Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It's been a while since I have really ranted on this blog. I might do so today . . . but probably not. I'm too nice a guy I've been told. But I AM going to express my frustration with the use of a few words in our "English" language. Or should I say misuse.

The first word is luck. "Good luck!" people say, as if merely saying that "lucky" word will somehow propel the recipient into new prosperity or greater riches. Fat chance! There is no such thing as luck.

And speaking of fat chances, there's another word! Chance! That word actually HAS a use. There are some things that occur by random chance. Rolling dice for example. Every time you roll the dice there is a chance you will get a six. There is the same chance for rolling every other number on the di so is that really a chance?

Back to the word luck for a moment. I was listening to an audio CD of a faith-based novel a few years ago. Someone wished one of the characters "good luck" to which they replied, "We don't DO luck." Implying that they relied on God rather than some random occurrence. I like that.

Here's another word I've been hearing a lot lately - thoughts. Thoughts can be both good and bad. We can have amazingly wonderful thoughts of a loved one or about our God. But we can also have evil thoughts, sinful thoughts.

When my father was dying a few months ago I had some people come up to me and say, "You and your family are in my thoughts." When I hear that, the first thing I think is, "Gee . . . uh, thanks. I guess. Thanks for . . . thinking." It also tells me that there is no faith or belief in a higher being in their lives. No one to give them hope. That's sad.

I know they mean well and I always respond nicely to such comments but their "thoughts" do absolutely nothing, except perhaps for the person thinking them. If someone really wanted to have an effect and do something meaningful, they would pray.

Prayer is a powerful thing. No, that's not right. GOD . . . is the all powerful thing in this universe. Our prayers are pitiful offerings at best, only made meaningful by His Holy Spirit.

"26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." - Romans 8:26-27

When someone prays for me I truly appreciate the effort because I know about the power of prayer in the hearts of true believers. But I think the ultimate prayer has got to be the one you receive when you are telling someone about your troubles face to face, and they offer to pray for you right there on the spot. They take immediate action and live out the "where two or more are gathered in my name" verse. They make praying come alive as they take their friend with them before the Lord in prayer.

So, thank you for your thoughts. But please, care enough to at least TELL me your thoughts and let's do it together in front of God, 'cause frankly, Scarlet, I ain't no mind reader.

The Prayer - Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli

Monday, October 27, 2014


When my wife and I were in Big Bay, MI earlier this month we passed a sign by a long driveway that read "Big Bay Health Camp." I looked at my wife and asked, "Well should I drop you off, fatty?"

Looking back on things now .. . perhaps that was the wrong thing to say. My wife is not fat and she knows I was just teasing her but every time we drove past that sign from then on my wife gave me the evil eye and said, "Fatty, huh?"

I suppose it didn't help that my wife is a dietician and is very conscious about what she eats. She is all about eating healthy. And she gets paid for it!

People come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are tall, some are short, there are wide people and there are skinny ones. The point of what I am writing about today is not about our differences and how we should all just get along and sing Kubiya around the campfire as one, big happy family. No. This is about what we eat . . . spiritually.

I'll start off with two sayings that probably everyone has heard of and I will ask you to think how they might apply to our spiritual lives. The first is "You are what you eat" and the second is "Garbage in, Garbage Out."

People who go to "health camp" are told they must watch what they eat if they are going to lose weight and get healthy. It is the same with us and the things we intake spiritually. If we simply believe everything we hear without questioning it or comparing it with scripture, how do we know if it's true or not?

The things we take in spiritually can be deceiving, kind of like junk food. It tastes really good but it is not very good for us. Instead, we must examine all spiritual food to see whether it is true or not . . . to see if it is good for us.

A few weeks ago in church I heard a pastor speaking about the woman caught in adultery in John 8(1-11). After all the Pharisees had left Jesus said, "Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?" To that the woman replied "No one." Then the pastor told us that Jesus said, "Go, your sins are forgiven."

That sounds right, doesn't it? It sounds like something Jesus would say . . . and a pastor told us this is what Jesus said, so it must be true, right?

