Wednesday, July 31, 2013


My wife and I aren't very good role models for parents who are trying to encourage their kids to have long engagements or for those who are trying to get their children to "not move too quickly" in a relationship. We met in August, were engaged in October and married a year and a half later in July.

Someone once asked me, "How do you know when you find the right one?"

My answer wasn't very helpful I'm afraid. I said, "You just . . . KNOW!"

I "just knew" a few weeks after meeting my then future wife Bev and, as Billy Crystal said in the movie When Harry Met Sally, "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

My wife and I have been married for 36 years now. Most people would say that we have a great marriage but it hasn't always been sweetness and light. We have had our share of little differences. My wife is a liberal, I'm a conservative. She's a dietitian. I like greasy food. But we still hold hands when we take walks together and things just don't feel the same when we're apart.

Marriage is too often taken lightly in my opinion. If someone doesn't like where their marriage is headed, they quickly just bail out and move on their the next "future ex." Fewer and fewer people are willing to work at their marriages and tend to give up on them WAY to easily, usually when one party or the other doesn't get their way.

No one has asked me for marriage advise lately but if they did I'd have a few choice tidbits for them. The first advice I'd offer is to yield. No argument is worth going to bed angry over. Sound like good advice? It's in the Bible.

"do not let the sun go down on your anger," - Ephesians 4:26

The next thing I would advise is to make sure you both have similar beliefs. It's possible to have opposing beliefs and still be in a successful marriage but it's a lot more difficult than it needs to be. And guess what . . . that's in the Bible too.

"14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" - 2 Corinthians 6:14

And finally, place God first in every decision you make. Do that and you can overcome anything. God already has a plan for marriage. It has been proven to work amazingly well. All we humans need to do if follow the plan! Every marriage that has ended in failure has, for sure, NOT followed God's biblical model from the book of Ephesians.

"22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (sacrifice)26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church - 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." - Ephesians 5:22-33

The plan is simple, yet we continue to get things wrong, time and time again. If we'd only listen to God! If we'd only stop thinking of ourselves and trust in the One who created 'love' and 'marriage' to begin with.

I thank God for my wife. What an incredible blessing she has been! I pray that everyone would find that perfect someone created especially for them. Trust in the Lord. All his ways are good (Psalm 25:10). The success of ANY marriage really depends upon who we are willing to serve - ourselves? Or God.

"15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” - Joshua 24:15

New Year's Eve - When Harry Met Sally

Monday, July 29, 2013


"Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you." - Deuteronomy 16:17

I don't know why the lady's story touched me so much. Perhaps it was because I had been laid off myself at one point in my life and knew exactly how she felt. Perhaps it was the look in her eyes as she waited in line at the local food pantry. Her eyes looked so much like the lady's eyes in the photo to the right. Uncertain of the future. Concerned for her children. Wondering what tomorrow would bring.
When I volunteer at Ruby's Pantry (the third Saturday of every month here in Waupaca) I perform a wide variety of tasks. But lately I have either broken down used cardboard boxes and thrown them in the recycle bin. Or I help load groceries into people's cars. But this past Saturday I got assigned a different job . . . as if by God Himself.
"Hey, Bob. Bill's not here today. I was wondering if you would mind pre-registering the first-time visitors? That would really help."
I must have looked like a clumsy accountant, trying to juggle all the clipboards, forms and writing utensils as I made my way to the beginning of the line - all while trying to look as "cool" as possible of course, but failing. I love talking with people and the more I talked - and more importantly, listened - the more I was enjoying this new job. And the more I fell in love with the people standing in line.
I started making jokes and picking on some of the people I met. They picked on me right back. We all were becoming good friends. It was great. At one point there must have been nearly a hundred people standing in line . . . waiting.
About two thirds of the way through the line I met Joann. She was in her mid-forties, average height average . . . everything. She was just like everyone else only she wasn't talking. She was just standing there . . . looking lost and out of place.
"Are you new to Ruby's?" I asked?
"Yeah. I just got laid off. My sister told me about this place so here I am. It's my first time here."
I handed her a clipboard and then explained what was going to happen as she went through the building. That seemed to relax her a little. I continued on down the line, handing out more clipboards and more forms as I went. Eventually I returned to collect all of the filled out forms and, now that my job of pre-registering people was nearly complete, I had a little extra time to chat . . . which I did . . . with the lady who wasn't smiling.
Joann was a forklift operator at a local food processing plant. One day she got called into her boss's office and was told "we no longer require your services." She had worked there all her life and and it seemed unreal that she was being escorted to the door. And now, here she was, standing in line to get free food. She was beside herself and didn't know what else to do. But I did.
"May I pray with you?"
And so we prayed, right there in the middle of the parking lot amidst the dozens of people waiting in line. I reached out an arm, she leaned in and we prayed. I prayed for God's provision in her life. That God would provide what she truly needs in her life. That she would be given strength and perseverance to get through the changes in her life and that, through this storm, God would be with her and that He would be glorified.
When we were done praying, we each took a step back and I could see for the first time, the tears in her eyes and the tears she had left behind on my shirt. I think that was the moment I decided to do something.
Over the next few days, God's Holy Spirit was after me, keeping my thoughts focused on something to do for those who suddenly, and for the first time, find themselves out of work. I asked my friends on Facebook what THEY might need if they suddenly found themselves in such a position. My friends provided and I made a list - a list of essentials.
I eagerly look forward to next month's distribution at the food pantry. Perhaps I will see my friend Joann again but honestly I hope not. I hope she will have since found a job and will no longer be in need. But whatever happens, I hope there will be a renewed spirit in this old body. One that will encourage and be eager to be used, to give what I can, whenever I can and in whatever form I can.
We often think of "giving" in terms of food or money. But often, the things needed most in this life can't be found on a shelf or in a pocket. They can only be found in God. Faith, hope, love, trust, prayer. None of these things cost anything but they often can mean . . . everything.
"But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" - 1 John 3:17

