Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Today is another milestone for me and my wife. (I had to make sure I spelled that correctly - MILEstone, not MILLstone). We've officially been married for 37 years. You'd think I would have remembered something like that. Nope.

Well, I actually DID remember our anniversary. We plan to go out to dinner tonight at our favorite "anniversary restaurant." We planned that weeks in advance. But you'd think I would have remembered to get my wife an anniversary card. Nope.

After my morning shower I got dressed and came out into the kitchen. There, on the counter, was card addressed to "Bob." Me. An anniversary card from my wife. And there I stood with nothing to give in return. That bothered me. Maybe you heard the little voices that were yelling insults at me in my head. They seemed loud enough to me.

"Don't you LOVE your wife? Why didn't you get her a card? She LOVES cards! Couldn't you have spent five minutes out of your "busy" day to get your wife a card?!?"

Alright, already!

I wrote my wife a nice note and left it on the counter. Maybe that would appease her until dinner, but it didn't appease me. A stupid little card! Why didn't I remember that? Old age? Forgetfulness? Or was I simply too busy with other things and my anniversary got pushed into the back of my brain somewhere. Lost.

How like me.

I look at my relationship with Jesus and I shake my head at how inattentive I can be. Some days I can be very devoted but other days I seem to be all over the place. Any place but where I should be. I'm like the Jews in the desert, wandering and wandering. I hope it doesn't take me another 40 years to get where I want to be - the promised land.

While I was praying with my friend this morning I came to realize that we humans are ALL pretty much the same. We spend so much of our time focused on ourselves it's ridiculous. We could all stand to have a little more God in our lives and whole lot less of us.

As we begin this new day, may there be less of us in it. May our day be focused on God and on others. If I may be so bold as to temporarily re-write scripture, may we be devoted to God, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And may we be devoted to others INSTEAD of being devoted to ourselves.

There is a saying amongst us Christians that says we must "die to self."

May I be guilty of murder today.

"20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." - Ephesians 4:20-24

I Can Only Imagine - Mercy Me

Monday, July 28, 2014


No matter which side of the political aisle you find yourself sitting on, it's hard to deny that there is biased media reporting in this country, or around the world for that matter. As an example, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal tend to favor conservatives while other media outlets like NBC and The New York Times tend to favor liberal viewpoints. Why is that? Shouldn't the truth be the truth?

Well, the problem of course is "us humans." The reporters and the editors of the news are human beings and, as a result, they all have their own opinions of what is right and what is wrong, what is fact and what is fiction. They report things through their own eyes.

This past weekend my wife was watching NBC's Today Show. She always watches The Today Show on Saturday and Sunday because she loves to watch Lester Holt. It's kind of cute really. It seems as if her and Lester are old friends the way she talks about him. ANYWAY . . .

NBC is a liberal-slanting media group. They tend to favor liberal issues amidst their reporting. They tend to favor the democratic side of things - President Obama, gay rights, pro-abortion, social justice issues, global warming, things like that. They also tend to report very little about Christianity, unless The Pope says something to support one of their issues.

This is all background for the story I am about to tell you regarding a news report on NBC's Today Show this week about the downed passenger plane, Flight M17. Lestor Holt cut to a story by one of NBC's reporters - LIVE . . . ON THE SCENE.

The reporter told a story focused on a husband and wife who had just arrived at the crash site from the United States. Maybe you saw it. Their daughter had been on the plane that had crashed just a few days earlier. They laid flowers on a piece of the wreckage. They hugged all the workers at the crash site and thanked them for their all they had done. And then they prayed . . . the Lord's Prayer. And then they did something the reporter had a hard time understanding. The obviously Christian couple went over and hugged some of the Russian soldiers who were guarding the crash site. Russian soldiers who likely were part of the group responsible for shooting down the plane. That act affected the reporter rather dramatically.

He then reported back to Lester what he had just witnessed and questioned why our country had not made it to the crash site yet while this Christian couple from the United States had. Live, on the air, the reporter questioned both the democratic president and acknowledged that this Christian couple seemed to care more about the victims than our country did - even reaching out in love to those who had just killed their daughter. You should have seen the look on Lester's face as one of their own reported something contrary to the company line. It was priceless! Amazing is the power of God and the testimony of His children.

In regards to this story there are two questions that seem to jump out at me. The first question is "Where do we find truth these days. If news networks slant their coverage one way or the other, how do we know what is truth and what has been "spun"?

The second question is "Who is our media serving? Are they providing a service to us? Or is their reporting part of a larger agenda?

It is my opinion that the media these days tend to be either left-leaning or right-leaning. Actually, that's more of a fact. It is also my opinion that media, representing both sides of the political aisle,  is interested in reporting things in such as way as to favor their side of things. They tend not to report things that negatively impact their sides agenda.

That's what surprised me about this report I saw. The reporter went against the company's desires to ask some very real and hard-hitting questions. It kind of makes me wonder if he still has a job.