No, it is not. Jesus did not say, "Go, your sins are forgiven." What Jesus actually said was "Neither do I condemn you." And then Jesus said something else . . . AFTER that. Something the pastor never told the congregation, "Go, and sin no more."

It is often things left unsaid that speak the loudest.

The next time you are reading a book, listening to sermon or just in general conversation, listen closely as the Bereans did, to determine whether of not what they heard in the synagogue was true.

"11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." - Acts 17:11

This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you - unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,"
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Trust only what you read in the Bible. There is no others source of truth, only opinion. Opinion doesn't save. Only Jesus can do that. A real, truthful accurate Jesus, not the watered-down, needy Jesus that is preached in many of our churches today.

"In the beginning was The Word (Jesus), and The Word was with God and The Word was God." - John 1:1

God doesn't sin. God doesn't make mistakes. God doesn't have an opinion on things. He is right, never wrong. And so it is with His Word that still speaks to us today. Compare everything to his Word and don't be eating any of the junk food being served out there. And there is a lot of it.

Many of us with appetites for warm fuzzy sermons and the absence of any "meat" or "healthy choices" in our spiritual diet are getting rather obese these days. We should only be eating the things that Jesus offered us. Only then can we spiritually healthy and able to descern what things are good for us to eat, and what things are not. If we don't do that, we will end up being The Biggest Loser.

And now, to help you in your spiritual exercise, here's a little Christian workout music for you this morning. Have an amazing day!

Move - MercyMe

Saturday, October 25, 2014


There are two seasons in Wisconsin - winter . . . and road construction. The same is probably true where you live as well. Road crews seem to always be fixing something on our roads. Why is that? Shouldn't things last just a LITTLE while?

I was on my way to work Thursday morning, driving semi-consciously through the pre-dawn darkness, when I saw a new sign go by on the side of the road.

"What did that say?" I thought to myself.

Another sign soon appeared and answered that question. I actually READ this one.


What? This was a major highway I was traveling on. How could the entire road be closed? Maybe a lane closer. I could understand that, but the entire road? Yup.

Soon there were barrels and directional arrows forcing me to the right, forcing me to get off the road. Construction barrels, yellow flashing lights, men in reflective suits. Awesome! But what could I do? Nothing. So I exited. I had no choice.

Usually, when construction crews close a road there are detour signs, someone has thought ahead and provided an alternate route for us weary travelers, using helpful signs, to direct us back onto the road road we were on. Usually. Not Thursday morning. There were no detour signs whatsoever.

Have you ever found yourself diverted from your intended path in life? Have ever thought, "Life is going pretty darn good." when all of a sudden, things start going pretty darn bad? Maybe the phone rings late at night with some bad news. You get a text message you really didn't want to receive. Or maybe something so unexplainably bad happens . . . so bad that you can't even comprehend it.

One year ago today our community was rocked by the death of a beautiful young woman named Kameron. She was 17. Somehow she found herself in a similar situation to the one I had on the road the other day. Alone in the darkness. Not really sure which way to go.

We can ALL find ourselves in similar situations. Sometimes we get diverted off life's road. Should we turn to the left? Should we turn to the right? We can get so confused in this life. We find ourselves looking for some kind of direction. And sometimes we can find ourselves thinking that we just want the whole thing to end.

Too often we get in those situations and we're looking for direction, all we really want is just a little hope. We look to the left and to the right and when we don't find that hope, well, it can sometimes be life changing. We think there are no answers. Except we forget to explore all the options. We forget to look in EVERY direction available to us. So often, when we find ourselves without hope in this cold, dark world, we forget to look . . . up.

When Jesus was crucified, and died for our sins, suddenly his disciples experienced a "road closed" sign in THEIR lives. Suddenly they were without hope. They didn't know which way to turn. Do you know what THEY did? They looked up.