Saturday, July 27, 2013


My daughter and her fiance recently had some engagement pictures taken - 180 of them to be exact. They all looked great. A link was placed on Facebook so friends and family members could go check them out. Soon the comments began to appear. "Love them! Especially the kissy face ones!" or "Love number 134 the best."

How can one picture be better than another? They all feature my daughter! :) You've probably heard the saying, "The camera does not lie." That is true. It simply takes pictures, recording exactly what it sees at a particular moment in time. People look exactly how they looked the second the photographer pulled the trigger. Sometimes the resulting picture isn't exactly what we were anticipating or hoping it would be, but none the less it is exactly the way it was.

The last four questions from my Lifest survey didn't provide too many "surprise pictures," except maybe for this first one I will be talking about. Oh, and the last question, but I will talk about that one in a moment. Question #7 was "Is God's Word inerrant, in other words, without error, 100% true? Or is the Bible more allegory, more along the lines of stories left open for interpretation?

Nearly 80% said the Bible is 100% truth! Honestly? I didn't think it would be that high. I was expecting more of an even split - kinda of a 50-50 sort of thing or 60-40. That was refreshing. Many of today's churches teach that the Bible contains errors and contradictions. That's kind of what the Muslims think about our Bible too. Both, I feel, are rather misinformed.
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness," - 2 Timothy 3:16

Scripture may not always be what we want it to be or be as politically correct as some people think it should be but it's contents are like a picture. God's Word shows us exactly who God is and, just like the camera, God's Word doesn't lie.

Question eight and nine were very similar. Number eight was "If we can pick and chose what we believe in the Bible, who then determines what is right or wrong?" This was a trick question. Nearly everyone answered "God." That answer is not correct. Read the question again, especially the first part that says, "If WE chose . . ." If WE chose what we want to believe then WE ARE OUR OWN GOD! Only 15% answered correctly.

Question #9 "If we pick and chose what we believe about God, isn't that like creating our own custom God? And doesn't that then break the first commandment?"

To be honest, I wasn't really looking for "answers" to those last two questions. I just wanted to make people think, which I think I did. Some of the faces were priceless as they wrestled with the conflict within themselves. 86% agreed that picking and choosing what we believe from the Bible would, in effect, be creating a new god. And yes, that DOES violate the first commandment.

"If you love me you will keep my commands." - Jesus, John 14:15

The last question in my survey was one I have often asked people, trying to get a sense of their commitment to following Jesus. "Would you die defending your beliefs?" 61% said they would but 33% said they were unsure but that they hoped they would. That's honest. Only 6% said they would not die for what they believed.

 If you wouldn't mind, I'd like you to scroll back up to the image at the beginning of this blog post. It is an old lithograph of Stephen, the first martyr, being stoned to death for his faith. Also, note the man standing back and to the right with someones cloak at his feet. Then read this . . .

"54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he (Stephen), full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep." - Acts 7:54-60

This was the end of Stephens time here on earth. But it was also a beginning of sorts for someone else. The man named Saul in the text, guarding the cloaks of the men who were stoning Stephen, would later have an encounter on the road to Damascus. An encounter with the risen Jesus. Their meeting left Paul temporarily blind but it also allowed him to "see" for the first time. Saul was a new creation and even had a new name to go with it! Paul had been born again.

Each day in this life we will be faced with questions such as the ones I asked at Lifest. I pray that we all would pass the test and face those daily challenges with the truth of God's inerrant Word as our guide. Then we will know what is true and what is right and what is admirable. And we will know that we have passed the test and answered ALL of the questions correctly.

