Tuesday, January 29, 2013


We have a tradition in the company where I work. When it's your birthday you bring in treats to share with others in the office. It's both a good tradition and a bad tradition. It's a good tradition because we get all kinds of tasty treats to eat. And it's a bad tradition because . . . . we get all kinds of tasty treats to eat.

"I am the vine" in our office - the grapevine that is. I have taken it upon myself to inform all of my close friends, via e-mail, whenever I see free food on the counter. We have a regular underground sweet tooth network here! I call our little group "The Breakfast Club." It feels good letting others know there's sweets to be had because they are my friends and I wouldn't want them to miss out on any of these fabulous surprises! Most of the time the treats are good. Other times . . . well, let's just say there might be leftovers.

Usually though, we at the office are not very discerning when it comes to food. We'll usually eat anything. Got a rock hard bagel or some left over Christmas cookies? From last year? Take them to work! Somebody will eat them if they're hungry enough! But I'm getting off track.

Desserts aren't always super good. Sometimes at work we get a cake that's burned on the bottom or at home my wife might try a new recipe only to discover the picture in the book probably tasted better. I remember this one time, when I was in grade school, I played Little League baseball. Our team wasn't very good. We usually showed up every Saturday, got our butts whooped and then went home. Week after week we endured merciless beatings at the hands of our opponents. Things got so bad that my grandmother made me a pumpkin pie one day out of pity. She already KNEW we were gonna lose! When I got home from our shellacking she set a nice, big piece of warm pumpkin pie down in front of me at the kitchen table. Boy that looked good! I took a huge bite in mouth-watering, sweet anticipation . . .

"Grandma!!!" I said, as I spit the pie back out onto the plate. NO SUGAR! She had forgotten to put the sugar into the mixing bowl. That was one nasty dessert!!

Most desserts are yummy. They go down sooo good. It's very easy to share the news of good tasting desserts because everyone knows what good desserts taste like. Chocolate chip cookies for example always go over well. Everybody knows what they taste like. But if you made some unknown dessert nobody ever tried before, people would maybe wait to see what others thought of it first. Like I should have waited for my dad to take the first bite of Grandma's pumpkin pie!

Sharing our faith with others is much the same. You and I know the love of Jesus is the sweetest thing we've ever experienced. We can still experience difficult times in our lives but those circumstances are made easier to bear through Christ. It should be so easy to tell others about the special treat of The Gospel. So why do we seem so hesitant to spread THAT news. It's easy to tell others there are doughnuts to eat but not so easy to tell people they must repent and surrender their lives to Jesus.

The problem is two-fold. Most people are satisfied with their lives the way they are. They're like someone who's never tasted a dessert. They have no clue what joy awaits them.

"How do you know you don't like it if you've never even tried it?" Ever hear that when you were growing up?

"Broccoli"? Are you kidding me? No way!!"

Yet somewhere along the way someone got me to try some. And now? Steaming broccoli with cheese on top? Oh yeah!

Most unbelievers have "never even tried" the Gospel. They have their pre-conceived notions of what it's like and what they'd have to give up. They have no idea what they'd gain. They would gain . . . the whole world.

"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done." - Matthew 16:26-27

The other problem most non-believers have in accepting the Gospel's message of salvation . . . is us. We are afraid. We are afraid to tell others about Jesus because it's outside our comfort zone. We want people to like us and, if we tell them about Jesus, we fear that maybe they won't.

What was that the angels said every time they appeared to someone? "Fear not!" There is no reason to fear telling others. They, and we, have everything to gain. Jesus just said in that verse yu just read that "He will repay each of us according to what we have done," for Him. :)

I have two questions for us today. The first? Who is the one person in our lives that we wish knew Jesus? And the second, "What are we waiting for?"

Saturday, January 26, 2013


This past summer I led a high school Bible study called Quiet Places. The concept was based on Mark 1:35 - "In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there."

