate with those who find a societal image that so captures their attention that everything else pales in comparison, and to which one’s life can be given, unashamedly, and uncompromisingly. Such is my quest for true fellowship in the Church.

As I look back over my life I am made aware that I was placed in varied atmospheres from time to time, which gave hints to the meaning of fellowship. One such realm was at the annual Christmas Eve celebration held by my mother’s family. Both my parents came from rather large families by today’s standards, and, due to the rural nature and economic conditions of the times my mother and her siblings formed a rather close bond with one another. Couple this with a basic Christian world view and the fact that all these siblings raised their families near one another and it is not difficult to see how a virtually spiritual relationship was forged within a biological unit. This was never more evident than when all these families came together for the annual Christmas Eve celebration.  This was a rather informal gathering in an old shanty-like house up the old Nine Mile Creek Road in the hills of West Virginia not far from a little town called Point Pleasant. My! What a time we had! The cousins played, making up games as we went. Some looked at pictures of far away places through the “view-finder”. Others shared war stories, or played Chinese checkers, while still others told the latest funny story. My grandparents little house was literally dancing with activity. The aroma of roasted turkey and country ham was married to the titillating smells of fresh baked pies and cakes. The women and older girls were in the kitchen and dinning room getting everything ready for one of the finest meals anyone ever had. Yes Sir! The old house was alive with all the sounds and smells that evoked a warmth and security that only enhanced the smell of wood and coal burning in the fireplace and the old pot-bellied stove.

Sometime during the evening Grandpa, who was a very educated but simple man, would pick up his tuning fork and a hymnbook and begin to sing a Christmas carol. We all joined in. Then the evening seemed to flow like an orchestra with the Conductor being that unseen Guest. No sooner had one song ended than another began. Interspersed between them, we children stood and said the “Christmas pieces” we had learned for our church programs, as well as poems by noted authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, and James Whitcomb Riley. Then, right on cue, the Divine Conductor seemed to stir Grandpa to pick up his Bible and give it to his oldest Son, Milton, who read Luke’s account of the birth of Christ. Maybe it was my age, or maybe it was because it was Christmas, I’m not sure. All I know is that when he read from the Bible on Christmas Eve the words seemed to dance within my head with life. Afterward, we gave the gifts we had gotten for the one in the family whose name we had drawn some weeks earlier. All too soon the evening was over, but I was left with precious, lingering, memories, and a longing to repeat that evening, or something akin to it, as soon as possible. Now, years later, and with over forty years in the ministry, when I think about what true fellowship in the Church should be, it is the memory of those Christmas Eves that floods my mind. You see, Christmas Eve with my mother’s family became for me a microcosm of the way things ought to be. It may even have been a hint from the Lord Himself as to the only effective way to live the Christian life and to do Church. Yes, this family Christmas gathering so many years ago became the seed of a search that was to fuel the fires of my ministry.

I join my cousins and our friends in the little community of Beech Hill, West Virginia in grieving the loss of something special, but from now and throughout all eternity each time I see their names, their faces, or hear their voices, I will smell the aroma of what God might call FELLOWSHIP.

March 28th, 2012 Posted by | Biographical, Church, Fellowship, True Church LIfe, Uncategorized | 8 comments


waterfall.jpgThe following is a copy of a dream by Cynthia Nichols.  I don’t know Cynthia.  I normally wouldn’t publish something by someone I do not know, but the words of this dream pierced the spiritual hardness of my heart.  As I read it, the words to the old gospel song came to my mind: “Does Jesus Care”.

Today as I meditate upon the tremendous sacrifice of God in His Son, Jesus Christ, upon the cross, I am made more keenly aware that God showed in a most extravagant manner how very much HE cared.  Sadly, We, His church, may have some rethinking to do on just how much ‘we’ care.  After all, the world will never know how much HE cares, if they can’t see that We care.



-Cynthia Nichols.

Going With The Flow

I saw a wide stream flowing past where people stood on either side.  As the murky black water neared a precipice it flowed faster and ran deeper.  A strong undertow drew it to the point where it roar headlong over the edge.

