Saturday, August 31, 2013


I think I had counted all of the rivet heads on the back of the semi trailer ahead of me at least a dozen times, or at least it seemed like it. To say that traffic was moving rather slowly would be a massive understatement. We were not moving AT ALL!
We usually don’t get too many traffic jams up here in north central Wisconsin, so when we do, it's usually something bad. Like one time a cattle truck tipped over near Fleet Farm in Waupaca. That was a much smaller traffic jam and was kind of fun actually, weaving back and forth between all the cows like a slalom skier at the winter Olympics. This time wasn’t nearly as much fun. 90+ degrees, diesel fumes, overheating cars and absolutely no air movement whatsoever. Joy.
I was on my way to visit a young friend in Oshkosh who had been struggling a lot lately. I had hoped to see my friend around 5:00 so I could also make my daughter-in-law's birthday party. And it was beginning to sink itnthat I probably wasn't going to make ANY of those meetings.

As I sat there in my little car, sandwiched between two smoke-belching semi's, I texted a few friends about my predicament and word of what was happening ahead of me on the road began to filter in.

There was a police stand off ON the road in front of us. Apparently, two people had robbed a nearby liquor store and police had them surrounded under an overpass on the highway a few miles down the road.

I kept watching the clock, watching the minutes tick by. Minutes I would not be spending with my young friend or my family. Suddenly a car passed me on the right, which was weird because I was in the right lane! They had clearly grown tired of waiting and were willing to take a chance by passing cars by driving on the shoulder. Probably illegal. Jerk.

Well, I sat there for another half hour, still thinking about my friend who was waiting. I REALLY wanted to see her so . . . I became that jerk and took off down the shoulder. I didn't get too far. A couple of rather large trucks were playing traffic cop and had pulled to the right, trying to prevent people from doing what I was doing. Well, they should have tried harder. I dropped two wheels down into the ditch and passed them. Ha! And then I had to stop. Log jam. Three lanes of rush hour traffic (and my fourth lane) were all exiting at once. Not good but I finally made it though the mess to see my friend. Only an hour and 45 minutes late. Seeing the smile on my friends face made all the days frustrating events disappear. It was all worth it.

Later that night, after arriving back home I discovered that the two armed robbers that had caused the traffic jam had killed themselves in their car rather than face prosecution and prison. How incredibly sad. And do you know what I was thinking? The first thing that popped into my head was, "I wonder if they knew Jesus?"

It's bad enough to rob a liquor store. It was bad enough that they "held up" thousands of people by their actions. It was bad enough that things got to the point where, suddenly, death seemed like it was the only option. Yet, for as bad as all those events and actions were, they simply do not compare to facing death without a saving faith in Jesus Christ - eternal separation from God.

Are you familiar with the story of Lazarus? Not the one where Jesus raised him from the dead. That's another good story and one I could have easily referenced here. No, I am talking about the other Lazarus story - Lazarus and The Rich Man. You can read the whole story here. But the verse I want to hi-lite today is verse 27. The Rich man had lived out his life, not caring about his fellow man, only about himself. But when the time of his death came, he found himself in hell - eternally separated from God. The rich man pleaded with God to send Lazarus to warn his brothers about what awaits them if they don't repent.

"27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’" - Luke 16:27

Who, in your life today, does not know Jesus? Are you content in the knowledge that if SOMEBODY doesn't introduce them to Jesus, they're going to be standing next to The Rich Man in hell? We have to at least try!

About a year ago a young man from our town named Austin took his own life. I don't know if he knew Jesus or not. Many of his friends still grieve massively over the loss of their friend. How many of them have I told about Jesus? A few I guess. But have I really pressed the issue? No. My friends, I can almost hear Jesus asking me, "Why not, Bob? After all that I have done for you? I am STILL not worthy of a word to those that are perishing?"

I might as well be pulling the trigger myself.

I would encourage you today to take that step, in faith, and show someone how much you love them by telling them about Jesus. Show them the love of Christ by revealing the light that shines within you. We who have been saved are no longer of this world. Why do we still act like it?
"23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him." - John 8:23-30

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Belie'f, n. 1. A persuasion of the truth, or an assent of mind to the truth of a declaration, proposition or alleged fact, on the ground of evidence, distinct from personal knowledge; as the belief of the gospel; belief of a witness. - The 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary

What are some of the things you believe? How did you arrive at those beliefs? Was it through lessons learned? What it through experience? Was it through something your mother or father told you?

"Don't touch the stove! It's hot!!"

Did you come to believe that stoves might be hot through obedience to your parents commands? Or did you actually have to touch the stove before you fully believed?

The Bible is full of stories about people, even entire nations, who "thought" they believed in God, but when it came right down to it, it was rather obvious that they didn't. However, they soon came to believe and, well, let's just say that it didn't necessarily end well for them.

During the early part of Jesus' ministry, Jesus and his disciples were traveling through Samaria on their way to Galilee. Jesus became thirsty, or did He really, and He sat down at a well - Jacob's well. Things began to happen shortly after His disciples went into town to to get some food. A woman showed up (John 4:7).

You can read their entire conversation here. But I can spare you most of it. It was really rather normal. In the woman's eyes, there was nothing special about the man who had asked her for a drink. That is, until Jesus began telling her things about herself that no one else could have possibly known. By verse 19 the Samaritan woman had already come to believe that Jesus was more than a typical traveler.

"19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet."

And what a prophet He was! This woman also knew that a "messiah" was coming into the world. She told Jesus so. That is what she believed. So, when Jesus told her, "I who speak to you am he." she probably freaked . . . JUST a little.

