Monday, September 29, 2014


There are many hardships we face in life. Some worse than others, Some of our "struggles" are not really struggles at all but rather, they are CALLED struggles when things don't go our way. For example, the remote control for our television is failing. The on/off button no longer works, probably due to over-use. Our "struggle" is that now, we actually have to get up and take three steps to activate our flat-screened, brain-drain machine. I know! How will we ever be able to survive, right?!? I think I will somehow manage to make it through but my wife is another story. Fortunately, God has granted me SOME wisdom so I won't be writing about my wife's love for the Hallmark Channel . . . at least not today. ;)

Instead I will be writing about a different kind of "remote" - our trip to a remote location in Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Big Bay Lighthouse.

I began typing this story from our room, which can be seen in the picture above. Our room is behind the two big windows you can see on the first floor. It was the room where the light keeper used to stay.

The light keeper had a lonely job. And talk about remote! The lighthouse we stayed at was built in 1898. And it is STILL pretty remote today.

The light keepers job was to keep the lighthouse light lit. He had his kids lug 75 pound cans of fuel up the hillside from a pier further down the coast and then up a hill to the lighthouse. Yikes! His entire job was to keep that lamp lit. Many lives depended on his doing that job.

Our job as Christians can be difficult too. Although we don't have to carry heavy fuel cans, we DO have a burdensome responsibility -  God with some equally life-saving tasks.

We are to Love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The light keeper loved his family and shouldered his responsibility well. So must we.

We are to love others and to sacrifice our own needs for the sake of others. The light keeper kept watch and always made sure he completed his tasks so that those out on the lake on a stormy night would not run aground and perish.

We have a responsibility to read and understand God's Word. Not simply to read it but to put it to good use, shining the light of Jesus for all to see. The light keeper always made sure there was plenty of fuel on hand so that the light he was watching never went out.

There are so many parallels to draw between light keepers and Christians. Let's just leave it at this. We ARE to shine our lights brightly into the darkness that surrounds us. We are to fuel that light with His Word and through prayer and worship. And we are so serve others sacrificially, with little regard to self.

We might feel all alone sometimes . . . remote. But we are never alone and who knows the lives we might touch through our testimony and through our sacrifice and love. Shine your light today!

"14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16

City On A Hill - Casting Crowns

Saturday, September 27, 2014


My wife and I are vacationing in Michigan's upper peninsula, along the Lake Superior shoreline. As a matter of fact we are SO near the shoreline, if we took a few steps outside our bedroom window we would literally be in the lake. You see, we are staying in . . . a lighthouse.

We are really enjoying ourselves. We both love lighthouses and enjoy learning about the lovely lives of the light keepers as they watched over "the light" in order to keep others safe.

There are many dangers up here, both now and in days gone by. My wife and I were walking along a trail yesterday that led to a waterfall. Along the pathway there was a sign that read "dangerous outlook." If only we had those signs in our lives, we would be SO much better off.

For example, don't eat those mushrooms you see along life's trail. They might look tempting but they are poisonous. Don't get too close to the edge of the cliff, it rained last night and the ground could give way. Or, don't walked out on those jagged rocks. You might twist your angle . . . which actually happened to my wife.

Life does not come with many warning signs. Sometimes our friends or family warn us about hanging out with certain people. We might have been warned my our mother's about the dangers of smoking or drinking. These warnings are for our own good, yet we often ignore them because WE want to be in control of our own lives. We really love to be in control.

I think that's why so many people are hesitant to follow Jesus - to fully commit their lives to Him - because it would mean relinquishing control. And so we ignore the danger signs. We think that WE will be the ones to survive because WE are the ones in control.

There are many warning signs in the Bible. I read about them every day. They are warnings from God. Why? Because He loves us and does not want us to perish. Yet we choose to ignore . . . we fall off the cliff.

Placing our faith in Jesus IS a big step. It involves repentance - a changing of our life's direction. It involves listening to God's warning signs. "Flee from sexual immorality." and "You shall have no other gods before me" become words to lives by.

As we go through life we must always be on the lookout for dangerous things. It is SO much easier to avoid them if we read the warning signs, if we stay away from the cliffs and the jagged rocks. The Bible is filled with loving encouragement from our Father in heaven. Why? Because we are His children. He loves us and wants us to be free from the burden of sin.

He HAS warned us. In 66 books he has spelled things out. Now it is our responsibility. It is our choice. We can either heed God's warning signs or ignore them and lead a life of obedience. It's our choice. Whom will we serve today? God or ourselves?