We didn't have a lot of participants - two, maybe three each time we met. We traveled to various "quiet places" in Wisconsin. We talked & learned about prayer and then . . . well, we prayed. We always had a good time and it was always a blessing praying together.

The last meeting of our discussion group occurred in August. Remember when it was actually warm outside??? Our destination that day was Door County - the Riviera of The Badger State. There was a beach I knew about on the east side of the peninsula that had some smooth wave-worn stones laying about on the sand. The plan was, as part of our discussion, to write encouraging messages on them and then just leave them on the beach. At least I THOUGHT that's what our topic was going to be. It turned out we were going to be participating in an ad lib devotional . . . on rules.

I had just picked up three teens in my tiny little Ford Focus and was headed to pick up a fourth when I rounded a corner coming into town and there was a cop car sitting right there! I checked my speed . . . 43. I looked at the speed limit sign . . . 25. Uh-oh.

I had been caught breaking a rule and I knew I was going to have to pay for it. And BOY, did I pay for it!! $217!!!

Do you remember in the movie, The Ten Commandments, when Charlton Heston . . . I mean, Moses . . . went up on Mount Sinai and received the Ten Commandments from God? And who could forget the moment in the film when God wrote on the mountain, with a fiery finger, all the laws (rules) His people had to obey.

We humans suck at following rules. There isn't a single one us us alive today, or at any time in history for that matter, who has obeyed every rule for their entire life. Only one person has ever made it through life without breaking any of God's rules but . . . more in him in a moment. :)

Open up your Bible to Exodus 20. Uh-oh. That's right. It's The Ten Commandments! You know, there's only 10 rules. It shouldn't be that tough. "Do not kill." I got that one! But Jesus tells us that if we hate someone, it's the same thing. Umm. Do not commit adultery! I haven't done that! Ha!! But Jesus tells me that if I even look at a woman and lust after her in my heart I am just as guilty. Oh . . .

There are those who say that we don't have to adhere to all the Old Testament rules anymore because Jesus came and He represented the NEW Covenant between God and man. Well, some of that's true but Jesus didn't come to abolish the rules. Ever read Matthew 5:17??

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." - Jesus

Rules exist to show us when we are doing wrong. For me on that day, there was a sign on the side of the road. It showed me the maximum speed "the law" wanted me to go. I wasn't paying attention and accidentally broke that law, therefore I had to pay a price.

I'd like you to imagine a hypothetical scenario with me. Go back and picture me sitting in my car on the side of the road, red and blue lights flashing in my mirror, teasing teens in the back seat. What if someone would have walked up to my car (after the police officer had given me my ticket) and said, "Hi. Would you like me to make that ticket disappear? I'll even have all the records of your previous violations disappear. All you have to do is believe in me and follow MY rules . . . oh, and no more speeding." Would I go for that? Heck, yeah!

We are offered that option every day. We wake up, destined to break God's rules. And breaking God's laws comes with a price tag . . . far more costly than $217. So why don't we all go for "the Jesus option" in our daily lives? We continue to break God's laws. God sees everything we do! We're not going to get away with anything!!

We need to admit we're sinners, habitual rule breakers, and then come before God in repentance, accepting God's offer of grace. We need to leave our sinful nature behind, quit speeding (repent), and follow Jesus. It's simple. But day after day after day, millions just basically roll up their windows and decide to pay the fine themselves. And they do. :(

Let's go back to my theoretical encounter with Christ for a moment. I had just accepted His offer to pay my parking ticket and to wipe my entire record of speeding tickets clean. What if when I looked back in my rear-view mirror and saw the cops handcuffing Jesus and putting in their squad car? Would we still feel as happy?

The fine God demands from us for unlawful disobedience to his rules is high. WAY high! But the death of Jesus on the cross paid our fine. Please, we need to listen to God when his Word tells us He wants to pay for our speeding tickets . . . our sins. Yes, we may still speed once in a while . . . but our fine has already been paid. And we owe everything to the one who paid the price.