When the disciples returned they found Jesus and the woman talking. What the woman had just learned from Jesus, that He was indeed the messiah, made he leave everything she was carrying and run back into town to tell her family and her friends. She believed!!

When we say we, do we REALLY believe? Or do we just think we believe? The woman was so excited about what she had just learned she left her water jar behind (John 4:28) and ran to tell anyone who would listen about Jesus.

A question for you . . . What is it that we are not leaving behind? What is keeping US from running into town to tell everyone WE know about Jesus? What are WE afraid of?

Later in verse 39 we read . . .

"39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

This woman's testimony of what Jesus had told her, and that she believed He was the messiah, was what had brought all the others to meet Jesus. And once they heard what Jesus had to say, they believed . . . fully.

God, help us to believe and to believe with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Help us to believe not doubt. Thomas doubted, yet finally came to believe . . .

"29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” - John 20:29

Here is a short video about people who say they believe . . . but really don't.


Monday, August 26, 2013


It's football time here in Wisconsin! I know it's still summer outside but the Green Bay Packers are already half way through their preseason schedule! And they havent won a game yet!! Players are battling for positions with the team, and for some, these positional battles mean the difference between having a high-paying job in the NFL or tending bar in some small town back home. Making the team is serious business!

Things get so desperate sometimes that there are actual fights at practise . . . between members of the same team!! Watch this short video and you will see what I mean.

Fight at Packers training camp

These are grown men vying for key roles on MAJOR NFL teams, but in the heat of battle we can ALL lose our cool. When the going gets tough we ALL will take a stand for the things that are really important to us. No matter what our skill level is, we ALL will fight if we are pushed hard enough.

What if you or I really wanted to play for the Green Bay Packers? Good luck with that!! But what if we REALLY wanted to play for them? Or how about this scenario . . . what if we HAD to play for the Green Bay Packers or we simply would die? What would we do? How would we approach our daily lives if every decision we made determined whether or not we would make the team?

Well, first we might analyze the team and figure out where we had our best chance. Quarterback is not an option. Aaron Rodgers has pretty good at that job. Most of us are probably too small to be linemen. I guess I could gain a couple hundred pounds and become "an immovable object." That might work.

Of course I'd need to have a try-out with the team. Hey, I spoke with the chaplain of the Packers once for a few minutes. Maybe he could get me in. Or maybe I could find out where the head coach lives and mow has lawn or walk his dog or something like that. Maybe that would help?

Let's face it. There is absolutely NO WAY on God's green earth that most of us could EVER be good enough to make the roster from the Green Bay Packers, or any other team for that matter, and for me that includes Pop Warner League football for grade school kids! So, what about my "make the team or die" scenario? Well, I guess I should be making funeral arrangements instead of writing this blog because I don't have a snowball's chance in hell. (How about THAT for a major league segue?)

There is another team out there though that is more powerful than the Green Bay Packers. This team offers a tremedous benefit package and retirement plan. And making the team does not depend on how well we throw a football or how many times we can kick a football trough then uprights. It doesn't involve and "skills" at all!! Just a simple belief in the coach & general manager, Jesus.

Even though we don't really have to DO anything to make the team, there are many would-be players on God's Team that act as if they are still trying out. They try to DO things to show God and others that "they have what it takes." It's like they are screaming, "Pick me! Pick me! Look how far I can throw a football!" Those are not the kind of players God is looking for.

God's team is made up of losers. We are the lowly, rejected sinners of the world, not worthy to be chosen by ANY team, let alone God's. Yet we HAVE been chosen! We've been drafted!!

"No one comes to the Father (God) except through me (Jesus)." - John 14:6

If we are looking to "make the team," God's team, we must do so through Jesus Christ. We must acknowledge who He is - The Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16), repent of our sins (Acts 2:18) and then we must give up everything we have (Matthew 19:21) and be willing to follow Him wherever He may go.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." - Matthew 16:24

There are several believers in Christ scattered throughout the NFL. Aaron Rodgers is one. Tim Masthay, the Packer's punter, is another. Tim Tebow (New England), Ray Lewis (Baltimore, recently retired) but I fear that many more are NOT followers of Christ, but followers of The World. We need to pray for them and for all who have not made a decision for Christ. Because, quite honestly, although they might be "stars" in THIS world, they don't have what it takes to make it on God's team - faith. But there IS a way, THEE Way, Yahweh. Do YOU have a roster spot (in The Book of Life). I pray that you do, because it is nearly game time!

"Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." - Acts 2:18

Saturday, August 24, 2013


When I was at Ruby's Pantry this past weekend, one of the ladies standing in line pulled out an envelope filled with pictures and showed them to me. They were images of storm damage from a few weeks ago. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you might remember that we had four or five tornadoes touch down in our area.

I told you about our losing a portion of a tree in our front yard and how sad my wife was. Well, this lady lost entire trees - a yard's worth! She said that she had a row of ten full-grown cedar trees, beautiful trees. They were all twisted off at the base during the storm. Her entire yard was filled with fallen trees! One of them had even fallen on her house and collapsed a portion of the roof.

She was still flipping through the pictures when she came upon some photos with a bunch of boys in them. They were carrying branches and some cut up logs. There were dozens of boys, swarming all over her yard. Like a bee hive!

"These are the Boy Scouts and some other boys from Rawhide," she said. (Rawhide Boys Ranch is a local Christian-based facility for at-risk teen boys). Then she looked up at me and said, "I don't know what I would have done without those boys."

Later on that same day, my wife and I were burning in our backyard. We were getting rid of some of the branches from one of our favorite trees. We too had been touched by the same storm that had ripped through that lady's yard. I was chopping, my wife was raking. It was getting fairly dark when, suddenly, my lovely burning partner dropped her rake and ran screaming into the house, yelling, "Bees!! Bees!!!"

