Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Alright, I'll admit it. I'm weird. Of course, you probably figured that out already if you've been reading these stories for any length of time. I am obsessed. Obsession emanates from within my head and heart and it seeps out through my fingertips, all over these pages. I simply cannot help myself. You see, I absolutely, positively . . . am obsessed.

Obsession in our society is usually thought of as a bad thing . . .

"That guy is obsessed with his car."

"That lady is obsessed with men!"

"That kid is obsessed with his new phone!"

Obsession is defined as . . . "a state in which someone thinks about someone or something constantly or frequently especially in a way that is not normal."

DING! That's me! (at least the "not normal" part anyway)

I became obsessed eight years ago. Hmm. That's funny my obsession coincides EXACTLY with the date of my spiritual rebirth. The day I became a Christian. A REAL Christian. Before I was "born again" I CALLED myself a Christian even though I didn't know exactly what that meant. I believed I was going to heaven because ALL Christians go to heaven. That's just the way it is, right? I was what is known as a false convert. People who think they're Christians, or any faith for that matter, but they're really not. That's really kind of scary if you stop and think about it.

I was REALLY obsessed when I first came to believe. I read everything I could get my hands on. Like The Bible! I bought a NIV Bible, then a New King James, an English Standard Version. A Study Bible, a Chronological Bible. And then the books!! Oh, my goodness. I was obsessed. I was obsessed with Jesus Christ. You think I'm obsessed now? I was absolutely crazy 7-8 years ago. Crazy about Jesus, that is.

I am still obsessed today only I have learned how to control it. If the world actually knew, and now I guess it will, just how obsessed I am, I would be locked up in prison. To give you an example of my obsession, my typical day goes something like this:

I wake up at 4:30 AM, usually with a worship song in my head. I get up that early so I can go in to work two hours early. I go in early so I can write this blog, do research for it, and to pray. I do this beacuse whatever I can do in the morning, I DON'T have to do at night, and I can spend that time with my wife.

On my way to work I listen to an audio Bible. I currently have the Book of John on repeat. If it's not that, it's Christian radio or my Ipod which is currently maxed out with Christian music of all kinds.

Every morning during the work week I pray with my best friend. She is the one who lead me to Christ. What a blessing it is to pray with my mentor, my sister and friend. After we're done praying we talk about . . . God. End time theories, people who need prayer, encouragement, accountability, occasional rebuking.

Then it's time for work. I sit down in front of my computer, plug in my headphones, and listen to podcasts of Christian talk shows, seminars and sermons by my favorite pastors and theologians. Right now at work I am listening to A. W. Tozer - a gift from my friend. Good stuff. That goes on all morning.

Then at lunch I carry my Bible upstairs and my friend and I read or talk about God for 60 minutes.

Afternoon? A repeat of the morning. Drive home? The Book of John again. Ask me to recite John 3 sometime. I have it memorized, except for the John the Baptist part.

When I get home I write but usually do so sitting in the living room with my wife. Important! When she's not looking or when she's downstairs, I watch WretchedTV, a Christian TV show. I surf Facebook whenever I can, seeking out hurting people to reach out to in love, offering an encouraging word or a Bible verse. I pray before slipping off to sleep and when I wake up in the middle of the night, I often find myself clutching the cross I wear around my neck. The next day, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Is that obsessive? Do I have an obsession with Jesus? Well . . .

Should I tell you about my tee-shirt collection? Lifest? No Regrets Mens Conference? Power of One? I Am Second wrist band? Maybe not. I have about 40 Christian tee-shirts. Too many? My wife thinks I am obsessed with tee-shirts. I think I am obsessed with Jesus.

Is it obsessive to own a shirt that encourages others to "be obsessive?" I think it is. What do you think? I was baptized in it.

So why am I telling you all this? Why am I boring you with all of the mundane details of my obsessive life? Because for as obsessed as I am with Jesus, as much I was want to tell everyone about this God-man who saved my life, as much as I want to eat, sleep and breathe Jesus Christ every minute of every day, I am afraid.

Why am I afraid? Because I think I am not obsessed enough. I think that we who call ourselves Christians these days are not obsessed at all when compared to the likes of A.W. Tozer or J.C. Ryle. I am also afraid because I have seen plenty of self-professing Christians who still live a very worldly lifestyle and have the nerve to believe that they are righteous in God's eyes, even though they disobey his commands and continue to sin unrepentantly, right in the face of God. And I'm talking about me!

Billy Graham was asked recently if he regretted anything in his life. He told the reporter that he regretted not studying God's Word enough. He regretted not praying enough. And that is Billy Graham!!!

I need to become obsessed. More obsessed! I need to be 100%, every minute of every day, cannon ball into the deep end of the pool, obsessed with The Gospel. I need to yell it from the mountain tops, crawl on my hands and knees and beg people I don't even know to listen to the words of God. To heed His warnings, accept His free gift of salvation and call on the name of Jesus in everything they do.

We Christians need to become obsessed. We need to make Jesus our only focus. Our ONLY focus. Anything else disobeys the greatest commandment.

"‘Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment." - Matthew 22:37-38

May we ALL become obsessed. May we ALL seek Him above all else. We need to turn off the television and pick up His perfect Word and learn, grow and praise the God who gave us life. Then perhaps we can get a glimpse of just how deep, how far, how wide and how mighty this God is that we serve.

Obsession by Skillet

Monday, January 27, 2014


One of the things my wife and I enjoy about our house is that we built it WAY out in the country. We live six miles away from the closest town. Whenever people come to visit us way out here in the boonies they always remark how dark it is out here after the sun goes down. I try to keep my explanation simple . . . something city folk can understand . . .

"That's because it's dark . . . and there are no lights."

Sometimes the obvious can be so difficult to see or understand. I know people who have spent hours searching for their glasses, only to discover them on top of their head. We've all had moments like that. The sudden realization that we aren't quite as observant and we thought we were.

You've probably heard of Jeff Foxworthy and his "Here's Your Sign!" stories. They're pretty funny and sadly an all too true to life depiction of our ability to see the obvious. Here's a few.

A truck driver was climbing out of his too-tall truck that had become stuck under a too-low bridge. A police officer arriving on the scene asked, "So, are you stuck?" The truck driver replied, "No, I was just delivering this bridge and I ran out of gas." Here's your sign.

