Monday, June 30, 2014


Time marches on they say. No matter what happens anywhere in the universe, time is always ticking by. Nothing can stop the constant, steady advance of time. Tick tock tick tock.

Yesterday was my dad's funeral. It seems like yesterday that I was just a kid, helping my dad and my grandpa put up hay on the farm. Being a kid, I got to stack the hay on the hay wagon as my dad and my grandpa tossed the bales on board. Gone are the days of living on the farm. Now, we just visit the farm. Any work done in the fields is done by somebody else. Where has all the time gone?

There were several people at the service yesterday who I hadn't seen in years. LOTS of years. The wife of my old Scout master, the parents of a childhood friend, and a kid I hadn't seen since she was three. She is now in her thirty's!

 Where does the time go!? We can remember so many different people and events from our childhoods as if they were yesterday, but in reality, they were ages ago.

Did you ever see the movie Somewhere In Time? In the movie a young writer goes back in time 100+ years to meet a woman he fell in love with in a present-day picture. What if we could travel back in time like that and meet people in their prime or meet relatives we've never even seen?

Yesterday as I looked out the front door of the funeral home, a big old house on the east side of town, I thought for a moment that I myself was somewhere back in time. The number of the stars on the flag flying out front seemed to be less, the cars flying by on the paved road out front were replaced in my mind by horse drawn carriages on a dirt road. I started thinking of all the people who were entering the funeral home in terms of who they had been rather than who they are today.

God can see all those things. God is what is known as omnipresent. He can be in all places at all time's. He has always been and He always will be. He was there when the world was formed, He will be there when it comes to an end. He has seen every birth and every death of all mankind. Think about that!

Probably the coolest thing that happened at my dad's funeral was performed by a dozen men I didn't even know - the local chapter of the VFW. My sister-in-law came into the main room and said, "You have GOT to see this!" So I went out into the lobby and there all these veterans, dressed in uniform, all gathered to pay tribute to my dad, a navy veteran.

One by one these men came and stood next to my father's casket and saluted him. Very moving. I found myself thinking about each of those men and the battles they had seen, the struggles in their lives, the joys. God knows all those things.

What would it be like to go back in time and see all those men in their prime. To see my dad in his prime! Yeah, that would be nice, but we can't do that. But God can.

He saw when you were born. And here's a tough one - he has already seen your death. He has already seen every one of your triumphs and mistakes. He has seen all of your sins yet He still loves you and wants you to be with Him in heaven one day. Despite all that, God has given you the option to choose whether you want that or not.

My father had many people attend his memorial service. Not all of them have chosen to believe in the God who gave them life. That's there choice . . . their option. Yet God sent His Son to die for them anyway.

Sometime in the future we all will get to meet Jesus. What will we look like? Will we be our old wrinkled selves? Or will time be gentle and will we appear before Him in our prime? Time . . . will tell.

Do you know Jesus? I pray that you do. Only by placing our faith in the One True God can we be assured of eternal life. You will get to see your grandparents again, your childhood friends. But most importantly, you will get to see Jesus, who loves you unconditionally and without end. His love transcends time. His love for you. We all will meet Him, somewhere in time.

"Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD." - Jeremiah 23:24

Somewhere in Time Theme - John Barry and Roger Williams

Saturday, June 28, 2014


[This is part four of a multi-part story about my dad and the battle he underwent against Alzheimer's and against pneumonia. It is also a story of how God provides for us in our time of need in oh, SO many ways. I dedicate these blogs to both my mom and my dad . . . and to my amazing sister and brother. And also to anyone out there who has lost, or is loosing, a loved one]

"What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." - James 4:14

One of the last images I have of my dad was when we wheeled his bed out onto the deck at the hospice center. All of the units there have decks that overlook a pond, all nestled nicely in the woods. It is really a very peaceful place. Quite a beautiful setting.

My dad's feet pointed toward the pond - my brother stood on his left, my sister on his right. I was positioned behind the head of my dad's bed, propping up his pillow so he could see the water. As I did so I noticed a fog or a mist on the surface of the pond becoming visible. It gently moved across the water, being guided by the cool morning breeze. That's when I thought of that verse above. It is a fitting verse because, like all verses in the Bible, it is SO true. But for those of us who believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ, the verse represents hope. The hope of a life after death.

If we take the time to read the Gospels and learn about Jesus we can soon find out how compassionate and merciful He was (and still is). Yet he died at the hands of those He came to save. One could easily ask, "Were is the hope in that? How can anyone find hope in death?"

There IS no hope in death. But there is hope in Jesus Christ.

