Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I began writing this story on Memorial Day and it is the direct result of my reading portions of two books this past weekend. The first book was The Bible. I was taking one of my hikes around our subdivision and I read as I walked. Specifically, I was reading from The Book of Jeremiah.
The second book I was reading from that day was The Magic Man In The Sky by Carl Gallups (specifically Chapter 15 - The Meaning of Life). I was also inspired by the remembering, on that Memorial Day, the many U.S soldier that have died while protecting us from evil. First though, let's talk about Jeremiah.

Jeremiah had a pretty rough job. He was the bearer of bad news. God had called Jeremiah to be his prophet and instructed him to inform His people that he was going to punish them for their disobedience. Sounds like a fun job, right? God is NOT seeker sensitive!

Chapter 16 - "And I will declare my judgments against them (Israel & Judah), for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands."

Basically, God's people had strayed from Him. They had turned their back on Him and were living for themselves. They had been worshiping other gods, building their own idols and doing as they pleased.

[Does that sound familiar at all? Does that sound . . . like us? We have turned OUR backs on God and have begun worshipping other gods, like money, drugs, power, sex, television . . . we are basically worshipping our selves]

Well, as you may have surmised by reading the Bible, God is a jealous God and He wanted them back. Just like so many times before, God planned to turn his disobedient children over to the hands of their enemies, to teach them a lesson and to punish them for their disobedience.

[Do you think that something like that is happening to us right now? Are we being turned over to the hands of our enemies? It sure seems like it lately. 9/11, the bombing in Boston, the British soldier being hacked to death]

Read this passage from Romans 1 and see if Paul doesn't seem to be describing present day society.

"24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." - Romans 1:24-32

Yup. That's us. So now what? Is God going to turn us over to the hands of our enemies? Seen the news lately? There have been plenty of examples to choose from. But truthfully? As I said before, I think our biggest enemy is ourselves.

That's what I was thinking when I put down my Bible and began to read Chapter 15 of Magic Man In The Sky. The chapter began this way . . .

"What could be the purpose of life? Why ARE we here?" Gallups then says that the answer to those questions can be found in two verses from the Book of Ephesians.

"7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." - Ephesians 1:7-10

And then Mr. Gallups wrote this:

"In much the same way, a drill sergeant knows that a number of recruits will make it, and some will not. Therefore, he applies the pressure. He applies the teaching, the instruction, and the conditions of the new recruits life. Vigorous training ensues. While in boot camp, recruits will have superb days, wonderful memories formed, and solid experiences to be enjoyed. However, they will also endure tough times, trying times, and painful times, often unbearable. Yet the training marches on."

Then he wrote this, speaking of why we are here on this earth . . .

"What is the military trying to accomplish in the final analysis? Do they want all the recruits to be happy? Do the want them to feel satisfied and loved? Do they want every need met for each of the young recruits? NO, they want SOLDIERS. They want them prepared, equipped, trained, matured and ready.

Likewise, but with a much more eternal and glorious goal in mind, God . . . is conducting a boot camp."

As I was reading Gallups book, the Clint Eastwood movie Heartbreak Ridge was playing on television. The movie is about a drill sergeant, preparing his platoon for combat. The movie meshed perfectly with what I was reading.

If this life is really boot camp. If our purpose is to survive this world and become soldiers for Christ. Then I welcome the hardship. I welcome the trials and the time spent in the trenches. Because I know that my drill Sergeant is turning me into a soldier.

"11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen." - 1 Timothy 6:11-16

Today is high school graduation day in the town where I live. They have been through boot camp and now it is time to graduated and move into the real world. Hmm, I wonder how many of those recruits graduating today will become soldiers in the army of God?

Monday, May 27, 2013


Memorial. The 1828 Dictionary offers this definition of the word.

Memorial, n. That which preserves the memory of something; any thing that serves to keep in memory. A monument is a memorial of a deceased person, or of an event. The Lord's supper is a memorial of the death and sufferings of Christ.

I love that definition. "That which preserves the memory of something." Hmm.

Today in this country we are celebrating Memorial Day - a day on which we "preserve the memory" of those who have died in the course of defending our country. We honor their memory with parades, with graveside ceremonies in cemeteries. We honor the memories of the fallen with our thanks and with our praise for their sacrifice . . . their ULTIMATE sacrifice.

Sacrifice. What have WE sacrificed? Our military has sacrificed much but what have WE presonally sacrificed? Hmm.

You know, for many in this country, today is just a day off from work. It's a day to party in a park someplace. A barbecue. A cooler full of beer. Maybe a softball game or a rummage sale. That's sad. Those things are NOT what this day is supposed to be about. Today should be about "preserving the memory" of those who have fallen.

I encourage you to visit a veterans memorial service today where you live. Honor those who have given their lives in battle. In my opinion, there could NEVER be enough memorials for the soldiers who gave it all while defending our rights. Especially our right to freedom OF religion, not FROM religion.

U.S. Military Chaplain, William T. Cummings once said in a field sermon during the 1942 Battle of Bataan, "There are no atheists in foxholes." Hmm.

Have you ever been in a battle, defending your faith? Many have died defending our country, but how many of us would die defending OUR faith? Is your faith that important that you would die defending it? It should be. I hope that I would be counted in that number.

Would you like to read some inspirational stories of those who have died for their faith. Read this book: Foxe's Book of Martyrs

To read more on-line about those who have martyred for their faith visit the Voice of the Martyrs web site.

On this day when we honor those who have died defending our country, let us also honor those who have died defending our right to worship our God. May we also remember the sacrifice HE made for us . . . on this day of remembering sacrifices. In His name, Amen.

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." - Jesus, John 15:13

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Today's post began simply by thinking about a friend of mine. She is going through a tough time right now. I wish there was something I could do or say that would make her feel better but I don't know what that could be. We haven't talked face-to-face in a while. That's sad.

My friend has a beautiful smile and she can light up a room when she wears it but lately it only makes an appearance when she turns it on to answer a "how-are-you" question. Then it shuts itself off as soon as the questioner leaves. I don't like seeing my friend in such a sad mood.