Being a guy, and stupid, I went to investigate. Guess what? She was right!!!

My wife and I soon decided, from the safety of our home, that we had burned enough wood for the night so we cleaned ourselves up and went to bed. The following morning I went outside to see what she had uncovered.

I approached slowly, a can of wasp spray in my hand. I assumed I was approaching a yellow jacket nest. Those guys can be really nasty if disturbed so I was "bee-ing" careful. (Sorry about that) I saw some of the bees flying in circles where my wife had been raking. I moved in still closer and, leaning in ever so slowly, I discovered what my wife had accidentally uncovered was . . . a bumble bee nest! Oh . . . good. Bigger bees!!

I was just about ready to give them a big dose of wasp spray when I paused and began to watch them as they worked. My wife had ripped the top of their nest completely off and I could see right inside. They were really working hard! And they were still keeping up with their regular duties too, flying in and out of "the roof" of their now topless nest. Flying down into little tunnels, doing what bees do I guess. They were getting on with their lives, despite their home being devastated!

So I thought for a moment. Perhaps is was time to re-think what I was about to do. I went back inside the house and went on-line to do some research on bumble bees. Interesting findings.

Bumble bees are one of the main pollinators of fruit trees and flowers. They are extremely beneficial insects. The male bees do not sting at all. And their actual nests are only discovered in rare instances. Finding their nests is like a once-in-a-lifetime discovery!

So I placed the can of wasp spray back on the shelf. After it got dark I went outside with a flashlight and gathered the pieces of their former roof and placed them gently back on top of the gaping hole.

When we humans have struggles in our lives, like the lady with all the cedar trees and a hole in her roof, God provides for us . . . often in unexpected ways. Those boy scouts just "showed up" because they were "in the area." Same with the boys from Rawhide. God often shows up exactly when we need Him the most. For me He showed up in a nest of bees. He made me see that we gain nothing when we destroy His creation. But we can experience gain when we pause to appreciate it. God helps us rebound when disaster strike us, He helps us bounce back. God teaches us in times of trouble. It is how we react during times of trial that reflects God's Holy Spirit living within us.

I am sure that lady with all of the pictures will be fine. So will the nest of bumble bees. Like Yukon Cornelius said in the Christmas movie Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer, "Didn't I ever tell you about Bumbles? Bumbles bounce!" And so do we who believe.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." - Hebrews 12:1-3

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Each year, when my family gathers in Michigan for our family reunion, my personal family does a lot of driving. I do a lot of driving. This year we traveled twelve hours to get there. That's a long trip. But we break things up by stopping along the Lake Michigan shoreline for a picnic lunch and in Manistique to stretch our legs in the sand. It's good to take a break once in a while. It's weird but, by taking more time to stop along the way, it doesn't make the trip seem so long. Does that make sense?

When I was younger and living in a suburb of Milwaukee, the trip my family took to the farm each year was actually shorter than the drive we take now but it seemed longer. WAY longer! We drove through Chicago. Back then Chicago wasn't very pretty. There were pot holes everywhere. Roads were ALWAYS "under construction." Everything just seemed . . . dirty.

These days a drive through Chi-town can actually be very nice. The newer, wider roads are wonderful and, if you have an I-pass, you don't even have to stop at any of the half dozen toll booths to pay your way out of town. Now we just drive right through and automatically have the fees for driving on the Illinois tollway sucked right out of our bank account. Nice! I guess.

Maybe that's why the trip seems so long when we travel "the south way." We seldom get out of the car. But, for all the ways that have been provided for us to "keep on truckin'" they still haven't figured out how to solve a few things that makes us want to stop - our need to eat and our need . . . to pee!

I am grateful for the Hinsdale Oasis, our families favorite potty stop on our way to visit my sister in Battle Creek. I'm not sure what we'd do without it. There must be other attractions in Hinsdale, Illinois besides that "oasis in the desert" but for us it is "the city where we pee!"

Every long journey needs to be broken up with a rest stop - a time to relax, an opportunity to get some food for ourselves and rid ourselves of the garbage we seem to always collect along the way. Our time with God serves the same function as an oasis. He provides in Himself a way for us to rest and to find peace. He feeds us. He helps us get rid of the garbage in our lives. He can even fill up our spiritual gas tank when we are running on empty.

When I have had enough of this world, all its hustle and bustle, all the pain and suffering, the violence, the evil that seems to invade every aspect of our lives, I like to "pull off the road" and take a break. I pick up my Bible and I read, or I put on my headphones and I listen to some worship music or to a sermon from one of my favorite pastors. I recharge my spiritual batteries by stopping at an oasis known as . . . Jesus.

Even Jesus took a break from his ministry now and again. He would often go off to a quiet place and pray. Prayer was the oasis of choice for Jesus. The following is one of his prayers. It ends with some great advice we all should take advantage of, especially when the journey gets long and we find ourselves getting weary. We should come to Jesus with our concerns and with our troubles and lay them at His feet. He has promised us that we will find rest for our weary souls. And we don't even have to pay a toll!

“At that time Jesus declared, "25 I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30

Come To Me - Aaron Shust

Monday, August 19, 2013


This past weekend the town in which I live held its 10th annual triathlon. It's a three-part race in which contestants jump in a local lake and do a 1/2 mile swim. Then they put on their tennis shoes and peddle for 20-miles around town and the surrounding countryside, and then they all relax with a 3.1 mile run.
 Lots of people trained for many days. They logging hundreds of miles and probably just as many hours getting ready for the race. All of it for a single morning event that's over in a few hours.