"3 After his suffering, he (Jesus) presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” - Acts 1:3-11

When we encounter seemingly life-changing events in our lives we need to spend more time looking up. Jesus is our only hope when we are lost and don't know which way to turn. When we are at the end of the road, all alone in the darkness, we need to look up and ask for directions. We need to ask Jesus.

Give Me Jesus - Fernando Ortega

This blog post is dedicated to the family and friends of Kameron. Today will be a tough day to get through. When I have tough days I usually read the Bible - Romans 8 specifically. Try reading it today and see if YOU don't feel better.

Love you Kam.

Romans 8

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


How do we know when we have been called by God to do something? How do we know it's from God rather than from somewhere else? How do we know that God wants us to do something if He doesn't actually speak to us or provide us with a pillar of fire to get our attention?

As I approach the two-year anniversary of writing this blog I am going to be making some changes. The frequency of the postings will change from three times each week to only once. There are several reasons I am going to be doing this but the main one is that it will give me more time to devote to other things. Those "other things" are really what this post is going to be all about - following God's will.

How do I know this is the right thing to do? How do I know that I am not making a mistake? After all, I love to write. Well, I still will be writing. I will just be doing it less. The most important thing to me is pleasing God - to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others.

I have heard a lot of people saying they "want to be in God's will" or they "want to know what God's will is for their life." Well, to come to the aid of all the poor wandering souls out there who don't have a clue what God's will is, hear this!

I don't either.

But I have come up with a short list of ways we can determine whether something is "of God" or not. It's probably not all-inclusive like a Carnival Cruise but the following list of things I have found to be true.

How do we know when God wants us to do something? How can we know what God wants us to do?
  1. Read the Bible. All the answers really are in there. You will find them. Stay true to God's Word, even when it might seem there might be some other answer to go. There isn't.
  2. You won't necessarily want to do whatever it is God wants you to do. Look at Moses. He didn't want to do what God wanted him to do. Yet he did. And he did pretty darn good.
  3. It's WAY bigger than you can handle by yourself. That's how God like to work in you. He will stretch you and make you grow, all for His ultimate glory. Read about Elisha in 1 Kings for your inspiration.
  4. This nudging you are feeling . . . if it is from God, it simply will not go away. It's possible that some other force could be trying to get you to do something evil, but if what you are about to do brings glory to God? Go for it!
  5. God often accomplishes multiple things through one of his "events." I have a friend who is gifted at sewing. She uses that gift to teach others to sew. And while she is doing that she talks to them about their faith. She wins, her students win and God gets all the glory.
  6. God will accomplish things though you that you never even imagined. A simple smile can change someone's life. Just taking the time to talk with someone can change someone's life. I know. It happened to me.
  7. God will provide clues for you along the way to your final decision to act. "That's the third time I heard that song today." "I was just thinking about calling you!"
  8. God provides opportunities. God opens doors. I saw this happen just a few days ago. A young man comes into the local food pantry. He can't find work. He talks to someone there who knows someone in need of some help. Everybody wins. God gets the glory.
  9. God provides resources. A man learns of a family who needs firewood. The following day there is a storm and a large tree falls over in teh man's yard. Need wood?
There is nothing God can't do and there are amazing things that God can do through us! All we have to do is be obedient. Read His Word so that we will know the character of God and how He works in the lives of the people who love Him.
So, what am I going to be doing with my extra time now that I am backing off on my writing a bit? Well, I am going to be using other gifts that God has given me. I will be bringing Him glory by answering his call and helping others help themselves. There are clues hidden in this blog post actually. This thing is bigger than me but God has provided the nudges, the resources, the skills and the desire to accomplish His will "on earth as it is in heaven." Stay tuned. I'm sure I'll be writing about it.

And thanks for reading! One month from today I will be transferring my energies in a different direction. Please pray for me and pray that God will be honored in everything I say and do. Thank you. It means a lot that you would take the time to read my stories about the God I love so much.

24The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” - Numbers 6:24-26

We Build - Nicole Nordeman

Monday, October 20, 2014


My job has taken me to some mighty weird places. I am an architectural draftsman. That means I draw the construction drawings for our client's buildings. Sometimes, when one of our clients wants to add onto or remodel and existing building, I have to go out and "field verify" the existing building conditions.