There are lots of sad moods in this world, especially in Oklahoma in the wake of this past weeks tornado. Such devastation. Lives literally turned upside down. Where can one find hope when everything you have is gone?

I read a story once by Mark Hall (no relation), the lead singer of the Christian band Casting Crowns. It was in a book he wrote to compliment the bands Lifesong CD (Its title song was the inspiration for this blog).

In that book (Lifestories), Mark told a story about one of the kids in his youth group who had just lost his dad to a work-related accident. One kid called Mark while the band was on the road and asked, "What do we say?" Mark gave some amazing advice.

"Guys, you've just got to love him. Don't think you have to have all the answers. You don't have to make some great spiritual pronouncement when you see him. You just have to be there for him and tell him you're sorry for what happened to his daddy and that you love him. And then you just hang out with him. You've just got to love him like Jesus - love him like HE would, and love him TO Jesus."

When Mark got back home he drove right to the funeral. As he pulled into the parking lot he saw the kids from the youth group surrounding their friend. Nobody was saying anything. They were just sitting in the back of his pickup. They were there for their friend. Loving him.

We all have times when we don't feel like talking. There are times were don't even feel like worshipping . . . or praying. Bad things can happen in this life . . . to everyone. That's just the way life is. But it's what we do when we encounter those hardships that defines who we are as human beings. Trials, and how we handle them, reveal our true character.

As I am typing this blog post it is raining outside. The wind is blowing and it is really quite nasty, almost fall-like. Sadly, the sight of snowflakes this morning would not surprise me at all. But I have hope that this yucky weather will not last forever and I will tell you why.

I have hope because I know things will get better. I just KNOW that they will. I KNOW that the storm will end because no storm has ever lasted forever. They usually last a few days and then they are gone. I KNOW that the sun will come out because it always has. The sun is always there. Some clouds have just gotten in the way. I KNOW that I will not be in this mood forever because something, or someone, has always snapped me out of it.

Hope is hard to find these days, especially in Oklahoma. Homes are gone. Entire subdivisions have been laid waste. Dozens of people have been killed. But still, there IS hope. Wounds will be healed . . . through God's mercy.

Have you ever noticed how things are different after a storm? The grass gets greener. All the things that were once dirty have been washed clean. Even the air smells different, cleansed somehow. The sun peaks out from behind the clouds and the warmth of it feels amazing. It reassures us that things do indeed get better.

Here's a short video for you to watch - a television interview of one of the Oklahoma tornado victims. It's is definitely worth the watch. Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Video.

My friends, if you don't know Jesus yet, you simply MUST introduce yourself. He already knows who YOU are but you should make it official. Jesus Christ has gotten me through more hard times than I can count. They haven't been as major as losing my dad or suffering a tremendous lose like Mark Hall's young friend. I've never gone through a tornado or experienced a disaster first hand. But I KNOW that I will get through whatever comes my way because God is with me.

We all go through tough times. But the knowledge that Jesus is always there with us, is very comforting in the midst of it all. He died so that we might live. How can we not grasp that fact as we ride out the storms we encounter in life. Cling to Jesus like you would a life preserver when the ship is sinking. He won't let you go under.

"30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him." - Matthew 14:30-31

Jesus told us that "in this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). But He also told us that we are to "take heart" and then He reminds us with these amazing words . . .

"I have overcome the world.”

When you find yourself sinking in the waves of life, reach out . . . CALL out to Jesus. He's waiting right there - waiting to grab your hand. But please, make him more than just a life preserver for your life. Give Him control of your entire ship.

"35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I was sitting in our sun room a few nights ago, my laptop on . . . my lap, and I was deep in thought, writing away on my next blog post about Jesus. Suddenly a cool, refreshing breeze came wafting in through the open windows. My writing stopped, my attention was diverted and I closed my eyes, enjoying the cool breeze as it flowed over my face and arms. That was nice.  It was soothing and comforting and . . . it was exactly what I needed.

Have you ever had something like that happen to you? I'm not talking specifically about a cool refreshing breeze, but just "something" in life that happened exactly when you needed it to. Like maybe you were thinking about someone and suddenly the phone rang and it was them. Or maybe when you were in a certain mood and then a song came on the radio and it was the most absolutely perfect song for the way you were feeling.

Moments like that are awesome! Those moments are like answers to unspoken prayers.

When I first came to believe in Jesus, it was one of those "A-Ha!" moments. It was very obvious and it was very sudden, like a light bulb going on. There have been other times in my life, although not quite as dramatic and life-changing, where something notable and unexplainable has happened.

I remember a time when I was going through some self-doubt about a decision I had made. I knew my decision was the right one. I knew I was following God's will. Yet there was this doubt, an uncertainty about the decision. Was it the right thing? What if I had made a mistake? Suddenly, like a cool, summer breeze, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a young friend opened her arms and gave me a hug. It was almost as if God himself had reached down and delivered that hug himself, reassuring me that, yes, I was correctly following His leading.

Last night I was talking to a friend who had been feeling kind of down. She told me how a breeze had cmme in through her window this past week and rustled a piece of paper that had by lying there, face down on her bedroom floor. She picked it up and read it. It was an encouraging letter from a friend, right when she needed to be encouraged. Something had suddenly appeared for her to read, right when she needed to read it.

God's Word is like that. I can be reading through the scriptures and suddenly a verse just jumps out at me. Maybe it's a verse I have read dozens of times before but THIS time it suddenly has new meaning. Maybe it's the situation. Maybe it's the mood we're in. Maybe . . . it's God.

Some people might say, "Oh, it's just a coincidence. That happens to me all the time." But I wonder. Are those times when we encounter "coincidence," are they really God-incidents in disguise?

Our God is a super natural being who thinks and does things that are WAY beyond what our infant-like minds can comprehend. Take creation for example. Must humans cannot seem to grasp the fact that our universe was created in six days, including all the accessories like plants and animals. Boom! Just like that. We have to figure things out for ourselves. We do this instead of simply believing that God did all these things by Himself. We humans tend to limit our thinking to what we know and make up theories about what we don't. I simply choose to believe in God.