So where do we find truth these days if everyone's news stories are slanted this way or that? And just who should we be serving? Ourselves? Or the ones we were created to serve? Please, open up your Bibles with me and read these verses.

"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

And this . . .

16 My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood." - John 7:16-18

We, as followers of Jesus, are not to place our faith in men, but in God. We are to take everything that man says, whether we agree with it or not, and compare it to what God says before we can determine truth from a lie. It is not for us to decide what the truth is. That is God's job. Our job is to follow, to worship and to serve. And to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).

We are not to slant our words and opinions in favor of one political party or another. Instead we are to align ourselves with God's Word. In doing that, there CAN be no opinion in our statements. Only truth.

Voice of Truth - Casting Crowns

Saturday, July 26, 2014


A woman goes in for her annual mammogram. For her it's the same boring procedure she's always gone through. The same cold machine. Probably the same nurse too. The same radiologist has probably examined x-ray after x-ray after x-ray. The results are always the same. At least they were. Until she got a call saying they would like to re-take her x-ray . . . just to be sure. Gulp!

What must go through a woman's mind when she gets a call like that? Does she start thinking about her life and all of the people who really matter to her? Does she think about her children? Our mind can take us all kinds of places when we receive news of a life-changing nature.

The woman's mammogram had indeed revealed a tiny lump. Surgery was quickly scheduled. Time is important! The doctor removed the lump and it was examined. Benign! Whew!! Thank God!!! Then her life returns to normal. She goes on doing what she has always done. Except that NOW she keeps a more watchful eye on things, examining herself more frequently than she did before. And perhaps she appreciates life more now than she once did.


Examining ourselves is an important part of a Christian's life too but we don't seem to spend a lot of time doing that. We tend to just go on assuming things are okay, like a woman who never examines herself or gets a mammogram. We go to church and we believe there is a God, and we toss up a prayer once in a while when we need to. Otherwise we consider ourselves to be spiritually healthy. But are we?

God's word tells us that we are to examine ourselves.

"5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. 10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down." - 2 Corinthians 13:5-10

When Paul wrote that letter to the Corinthians he was writing to a people group who were still living their sinful lifestyle as if nothing was wrong.

"21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." -Romans 1: 21-25

Unfortunately, we humans do not come with warning devices that sound an alarm when we're about to do something stupid. We just go ahead and do them and the regret it later. Or worse, we just keep doing stupid things.

Before I became a believer I did stupid things. I can see that now. At the time I didn't think anything about the idolatry, the self-worship. But now, through the lens of God's Holy Spirit, my sinful nature seems rather obvious, looking back.

Reading God's Word, The Bible, is life changing for new believers and unbelievers alike. God uses His Word to convict us and we begin to examine ourselves, hopefully taking steps to correct the wrongs.

God's Word is the perfect mirror. Read it. Then take a look iat yourself. See anything that doesn't line up with scripture? Get rid of it. It's called repentance. We are told to "walk in the light as He is in the light" (1 John 1:7) How are we doing with that? Take a step back and examine yourself. I try to do that every day by reading His Word and comparing what I do in this world with what Jesus did. I will never match His standard, but I promise I will never give up trying to do so.

Consider Jesus' sacrifice on the cross . . . for you, then try to do otherwise.

I encourage you to watch this video. It's long but very convicting. Then examine yourself, as the Bible says, and take a step closer to leading a humble life, dedicated to Christ, not the example this world sets for us. We are called to be holy, set apart (1 Peter1:16). Make today be the first day YOU walk in the light. Come out of the darkness . . . and live.

Examine Yourselves by Paul Washer

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Most of the story ideas I get for this blog come from observing every day life. I like to see how God presents Himself in the world in which we live. In effect, He speaks to us in many different ways, if we'd only take the time to look or listen.

God usually speaks to us through His Word But He can also speak to us through the people we meet or through the songs we sing to Him. And sometimes, God can even speak to us through . . . tee-shirts.

I took the picture above of my friend Daniel and his buddy (wearing the red tee-shirt) at Lifest a few weeks ago. I wasn't really thinking about writing a story at the time. I was just taking a picture of a friend. But I did take the time , for some unknown reason, to take a picture of this guys tee-shirt as well. You see, I absolutely love M&M's. Especially peanut M&M's! The only trouble is, M&M's don't really like me.

You see, I am a Type II diabetic. My blood sugar level tends to be higher than most. We Type II diabetics control our blood sugar by watching what we eat and/or by taking medication. Type I diabetics are those who must use insulin to control their blood sugar. Sadly, I am nearing the Type I threshold myself and it won't be long before I need the insulin injections but until that time I am supposed to watch what I eat.

My wife keeps watch on my diet when I am home but while I am at work I am on my own. There have been times - quite a FEW times - when I have strayed off my low-sugar regimen and gone upstairs to visit my friend Sharon. Sharon's a nice lady. You'd never guess that she is an accessory to murder. Well, sort of.