"Choose today whom you 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, September 24, 2014


It's been so long since I've been near you. Your once-familiar voice has faded from my mind . . . and my heart. It's sad but I don't really remember your voice anymore as much as I see little flashes of images - pictures created of who I remember you to be.

We used to spend so much time together. It's like our "who we were" has now faded into a "where did you go?" The deep conversations we once had are gone. All that remains are disappearing memories of what once was. Where did the "WE" go? The "US." What happened to that love we once shared? What happened . . . to you?

In reading those words, what pictures come into your mind? What scenarios from YOUR life do you see in them. As I wrote those words I was thinking of several people from my life. I was thinking about my best friend who has been on vacation. I was thinking about my father who died in June. I was thinking about a young lady named Kameron and a young man named Austin, all of whom have become memories in my mind and heart. Who do YOU think of? Who are YOU missing?

I think what the word "missing" means is that a part of US actually goes "missing" when someone we love is gone. It's like they take part of us with them somehow. It hurts us because our hearts have been wounded. Pierced. Torn.

I was reading the Book of Job this morning. Job had everything in the first chapter - wealth, family, possessions. But one day that was all stripped away and he was left with nothing. He was missing a lot of stuff! So what did Job do. He did a lot of whining and complaining to be sure. He was hurt. But despite his pain and suffering, Job did something that most of us wouldn't think to do in the midst of tragedy or pain or in the middle of missing someone. He worshiped.

"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

How is your relationship with Jesus these days? Do you miss HIM?

Please go back up to the top of this page and re-read those first two paragraphs. If you are feeling distant from God, perhaps you will find new meaning in the words if you read them from a different perspective. Read those first two paragraphs as if Jesus was talking right to you.

I miss Jesus. I long for His return. And if He doesn't return before I die then I will anxiously run into His arms when I do. Compared to what awaits me, this place has little to offer. That sounds harsh but we are called to love no one as much as we are to love God. His love is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29).

If each of us loves God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength we won't have to ever worry about missing anyone again. Loving God in such a way plus placing our faith and trust in Jesus for His forgiveness of our sins, ensures that we will be with Him forever.

There is comfort in that knowledge. I hope that my dad, Kameron and Austin took that step of faith. If they did there is little doubt we shall meet again. I wonder though. When we get to heaven, will we miss the people in our lives who didn't take that leap of faith? Unknown.

Jesus died for everyone's sins. All we have to do as sinners is repent and place our trust in Jesus. We must believe that His death on the cross was the atoning sacrifice God demanded as payment for letting us in.

Do you think Jesus misses us? We spend so much of our lives and our time ignoring Him. And do we talk to Him as much as we should? The more I read the Bible, the more I miss Jesus. I pray I would miss Him more and more, with each passing day until, at last, we meet face to face. On that day I will truly rejoice. And, according to what I read in His Word, He will rejoice as well.

I will close this post with two passages - one from the first book of the Bible, and one from the last. They are almost identical. They are both spoken by our God and our King.

"45 I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God." - Exodus 29:45-46

"3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God." - Revelation 21:3

Missing You - John Waite

Monday, September 22, 2014


Do you have one of those people in your life who just loves to talk? And I mean WAY too much? I do. Boy, that can be annoying! Especially when I want to get something done! At the worst possible moments his person just walks in and begins to talk, whether I want to or not. How do we politely get this person to stop talking and get back to what we're doing?

It's even annoying actually when this person who apparently needs to talk to survive, talks to someone else near me. Now, three people are being distracted instead of just two. Not only is the habitual talker keeping us from getting our stuff done but he/she is costing our company money by wasting everyone's time.

Boy, I tell you, the next time I have my performance review I'm going to tell my boss all about this guy . . . at least I was . . . until I read about Nehemiah this past week and discovered that I was the one in the wrong.

Taking care of our own responsibilities and not concerning ourselves with other people's character flaws is a lot like the Book of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem that I found myself reading this week. Each household was responsible for their own portion of the wall. They didn't concern themselves with their neighbor's portion of the construction, they just took care of their own business, then with a like mindedness and a commonality of purpose, all the temple walls got rebuilt.

When Nehemiah heard that the walls of Jerusalem were in need of repair he was greatly distressed. How could he himself repair them? The answer is, he couldn't. But with God's help, he encouraged others to rebuild a small portion of the wall, right in their own front yards.