Can God make a piece of paper move with the wave of His hand if He wanted to? Sure. Can He impress on someone that another person might need a hug? Absolutely. Can God make animals line up two-by-two and get on an ark? My God can! Can God lead his people to the shores of the Red Sea and still provide a way to save them . . . by splitting the sea in two? Do I even need to answer that?

God can do anything. That's fairly obvious. The real question that confounds us is, "Why?" Why would a God who is so big and powerful and so way beyond us in every category imaginable, why would God care enough to even think twice about us? The answer is actually quite simple. He loves us.

"16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." - John 3:16 (NKJV)

"37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:37-39 (ESV)

God's love is so much more than we can possibly fathom so why even try to understand it. Accept it. Receive it. Embrace it. Live it.

"7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:7-19

Our God by Chris Tomlin

Monday, May 20, 2013


Each year, Bill Hybels and his Willow Creek Church, hold a "Global Leadership Summit." Here is their mission statement.

"To transform Christian leaders around the world with an injection of vision, skill development and inspiration for the local church."

Well, that certainly sounds . . . like a mission statement. And who wouldn't want to be injected with "vision", right? But what are the attending Christian leaders being "transformed" into? It doesn't really say in their mission statement, but apparently those in attendance are going to be transformed, injected, developed and inspired en mas somewhere near Chicago in early August.

I was reading Romans 12:2 the other day. It's a good "every day" verse. We are supposed to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And from what I gather, this can be accomplished right where we are. As Christians, isn't God's Holy Spirit transforming us already? And shouldn't we be looking to Jesus when seeking transformation? And leadership? Hmm, I wonder . . . How did all of the world's past Christian leaders ever become great Christian leaders without Mr. Bill's leadership event to transform them? Mind boggling!

This year Bill's keynote speaker is Colin Powell. Mr. Powell first became a public figure during the Gulf War back in the early 90's. He was a general in the army and was a very good leader . . . in the army. But where does he stand as a Christian? As a Christian leader? And should we be really following HIS example like Bill Hybels obviously does?

Collin Powell is pro-choice. That means he supports abortion. The following statement is from his speech during the 1996 Republican National Convention . . .

"You all know that I believe in a woman’s right to choose and I strongly support affirmative action. And, I was invited here by my party to share my views with you because we are a big enough party -- and big enough people -- to disagree on individual issues and still work together for our common goal: restoring the American Dream."

Why would someone who supports abortion be asked to speak as an example of a Christian leader at a Christian leadership conference? I thought most Christians were against abortion? I thought GOD was against abortion?

And "a woman's right to chose" . . . You mean someone has the "right" to "choose" to take someone elses' life just because just because they want to? Isn't that . . . umm, like . . . murder? Or in the case of abortion, maybe genocide. As a Christian, am I to follow a leader like that?

As a side note, do you know what those who favor abortion like to call it now? They no longer call it "pro-choice." Now they call it, are you ready for this? They call it . . . "women's health." Who could possibly be against women's health, right? (sigh)

President Obama on Women's Health.

I'd like you to read a verse and dwell in its meaning for a few moments. Take as much time as you need. Read it over a couple of times and let it sink in.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart" - Jeremiah 1:5

God knew us BEFORE we were born. How does a Christian embrace abortion and yet claim to follow Christ? And Colin Powell, this leader Bill Hybels wants our pastors and church elders to learn from and emulate, supports killing living babies BEFORE the wonder of God's creation can even see the light of day. That sickens me.

This leadership summit of Mr. Bill's . . . I wonder where those in attendance are being led?

God uses a very different training method from those Bill Hybels suggests. I'm kind of glad too. He tends to use untrained, inadequate, inept, bungling, stuttering leaders to accomplish His will. Look at Moses. Most would say we was a great leader, yet he had a speech impediment.

"10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” - Exodus 4:10

Why does God use inadequate people to lead? Psst. It's so that everyone will know that GOD did the leading, not the "leader."

Looking to other men for leadership is complete foolishness. There is only one place to look for leadership and that is God. God raises up leaders, not man.

This past weekend I attended a conference on biblical leadership up in Green Bay.

Stand Up For The Truth - Watchman Conference on Biblical Leadership.

There were over 300 pastors and elders and other church leaders in attendance. What an uplifting yet frightening experience. The leadership examples we were given were all out of the Bible, except for Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Probably the best take-away from this past weekend was the concept of what makes up a good leader - a BIBLICAL leader. We are to lead . . . by following. Perhaps Mr. Hybels should have a FOLLOWING Summit! There should be no opinions of man in our leadership, only the following Christ. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Later in Hebrews we read this, good instruction for those who would be leaders. Oh, and we ALL are leaders my friends. Every last one of us. So lead. Lead . . . by following . . . Christ.

"12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears." - Hebrews 12:12-17

"15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." - Ephesians 5:15-17

You Lead by Jamie Grace

Saturday, May 18, 2013


What is worship? The 1828 Dictionary defines it this way.

"Chiefly and eminently, the act of paying divine honors to the Supreme Being; or the reverence and homage paid to him in religious exercises, consisting in adoration, confession, prayer, thanksgiving and the like.

The worship of God is an eminent part of religion."

Worship. I sure have been thinking a lot about worship lately. I have a little worship story to tell you, but first . . . the news!

Remember "The Five W's"? Actually, I guess it's the five W's , , , and one H. Who, what, when, where, why and how. The five W's and the one H are the basic questions that need to be answered in any good news story. I learned that way back in high school. Creative Writing class with Miss Ziglin. She was a good teacher. So, class, let's get started with our assignment.

WHO - Who do we worship? Well, here in the State of Wisconsin, most of us worship the Green Bay Packers. We worship Aaron Rodgers and Vince Lombaradi. We used to worship Brett Favre but we got over that.

Seriously though, we humans are here to worship God. There is no one like Him in all the universe. He is our King. He is our Savior. He is the Lord of all. We worship Him and Him alone.

Some people worship idols (like the Packers, or money, or themselves). We Christians, however, belong to Jesus.

WHAT - We are supposed to WORSHIP God. That is why we were created. Like the Chris Tomlin song says, "You and I were made to worship." God created us for several reasons but number one on that list is worship.