In the gathering darkness, which made the stream appear even blacker, a girl came drifting past.  Those watching saw her, and from where they stood, could quite easily have grabbed her before she reached the rapids above the falls. But they didn’t…

They murmured and pointed, even referred to her by her name, but no one ventured to help pull her out of the currents’ ever increasing strength. They were still pointing and murmuring when she tumbled over the falls and was gone.  One piercing scream drifted back to their ears and for a brief moment, they looked a bit distressed.  But, it was a very brief moment indeed and then they simply picked up where they left off -murmuring and pointing as yet another person drifted into view…..

April 9th, 2009 Posted by | Church, Revival | comments


The photograph to the left is the building in which I first heard the gospel preached. I say it is the ‘building’ and not the ‘Church’, because most of us know that a Church is not made of wood, and stained-glass windows but is rather an organic blending of lives present and past, who make us, in part, who we are today. As you can see the Beech Hill United Methodist Church recently celebrated her 150th anniversary on July 20th. This little Church is nestled in the hills of West Virginia in a close-knit community. It is about 45 miles north of Charleston and 10 miles south of Point Pleasant in the Great Kanawha River valley. Kathi and I were privileged to attend this celebration, which included both morning and early afternoon services separated by dinner on the grounds provided by the brothers and sisters of the present congregation. The building was packed with 200 plus people. If I were writing a news article, it might end here. However, the experience of that day will remain with me for some time to come.

This little church in the wildwood is not much compared to the mega-churches and super-ministries of the 21st century but for me, and I’m sure many of those in attendance, the importance of Beech Hill cannot be easily exaggerated. As I sat there in the old pews I knew as a child and youth (they now have padding on them), memories flooded my mind. I tried to hold back the tears as we sang the hymns, listened to the choir, and rejoiced together (I didn’t succeed). From the time I first walked through the door into the sanctuary my mind was flooded with memories. The familiar odors conjured up thoughts of my past, some of which I would just as soon have forgotten and others I cherished. I looked at the faces of people, who, like me, had first come to know the blessed Savior because of messages preached and lives of holiness lived in that place. I recalled the conviction my soul felt during those spring and fall revival meetings just prior to and after my conversion. I thought of those who had impacted my life by teaching me in Sunday school and, it was almost as if I could hear one of the former pastors quoting the text from the gospels, “O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Thou who killeth the prophets, and stones them, who are sent to you, how oft I would have gathered you under my wings as a hen gathereth her brood and ye would not.” The shadow of his tall frame was silhouetted on the wall behind the pulpit from the poor lighting in the sanctuary, but it seemed to add to the solemnity of the moment. As he would quote those words, the truth of them would get deep within me. Interestingly, much of my own ministry has been related to that scripture and the burden of the Church. I have longed and preached for nearly 40 years that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ would be gathered together under his wings of love and obedience.

As I began to make plans to attend the celebration, I noticed that Beech Hill was established in 1858. Being somewhat knowledgeable about Church history, I recalled the last truly great outpouring of God’s Spirit upon this nation was from 1857-1860. It has been called by different names, the ‘second great awakening’, and the ‘great prayer revival’. This move of God occurred because of the burden of a Manhattan Island, New York business man named, Jeremiah Lamphier. He was so burdened for his city and the nation that he announced a prayer meeting in the Old Dutch Reformed Church on Fulton St. in Manhattan. In a few weeks there were so many people praying in NYC that they filled all the theaters. Souls began to be saved all up and down the eastern coast and into the Midwest and the south. It is said that by the time the Civil war began that one third of all Americans were new converts. I believe Beech Hill was a part of that outpouring of God’s Spirit. She is not a large Church. In fact, most would say she is rather insignificant. But I challenge you to try and convince the thousands, who have come to know Christ in the last 150 years both directly and indirectly from this little ‘city set on a hill’. I’m reminded of an old song. “Little is much, when God is in it; labor not for wealth or fame. There’s a crown and you can win it, if you go in Jesus’ name.” I applaud those of the Beech Hill community, who are laboring in Christ’s vineyard. Be encouraged! If you ever wonder, whether or not you made a difference, I’m one…of many. Thank you.