"28 Above the Horse Gate the priests repaired, each one opposite his own house. 29 After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, repaired. 30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah repaired opposite his chamber. 31 After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster Gate, and to the upper chamber of the corner. 32 And between the upper chamber of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants repaired." - Nehemiah 3:28-32

The entirety of the third chapter of Nehemiah is a a listing of all those who helped rebuild the walls, accomplishing together what they could not do individually.

Then I thought about my talker friend at work. He comes in at 3:30 in the morning each day so he can get his work done. And he doesn't really spend ALL day talking. Should I really be feeling that this guy is wasting time when his projects usually get finished on time despite his talking? And isn't it the responsibility of those being talked to to politely say, "I can't really talk now. I have to get my work done."

Then another Bible story came to mind.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.” - Matthew 20:1-16

There is a lot to learn in this life. Many of life's answers can be found right in the Bible. A good way to re-build our spiritual walls is by taking care of our responsibilities as Christians - worship, prayer, spending time in His Word, and serving others. We must examine our own "walls" and repair the cracks and gaps we may find before the whole wall comes tumbling down.

The wall of our faith gets attacked every day. Satan looks or gaps or a breaches our spiritual wall without stopping. How can we prepare for such an attack? Read, serve, worship and pray . . . and place your faith in Jesus Christ . . . the repairer of walls, the master builder . . . our intercessor

Intercession - Eric Ludy

Saturday, September 20, 2014


If you have ever been to our house and happened to look out into the backyard, you have probably seen an old "birch bark" fiberglass canoe that's been sitting there for years. It's all of 40 years old and is scratched, cracked, bent, faded and it hasn't seen any white water in years. Kind of like me.

One could easily say, "Why don't you get rid of that old eye-sore? What good is it? It just sits there." One could easily say the same thing about me. Well, today I will let the world know why I don't simply put my old canoe in a dumpster. Hopefully, this story will provide encouragement to you, just like that old canoe does for me.

When I was in my early 20's me and my best friend Chris did a lot of canoeing. And I do mean A LOT of canoeing. Our summers were filled with trips "up north" to run as many whitewater rivers as we could. The nastier the river, the better.

One spring we decided to run the Namekogan, a tributary of the St. Croix River in Northwestern Wisconsin. One could tell that it was springtime because it was still cold and the river was rather swollen. High water levels can be both good and bad when canoeing a river. It's good in shallow parts of the river so the canoe doesn't scrape it's way along the gravely bottom.

[That's why I chose a fiberglass canoe over aluminum. There is nothing louder in the otherwise quiet wilderness than an aluminum canoe scraping across gravel or rocks.]

The bad part of running a river in springtime is that all that extra water from the melting snow makes the rapids more dangerous. I have seen aluminum canoes literally wrapped around rocks by the force of the current. Springtime canoeing can really be rather dangerous.

Chris and I were canoe camping that weekend, taking a two day trip to one of our favorite rivers. We were veteran canoeists but we were also young and over-confident - not a good combination as we approached our first major set of rapids.

We got out of the river upstream of the first big rapids we encountered and scouted which route to take through the rocks. We did that for half an hour. Then we emptied all of our camping supplies on shore "just in case" and ran the #3 rapid with relative ease. Rapids are rated 1 through 5 . . . 1 = easy, 5 = portage. We had just gone through a #3, which is actually more like a #4 in springtime with that extra water.

"Wow! That was easy!!" we said to ourselves. Over confidence, coupled with high water levels is a VERY dangerous thing. Our overconfidence, pride and youthful exuberance were about to do us in.

We loaded all of our supplies back in the canoe and headed down the swollen river to the next #3. This time we didn't even bother to scout it. We didn't bother to empty our canoe of the things we wanted to keep dry. We just went on ahead . . . through the 3-foot high standing waves in the middle of the channel. Our canoe immediately filled with water and swamped. Our supplies were floating down stream and so were we. A random kayaker, who just happened to be there, grabbed our tent and sleeping bags as we rode the rest of the rapids as swimmers.

As I tried to keep my head above water I also looked around for my canoe. Nowhere. Then suddenly, it shot out of the water like a breaching whale, landed upright in the water, and began floating away downstream. I swam to shore and began running through the woods after it.

I eventually caught up to the canoe and we started placing our supplies back in the boat, although everything was wet, and we continued on. What were we going to do that night? Sleep in wet sleeping bags in the 40-degree wilderness? Our only hope of surviving hypothermia was to paddle our butts off and try to get back to my truck, parked 24 miles downstream . . . and it was already late afternoon.

So we paddled . . . and we paddled. The sun set . . . and we paddled some more. Finally we saw the lights of the dam, where my truck was parked. Exhausted, frozen, and weary, the lights became our focus. If we could just make it to the lights.