Another "what" that is somewhat related to this category is our purpose. Each of us was created with a gift or two

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

We were knit together in our mother's womb. God knew us before were even born! We were created in God's image to worship and serve God.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." - Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

WHEN - Most people think of worship as something we do on a Sunday morning. Sunday morning worship is good, but worship is something we should do every minute of every day. We worship God when we are talking to our friends about him at work or at school. We are worshipping God when we are tucking our kids into bed at night after they have said their prayers. We are worshipping God when we pray before a meal or in the early morning hours with a friend. We are even worshipping God when we confess our sins to Him. We should be worshipping 24/7/365. And one day . . . we will be. :)

WHERE - Umm, we should be worshipping God everywhere!

For example, I have not been feeling quite right in worship on Sunday mornings as of late - the subject of a different blog post perhaps. But I got to thinking and that I should be feeling at my best when I am worshipping God and that I should not be distracted by "other things." So a few weeks ago I did something different. I went for a walk.

I live right next to Hartman Creek State Park. By foot, it takes me about 10 minutes to get onto one of its hiking trails, following a deer trail through the woods. I found a fallen tree, sat down and read from the Book of Job. That was nice. I prayed and listened to some worship music on my iPod. That was good. As one of my Facebook friends put it, "There is no finer cathedral than God's creation." So true.

After "church," on my way back home, I looked down on the path beneath my feet an saw a nice piece of worn granite. As soon as I saw it a verse came to mind.

"18 . . . on this rock I will build my church . . ." - Matthew 16:18

That verse, answered a lot of questions for me that morning.

Church was good that morning, out there in the woods. I didn't see another soul. It was just me, and God. I worshipped Him, I prayed to Him and I praised Him for being all I need. I don't worship better because of "special lighting" or a man-created "experience." I worship because I need to.

WHY - So "why" do we worship? Well, because that's what we were created to do. When God created Adam and Eve, He didn't just do that so they could go off by themselves and eat apples. He  created them so that they could have a relationship with Him, so they could enjoy each others company, so they could worship the God who created them

These days there are many "gods", each offering us reasons why THEY should be worshipped.

HOW - There is one verse that really described how we are to worship. It is found in both the Old and New Testaments . . in Deuteronomy 6:5 and in Luke 10:27, Mark 12:30 and Matthew 22:37

"25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” - Luke 10:25-28 (ESV)

Why is that verse in the Bible so many times? Umm, so we can get it through our thick skulls that THAT is what God wants us to do? Mhmm.

We were made to worship - with all our heart, soul, strength & mind. So, how are we doing with that? I know that I fall way short in that area. But perhaps I need to try showing Him just how much I love Him, just how much I honor and respect Him. But you know what? Even is I worship all day, every day, it still won't be enough. It still won't express how much He deserves.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


When our children were young, and we're talking INFANT young right now, my wife and I always
enjoyed bath time for our kids. We'd take their little tee shirts and diapers off and then we'd gently place our little bundles-of-joy into the bath tub. We'd make sure the water was just the right temperature first though and and then we'd take some soap and one of those tiny, little wash clothes and gently wash their little bodies. A little Johnson's Baby Shampoo, some baby talk and bath time for babies was simply a dream.

That's how it was SUPPOSED to go.

In reality, there are times our precious little bundles of joy simply do not WANT to take a bath. They would rather GIVE one then receive one. That's when bath time becomes - Armageddon at Sea!

My wife and I were over at our son's house for dinner a couple of months ago. He and his wife have recently blessed us with a grandson. It wasn't long after our dinner was done that it became bath time for their 6-month old. One thing you should know about our grandson. He likes to kick. Tubbie time for baby usually involves THREE people toweling off afterwards. Ha ha ha!

We can laugh now, but 30+ years ago that was US on the receiving end. Gone are the days of us having to wash our kids clean. Now, thankfully, they can clean themselves. Or can they?

We parents can do all the right things as we raise our children. And even though we try our hardest to raise good, God-fearing kids, our off-spring can STILL make decisions that make us ask ourselves, "Where did we go wrong?" How can we as parents keep our children clean in an increasingly dirty world? What do we do . . . . WHEN CHILDREN ATTACK!!!

I think we as parents need to lift up our children in prayer. Seriously! We must pray, pray pray! And not just one of those, "Good morning, God" prayers. We must pray deply. We must WEEP for our children. Then we must be willing to take action. Our children are our most valuable assets. What steps are we willing to take to protect them? To help them stay clean? To help them GET clean?

"And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” - Mark 2:2-5

These men dismantled a house to help their friend, to get him nearer to Jesus. We have to ask ourselves, what would WE do? What are we willing to do . . . for our children? Honestly? I think things have to get bad before they can get better. I think there has to be some anguish in our lives, in our children's lives, before they can begin to see the light.

Giving an infant a bath is a simple way to make them clean, but that's just what's on the outside. All of us need to become clean on the INSIDE.

I praise the parents who make the decision to home school their children. They have seen the danger in the schools of today, handing over their children to be taught and raised by people who are basically strangers. Praise God for parents who care!

I know some parents who have literally moved to another town so that their children could be raised in a better environment. So they could be kept relatively clean. Sometimes even steps like that don't work. So what do we do.

We must come before a Holy God and give our children to Him. Jesus is the only one who can make them TRULY clean. Pray for their protection from evil. Pray that their hearts remain pure and that their minds would not become polluted by the teachings of this world. We must do everything in our power to save our children from the eveil one. But that STILL won't be enough.

Nothing will be enough until we call upon Jesus - the Lord, God Almighty. Maker of heaven and earth. Only then can any of us become truly clean.

"22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." - Hebrews 10:22

A Call To Anguish - David Wilkerson

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I was still a little upset yesterday morning so I decided to wait before posting this story. Wouldn't want to be too quick to speak (James 1:19). This past Sunday I witnessed something very disturbing and, dare I say, blasphemous. And it occurred in church. That's right . . . IN church!
Blasphemy is defined as . . . n. An indignity offered to God by words or writing; reproachful, contemptuous or irreverent words uttered impiously against Jehovah.

I heard some words and read some writing that broke my heart, not to mention a few of the Ten Commandments. I was offended by how the God I worship was portrayed. I became a bit angry, but mostly incredibly disgusted that God's Words were being twisted and misused. I think that qualifies as blasphemy, at least in MY book. You be the judge.