Sometimes field verification can be enjoyable. For example, I have been in every room of The Hearthstone building in downtown Appleton. I measured the entire structure. The Hearthstone was Wisconsin's first hydro-electrically powered house. You can read more about it here if you want.

The architectural firm I worked for at the time was hired to conduct a study of the building to make recommendations for its rehabilitation. I measured the building, drew the plans, and even got to do some architectural forensic work.

It was fun analyzing the layers of paint on the exterior. I found seven layers of different colored paint on one of the porch's posts. The color you see today when you drive by is a match to the original color of the building. Cool!

Sometimes my job takes me places I would rather not go . . . like the Kettle Moraine Correctional Facility for example . . . a prison. Security screenings, locked doors, and stares from the prisoners as I walked amongst them, trying to go about my business without looking directly at anyone.

It's hard to describe the feeling one gets inside a prison. It's an extremely uncomfortable feeling for sure . . . if you allow yourself to think about it. If you allow your mind to wander, exploring all the possible things that go wrong. I have found that feelings like that are from the devil. I learned that this passed Saturday while volunteering at a local food pantry - Ruby's Pantry.

I was pre-registering people as they waited in line outside the building. I love that job. I have gotten to know and love many of the people who walk through the doors there. Hugs are freely given and received. Every once in a while though, I get a surprise . . . like Saturday, when I saw a young man, formerly a member of an area youth group.

We talked for a while, catching up a bit on each others lives. He was having trouble finding work, telling me that most employers tend to balk at his felony record. Umm, yeah. Bad decisions made years earlier in his life were majorly effecting this young mans life in the here and now.

I told him to talk to John, the man in charge at Ruby's, and told this young man that there might be some work for him. I didn't really know if there was any work or not but I knew that John was the kind of guy to make some work for someone if they really needed it. And he did.

I saw my young friend a few hours later. He was all smiles. I asked him if he had talked to John. He said that he had and thanked me as he shook my hand. John had found something for him to do. Someone had finally cared enough to look beyond this young man's felony record and talked directly into his heart.

Can you see how God is at work in this young man's life? This guy came to Ruby's Pantry that day to get some free food because he didn't have a job. He left, not only with food, but with some work to do. AND not only that, he now had two men in his life who will speak to him about Jesus, about repentance, and about forgiveness.

I think God really enjoys rescuing the lost and helping those who are hurting. And I think He enjoys doing so through others. It's like he is going up to bat in the World Series and with one swing he gets three hits! Our God is mighty to save and He likes using the weakest among us to accomplish His will, not to show the world what WE can do, but to show the world what HE can do, despite our shortcomings, and as a result, draw people to Himself.

He digs down through all the layers we have built up in ourselves over the years. He restores us to our original working condition. He removes all the stains, He re-builds us if we need it.

I am anxious to see what awaits this young man. God is clearly after him. I feel blessed today to have seen yet another example of God working in the lives of those around me. God is eager to forget our sins, if we would only come to Him in humility and ask for it, placing our faith in Jesus as we do so.

God is so incredibly, undeniably good.

"6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him."
- Psalm 103:6-13

East To West - Casting Crowns

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Darkness is everywhere. Nothing is visible. Are my eyes open? Or are they still closed? I hear breathing . . . the sound of a heart beating. I think it's me! Then, as if an angel were caressing my cheek, I feel a gentle breeze . . . an invitation to trust. The light of countless stars fills the still, dark sky as the eastern sky begins to glow slightly brighter. The sun will soon to be appearing.

As I look around now in the pre-dawn light, I find that I am standing in front of something. I never noticed it before in the darkness, but now, with the ever-brightening sky, I am clearly beginning to see a shape. It is the shape . . . of a cross.

Towering over me, it seems as if it is looking down at me. It's staring . . . at me. I quickly look around me. No one else is here. At least I don't think so. It's still pretty dark.