"20 I have been crucified with Christ and I (my old self) no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” - Galatians 2:20-21

If we were to measure ourselves against one another, I'd have to say that my dad was better than most dads. True, I am probably somewhat biased in my assessment but if we look at society today there are a decreasing number of fathers like mine - a good son to his parents, a loving husband and father, a good provider for his family, he served his country in World War II and he sang in the church choir. And he loved. My father was a perfect example of a "perfect" father.

But in reality, NOBODY is perfect. Not even my dad. So when we stand in front of a holy God who demands perfect righteousness from all who hope to enter His kingdom, we all stand condemned. We have no hope whatsoever . . . unless . . . unless there was another way. If we place our faith in Jesus, the one who has already paid the penalty for our sins with His blood on the cross, we will gain entrance into God's kingdom.

If what Jesus said was true, all it takes to get into heaven is repentance and our placing faith and trust in Him, then what do we have to be sad about? If our loved ones have made that leap of faith, those who have died an earthly death are dancing with Jesus right now.

Honestly, I don't know if my dad placed his faith in Jesus or not. But if we are to examine ourselves and each other looking for spiritual "fruit," my dad's tree is plenty full. And then there is THIS verse, which carries new meaning for me today.

"25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease." - Mark 5:25-29

All we need to do is have faith in Jesus, faith that His promise of eternal life is true.

I cried when I said goodbye to my dad this past Sunday, I cried when I told a fish story of a young boy and his father, I cried when my sister called at 1:15AM to tell me of dad's passing. I will probably cry at his funeral. But my tears are not for my father. They are for those of us who remain.

You see, I have placed my trust in Jesus, I believe His promise of eternal life is true. After all, Jesus Himself defeated death when we rose from the dead. He promised us the same. His Holy Spirit lives in me and therefore I am alive, in Christ!

You may see me with tears in my eyes these next few days, but not many. My savior lives! And if my dad placed his faith in Jesus, my dad lives too. And he lives with Jesus!! How can anyone cry over THAT good news. And that is my hope. That ALL would come to saving faith in Christ. Death had no power over Jesus and it will have no power over us either. IF . . . if we only would choose to believe.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I used to have a web page dedicated to the misuse of the English language. You know, those little phrases that people use, but use them incorrectly. Our language is confusing enough without us adding new words to it. When people use words that don't exist they leave it us to determine what they meant. Sometimes meanings are easy to figure out. Other times, not so much.

Here is an example of what I am talking about. Have you ever heard someone use the word orientated? I say "word" but that's really incorrect. Orientated is NOT a word. Go ahead. Look it up. It's not in the dictionary. The correct word to use is oriented. But people still use orientated because they have always used it and apparently don't know any better.

Another phrase I have heard often is "I could care less." That's nice, but what I think they REALLY want to say is, "I COULDN'T care less." If we can care less that means we actually do care somewhat. But if we COULDN'T care less that's the absolute bottom in the world of caring.

I'm not a perfect user of the English language either. Just this morning I greeted someone in the hallway at work, "Good morning, Dawn." JUST a little redundant.

Then there are those times when whatever words we speak, even the correct ones, have no meaning at all. We can even have trouble finding the right words to say in times of extreme joy or sorrow.

"I'm speechless," someone might say. Well, if that were true, why did you SAY something? Isn't being speechless saying nothing? Speaking of speechlessness . . .

My friend at work has a son in the Air Force. She knew he was coming home on leave in the near future but wasn't expecting him to show up last night. SHE was speechless last night. She just kept looking over a her son . . . and smiling.

This week I have been experiencing the words of people wanting to express their sorrow over the impending death of my father. It's always an awkward time. Most are not wanting to cause any bad feelings. They don't want to cause any additional pain for us by saying the wrong thing. Most people tend to say nothing, even avoiding eye contact in hopes that a conversation won't start up. That's sad.

"I'm sorry," is always a good thing to say. But beyond that I have found that most sayings simply don't cut it. They don't cut it because they are sayings. They're just something people say because they have heard other people say it. However, I have found something that really works, in times of joy AND in times of sadness. No words need to be spoken at all, removing the potential awkwardness factor of most sayings. It is a simple hug.

Yesterday at work a friend of mine who knew that my father was dying came walking by my office, on her way to a meeting. When she saw me she stopped, reached out a hand and placed it on my arm and asked, "How's your dad?" I told her all that was going on. Her reply to all that I said contained no words. She just gave me a hug. That wordless message said everything that needed to be said.

I don't mean to pick on people and their not knowing what to say in certain life situations. But I think we as a people need to spend more time focusing on love and on others rather than focusing on OUR feelings and how WE might feel awkward.