My wife grew up attending this very small Methodist church in Milwaukee. I love small churches. Everybody knows everyone else. They support each other in love. They are a part of each others lives. They pray for one another and those prayers carry weight because they are usually praying for someone they really know and love. This church was no different.

I was raised in a Methodist church. My grandparents were Methodists in Michigan. My parents were members of a Methodist church in Iowa. I got my first Bible from a Methodist church. My wife and I were married in a Methodist church by two Methodist pastors one very hot summer day a long time ago . . . coming up on 36 years now. There is a lot of love in that small Methodist church in Milwaukee. But recently something has changed. What changed was the greater Methodist church itself and their policies. So what happened?

Well, going into this Sunday's Mothers Day service I already knew a few things about the changes in the Methodist church in recent years. From what I have observed at this small church in Milwaukee, Methodist churches have just as many female pastors as they do male pastors. From watching the news, I also have come to know that Methodist churches are "gay affirming" churches. That means the Methodist church condones sexual sin. Somehow that seems wrong to me. It's not good to anger God from what I read in the Bible. Bad things begin to happen . . . kind of like now.

The Methodist church of today has become what is known today as "progressive." No longer is the world "liberal" used these days. Today it's "progressive." In my opinion, "progressives" in the church have been anything BUT progressive. And although I heard the name of Jesus on Sunday, I began to wonder just who this Jesus was they were talking about. He's certainly was not the one I have read about in the Bible.

After I sat down in the pew I started going through the bulletin. That's Standard Operating Procedure for me. Gotta find out what's going on! The first thing I noticed was a portion of the service labeled "A Time for Stillness and Centering." Uh-oh. Google "Centering Prayer" sometime and read all about the dangers of THAT practice.

Everything else on the front page of the bulletin looked normal. Then I turned the page and arrived at the Prayer of Confession. Oh my goodness. It began like this . . .

"O Beloved Mother-Father God, . . ."

Mother??? What about "Our FATHER, who art in heaven? Now we're praying to MOTHER God? Continue with the rest of the prayer . . .

". . . help us today to recognize that true wisdom begins when we accept this world, each other, and our selves as we truly are and not just as we might wish us to be."

Really? "True wisdom begins when we accept this world?" Has anybody in the Methodist church read Romans 12:2 lately?

"2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:2 (ESV)

This prayer really got me upset and . . . the service hadn't even started yet!!

We sang an opening hymn - number 2236 - "Gather Us In." The hymn was found in the second of three hymnals they had there. That's a lot of hymns - over 3,000 of them! Gotta have variety I guess. Anyway, the last line of verse one went like this. "we shall arise at the sound of our name." OUR name? I pray that was just a typo. I think it was supposed to be YOUR name. Freudian? Mmm . . . Let's move on.

Then came the "Words of Welcome" and Carol, the pastor, came out with these welcoming words, "Today there is no right or wrong, you are among friends." No right or wrong? Cool! That sounds very welcoming. It is also very wrong. There is ALWAYS right and wrong and this service was beginning to lean more towards the WRONG side, not to mention the left.

There was a brief children's message when Carol sat down with some kids up front and told a story about when Jesus "left us." You remember, the story of the crucifixion. Carol needs to read Deuteronomy 31:6 for some truth in story telling. Tell it like it is! People are murdered every day in Milwaukee. These kids see it on the news, or worse yet, in real life. They don't need to be protected from the truth. Jesus was beaten, whipped, spat upon, crucified, died and was buried. Although Jesus ascended to heaven, He never "left us." Jesus promised us he would NEVER "leave us."

"6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6

. . . . sigh. There were a few other things that bothered me - The Message Bible being used for scripture (The Message is one man's interpretation. It is NOT a translation). Words like "inclusion" and "acceptance" were used. Never did I hear the word "sin" during the service.

Another thing . . . I had noticed the bread and wine goblet on a table up front when I came in. It looked like we were going to take communion. That was fine . . . up until the point where I decided this pastor was preaching about some other god than the one I always worship. And apparently, soon, I was going to be expected to take communion to this god of theirs. I began to pray, "God, I don't think I can do this. They are preaching a gospel different from yours. God what should I do? This doesn't feel right, God."

My friends, I am 60 years old and I have always enjoyed the privilege of taking the elements of communion. The bread and the wine represent my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who died for me on the cross. It is always an honor to participate. However, this past Sunday, I took a pass. When the nice lady offered the bread to me I looked her in the eyes and said, "No, thank you." and I began to pray. I prayed to the point of shedding tears, tears for this once wonderful little church.

My wife's family goes to that church. I am familiar with many of the names and the faces in the pews. However, I will never be attending there again. Not unless somethings get changed. That is a VERY sad thing. I truly fear for them. We need to pray for their church and for their pastor and for the Methodist church in general. We must lift up our brothers and sisters in prayer, wherever sheep are being led astray in this world.

But there is hope. All is not darkness. There is still an opportunity for repentance and for forgiveness. I hope and pray this pastor either repents or is removed from the pulpit. Something has to change. And there is ALWAYS hope . . .

"14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14

One final story before I close. After we got back from church, I was preparing the grill in the back yard for a family cookout. My father-in-law came outside and asked me a question. "So, what is your opinion of our pastor?"

"Honestly?" I asked. I then proceeded to tell him everything I just told you. At the end of my little speech, which was probably a lot longer than he was expecting, he asked, "So, what do you think we should do?"

"Well," I said, "I'd start looking for a new pastor . . . tomorrow." Sadly, their small church must "accept" whoever their bishop sends them. But God can do great things if they would only ask. There is ALWAYS hope.

There is only one "truth" and that truth does not come from man. It does not come from a denomination. It comes from God. It is revealed to us in His written Word. God's Holy Spirit convicts us when something "doesn't feel right" and I was feeling MAJORLY convicted on Sunday. We should listen to God's Holy Spirit when He leads us. We should listen to God's son, Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life. And we should listen to OUR FATHER, God, who is never wrong and He always, ALWAYS speaks the truth.