"4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." - Philippians 4:4-9

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Before I finish my little report of the survey results I obtained at Lifest last week, I thought I would tell you a short little story - a story from Lifest that literally brought tears to my eyes.

I was up early before everyone else on our campsite. You know, one of the annoying things about camping is you can think you're sleeping in because it's so light out in the morning. Then, when you look at your clock it's like 5:00AM. ARGHH! That's just not right. I tried to go back to sleep but failed. So I figured I might as well get up and read.

So I was sitting there in my comfy yet damp folding chair, inside our screened-in tent reading from the book of Matthew. The reading was good and, seeing as I was at a Christian music festival, the words just seemed more meaningful and the text I was reading that day soaked in deep.

My concentration was broken by the sound of a tent fly being unzipped down the road. I looked up and saw a middle-aged man getting out of a tent across the way and down a few spots. He stretched as he surveyed the sleeping campground. Rubbing the hair on his head, he walked off towards the toilet facilities. We waved to each other and whispered, "Good morning."

I returned my gaze to God's Word. I was reading from the tenth chapter of Matthew where Jesus was sending out the twelve disciples to spread The Gospel. Beginning with verse 16 . . .

"16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." - Matthew 10:16-20

I heard the sound of someone stirring in that nearby campsite - the middle-aged man I had seen earlier had returned and was preparing some coffee for himself. He had one of those single-cup brewing things. When he had gotten that thing going he sat down in HIS folding chair with HIS Bible and began to read.

Returning to my reading, I read this, beginning in verse 24 . . .

"24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master." - Matthew 10:24-25

The sound of another tent flap opening. Zzzzzzzip! I looked up and saw another figure emerging from the middle-aged man's tent. It was another man - this one much younger. Similar features and complexion. In his twenties I guessed. They smiled at one another. The younger one rubbed his eyes and sat down across from the older man who still had his Bible on his knee. It was a father and his son.

As I watched them interact that morning I couldn't help but be moved. This father, with God's Word open before him, was talking to his son. They may have been talking about anything at all. I couldn't hear what they were saying. But the image of a father talking with his son with the Bible open was one I will never forget.

I came to a saving faith in Jesus very late in my life - age 53. I began to think back on the times I spent with MY son . . . and I began to cry. I never sat with my son and spoke to him about Jesus. I never had the opportunity to read from God's Word and discuss the scriptures and their meaning with either of my children. As I looked across the way at this beautiful father-son model that God had provided for me I began to wonder how things might have been different if I had only decided to follow Jesus earlier in my life.

The time I never spent with my children, never living out the Godly example I was witnessing here in the early morning light, is one of the main reasons I am so passionate about having teens exposed to the Gospel at events like Lifest. If they could only hear about the perfect Father-Son relationship, perhaps then they could see the incredible perfection of "the family" that God designed and desires for us all.

These days, with the increasing presence of divorced parents or same-sex parents, the model that God seeks for ALL of us, is vanishing before our very eyes. His time-tested, God-approved family design, that of one father, one mother - each of them essential for a child's upbringing, is becoming endangered.

I have talked to many kids whose parents have gotten divorced. I have spoken with a girl who is currently living in a home with two moms. It didn't take long for me to figure out after many such conversations that children NEED some daddy time.

One question keeps gnawing at me. How can we expect our children of today to know what a relationship with God is like, our Heavenly Father, if those children have no father in their life to live out that example of a Godly dad. Our earthly relationships with our fathers effect our relationship with our Heavenly Father. I pray that all families might have loving fathers to lead them and . . .

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6

Please watch this video of a son who grew up without the Godly example of a father in HIS life.

Tyrone Flowers - I Am Second

Monday, July 22, 2013


As we wait in line at our local Christian buffet, plate in hand, we take a look ahead at what we are about to consume. Some of the "food" we see looks really good. Smells good too. We can almost taste it and we begin to salivate in anticipation. Other selections look more like steaming piles of goo to us. They smell nasty and don't look quite so good. Yet it is all there for us to consume if we have a mind to. Such is the smorgasbord of religion we are being offered in the world today.

Christianity is just one of many belief systems we have here on earth. So, which one is the right one? How can we determine what is true and what is false? If one religion is right the others have to be wrong . . . right? Left?

Recently at a local Christian music festival I asked a random collection of Christians if their faith (Christianity) was the only way one could get to heaven. Their answers were all over the place. And despite Jesus himself telling us in John 14:6 that "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to Father but through me." nearly a quarter of all Christians I talked to believe there are other ways to arrive safely in heaven (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc). One person stated, "We all worship the same god." Another felt that if we all obey the same basic principals we ALL can go to heaven.