A fisherman was about to head home after a day's fishing from the pier. He pulled a large stringer of fish out of the water and a bystander asked, "Wow! Did you catch all those fish?" The fisherman replied, "Nah. Some of them just jumped right up here. The rest surrendered when they saw me comin'." Here's your sign. We humans can be incredibly blind when it comes to the obvious.

My wife and I went snowshoeing at the state park night before last. It was a cool, clear night with temperatures in the single digits. My wife remarked, "Look at all the stars!!" She was right. The stars were extraordinarily noticeable that night. However I could just imagine hearing one of our city friends exclaiming, "Wow! You have a lot more stars out here than we have in town."

No. The stars are always there. Even in town. Even in the day time. You just can't see them at night in the city because of all the city lights." (sigh)

For 52 years of my life I was blind. Blind to the reality of Christ. I had heard all of the stories. And that's just what they were to me. Stories. There was no meaning to them at all. I just didn't get it.

I'd like you to watch a short video clip. It's from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams. I'd like you to pay particular attention to the character played by Timothy Busfield (the guy with red hair and a beard). In this scene, Busfield's character, Mark, does not believe there is a team of old, dead baseball players in his brother-in-laws yard, even though everyone else around him does. He doesn't believe it until something happens. Please watch.

Field of Dreams clip

Near the end of the clip Mark says, "When did these ballplayers get here?" Well what do yo know. Mark finally believed. But it took a miracle, one of the young ball players being transformed right before his eyes, before he finally came to believe. At that moment, Mark, who had been tormenting his sister and her husband for the entire film to sell the farm, did a 180. His eyes were opened. Where have I heard that story before . . .

"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord - Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength." - Acts 9:1-19

There are many people in this world who do not KNOW Jesus. They have heard about him but do not believe in Him. Many of the non-believers enjoy persecuting Christians today just like Saul did back then. When Saul became Paul on that road to Damascus his life changed for ever. He was blind and then suddenly he could see. That account of Saul's conversion is the tale of every born again believer the world has ever known. And what did Paul do with this sudden knowledge? He began to spread the Gospel to everyone he met. It's like he handed himself a Jeff Foxworthy sign for his stupidity in not recognizing the truth. It's like Timothy Busfield's character saying, "When did all these Christians, my new brothers and sisters, get here? And what about the men who were with Saul/Paul. They heard the voice! They helped a blind Paul into town where he was made to see!

Go outside on some clear night and look up at the stars. Gaze at them in wonder. Look at God's immeasurably vast, heavenly creation and thank The God of all of it for opening YOUR eyes. Then preach the Gospel wherever you go for you once were blind but now you see.

Amazing Grace by Celtic Woman

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Just when I thought it was over. The days were getting longer, sunset coming a little later each day, dawn a little earlier. I thought we were on the up-swing. I could almost hear the birds singing in the trees and then . . . depression set in. I watched the local weather forecast. Waa-waa-waa , , ,

Winter can be a rather depressing time. It's so cold and dark. We're stuck inside, craving warmth. We try to pass the time by reading a book or watching television. We can't stay outside for vary long without freezing our butts off unless we've wrapped ourselves in so many layers we "look like a tick!" . . . like that kid in Christmas Story. Nope. We humans crave warmth.

So, what do YOU do to stay warm? My friend Jenny loves to drink coffee. I can imagine her huddled in a comfy chair, hands wrapped around a huge mug of her favorite brew . . . the steam from it warming her face.

My wife has many ways to warm herself. She likes to take hot baths. As soon as she feels a little chilled it's not long before the bath water starts to run.

Another way my loving wife warms herself is with her cats. They love to sleep on her lap, providing her with two little heating blankets. But her favorite way has GOT to be sticking her icy cold hands on my neck or by sucking every ounce of heat out of my body when she comes to bed. Yikes!!!

Some people like to build a fire. My brother-in-law always seems to have a fire blazing whenever we travel to their house in the winter. We too will have a fireplace soon. I gave my wife one for Christmas . . . hoping selfishly to lure her out of the bathtub and into the living room where I could at least see her!

There are many ways to stay relatively warm during the bleak Wisconsin winters. However there are some people who just can't handle it. They leave the state entirely during winter, spending the winter months in Florida or Arizona. Creeps. Wimps! Although, if we could, we probably would.

There are others who planned their lives a little ahead of time and somehow managed to actually live where it is warm already. Winter is not as big a struggle for them . . . but the summer is. LOL! I like to tease my friend Susan about her summers in Texas, just like she picks on me for our winters in Wisconsin.

Still others believe that the real way to survive the long, winter months is to embrace to cold! People go skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling like my cousin Roberta and her family, trying to enjoy the cold. I'm sorry but that's just insane. It might be fun to go snowmobiling for awhile but then, when you get back, you have to wait 30 minutes for your eyeballs to thaw out, it's can't be fun. No thanks!

Well, I have found a way to stay warm during the winter months. All year long actually. And I am going to share my little secret with you. Shhhh! Are you ready? Listen now. The secret to staying warm, even when winter is at its coldest . . . is . . . Jesus.

What? How cab Jesus keep us warm? Isn't He up there in heaven? Let me explain. We need to build a fire, but not like my brother-in-law does. It's a different kind of fire . . . and Jesus is the fuel. It's a simple math equation actually. You remember this equation from high school, right? A=B and B=C, then A must = C? Well, if Jesus is God (John 10:30), and God is love (1 John 4:8), then Jesus is love, correct? Are you with me so far? Now, remember the greatest commandment from Matthew 22?

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

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Remember now, Jesus is love. Read those verses again, only use the name of Jesus where the word "love" appears. Then twist it JUST a bit so it makes grammatical sense . . .

"Be Jesus" to the Lord your God. "Be Jesus" to your neighbor. We must love God as Jesus did. Submissive to God's authority as a son is to his father, and obeying God's will, no matter what the cost. "To do the will of my Father, who sent me." (John 6:38).

Okay . . . so we have our fuel - the love of Christ. Now all we need is some wood. The "wood" in my "get warm now" scheme is people . . . all the people we have in our lives. We must be Jesus to our neighbors, and that means everyone, even our enemies. So, how can we be Jesus to all the people we happen to meet? How can we love them like Jesus? Please listen to this song by Casting Crowns to find out.