"31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:32


Saturday, May 11, 2013


This past week on my way to work I was treated with a somewhat rare sight in our neck of the woods - a mother fox and two little ones. I guess, "officially", they are called kits. I saw momma fox first as she slowly trotted across the highway in front of my car. As I slowed to watch her cross, two teensie little ones hoped out of the grass in hot pursuit of their mother. SO cute!!

They had no idea that a car was heading towards them at 55 miles per hour. They were not aware of any impending danger at all. Their attention was focused elsewhere, on their mother, and where SHE was going.

Their focus on their mother saved their lives in a way. Because they were so intent on following, they paid no attention to what was going on around them. They could have easily been killed if they had stopped in the middle of the road and looked at my car in disbelief. They could have easily been run over.

Have you ever seen a squirrel crossing the road? They start out doing good. They know they want to cross the road so they begin to do that. But then they start thinking, "Gee, I'm kind of out in the open here. What if a hawk or an owl swoops down and carries me off as their dinner?" Then the squirrel gets nervous and worried. That's also when things begin to go bad.

Have you ever been driving down the road and had a squirrel run out in front of your car? It usually ends badly for the squirrel. Why? Because indecision and doubt are a part of who most squirrels are. I seriously believe that ALL squirrels are born with Attention Deficit Disorder.

"Should I go? Yes!! No, wait! There's a car. Oh, well. I'll try it anyway. Oooo. On second thought I'd better go back. It was safe in that ditch. Who knows what danger awaits in the ditch in front of me. Wait! I wanted to go that way for a reason. What was it? Hey, what's that noise? It sounds like a car. Maybe I should . . .  SPLAT!

Not to decide . . . is to decide.

When Jesus walked on the water HE sure didn't have much trouble. Of course, he was God. That probably had something to do with his success. But Peter, Mr. Squirrel in the "Jesus Walks on Water" story, sank like a rock . . . which is what the name Peter actually means. Anyone else, find that ironic? Perhaps "Peter" should mean "The Squirrel" instead of The Rock.

Peter actually started off well. He was following his masters voice. But when Peter got distracted, when Peter took his eyes off God, and brgsn looking and the wind and the waves, things began to go badly for him.

"25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
- Matthew 14:25-31

This world in which we live . . . it is filled with MILLIONS of doubters. It is filled with millions of Peters who WANT to follow Jesus, who NEED to follow Jesus, who were CREATED to follow Jesus, but they get easily distracted along the way. And that "road" leads to death.

"There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." - Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)

Think about the mother fox I mentioned earlier. What do you suppose would have happened to her offspring if she had doubt and indecision when she crossed the road instead of the determination I saw that morning? There probably would be three dead foxes on the road instead of none.

My friends, we need to FOLLOW Jesus. There should be no looking to the left or to the right. We must follow Him wherever He goes. Otherwise we will be nothing but stains on the highway of life. We will sink just like Peter did.

We must also train our children to FOLLOW. It is a dangerous world our there. The only way to survive it . . . the only way to get to heaven when this life is over . . . is to follow Jesus.

It doesn't matter what anyone else tells you. It doesn't matter what you hear on the television. It doesn't even matter what you hear from the pulpit on Sunday morning. What matters is what we hear from Jesus. If what your friends or your co-workers or even your pastor tells you, if it doesn't match what is written in the Bible, if it doesn't match what Jesus tells us in His written word, it is NOT TRUE. It is a distraction.

We have to quit following this world and start following Jesus!

"Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." - Matthew 16:24

Want to read a story about a person who followed someone else? Someone who was totally focused on her mother (in-law)? Read the book of Ruth. We need to have the same devotion to Jesus that Ruth showed for Naomi.

"16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” - Ruth 1:16-17

May we ALWAYS be intently focused on Jesus. He is "the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). And may we be thankful this weekend for our mothers who led us "across the road."

I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I went to school at UW - Madison back in the 70's. In those days, and even today, Madison had, and STILL has, quite a reputation as a party school. Yet, I never got drunk. Why not? It was clearly "the thing to do." There was beer and booze everywhere. Why didn't I ever take that final step and get drunk like many of my friends did? The reason is . . . my family. I felt like I would be disappointing my parents. Does that make sense? And I never even knew about this verse from Proverbs at the time, but it is SO true.
"6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6

I was raised in a family where my mother and my father did not drink. It was simply not done. I don't remember my grandparents drinking either. Although I do remember seeing a bottle of whiskey high on a bathroom shelf at the farm. The bottle was really old, almost empty and, I believe, never used - except for medicinal purposes. Seriously. That's why it was there.

When my wife and I got married, two worlds collided. My wife's family drank - not too excess by any means, but more along the lines of an after-dinner drink . . . you know, to be sociable. My side of the family didn't drink at all. It was a really weird wedding reception.

Have you ever been to a drinking party? Or gotten drunk at a wedding? Or maybe you've had a few too many beers at a sporting event. Why? Why do people drink so much that they get drunk and lose control of who they are? If you go to Google Images and enter the word "drunk" (as I just did, searching for a picture for this blog) you will find all sorts of images, many of them sincerely disgusting. Why do people do this?

Here is a blog I found that lists the Top Ten reasons why people start to drink. Read this.

The number one reason listed in that blog is "For the Effect." Basically, people drink because of the way it makes them feel. Drinking loosens our inhibitions. It makes us think we are more fun at parties and other social situations. It makes us someone other than who we are when we're sober. And apparently, that's what we're looking for. Most people also believe they can handle themselves when they drink. Most of them are wrong.

I have a friend where I work. He's retired now. His daughter was killed by a drunk driver. You can read about her here. The guy behind the wheel is still on the roads somewhere in Wisconsin. My friends daughter is dead an buried. How would you like to be THAT guy one day when he stands in front of Jesus to explain how he killed someone while he was drunk? Yeah . . . that's not going to be good.

I'd like you to read a verse that hopefully will cause you to think. It's a rather scary verse, especially if you like to get drunk.

"9 Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." - 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV)

Do you understand what that says? Let's take all the other examples of sin-filled people out of the sentence and concentrate just on the drunkard . . .

"Do not be deceived: the drunkard will NOT inherit the kingdom of God." Umm. Yeah, that's not good. A person who gets drunk and continues to do so, without regret, is NOT allowed into heaven? That's what God says.

