Fun Stuff

Tears Singing Good Ole Baptist Hymns

by Steve Ray on February 10, 2015

The old Baptist hymns still stir me and bring tears to my eyes. They take me back to my childhood when the family would dress up, us kids in our little suits with cheesy ties and short-legged pants. Dad would always give us candy during the service and put his arm around us while tickling our ears. The good old days.

Dad used to tear up at the old hymns. As he lay in his bed dying a few years ago we put the Bill Gaither Trio (YouTube) albums on the iPad I bought him. He would listen to the classics over and over again. I think he could already see the Lord and was ready to go.

Sunday we sang two of those old classics at Mass. I looked over expecting to see my dad and mom sitting their in their 50′s suit and dress, smiling as their three boys fidgeted in the pew waiting to back to our ponies and swimming pool. Yeah, I had tears running down my checks.

When I got home I called my brother Tim. He said he cannot even sing those hymns at Mass without choking up and the words stop coming. Mom and Dad were the best; those old Baptist hymns are surely sung in heaven and I have fond and loving memories on my Baptist upbringing.

The hymns from last Sunday were “What Can Wash Away My Sins, Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” and “How Great Thou Art” (YouTube video).

Put the hymnal away — I can sing those by heart and from my heart. I still sing them with my mom who still love them and with dad who is surely watching from heaven — still praying for his boys.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus. 

    Oh! precious is the flow
    That makes me white as snow;
    No other fount I know,
      Nothing but the blood of Jesus. 

For my cleansing this I see–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
For my pardon this my plea–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus! 

Nothing can my sin erase
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Naught of works, ’tis all of grace–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus! 

This is all my hope and peace–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
This is all my righteousness–
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

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My Friend from Istanbul becomes a Christian!

by Steve Ray on February 1, 2015

Okan and I have worked together for 15 years with filming projects, pilgrimages and more in Turkey. He was born and raised in Turkey which is 99.9% Muslim. 

Over the years I kept telling Okan, “Some day you will be a Christian.” In November 2014 while in Turkey on our St. Paul Mediterranean Cruise, Okan came to visit us and asked for Bishop Conley of Lincoln NE to bless him.

When the bishop’s hand was laid on Okan’s head he began to cry and felt heat rush through his body. He said it was the most important thing that ever happened to him.

He called me a few weeks later and said, “You were right Steve, I have decided to become a Christian. I want to join the Catholic Church. I know there will be a big price to pay, but I am ready to pay the price.”

He came to our house last week and we had him enrolled in the Rite of Acceptance. He was so excited. He goes back to Istanbul with a suitcase full of books, crosses, a Bible and other gifts.

Here is a video of his interview that day with Al Kresta on Ave Maria Radio.

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John the Baptist Ate Them…Steve Ate One too!

by Steve Ray on January 10, 2015

large-grasshopper-on-finger-tipsI was just on the radio and mentioned how I ate a grasshopper in the Holy Land, in honor of John the Baptist. Since we just returned from Israel I thought I would repost this blog entry in honor of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus on January 9 and my appearance on Relevant Radio to discuss this Feast Day. And to celebrate … STEVE RAY LIVING THE BIBLE IN THE HOLY LAND!

While on Pilgrimage in Israel we stopped at Qumran a while back, near the Dead Sea and the place where John the Baptist baptized. John the Baptist ate grasshoppers here (Matthew 3:4).

I mentioned to my pilgrims that if anyone found a grasshopper — I would eat it like John the Baptist did in the desert.  Grasshoppers, locusts and crickets were considered “clean foods” for the Israelites (Lev. 11:22).

Did Jesus eat them? Why not? It was clean food for the Jews specifically mentioned in the Bible. Leviticus 11:22 says they are “clean” and can be eaten.

Well, finding a big juicy grasshopper became the goal for many of the pilgrims. And before long I found myself with a 4 inch long wiggling insect in my hands and only a sense of humor to get me through.

I promised the group if they found one I’d eat it — never believing they’d find one. They found a BIG one. What to do?

I ate it — live and wiggling — very crunchy. Now I know what a locust tastes like and I know why John the Baptist ate them with wild honey!

Living the Bible here in the Holy Land!

You can see all our past videos of our pilgrimages at www.SteveGoes.com. Go to Pilgrimages > Past. See our current trips at www.SteveGoes.com/pilgrimages.