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling." - Matthew 23:37

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This past week I celebrated my 7th birthday. Gee, Bob," you might say, "You look a WHOLE LOT older than seven!" And you would be right, of course. Physically, yes, I am a LOT older. But spiritually, I am still relatively young. I'm just a kid!

I didn't know it at the time but as soon as my Christian "light bulb" came on, back on January 15th, 2006, the man I used to be, the old Bob, the old man, officially died. I became a new creation on that day - officially born again.

When a person makes a decision for Christ, there's a whole lot of changes goin' on inside. "Our old self was crucified with Christ." (Romans 6:6). So what happens after that? What happens after we make Jesus Lord of our life? Not just savior, but savior AND LORD. Making Jesus lord of ones life ain't easy. It's a slow, gradual change. A slow surrender.

This week I had a conversation with one of the kids in our youth group. They had recently given their lives to Jesus but they were struggling with the "pull" of this world upon them. This yearning comes from our old selves as they die a slow, painful death. We become convicted by the Holy Spirit and, feeling guilty for things we've done, we slowly begin to change.

This process is a difficult one. When Jesus told his followers that they must "eat of my flesh and drink of my blood" (John 6:56) many freaked out and left him. So too are those who say they believe and yet cannot bring themselves to give up their sinful lifestyles.

In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul describes for us the Fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are the signs that we have been saved. We cannot fake these. These are characteristics of a Christian. We might not have all of these when we first come to believe but God will instruct us and develop in us the missing pieces of our ever-forming puzzle.

Probably the two biggest areas I struggle with are patience and self-control. Patience I am learning. Self-control, not so much. During the month of December I fasted from desserts and from fast food. That was all good and I made it through the month. I lost four pounds and my blood sugar dropped 30 points. But now I am back at my old ways. Buying a box of donuts or a bag of Doritos at the gas station. Enjoying a double cheeseburger with fries at Dairy Queen. I'm sliding backwards!

God's grace is an amazing and precious gift. But it is not one to be taken lightly. Do we get to keep on sinning because God's grace is our "Get out of Jail Free" card? No! Then why do we do it? Because we are weak. Because the pull of self-enjoyment is a VERY strong force. And we allow it to overpower us because it is what WE want, even though we know it is not what GOD wants.

What is overpowering you in YOUR life?

I remember watching a video once suggesting radical changes in the way we approach youth ministry. In the video one youth pastor said, "If I do what you are suggesting, my church will kill me." The leader of the seminar, Paul Washer, then turned to this young man and said, "Then die."

Being a Christian is NOT thinking about ourselves. It's about thinking about God and about others (Matthew 22:37-39). In doing this, our spiritual fruit will grow like a well-watered tree and it is then we will discover the true meaning of the most enjoyable fruit of the spirit. . . JOY.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Do you know what this furry little animal is? A mouse perhaps? No. What about a hamster? Nope. A Vole!! It has to be a vole!! Wrong.

This fuzzy little varmint is known as a Lemming. They average about 3-6 inches long and live way up north, near the arctic circle. They like to eat leaves and grasses, roots  and bulbs. They sound innocent enough, right? Did you know that, if provoked, they will attack? Even humans!! Keep THAT in mind if you're ever up by the arctic circle and wanting to pet THIS cute little creature! Dey be mean!!

Lemmings, however aren't known for their voracity. They are actually known for something about themselves that isn't true. For years we humans have thought that lemmings occasionally commit mass suicide by jumping off cliffs into the sea. Even today, if you go to Google and search for "lemmings" you will see numerous cartoons depicting this very thing.

In 1985, Apple Computer ran a Lemming commercial during the Superbowl as they launched The MacIntosh Office - a direct competitor of Microsoft Office. It featured humans (most likely representing PC/Microsoft users), as they walked blindfolded off a cliff, just like the fabled lemmings were thought to do. You can watch the commercial here.

The commercial implies that PC users, just like the suicidal lemmings, don't know any better and are doomed to perish unless they buy the latest Apple software. Hmm. Those lemmings kind of remind me of something else I've seen on television.