I was up early too. The same day as the race, Ruby's Pantry held its monthly food distribution. I was doing the pre-registration that morning, getting the paperwork out of the way so things could flow a little more smoothly than they already do. A long line of people, waiting for food, snaked throughout the parking lot. Some had been standing in line for several hours.

Shortly before the doors opened at 9:00 AM, the first of the triathlon runners came trotting by. At first it didn't hit me that these "joggers" were actually competing in the triathlon, but then I saw a number on the shirt of one of the runners and I figured it out. I can be quite the detective sometimes (yawn).

Just as my brain was beginning to figure out what was going on . . . "uhh, runners" . . . "with numbers?" . . . "duh, umm, a race?" something very cool happened. The people in line for food . . . began to cheer! Why were they cheering?

My eyes began to tear up. I know many of the people standing in line. Some are on disability, others had recently been laid off, some came with walkers or canes, one lady was blind, Another one was recovering from dabilitating traffic accident. These people had every right NOT to cheer, yet they did so. That was such an awesome thing to witness.

Once again God chose to touch my heart as His Holy Spirit delivered an answer to my prayer. You see, earlier in the week I was praying with my friend at work. I prayed for God to kick me in the butt and prompt me, somehow, to take action. I have had a few ideas for ways to serve God swirling around in my head but so far they have remained just that . . . ideas. I'm great at thinking of things to do but not so great at actually doing them. I prayed for a kick in the pants, a spiritual kick in the pants that is. And guess what . . . I got one.

A few weeks ago I wrote a story about a lady named Joann. You can read it here. In that post I had told you how her story of being laid off from work had effected me. I also told you that I had decided to do something about it. Well, after receiving my boot to the butt, those cheering people encouraging others, here it is . . . my idea.

I am accumulating supplies, needed supplies, for someone who has recently been laid off. Resources for finding work, information about job training, support groups, ways to connect with people. I am also gathering other needs as suggested by my friends on Facebook - coffee, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. By all means, send your suggestions too. The plan is to give the supplies to these people in need of work. It is hoped that the supplies might fill a need, one less thing to worry about, and that the resources might help lead to employment. And then we will also be delivering the most needed item of all - Jesus.

For those we contact who know Jesus already, we will simply pray with them. And for those who don't, we will tell him about the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. And we will give them a Bible. For it is written, "man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." - Deuteronomy 8:3

And so it is that we seek your prayers, Please pray for all in this world who are without work. There is nothing like a job to give people hope for a future here on earth. And there is nothing like Jesus to provide that hope, "not only in the present age, but in the age to come." Thank you. :)

" I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.'" - 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Saturday, August 17, 2013


My brother-in-law is quite the photographer. My brother too. They know all about F-stops and aperture settings and photo composition. All that stuff is way over my head. Much like God is too us.

I was involved in a discussion with a youth pastor and a couple of students a few years ago. We were discussing creation and the book of Genesis and an apparent "contradiction" between Gensis 1 & 2 (There is no contradiction by the way). The youth pastor turned to me and asked, "So, what do YOU think, Bob?" This was my answer . . .

"I think we humans spend WAY too much time trying to figure out how God does things. We like to drag God down to OUR level and try to explain Him - what He is and what He does - in HUMAN terms. God is WAY above our pay grade."

I still believe that. I am quite content just to sit back and marvel at God's creation and to give him thanks for the beauty of it. The simplicity of it. And the complexity of it. I never cease to be amazed by it.

Look at this little dude. This guy is a tree frog -probably from some Amazon jungle or some place tropical like that. Scientists most likely have spent millions of dollars trying to figure out why the frogs skin is green, yet his feet are orange. That's what scientists do. Try to figure things out. Oh, and then there are the red eyes. Another million!!

Scientists come up with so many theories for why THIS happened and THAT happened. I would submit to you that it takes more faith to believe in all the scientific theories and wonder about the why's and wherefores, than it does to simply believe that God creates amazingly beautiful things and all we have to do is admire the beauty of His creation.

I took the picture of the clouds at the top of this post. The sun was setting and its light was reflecting off the underside of the clouds. The picture doesn't do justice to what my eyes actually witnessed, yet the picture still gives us an idea of what I am talking about - the creative wonder of our God and King.

I suppose I could theorize why the clouds were pink, when just an hour earlier they were white. There's probably a reason for it - light filtering through the atmosphere at a particular angle or something like that, but what's the point in figuring out "why" and "how"? Isn't it more enjoyable and God-honoring to simply be amazed and leave it at that?

Sure, scientists have done great things and figured out cures to illnesses and things like that. Who can forget the "miracle" of Velcro"? But when it comes to God and His creation? I'd just as soon they'd leave that mystery alone and appreciate it for what it is - amazing.

The whole theory of evolution . . . and it is just that - a theory, is quite a stretch of the imagination. Yet evolution is taught in our schools as if it were fact. Why? Because "they" can explain things and somehow justify things without bringing God into the equation. If schools exists to educate and to expand the minds of our kids, to all of the possibilities of life, why don't schools teach ALL of the "theories" like creationism? Wouldn't that make sense?

I'd like you to watch two short film clips. The first was produced by Animal Planet, a TV channel here in the U.S. It theorizes how mermaids, fictitious water creatures, evolved from humans. I couldn't stop laughing! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. But people see this and believe!

Mermaids - Animal Planet

The second clip is about our country's educational system and what we are teaching our children these days. It's more of a horror film really but I will let you make up your own minds.

Indoctrination Movie Trailer

I am thankful for parents who choose to home-school their kids. They are providing God with what He truly desires - godly children.