This is a picture of Sharon's office and that's Sharon in the pink shirt. Besides all the paperwork on her desk, Sharon also possesses a small container of poison, at least for the diabetic. Let's take a closer look. Oooh! M&M's!! And peanut M&M's at that!!

The more M&M's I eat, the higher my blood sugar goes.  The higher my blood sugar goes, the greater my risk of blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, and nerve damage. Sweet! (bad word choice)

M&M's are bad for me. If I were to keep eating them they would lead to my premature death. I suppose I could just forget about the dangers, enjoy myself and just keep eating them, but that would not be good. Doing that would hasten my own death and be contrary to God's will.

M&M's are like sin. They actually are a sin, to me anyway - the sin of gluttony. Over-eating, just because I enjoy it. But they are also like sin in that they lead to death.

So, what am I to do? Well, I need to quit going up to Sharon's office, that's for sure! But more importantly, I need to quit sinning. M&M's are a temptation for me. They are sitting right there. Eat them!! It's just like the Tree of The Knowledge of Good & Evil in the garden of Eden. Off limits!! Yet that fruit looks SO good! And maybe some M&M's for desert!
Let's face it, we all have our "M&M's." The question is, what are we going to do about it. Through our faith in Christ we have power to overcome sin. We are told to examine ourselves in scripture. I have examined myself and have determined that M&M's are bad for me. As much as I like them, they no longer hold power over me and have no place in my life. We need to keep checking ourselves and keep weeding out the things that harm us and seek to control us. Often it is ourselves that is our own worst enemy. We must let go of our earthly desires and seek after God's.

"56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

Monday, July 21, 2014


Have you ever heard somebody say, "God will never give you more than you can handle?" That sounds nice. It's kind of reassuring in a way. Just knowing that we can handle whatever God throws our way should encourage us and make us feel better, right? However, there is one thing you should know about the statement that God will never give us anything we can't handle . . . it's a lie!!

Where did we come up with that saying? It sounds biblical enough and it sounds like something a wonderful, loving God would say. The only problem is, nowhere in the Bible does it say that. In fact, the Bible is filled with tons of examples of God giving people WAY more than they can handle! Scripture is overflowing with example after example of how God tested His children by heaping up calamity upon catastrophe upon tragedy on them. Why? To make a stiff-necked people see that they CAN'T handle things by themselves.

Take the example of Job. He was given more than most people could handle. Open up your Bible's and read the first chapter of Job. He possessed 11,000 animals and many servants. His sons and daughter held many feasts and celebrated often. He was the richest man in all the land. Then, the next day . . .

"13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” - Job 1:13-19

But wait, there's more . . .

"7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
- Job 2:7-9

To summarize and place in a modern context, how would you like it if one day you lost your job, your only means of making a living, and you came home and found your house had been trashed by a tornado. Someone had stolen everything you had and killed your entire family and then butchered your puppy just for fun. Your car also burned up, as if the tornado wasn't enough, all your money at the bank disappeared and then you developed sores from head to toe and you couldn't stand the itching they caused. Oh, and FINALLY, you were left with a nagging wife who thought you should simply curl up someplace and die. And then you were provided with a weapon to accomplish the feat (verse 8). Nice. Would something like that be more than most of us could handle? My guess is yes.

When things back in the day got to be more than the people could handle, what did they do? When they finally had no hope. When they were just about to give up on life itself, what did they do? What did Job do? Check this: Job worshiped God.

"20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong."
- Job 1:20-22

Will God give us more than we can handle? Absolutely! Why? So that we will turn from worshiping ourselves and turn to Him. He wants us to depend on Him. He wants us to worship Him in any and all circumstances. God allows us into these situations so that the only way we could possibly emerge on the other side of them is with God's help. Then it is HE who gets the glory, not us.

If God only gives us things we can handle, then WE would get the glory and credit for getting through them, not God.

A young friend of mind once texted me an acronym - F.R.O.G. That stands for Fully Rely On God. Good advice for those who are facing a trial in their lives. Don't try to "handle" things on your own. Give them to God in prayer and then fully rely on God's grace and His tender mercy. Do so, and in the end, just like Job, you will be blessed.

Perhaps you have heard the following song. It's a wonderful song about praising God even during our toughest trials. But perhaps you haven't heard the story behind the song and just what it means to praise Him in a storm. I encourage you to listen to the story behind the song and then the song itself. You will be blessed. May your storms be few and may you ALWAYS fully rely on God.

The Story Behind "Praise You In This Storm"

Praise You In This Storm - Casting Crowns

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Have you ever been some place and you have enjoyed it SO much that you never wanted to leave? Maybe you were on vacation. Some place really nice and peaceful. So amazing was that place that you forgot what day it was or even forgot what your “real” life was like back in the world. It was wonderful. It was amazingly unforgettable. But then, you had to come back home. You had to return to reality. And when you did, you had that incredible yearning to return. To go back to where you just came from. That’s where I'm at right now and that's what I’m writing about today.