Wait! What's that?! The shape of the cross . . . it . . . it's changed. There is now something else . . . it's a man! There is a man hanging on the cross!!!

What am I doing here? How did I even get here, and where exactly IS here? I look around again. Still no one.

Things are getting brighter now. A little easier to see. The man on the cross . . . he is still breathing . . . barely. What is happening!?! Why am I witnessing this?

As the sun finally begins to peek out over the horizon the first rays of sunlight begin to reach the top of the cross. Pinks, reds . . . a human head, moving ever-so-slightly with the labored breathing. Who was this man? He seemed so near to death it was as if each breath was surely to be his last. So weak. Yet he is trying to raise his head.

I peer longingly, hoping to see who it is. The shadows are still long and it is difficult to see but . . . that face! I . . . I . . . I think it . . . oh, my dear Lord!

It's me!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The first time it finally hit me that Jesus had actually died for MY sins was the same moment I had come to faith in Christ - nearly nine years ago. When everything "got real" there was little doubt in my mind that things had changed. I had changed. And there was no going back. Not that I wanted to. My life had permanently been transformed.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was born again - the change was that dramatic. It was amazing! Yet, at the same time, it was very troubling. I felt a tremendous guilt. I should have been the one on that cross. I struggled with the thought of Jesus taking on the punishment for something I had done. There was a part of me that wished I was the one of that cross, paying the price for sinning against a holy and just God. I had earned that spot. At the same time I wondered in awe at the tremendous love God showed me by offering His Son in my place. In YOUR place. VERY humbling.

So why was I spared? Why was I chosen? Why were any of us called to be children of the Most High God? These questions can not be answered, at least not in this place. As a Christian I cling tightly to my faith. Without it all is lost. Without it there is no hope.

Faith ebbs and flows like a river. Sometimes it runs slowly and deeply. Other times it can be rather shallow . . . even dry. But then comes the spring and the life-giving waters flow once more.

Are you born again? Are you born of the Spirit? It is a requirement for getting into heaven. God knows when His Holy Spirit enters each and every soul. There is no eternal entrance exam to take. Either you're in or you're out. There's no make up test. No extra credit. Do do-overs. And God does not grade on a curve. It is pass / fail.

Have you repented of your sins? Do you feel ashamed every time you commit a sin? Do you seek God's forgiveness for even the slightest of offenses? Jesus told us that "the gate is narrow" (Matthew 7:13-14) and that few would find it. Few.

"Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." - John 3:1-5

Many of todays' theologians and pastors believe we are in the last days before Jesus' return. If Jesus returned tomorrow, would you be ready? The dawn is coming. If we do not place our faith in Christ today it WILL be us who pays the price for our sins tomorrow.

"14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. 20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the wine press, as high as a horse's bridle, for 1,600 stadia (184 miles)." - Revelation 14:14-20

Lead Me To The Cross - Hillsong

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


For the passed few days, the heating & ventilating unit in our office building has decided that 78 degrees is the perfect room temperature to work in. Most of the employees in our office disagree. Despite open windows and doors the indoor temperature has maintained its level of heat. It shouldn't be that way but it is. It's hot!

If you think it might be difficult working in a building with "too much heat" you should try being a pastor!

I feel kind of sorry for pastors. They have been called by God to feed His sheep and sometimes it seems like all they do is serve as objects of wrath from their congregations.

"The music is too loud."

"Why do we always have to have contemporary worship songs? What's wrong with hymns?"

I don't like the big screen. We've gotten along without it for 2000 years. Why change now?

"The pews are too hard."

"Your sermon ran two minutes long."

'Another sermon about tithing? Didn't you do one of those last year?"

It's one thing to pick on your pastor if he says something contrary to God's Word but he doesn't need to hear every little nit picking detail. We're not going to send him to jail over this stuff. Or are we?

Did you hear what happened in Canada last year?1 A pastor got arrested for calling homosexuality a sin. It's hate speech they said.