" 14 . . . the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15 Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring." - Malachi 2:14-15

How can we as followers of Christ provide Godly offspring? By teaching them the ways of The Lord. By teaching them about the incredible mysteries of God, not necessarily trying to solve them. By sitting down with our children as the sun sets in all of its colorful glory and reflect the light on them that is shining from with in us. We can teach them about God's creation - the beauty and the power of the God we love. Then, and only then, will our children be made beautiful, Godly offspring.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork." - Psalm 19:1

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


This past weekend my relatives (on my mother's side of the family) held their annual family reunion in Michigan. It's always good seeing everyone. Hugs and laughter abound, along with many delicious desserts. So much food, so little room. I came home carrying a few more pounds around my waist than I left with, that's for sure!

Sadly, living hundreds of miles away as we do, the only time the members of my immediate family get to see our relatives is at this single, one-day event. Once each year.

Invariably, as soon as the event draws to a close, someone is bound to say. "I wish we had more time to visit." There is NEVER enough time to talk with everybody. There is simply not . . . enough . . . time.

Some relatives I get to see every year. Others however, I haven't seen since Noah built the ark. Some have moved away and are separated by distance. Others were split off the family tree when personalities clashed. I think those are the ones I miss the most. It's easy to understand not traveling thousands of miles for a single meal and some small talk. It's NOT so easy to comprehend someone refusing to come who lives in the same town.

When there is a split in a family it always hurts the entire tree. That's why is was especially sweet this past weekend to pull into the driveway of my uncles farm and see someone I hadn't seen for years! This years reunion was made especially sweet by the restoration of a family tree that had been split.

I witnessed another split of sorts this weekend. That of my father, who has had his memory split by Alzheimer's. Every time I see my dad I wonder which portion of his mind I will see. It could be the frustrated, short-tempered father I never knew as a child. My dad was always very polite, quick with a terrible pun and always serving others before helping himself.

I saw both sides of my father's mind this past weekend. His memory has been split in two by the ravages of old age and a debilitating disease of the mind. Very sad.

Abraham Lincoln gave a speech when he was running for the U.S. Senate where he spoke out against slavery. The candidate said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." He was quoting another famous person who also spoke out against a form of slavery . . . being a slave to sin. That person was Jesus, the Christ.

"22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” 25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?" - Matthew 12:22-26

Just a few years later, President Lincoln would lead a nation divided against itself. It was only by the grace of God that our nation did not split in two. Or did it split?

These days our country has split from many the Judeo-Christian values it was founded on. Although our constitution specifically states that "we the people" are to have freedom OF religion, it seems that we have now created a government that has become fee FROM religion.

The American family is not what it used to be. They have been split apart as well. Through divorce, separation, extra-marital affairs, same-sex marriage. It seems like we can split the atom but we can't split from our sinful ways.

After we returned from our family's 4-day trip to the Michigan, I sat down and talked with my dear friend at work. She was telling me about a sermon she heard about what makes for the best marriages. The pastor said the successful marriages must contain three key elements. In order of importance they are: Spiritual, Intimacy and Physical. First, we should seek a partner based on spiritual compatibility. Then we will grow closer, through Christ, into an intimate relationship - with each other and with our Lord. Only then, after those two steps, will the relationship become physical.

This world in which we live seems to have everything backwards. Relationships these days begin with the physical. Then present-day relationships quickly become intimate, almost immediately. By then it's almost too late to find a spiritual relationship that works. We have already become unfaithful to God through our selfishness.

The only way we can repair the splitting apart of our relationships and of our country is to return to God. He should be our FIRST love. We need to remember the first and greatest commandment.

"These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." - Deuteronomy 6:1-9

When Jesus was asked by his disciples what the greatest commandment was (Matthew 22), Jesus quoted Deuteronomy . . . the verse you just read. Maybe, if we feel things splitting apart in our lives, maybe we need a little Superglue. Maybe we need a little Jesus. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013


My wife knows me pretty well. We have been married for over 36 years. We finish each others sentences. She fits perfectly next to me when I put my arm around her neck and pull her close. We've been together for so long, she even knows what I am thinking . . . which, at times, can be quite scary!

When my birthday rolled around a few months ago my wife knew exactly what to get me - a new lens for my camera. A BIG new lens. A REALLY BIG new lens! A REALLY, REALLY BIG new lens!! :O

Yet, for as perfect as that gift was, as perfect as we are together, and as much as we know each others hopes and dreams, we look at the world through different lenses, different viewpoints, different . . . world views.

What is a world view? It's how we interpret the things that happen around us and the people we interact with on a daily basis. It's how we react to those people and those situations. Most people, as they go through their lives, throughout their early years, gather experiences - lessons learned from The School of Hard Knocks. Those experiences, those lessons learned, become a filter for how we view subsequent events and situations in our lives. They become a "lens", through which we view the world and all that happens in it.

There are two types of world views in the "world" today. There is the secular world view and there is the biblical world view. Typically, the secular world view is devoid of any religion. Experiences are taken at face value. There is no deity to answer to so those with a secular world view see things as "just happening," random occurrences, mere coincidences, no purpose per se - just events.

Those with a biblical world view however see things through a different lens. God's written Word, the Bible, is the basis for those with this world view. Rather than make decisions by themselves, those with a Biblical world view often turn to God's Word, trying to determine God's will before a decision is made. Prayer is often utilized, not merely spoken words.

Those with a Biblical world view also tend to believe in Creationism, not Evolution. Evolutionists follow the theory of the Big Bang and random chance, spontaneous evolution. They live in a world that began through a puddle of randomly generated ooze and an evolutionary trail that had us humans evolve from single-celled organisms to apes to . . . us.