I'd like to take you back to the basics of our faith - the greatest commandment. Read it and let it soak in for a moment.

"36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 22:36-40

The thing God wants us to do most is love. The messages we communicate to others should NOT be about SAYING things. It should be about demonstrating the love that Jesus Christ showed us on the cross. He said very little but what He did has echoed throughout this world for 2000 years.

Love God. Love others. Saying things only gets in the way.

Words by George Carlin

Monday, June 23, 2014


[This is part three of a multi-part story about my dad and the battle he is undergoing - against Alzheimer's and against pneumonia. It is also a story of how God provides for us in our time of need in oh, SO many ways. I dedicate these blogs to both my mom and my dad . . . and to my amazing sister. And also to anyone out there who has lost, or is loosing, a loved one]

There is something unique that waiting can bring. Often, it is anticipation. If we are looking forward to something, waiting stands in the way of what we have now and what we are waiting for in the future.

However, there are some things we find ourselves waiting for that we would just as soon have never arrive. The pending death of a loved one is one of those things.

For the past four days my family has all been together, taking turns by my father's bedside - holding his hands, adjusting his hospital gown and sheets, trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. But something unexpected is happening. I noticed something else going on while we are waiting. We are becoming a family again.

Yes, it is true that we have ALWAYS been a family, but us Hall's have gone our separate ways through the years. My brother lives in California, my wife and I live in Wisconsin and my sister, mom and dad all live in Michigan. And although we always get together for a family reunion each year, we seldom have time to just sit and talk. In my dad's illness a silver lining has appeared. An opportunity to spend some much needed time with one another.

It is a sad thing to wait for a loved one to die. There are times when it seems as if the clock is ticking ever so slowly. Then, during those special family moments, the hands on the clock seem to be in high gear and the minutes and hours just fly by.

We have all had our time talking alone with dad, sitting with him and trying to understand the words he is saying. Most of his speech is unintelligible mumbles but once in a while he will say something that is wonderfully clear and understandable. Often those are the times he says something funny. That is so like my dad.

For example, I was telling a fishing story one night about how my dad had taught me to fly fish. I was describing how he had once told me to cast towards a particular brook that was bubbling into the stream up ahead and how suddenly there was a nice trout on the line. My dad held up two fingers indicating the length of my fish as being about 3" Funny guy, my dad. We all had a good laugh.

And the side conversations we had with other family members were priceless as well. The long periods of waiting almost forced us to talk with one another. That was very therapeutic and a blessing from God.

But the thing that waiting allowed me to do the most of these past few days was to stare for hours at my father's face. Stare at his ever-changing expressions - every raised eyebrow, every twitch of a lip. Trying to fill up my "dad gas tank" now because it's a long way to the next filling station.

I would encourage you this morning to spend time with those you love. Tell them you love them. Don't be afraid to give a friend a hug or a kiss on the cheek. You will never regret it. Saying goodbye should never be about regrets. Saying goodbye should be all about love.

Never wait to tell someone you love them.


"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." - Romans 8:24-30

Saturday, June 21, 2014


[This is part two of a multi-part story about my dad and the battle he is undergoing - against Alzheimer's and against pneumonia. It is also a story of how God provides for us in our time of need in oh, SO many ways. I dedicate these blogs to both my mom and my dad . . . and to my amazing sister. And also to anyone out there who has lost, or is loosing, a loved one]

"3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” - John 13:3-7

The morning after our long drive through the darkness to Battle Creek, we loaded my mom and my brother into the car and headed for the hospital.  We weren't sure what we would see when we entered my dad's room but we were prepared for anything . . . or so we thought.

As the door opened, and the light from the hallway streamed into the dimly lit room, there was my dad, lying on his back, asleep. This man only slightly resembled the dad I had seen just a few months earlier when we visited in March. He hadn't eaten for several days, was MAJORLY congested with pneumonia and had all kinds of tubes running in different directions.

After taking in all that was now my dad my eyes turned toward a woman I had never seen before, my sister Mary. Oh, I had seen my sister before, I had just never seen her in "nurse mode." She was amazing. Holding my dad's hand, rubbing his head and arms, talking with the doctor and nurses, suggesting medical things I'd never heard of and then having the doctors agree with her. My sister is an incredible servant!

Do you know someone like that? A servant without doubt? They're the ones who do not ask, they simply do. It's like they can read minds. If someone is sick they are the ones that show up at the door step with a casserole.

In the case of my dad, my sister is probably extra attentive. They have a special relationship. This is a very hard time for all of us but especially for my sister. Yet she keeps right on serving. Amazing.