I have been feeling that way for several days now, having recently returned from three days of worship and celebration of Jesus at Lifest. I am finding that the workplace is a rather dreary place to return to. It’s kind of like depression in many ways. I’m moping around, not as happy and bubbly as I usually am. I am missing being at a place with all of my brothers and sisters. I miss all the late night talks and seeing old friends who I haven’t seen in a while. I miss it. Greatly.

And it’s not just me. Several others I have talked to feel the same way. My friend here at work feels the same. We have been mentioning it in our prayers this week. My friend at the company down the street also feels this way. Here are her words:

“Let down is right. I always feel that way every year but especially this year. There at Lifest we get to witness a bit of heaven and then back to the secular world much like the disciples.”

The Disciple’s! How letdown they must have felt after Jesus had been crucified. I bet THEY had an INCREDIBLE letdown after walking with Jesus for three years. After being the very presence of God – fully man, fully God. How depressed they must have felt in the days after His death. Questioning everything, filled with doubt, wondering about the future. What a sad time for them. But guess what. Things got better. WAY better!

On the third day Jesus rose from the dead. Oh, how that changed things! The disciples transformed from a bunch of self-concerned, frightened little wimps during the crucifixion to a bunch of passionately devoted men willing to die for their King after Jesus rose from the dead. And they did! Their letdown lasted three days. But after Jesus returned to life the disciples never experienced a letdown again. And neither should we.

We should remember that. I should remember that. I should be living for Christ, not for my own fulfillment. I should be living in such a way that exemplifies  and focuses on Christ. I bet if I did, I'd never feel letdown again. Whenever we feel letdown by someone or something, we must remember Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. Our lives must BE Christ.

"Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again." - Philippians 1:18-26

Beautiful Letdown – Switchfoot

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Several years ago, one of the teens in our youth group pulled me aside, literally, and informed me that he was gay. "Okay . . ." was my reply.

"That's it?," he said. "I thought you would have been more upset than that."

"No, I'm not upset. You're a sinner and so am I. Anything else you want to tell me?"

"No, I guess not," my friend said, walking away, somewhat disappointed.

"Look, I still think homosexuality is a sin," I told him. "But your sin is just like MY sin. There's dozens of others sins in this world - stealing, adultery, lying, drunkenness, there's lots of them. The question is, what are we going to do about our sin?"

That brief conversation has probably happened thousands of times around the world. Maybe not that same way. Some reactions to such an announcement were probably worse than mine. Such disclosures can cause splits in families or estrangement. Division amongst friends and family members can occur. Even violence.

I have now had four teens deliver similar messages to me over the past few years. Apparently, this message is one that must be "delivered" compared to other sins. I have experienced such announcements delivered face to face and I have seen them delivered on Facebook. Either way, the outcome we show is always mixed. Some people encourage, some say nothing in response.

There is always some awkwardness associated with "coming out of the closet." Just like the friend in my first example. The person making the announcement isn't quite sure of the reaction he or she will get. There is some caution and perhaps a little fear. And it definitely takes some courage to make such an announcement because the announcer is not too sure just what they will encounter.

Recently though, I began looking at these announcements from a different point of view - that of the parents. Some parents might be proud of their child for making such a bold statement. Other parents might be embarrassed. "What will Aunt Edna think?"

But when we get right down to it, what should parents think? What should we do?

I recently talked to a mom who was going through one of these "announcements." As I listened to her I could sense many emotions coming from her words - frustration, disappointment, sadness. But the one emotion that I noticed most was love. Unconditional love.

That made me wonder about how God feels with all these announcements being made these days, about these new lifestyles that are being experimented with. I imagine he's feel the same way as most caring parents do. Disappointed and sad to be sure. But God still loves, unconditionally.

God's Word gives us a listing of characteristics that God does not like and those that He does. Homosexuality is one of the ones He doesn't like. But that doesn't seem to make a difference in the world we live in today. We are told we must me accepting and tolerant and loving. The Bible never tells us to be accepting or tolerant of sin but we ARE told to love.

Where does all this acceptance and tolerance talk come from? It comes from our society. It comes from us. But the main sources of this indoctrination is our public schools. God has been or is being removed from schools and the resulting influx of sin is filling the void.

The type of lives we are supposed to lead is clearly outlined in the Bible yet more and more we see these values falling by the wayside. Why? Because they are not being taught and that leaves our kids to be the ones to determine, on their own, what is right and what is wrong. That is a mistake.

We parents need to make a stand. A loving, God-honoring stand. We can no longer simply ship our kids off to schools thinking that they will be just fine. We need to invest in our kids and care about them enough to make sure they are not receiving the false teachings of the world.

When a child makes an announcement about a new lifestyle they are living in, it is already too late. We must take action BEFORE things get to that point. We must pray for our kids and their teachers, we must go to meetings and make an effort. These are our children!