Then through the mist that floated just above the river, we suddenly saw something approaching us. Something white, bobbing up and down. What was it!? It was coming right towards us. Well, it was a bald eagle, flying three feet above the water. It flew right past us, turning its head to look at us. That was a sign if we ever saw one! We had made it!

You have probably had events in your life that have made you grow, in one way or another. Sometimes that growth can be painful but that pain is usually accompanied by growth. Why do those events happen? Are they just random occurrences? Or does God put certain events into motion in order to grow or develop us in some way, for His ultimate use in the future? Interesting question.

My incident with the canoe taught me and my friend that we are NOT the most indestructible forces on the planet. That our lives are capable of taking turns for the worse at any moment. But it also taught me that life's challenges can be overcome through a reliance on things unseen, through the help of others and by meeting our challenges instead of succumbing to them.

God is an amazing teacher. He uses any method He wishes in his universal classroom. Sometimes we get wet in the process but we always reach our destination, praising His name. So why is that old battered canoe still in my back yard? It is a memorial . . . to a lesson learned and to a great God who saves.

Do you have things that you hold on to, mementos, that remind you of special moments where your life became forever change? God's chosen people did.

"Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. 2 At the end of three days the officers went through the camp 3 and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. 4 Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” 5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” 6 And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.

7 The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 8 And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” 9 And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” 10 And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. 12 Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. 13 And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”

14 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

4 When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests' feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” 4 Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. 5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever. - Joshua 3:1-17-4:1-7

The following in not a Christian song but it is a good song nonetheless, encouraging us to ALWAYS . . . remember.

Remember - Harry Nilsson

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I learned a couple of lessons this past weekend about how we tend to live life these days. About how what was once unacceptable has now become not only acceptable but common place. I was given some food for thought about our personal and our nation's work ethic. I learned ALL of this while standing in the back of a rented U-Haul truck!

My wife's parents have moved into an assisted living place near Milwaukee. She and her three sisters have been spending a lot of time cleaning their old house and getting it ready to sell. Along with the cleaning and emptying of the house there has also been a dispersing of various possessions. We were recipients of a chest freezer and a wardrobe (a tall piece of furniture). Our daughter and her husband got a nice dining room set and a dresser. The problem was, how do we gat all those items transported to their destinations, the closest being two hours away. Answer? Rent a U-Haul truck!!

As we were finishing up with the move, my wife began to sweep out the truck. It was dark outside and the truck was dimly lit so naturally I asked, "Did you get everything? They will charge us to sweep it out again if they see anything." My wife swept it out again just to make me happy while I put on a pair of gloves and brushed any microscopic dust particles off the bumper. There's NO WAY I was going to be charged extra for not cleaning our the truck! That's when I recalled this verse and began to examine myself more closely.

"23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." - Colossians 3:23-24

I began thinking of all the things that I had done in recent days, or should I say NOT done, with less zeal than I probably should have. Was I doing them "as for the Lord"? Nope. Then on Sunday our pastor spoke on the same topic . . . and used the same verse . . . Was I getting the message yet? We humans can be exceptionally dense, especially THIS one.

There are times when I am at home or at work performing a particular task that I am not really excited about doing. I might stop part way through to "take a break" and then not return to work for an hour or so. Is that working heartily as for the Lord?" I do not preform every task as if I was performing it for Jesus.

I am supposed to be building a wooden model of an old buggy for my sister. She asked me to and I agreed. Yet it has been sitting on my closet floor for weeks. As for The Lord?

This country is filled with people like me. People who don't want to work performing a task they previously agreed to do. It's all about us and our comfort, not about serving others. Why? Self satisfaction. I am my own worst enemy.

As my wife and I driving to Milwaukee the other day were discussing the welfare state that we have created in this country. We were talking about how people have been smart enough to figure out how to receive income from our country without working for it. All a woman has to do it have a few kids, the more the better, and she can make more money than she can at holding down a full-time job. I wonder what God thinks about a system like that?

"10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." - 2 Thessalonians 3:10

We need to be taking our work more seriously. We need to be performing our tasks "as for the Lord." Anything less than that, we are only thinking about ourselves. This weekend? That buggy is going down! The fireplace I've been dinking around with for weeks? Git 'er done!!! May we ALL perform our duties, the chores we have been given, the homework, the yard work, even cleaning the litter boxes, as if we were doing them at the command of Jesus. Get the work done and get it behind us. And then grab your Bible and read Matthew 25:21.