Creationists also believe the world was begun with a big bang, but it was God making all the noise as He created the heavens and the earth - BANG!! Creationists believe that God created man and all of the animals. They believe this because it says so . . . in The Bible.

Since I became a believer over seven years ago, my view of life has changed. I used to be very self-focused, very secular in my world view. But the way I view the vworld has changed. It changed when new evidence presented itself, namely God's Holy Spirit and what He has done in my life.

I would submit to you today that any person, professing to be a Christian, yet following a secular world view, is not really a Christian. I will probably get into trouble saying that because many feel otherwise. Yet I stand by what I say. Why? Because, as the old Sunday School song goes, "the Bible tells me so."

It's simple. Christians follow Christ. Christ (Jesus) is fully God and fully man. And when Jesus says He is God I believe Him and when the Bible says God created the world, well, that's good enough for me too.

We are instructed in John 17 to be "in the world, but not of the world." Jesus tells us in John 14, "If you love me you will keep my commands." So, if we love Jesus (what ALL Christians should be doing) then we should obey what He says. And when we are told to be IN the world not OF the world, we are being told not to have a secular world view. That's the way I read it anyway.

Christianity, and having a Biblical world view, is very easy to understand for me, but not for everybody and that is where the problems begin. That is where we start getting into trouble as churches, as denominations. We start looking at things through our OWN lenses, "custom" lenses we have created ourselves, FOR ourselves, we begin to fall away from God. Just like the people did while Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments from God. The people turned away and created for themselves a golden calf to worship. And that was a VERY bad thing.

"15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” 18 But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” 19 And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses' anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20 He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it." - Exodus 32:15-20

When we turn from God's ways and look upon life through our own lens, we are in effect turning away from God. And when we look at life through the lens of a secular society we are ignoring God completely and that never, EVER ends well.

Moses presents the Ten Commandments to those with both Biblical and Secular World views. How do you suppose that went?

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Back in the early 80's, Barbara Walters, on one of her innumerable television specials, asked Katherine Hepburn, "What kind of tree are you? If you'd think you were a tree?" What an incredibly lame question. What kind of tree would you be? We are humans, right?

I was reminded of that infamous question this week and Katherine Hepburn's answer which was actually pretty good. "Oh, I'd like . . . everyone would like to be an oak tree. They're very strong, very pretty." This week a severe storm went through northeast Wisconsin and destroyed many trees, power poles and buildings. One of those trees was in our front yard. A maple. I bet our tree was wishing it was a "very strong" oak tree the other night when that storm went through our subdivision and tore a quarter of it off.

The weather service is now stating that there were five EF-2 tornadoes that touched down around the area. I believe it. Over 53,000 people were without power and many trees were uprooted of simply snapped in half. Trees aren't much of a match for tornadoes, especially if they have been weakened in some way during the past. Our faith is much like a tree in a storm.

For the most part, God intends that all of his creations grow perfectly and lead wonderful and fulfilling lives, worshipping Him. But things happen along the way. People get distracted. We tend to stray from God's perfect plan for us and we begin to wander - much like sheep. Hmm. I have only one thing to say about that. "Baa." But we're talking about trees today, not sheep.

So, what's MY answer to the "What kind of tree are you question?" I'd like you to read this parable and then I will give you my answer.

6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” - Luke 13:6-9

That's kind of scary. Especially considering that, through my faith in Jesus Christ, my tree is now planted in God's vineyard. We are the trees my friends. You and me. It doesn't really matter what kind of tree we are.

So what  matters most in the Parable of The Barren Fig Tree?

  1. That we are planted in God's vineyard.
  2. That we bear fruit. (Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
We as "trees" cannot determine where we are planted . . . but God can. As it says in John 6:44 . . .

"44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day."

Nor can we earn our way into God's garden by works alone. It also says in Ephesians "8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast."

This weekend is our family reunion in Michigan. There will be many different kinds of "trees" present when we all gather together. Some will be firmly rooted in God's vineyard, others are on the outside, looking in. Those of us who do not bear fruit, whether inside the garden or out, will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

So, let me ask that stupid question one more time. What kind of tree do you want to be? I think the correct answer is, "A fruit tree. I wanted to bear fruit for my vinedresser. He planted me here for a purpose - to produce fruit for him. How can I as a fruit tree have the desire to do anything else?

What kind of a tree are you? - Katherine Hepburn's response

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Mornings are good times to go walking with God. Nothing much has happened yet during the day and the stuff that happened the previous day has already been separated from us my a night time of sleep. And so it was this past weekend when I set out on a journey through the woods.

My wife and I live in a small house near Hartman Creek State Park, here in Wisconsin. As state parks go it's rather average. There are many other parks in our state that contain more beautiful scenery and higher bluffs or sandier beaches but the thing I like most about "our" state park is . . . it's right out my back door and I can enter it without driving my car to it or buying a sticker to get in. I can just walk in!

I was walking to the park Saturday morning, praying as I walked. Multi-tasking. My wife would be so proud. I was thinking about our children. My wife had done a pretty good job of raising them, getting them to Sunday School every week. Then there were the softball games for our daughter and baseball games for our son. But their father, me, was usually at work (I work in a town, an hour away from home) and I missed many of their after-school activities. I missed the opportunity to participate in an important part of their lives.

So, I was thinking about that as I was walking and I began to read. I was REALLY multi-tasking then!! Thinking, walking AND reading!!

I was reading in the Book of Luke, the seventh chapter. The first half of the chapter is all about faith. It begins with "The Faith of the Centurion" and is immediately followed by a story about a widow whose son has died. The following text is that story.

