In Articles, Devotional, Posted from Italy, Posted from Rome, Teachings

The view of the ceiling of the Pantheon

(Look to the end of this email for more pictures from Rome!)

I heard someone say recently that he was shocked when he picked up the newspaper and found his own name in the obituary section. Apparently another guy in town had the same name as this gentleman, but it really made him think about the impact of his own life.  Imagine that you had the opportunity to write your own obituary.  What would you put in it?  How would you want it to read?  Is your energy invested into those things that are most precious, or are you busy with lesser things?

In I Corinthians 9:24, Paul encourages us to run our life’s race, “…In such a way that you may win”.  A person who is running to win sets his eyes on the finish line and goes for it with all his might.   A person who is running to win has made a choice to lay everything else down for the sake of the prize.

James 4:14 describes our lives as “a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away”.  There are not enough hours in a day to do everything.  There are not enough years in your life to live for everything.  There is not enough blood in your veins to bleed for everything.  That’s why it is so important that you choose your battles wisely and not to sacrifice what is “best” on the altar of what is “good”.

Reinhard Bonnke once told me the story of how a newspaper had spread vicious lies about him. His friends, jealous for his reputation, urged him to respond. But when he prayed the Lord spoke to him and said, “You are my harvest-worker. Don’t stop the combine-harvester just to catch a mouse!”

The other day my father-in-law, together with a young minister from his congregation, went out door-to-door inviting the folks in his neighborhood to attend some revival services that were being held at the church where he pastors.  He encountered one old man that claimed to be highly educated and very knowledgeable about the Bible.  In fact, this old man decided to impress the pastor and his young colleague by telling them something about the Bible that they didn’t know.  “Do you know who wrote the book of Titus?” he asked.  My father-in-law replied, “Yes, it was Paul the Apostle”.  “Wrong” the old man retorted, “It was written by a Roman emperor”.

This would have been a very easy argument to win (seeing that Paul identifies himself as the author in the first verse), but rather than argue the point my father-in-law said, “Really?  I didn’t realize that,” and he changed the conversation topic back to the invitation he had come to deliver.

When they were back in the truck, heading to the next house, the young minister wanted to know why his mentor didn’t argue with the old man about the author of the book of Titus.  My father-in-law replied, “I’m not going to loose the war to win a battle.”  He realized that he had a higher purpose than to defend his ego or prove that he was more knowledgeable about the Bible…he was after a harvest, not a mouse.  It was worth loosing an argument to win a soul.

There are a lot of good battles out there to fight and the Devil would be happy if you get involved in every one of them…because if he can keep you busy chasing mice, he can rob you of your harvest.

Years ago a friend of mine became fascinated with a particular doctrinal debate.  Although it was an issue of little or no real-life consequence, he was so sure that he was right that he started an ongoing argument within the church where he was on staff.  The pastor, realizing that this debate was causing more harm than good, asked him to drop it.  He refused, choosing rather to forfeit his job and ministry.   This story would not be worth sharing if it were the only time I have seen this.  But I could point to several people who are out of ministry today because they were derailed by something petty.  Somehow they lost sight of the big harvest and started chasing mice.

Paul exhorts us too, “Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” (Titus 3:9)

God has a plan for you and even if it seems petty and small, if He has truly called you to something, you should fight with all your might for it.  Having said that, beware – because the Devil also has a plan for you and he would love to make you ineffective and unfruitful.  He would love for you to park your combine harvester to chase mice.   If he cannot block you he will try to derail you.  Resist him… keep you eyes on the prize and, “…run in such a way that you may win”.

Here are some pictures from our tour of Rome today.  More to come tomorrow….

The Dome of St. Peter's Basilica from the outside

The Dome of St. Peter's Basilica from the Inside. Architecture by Michelangelo

Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

One of the corpses of a dead pope enshrined within St. Peter's Basilica

The Ephesian goddess Artemis on display at the Vatican

These many headless statues had the heads knocked off intentionally so that they could be sold to new owners who would have their own heads attached (like the one below)

This guy bought a statue of someone else, had the head lobbed off and replaced with his own.

The beautiful Fontana di Trevi

Standing in front of St. Peter's Square

The Door that leads to the Pope's living quarters.

Model of the Vatican

Inside St Peter's Basilica

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Showing 13 comments
  • Clive Anuyah

    Hi Daniel

  • Clive Anuyah

    Hi Daniel

  • Tomas Matocha

    Hello Daniel, perhaps you missed my message in “Elephant in thimble”…

    God bless,

  • Russell Benosn

    Again, another excellent article. This is so true. As a pastor, I have seen this so many times. CS Lewis is famous for repeating a quote by Augustine that says “In the essentials Unified, in the non essentials Liberty and above all love.” In pastoral ministry I have learned to live by this quote. Somethings are just not worth fighting over. Lets stay unified on the essentials, “Hell empty and Heaven full!”
    Thanks Dan!

  • Mark Oakes

    What great stories! I feel another mailout coming on!!!

  • Sunny Ting

    Hi, Pastor Danie

    My name is Sunny Ting from Taiean . I have joined the webnet for 2009″ Taiwan will be Changed”. And, that how I know you. Will you be coming this year?
    Hope you can come .

    I am an English techer and I host a studio arranging students study abroad and summer abroad tour .

    I have a plan to combe the abroaf summer tour and local churches camps together. Cause i feel that would be a great “Plus” for me and the students for most of them are nonechristian. That could be a good chance for them to get to know Jessus and have more intact with local people.

    However , I have hard time locating the church activities. I do not have many contacts there, We plan to go to San Francisco this summer. This Sunday , I am going to San Francisco for the preparation for this summer.

    Can You give me some recommendation for churches or contacts in San Francisco? Perhaps I can meet them and see if we can have students from my group join the church summer camps.

    Can you pleae reply to my request?
    You can contact me at or On facebook Rebekah Ting ( I have joined both of your FB )

    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Sunny Ting

    • Daniel Kolenda

      Hi Sunny. I love Taiwan and look forward to returning although Im not sure if we will make it this year. Regarding the contacts in San Fran, I will have someone contact you directly.

  • Darrin Vaughan

    Daniel, love the blog. These pictures are awesome. I especially liked the caption on the picture of the Pope. Hope you’re having a great time in Rome. – Darrin Vaughan

    • Daniel Kolenda

      Hi Darrin…It’s great to hear from you. Blessings!

  • April

    So true, the Devil would love nothing more than to keep us from completing the race God set before us. Each of us are chosen for a purpose and God equips us with everything we need to win the battle and walk/run our race successfully! However, we must stay alert, stand strong and hold tightly to what is ours… Victory! I pray each of us continually keep our “eyes on the prize”.

    P.S. The pics. are great. :o)
    April H.

    • Daniel Kolenda

      Thanks April. Keep pressing on for the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! Be blessed!

  • Daniel Robbins

    Well Said. I think of Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the waves instead, he started sinking. It seems complicated but it really is that simple when it comes down to it though. Keep your eyes straight on Jesus no matter what. But, Thank God we have Jesus to save us like he did Peter if we lose focus occasionally (hopefully we never do).

    • Daniel Kolenda

      Good point Daniel. It’s so easy to loose focus and there are a million things calling for our attention. At times we may even have to prune some “good” things out of our lives so that they don’t choke out the “best” things. That’s something to think about. Be blessed!

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