Well, that was just an isolated incident, right? Wrong. A pastor was arrested in Sweden for doing the very same thing - reading out of the Bible.2

So, where is all this going? In my opinion, in our current society of political correctness, where it is taboo to offend ANYONE, we will continue down our current path of censoring all those who speak out against ANY group of people, for fear of hurting them. Our pastors will face increasing persecution for their messages, should they not line up with what our government believes. We ourselves could be arrested for making statements of faith. Do you think I'm exaggerating? Do you think I am crazy?

Read the stories at the end of this blog post. The first one is about the mayor of Houston. She wants to review the messages delivered by area pastors. That's right. Proposed censorship by the government. And if you think it's just that one incident, remember when our current president wanted to censor conservative talk shows?3 The battle is here my friends. The battle has become real.

When you see your pastor this Sunday, give him a big hug and tell them how much you appreciate what he does. Then ask him this question. "If it was against the law to speak certain portions of God's Word on Sunday morning, would you continue to do so, regardless of the consequences?" If they answered yes, give them another hug and tell them you love them . . . before it is time for them to begin their prison ministry.

Jesus warns His followers during the Sermon on the Mount . . .

"11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." = Matthew 5:11

Jesus warns His disciples . . .

"16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." = Matthew 10:16-22

I believe we are in the last days, biblically speaking. These things that are happening today are all in God's Word. We have already been told these things will happen. And things are going to get worse. But there IS hope. There is a Light at the end of the tunnel. The Light's name is Jesus and He IS going to be making a visit. He is coming for His church.

Jesus talks about "The End of the Age" . . .

"9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." - Matthew 24:9-14

You know, we are all creatures of comfort. I complained when the temperature in our office reached the upper 70's. Yet, I have a job. I have the ability to earn money to feed my family. I have been given all these things by God. There should be no complaining. Only a desire to spread the Gospel to all people, in His name. So . . . how we doin' with that?

Houston Demands Oversight of Sermons

1 - Preacher Arrested for Calling Homosexuality A Sin
2 - Criminalizing Christianity: Sweden's Hate Speech Law
3 - Don't Censor Talk Radio

Monday, October 13, 2014


Two-year-old kids can be a lot to handle. Thirty years ago my wife and I had a few of them running around OUR house. I can STILL remember what it was like. Lately, we have been enjoying the next generation's version of two-year-olds. They have newer toys, with flashing lights and weird sounds. And the accessories range from technologically-advanced car seats to no-spill, day-glow drinking cups. But other than all the "extras", the kids of today are pretty much the same as those of generations gone by.

My grandson turned two yesterday. His parents are apprehensively looking forward to the next few years as their son "matures" and increases in his ability to reach more and more things. He currently can be quite a handful at times and can take an nice, quiet evening out at a local restaurant and turn it into "opportunity for growth" for everyone at our table.

During one of his more quiet moments last night at the restaurant he was twisted backward in his highchair, looking up at the ceiling as he ate a piece of pizza. Although it is not my favorite position for eating food, I decided to join him in his contorted, upside-down world. Suddenly, I had something my son and his wife covet. I had my grandson's attention.

For the next several moments we were on the same level. Everyone ELSE was upside-down. He looked at me and smiled . . . and laughed.

When he sat up again, so did I and we continued to play quietly. He climbed into my lap and we spent several more quiet minutes, stacking toy trucks on top of each other. Meanwhile, the usual tenders of "the little man" ate their food. Mission accomplished for this old grandpa. I owe all of my successful parenting and mentoring techniques to God . . . and the apostle Paul.

There are two passages of scripture I would like to share with you today that have aided me throughout my life and I would like to share them with you. The first is from the Book of Hebrews.

"7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." - Hebrews 13:7

The second verse is some advice from Paul in the Book of 1 Corinthians.

"19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings." - 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

People don't necessarily like being told what to do. That goes for adults as well as two-year-olds. In my grandson's world life is simple. He likes to have fun. Sometimes other people don't agree with his ideas of having fun but his needs are rather simple. By becoming someone on my grandson's level, someone he could relate to, he suddenly had a playmate. Soon he was imitating what I was doing. And soon I had directed him to do something his parents longed for as my grandson sat quietly on my lap.