Love Them Like Jesus by Casting Crowns

I have a friend who spends a lot of time as an Advocate for Compassion International. She sponsors at least a half a dozen children herself and encourages others to do so by volunteering at Compassion tables at numerous area events each year. She also leads a group of young ladies at her church. They make jewelry and use the profits to sponsor more children. My friend is "Jesus" to so many children in this world. How could I possibly "be Jesus" to her?

Well, when she seemed a little frustrated with life the other day, I let her know that I care about her as a friend and a brother. She knew that already but it's always good to be reminded of things like that from time to time. I went to visit her and gave her a hug for no other reason than I thought she could use one. I suggested she read Romans 8 - a chapter that always encourages me when I read it. And I prayed for her. I was "Jesus" to my friend, just like my friends are to me when I need "a little Jesus" in my life.

The chorus of that Casting Crowns song is an excellent to-do list for anyone wanting to warm themselves, or a friend, with the love of Christ.
  1. Love her like Jesus. Show compassion and mercy to those that are hurting.
  2. Carry her to Him. Pray for them. Pray WITH them. His yoke is easy. His burden is light.
  3. You don't need the answers. Just listen! Be the caring friend that you are to them.
  4. Just know that He loves her. Have faith in Jesus to see your friend through their storm.
  5. Stay by her side. Never ignore a friend who is hurting. Perhaps God is testing YOU!
This world can certainly use more Jesus. Perhaps, if we each took a turn fanning the flames of love throughout the world, like my friend does for so many needy children, perhaps then the world will finally see that this God we serve is the one, TRUE God - the beginning and the end, the first and the last . . . the unquenchable fire that is burning in the hearts of all those who believe. Could the answer be that simple? Just to love one another? To love them . . . like Jesus.

"35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:35

And that, my friends, is how to stay warm in the cold Wisconsin winter. It works! We can warm our hearts with the love that is Jesus. It is a fire that will never go out. :)

[This blog post is dedicated to my dear friend and sister Cheri. You inspire me. You are a blessing to SO many. I can't help but think that God smiled when he created you, knowing full well the smiles and the hope you would bring to the faces of his children around the world. May God bless you my friend. My sister. :)]

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Have you ever experienced a coincidence that seemed just a little too real? Just a little too pointed right at you? I have! Since I became a believer I have referred to these as God-incidences, either because they could only have come from God or because they have pointed me in some direction or to some truth that refers to God in some way. Like just the other day . . .
I was craving some good rock music at work last week so I opened up YouTube at lunchtime and listened to a little Switchfoot. After a few songs I just so happened to looked over to the right on the YouTube page and looked down through their "you might also like" column and saw the name of a classic Christian band - Petra. I have never listened to their music before so I thought I would give it a try.
But before I did I noticed another video just a few selections down.  It was of a rock formation. Not a song but a video of some sandstone and an ancient teample carved out of the rock. And what's weird was, I had seen that rock formation before. I was curious so I clicked on the video. The first step of my journey to Petra.

I watched the video, forgetting all about Petra, the 80's Christian rock band. I was fascinated as the
camera panned around through the narrow canyons, revealing intricate carvings in the ancient stone walls. VERY interesting. VERY! But where had I seen this place called Petra before? I went back and searched for my videos about this ancient city. That's when I came across a video that read, "Petra - Indiana Jones." THAT'S where I had seen it before! Petra is featured in the final scene of Indiana Jones - The Last Crusade. Whew! Glad that mystery was solved. Hah! Think again, blog boy!

The next day I was at home searching for something to watch on television. I don't watch all that much TV but I felt like watching something that day. Mhmm. Scrolling down through the program guide I saw the next step in my Petra journey. A movie . . . named Indiana Jones - The Last Crusade. I selected the movie, which was nearing its end. What do you know. When the movie came on, Indiana, his father and Marcus Brodie were riding through the narrow canyons coming into . . . Petra. Just in time.

So I watched the end of the movie, hearing lines like "Penitent men shall pass. Penitent, Penitent." and "It's a leap of faith!" And when the villain drank from the wrong cup and perished the Grail Guard siad, "He chose . . . poorly." Point taken.

Then, a few days later, I found myself watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with my wife. She likes Transformers. She also likes Linkin Park whose songs are featured in all of the Transformer movies. My wife surprises me sometimes. :)

So anyway, we're watching and the hero of the movie and some of the 'bots are headed for the big showdown in some small dessert Middle-eastern village and they come across THIS place. Petra. What is up with Petra? And why is it appearing everywhere in my life lately?!

What's so special about Petra? Here's some info from the Internet . . . so we KNOW it's true, right? (Walk cautiously)

Petra is an archaeological site in the Arabah, Ma'an Governorate, Jordan, lying on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is renowned for its rock-cut architecture. Petra is also one of the new wonders of the world. The Nabateans constructed it as their capital city around 100 B.C.

As I thought about Petra I remembered something else. Have you ever read the Left Behind books? They are a series of fictional novels based on the end time prohesies contained in the Bible. As the series nears its end, and the remnant of believers is about to be attacked, they flee. They flee to a place of safety that God has provided for them. Any guesses as to where that might be? Mhmm. Petra. The following is from an Internet summary I found about that event.

Petra is the location where the remnant of Israel fled to through Operation Eagle and stayed during the last 3 1/2 years of Tribulation. It was divinely protected by God during those years that the Israeli and Jewish refugees, as well as members of the Tribulation Force, stayed in Petra, where He fed the people daily with manna and gave them an endless supply of water, created when weapons of mass destruction launched from Amman struck their targets and failed to incinerate them. Tsion Ben-Judah stayed in Petra throughout the last half of the Tribulation to act as the leader and minister of the people, trying to reach out to the undecided refugees with daily teaching of the gospel. However, one group of undecideds rebelled against Tsion and Chaim Rosenzweig and were consumed by the earth swallowing them up, while another group was lured away from Petra by a false messiah performing various miracles and then were destroyed by fiery serpents.

Why this sudden influx of "Petra" in my life? I have no idea. HOwever, it reminds me that we all must be on guard and be prepared for what is coming. I is NOT fiction! The words of Jesus from the Book of Matthew:

"15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand - 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again." - Matthew 24:15-21

So, whether Jesus returns this week or years from now, we have been commanded by Jesus to be ready for His coming. I take all these appearances of Petra" in my life recently as a reminder of that fact. One day Jesus WILL return. There is no doubt because He promised.