When Jesus washed Peter's feet he told him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” I am beginning . . . to understand.

My sister has had very little sleep these past days. WAY less than the human body requires. But she is sacrificing herself for someone else. Does that sound familiar? Jesus did the very same thing only on a larger scale. But Jesus, AND my sister, are examples of what it means to be a servant.

Before I close I would like to leave you with two Bible verses. They speak to how God views servanthood and how the last will later be first.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” - Mark 10:45

“Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but the interests of others as well” - Philippians 1:4

Is there someone in your life who needs a servant to show up in their lives? Have you ever said to yourself, "Somebody ought to do something to help that person." My friends, that "someone" . . . is us.It is time for us to get serving.

Friday, June 20, 2014


[The following is a multi-part story about my dad and the battle he is undergoing - against Alzheimer's and against pneumonia. It is also a story of how God provides for us in our time of need in oh, SO many ways. I dedicate these blogs to both my mom and my dad . . . and to my amazing sister. And also to anyone out there who has lost, or is loosing, a loved one]

There is a special strength that adrenaline brings. Or maybe it's love that drives us to do things we otherwise would never be able to do? Either way, things we never think we could do can sometimes occur when people we love are involved . . or in danger. And I don't think this was adrenaline.

It was right around lunchtime when I got the phone call from my sister in Michigan. Our 87-year-old dad was in the hospital with pneumonia. He wasn't responding to any of the treatments they had tried and she thought it might be a good time to make the trip.

That news ate at me for the rest of the afternoon. I began to pray as I worked, not really focusing on my job as I should but focusing on my dad and my mom and my sister who was with them. I asked my praying friends at work to please pray for my mom and dad and began sending text messages to many other prayer warriors. I went home that day anticipating to make the 6-hour trip to Michigan the following day. That plan didn't last long.

My wife was making steak on the grill that night. It was good but I didn't eat much. Then my wife asked me, "Do you want to go tonight?" I wasn't really sure. I dislike driving at night and usually try to avoid it whenever possible. That's the way I was leaning . . . until I got a text from my brother.

"I'm in Chicago."

That changed everything. My whole family was going to be there . . . except for me.

"Let's go," I told my wife and we spent the next half hour packing for a who-knows-how-long trip and making arrangements for someone to watch our diabetic cat. We were about to leave for a six-hour trip at 8:45 at night. Right around the time I usually go to bed.

"We'll see how far we get," I thought. Five and a half hours later we arrived in Battle Creek. I never dozed off. Not once. I can't drive home from work some days without my head bobbin'!

God is a great sustainer and a great provider. He enables us in many ways we can't even think of. There are somethings we do that simply could not be done without God's help. I believe He helped me and my wife get to Michigan. He is helping my sister as she coordinates the treatment and comfort of our dad. How did God know that at this point in my dad's life He would need an full-time nurse? So He provided one in my sister. And a very good one at that!

Has God ever shown you His strength? Or has He shown you His presence by allowing someone in your life to do something "beyond normal"? I have heard stories of soldiers carrying other wounded comrades to safety despite themselves having been shot and mortally wounded. Where does that inner strength come from but above.

There will be some that claim earthly super-human strength is induced by hormones or other artificial means. I don't know about that. But I DO know about the God I believe in. He can get us through just about anything if it in His will to do so. I thank Him for His provision and for getting me and my wife safely to Michigan . . . at 3:15AM.

God's giving me the ability to stay awake was one thing. Wait until you hear about how He is working in my sister! Next time.

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. " - Isaiah 40:29

Monday, June 16, 2014


Yesterday was Father's Day here in the U.S. of A. It is a day on which we traditionally celebrate fathers and the important role they play in the lives of our families. But these days good and faithful fathers seem harder and harder to find. Why is that? I have my theories on that topic but today I would like to discuss some of the characteristics that exemplify Godly fathers by way of a few examples.

Example #1 - The Loving Father and Husband. When I think of god-honoring fathers my friend Ron is the first man I think of. I first got to know Ron through a mutual acquaintance - his son Andrew. Since that time we have become good friends, often sharing a bowl of chips and salsa at the local Mexican restaurant as we talked about our families and our God. One sure measure of any man is to examine his fruit . . . his kids. Each one of Ron and Chris's kids, right down the line, is a wonderful example of what Godly, fatherly leadership can bring into a child's life. Both Ron and his wife Chris did an excellent job of raising their kids in a world that tries to hold our kids captive. I can almost hear Ron saying, "Are you sure you're talking about MY kids?" I would smile and say, "Yes, my friend, I am."