We all have people in our lives who do not live according to God's Word. We ourselves sin every day. We can't help it. Each of us must discipline ourselves according to God's will by following the example God has set before us in the apostles . . . and in Jesus. We should consider their example and imitate their behavior. In doing so we soon will find ourselves walking and talking like them - our teachers and mentors in the faith. Our challenge is to become more and more like Jesus every day. Are you up for the challenge?

Heart and Soul - Tom Hanks & Robert Loggia from the movie "Big"

Saturday, October 11, 2014


A few weeks ago my beautiful bride and I vacationed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We stayed in an old lighthouse in Big Bay that had been restored and converted into a bed & breakfast.

The craftsmen that did the work did a good job. Everything worked like it should . . . more or less. I had to remind myself that this was still a working lighthouse and not a resort hotel. The floors creaked. The stairs creaked. Even the innkeeper creaked!!

Some of the room were small. When I sat down on the toilet my knees almost touched the wall in front of me and when they told us that there was a fireplace in our room. It was really IN THE ROOM!!

But it was a lighthouse. It wasn't originally designed to have seven bedrooms in it. The important things were that the plumbing worked, the food was good, and that beautiful old lighthouse had been restored. God is all about restoration too.

I am currently reading through the Book of Psalms. That's a good read, especially after slogging through Numbers not that long ago. Have you read Psalm 23 lately?

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." - Psalm 23

What an amazing chapter in God's Word! How can anyone read that and not feel comforted.

There are many truth contained in the passage above but the one I would like to embrace today is God's restoration business. God has had a lot of experience at restoring things. He has been practicing His trade with Israel for thousands of years and He can do the same with you and me.

I sit here today at our dining room table, a restored man. God took my old self, gave it a new heart, and restored me to proper working order. I still creak when I walk around, just like that old lighthouse. But my light now works, searchcing this world for lost souls at sea who I can tell about the amazing grace of our Lord and Savior.

Lighthouses serve an amazing purpose. Their whole reason for existing is to warn others about the dangers in this life. So should we be. When we see a friend struggling with something what should we do? Watch from the distance while there lives crash on the rocks below? Or should we shine the light of Christ on them, lead them to the safety of His arms, where He can restore their soul?

God has restored me. I am here to testify the the fact that He can do the same for you. If you haven't allowed Jesus to take ownership of your heart and restore it to proper working order, please consider doing so today. His Holy Spirit will make your light shine, even in the darkest storm. As David wrote in the text above - He restores my soul. Let God restore you today. And is He already has worked His miracle in YOUR life . . . turn on your light and shine as brightly as your can. The world is getting darker and darker with every passing day.

More from the Book of Psalms

"Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

3 For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
- Psalm 51:1-17

There are some wonderful restoration videos at I Am Second.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Do you enjoy receiving packages in the mail? I do. It's actually kind of exciting. I always wonder what's inside! Who sent it? WHY did they send it? Getting packages in the mail is usually always fun. There is a sense of incredible anticipation and curiosity attached with each package that people receive.

For the past few years I have been sending out "care packages" to some of the college freshmen I know. I also send packages to my young friends in the military or those who have jumped right into the work place. Why?

It's George Barna's fault.

In a 2011 article, Barna, a researching organization for churches, found that "nearly three out of every five young Christians (59%) disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15." You can read the article here.

I have been sending out messages on Facebook, requesting addresses, and the response I have received has been interesting. Several of the young adults expressed a feeling of aloneness, or even a spiritual "drifting." Three young ladies expressed a desire to learn more about God so I suggested they form a Bible study together.

The thing that concerns me when high school "kids" go off to school is that they are all dumped into this world and told to swim and I feel, for the most part, these young adults have not been taught how to swim.