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." - Matthew 24:42

Please read Matthew 24 this week. Maybe read it as you listen to a classic Christian rock band from the 80's - Petra! And remember that Petra is Greek for ROCK. Remember Peter? On this ROCK I will build my church. Peter = Petra. Interesting.

Back to the Rock (Live concert) by Petra

Petra in The Bible by

Monday, January 20, 2014


Okay. Time for a little trivia! Can anyone guess who the man in this picture is? Anyone at all? "Beuller? Beuller? Anyone?" Could he possibly be one of our former U.S. presidents? Rutherford B. Hayes! Mmm. No. This man was not a U.S. citizen.

What if I told you he was a very good cricket player? Would you know who he is then? No guesses? Well, he lived in England (1816-1900). Still no guesses? Alright, new question then.

What else can you tell about him? What about his beliefs? What can you tell about the man's beliefs by looking at the picture? Zippo, right? We can't tell anything about anyone's beliefs by simply looking at their picture. Unless they are wearing a white collar, some flowing robes, or a turban or sari, we can't even hazard a guess.

This man is J.C. Ryle, the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool. One day, while hearing Ephesians 2 read in church in 1838, he felt a spiritual awakening and was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. For 38 years he was a parish priest. Let's just say, he knew his stuff. He KNEW what he believed and why he believed it.

There are many things we Christians believe or exhibit and they can vary from church to church and from one denomination to the next. But here are six essential doctrines that every Christian MUST adhere to if they are truly to be called Christians:

J.C. Ryle - Essential Doctrines of Christianity
  • The Trinity - three distinct persons, one God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each one unique, each one the same. It is a difficult concept to grasp but we Christians worship one God. It's just that He exists in three different parts. The Three, in One. It's like having three candles in a room. There are three distinct candles but they produce one Light.
  • The visible work of the Holy Spirit in a person. When we repent of our sins and make the decision to follow Christ, we receive God's Holy Spirit into our hearts. We become changed. That change will be evident in how we live our lives. We receive power over sin through God's Holy Spirit. Power to change. And that change should be very evident in how we live our lives.
  • The inward work of the Holy Spirit. This is related to the previous characteristic about the visible work of the Holy Spirit, only this work is INvisible. Our souls, our convictions, our thoughts turn towards things of God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit rather than to things of the world or of ourselves. When we sin we feel convicted, repent and seek forgiveness.
  • The Doctrine of Human Sinfulness and Corruption. When we read in his Word that none of us are good enough and we all fall short of God's high standard of sinlessness, we realize that we are without hope. Hopeless, that is, without a saving faith in Christ Jesus. We are humbled by our sins in the face of Holy and Just God.
  • The work and office of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is our only hope. Our faith in Him saves us. What was done for us on The Cross has the power to raise the dead of this world to new life. Jesus is our judge, yet he is our advocate. He is Lord of all and we must be in submission to His prefect will and authority in our lives.
  • The absolute supremacy of Holy Scripture. God's Word is true. There are many who will debate this characteristic, some of whom still call themselves Christians yet they deny this last point. God's Word was "breathed out" by God in the 66 letters of the Bible. As it says in John 1, "In the beginning was The Word and The Word was with God and the Word was God." Jesus is The Word in that verse and His written word is like a two-edged sword with the power to destroy it's enemies. The Word of God is truth and it is a lamp unto our feet.
As Christians, we must trust in God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit. We also must trust in His Word and hold its truths in our heart. We must submit to Jesus and allow Him to be above everything in our lives, even our loved ones.

Does that sound rather exclusive? Does it sound like it's either God's way or the highway? That's because it IS God's way. He OWNS the highway. When we die and go to heaven there will be a toll booth of sorts on that highway. When we show up at that tollbooth, the gate will be lifted for those who have placed their faith in Jesus. All others will be turned away. The toll was paid for all when Jesus dies on the cross, but only those who accepted the payment God made through the death of His Son, will enter in. All others who, having been offered the gift of salvation through Jesus yet refused to take it, will be turned away when they come knocking on God's door.

"Let your Christianity be so unmistakable, your eye so single, your heart so whole, your walk so straightforward, that all who see you may have no doubt whose you are and whom you serve." - JC Ryle

Here is a video of some people receiving a Bible translated into their own language. They are receiving God's Word for the first time. Do we react the same when we pull our own dusty Bibles off the shelf . . . whenever we happen to want to read them?

Indonesian tribe receives Bible for the first time

The words that made a believer out of J.C. Ryle:

"1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 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. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:1-10

[The six doctrinal points came from an episode of WretchedTV]

Saturday, January 18, 2014


"19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:19-21
Well, did you hear? Oxford Dictionary has announced its Word of the Year for 2013. It's "selfie!" (Funny, my spell-checker doesn't recognize the word, yet it seems to be in use practically everywhere!)
A selfie is a self portrait, a picture taken of one's self. Although, I think you can have more than one person in a selfie. It seems the name comes from the act of taking a picture yourself, no matter HOW many people are in it.
On a related note, the most photographed room in a typical home seems to be the bathroom - a popular place to take selfies. You see you can either take selfies by pointing the camera at yourself or taking a picture of your reflection in the bathroom mirror.
While I was on Facebook a couple months ago I read an interesting comment from an observant young lady. She said, "I love how people crop the top of their heads off so we can see their boobs." The truth of that bit of sarcasm was revealed a short while later and I scrolled down to find a selfie of a young friend with the top of her head cropped off so she could make some middle school boys day.
We as a society have become addicted to ourselves. Even our president is getting into the act, much to the dismay of his wife, Michelle. The three immature heads of state at the left are taking a selfie. The reason Michelle is so upset is that her husband and his friends chose to take their selfie during Nelson Mandela's funeral. Classy. That is just SO incredibly wrong, words cannot due it justice.

Today's society is enamored with itself. We are all stars of our own little movies and everyone else is our supporting cast. It's all about us. We've never known otherwise because it has ALWAYS been about us. Even Facebook posts about other people in our lives are really about us because WE made the posts. And everyone else feeds off each other. Everybody else's posts are really all about me because they are just players in MY life. I hope you can taste the sarcasm.