"21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’" - Matthew 25:21

Working For A Living - Huey Lewis and The News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Send Me

"8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go, . . ." - Isaiah 6:8-9

I love being a follower of Jesus Christ. There is nothing like seeing God in action as He calls my fellow brothers and sisters into service, and they respond selflessly. They are just like Isaiah when he answered The Lord's call when He was looking for "a volunteer." I have seen numerous people stepping up this week and shouting, "Send me!"

This past Friday I received a text from a young female friend of mine who was in need of some help and a place to stay for the night. I shot off a few texts and made a few phone calls to four amazing ladies, all children of the One True God. I explained the situation and asked if they could take an unknown young lady into their homes that night. Each one of those ladies answered God's call.

Think about that for a moment. How would you respond to a call for assistance at eight o'clock at night, asking you to open up your home to a total stranger? I would maybe do that for someone I knew . . . maybe. But these ladies said yes. Granted, these ladies knew me and perhaps trusted me, but still, they definitely stepped up.

Having compassion for others is a spiritual gift, given by God through His Holy Spirit. How God must enjoy seeing His children using the gifts He gave them to bring Him glory! What spiritual gift or gifts do YOU have? How will you be using them today to bring glory to God? Perhaps God will send someone your way this week so that you might "become Jesus" to someone in need.

There really is nothing like the feeling of being used by God to pour His love into the life of someone who needs it. I encourage you this week, and every week, to keep your eyes open to serve . . . to say "Send me!" You WILL have opportunities. Don't let those opportunities pass you by. The rewards of acting when we see a need is "heavenly" . . . literally "out of this world." Reach into someone's life today and make a difference.

The following video was presented in church this past Sunday. It shows the benefits reaped from someone selflessly serving God and others using the gifts God has given him.

Officer Deon using his gifts to serve God

Saturday, September 13, 2014


What characteristics do you think of when you hear the word "soldier?" Bravery perhaps? Honor? Strength? Loyalty? Sacrifice? Determination? That's quite a list. And ALL are appropriate when talking about our these honorable men and women.

Last weekend I watched a special report about the attack on our country's embassy in Benghazi, Libya. It was amazing to hear a first-hand account of what exactly went on during that deadly attack from the perspective of the soldiers that were in the fire fight, defending our country's territory. Four Americans lost their lives that night . . . while serving their country.

Could you do that? Would you put your life on the line, defending something you believe in?

There are people in Iraq, Christians, who are being killed BECAUSE they are Christians. Would you be one so bold as to NOT renounce your faith in Jesus Christ? So bold that it would cost you your head? I hope that I would stand tall and proclaim His name until the end.

The past few weeks there has been a controversy in our area over a singer named Gungor performing at a Christian event. He said a few inflammatory things in a Christian Post interview about the Bible, stating this about Adam and Eve and Noah, "I have no more ability to believe these things than I do to believe in Santa Clause or to not believe in gravity." You can read the interview here.

His statements, and refusal to repent of them led a local radio station to pull its sponsorship of the event. It also led me and my friend to NOT take kids to the event this year. Then my friend said this, "Staying away from this event will only effect them a little. We should do more." She was right. So we planned to hand out information about the artist's statements, and what it means to be discerning about the things we hear and read in this world.

As it turned out, God already had things under control and Gungor pulled out of the event, thereby removing all of the distractions. A Christian event should be more about God than any one individual.

I am glad my friend and I were willing to stand up against this artist and his beliefs. I am pleased to see a radio station make a stand for the truth of God's Word. Placing non-believers on pedestals or stages gives them authority and if they use that status to present another Gospel other than our Lord Jesus Christ's, it is WE who said nothing who are to blame because WE gace them the opportunity to do so.

We Christians need to be more like soldiers in how we live our faith. According to our pastor, being a soldier for Christ carries with it a higher commitment level than just "believing." That's what I think we Christians need. It would be very easy for us to just ignore false teachings and let the words slide. It is NOT so easy to make a stand and shout the truth from the rooftops.

These days there are many churches that "allow" certain things to go on inside their doors. They take liberties with God's Word, even to the point of condoning sin, all in the name of making members of their congregations happy and comfortable. Being a Christian is not about comfort. Just ask any Christian in Iraq, or China, or Syria. We need to become more like soldiers with God's Word.

The soldiers in Benghazi helped and protected each other. Sometimes it was to their death. We here in the relative safety of our sanctuaries tend to let things slide. That is NOT being a Christian. It is being ANTI Christ.

I'd like you to read a few passages. The first one is from the Book of Acts about the early church and a group of Christians known as the Bereans. They were soldiers, defending God's Word.