July 29th, 2008 Posted by | Church | 4 comments



haitian-mountains-saint-ard1.jpgJust wanted you to know that I returned from Haiti last Friday night safe and sound. Our journey was a wonderful one. It was so good to see dear friends, many of whom I had not seen for a couple of years. Our time of fellowship in song, testimony, prayer and from the Word was delightfully refreshing. Sitting on the third story of the Pastors’ retreat center at the Mission compound at night and seeing the glory of our solar system, is always an experience nearly beyond words. Truly, ‘ the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof’…porch-fellowship2.jpg

The words sung in the video clip above by Kim Walker became sort of a theme for me (and, I’m sure, others) as we trudged our way through one of the most spiritually dark places on earth. The cry of the song is “Oh, How He Loves Us”. As we moved from one place to another the Spirit of the Lord moved ahead of us. Each step we took and each loving word spoken was one more beam of light displacing the thick darkness. It seemed each time we coporately followed the pillar of cloud and fire of his will there were showers of His precious love flowing like a stream of living water.

As is His Way, our Lord was with us to lead, encourage, anoint and use us in ways beyond our fondest dreams. We had thedave-preaching-at-thomas1.jpg precious privilege of sharing the Gospel through the Christmas accounts in a dramatic way with one of us telling the account and most of the rest of our 24 pilgrims acting it out. We gave gifts to a few hundred children and many prayed to allow Christ to be the Lord of their lives. For most of the children the little package we gave them will be all they receive that whole year. The standard of living in Hait is so much below our poverty level that words cannot tell. Survival is the mode for so many. Six out of 10 Haitian children die before the age of 5 or 6, many because they cannot fight off a cold or the flu. To look into their eyes is to see the desire to hope but the inability to do so because they must be concerned about food for the day. As we prayed with a Haitian man a few years ago on top of a mountain…He cried out to the Lord for a day when he would be…“no more hungry”. However, in the midst of all the suffering are the sounds of children playing, churches holding services and singing with all their might, knowing that the Sovereign God has prepared a place for them and all of His children in a Kingdom which has no end.


porch-fellowship.jpgOne of the most significant issues in Christianity is the privilege of corporate fellowship. It is a marvelous thing to not only observe, but also of which to be a part. One’s personal relationship with Christ is to be intimate with Him, but the greater part of that intimacy is to carry it into the corporate meeting. It is there that it is shared with the brothers and sisters and becomes pregnant and delivers more of the knowledge of Christ than can be obtained in isolation. Our worship experiences on ‘the porch’ were just that. How marvelous to experience this yourself but then to see a brother or sister awakening to more of Christ is to enhance Christ within oneself. Together, we took a journey into a ‘room’ of his kingdom and while there we saw things together, which are difficult, if not impossible to express. However, in an ‘earthy’ sort of way an attempt is made through the song above:“He loves us” which says, “earth meets heaven like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently in my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets, when I think about the way that He loves us…” Yes, it is rather earthy. Maybe too earthy. However, for people who are not well versed in theology and don’t have the vocabulary yet to express the high things of God in a more ‘acceptable manner’, I say, ‘Go for it’! It doesn’t take long to run out of words when trying to express the passion God has for us and the passion we are to have for Him. God doesn’t cringe nearly as fast as some of us, who can express ourselves in a ‘better’ way. Rather, I think he may even smile. Will He take us on and grant us the ability to tell the story in a more acceptabel manner? Will we eventually articulate our experience with Christ in a better way? Maybe. I do hope that when we get to the place where we can say it better that we don’t lose the passion and experience of it. It’s one thing to read about a love story. It is entirely different matter to live it. As I review in my heart of hearts the journey I experienced just days ago, I am left with a deeper passion for my Lord and a deeper desire to fellowship with those who KNOW HIM AND WANT TO MAKE HIM KNOWN.

December 13th, 2007 Posted by | Church, Fellowship, Relationships, True Church LIfe | 2 comments

A Key to Oneness in the Church!

gospel-of-john.jpgLocated in John’s account of the gospel is a key to one of the greatest dilemmas in Christianity. Futher exaserbating the problem is that there appears to be an instance in which a prayer of Jesus has NOT been answered. For some time I have been puzzling over a portion of the High Priestly prayer of Jesus found in John 17:20-23. The particular petitions that seem somewhat problematic are those which call for each believer to be at one with every other believer with the result being an evangelistic revelation to an unbelieving world.