In reality, all the Facebook and Twitter and Pintrest accounts, they're all about us, the things WE want to say, the things WE like. Even this blog is a selfie of sorts. It IS all about MY life and where I see God working in MY world.

So what should we do? Terminate our Facebook accounts? I've thought about it on more than one occasion. I probably will do it one day - pull the plug on the whole social media thing. But from this day forward I have decided to make a pledge.

I am going to keep track of my computer time, my social media time, and make sure I spend MORE time reading God's Word or spending time in prayer. Maybe it would be more profitable to spend time with others, spreading the Gospel or serving others in my community than it is updating my status. One thing is for sure. Jesus was not "all about Himself." He was all about God and doing His Father's will. He was all about spreading his message of sin, repentance and forgiveness through our belief in Him to ALL nations and we, quite honestly, should be doing the same.

Are we, as Christians, denying The Cross every time we post something about ourselves? Every time we take a selfie? Think about it. God is.

 "And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." - Luke 9:23

Is your Facebook Picture a Selfie by Jimmy Kimmel

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Last week my wife and I were watching the weather. Our local weatherman, who has been officially certified by the National Weather Service and has gone to college (I assume) and has theoretically been trained in the magical arts of weather forecasting, stated that we were going to be getting 4" of snow the following day. He stated it with such confidence too. I actually believed him! Well, he lied. We received absolutely nothing.

I was grateful for the lack of snow though, not having to snow blow the driveway & shovel the sidewalk. But I was a little disappointed in the weatherman. He is supposed to know his stuff and, when his prediction failed to come true, I was a little let down. His forecast had prompted me to jump through all kinds of preparedness hoops, getting ready for "the big storm!" The storm that never came.

Oh well. It's better to be safe than sorry, right? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Into each life a little rain must fall. What other words of cliché's can I offer up? How about . . . Never trust a weatherman!!

My last blog about Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri got me thinking about predictions and preparedness. Kaduri's words had stated that he had seen Jesus in a vision and that he was told by Jesus that He would return shortly after Ariel Sharon's death. When Sharon died this past weekend I took notice. I'm not sure about Kaduri's prediction. He prediction success rate may be worse than our weatherman's for all I know. Is the return of Jesus imminent? And regardless of when Jesus returns, am I prepared for His coming? Are those I love prepared?

Last night at small group we talked a little about being prepared, about taking the initiative and speaking into the lives of those around us about Jesus. It's a big step . . . something we are all intimidated and afraid to do. But if we are afraid, are we truly prepared for what is to come? We should be standing is full assurance of our salvation yet, for some reason, we are afraid to speak out.

Jesus says in His Word, "38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” - Mark 8:38


I need to be thinking a little bit more about Jesus' imminent return and a little less about my "impression" in a world that doesn't really care about it. I need to spend more time preparing myself spiritually by spending more time in God's Word and by offering encouragement to others who are walking the same walk as I am, seeking God's will. I know my salvation is secure but I want Jesus to smile at me when He sees me. I want Him to be proud. :)

A couple of nights ago out illustrious weatherman predicted another snow storm. We were going to get a half a foot of snow, or so he said. So what did I do? I prepared my self for the coming storm, just like I did for the last one. Regardless of whether the storm actually came of not, I was prepared. So should it be for me with respect to the pending return of our King. We must be ready.

So? Did the weatherman's prediction come true? When I awoke yesterday morning there was no more snow than there was the night before. Still, I took my boots, I took a blanket. I brought TWO frozen dinners AND a breakfast, just in case I needed them. I even threw a snow shovel in the back seat.

And the storm? We got nine inches of the white stuff dumped on us during the day. Forty mile an hour winds made the roads nearly impassable. I left work early, hoping to make it home before dark. I passed a jack-knifed semi along the way. It took me two tries to get up the hill into our subdivision because the roads had yet to be plowed. But I made it home. I was prepared for the predicted storm that we received.

My friends, we MUST prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We must reach out in love to ALL who don't know Him, and even those who say they do, just in case they really don't. We must love ALL who are hurting and in need of a savior - friend and enemy alike. Jesus died for all, not a select few.

So "let every heart prepare Him room." Prepare today as if He is coming tomorrow . . . because one day, He will be.

Joy to The World flash mob

Monday, January 13, 2014


Have you ever heard of a man named Yitzhak Kaduri? Yeah, me neither. That's his picture over there on the left. Still no recognition? You will remember his name after reading this, that's for sure.

Yitzhak Kaduri is, or was, "a Mizrahi Haredi rabbi and kabbalist who devoted his life to Torah study and prayer on behalf of the Jewish people" (according to Wikipedia). The following paragraph is also from Wikipedia.

"Before his death, Kaduri had said that he expected the Jewish Messiah to arrive soon, and that he had met him a year earlier. It has been alleged that he left a hand-written note to his followers and they were reportedly instructed to only open the note after Rabbi Kaduri had been dead for one year. After this time period had passed, the note was opened by these followers and was found to read, "ירים העם ויוכיח שדברו ותורתו עומדים" (translated as "he will raise the people and confirm that his word and law are standing"), which by acronym, suggested the name "Yehoshua." "Yehoshua" is the Hebrew version of "Joshua" or "Jesus"."

A Jewish rabbi, who devoted His teaching to the Torah, has decided that the long-awaited Jewish Messiah would come soon. And that that Messiah's name . . . is Jesus? Oh, my!!

Kaduri died in 2006 at the ripe old age of 108. 200,000 people attended his funeral. Before his death Kaduri stated that this Messiah, Jesus, would not return until a certain beloved Jewish leader had died. That "certain leader" was named Ariel Sharon. In case you missed the news over the weekend, Ariel Sharon passed away on Saturday.

So what does all this mean? Why is all this important? I don't know. Perhaps it means nothing. But isn't it interesting? It is true that we live in very exciting times . . . very biblically significant times. As a Christian, I look forward to my Lords coming. All of us should. Will he come back in our lifetime? No one knows. Not even Jesus. Only God knows.

There is a documentary about this whole thing. You can buy it on Amazon. Same with the book. I've heard it's author, Carl Gallups, several times. He is the pastor of a church in Florida. This guy is VERY believable and excited about his book. Understandable. But I think he is even more excited about the coming of Christ. We ALL should be.