"10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed," - Acts 17:10-12

Do we examine the scriptures to see if what our pastors say on Sunday morning is true or not? Do we examine the lyrics of hymns in the same way? Are we members of churches that allow behavior contrary to the teachings of God because we don't want to rock the boat or are comfortable in our faith?

God has told us that He WILL test us.

"Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you (. . . WHY?) in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you... to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." - Deuteronomy 8:2-3

We Christians need to be defenders of our faith, not merely users of it. God has said He WILL test us. A local radio station in our area (Q90FM) passed the test, Will we?

"4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." - Revelation 20:4

I Am A Soldier - D.L. Moody

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Do you like to walk? I sure do. I spend a lot of time walking. I walk at work, I walk at home and I walk on the weekends. I have walked in the hot sun and in the middle of winter. I have walked through valleys and over mountains. I have walked with a bunch of people and I have walked all by myself. I have even walked on water! . . . in the winter . . . on a frozen lake.

In the evenings and on weekends I walk with my wife. We always walk hand-in-hand wherever we go. Even though she is shorter than me we walk and fit pretty good together. All the practice I guess. :)

At work I walk with my friend. We have amazing conversations about God and our mutual love for Jesus. The highlight of our walks together was when she led me to the door of Jesus Christ.I knocked. He opened. And the rest is history. :)

Do you think the Israelites liked to walk? They must have. They did so for 40 years! And on hot sand too!

We all spend lots of time walking in this life. Sometimes we can walk with a tremendous sense of purpose and determination. We have a focus and a specific destination in mind. Other times we can walk in circles for days and days and not really get any place at all.

Walking with Jesus is a lot like that. There are days when we are certain of our destination. We walk confidently with Him, boldly taking on anything that might come our way. Then there are times when we can feel as if we are walking all by ourselves - totally alone. Those are difficult and lonely times to be sure.

However, I have found a way to go walking without EVER having to be alone. Take your Bible with you. :)

When I am walking on a flat stretch of pavement, like a sidewalk or a path, I am able to read my Bible by being mindful of the trail's edge. I try to keep the edge of the path lined up with the right side of my Bible. It works well. The only problems I have encountered is the occasional dog pile . . . and rain puddles.

Have you ever tried praying with your eyes open? It is also possible to pray as you walk, eyes open. You will find yourself staring, not blinking, a lot, but you will be focusing on Jesus. Praying and / or reading as I walk always brings me closer to Jesus. It's like He's right there! And . .  He actually is. :)

The important thing is to walk with Jesus everyday. Always seek out those moments to spend with Him and talk with Him. Doing so will keep you from wandering in the desert year after year after year. Walk with Him and talk with Him. That's the only way you can get to know this great God we serve.

"4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." - 1 John 2:4-6

In The Garden - Alan Jackson

Monday, September 8, 2014


Humility is a rare commodity in today's world. Instead, our culture tends to encourage self-promotion and self-aggrandizing behavior.

From an early age we are encouraged to get the best grades in school so that we can go to the best schools and get the best jobs. Our resumes are often filled with the most flattering information, often to the point of making us look better and more appealing than we really are. I wonder how a potential employer would react to a truthful resume . . .

"I'm not all that excited about working for your company. I'm here because my overly-protective, 90-year-old mother wants me to move out of the house. Although I sometimes drink too much on weekends and tend to sometimes be abusive towards others, I am a good worker on the days I feel like showing up. To be honest, I have tried to get hired at other places but none of them would give me a shot after hearing about my pedophilia conviction. By the way, is that a picture of your daughter on the wall?."

Yeah. Truth is often something we tend to avoid or even hide.

I was at a funeral this weekend where my brother-in-law delivered the eulogy. He did a wonderful job. He spoke about humility and about what it REALLY takes for us to come to a saving faith in Christ.

He said that we must humble ourselves. He is right.

Do you remember the movie The Ten Commandments? Of course you do. Everybody does. DO you remember the scene when Moses went up on the mountain because he had seen a burning bush? As he approached the bush the voice of God said," Remove your sandals for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." Moses did as he was told.

God then told Moses that he (Moses) was to lead God's people into the promised land. Then Moses, on his knees . . . on his FACE at times . . . asked God, "Who am I that you should send me?" Moses was humble before the Lord and God blessed him.

As we go through this day may we think of others before we think of ourselves. May we think of GOD before we do ANYTHING. May we become least in this world that encourages us to be the best. May we live our lives FOR God by serving others . . . not helping ourselves.