For these teens and for their parents there is still hope. God desires that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Seek out the counsel of pastors and mentors who can build into your child's lives - someone to help keep them accountable in ALL things. And pray. Prayer is a mighty weapon. Place your faith and hope and trust in God. And give this all to Him. We as parents struggle to handle things like drug & alcohol use, sexual activity, and violence in our children's live. But God can handle it. He's been dealing with it for centuries!

"3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” - John 8:3-11

We need to come along side these kids who are making these lifestyle decisions. We need to do so in love. Yes, they may be sinning, but each of us sins every day as well and we need to remember that as we speak to others about THEIR transgressions. We need to love them where they're at and tell them about the love and saving grace of Jesus. If they would only come to know Him and place their trust in Him, and Him alone, most of these other issues will fade away. The key in all this is repentance and that comes through a relationship with Christ. He is the only one who saves. And He is the one who modeled for us the perfect lifestyle. It is HIS lifestyle we must emulate, not the one society offers.

Indoctrination Movie (partial)

Monday, July 14, 2014


Today I have an amazing story for you. The reason it is SO amazing is because only God could have written it. Only God could have reached down and touched the life of a young girl the way He did this past weekend at Lifest.

Lifest is a large Christian music festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I've written about it before. I have gone there every year for the past nine years with my best friend Gayle. Together, we minister to teens - asking them questions about their faith, providing tickets for them, counseling them as they tell us their stories of life. Deep, personal relationships are formed during this time. Relationships based in faith.

I don't remember the first time I met this soon to be 15-year old kid who is the subject of my blog this morning. It was definitely at church. That's a good place for relationships to begin - based in faith. I really never knew her until a recent series of events brought us together and now we are good friends and we both have proof in our lives about just how amazing God is. This is Maddy's story.

Each year I buy a bunch of tickets ahead of time I give them away to kids in our church's youth group or to other people I know. We get a bunch of camp sites together and we have a great time hanging out with each other and going to hear all the concerts.

This year I bought ten tickets and gave them all away. I ordered the campsites. We were all ready to go. Then, just one week before Lifest, God began His plan for building into Maddy's life through a series of incredible blessings. Join me in looking back on the past few days and see just how our amazing God works!

  1. I received an e-mail from a friend of mine named Cheri. She works down the street from the company I work at. I had met Cheri several years earlier at a previous Lifest. Hmm, maybe THAT was step number one in this whole series of events! Cheri also volunteers as a Compassion Advocate for Compassion International. Cheri had an extra ticket which she had purchased a year earlier, specifically to give away to someone else. She offered it to me so I could give it away to one of the kids I know. Yes, you're right. She IS awesome! :)
  2. I was about to offer the ticket on Facebook, randomly, to anyone who was willing to take it but before I did I just "happened" to glance at the chat window on the right side of the page and noticed Maddy's name. "She likes music," I thought. So I sent her a message and offered her the ticket.
  3. Maddy accepted the offer. Although she didn't really know me that well, she knew some of the other teens that were in our group. She always wanted to go, she later told me. She just never could afford it.
  4. The morning we left for Lifest I picked up Maddy and met her mom. That's when I learned that Maddy had never been to a concert event like this before. I also learned she had what she called "social anxiety" - feeling awkward in social situations and uncomfortable in large crowds. Camping with a bunch of people and attending concerts with thousands of people makes perfect sense right? Keep that in mind.
  5. The afternoon of our arriving, Maddy and one of our adult leaders went to hear one of the artists speak - John Cooper, the lead singer of Skillet. There, in front of hundreds of Skillet fans, Maddy stepped up to the microphone and asked Mr. Cooper a question. This is from one of Maddy's posts on Facebook:
(Photo by Maddy)
"After we got all settled down, Dave and I (Dave is a friend of Bob's and also a security guard) visited Skillet at the Heart of the Artist, ( Q&A ) I managed to get close enough to the stage (This is The Edge Stage) I got to ask the last question before they had to go, so I asked if they could play a song that Jonathan added to my playlist that he made for me, which was "Those Nights." John from Skillet (The lead singer) Said he could, then he asked for my name. I was so excited!"

Later that evening at the Skillet concert . . . more from Maddy. Remember her anxiety in social situations and large crowds when you read this.

"I finally realized that I had been at the wrong stage for where Skillet was playing, so I bolted out of there when War of Ages was over and by the grace of God, I got almost the front row of the GRAND stage. That thing has like thousands of people. THOUSANDS. And I managed to get up in the front. After a couple of songs John, the lead singer, started naming people he'd like to thank, and finally he said, "I'd like to make a shout out to Maddy. Where is she?" He was looking for ME. But some other Maddy must have thought he was talking about her because he was pointing in the wrong direction xD But I got his attention and he recognized me and pointed at ME. "This one's for Maddy and her boyfriend" He said. "I don't remember what it was for again...Some playlist or something, haha," He continued. I tried to get it on film but my camera was being stupid xC "Are you going to sing your heart out, Maddy?" He shouted. I was still messing with my camera so I was nervous and didn't hear. "Hey! I'm talking to you! Are you going to sing your heart out?!" Skip this, I'm done with this camera, I thought. "YEAHHHHHHHH" I shouted back at him. The music started and I sang along to it. It was amazing he played that for me and Jonathan. Truly amazing."