I have another picture to show you. Do you know who this man is? His name is Joel Osteen. He looks like a nice enough guy. He smiles a lot. And I do mean a lot!! He kind of reminds me of a used car salesman. But actually? He's the leader of a rather large church, Lakewood Church, in Houston, Texas whose average weekly attendance is 43,500. Whoa?

Why is Mr. Osteen so popular? Why would his weekly messages be broadcast to an audience of over 7 million viewers? Well, he is popular because he tells people exactly what they want to hear. He's all about us baby! And that makes us feel Grrreat! And he tells us that God is all about us too! He wants you to have "Your Best Life Now." That's actually the title of one of his books. I kind of thought that our "best life" was going to be in heaven. But we can have it now? Umm, no. Mr. Osteen preaches what is known as The Prosperity Gospel.

What IS the Prosperity Gospel? Well, it is the belief that our words have the power to make our dreams come true. Pray harder and you'll get more. Oh, and it will happen quicker if you donate money to their ministry. Yeah . . . Hmm.

The following is from an interview with Christian Post: "There is a part of Christianity that says you’re supposed to suffer and be poor and downtrodden,” Osteen said. “I don’t believe that’s how God wants us to live. I think He wants us to excel and be happy and be a blessing to others.”

You mean we can be Christians AND have all the material possessions we want? Cool! (sarcasm warning). I thought we had to give to the poor and think of others before ourselves and other selfless acts of kindness. Stuff like that. Hmm. (sigh) This guy is leading thousands down the wrong path.

One of the signs of the end times is that a large number of false teachers will appear among us. They will preach a false gospel and lead many astray - "even the elect." That's you and me my brothers and sisters. Don't be fooled by these guys. There is one God and He is the God of the Bible. When we decide to pick and choose only the things we like about God's character we are creating a "false god." And that is breaking one of the 10 commandments. The very FIRST commandment. "You shall have no other god's before me." And when Jesus told us to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," He wasn't talking about the god WE created. Jesus was talking about the uncreated one, His Father in heaven.

Who put the blindfolds on those PC users in that commercial you just watched? Apple would have you believe it was Microsoft. And who are those putting blindfolds on our brothers and sisters in Christ these days? Sadly, it is often those we'd least suspect. People claiming to be shepherds but who are really wolves in sheep's clothing.

Many will come saying "Look! There he is!!" but it is our duty as followers of Christ, to be good Bereans (Acts 17:11) and compare whatever we hear to God's Word. It is the only source of truth in a world that offers many different varieties of so-called truth. Whatever our itching ears want to hear.

So, what do we believe? Do we believe everything we see and hear on television and on the Internet? Or do we believe God's Word? The living, breathing, infallible Word of God.

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." - 2 Timothy 4:3

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Did you ever go to church and see some people choosing not to participate in communion? Ever wonder why? I mean, is the communion wine not their favorite vintage? Do the highly compressed wafers simply gross them out because they are truly like eating cardboard? Possibly. They ARE rather nasty. Seriously though, there are a few more likely possibilities to consider.

It is possible that some people might choose not to participate because they are not believers in Jesus Christ. If that were actually the case, that's understandable I guess (that they're not participating, not that they don't believe). They do not believe, therefore, why should they participate as if they did? That's respectful. And sad. Those people need to be prayed for. They're in church, but they don't believe? Yeah. Prayer would be a good thing.

But the more I think about that possibility I actually think most non-believers would tend to just fake belief and take communion rather than be "busted" or embarrassed. They'd probably just want to fit in so they would go ahead and participate in the ritual. Sadly, there are probably more of these than the church would like to admit.

The second reason I can come up with, why some people don't take communion, and this is probably the MAIN reason people don't take communion, is because they CHOOSE not to. Hmm. Why would someone who professes to be a Christian NOT take communion when the opportunity presents itself? Isn't that something Jesus told us to do? "DO THIS in remembrance of me." That's a command! Why would ANY Christian chose not to take communion? An excellent question.