"11 Soon afterward he (Jesus) went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country." - Luke 7:11-17

So, I had that story fresh in my heart the following day, Sunday, as I was surfing through the channels on the television. I don't watch much TV but from time to time I will seek out a sermon or two to watch. I did that on Sunday and found one by David Jeremiah. He was doing a parallel study of Genesis 22 and Hebrews 11. Oh, my goodness!

The story in Genesis was about the faith of Abraham. When God told Abraham to "sacrifice his one and only son," Abraham was willing to do it because God had told him to. Even though God had promised to build a huge nation through his son, Abraham never questioned God. God rewarded Abraham's faithfulness by sparing Isaac and doing just as God had promised. Abraham's faith had saved his one and only son.

Hebrews 11 speaks about all of the examples in the Bible of men and women whose faith was worthy of note. Funny . . . they were all in the lineage of Jesus - God's one and only son.

After reading both of these passages I began to think about my performance as a less than Godly Father . . . and how I had failed God by not bringing my children up in the ways of the Lord. But then my thoughts traveled back to the story of the widow in Luke. Verse 13 . . .

"13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”"

Verse 15 . . .

15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother."

The moment I read that story again, the moment I recognised the connection between the widow and myself; and the widow's son and MY son, a tremendous burden lifted off my shoulders. I thought about Abraham and how God had given him back HIS son Isaac because of the faith that Abraham had. Would God do the same for me? He could if He wanted to. What stands in the way? What could possibly keep God from "giving me back my children" through a saving FAITH in Jesus Christ?

. . . . MY faith?

While it is possible that God could reward me for MY faith, their salvation has nothing to do with me. It is only through the grace of God that we are saved. That should be our prayer for ALL people. But he DOES bless us. He DOES perform miracles, even to this day. Our God lives!

And so it was that I lifted up my children to God this past weekend. God removed all of the guilt and the shame I had been carrying these past years. I am grateful to God for his guidance and for his grace and for his provision. He reigns.

"9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." - 1 Peter 3:9

He Reigns - Newsboys

Monday, August 5, 2013


When I was in high school our church had a choir. Oh, and an organ. The organ might have had some pipes on it, I don't remember. That was really all we had. A choir and an organ. Pretty simple.

The church I attend these days has a grand piano, an electric bass, an acoustic guitar, and electric guitar, keyboards and a set of drums. The drums are enclosed with one of those Plexiglas screen things to keep the drums from being what the are - loud. Oh, and we have two, sometimes three singers as well. And a great big screen that holds all the words so we can all sing along without having to hold those heavy old hymnals or even look up the hymns! Things sure have changed . . . for the worse. Why is that worse? Read on.

When I was at Lifest a few weeks ago, our states biggest Christian music festival, I took part in a two-hour long discussion about how many Christian events, like Lifest, have become filled with a lot of "show." Maybe TOO much show. We also talked about how "Showtime" is creeping into our churches as well.

There were four members in our little discussion group - a friend of mine who works with youth at his church (and who also works security for many of the larger bands at Lifest), a pastor of a church near Green Bay and another friend of mine who leads a young lady's group at her church. We were all concerned above the "entertainment" aspect of the concerts and the "experience" factor slowly entering in to many of the worship services in our churches.

By far, the biggest act at Lifest this year was Skillet. They're a hard-rocking band who has risen to the top of the Christian music industry in rather impressive fashion. One picture is worth a thousand words (see photo at left).

If I didn't know Skillet was a Christian band, if had never heard the message delivered by the band between songs, I could easily assume, just by looking at them, that they were straight out of the gates of hell. Look at all of that fire on stage!

This issue of entertainment finding its way into our Sunday morning gatherings concerns me. I don't think a Sunday morning service would EVER have flames and explosions during worship but I never thought I'd see churches becoming accepting of sin or condoning abortion either but it's happening. Experience-based worship, trying anything to get the people to come to church so they can hear about Jesus or have a more enhanced worship "experience" IS from the gates of hell . . . in my opinion. It takes the focus away from God and places it on things that WE have done.

Take my wife's church for example. They underwent a multi-million dollar building program, and these were the pastors words spoken directly to me, to make the church "feel" more welcoming. I was under the impression that we are created to worship, no matter WHERE we are or what the conditions are. If a church is trying to make people "feel" welcome, perhaps they should have spent those millions on a red carpet, fruit baskets and lovely parting gifts?

My church surprised me a few months ago when I saw this picture posted on Facebook. There are three people on stage doing what they do best, playing worship music for our King. They are very talented and they are doing EXACTLY what God created them to do - worship. That's beautiful.

However I noticed something different in the photo. Something out of place. I'd like to call your attention to the steel structures on stage with internal lighting and also to the lights shining up on the walls. These things are not there on a normal Sunday morning. Why are they there during worship in THIS particular night? To enhance the worship experience? Hmm. That job belongs to The Holy Spirit, not man.

Check out the following video from a church in California! (Sarcasm alert) I bet their church has WAY more people attending than your church does!!! "We'll get to the Gospel message right after these guys do some more jumps . . . through actual fire and brimstone!" (sigh)

Motorcycle Jumpers at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church. I think these guys were also at Lifest last year. What is going on people?

Today I have a few Bible verses for you about interacting with the world in which we live. The first is from the apostle Paul.

"19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." - 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Was Paul being sneaky here? I think he was! One could easily say that. What he was actually doing though was relating to people at whatever social level or position they were in to deliver the Gospel in a way they would understand.

From The MacArthur Study Bible . . .

"He (Paul) stooped to make the gospel clear at the lower level of comprehension, which Paul no doubt had dome often while dealing with the Corinthians themselves. Within the bounds of God's Word, he would not offend the Jew, Gentile or those weak in understanding. Not changing scripture or compromising the truth, he would condescend in ways that could lead to salvation."