So does that mean that if someone has gotten drunk at some point in their lives, they are going to hell? Not necessarily. For an answer to that question look to the thief who was hanging on a cross next to Jesus.

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” - Luke 23:39-43 (NASB)

The second thief confessed his own sin, he acknowledged Jesus was who he said he was - "remember me when You come in Your kingdom." And then Jesus forgave him. While Jesus was dying on the cross, He took the time to forgive someone's sins.

If the drunkard, or any of us other sinners, repents of his sin and asks forgiveness, earnestly, it will be given. But woe to the one who gets drunk, or sins, and then dies without being repentant, without seeking forgiveness. Even though they might profess a belief in God, that person, from what I read in 1 Corinthians, is NOT going to make it into heaven. Sorry.

You see, Jesus also said, "15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15) and He also told us to "go, and sin no more." (John 8:11)

Go back and read that verse from 1 Corinthians. Do you find yourself listed in its contents? I know I see myself in there a few times. So what must we do to be saved?
  1. We must believe that Jesus is who He says He is - the Son of the Living God.
  2. We must confess our sins.
  3. We must have a repentant heart. We must truly be sorry for what we have done.
  4. We must ask God to forgive us.
  5. We must "go and sin no more."
Our ticket into heaven is more than just "believing." It is also conforming. Conforming to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29).

"You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror." - James 2:19 (NLT)

We must do more than believe. We must make Jesus Lord of our lives. He must become our Master. We must become His slaves. When James wrote his letter to us he introduced himself this way . . .

"James, a bond-servant (slave) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ."

My friends, we too must become slaves of Christ. Whatever He says, whatever He commands of us, so must we do. We need to become 100% His. The old, sinful self . . . the drunkard, the thief, the adulterer, whatever . . . we must die and be re-born. We MUST be born again!

Jesus answered him, 3 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” - John 3:3 (ESV)

James Caldemeyer is a professional bass fisherman. He drank a lot back in the day – often, too much. He thought he could make it home one night after having a few too many drinks so he hopped in his car and took off. He never made it. Neither did the person he killed.

I Am Second - James Caldemeyer

Monday, May 6, 2013


I spent my childhood in the 60's for the most part. Yeah, there was a brief stint in the 50's but most of those memories have long since been forgotten. The 60's was where I did most of my growing and learning - second grade through sophomore year. Most of that time was spent hanging out with my new best friend - television.

TV was different back then. I remember watching lots of shows about heroes. The Lone Ranger, Sky King, Superman and Batman. One of my favorite shows was Twelve O'clock High - a World War II show about bomber pilots - more heroes.

Television was relatively good back then. It allowed us to see a man set foot on the moon back in 1969. That was cool. I also got to watch The Ice Bowl (Packers vs Cowboys) - live, back in 1967. Those days, after-school baby-sitters came in black & white and had things known as "rabbit ears," an antennae used to improve reception.

These days the technology has improved greatly, but the quality of the television programming has taken a major nose dive. It sucks. Gone are the heroes of yesteryear. Gone are the values of family time, sitting around the dining room table. Instead we gather in the living room. If there IS any "family time" at home, it is usually centered around the television set.

King Solomon commented on television (sort of) in the Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter one. Here's a few verses from my BIV translation (Bob's Interpreted Version).

3 What do people gain from all their TV watching
    at which they spend hours under its spell?
4 Generations come and generations go,
    but the scars from television remain forever.

So many parents, perhaps searching for some time by themselves, leave their impressionable children in the hands of the god of television. It captures their very souls and they spend hour after hour watching the "boob tube" - hypnotized by its cold, pale glow. That's rather sad and it speaks to the selfish nature of our society today. But what can we do about it? We're already indoctrinated.

Back in 1971, the year I graduated high school, American folk singer John Prine released a song on his debut album. Although the song was named Spanish Pipe Dream, it became more widely known as "Blow Up Your TV." Here's some good advice for today's families, trying to find "family time" in a world now filled with an over-abundance of technology.

Blow up your T.V. throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own.

Good advice and, except for the "eat a lot of peaches" part, I have done all those things. Well, almost all. I didn't blow up our TV either. My wife would kill me! Gotta watch Castle and all those cooking shows and home fix-up shows! Actually, she probably wouldn't kill me but I bet the temperature drop in our house would be quite noticeable.

You know, if I had my way on this whole TV thing, I'd get rid of the satellite dish and I'd spend supper time sitting at the dining room table, talking with my wife. Then I'd take my TV out into the back yard and . . . KA - BOOM!!!

There are times when television serves a function, but there is simply too much time spent in front of the ol' idiot box . . . in my opinion. Keep track of what you watch sometime. You might be surprised at the number of hours devoted to this "god" during a given week.

So here is our challenge. Let's keep track of all of our "TV time" and compare it to our "God time" (prayer, church, serving others, etc.). If the TV wins, God has a problem with that. I'd even say that even if it's close, God's not going to like it. And the more that I think about it, ANYTHING that takes our attention away from God is not good.

I've tried reading my Bible while my wife watches the TV. It doesn't work. My full attention is not on God and that is wrong. So I get up and go into another room to read. I want my focus to be totally on God when I am in His Word.

God, help us to focus on you and you alone. Help us to remove the distractions from our lives, the things that replace you on your thrown, even for a short time. God, there is no one like you. Amen.

Where have all of our heroes gone? The ones we used to watch on TV? Pssst. They're in the Bible!

"There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might." - Jeremiah 10:6 (ESV)

Our God Is Greater by Chris Tomlin

Saturday, May 4, 2013


"Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!" - Hebrews 13:2

Think about that statement for a moment. There are angels here on earth? Are you kidding me?Are they just walking around wherever they want? And they look like you and me?

Whoa . . .

If there are angels on earth, right now, umm . . . well, what are they doing here? And how can we tell them apart . . . from . . . us? Are they spying on us? Are they looking for bad people to waste? Or are they looking for situations where they can help someone? Are they walking among us, just to see how they are treated by us humans? Interesting questions.