Our family went to Christmas Eve service at my wife's church this year, a Lutheran church of the ELCA variety. They practice what's known as OPEN communion. They preface their ceremony by stating, "all are welcome" to share in Christ's body and blood. That's good. Situation normal.

However, when people arose from their pews to march up front, some in attendance that evening stayed behind. They didn't bother to go up front and partake in the elements of communion. They took a pass. Why? Well, it was because they were members of a different church. They belonged to a different Lutheran church, a different synod. They were WELS, not ELCA. How do I know all these things? Those choosing not to participate were members of my family.

To be honest, the practise of closed communion, or CLOSE communion, rubs me to wrong way. It bothers me for several reasons but the biggest reason is that it is we humans who are judging what is in another man's heart. This is something that, in my opinion, is reserved for Jesus and Him alone. For us to take on that role risks judgement and is, in my opinion, blasphemy. For an interesting read on the WELS point of view, try this.

So what is right? Should we make a practise of refusing to offer communion to anyone who we think is really not a believer? Do you know what I do when I face questions like this? I go to the Bible and search for my answers there. What answer can you glean from these passages.

"Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." - Matthew 26:26-28 ESV

"And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood." -
Luke 22:19-20 ESV

"So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. ... " - John 6:53-58 ESV

"And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup." - 1 Corinthians 11:24-28 ESV

I'm not here just to pick on WELS Lutherans. There are many churches that practise, closed, or close communion. The Roman Catholic church for example, the Eastern Orthodox church, strict Baptists, there's a whole bunch. But for me, after examining scripture for my answer, I believe that communion should be offered to ALL. And if someone partakes in an unworthy manner they will answer to Jesus. It's simple. When we as church bodies begin to determine through human eyes who truly believes that Jesus is their Lord and savior, we are going down a path that leads to death.

We're supposed to be observing a sacred ceremony when we take communion. God does not like rituals, but a sincere repentant heart. I heard of a high school student in our youth group, a guy, drinking his communion wine like he was taking a shot of whiskey. He didn’t use his arms or his hands. He just wrapped his lips around the little plastic cup and bent over backwards until the contents had been emptied into his mouth. Not exactly the kind of reverence God was looking for?

The best communion service I ever participated in was at a small church in Seymour. There was maybe a couple dozen in attendance. The entire congregation gathered around a few linen-covered tables. We asked God's blessing on what we were about to do and then we broke loaves of bread as they were passed around. The same with the wine. We then prayed as a family as we felt led to do. It was awesome. I have never felt closer to my brothers and sisters and to Jesus during any other communion service. And isn't that the whole point of what communion is all about? To reaffirm our faith and proclaim the Lord's death until he comes?

"Do this in remembrance of me." - Jesus

Friday, January 11, 2013


There is nothing quite like a mid-January rain storm to make the typical Wisconsin driver feel unsure of themselves. Once that rain freezes the roads can feel just like a skating rink! And that's exactly what I found myself driving on last night. The roads were just wet for most of my journey through the darkened countryside. My windshield wipers flicked only occasionally, ridding the glass of the mist as it accumulated. Things were fine . . . for a while. Until I turned off the main highway and onto the side roads near our house.


Left over snow and ice from the storm we had a few weeks ago gets down right slick when God pours a little water on top of it. Wee!!!

Back when I was in college, I remember my parents and I driving back to Madison one winter weekend. We had one of those massive Mercury station wagons, kind of like the Family Truckster from National Lampoon's Vacation. We called in The Sled.

We were cruising along rather nicely, about half way to Madison, when we suddenly began passing cars with tremendous ease. I checked my speed. Hmm, not speeding . . .

"Why are all of these cars going so slow?"

That was right about the time I lost control of the car and we began to rotate, slowly, to the left. Ever go down the freeway at 60 mph? Sideways? I almost caught it once but . . . mmm, no. We spun 3/4 of the way around and came to a stop, facing the ditch. I smiled sheepishly at my dad who was riding shotgun.