Example #2 - The Sacrificial Dad. When I was a kid I looked forward to the time my dad got home from work. Unless, of course, I had been bad . . . which was more often than it should have been. But on the days I was good I couldn't wait for my dad to get home because then we could play catch in the front yard. My dad would get up early and go to work, put in a long day at the office and then fight the rush hour traffic to get home. Probably the first thing he wanted to do after changing out of his suit was to crash on the couch. But I would plead with him to play catch. My dad always sacrificed his own desires in favor of others.

Example #3 - The Faithful Son. Unless my math is wrong, every father is a son. There are good sons and bad ones, prodigal sons and devoted ones. This last story is about my brother-in-law Curt. Curt spent the past week with my wife and me. His mother was failing in her health and he had traveled from Michigan to be with her. He prayer over her and spoke words of truth to both of his parents. He has been praying for them for years and this past week he prayed with them as they surrendered their lives to Christ. Now THAT is a devoted son.

We fathers all have strong and weak points in our character. We might be doing really good in one area while failing massively in another. But the really good dads, at least in this man's opinion, are the ones who have all of the characteristics I have just mentioned PLUS another vital one - Devoted Follower of Jesus.

One of my favorite stories from the Bible is that of the Prodigal Son . . . probably because it fits my prodigal life so perfectly. I'd like for you to read a portion of it here and take note of what the father did for his son who had disappointed him greatly. May we have compassion for one another like the prodigal son's father had for him. And may we who are fathers follow his example.

"17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate." - Luke 15:17-24

What Fathers Do - The Skit Guys

Saturday, June 14, 2014


 I have noticed something in my church. I have seen it in other churches too so it's not just us. I wouldn't necessarily call it a movement but it could be labeled as a "trend" and not hear many objections.

There are people in the church who seem to just appear out of nowhere. They come early and stay late and they rarely like to be seen. They like to hide in the background where they think no one will notice. Well, I noticed and I'm going to blow the whistle right now!!

Does your church have a kitchen? Ours does. That's where these people like to hang out. They think they cannot be seen but their laughter gives them away. They're not fooling me! Not for a minute!

I think they have always been in our churches. And I believe them to be immortal because it seems like they never die. They just keep changing their shape and their names. I'm talking about the ladies that exist in every church. Humbly serving the Lord in everything they do. True servants of God.

It's not just ladies either. I have seen men performing similar tasks. Mowing lawns, fixing leaky toilets or changing the oil in the church van. These people are the most high God.

So, why do they do it? They seldom complain. And it's not like anyone asks them to. They just materialized out of thin air and begin to work. So why? On their days off they are there. Even on their vacations! But why?

The answer is The Holy Spirit. When we come believers God's Holy spirit enters us and we become . . .  servants. WILLING servants. And guess what. It's addictive! Serving others is the fuel they use to demonstrate their love for God. But it's not like they HAVE to. They just do! And the flame of their faith burns brightly.

Do you remember those old steam-powered locomotives back in the wild west? Their fuel was coal or wood. The flames the fuel created boiled water which produced the steam. If the engine wanted to go faster, MORE FUEL!!!

Our faith is like that. Sometimes we can burn white hot for Jesus. Sometimes the flames die down and our faith engine looses speed. It can even grind to a halt if not tended well.

So how do we keep our faith burning brightly for Jesus? How do we stayed fired up? Here is a short list of ways I have found that can get us running at full steam ahead in no time. Do these things often and your faith, and the light within you, will burn brightly. Just like the ladies in the kitchen.

  1. Worship - Nothing gets Christians jacked up like a powerful worship service. Singing songs to our King, praying as a community of believers, spending time with one another, learning about the great I Am is SO important.
  2. Pray - Spend time in prayer. Daily. Never let a day go by without praying to Jesus. Pray continuously throughout the day, before meals, or whenever the situation warrants. That's how we communicate with Jeshuwah.
  3. Fellowship - Spend time with other believers. BEYOND church. This is not simply time spent after a Sunday service talking about the football game. It's spending time talking about God! It's a Bible study or a small group where we can gather together and share with each other, grow closer to one another, and keep each other accountable.
  4. Serve - There are those ladies again! Serving others is a great way to serve God and to feel closer to others through the love we show. Sometimes people need a little Jesus in their lives. What an honor it would be if you brought Him into their lives.
 Jesus tell us in the Book of Revelation that if we are lukewarm He will spit us out of His mouth. I think that means He wants us to burn hot in our love for Him. My brothers and sisters . . . there is only one thing we can do . . .