What an incredible example of how God places us in situations for our good and His glory. He took this teenage girl and placed her with a group of people where she could overcome some of her fears, where He knew she would feel safe. He got her a Lifest ticket, He even worked through the lead singer of Skillet to pour His love into this young girls life. What a blessing it was to watch this all unfold!

God works in each of our lives, often without our even knowing it. Sometimes we go through pain. Sometimes we experience great blessings. But no matter what, God has promised that He would always be with us, He would never leave us or forsake us. He can make "Those Nights" we share with our God SO memorable, so life changing, that we can all learn to lean on Him and trust Him, and remove all of our fears, whatever they may be.

"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." - Romans 8:28

Those Nights - Skillet

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I will pay for this later. Up early (6:00) on a Saturday morning. It's not THAT early I guess. But when you stay up until 3:00 the night before and until 2:00 last night, trust me. It's early.

Lifest 2014 has proven to be quite an amazing time. I will write more about it later when my mind is more awake than it is today and I hopefully will be able to string a few more words together without having to correct my spelling every other word!

If you sometimes doubt there is a God or wonder what heaven might be like, you should come camp with us sometime. It's amazing! Every time I come here I am witness to some of the most amazing things. We have the most amazing, Christ-centered discussions. Oh, and by the way, why do those usually happen at 2:00 in the morning? I mean, . . . really?

I am SO excited to write the stories from this years Lifest event. But right now the battery on my laptop is fading . . . and so am I.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I love all of you. But I am WAY overtired right now and in need of some serious re-chargng. So does my computer. I will write more later, I promise. :)

"18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:18-20

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


The tightrope walker has it. The ice fisherman in early winter has it. The soldier walking through a mine field has it as well. The Christian should exhibit it but often times we waiver when it come right down to "go time". What am I talking about? Think about it for a moment. What do the first three examples have in common and what do they exhibit when they do their thing?

As the tightrope walker picks up his balancing pole and ventures out onto a rope stretched high above the valley below, what characteristics does he or she exhibit when they take that first step?

  • Trust - That the rope is strong enough and that his abilities are good enough.
  • Faith - He exhibits faith in the rope manufacturer, the pole manufacturer and even his shoe manufacturer.
  • Hope - Hope that a sudden wind gust doesn't come up and blow him off the rope.
  • Courage - It takes someone very confident in their abilities to risk their life for no apparent reason.
All these things are kind of intertwined with each other. The tightrope walker, the ice fisherman walking on thin ice and the soldier walking through a mine field are are very similar.

They are similar in another way too. If the rope or the ice breaks, if the soldier makes on false step there is every possibility that they could die.

What of the Christian then? By definition the Christian has placed his faith and trust in Christ. He has hope for a future beyond this world. But do we have courage?

In God's Word, every time an angel appears, we are told to "fear not." Guess what? Every time an angel appears the people in the story are always afraid. That's just the way we are.

At this week's Bible study we were reading through the fourth chapter of Romans. At the end of the chapter we read this:

"13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification." - Romans 4:13-25

 We can have hope, we can say we trust in God, we can even have strength in whatever we believe in but I believe it is our faith in God that matters most. Abraham's faith gave him hope, his faith made it possible to trust God and it was Abraham's faith that made him a strong leader - the leader of nations.

Do you remember Peter when he saw Jesus walking across the water. Peter took a step of faith and actually walked on the water himself. But soon self-doubt and distractions weakened Peter's faith and he began to sink. That is what I think is wrong with many Christians today, including myself.

When I first came to believe there were many things I wanted to do for God. I thought about going to seminary to become a youth pastor. I thought about quitting my job so I could write a book. I thought about spending as much time as I could trying to reach people for Christ. Yet, when decision time came I began to sing like Peter, with the first crashing wave. Where was MY faith?

If I am worried what my wife will think, if I am worried where my next paycheck will come from, if I am worried about how I am going to make the house payment or pay the electric bill, where is my faith? It's nowhere, man. I have already fallen off the tightrope without even taking a step. What kind of Christian am I? Not a very good one I am afraid.

Our faith in Christ is so vital! We can't afford to second guess or doubt when He calls us. We must be like Samuel when we hear God speaking into our lives.

"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." - 1 Samuel 3:9

Let us be a people who are always ready to answer . . . and act. May our faith be as strong as Abraham's, never doubting, even though things seemed impossible. Our trust, our hope, our faith and our strength is in The Lord. Let us not be afraid to take that step of faith when we are called.