"Ha ha! Ice." I chuckled, trying hard to be cool. My dad just stared at me. (Gulp). We proceeded the rst of the way at 25 mph.

There are times in life when we get caught by surprise. Things can catch us off guard and we usually find ourselves incredibly unprepared for the events that life throws at us.

Last year a friend at work told me that her husband had just left her. No warning, no argument. He just came home one night after work and said, "We're done." He put some divorce papers on the dining room table and left. There's no way to prepare for something massive like that.

Did you ever watch that show Doomsday Preppers? It's a show about people who are preparing for the end of the world. They train themselves in hand-to-hand combat. They have large stashes of weapons and food and spend their lives waiting. Waiting for the end. Those guys are JUST a little wacko. Or are they? I guess they're just trying to be prepared. But in the end, what will they have gained?

I am a doomsday prepper. But me and my brothers and sisters are doomsday preppers of a different sort. We have been assured of surviving until the bitter end, and beyond. Instead of storing up silos filled with grain and corn, we tend to "store up treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy (Matt 6:20)." Instead of training ourselves for the impending zombie apocalypse, we spend our time in the spiritual dressing room -  putting on the full armor of God as described in Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

"Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication." - Ephesians 6:10-18

No matter what comes our way in this life, whether it's zombies or black ice, unless we are prepared, spiritually, we will never be adequately prepared for anything. So grab your prepper's training manual (The Bible) and may you have a wonderful day prepping for the Lord! :)

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only." - Matthew 24:36

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I usually get into the office around 6:00AM most days. Early mornings are when I get the bulk of my work done . . . for God. :) Early in the morning I can dive into His Word and not really be bothered by the usual distractions, like . . . you know, work. I can brush up on the games for our youth group. I can do research on-line for my incredibly fascinating stories (yawn). I can also keep up to date with friends and family by quickly scrolling through the Facebook statuses. This morning, however, my "normal" routine never got started. When I arrived in my cubical one day this past week, I discovered that . . . I had been robbed!!!
My daughter had given me this really cool sign for Christmas. It spelled out F-A-I-T-H using some photographic tiles and they sat on a neat little wooden holder like one would use when playing Scrabble. I had positioned it rather nicely in my office so people could easily see it when they came in. I'm such a subliminal evangelist.

But this morning the letters were out of place and one of them, the letter T, was actually missing. Gone! And that wasn't all. The monitor for my workstation had been messed with. Someone had violated me AND my office!

I sent an e-mail to our company CFO, informing him of the theft. "Why would anyone take just one letter?" I thought. Later, I explained the whole situation to my friend at work and she couldn't figure it out either. She felt really bad because she had also lost an item at work and MY loss had brought all the memories of that day back for her. Why do people steal things?

"Take a look through your garbage, my friend suggested. "Maybe someone didn't appreciate your "faith" statement and threw one of the letters away." But why just the one letter? Why not the whole thing?

Well, I guess looking through the trash couldn't hurt\so I took a token look through the trash. Nothing. This was really weird. Why would someone steal one of five letters and then, to really drive the point home, mess with my monitor? Just to bug me? I don't have any "enemies" that I am aware of.

Okay, one last search. Nothing on the shelf. Nothing on my desk. It wasn't anywhere to be found! I pulled my desk chair back and looked under my desk. "Nothing. Wait a minute . . . what's that WAY back in the corner??" That's it! It was the missing letter!!! How the heck did it get WAY back there??

Then, slowly, the available clues began to speak themselves into a suddenly, very obvious story. It wasn't long before I figured out what had happened. It was . . . the cleaning people!!

A feather duster brushed across a shelf, the pictured tiles scattering - two of them flying behind my monitor, one of them falling through behind the desk and onto the floor. The perp knew they had done something wrong - even grabbing one of the missing tiles from behind my monitor, bending the screen out of alignment  as they did so. But they missed the one tile. The one way in to back corner, under my desk, in the dark.