The Gods that the main faiths on this planet worship are NOT the same God. How did professing Christians come to believe this fallacy? I feel the blame falls on the churches from not preaching the gospel message often and clearly enough. The blame also rests on each of us moms and dads for not "training up our children in the way they should go" (Proverbs 22:6).

Then there was this story in the news. Apparently the pope is opting for the "everyone can go" theory - even athiests! Read his quote here:

Heaven For Atheists? from CNN. Scary.

Here's another question I asked of Christians at Lifest. "Do you think you're good enough to get into heaven right now?"

Eighty percent of those questioned answered "No." That's good. It sounds as if SOMETHING sunk in during church. Still, 20% felt like they were good enough or they hoped they were. I fear for them. There is no one that is good enough.

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone." - Mark 10:18

The best answer was from a young man named D.J. who turned out to be the lead singer of a band named Interplaus. He answered Yes. But just as I was about to mark down his incorrect answer he added, "Yes, I am good enough . . . through the blood of Christ and what He did for me on the cross." Awesome answer!! This next passage from Romans speaks to D.J.'s answer.

"21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood - to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." - Romans 3:21-26

The final question I will cover in this post today is, "What is the gospel." That's a pretty basic question that ALL Christians should know about their faith. Right? We should ALL know the basics, The Gospel is found, written quite simply, in the book of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,"

Simple right? Yet only 1/3 of Christians I surveyed got it right. Many had good, Christian-sounding answers like "It's God's Word." No, God's Word is the Bible. What is the gospel? Or this answer, which I got a few times. "Matthew, Mark, Luke & John." No. Those are the GospelS, with an "s". What is the GOSPEL? The Good news? They didn't have a clue and that's rather sad.

To sum up this portion of my survey results, most knew they were not good enough on their own to get into heaven yet there were some who believed that they were. Most felt that all faiths lead to heaven despite Jesus telling us that there is only one way - through Him. And most did not know what the Gospel was - the very basis for their faith.

I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at these answers and I fear for the souls of these people who appear to be Christians in name only. I look back on MY faith walk and wonder, where did I learn the truth about the gospel, about getting into heaven and how I am a natural born sinner. I didn't learn them in Sunday School. I didn't learn them in youth group. I didn't even learn them from sitting in church. I learned them from spending time in God's Word and believing what it says.

Please watch this video by one of my favorite pastors. The Gospel by Eric Ludy. Thank you.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Recently, at a local Christian music festival in Oshkosh, WI (Lifest), I asked people some questions about their faith. I kind of had a feeling what some of their answers were going to be but I wanted to hear the words straight from someones mouth, not from my warped little brain.

The first question I asked was "Are you a Christian?" Umm . . . duh. That question was kind of a no-brainer I guess. I WAS at a CHRISTIAN music event after all. I kind of figured everyone would be a Christian. Still it's possible that a non-believer could have snuck in under our Christian radar or come with a friend or maybe had been dragged there against their will. Okay, probably not that last one.

To no one's surprise, everyone who took my little survey was a professing Christian. Sadly however, that particular question was the LAST question that provided a unanimous, correct answer. The second question was a lot tougher and NO ONE got it right . . . completely.

Before I share that question with you though, go get a piece of paper and a pencil and see how YOU do. I will wait. Ready? Okay, here goes . . . "Name the Ten Commandments."

[Click this link to play the Jeopardy Theme Song while you answer. No pressure. Repeat as necessary]

Well, how did you do? Those answering at Lifest got as few as two commandments correct and as many as eight right. No one was able to recite all of the commandments. It's hard to come up with all ten when put on the spot. As a matter of fact, later, after the first day's questioning was over, I tried to list all ten myself and failed. Even after staring at the answers all day I could only get nine. I'm old. I'm lame. Actually, it's because I was "too busy" and I never cared to memorize them at any point in my life. Sad.

Age didn't seem to matter when it came to naming the Ten Commandments. All ages failed. But I did notice that those with a Catholic background seemed to fare better. Perhaps they learned them in a faith-based school environment? Hard to tell. I didn't ask people about their particular denomination but some volunteered it so I made note.

The third question I asked of my victims, err . . . I mean, my survey participants, was "What did Jesus mean then when He asked in John 14:15, 'If you love me you will keep my commands.'" Ouch. That one probably stung a bit, considering everyone had just failed reciting God's commands.

That leads to some OTHER interesting questions that weren't even part of the questionnaire like, "How can we say we love Jesus if we can't keep His commands?" and "How can we keep God's commands if we don't even know what they are?" Those are some good questions.

"Yeah, but Bob, we can still love Jesus without being able to recite the Ten Commandments. Besides, it's tough coming up with all ten on the spur of the moment."

Two thousand years ago, Jewish students were expected to memorize the Torah - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. All of it! And we can't memorize ten little commandments?