"35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;" - Luke 1:35

"8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” - Acts 1:8-11

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I was talking with a young friend of mine a few weeks ago about some of the decisions we humans make. How sometimes we can think we're making the right decision but then afterwards . . . well, they sometimes turn out to be mistakes.

For example, my young friend has some tattoos. She has one on her right arm and one on her left arm. As she was showing me the one her right arm she said, "I don't really like this one. If I could I'd get rid of it but, oh well."

Isn't that the way life goes sometimes? We make decisions and then regret them later. Have you ever made a decision like that? One you wished you could change? I know I have.

It's always good to have a clear mind when making important decisions. It's never a good idea to make life-changing decisions while we are mentally out of sorts. Yet, it seems as if that's exactly when we choose to make some of the biggest decisions of our lives. We end up with "tattoos" on our lives that we don't really want.

Our problem is that when we are in those moments we tend to be focused on one of two things - ourselves or what someone else thinks about . . . ourselves.

The cost of decisions begins to increase wit age, especially through the teenage years as more and more "options" become available. So how can we avoid those high-cost mistakes, those tattoos that will stay with us for the rest of our lives?

The first thing I would do is start living a lifestyle that doesn't feature any of the tough decisions. What do I mean? I don't allow myself to get into situations where I would make dumb decisions. For example, "Would you like a beer?" is always answered with "No, thanks." Why? Because, although drinking A beer might be alright. Drinking LOTS of beers leads to bad decisions. I'm just not going to go down that road. It leads to "waking up with tattoos." Know what I mean?

I don't smoke, I don't drink. I don't have sex outside of marriage. I don't steal. I don't lie. I don't even watch television because all those things lead to "tattoos" I would rather not have.

I have found that life gets a whole lot less complicated when I give all of my decisions to Jesus. If I run everything past Him and His Holy Spirit, I have found that life gets a whole lot simpler. Oh, I still have scars. I have been wounded emotionally and physically. But I don't have any tattoos.

The great thing about a life in Christ is that, even if we wake up in the morning and find ourselves with a new tattoo or two (that sounded weird) is that . . . now listen to this because it's important . . .unlike my young friends tattoo that she no longer wanted, Jesus can remove all of our unwanted tattoos from life. He can make them all fade away? Why? Why would He do that?  Because He loves us and He has the power to "make all things new."

"5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” - Revelation 21:5

Do you have any unwanted tattoos? Let Jesus remove them today. He can make you brand new.

The following is a song, written from the perspective of a father, to his daughter . . . who became a tattoo in his life when the mother chose to abort her. Jesus can remove the pain from such tattoos but you have to want that. You have to trust Him. Please, do so today.

Lucy - Skillet

Monday, June 9, 2014


There is a constant, steady pulling that we humans experience, day in and day out. It is a force as steady as gravity. It is also just as unnoticeable. It is something that is not readily visible to the untrained eye yet it is all around us. No, I am not writing about The Force or The Matrix. Those concepts are fictitious. My topic for today, although similar, is all too real. I am writing about something the Bible refers to as "The World."

We are told in God's Word that we are to be IN the world but not OF the world. What exactly does that mean? What is "the world" anyway?

Well, the concept of "The World" in scripture comes from the Greek word cosmos. Sound familiar? It should. Cosmos is a word we use today to describe the universe. But back in Jesus' day cosmos described the inhabited earth and the people who lived on it. Our present-day definition is typical of how we humans tend to see our importance, bigger than we really are.

To help us understand this concept let's listen to what our Lord has to say. In this example Jesus is talking to his disciples.

"19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." - John 15:19

So if we are "of the world" worldly people will think we are normal. That makes sense. And if we are "not of the world" people will hate us and think that we don't belong. I have found that to be true.

In this next example Jesus is praying to God. He is seeking God's protection for the disciples.

"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." - John 17:14-16

If we are disciples of Christ would He not also pray for us? Would He not seek to protect US from the evil one? I think He would. That's why he warned us several times here not to become part of the world!

It is so easy to find ourselves pulled, pushed, nudged, diverted and cajoled in it's direction, just like gravity. We are made to think that joining in on all the "fun" is expected of us. It is easy to feel that way because the world is all around us, waiting for us. Waiting to devour us.

So how can we keep ourselves from falling prey to the evil one (who controls this world)? By feeding ourselves with the Word of God. That is our weapon. Pray to our Lord's continued protection, that we might not fall prey to the schemes of the devil. And gather together. You have heard of the phrase "there is safety in numbers?" There is truth in those words. We must help one another and keep each other accountable. Being saved is one thing, but being safe is another.

Cling tightly to Jesus. Hold fast to His teachings. Place your faith and trust in the One who died for your sins so that you might appear righteous in God's eyes. We who believe are NOT a part of this world.