Your question for the day, your challenge, is "What if you knew that Jesus actually WAS coming back and He was coming back on Tuesday? How would you live the last few hours before He arrived? Hmm? What would you do? Interesting question.

I don't know if any of this Kaduri revelation is important or not, But it DOES serve as a reminder for us, that we ALL must be ready for the day of His return. One thing is for sure. Kaduri WILL be right. Because, as far as we Christians are concerned, Jesus IS the Messiah and He WILL return after Ariel Sharon's death.

"20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all - 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot's wife. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. 36 One will be taken and the other left.” 37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
- Luke 17:20-37

The Rabbi Who Found Messiah Movie Trailer

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Do you drink tea? I know many people who do. I have been known to occasionally imbibe in a glass or two - but only iced tea during the summer. I don't drink the hot stuff.

My wife is a tea drinker. I used to always make her a cup of tea in the morning but then our schedules changed. I still make her tea occasionally on the weekends or on days off. My wife loves her tea! My wife loves her tea SO much that she has gotten a reputation as a "tea drinker." Shameful! People give her tea as gifts or even tea mugs or cups. She got a mug from her sister this past Christmas that said, "Everything tastes better with cat hair in it." Can you tell we have two cats? And that I have a very funny sister-in-law?

There are different types of teas. My wife likes regular Lipton's Tea. She likes to let the tea bag sit in her cup a long time, making her tea really strong. Then she squeezes out the teabag and puts a teaspoon of sugar in the cup. Mmm . . . I guess. I've never had hot tea.

My wife's parents like flavored teas - orange, spice, blackberry, there's all kinds of different flavors. Designer teas. There are all kinds of colors too - black, green, red, they have them all. Even WHITE tea which sounds like it might just be . . . water . . . but I'm not sure. Her parents brew their tea differently than my wife does though. Where my wife uses one tea bag per cup, her parents use one tea bag for an entire pot of tea. That makes their tea a lot weaker than my wife's, more diluted.

My brother and his wife like Chai tea. I guess it's tea with some other stuff in it. I've never had any of that tea either so I don't know. Everybody likes "their tea" because they make it themselves for themselves. Somebody else's tea just doesn't taste the same as "MY TEA."

Have you ever noticed how many different denominations and beliefs there are? Not only are their MAJOR differences in beliefs (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, etc.) but there are denominations within those overall beliefs, at least in the Christian faith. Probably in other belief systems as well. In Christianity there is Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, all the way down to The Church of Fred. I'm serious. There is actually a Fred's Church down south some place.

The point is, there are so many different beliefs and faith, how do we know which on is the right one? Is there a "God-approved" version? Everyone will tell you that THEIR church is the right one. But if there is only one "right one" does that mean that all of the others are wrong? Or "less right"? If there even is such a thing.

As I read through the Bible there are many truths I can "take away" from my readings. The first this is that God is incredible, indestructible, all-knowing, all-seeing, and indescribable. We humans cannot even begin to understand Him. Yet we always seem to try. We always need an answer for everything and we always have to analyze the "whys" and the "how comes." God IS. He doesn't need to be defended. He simply IS!

Another thing I discovered while reading the Bible  is that there are no "denominations." There are only believers . . . and those who do not follow The Way. Denominations, like most religions themselves, are man-made things. Except for when Jesus said of Peter, "On this rock I will build my church (Matthew 16:18)." In my opinion, denominations were formed by somebody disagreeing with somebody else. Therefore they, in effect, took their ball and went home. Something like that.

When Jesus told Peter, "On this rock I will build my church," notice Jesus didn't say churches, as in plural. He also didn't say, "On this rock I will build many churches with many different denominations whose number will be like the grains of sand in the desert." Nope. One church - the body of believers.

His Word also says this, spoken right before our instructions about taking communion.

"17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized." - 1 Corinthians 11:17-19

Although this instruction was not aimed at my topic for today, it speaks of how early and how easily we can stray from what God wants for us. For example, I know of churches who will not allow a non-church member to take communion because they are unsure of the visitor's faith. They also will not receive communion at another church because they feel the other church may be "inferior" to theirs. Not only is that judgmental but it goes against scripture and the very nature of God. Didn't Jesus die for the sins of all? They shouldn't ALL be allowed to profess their faith by participating in communion? NOT good.

Brothers and sisters, there is to be but ONE church. We are to follow ONE God, the God of the Bible. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Not some "ala carte" God we made up of only the character traits WE like."

We are to be drinkers of Jesus Christ, and drink Him straight. Somewhere, long ago, someone dried some tea leaves, put them in water, and noticed they flavor was good. But then, just as we humans are want to do, we modified it, changed it, added things to it, until we arrived at something more to OUR liking. Different teas are okay, God placed all the other ingredients on earth for us to enjoy as well. But we are not supposed to change our beliefs from what God provided for us. We're not supposed to be adding things, trying this and that, until we arrive at a God we like more than the one that truly exists. God is God. Period. Exclamation mark!

My mother is a tea drinker. She drinks is straight. No added flavorings, no sweeteners. no additives - straight, hot, and often. Let the same be said of us and our faith.

So let us rejoice as we drink our tea, whether it be hot or cold, flavored or spiced. But let us ALWAYS worship the one, true God, straight. As is . . .

"8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." - Psalm 34:8

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Wow! It was stinkin' cold again yesterday morning! 19 below zero on my way in to work! Yikes!! This past week I saw a morning show host say that "someone" has determined that January 6th is the most depressing day of the year. I could believe it. After the high of all the Christmas season hoopla we realize that the next big holiday doesn't occur until the end of May. Plus it's absolutely freezing out! And dark! I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. It truly is a VERY depressing time of the year.

Watching the weather on TV doesn't help much. It's plenty dismal all by itself. All the negative temperatures and wind chill warnings. We need to be more positive!! As in ABOVE freezing! Hey, when the HIGH temperature is BELOW ZERO, something is just not right. But then the weather guy redeemed himself last night with his extended forecast. He revealed that Saturday's temperature is actually supposed to be ABOVE freezing!! Saturday is supposed to be 50 degrees warmer than it was on Tuesday! There IS hope!! I don't know about you but just knowing that warmer weather is coming helps me get through the nastiness we're living in right now.