I found this semi-short video on YouTube. It's an easy way to memorize the Ten Commandments. It worked for me. Try it. Then, if you run into me at Lifest next year, you will have no fear when I ask you to name the Ten Commandments. :)

How to Memorize the Ten Commandments by Ron White

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" - 2 Corinthians 13:5

The Ten Commandments

"3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” - Exodus 20 3-17

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Before I get into the results of my Lifest questionnaire I thought I would start things off by sharing a story that had, unbeknownst to us, been writing itself for an entire year - since last year's Lifest. We had just finished setting up our interactive evangelical outreach center - a blanket, a hand-written sign and a case of Bibles. We are a pretty low-budget operation.

A mother and her son walked up to us and asked, "Are you the people who were her last year giving away free Bibles?" My ministry partner and friend answered, "Yes, we are."

[Last year we had given away Bibles to those in need. We had run out of bibles on the last day so, when my partner then encountered a young lady who needed a Bible, my friend went out of her way to accommodate and gave her one  of her own]

"My daughter's name is Mia and you sent her your personal Bible to my daughter. I just wanted to tell you that she really appreciated that and she reads it every day."

As this lady was telling this wonderful story I looked over at my friend and I could see the tears beginning to form in her eyes. God was in the middle of providing us just what we needed, right when we needed it. And then came this . . .

"But what I REALLY wanted to thank you for was my son. He saw what you did for Mia. The extra effort, going out of your way to get her a Bible. That really touched him. He began reading HIS Bible! He kept asking if we were going to come back to Lifest this year to see "those people with the Bibles." What you did for Mia, changed my son's life as well."

By this point my friend was crying . . . and so was I. Tears of joy. Just that morning my friend and I had been talking about whether or not to even continue doing what we were doing. We were wondering if we were having any effect at all. And then suddenly, just like that, God provided His incredible answer for us. Are you kidding me? God would do this for us? Mhmm. :)

Needless to say, we felt quite humbled after that little encounter and through it God provided encouragement and enough enthusiasm to power us into next year's Lifest. We can't wait! What a blessing to be encouraged in that way and to know that God had used us and what we were doing to touch someone else's life.

How has God encouraged you lately? Have you seen His mighty hand working in YOUR life or in the lives of those around you? He is there. He is at work. We just have to have the eyes to see.

As we walk through this world, we need to carry with us enough "seed to sow" for all those we might encounter as we go. We may never know who our "Mia" is or even if we have somehow touched someones life through our actions or words. The important thing is not what we did. The important thing is our obedience.

We should always be grateful in ALL that we do, even when we fall upon hard times, because we have been called by God. We represent the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He has called us to witness to others, to "make disciples of all nations" and to love one another "as Christ loves the church." Knowing what we know, the gospel of Jesus Christ, how can we NOT share that incredibly good news with others!

"6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!"
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

HFF - Hope, Faith and Friends Facebook page

Monday, July 15, 2013


Sorry I didn't post a story on Saturday. I was away from my computer for four days. Although I had my laptop with me, I only opened it up to check e-mail and Facebook. But I am excited, yet saddened by what I learned while I was away.

Each year, usually the first weekend after the Fourth of July, we here in Wisconsin are treated to a rather large Christian music festival known as Lifest. It's a wonderful event put on by my brothers and sisters in Christ at Life Promotions.

In my eight years of attendance I have seen quite a few "God-incidents" and have also experienced some incredibly sad moments as well. I have made many amazing friends there. I have talked to hundreds of teens and had lengthy discussions with youth leaders, pastors and musical artists. Lifest has always provided a wonderful opportunity for God's Holy Spirit to move among God's sons and daughters. But this year was different. It wasn't about the music. It was about the people.

" . . . when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord." - Psalm 102:22

As I have grown in my faith, being "pruned" and sanctified by God's Holy Spirit, my opinion of things has changed. One of those "things" is Lifest. Initially, I was focused on the music and the bands and hearing God's message through the words and the testimony of the artists. Then my focus was on teens and ministering to them, encouraging them

We as Christians are commanded to become more like Christ, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The more we grow closer to God, the more we are to leave worldliness behind and pursue righteousness. The will of God.

This year my friend and I created a questionnaire and ask people about their faith. The initial purpose was just to get people to think about their faith and what it means to be a Christian. But as the questions were are and the answers were given, something became rather obvious.

"Houston, we have a problem."

I had read all the statistics and surveys from Barna about how 75% of youth group teens leave the church when they leave high school. and how 2/3 of teens make a decision for Christ before the age of 18. So I thought I would ask some questions of those attending Lifest. All were Christians, but sadly, that's where the similarities ended.