I can almost see the look on their face as they tried to figure out what F-A-I . . . H spelled. Ha!

You know, I never actually had seen this person who "rearranged" my cube, I never actually saw them do anything. Yet there was ample evidence that "someone" had been here. There were signs all over the place! A very incriminating story had been written for me simply by piecing together the clues they had left behind.

And what about my initial reaction? I was sure someone had stolen one of my letters! I was SURE of it! But I was wrong. "There is a way that seems so right to a man" . . . : Proverbs 14:12. Mhmm.

There was no eyewitness to what had occurred. Not a single word was spoken. Yet it was very clear what had happened.

And so it is with God and His creation. We can't see Him. We never saw anybody create the universe. But we DO have words written about Him. And we do have signs of His creation. They are everywhere! Take a look around at the clues! Take a look at the evidence. The whole world speaks of His creation!

Big bang theory? Yeah, I believe in that. God created the universe. BANG!!! :)

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." - Romans 1:20

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I received a call earlier this week from my friends at the Community Blood Center. This time of year donations are usually down and they were really in need of blood donors. My eight weeks were up, so they told me, and they asked if I could come in, to which I replied, "Sure. No problem." All too easy. It was as if my blood donation appointment was "meant to be."

God seems to always conceal his master plan, at least in MY life. Probably in YOUR life as well. Often we can look back on things and say, "Of course!" But usually, we have no clue what's going on in real-time, when things are in the midst of "going down." What happened at my blood donation appointment last night was no exception. I had absolutely no idea what I was walking into. But I am glad God did. :)

Everything was situation normal. Flash the picture I.D. card at the front desk, circle all the correct answers and items on the deferral list, get tested for my iron level, temperature and blood pressure. I passed everything and was escorted out to the main room where all the donating goes on.

After the girl who had done all of my testing positioned me in one of the chairs she said, "I'll be right back" and took off for the back room. That was the last I saw of her. Long pause. I should have known God was as work behind the scenes right then and there . . . but nope. Clueless.

A few minutes later a young man happened by and asked,"Are you still waiting to be hooked up?"


"Well," he said, looking around for the person who had left me there,"Well, I guess I can do that for ya."

So he started prepping my arm, getting all the little hose clamp things lined up, he put on the blood pressure cup and inserted the needle into my arm. Things went along quite very smoothly. Nothing to make me think that something was about to happen. Then, after I was finished, Jared, my new little buddy, cleaned off the iodine stain from my arm and said to me, "So,what's the band for?" Referring to the I Am Second band I wear around my wrist. That . . . is when I knew that God had something up His sleeve.

"I Am Second is a Christian organization that promotes the concept that Jesus, and others, come first in our lives and I . . . am second.

My I Am Second bracelet, and God, had opened up a wonderful faith-based conversation. And I now had a new friend, and brother, in young Jared. We talked for a full ten minutes AFTER my appointment was over, each of us excited to give our testimony to the other. I told Jared how that after I placed my trust in Jesus I had an insatiable appetite for His Word. I couldn't stop reading!

"Really?? Me too!!" Then Jared told me how he had seen an I Am Second video at Lifest and what an impact it had on his life.

"It was about some guy who used to play with a really hard rock band . . "

"Brian Head Welch?"


I then told Jared about Josh Hamilton's video, how it was the first I Am Second video I had seen and how it had impacted me. We were having a awesome time and did some MAJOR bonding - all orchestrated by God. :)

Jared looked like he needed that talk. It was almost like he needed to speak with a brother, a fellow believer, and God provided that opportunity. We ALL can use a little encouragement from time to time. And aren't we glad that we have a great God who provides? I sure am! And I am grateful when He uses me, even without my knowledge, which is most of the time I'm afraid. What a blessing it was talking with my new friend. And what a blessing it is to serve such and incredible, loving God.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:36-40

Brian Head Welch
Josh Hamilton