"Just wait until Saturday!! Oh, boy! It's going to be SO nice! Maybe all that icy, yucky stuff that has built up behind my car's tires will finally melt off and die!! That would be nice. And maybe I'll have a shot at getting the Christmas lights down off our roof. Oh my goodness, I look forward to Saturday. I look forward to the future in hopeful anticipation!"

Hmm, anticipation. That reminds me of a song. Did you ever hear that Carly Simon song from the 70's, "Anticipation"? Give it a listen.

Anticipation by Carly Simon

Carly is a good singer, smiles a lot and the song has a nice bouncy tune but the lyrics are downright depressing. You're not making me feel any better Carly!!

The woman in Carly's song is thinking about her current relationship, and how she's not sure it will last so she wants to enjoy the relationship right now, ending the song with "these are the good old days." She's not sure the relationship has a future. No anticipation about things to come? Come on girl! If living in the moment is the best you can ever hope for, no wonder we depressed.

Hope for warmer temperatures is nice. Hope for the coming spring is ever better. Oh, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of children laughing as they pass by our house on their bikes. All that stuff is good. But there IS something better. The hope of a future beyond these earthly confines. Hopeful anticipation of a brighter future, beyond our pitiful imaginings. Hope of a future beyond this stagnant, frozen world. Anticipation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. And His return!

Do you have this hope? Do you have assurance? Do you have . . . anticipation?

"11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1

"7 But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me." - Micah 7:7

"3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." - 1 Peter 1:3-5

And oh, what a glorious day that will be!

Glorious Day by Casting Crowns

Monday, January 6, 2014


Wisconsin is a great place to live. I love seeing the different shades of green in the spring when the new leaves start popping out on the trees. In the summer I enjoy walking around outside in a tee shirt and shorts and feeling a cool breeze wafting through the pines trees that surround our house. Fall is a great season too. The colors of the leaves on the trees is simply amazing to see. But then . . . comes . . . winter.

Winter in Wisconsin is not as much fun as the tourism department would like everyone to believe. Wonderful scenes of winter skiers and sleigh rides soon fade when you're shoveling snow at ten below zero. Anybody watch yesterday's Packer game? Cold!! Today's HIGH temperature is expected to be nine below. The low around -17 degrees. Up north it will be worse.

So what do we do to entertain ourselves and to stay warm when the temperatures outside are not so friendly? I guess we could buy a couple snowmobiles and ride around the countryside in the cold. My cousin and her family love to do that. Embrace it or die! Not us. My wife and I like to stay inside and read. We occasionally will go outside and do a little snow shoeing but we won't be doing that at ten below I can assure you of that! No, my wife and I will stay inside and read.

My wife likes to read romance novels. They're usually set in the south some place, on a plantation. Or maybe out west back in the pioneer days, usually someplace warm. I like to read the Bible. Nothing like reading about wandering in the desert for 40 years to warm the soul if not the feet.

I just started reading the Old Testament again. It's kind of a tradition of sorts - reading the Bible every year. It's a new year so I might as well start it off right. Right? I'm in Genesis now as you might have guessed, the stories of Abraham and Isaac . . . and the desert. Ah, the warmth of the desert. I read about Noah and how his family went on an ocean cruise with thousands of animals. That must have been nice . . . other than the smell. I also read about Adam and Eve walking through the garden, naked. I know I'm not supposed to read anything into scripture but I have just GOT to believe it wasn't winter. Winter is a good time to read.

The pastor at our church has read the Bible a couple dozen times and spoke once about someone he knew who had read the Bible once for every year he was old. Yikes. I could never do that. I'm 60 years old and have only read the Bible twice. Spiritually however I am much younger. In a few weeks I will celebrate the eighth year of my re-birth, having given my life to Jesus January 15, 2006. I CAN accomplish a goal of reading the Bible once for each year of my spiritual age. And so I shall. My goal is to read the Bible twice each year until I catch up.

The Bible is God's written Word, written by men but inspired by, and breathed out by, God. The Bible is one of the ways, probably THEE biggest way, that God communicates with us. I have learned many things and discovered many new truths by reading and studying the Bible.

Hey, do you have a study Bible? You should. Study Bibles are filled with insights from Biblical scholars and theologians. Study Bibles provide necessary background into the physical setting of the scripture, who the writer's audience was. A study Bible is an essential tool in our quest to understand God and his Holy Word.

I use the John MacArthur Study Bible. You can pick one up at Walmart. Here's a link to where you can order one for $38 - well worth the price.

John MacArthur Study Bible

Shortly after I began my walk with Jesus, I heard a song by Sara Groves - a singer, song-writer from Minnesota. She's probably frozen stiff too! The song was called The Word and it is an excellent portrayal of what The Bible is and what His Holy Scripture can do for us. I invite you to listen to this song and then pick up a study Bible this new year and read it. It contains every promise we could ever need.

The Word by Sara Groves

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I have heard and read a lot of opinions lately. I have even expressed a few of my own. Everybody has their own idea of what is right and what is wrong. Including me! With all the differing opinions out there, how can we ALL be right? We can't! So how do we know what is truly right and wrong? Where do we go to find the truth? And, once we find it, how do we know it really IS the truth? Because we FEEL it's right?

Do you trust what your doctor says? They've been to school, a LOT of school. They are well-educated and know a lot about the human body but actually there are actually many things they don't know. Do they know how to change the oil in their Mercedes?

Every time you go to the doctor with something wrong, they offer their "opinion" about what it is that's ailing you. Why else would you be advised to get a "second opinion" if your doctor didn't first offer you HIS opinion?

Oh, doctors can be pretty good with the obvious stuff, like the guy who went to his doctor complaining of a headache. They x-rayed his skull and found a 3 1/2" nail in his brain. "Umm, we have determined that you have a foreign object lodged between your frontal lobe and your cerebral cortex." In layman's terms, Dude, you've got a nail in your head!! But the doctors couldn't say that confidently without evidence - without the x-ray.
A friend of mine where I work has a very sick father. He has lots of heart issues. He was scheduled to have a couple of stints placed in his chest this past week but the week before that, while his doctor was on vacation, my friend's father had some major chest pains. He was taken to the ER where the physician on duty prescribed immediate bypass surgery. My friend's family insisted they not proceed until their regular doctor was contacted. Good thing too. The bypass surgery would likely have killed my friend's father. He now has his stints and is dong much better, despite the ER doctor's "opinion."