Over the next few blog posts I will be sharing some of those survey results and many of the stories that made Lifest 2013 what it was, at least for me, extremely God-honoring and worth every sleepless minute. But I will also share some stories of how we are slipping away in many areas and turning our backs on God. We need to change those ways . . .

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Alright, alright. I apologize to all you ladies out there who already have images of shirtless men strutting around in your heads from the title of this blog. This is NOT a story about male strippers!! No. This is a tale of a childhood cartoon show - an example of what a Godly relationship, marriage or otherwise, should be like.

The thing I remember most about the Chip 'n' Dale cartoons was how these two chipmunks were always deferring to each other in all of the things they did. They always sought out what the other one wanted before they even considered their own desires.

"After you," Chip would say.

"No, after you," Dale would reply.

Then Chip would come back with "No, I insist. You really should go first."

"Oh, no, no, no. You REALLY must go first."

Their conversations got rather annoying after a while but they were a good example of submission and placing others first in our lives. Could you imagine what this world would be like if each of us submitted to the needs of the other? God did when He breathed this . . .

"22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."
- Ephesians 5:22-28

Chip and Dale always submitted themselves to one another, deferring to the others needs and desires. Our earthly relationships should be the same way.

My wife and I have a great relationship. It is a beautiful relationship that works because, with or without our actually knowing it or planning it, our relationship functions the same as the relationship between Jesus and each of us, his church.

Jesus loves us. He loves us to the point of sacrificing Himself for us. And we should be loving Jesus enough to submit to whatever He says.

15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments." - John 14:15

So, how much do we love those we have relationships with in our lives - our family and our friends? Do we love them enough to sacrifice ourselves for them? Do we love them enough to place THEIR needs above our own? And how about our enemies? How about those we don't get along with? Jesus COMMANDS us to love them as well.

"43 You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:43-48


Jesus promised us that if we love others in such a way we would be rewarded in heaven. Later in Matthew He reminded us twice, one right after the other, that those who place others first, before themselves, will receive their reward later, in heaven.

"19 But many who are first will be last, and the last first." - Matthew 19:30 (The parable of the rich and poor man)

"16 So the last will be first, and the first last.” - Matthew 20:16 (The parable of the laborers in the vineyard)

I was at a wedding recently where the bride and groom ask each of us to write suggestions, truths WE had found that would help make their marriage a successful one. I drew a picture of a triangular shaped traffic sign. The sign said "Yield" - basically, submit, one to the other . . . like the example of Chip and Dale . . . and through the example of Jesus Christ.

"8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." - Philippians 4:8-9

Father, may we always submit to you. Whether it is following your Word in our daily relationships or seeking wisdom from You in our prayers. May we always seek your will and "and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice" to You. Amen.

Monday, July 8, 2013


I turned on the news the other day and saw the aftermath of a plane crash that had just occurred at San Francisco's airport. As I watched the circling video taken from a helicopter it was easy to put together what had happened. The plane had fallen short in its attempt to land and to deliver its passengers safely to their final destination.
Several agencies gathered on the scene, searching for clues so they could determine the cause of the crash and ultimately what had led to the casualties on runway 28.
Perhaps it's just me and my faith-based thinking but, if we examine the accident scene we can easily draw comparisons between Flight 214 and the church of today.
Our faith is a lot like an airplane. We can say we believe in Jesus .We can SAY we believe. But until we actually "get in the plane" . . . until we actually live our faith and allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives, the plane is going to take off without us.
Many of the events of this past weekend's crash are still unknown as I write this. We know that two people died and many were injured. We also know that somehow the plane failed to arrive safely at its destination. Close, but not quite.
So, how is our faith? How is the teaching of our churches? Do we have the kind of faith that will "deliver us". . . to heaven?
All churches preach a gospel. But is it the correct Gospel? Has all the politically incorrect stuff been filtered out and has the Gospel been watered down as a result? And how can we tell?
How many people do you think would have gotten on board that plane if they knew it was ultimately going to crash. Not many would be my guess. If we are climbing on board a church that is preaching a false or incomplete Gospel, will our "plane" arrive safely in heaven?
All large commercial jet liners are equipped with computers and warning systems designed to prevent crashes. Still, despite all the warnings, other forces can cause those warnings can be ignored or overridden. So how can we be sure?
Read!! Spend time in God's Word so we will be able to recognize false teaching when we hear it. All of the answers are there! Here's our warning and some instructions for teachers and elders:
"28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears." - Acts 20:28-31
And a lesson for each of us to be learned from the Bereans:
"10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." - Acts 17:10-11
Trust only in God's Word. Anything else is a lie.
"5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" - 2 Corinthians 13:5

Saturday, July 6, 2013


This past week the United States Supreme Court handed down two rulings affecting the status of gay marriage in this country. I don't know what was more sad. The news of the rulings or the cover on The New Yorker magazine this past week of Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie, cuddling on the couch.