Nic Wallenda Praises Jesus as he walks across the Grand Canyon

Monday, July 7, 2014


[This post was inspired by a podcast about worship by Ravi Zacharias, an Indian-born, Christian Apologist. See link below]

This story might offend some people. That's alright. From what I see on TV and read here on the Internet, God's Word offends many. My opinion on why it offends is because it goes against what we ourselves have chosen to believe - whether right or wrong. Many are abandoning the One True God in favor of a "designer god" - someone we have created for ourselves.

The words I will be using here today are God's words and they are therefore true. All I am doing is writing them down and then asking a few questions . . . to make us think. This story has to do with The Pope and a single word from the Greek language - proskuneo.

The word "proskuneo" means "to kiss the hand, bow down before, show obedience, to worship." It is the word where the English language gets its word "prostrate" from.

I'd like you to take a look at my opening picture. You probably already saw it but please go back up and look at it again. I am sure that most people can recognize The Pope and former president George W. Bush, maybe even Condoleeza Rice. It's hard to tell who the woman is kissing the Pope's hand (it's Nancy Pelosi). She is proskeneo-ing the Pope. It doesn't really matter who it is that's kissing the Pope's hand. I am writing about the act, not the person. So let's start there, with the act and The BOOK of Acts, chapter 10. This is what God's Word says.

"25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stan
 up; I too am a man.” - Acts 10:25-26

The Greek word for "worshiped" used in this particular text is proskunesen (meaning "he worships him"). What do you suppose Peter's reaction is to being worshiped? He tells Cornelius to "Stand up," saying "I too am a man." In other words, don't worship me. I am just a man. Keep that thought in mind as we read this next passage from God's Word.

Let's fast forward to the book of Revelation where John is relating his vision to us about what he saw in heaven.

"9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” - Revelation 19:9-10

An angel of the Lord told John not to "Proskunesai" (to worship) him saying, "I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers. Worship God." And this is an angel of the Lord!

Well? You have just read two passages from God's Word. It's time for a little quiz.

Question #1 - Based on what you have just read, do you believe we are supposed to worship angels?

Question #2 - If we would have been alive in Jesus' day and we met one of the disciples, do you believe that we should have bowed down and worshiped him?

Question #3 -If you met the Pope, or any other influential leader, do you think we should bow down to them or kiss their ring?

The correct answer to all three of those questions should be no. We are to bow down to no one but Jesus Christ.

I know what you're saying. When am I ever going to meet one of the disciples, an angel or the pope? That may be true. But what other "gods" do we have in our world that we bow down to. Did you watch any part of the World Cup? Do you think this fan is worshiping God or man?

We must be mindful of the things we hold high. There is only one God and it is to Him alone that we bow. If any of us should ever met the Pope perhaps we should just shake his hand as a gesture of friendship but I personally never, ever would proskuneo to him or ANY other man.

In God's word we read. . .

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." - Philippians 2:1-11

Acts 10 Greek Text

Leadership Seminar Workshop (Part 3) -Ravi Zacharias

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Most of the things that happen in our lives do so with us right in the middle of them. It's like we are the star of our own movie sometimes . . . and it's all about us. Our family, our friends, all interacting in OUR own personal "videos." We are at the center, the focal point. We are the stars! In actuality though, things couldn't be further from the truth.

In the grand scheme of things, we are actually just bit players, "extras" if you will, in a full-length feature film about God. I was reminded of that this week at work in a VERY impactful way.

I work as an architectural draftsman at and A/E firm in The Fox Valley. I draw plans for some of the buildings you might see if you traveled to our portion of God's creation. My "office" is a 9'x10' cubicle in a honeycomb of other cubicles - all a part of the larger "hive".

Late Wednesday morning I was down in our print room picking up a set of drawings when Terri, a friend of mine, and a sister in the faith, called out to me.

"Hey, Bob. I think this is for you," she said, handing me an unopened envelope. This is how it was addressed:

McMahon Group
Attn: "Christian" Architect

On the way back to my cube I thought, "Well, I am not an architect. But I AM a Christian. I'll open it and if it's for someone else I'll just deliver it. I wasn't really expecting what I was about to get hit with. But that is often how God works in our lives - in unexpected ways.

There was a letter inside the envelope. This is what it said.

To Whom it may Concern,

This letter is written to the architect in a cubicle that has Jesus magnified throughout. The architect that collects cans.I briefly worked for your cleaning service at which time I had really been dealing with a lot and enduring some very difficult times. I am inspired by the spirit to write this letter to you to let you know that your empty cubicle was a source of light on some very dark days. It testified even in your absence. It was, for me, a reminder that I was straying and a source of strength and contemplation. I just figured that if I didn't write this letter you would never know that the stand you are taking for Jesus Christ has impacted me. As I entered your cubicle to dust and clean my conscience began to ring out and because of you I was faced with the truth when at the time in and on a path where the truth wasn't present. Again, stand strong in Jesus. Our stand affects others in ways unimaginable.