So, if even the smartest guys on the planet can't be 100% sure about their diagnoses, where can we go to find the absolute truth - some where we KNOW is right? Well, I'd suggest we ask God. If HE doesn't know, and He's seen it all, who else would?

We who call ourselves Christians are theoretically flowers of Christ, hence our name. What then are we to do when Jesus tells us that HE is the truth (John 14:6)? What do we do with that? Do we simply ignore it? Or do we do what ever Jesus tells us to do? Hmm. I often struggle with that.

Jesus tells us in John 14:15 that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. Okay. Then Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19 to "go and make disciples." So, have I gone? I am very desirous of making disciples but have I actually gone out an made any? Mmm, maybe one? In eight years? Uh . . . yeah. In my opinion, I thank God "his mercies are new every morning."

Let's face it, we are all sinners. We can try really hard not to be but we will always fail. The Law of Moses shows us our sins, our failures. Middle eastern cemeteries are full of people who broke the laws and were punished for their sins. Thank God for His grace!!!

"Grace" is a loving, merciful God who says, "Come on Bob. Get up and try again." However, WE must be the ones who actually get back up and desire to try again. We get back up because we have been extended grace. And grace is the seed of hope. And without the hope that is found in the cross it doesn't matter what anyone's "opinion" is. But with Christ, in Christ, we find our only hope.

Recently I took some heat for aligning myself with Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson when he offered HIS opinion about sexual sin. Apparently, MY opinion didn't agree with theirs. That's fine. As I have already written, we ALL have our opinions. What was surprising to me was that I was condemned. Neither Mr. Robertson nor myself condemned anybody. We offered our opinions about sin. The only evidence supporting our opinions appears in the Bible.

I was told that my writings "attacked someone's religious beliefs." By merely expressing my own? Hmm. We need to find a little consistency before we express our opinions . . . in my opinion.

Before I close I'd like to tell you about a young man from my church. He took me aside one night at youth group and told me that he was gay. My reply was, "Alright." He had a puzzled look on his face and said, "Really? I thought you'd be more upset than that. I heard you were a homophobe."

"Where did you hear that?" I replied. "I FEAR no one. Look, homosexuality is a sin. But I am a sinner too. We're ALL sinners. Welcome to the club. Your telling me you are openly gay changes nothing. I still love you."

At that point my young friend gave me a hug so hard I heard, and felt, my back crack.

You will never see me in any picket line telling some LGBT group that they are going to hell. Why? Because that would be the height of hypocrisy. Would I ever expect to see someone picketing outside my house because I once stole something, uttered God's name in vain or looked at a woman with lustful thoughts? No. It's like I said, and like the BIBLE says in Romans 3:10, we are ALL sinners. There are NONE righteous, not one!"

We need to extend to each other the same grace that God extends to us. We need to come along side one another and help each other be accountable for our actions or inactions and we must love others, and that means everybody, as we love ourselves.

In my opinion.

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

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:36-40

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Last night on the evening news I watched a story about Colorado. Today is the first day of legalized marijuana sales in their state. Everyone was really happy. And I mean REALLY happy! Everyone except the head of the state's anti-drug coalition. Other than her, it seems as if everyone is super excited about getting, as we used to call it in high school, . . . wasted.

New Year's Eve is a traditional party night if there ever was one. Images of endless streams of champagne, flowing freely from bottle to glass and from glass to lips. Somewhere along the line, New Year's Eve has turned into a night of drunkenness and debauchery (bad or immoral behavior that involves sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.). Why?

To quote King Solomon, "There is nothing new under the sun" however. Maybe the marijuana parts might be relatively new but people have been getting drunk for thousands of years. The Bible is filled with warnings about such behavior and some of those warnings are very, VERY scary. Here's a few: Ephesians 5:18, Proverbs 20:1, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Proverbs 23:29-35, Isaiah 5:11

But probably the scariest warning was written to the churches of Galatia by the apostle Paul.

"16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." - Galatians 5:16-26

Paul is writing to Christians, telling them they shouldn't get drunk, amongst their many other sins. Yet year after year we present-day Christians, just like the Galatians, ignore Paul's warning and just continue on sinning. Why?

Well, it could be that we simply aren't aware of Paul's warning. Have you ever heard of the saying that "ignorance is no excuse?" It would be like trying to talk your way out of a speeding ticket by saying, "I didn't know that driving faster than the law allows would get me into trouble." That may play some role in the choices we make I guess.

Another reason for sinning, and that's what "getting wasted" in ANY "works of the flesh" listed above is, is that we are sinners by our very nature. We simply can't help ourselves. Besides, it makes us feel better and God wants us to be happy, right? Wrong! God wants us to be obedient. That is a large part of why we Christians continue to sin day after day. But there is another reason, far more scary than the two I have already mentioned. False converts.

When we receive the Holy Spirit we Christians are given the power to overcome sin. We are made strong, in Christ. Christians who have truly repented will exhibit signs of that repentance called Fruits of The Spirit." Read verses 22-24 again. The words "self-control" could easily be replaced by "don't get wasted."

There is good news for us sinners though, and that includes everyone reading, and writing, this blog. Jesus is mighty to save. He died for our sins - past, present and future. But we must allow Him to be the Lord of our lives. We are His, not our own. If we say we are Christians and go on sinning without remorse, are we not mocking what Christ did for us on the cross?

The scariest thing to comprehend is that some people THINK they are Christians but really aren't. That is incredibly scary!! If we are truly Christians we will be recognized by the change within us. We will begin exhibiting the fruits of the spirit. We will begin throwing off the old self and begin walking in the light. It's called sanctification - becoming more like Christ in everything we think, do and say. We must strive for that, if we truly are alive in Christ.

Before I close, one more scary passage to consider.

" 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." - Hebrews 10:26-31

I'm not intentionally trying to start of the new year with a doom and gloom message this morning. Rather, I'd like us all to consider a God-honoring life in Christ. In everything we do let us honor God with our lives. When we are about to make a decision, let us ask ourselves "How is what I am about to do, honoring to God." If our lives are not exemplifying Christ, how can we truly call ourselves Christians? Let us not live wasted lives but lives alive in Christ. For as Christians, we do not live to "enjoy ourselves" but to honor God. Let us start off the new year doing so. Let us sanctify ourselves before the Lord and honor Him . . . as long as it is called "today."

Better Than Drugs by Skillet