What is going on in this country? What is happening to us as a society that we embrace what once was unheard of? That is actually a very easy question to answer. We're removing God from our schools, our government and . . . our lives.

There are many sins I could write about here - drunkenness, gambling, drug and alcohol addiction, pornography, adultery. They're all pretty much the same. They basically the things we do when we forget about God and elevate ourselves above Him . . . and that is ANOTHER sin.
It is quite clear in God's word what is acceptable in His eyes and what is not - sex-wise. Sex outside of marriage is a sin and so is same-sex sex. There are plenty of passages in the Bible speaking about it. The typical verses used by those against gay marriage and homosexuality are usually Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 where God calls such acts "an abomination."
Those "Christians" who support the gay and lesbian lifestyle, or at least feel they should be allowed to practise what ever kind of sex we want, say that the Old Testament God and all of its rules no longer apply to us because of the New Covenant, the New Testament and Jesus. For those who believe that, I have some verses for you . . . from the New Testament.
"8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." - Hebrews 13:8
And this from the Book of John - "In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:1-5
Jesus has always been around and His Word, from beginning to end, has always been true. So much for excluding the Old Testament. These words are from Jesus. The One who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“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." - Matthew 5:17
God loves marriage. God loves relationships - healthy, monogamous relationships. But he does NOT love same sex relationships. He hates them. Yes, God hates. And He is a jealous God, not wanting that any should perish. Read this from the book of Romans and see if it sounds like what is happening in our world today.
"21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
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." - Romans 1:21-27
That pretty much sums up how God feels about this topic and, as followers of Christ, it is also how WE should feel about it. So what do we do, as Christians, when we encounter friends and family in same-sex relationships in our lives? Jesus is pretty clear on that front too.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:34-35
Some would say, "See? We're supposed to love one another, whether we're male or female! Yes, that is true but the word "love" from this text is "agapate" (unconditional love) in Greek, not "eros" - meaning sexual love as in marriage. We should love everybody! Just not sexually. Sexual love is only to be between a husband and a wife . . . of the opposite sex.
Here's some questions for you this morning . . . Can there be gay and lesbian Christians? Can there be murders who are Christian? The thief on the cross next to Jesus. He was a murderer and HE went to heaven. What about him!?
Well, he repented of his sins. But when we as a society CONDONE and ACCEPT sin rather thaan repent of it, what then? If we continue to live in sin, no matter what the sin is, are we truly Christians? Are we truly following Jesus?
"15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."" - John 14:15
So what do we do? First, we as a nation need to get on our knees and seek God's forgiveness. But that will never happen. At least not before Jesus returns. Then, we need to take a stand for God's Word in our churches. That won't happen either, at least not in ALL the churches. Many of our brothers and sisters are too busy worshipping man rather than God.
Some may call me a hater for speaking out on this issue. Nope. I am a Christian . .  a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus told his followers to love everyone . . . agape love. Would you call Jesus a "hater"? I don't think so. Today, I am just speaking out against sin, and the path this nation and this world are walking on. Homosexuality just happened to be in the news this week.
The path this world is on does not lead to heaven. The path we need to be walking on leads to Jesus. But it is a path that is increasingly hard to find these days and in this world it is extremely narrow.
"13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." - Matthew 7:13
We are all sinners. None of us deserves to be called sons and daughters of The Most High God. We must REPENT of our sins and make JESUS Lord or our lives, not ourselves. May we always seek the narrow gate, the path that leads to Jesus. May we follow Him wherever He may go, no matter what the cost, for He is The Way, The Truth and The Life (John 14:6)
Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


"13 In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. 14 And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat." - Exodus 16:13-16

There are times in our lives when we struggle. Trials come and we feel as though we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. We might be wondering how we can make it through the day when suddenly a friend stops by to talk or the phone rings or we receive an encouraging text at JUST the right moment. Today I would like to talk about God and his provision for us. He truly DOES supply our every need.

When the Israelites were wandering through the wilderness for those 40 years, one can imagine there wasn't much to eat. Dude. It was a desert! Yet, when God heard the cries of His people, God provided manna for them to eat. Every day.

God provides for us as well - we who wander through this "wilderness" which WE live in. God has provided us with different skills and abilities with which we earn a living. Through those skills and abilities God gives us the means to put "manna" on our tables each and every day. What a blessing!

God provides earthly relationships in the form of friends and family. God understands the need for us to have companionship so God provides.

"18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone;" - Genesis 2:18

Still, despite God's provision, we always whine and complain that we don't have enough. Some of the Israelites who gathered the manna in the desert, gathered more than they needed, intending to save some for the following day. But God wanted them to depend on Him for their provision so he made the manna spoil over night. Where has that dependence on God gone in our lives?