Only the Lord knows how many times I have heard this passage preached and exposited. I, too, have taken my shot at interpreting this sacred prayer but each time, whether I or someone else, the net result has always left me wanting. I suppose that could be by design but I just have trouble thinking that even Jesus has a prayer that still is not answered completely. (In a strange way it also gives me hope. I’ve got a few prayers unanswered as well).

Since Jesus prayed the prayer for oneness, His Church is now more divided than ever. According to the World Christiandivided-church.jpg Encyclopedia, and strictly speaking, there are now over 33,000 denominations of the Church in 238 Countries. Whew!Tongue out Just thinking about a number like that makes me tired. There is so much division…so much variety of doctrinaire positions. How will Jesus’ prayer ever be answered? Let me say that I am fully aware of the interpretation which says that we are ‘one’ through our mutual accepting of Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of the world. As vital an answer as that is…well, pardon me, but it just ain’t enough. When Jesus spoke of oneness, he spoke in terms of ‘…just as you, Father, are in me and I in you…’ It seems to me the answer to the question of oneness must be much deeper.

I have been meditating on the uniqueness of Christ. I have often wondered what it was like for him to realize there was ‘someone’ living inside of him. boy-jesus-at-temple.jpgI have also thought of what it would be like to be the parent of such a child. The Bible indicates he was obedient to his parents (Luke 2:50). In fact, he was obedient before his Barmitzvah and after it as well. The only time we find him doing something that was contrary to his parents’ will was when they found him in the temple at age 12 asking amazing questions of the religious leaders. There was a time when Jesus realized there was someone inside him who was leading him. In fact, Jesus began to realize there was never a time in his life when he was without that inner Presence. There was also a time when his life-submission had to be transferred from his earthly parents to his heavenly Father. His allegiance was and always would be to the Father. His submission was always to Him. Remember the wedding at Cana of Gallilee? Mary was a hostess of sorts at the wedding. Possibly it was a family member who was being married. While they reclined at the table she whispered to Jesus, ‘they have no wine’. Since Mary had been depending on Jesus after the death of Joseph, she fully expected him to take care of the situation. He startled her by letting her know that he could no longer do for her just because she asked. Now he must adhere to One of greater authority.

In John 7 there is additional evidence. There was a passover feast. Jesus’ whole family was going. He was asked to go along with them and promote his ministry. He refused to go. He could not go with them because the Spirit had not led him. Because his family was led by human thoughts, ideas and rituals he told them, ‘your time is always here’. ‘I go not up…’ He could not bend to the desires of loved ones…why? He was committed to following Another.

mockers-at-cross.jpgFinally, think of Jesus hanging on the Roman cross. The religious leaders standing nearby challenged him to come down from the cross. They said, ‘others he could save but himself he cannot save’. Often we challenge those words by saying he could have called 12 legions of angels to deliver him. The evening before he had rebuked Peter for drawing the sword on Malchus. He said, ‘…Do you not know that I could APPEAL To my Father…’? Notice the word, APPEAL. Unfortunately, while hanging on the cross, Jesus had no one to whom he could appeal. He said, “I only do what I see my Father doing…I only speak what I hear my Father saying. But now the Father was GONE. He couldn’t see or hear him. For the first time Jesus had no one to guide him. His submission was so complete so utterly complete that he literally could NOT save himself. To have come off the cross without a word from the Father would have changed the character of God. He had to go with the last word he had from the Father, which was to go to the cross.

What does all this have to do with oneness? It gives us the key. Our interpretation of scripture may be somewhat different. When baptizing, you may sprinkle and I may immerse. While partaking of the Lord’s Supper you may use one cup and one loaf and I may use individualized ‘throw away’ cups and little white pieces of stuff that tastes like styrofoam. I may use instruments in worship and you do not. Whatever our differences, the key to our unity is our submission to the will of God. Christians must make knowing God a priority. Intimacy must be our watchword. Unlike Jesus we know all too well what it is like to make decisions without the guidance of the Spirit. Let us repent of our self-centered existence. Let us lay down our lives even as he did and let us not arbitrarily make decisons, personal or corporate without the seeking of His will. Yes, we are very different. Our cultures, governments and ecclesiastical heirarchy vary…But we can be one. We can submit as the Father and Son mutually submitted to one another. Jesus obeyed and so can we. In that we can be one as He is One. Maybe then Jesus’ prayer can be truly answered.


October 25th, 2007 Posted by | Church, Prayer | one comment