Maybe Jesus said it best when he was about to leave this world behind. He spoke the following words to God in a prayer for His disciples. We also should take note.

"14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth." - John 17: 14-19

Church is for believers , not for seekers. It is we Christians who should be welcoming, not the building. We should not "bending" or "warping" God's Word trying to make the message of the Gospel "more appealing" to this group or that. We should not be enhancing worship services so the those in attendance will "feel better" or "more comfortable" or "more excited" to come back the following week to see the traveling circus and their trained elephants.

This last video is of an actual church service, I kid you not. Despite the American Idol signs, which, now that I think about it, are very appropriate, this is the opening song of a "worship" service.

Entertainment in Church

Worship is about God. It is NOT about us. We are to humbly come before the Lord, ask his forgiveness for our sins and offer ourselves to Him in holy worship. I pray that all churches would recognize this entertainment trend in worship services today and I pray the we would reject it. We should be IN the world (as Paul described) but not OF the world. That is exactly what the enemy wants - for us to be focused ANYWHERE but on God. Let's keep our eyes open and stand firm.

"13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love." - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Saturday, August 3, 2013


In my last post I wrote a little bit about how my wife is a dietitian. The following day I heard a message by Pastor Eric Ludy which inspired me to write this post . . . about eating junk food.

I probably should preface what I am about to write by telling you all that I love my wife. She knows that. I just wanted all of YOU to know that, in case any of what I am about to say sounds like me picking on her. It will only sound like I am picking on her because . . . I am. ;)

My wife is an incredible cook. I'm not sure why I can still see my toes when I look down at my feet. I really should be staring at a too-full belly when I look down at the ground. She makes some amazing meals and desserts. Her cooking is SO good she often tweaks the recipes to make them more healthy. Rather than one cup of sugar she will use a sugar substitute. She might sprinkle in some "healthy" like wheat germ or ground flax seed. That's nice. But our children and I have become suspicious over time about the things that are placed in front of us at the dinner table.

Here's an example of what I mean. In the past my wife has made an absolutely decedent looking cake, which our kids and I absolutely loved. When we were picking up the last crumbs of cake off our plates my wife asked this all-too-familiar question. "So, . . . how did you like the cake?"

We immediately stopped chewing. My kids and I looked at each other for signs of nausea or abdominal cramping. Nothing. We survived . . . whatever it was. Eventually one of us asks, "Why? What's in it?"

Then my wife tells us all of the surprise ingredients. And I think she enjoys it just a little too much.

"Well, of course I had to put in some flax seed. I had to use my new Martha Stewart flax seed grinder you know! But my secret ingredient this time was . . . prunes! I substituted prunes for the eggs! You could hardly tell the difference, could you?"

Not right then we couldn't . . . but later???

This week I found myself thinking about what we eat, spiritually. There is an entire smorgasbord of "food" out there. And it's not all good for us either.

There are "progressive" Christians who say they follow Jesus but they "interpret scripture" in ways that break four or five of the Ten Commandments. They "tweak" the Chritians recipe" so to speak by "interpreting" scripture in a way that THEY want to hear it and ignore the true meaning. You know, how God really meant it.

There are the "Name It and Claim It" followers of the Prosperity Gospel which says that, if we pray for something hard enough it will become ours. We simply say things like "I declare" and God will lay treasures at our feet. Hmm, I Declare is the name of Joel Osteen's latest book. I wonder if he preaches the prosperity gospel? I wonder if Mr. Osteen has ever read Matthew 19 and the story of the rich young ruler?

"16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."

There are Syncrotists who feel that all roads lead to heaven and are forever seeking ways to blend all faiths together in to one world-wide faith where everybody can gather around the campfire and sing Kumbaya. If my wife added mustard, catsup and pickles to her cake recipe it might please the hotdog lovers of the world but us cake lovers might not like it very much. Rick Warren, Bill Hybels tend to like cake with many ingredients.

And speaking of Mr. Hybels, there are also Seeker Sensitive chefs leading many of our churches today. They will tweak the standard recipe (The Gospel) in whatever way we'd like. "More sugar? You bet! How about a larger piece of cake? You can have the whole thing if you'd like. And a glass of milk to go with it? Oh, and you can eat as much as you want beause it's all about feeling good, right?"

Did you ever see the Woddy Allen movie Sleeper? In the movie, Woody's character had himself cryogenically frozen and then got thawed out in the future. A future where things were kind of backwards in terms of diet . . .

Dietitians from Sleeper talk about healthy eating in the future here.

When Paul spoke to the Corinthians he was speaking to them about their sinful sexual desires but Paul was one who liked to stick to God's recipe and not add anything to it.

When the Corinthians would say "12 “All things are lawful for me,” Paul would answer "but not all things are helpful." When the Corinthians would try to tweak the recipe God wrote by saying “All things are lawful for me,” Paul came back with "but I will not be dominated by anything. And when the Corinthians would say "13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” Paul's reply was "and God will destroy both one and the other."

There are many "chefs" in this world today whose goal is to create many different taste sensations for us all to enjoy. They all learned their trade at Satan's School for the Theologically Impaired. Food, like God's Word, is something we need to survive. We can't select a palitable verse here and there and expect to have a healthy Christian life. We need a balanced diet. The Bible provides the best of both worlds. We can have our cake and eat it too! God's recipe is simple. And we can eat as much of it as we'd like.

"48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” - John 6:48-58

There are many things we like to eat but not all are beneficial - only the Bread of Life, Jesus, offers us a balanced, healthy, spiritual meal that will increase our longevity (eternal life). My words of advice today are simple. Stick to the recipe!