When we humans continue to sin, despite the seemingly endless warnings from God, He STILL provided a means for us to join him in heaven - through our belief in the atoning sacrifice of His Son for us.

Even after Jesus ascended into heaven He promised to provide us with a helper. Someone to keep us stay on the right path.

"15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you." - John 15:16

God continues to provide, despite our unwillingness to repent. We continue to sin against a Holy God who has provided SO much for us. Even those of us who profess to be believers and followers of Jesus still slip up and make mistakes despite our willingness not to. Even Paul screwed up from time to time.

"15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." - Romans 7:15

Even in our sin, God still provides for us through his gift of grace.

God provides so much for us. He gives us strength when we are weak, He provides courage when we become afraid. And he provides a means of eternal life even though we are deserving of death according to His laws.

My brothers and sisters, how can we keep from falling to our knees throughout the day as we see all the gifts God has rained down on us from above, like manna.

As we gather the gifts God provides for us, let us stop and give thanks for that provision. For without God and His mercy we are just wanderers in the wilderness. But WITH God, we shall be fed, our clothes shall never wear out and we will live in the house of The Lord - forever! :)

"4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple." - Psalm 27:4

[This post is dedicated to two women that God has provided in my life - my loving wife who, like God, extends love and grace to this lowly sinner. And to my sister-in-Christ, my incredibly amazing friend, who also exhibits equal doses of grace and forgiveness. I love you both, as Christ loves the church. Thank you Lord for your provision.]

Monday, July 1, 2013


Have you ever gotten one of those caffeine headaches? My wife gets them. She's a tea drinker. She gets caffeine headaches when she STOPS drinking her caffeine-laden tea and begins to "detox" from the drug. Yet my wife still professes, "You can never have enough tea!" And she will STILL get her headaches when she abstains from drinking her "drug" for a few days. She doesn't want to give up her tea. Addicted?

I have a friend who, during his testimony about how Jesus changed his life, told us about his former drug habit. He had begun using drugs at a very early age - in his early teen years. As time went on the frequency of his drug usage increased. So did the dosages he took. Whenever the amount of the particular drug he was taking at the time no longer had the same effect it once did, he would simply increase the amount. Trying to obtain that same high. The power of the drugs increased and so did the danger.

When asked what drugs he took he replied, "Name one." My friend eventually went through a free, cold-turkey detox program offered by the local police department . . . when they arrested him For posession and distributing. It wasn't easy for my friend or for his body to come down from the levels of the drugs he had gotten used to. A sad chapter in my friend's life and quite terrifying as well.

It's easy for most of us to sit back in our comfy chairs and feel sorry for drug addicts and alcoholics. "Oh well," we say. On to the next news story. Time to turn the page. Thank God that we're not like THOSE people! If that's how we react we need to pause right there and open up our Bibles to Luke, the 18th chapter.

"10 Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” - Luke 18:10-14

So . . . what's YOUR drug? Is there something in your life you need to detox from?

My wife might tell you that MY drug is this blog. I do enjoy writing. I enjoy seeing all of the countries the readers of these stories come from and how many people are reading it. But I DO try to watch myself. I limit my writing to three times per week and I try to write when my wife is not around or while she is watching television. And "I can quit any time I want too!" Well . . . maybe. ;)

Seriously though, think about it. What is our personal drug of choice? I think for me it was mindlessly watching television. But what is THEE "drug" that has control over all of our lives. What are we as a society addicted to more than any other drug available on the market today? Is it alcohol? Or money? Is it our work? Or perhaps it is our play - golf? NASCAR? Baseball? Football? The Green Bay Packers? Think about it. What is the thing we are addicted to most of all. The answer is . . . ourselves.

Everything we do in this world, everything we watch on television, everything we buy in the stores, everything we drive on the streets, everything we "worship" is all about us in some way. Is that what we as Christians are supposed to be about? People are supposed to look at us and say, "Now THERE goes a Christian." Do we exude Christianity? Or is it something like this:

"I don't want to eat that for dinner. I hate that stuff."

"This wasn't on my Christmas list. Can we go to the mall so I can exchange it for something I REALLY want?"

"When can I get a new phone? This one is so old!"

I think it's about time we detoxed from this world and become addicted to Jesus Christ.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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 12:1-2

There can only be one "drug" for us as Christians and that is The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

"Love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul, mind and strength." - Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27

Do you think that a verse mentioned that many times in the Bible might just be a little important to God? I do. Than why don't WE believe that? Why don't we LIVE that?

Heavenly Father, may we become obsessed with you today. May you be first in our lives and in all we say and do. And may this day be the first day of a renewed relationship with you Lord - our Savior, our King. for it is in your Holy Name that we pray. Amen.

Better Than Drugs - by Skillet