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

Saturday, June 7, 2014


We are all faced with choices as we travel through a typical day. We can choose to hit the snooze button on our alarm clocks for example. Like me, we can choose to hit it repeatedly and with a great sense of purpose and meaning when we choose to sleep in despite our alarm clock's insistence to the contrary.

We can choose what type of coffee we drink - regular or decaf. We can choose our breakfast cereal, we can choose how we butter our toast and how long we brush our teeth. Life is full of choices both big and small.

The smaller choices seldom come with any great consequences - toilet paper . . . over or under, paper or plastic, do we want fries with that. But some decisions have eternal consequences.

Recently, two friends of mine "came out of the closet" and announced that they were gay. They made a choice. However their recent choice comes with heavier consequences because they decided to choose a path contrary to the will of God. Choices of that nature never end well.

I have friends who have chosen a life filled with drugs. I have friends who have been addicted to alcohol. I have friends who have chosen to have sex outside of marriage and who have committed adultery. These are all examples of people who decided to choose one thing over another but, according to what I read in the Bible, they have chosen to sin against a Holy God.

Let''s get something straight before we go any farther. We ALL sin. "There is none righteous, not one." But there is a difference between sinning, feeling guilty about it and sinning without guilt. The word is repentance. The act of repenting of our sins is part of what I am calling "The Great Equation." Sin + Repentance = Forgiveness. Without repentance there can be no forgiveness.

Here is a hard word to swallow from God. You will probably not hear it being read in many Sunday schools these days. But perhaps we should be reading it to our children because it seems that many are not getting the whole picture as we "train them in the way they should go." Most people in the world today do not have a healthy fear of God. That's a problem.

"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 10:26-30

Basically, if we choose to lead a life filled with unrepentant sin, we are going to hell. As much as we'd like to believe the contrary, that is God's Word and truth! But still, though we can read His Word, though we can know His truth, we choose not to believe it saying, "I can't believe a loving God could condemn someone to death over simply loving another person." The only conclusion one can draw from a comment like that is that the truth of God is not in them, for if it were, they would desire to follow it.

Where does sin come from anyway? Contrary to what some people will tell you, we are not "born that way." Although we are born with a sinful nature, we CHOOSE our sins. We CHOOSE our addictions. Why? Because we are more into pleasing ourselves than into pleasing God.

For example, when I see a woman wearing a low-cut shirt, I have a choice to make. I could stare longingly at "God's beautiful creation" or I could turn my head away because I know that to do otherwise would lead to sin, and to death.

I have a friend who works in prison ministry. There are a great many criminals who come to a saving faith in Christ while they are in jail. Why? Because they have finally come to the conclusion that there must be something better than the life they chose. When we finally come to the end of our "selves" . . . that is where we find Jesus. And, just like the thief who hung next to Jesus on the cross, as long as we repent of our sins, Jesus is faithful to deliver us into His kingdom.

So do we condemn all these "evil sinners?" No. Not unless we want to condemn ourselves along with them. But we ARE compelled to pray for them. It's like doing nothing for someone who has been bitten by a poisonous snake. Though we have access to serum that can cure them through a simple 9-1-1 phone call, if we willingly choose to do nothing it is tantamount to murder.

My heart is heavy because of the recent choices my friends have made. It is like they have chosen to die. But their choices remind me of my OWN sin and how I need to repent and seek God's forgiveness, daily.

I am convinced that if we DON'T pray for ALL who sin, including ourselves, it is we who are guilty of perhaps a GREATER sin - willfully watching someone die. It is our own selfish nature that convicts everyone of us. We have become idols in our own lives. It is time for us to choose. We must chose, today, whom we will serve.

"14 Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” - Joshua 24:14-15

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


We humans like to do things our own way. Remember that old commercial from Burger King? "Have it YOUR WAY." Yeah. That's us. We like things done OUR WAY. It our way or the highway baby!

For example, in the industry I work in, construction, we like to design and build nice looking buildings. We build them "our way" and then we like to stand back and admire our accomplishments afterwards - confirming our skills as architects and contractors. There are entire magazines devoted to nicely designed buildings (Architectural Digest to name one). We are so proud of what we do. (Insert story about the Tower of Babel here).

Similarly, there are award shows on television. They basically do the same thing we do. They design and build TV shows and then the networks like to tell us how good they are by awarding themselves with Emmy's - confirming what they thought all along. They thought themselves worthy of praise. Nice.

Remember Muhammad Ali? His most famous tag line was "I Am The Greatest." And he let everyone know it. But should we be boastful? Should we be proud of ourselves?