Pictures 1 and 2: Birthplace of John the Baptist in Ein Kerem Israel, just west of Jerusalem. Picture 3 is overview of Judean Wilderness near Jordan River where John was baptizing. Picture 4 is a statue of John’s father Zechariah.

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Biblical Measurements and Units

January 5, 2015

Cubits, a spam, and ephah and a bath. What do all of these mean in the Bible? Here is a helpful chart taken from Verbum.

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Two Great Jewish Movies

January 3, 2015

Since we are in Jerusalem, I thought I would share two of our favorite Jewish movies. Recently watched “Everything is Illuminated” again. It is funny and profound about a young man (Elijah Wood – Frodo in “Lord of the Rings”) who discovers his Jewish past after Nazi fascists occupied Ukraine. It is one of my [...]

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Fun Bible Riddles

December 27, 2014

What biblical saint died twice and was buried twice? Who was the first man that broke all Ten Commandments? What biblical character killed one quarter of the population? What prophet anointed two kings who lived simultaneously? Born once, die twice; born twice, die once. What does it mean? DON’T LOOK AT THE COMMENTS WITH THE [...]

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Womb 2 Tomb; Bethlehem 2 Jerusalem; Biking on Christmas thru the Holy Land

December 26, 2014

  We are in Israel with my daughter Charlotte, her husband Wesley and my wife Janet. We are picking up our bus full of people tomorrow at the Tel Aviv airport. We are looking forward to a wonderful pilgrimage through the land of Our Lord. We arrived a day before our group so my son-in-law [...]

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Jerusalem Over a Hundred Years Ago

December 26, 2014

Old Aerial Photos of Jerusalem Below: original pictures; Above: my notations The Old city sure has changed in since these photos were taken. Does anybody know what the date these were taken? They were shot early in aviation history. My guess is they are about 100 years old. Since we arrived in Jerusalem today awaiting [...]

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Riddle: What Christmas Carol is This?

December 24, 2014

ABCDEFGHIJKMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ It is a clever riddle, but see if you can figure it out.

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“Sunday Mornings in Ancient Times” or “Why I Teared up Last Sunday”

December 22, 2014

Tears welled up in my eyes — again — at Mass last Sunday. It was not always so. As a former Baptist I used to think the Catholic Mass was a sacrilege and an abomination. How could anyone worship a piece of bread? Really! However, last Sunday I was overcome with emotion while sitting in [...]

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“Life is about the Journey, not the Destination!” Huh?!

December 19, 2014

“Life is all about the Journey, not the Destination!” (paraphrase of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.) I saw this sign at the airport today. Imagine! In an airport of all places! What stupidity! Grab a passenger arriving at the airport to catch a flight and shout, “Hey, take any flight you want sir, it [...]

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Families are Cool! An Evening with Grandkids and our Piano Prodigy

December 17, 2014

Last night we took dinner over to my son Jesse’s house. Anna is our daughter-in-law who is a most remarkable mother. No TV in this home but lots of books and fun. I couldn’t help but make a short video of our evening together along with some excerpts of my grandson Joshua’s piano playing. The [...]

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I’ve Been Bitten by Camels, but Never Quite Like This Guy!

December 12, 2014

 I’ve been bitten by a camel more than once (first video)… …but never quite like the guy who got bitten in the second video.

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The Jewish Cardinal

November 16, 2014

I met a new hero today, but only through the medium of a movie. It was entitled The Jewish Cardinal. After returning home exhausted from the Raising Rebels Conference in Manchester NH where I gave three talks yesterday, I was ready for a good movie tonight. My wife found this one on Netflix.  This drama [...]

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11 Things You Won’t Believe Can Fit in St. Peter’s Basilica

November 15, 2014

Everyone knows that St. Peter”s is not only beautiful, but enormous as well (realtor.com has it valued at $11 trillion – “vintage artwork, charming accents, big back yard surrounded by Italy”). But even those who have been inside the colossal structure don’t fully appreciate how big it is. This is because the sheer enormity of [...]

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What My Grandpa Said About the Pope – A Boy’s Story

October 28, 2014

My grandpa is a nice old gentleman, with gray hair, and gold spectacles, and very fond of his little grandson Billy—that’s me. Grandpa and I often go out to walk together, that is, on fine days, because on cloudy days he never goes out of the house, but stays at home to keep “comfortable with [...]

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