Your brother,
"in Christ"


. . . wow.

I looked around at the contents of my cube. There on the floor was the collection of cans the guy wrote about (Diet Pepsi). There was a wooden cross from my daughter, a stringer of "Jesus fish" from my best friend and on my 60th birthday, a picture of me and my youth leader buddies taken at a Power of One concert. There was a picture of Essie and me, my Native American friend from a mission trip, a picture of Tara, my friend working for God in Australia. There were notes about God from kids I had taken to Lifest, another Christian music event.

This guy Travis had definitely been in my cube.

The last thing my eyes settled on was a box, made for me by my best friend Gayle. It was made out of an old cardboard record cover. The words on the album jacket read "The Works of God."

I stared at those words for a moment - "The Works of God." And as I scanned my eyes around my cube again I began to realize I was not the star of this movie I was in. God's Holy Spirit was the main player in THIS one.

All of the faith-based items were given to me - by others and by God. I had just chosen to display them. Or was it God's Holy Spirit wanting me to display them, saving them for the day Travis walked into my cube?

I felt very humble at that moment, and honored, that God would choose my cube to witness to someone else about who He is. It had nothing to do with me, really. And that was the lesson I learned in this. It's all about God and HIS glory, not mine.

I was listening to a message that afternoon by Ravi Zacharias. He was speaking about worshiping God and the sermons our pastors give to us in church. Dr. Zacharias said this . . .

"Our sermons are first worship to God. If there is anything in them that is self-aggrandizing, it must be removed. It is not serving anyone but ourselves."

The same can be said for each of us and the lives we lead. We are told in scripture to examine ourselves daily to see whether or not we are walking in the faith. If there is anything that diverts our focus from God during our service to Him is should be removed. And if there is any thought that WE are impacting other people's lives through our sermons or our witnessing or our daily lives, we should remove those thoughts as well. I learned that this week. It's all God. It's all Jesus. And it is all His Holy Spirit. The Trinity gets all the credit, not us. We just get to witness it. And what an honor that is!!

"4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." - Titus 3:4-7

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


I must have looked like an absolute fool yesterday at work - some kind of non-caring, cold-hearted, lousy excuse for a human if there ever was one. The day after burying my dad I was back at work . . . smiling and telling people what a wonderful weekend it was. Why was I feeling do good?

There are may reasons for my joy just one day after burying my father in Michigan. Here's a short list:

Everyone had safe travels to and from the funeral, my father was no longer suffering due to his Alzheimer's or pneumonia, my mother's burden of caring for an Alzheimer's patient (a 24/7/365 job) had now been lifted, all immediate family members got to say good bye and tell my dad that we loved him, my dad is now in heaven with Jesus, and I have complete confidence that I will see my dad again. Other than the fact that we will miss him I really see no down-side. In fact, there were additional benefits I never even imagined.

My first day back at work, I felt a little like John the Baptist. The feeling was amazing! I have never felt like that before. I was actually feeling joy two days after my dad's funeral! And I was sharing it! I believe that the confidence and joy I was experiencing was a gift from God and as the opportunities came to witness to others I was able to recognize them . . . and didn't miss a one.

The people I work with are amazing. They are much like family in many ways. We care about each other. We pray for each other. We love each other. It was only natural that people would seek me out and ask me how I was doing. So I told them.

I told them that I was actually feeling great. I told them about the compassion and the mercy of God and how He had blessed us in the ways I mentioned above. And I said, "How merciful was God as He slowly, painlessly, took my dad to be with Him." Some might look at death as a VERY final thing. But the Christian does not. It is the beginning and God is so kind.

Have you ever heard the Seals & Crofts song "Wayland The Rabbit"? It is a song of mercy and God's compassion, even in death (There's a link at the bottom of this post). The song is a story about a father and son who happened upon a dead rabbit (Wayland), frozen in the snow. The son was sad but the father remarked how merciful God had been, much less than if the rabbit had been killed by a wolf or an owl.

Whenever I hear the word "witness" I think about my audio Bible version of The Book of John. In chapter one the narrator reads this verse and places an strong emphasis on the word "witness."

"6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness . . ." John 1:6-7

I witnessed to 18 people about the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ Tuesday! The final one as I was leaving the office. I can't help it. People ask me how I am doing and the first words that come out of my mouth are, "I'm going amazing! Other than the fact tat I will miss my dad greatly, there is no down-side to his death. His suffering is over, the burden on my mom and sister of caring for an Alzheimer's victim has ended, me dad's in heaven, I KNOW that I will see him again." PLUS, I get to tell others about Jesus!

There has never been nor will there ever be a more merciful, compassionate, caring, love God that my King! And as the song goes . . .

"And God is so kind."

Wayland The Rabbit - Seals & Crofts