There are actually some GOOD award ceremonies though. CNN's Heroes Awards (See video below) awards people who are making a difference in the world. We also have the National Honor Society to reward smart kids who do well in school. But all these are just other ways for us to reward our own achievements. Is that what we should be about as Christians?

There is nothing wrong with being proud of someone else's achievements. Some people struggle through an addiction or a divorce or some sin that holds them captive. To see them emerge on the other side of things, alive, can be a source of pride in our lives. That's a good kind of pride I guess. Proud of someone else. Being proud of ourselves is never a good thing. Still, all that being said, I still think we are missing the point.

"16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures." - James 1:16-18

I wonder what the world would be like if we took the time we spend honoring ourselves and spent it honoring God. What is we awarded makers of movies who brought the most honor to God. What if the buildings we build honored God. Would those buildings be large and grandiose or should they be simple and humble with the majority of the project budget going to help the widow and the orphan.

School boards, for the most part, do not allow students to thank God in their valedictorian speeches. But what if we denied "the world" and honored God anyway. What if we spent our time honoring those who have sacrificed all for God and country. What if we quit thinking about ourselves and focused on what is REALLY important - God . . . and others . . . but mostly . . . God.

"12 But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.

13 But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, 16 so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence. 17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends." - 2 Corinthians 12-18

Watch this video. These men, Superbowl champions, praise God rather than themselves.

Superbowl Players Honor God

Monday, June 2, 2014


When we find ourselves in stressful situations or in the middle of life changing events, we can often learn things about our inner self . . . that is, if we take the time to look. This week I learned something about myself and about my relationship with God. Let's just say it's been "eye opening."

A few weeks ago I noticed some bright flashes of light in my left eye whenever I would blink or move my eye around. Weird. Then a few days later I noticed some red, swirling lines when I closed my eye. More weirdness.

Well, my mind tends to wander around on it's own. Perhaps that's why I like to write. Thoughts and ideas just feed off one another and the next thing I know I am thinking something totally wacko. In the situation of my eye sight I just noticed the flashes and the lines in my eye. Then I began wondering what was causing it. Somewhere along the line I began seeing these "floaters" in my eyes and my imagination start creating all kinds of possibilities.

My mother had eye problems, my grandmother did too. Perhaps it was my turn. I started imagining all the possible scenarios. How would I get to work if I was blind? How could I even DO my work? I couldn't! I was doomed to sit at home, blind, trying to remember what people's faces looked like.

How did I wind up there? My mind just wandered all over the place. But then I stopped to think. How would it be if I really WAS blind? What would I do? Am I prepared for that? Am I prepared for the unexpected in my life?


We are never properly prepared for most of the situations we encounter in life. Otherwise they wouldn't BE "situations." But think about it. What would happen if you suddenly became blind for example? How would that affect your life? How would you pick out which clothes to wear in the morning? Your socks? Your shoes? Could any one earn a living doing anything who can't see what they are doing? How could one read The Bible? What would the point of "watching" television be? How could we do the things we do now without our sight?

Well, if that happened to me (which I have already thought long and hard about) there are some thing I could do. I could get a voice-recognition app on my phone. Voice-to-text would be needed. "Call Bev." or "Text Gayle." Same with the computer. Not sure how I'd operate the mouse though.

And how would I recognize people? By voice I guess. Would someone allow me to be so intimate with them that I could touch their face and feel what it "looks like"? Hmm.

As I thought about these things I began to appreciate what it must be like to be blind. Not to be able to see a sunset or the faces a baby makes. It would suck! But guess what. I would survive. My wife would help me pick out my clothes. She could turn the computer on and get things ready for "Blind Bob. "I could listen to God's Word. In all honesty, would I truly be lacking any of the things I truly needed?

I would still have my wife. I would still have my family. I would still have my friends. And, most importantly, I would still have Jesus. What else do I need?

Our eye sight is truly a wonderful gift from God. But like so many of the gifts we have received from Him already, we often take them for granted. Our health, our talents, so many different ways of "looking" at things.

If we would take the time to see things through God's eyes, if you will, what a wonderfully peaceful and compassionate place we would be living in!

There is one more thing I would like you to consider before I close. Read this passage from the Book of John and meditate on what Jesus says in verse three.

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." - John 9:1-3

Are we spiritually blind? Are we going though life expecting things to lay out wonderfully for each of us? That's not going to be the case. If we would look at this life as if we were blind, as if we only had the essentials given to us from above, how would we live our lives? Would we actually live so that "the works of God might be displayed" in us? Think about that this week. And may God give you new sight in seeing the world in which we live.