Richard Exley Ministries

The Deadly Descent
Posted on February 19, 2009

My heart is heavy as I prepare to write today’s blog. A national official in our denomination has resigned after confessing to having an inappropriate relationship with a member of the opposite sex, although there appears to have been no sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, he is just the last in a long line of colleagues and friends who have fallen prey to temptation and disqualified themselves for ministry, at least for a time.

Of course it is not just ministers who are susceptible to sexual temptation, we all are. And no one is more vulnerable than the man or woman who thinks it could never happen to them. The apostle Paul warns us about over confidence when he writes, “...if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

God is faithful to provide a way of escape, but we must act quickly. When we are first tempted the way of escape is broad and easy to find, but the longer we delay the narrower it becomes. We can still escape but the risks of yielding to temptation increase exponentially moment by moment. If you fail to take preventative action at the first hint of sexual temptation, you will nearly always succumb.  Not necessarily immediately, but in the end.

Category: Perils of Power

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The Perfect Storm
Posted on February 05, 2009

The temperature was hovering just above freezing and when it started raining on Tuesday morning, January 27th, I had an uneasy feeling. If it turned into freezing rain and we lost electrical power, things could get dicey. Heat would not be a problem as we have two wood burning stoves and plenty of firewood, but water and sewer would be a challenge. Without power neither our well nor our septic system would work. Hastily Brenda and I filled every container we had with drinking water and we filled the bathtub for good measure. By the time we finished, ice was forming on the trees and power lines. Shortly thereafter we lost electricity and telephone service. Since our cell phones don’t work at the cabin all means of communication was lost.

After the sun went down the three of us (Brenda’s eighty-three-year-old mother was staying with us) lit the kerosene lamps and played table games to the sound of the icy rain pinging on our metal roof. Occasional we heard what sounded like a rifle shot followed by the crash of a huge limb falling to the ground. Time and again we looked at each other and breathed a prayer for protection. Since our cabin was closely surrounded by a number of towering oak and hickory trees, the risk of having one of them fall on the cabin was very real.

After one final game we decided to call it quits. Brenda and her mother climbed the stairs to the loft while I banked the stove for the night and blew out the kerosene lamps.  The loft was toasty warm but it wouldn’t take long for it to cool down given the fact that the mercury was already in the teens and dropping.

There was just a smudge of light on the horizon when I awoke after a fitful night. Pulling on my jeans and a jacket I made my way downstairs to build a fire. Glancing at the thermometer I saw that the temperature was in the single digits. It was warmer inside the cabin but it was still cold enough to see my breath. The freezing rain continued to fall intermittently all day Wednesday and most of Thursday, followed by an inch or two of snow. Although the sun shone brightly on Friday, the temperature barely climbed above freezing and when I ventured out it looked like our mountain had been bombed.  Broken and uprooted trees were everywhere and the only road out was blocked in a number of places by downed trees.

We were in no immediate danger but I was chopping at the bit to get back to work. Without electricity I could not use my computer or the internet which meant I couldn’t write my by-weekly blog or record my pod casts. (My last pod cast airs 2/6/09 and I don’t know when I will be able to resume recording but be assured that I remain committed to the pod casts.) I was scheduled to preach that week-end but with no way to get out it wasn’t going to happen. To make matters worse I had no way of contacting the pastor or the church to let them know I wasn’t going to make it.

What had started out as a romantic adventure was quickly turning into a major challenge. We were running low on water so I hauled several shovels of snow and ice and dumped them in the bathtub. If worse came to worse we could always melt the ice on the stove to get the water we needed. I estimated that it would take me the better part of two days to cut our way out to the main road a half mile away. Complicating things was the ice which made the footing treacherous. The last thing I needed was to slip and have an accident with a chain saw.

About two o’clock on Friday afternoon four of our neighbors hiked in to see how we were faring. When they learned of our predicament they offered to help me clear the road so we could get out. With four chain saws and a tractor with a frontend loader we cut our way out in short order. Of course that wasn’t the end of the challenges. On Saturday morning we couldn’t make it up the first steep hill and slid back to the bottom. After chaining up we finally made it to the highway seven miles away.

After preaching at First Assembly of God in Beebe, Arkansas last Sunday we returned to the cabin. Of course we are still without power (ten days now) but we now have a small generator which gives us enough power to run our pump, refrigerator, TV and of course my computer. I still can’t record any pod cast because the generator makes it sound like I have a lawn mower in my recording studio!

I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining because I don’t mean to do so. I’m simply trying to let you know what’s been happening in our lives. Tomorrow we head out for a marriage seminar in Siloam Springs, AR. We will return home for two days and then leave for Houston, Texas, where we will minister that week-end. We will probably spend two or three days visiting family before returning to Tulsa to minister at Christian Chapel’s 35th anniversary on February 22nd. Hopefully the power company will have restored our electrical power by then but who knows? With hundreds of power poles down the task is enormous and ours is the last house at the very end of the line.

Last week’s storm simply underscores the fact that we are living in uncertain times. No one knows what the future holds but we do know who holds the future. My Word for 2009 comes from Psalm 112.

    “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
        who finds great delight in his commands...
    Good will come to him...Surely he will never be shaken;
        He will have no fear of bad news;
        his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
     His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
        in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.”
This is Richard Exley straight from the heart.

Category: Life

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