"30 He must increase, but I must decrease.” 31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all." - John 3:30-31

"6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." - 1 Peter 5:6-11

Humble Thyself In The Sight of The Lord

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Do you do a lot of driving? I do. I put on about 100 miles a day just driving to and from work. That's an hour and a half I spend, in my car, mindlessly following those intermittent white lines . . . wearing out my tires.

We are supposed to rotate our tires every 7,500 miles. Check your owner's manual to make sure. For me that would be about every two and a half months. I absolutely fail at tire rotation.

My wife takes better care of the tires on her car than I do on mine. She has somebody rotate her tires for her. The tire place does it . . . for free - part of her buying he tires there I guess. Me? I like to rotate my own tires. It's kind of a guy thing I guess. I feel like I am accomplishing something, all by myself.

There seems to be fewer and fewer things like that we can do all by ourselves these days. We have to have an app. We have become so dependent on others or on our technology, that we often can't remember how to do things.

This past month I have had a few people come up to me and tell me it's time to replace my tires. They are right. I need to replace them badly. Yet I procrastinate. Why? I'm too busy . . . probably. Or at least that's what I tell myself. It's more like I'd rather be doing something else. How like us humans . . . especially when it comes to our faith.

For most of my life there was always "something else" I would rather be doing than to go to church. Boring! I'd just sit there twiddling my thumbs while some old guy told us about God. Not fun.

I was an idiot.

Church is not supposed to be fun. We should be in church to worship. I never understood that until I was in my 50's. I never understood the concept of actually worshiping God. Lots of people don't. My church is filled with people like that. So is yours. And guess what. I am still one of them!

Listening to a message on Sunday mornings is not worship. Singing songs is. Praying is. Communion is an act of worship. So is baptism. Even the offering is worship.

Some churches try to make their worship services entertaining. Those churches are foolish. Some churches try to make their services "inviting" so that everyone feels "welcome." That's wrong. Not that people shouldn't feel welcome, it's just that worship is NOT for non-believers. People will feel welcome if the church is filled with actual believers. Unless, of course, not everyone is an actual believer.

I heard of a pastor in Texas who periodically gives "pew-clearing messages." He'll give a few fire and brimstone messages every once in a while to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. That's a good thing. Just like a gardener pruning his plants, it makes for a healthier church overall.

What does all this have to do with tires? If we look at our faith lives as a set of tires we can begin to see a parallels. When our faith becomes commonplace it's like our tires getting worn . They lose their grip and so does Jesus' place in our lives. That's dangerous. There is nothing more valuable in a heavy rainstorm of during a winter blizzard than a good set of tires. A fresh set of tires really grips the road. Worn tires are no good to anyone. Neither is a weak faith.

So how do we make our faith stronger and our worship more worship-FULL. We need to change. We need to change our reading habits. Spend time reading the Bible and applying it to our lives. We need to spend more time LIVING our faith. What good is one's faith if they don't use it for God's glory!

The only way we can navigate the storms and the winding roadways in our faith is to have good traction. We get that from God. We read, we pray, we worship and we love others.

We must examine our faith lives just like we keep track of our tires. You never know when we might find a leak or a weak spot and we certainly never want our faith to go flat! Check your faith today. A little under-inflated perhaps? Spend time with God.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:1-2

The Critical Elements of True Worship - John MacArthur

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


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

In the book of Second Corinthians Paul exhorts us to examine ourselves, to see whether or not we are truly walking with Jesus. Who knows, maybe we only THINK we are doing fine in our faith walk but in reality we might be actually going down a path that leads away from Him.

As I am writing this it is Labor Day, Monday. It is a day on which I would normally be at work. If we are truly to examine ourselves work is a good place to start. The question I keep asking myself is, "Is what I am doing now for a career honoring to God?" Another question is like it. "Am I serving God in the things that I do?"

It's a little late in the game for me to be asking myself that question. I'll probably be retiring in a few years. But what will I be doing then? How will I be serving God? Will I be honoring Him in what I do? And WHAT will I do?