So, have you met "a stranger" recently who you have interacted with? What did you do? What did THEY do? Did you say "Hi." Were you nice to them? Or did you ignore them, not even bothering to give them the time of day?

As a basis for my writing today I refer again to the 1828 dictionary . . .

AN'GEL, n. Usually pronounced angel, but most anomalously. [L. angelus; Gr. a messenger, to tell or announce.]
1. Literally, a messenger; one employed to communicate news or information from one person to another at a distance. But appropriately,
2. A spirit, or a spiritual intelligent being employed by God to communicate his will to man. Hence angels are ministers of God, and ministring spirits.

Based on that definition, I think I saw an angel or two this week . . . at work!

I had kind of a bad week. I received some bad news on Sunday and was struggling quite a bit. Monday was actually pretty good, but Tuesday got worse and by the time Wednesday rolled around I was feeling pretty miserable. That's when God sent two "angels" to deliver a message of hope. A message of His love.

Wednesday morning, one of my friends came into my office and, leaning in close, prayed over me in a whisper as I sat in my chair. Then later, another friend brought me some chocolate-covered strawberries as a gift to help make me feel better. That's when I lost it.

The tears began to well up in my eyes, never running down my cheeks but to the point where it was difficult to see. What did I do that God would send these two "angels," these two "ministering spirits" into my life? Well, quite simply, it was nothing I had done. I was simply the love of God, raining down on me from heaven. What a blessing friends are!

Is there someone in YOUR life who God has used to deliver a message? Or how about someone else, a total stranger perhaps, who has done or said something "heavenly" at just the right moment?

I am writing this blog today because someone came into my life seven years ago and delivered a message of hope to me - the hope of Jesus. I have seen signs of God's angels here on earth as something miraculous happened in my life. I have seen stories on the news, like this one, indicating that something WAY beyond "normal" happened.

Perhaps you have heard of guardian angels? When you see news stories like the one we just watched, it kind of makes us wonder, "Do they really exist?"

You know, one of the most popular reasons that non-believers give for their disbelief is, "I can't believe in a God who lets bad things happen to good people." They never stop to think about the good things that God does to undeserving, unworthy people, like us, seemingly every day.

It is my belief that God uses people to deliver messages, to miraculously pull people from raging rivers, to save poor undeserving souls, like mine, from an eternity in hell.

This morning, I am grateful for a loving God who loves us SO much that he provided a way for us to be rescued from the sinful raging river that is this world. We as a species are deserving of death, yet we are given life, through our simple belief (and repentence), in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." - Romans 5:6-11

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I was watching a TV show last night on the National Geographic Channel called Brain Games. Interesting show. It explores our brain - how it sees things, how it perceives things . . . and how the brain can easily be fooled.

They showed several examples of how our brain can focus on one thing and totally miss something else that was going on right in front of  us.

The first example showed a field goal kicker attempting to kick the ball between the uprights. The view was from the stands - about the 15 yard line. There were cheerleaders in the foreground. The audience was instructed to focus on the ball to see if we thought the kick was good or not. Successful field goals are often difficult to judge. It all depends on our point of view.

We watched the ball as it sailed through the goalposts. "It was good." I thought to myself. Then the announcer asked, "While you were focusing on the football, how many of you saw that three of the cheerleaders take off their tops?"


They rewound the tape and replayed the kick. This time everyone watched the cheerleaders and, sure enough, three of them removed their red cheer leading tops to reveal each of them wearing black shirts underneath saying "Made-You-Look." Interesting. I never saw that happening the first time through. My brain was focused elsewhere.

A couple of years ago I saw an e-mail making the rounds about a man who got on a crowded bus with his two kids. The two children were simply out of control, crying and screaming. In the eyes of those riding on the bus, the father simply didn't appear to care. He was just allowing his kids to do whatever they wanted without any apparent thought given to the rest of the paying passengers, who were becoming increasingly annoyed.

Finally, one older woman spoke up and complained, "Sir! Can't you control your children? They are simply out of control. Can't you do something to calm them down!?! We paid good money to ride this bus. We don't need your children screaming in our ears!"

The man slowly looked up that the woman and said,"I guess I could try to make them stop but it won't work. I'm a little out of upset myself. You see, we just watched their mother die in the hospital back there. Sorry we're bothering you."

The lady, and the other passengers on the bus did not have all the information they needed to make an accurate judgement of the situation.

Perception . . . reality.

Isn't it funny how we can believe one thing and have a strong opinion about the matter until we find what REALLY happened. As it almost always does, conclusion jumping leads to errors in judgement, bad feelings and soiled relationships.

Has that ever happened to you in the work place? Or how about at church? Or at school? Mhmm. We're not safe anywhere from perceptions becoming reality in someones eyes.

Jesus struggled with the same thing. Although Jesus spoke the truth and led a sinless life, the perception of the Pharisees was that Jesus was a blasphemer and they actively sought ways to kill him. They finally succeeded. They never knew, until it was too late, that Jesus was the Son of the Living God.

So how do we react when we are victims of a false perception? Let's look to Jesus for the answer. When faced with persecution, Jesus just kept on with his ministry. He dusted off his sandals (Matthew 10:14) and went on to the next town. The way I see this text is that we are to keep right on doing what we do. As long as what we are doing is right in God's eyes, who cares what men think. Jesus' advice to his 12 disciples . . .

26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." - Matthew 10:24-31

People persecuted Jesus right up until his death on the cross, but Jesus never gave up. He never caved in to the Pharisees and neither should we. When we are faced with adversity in this life, we could whine and complain, we could give up the fight and quit, or we could dust off our sandals and continue on.

When Jesus was examined by Pontius Pilate, trying to find out about these crimes the Pharisees said he had committed, Pilate exclaimed to the crowd, "I can find nothing wrong with this man." (Luke 23:4)

At the very end of Jesus' life, the Roman centurion pretty much spoke for the misguided Pharisees when he said, realizing his mistake, "Truly this man was the Son of God!”

We live to please God, not men. As long as we live our lives as a follower of Jesus, doing His will, we will stand before Jesus on our day of judgement, with a clean heart. We will be worth MORE than many sparrows. We as Christians live to hear Jesus say to us, "Well, done good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:23)