I think the first thing we need to do when we are looking for a job or making a career choice is to approach the whole topic with God in mind. We need to assess our career choices and use The Bible as our guide. With that in mind I came up with a short list of things to consider when seeking a job, choosing a career field, or simply desiring to serve God.
  1. Pray. The first thing we should do under any circumstance is pray. - "33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." - Matthew 6:33
  2. Examine. We should take a look at ourselves to see what gifts God has given us. Are you compassionate? Maybe you should be a counselor or a care-giver. Are you strong? Maybe you should be a laborer or a trainer?
  3. Test. We might think we have a particular gift but do we really? Ask a friend to give you an honest assessment.
  4. Train. Once you have narrowed things down, take some classes, learn all you can. Improve yourself in the area you want to get in to.
  5. Seek. We need to gain experience in the field we are hoping to enter. Volunteer doing something similar. Seek out employment opportunities.
  6. Serve. "23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men," - Colossians 3:23
As we actively seek a career in school or hope to find a new job let us be ever-mindful of God and His desire for our lives. Reading through the Old Testament as I am right now, I am constantly reminded of a very important thing. Each story I read about the kings of that time always has the words, "He did what was right in the eyes of The Lord," or "He did evil in the eyes of The Lord." Let us always choose what is right and honorable in God's eyes. Making God-honoring decisions is ALWAYS a good thing.

Develop Your Gifts And Talents To Glorify God

Monday, September 1, 2014


This morning I awoke with an incredible feeling. Thoughts of praise and worship running through my head. Where the heck did that come from!?! Well, I'll tell you. Before I went to bed I finished reading 1 Chronicles. That's not everyone's favorite book in the Bible, nor is it mine, but in the last chapter of 1 Chronicles King David offers a prayer to God that has found a place in my heart and gave me incentive this morning to write this message to you.

David had been gathering materials and drawing up plans for God's temple. His son, Solomon, would be given the task of the temple's actual construction - so saith The Lord - but David was preparing. Preparing for the future.

When David had all the materials ready he called all the people together and gave his personal offering to God. He gave 3,000 talents of gold and 7,000 talents of silver. How much is a talent? One talent equals 75 pounds in this country. That's 225,000 pounds of gold and 525,000 pounds of silver. Today's gold price is $1,287.01 . . . per ounce! Silver is at $19.45 per ounce. So, in today's money that equates to $4,633,236,000 worth of gold and $163,380,000 of silver. David gave 4.8 TRILLION dollars of his own money to God! And God's people gave even more!

After their offering of gold and silver (and I didn't even count the bronze, iron, cedar and precious stones) David offered up this prayer to God in the presence of the assembly - to all of Israel.

"10 . . .“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 16 O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. 18 O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you.”
- 1 Chronicles 29: 10-18

Now, I ask you to think of our current president, or ANY other president for that matter. Would you expect to hear such a prayer from him? No. Would you ever see any president giving his entire savings, IRA, retirement plan . . . all of it to God? No. Would you do something like that? Would I? Not very likely. Why not? It is because God only occupies a portion of our hearts. He wants our WHOLE heart. Ladies and gentlemen, you now know the biggest problem we have in our country. Our lack of reverence, our lack of willingness to give EVERYTHING we have to our God and King.

I can write out a check every Sunday and drop it in the offering plate and think I've done my duty. Yet I am the same person who feels uneasy when I see someone begging for money on the street. Where is my love for God then? Where is my willingness to give Him everything? We are simply deceiving ourselves.

My intent here is not in inflict a massive guilt trip on anyone. (I know, too late) My hope is that we might begin to think a little more about our own commitment to God. Is it at 100%? 10%? Is it less?

We here in this country tend to worship ourselves above all else. From the top leaders right down to the lowliest taxpayers. It's all about us, instead of us being all about God. These days it's all about entitlements. Our social security when we retire, unemployment compensation when we're out of work. It all about what we have coming to US. God is nowhere to be found. And that's a problem.

So what can we do?

Most of us will keep on doing what we are doing. Punching the clock at church, then walking out the doors and getting on with our lifestyle, forgetting all about Jesus and what He did. We need to reverse that. When we leave the doors of our churches and we need to be ALL about Jesus. We need to give everything we have to Him and to His Kingdom, including ourselves.

I'm not suggesting we empty our bank accounts and hand everything we have over to a homeless person. But I AM suggesting that we constantly look for ways we can contribute to others on behalf of our King. And then do it!

Compared to the rest of the world, God has entrusted us with much and as a result much is required of us. Gee, that almost sounded like a Bible verse . . .

"48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." - Luke 12:48

Today is Labor Day. I find it ironic that this country takes a day off from work to celebrate . . . working. Instead, wouldn't this be a great day to celebrate the giver of ALL things, including our skills and abilities - the One True God? I think so. I challenge you to do something for God today. Don't just sit around and do nothing. We have been given much. Much is required. There are no days off from worshiping God. Let's do so today, in Jesus' name. Let us be encouraged by King David's prayer. Let us surrender all.

I Surrender All - Brian Littrell