The standard operating procedure that many youth groups offer these days is to entertain first and teach later. They feel that if they make youth group fun, that will draw people in and more people will hear the Gospel. That's a good thought but how many of the solid Christian kids are learning more important aspects of their faith - like why we believe things, how to defend our faith when we are confronted out in the world. Youth group should not be about games, if they should even exist at all.

If we look at our youth as a package and the parents and their leaders in the church are the ones doing the wrapping, how do these gifts looked when presented to God? Many are not very well wrapped at all. Not very well educated. Ask a kid to name the Ten Commandments and all will fail. Ask them to name ten beers and you will get a winner every time.

So what do we do? How do we train up our children in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from their faith? (Proverbs 22:6) The answers are all in the Bible. That might be a good place to start. We need to:
  • Love our children. Let them always see the love of Christ in us - pouring our to our children and to others. In this way they will know what it means to truly love our neighbor.
  • Pray with and for our children. Experience is a great teacher. How will our children know how to pray if we don't show them?
  • Teach or children. The Bible is full of examples, perfect for teaching the young. Read with them. Ask them questions about their faith and what it means.
  • Worship with our children. Children learn by observing and worship occurs more places than just church.. It occurs in our daily lives.
  • Serve others with your kids. Volunteer at a local food pantry. Mow someone's yard for them. Rake leaves together.
There is an education our children need that cannot be obtained in school. These lessons they are not learning in the classroom are usually the most important. They need to learn both. Our children need to become a COMPLETE package.

In the months and years ahead God will be further removed from our government and from our schools. He will even be removed from our pulpits as pastors find themselves restricted in what they can say publicly. These days it is becoming more and more important to train up our children ourselves, in the home. Then perhaps we could better prepare the wrapping on our "presents" before we release them into the world . . . before we have to answer to God for things left un-done.

Encourage your children today, as long as it is called today. Instruct them in the ways of The Lord. Strive to hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." If we focus our own lives on Christ in everything we say and do, the teaching will just happen. Let's begin today to love, pray, teach, worship and serve . . . with every breath we breathe.

"6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6

Train Up A Child - Steve Green

Monday, October 6, 2014


My wife's parents recently moved out of their house and into an assisted living facility. A move like that can be difficult, especially when it comes time to get the old house ready to sell. There are lots of memories stored in every room and attached to each piece of furniture.

One of the tasks I was given was to sort through all of my father-in-laws old tools. What an amazingly enjoyable task that was! My wife's father used to restore wood furniture - making old things new again. (This story is almost writing itself)

Old tools are very cool. Perhaps not in everyone's eyes, but as a former carpenter I have a special affinity for them. Each one of the old tools I touched yesterday contained a story. I was sure of it. As a Christian writer, I thought of some OTHER uses for the old tools - a story for you.

Each of tool was created for a specific purpose. The tool's "creator" had something on his mind when they were designed and formed into the finished product. Just like you and me, we were fashioned my OUR Creator to be used in this world for His purpose and for His glory.

Here's a picture of one of the tools I found. Do you know what it is? It's called a plumb bob. Masons use it to let them know if the walls they are building are straight and true. A plumb bob is a constant. It is something, against which, things are measured. And so it is with God's Word, His Holy Scriptures, The Bible.

These are some other tools from my father-in-law's basement. They are called files. Files are used to shape things, to make things smoother than they once were. God uses trials in our everyday lives to accomplish the same thing in us. Just like my wife's father, our heavenly father shapes and molds our character so we can become more like Him.

Have you ever thought of yourself as an instrument, designed for a specific purpose, to be used in God's hands, for HIS purpose? No?

If we are open to being used as tools in God's tool belt, we WILL be used. We were meant to be used.

Here's another example of a tool, designed for a specific purpose. In the hands of it's owner, this instrument delivered the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines. God was glorified and His people were saved from the mighty warrior, Goliath.

"48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him." - 1 Samuel 17:48-50

We all have gifts and talents that can be used to bring God glory. Be open to the Holy Spirit's leading and be willing to answer God's call when you hear it, like David did. Then you will truly know what it feels like to be a tool in the hands of a master craftsman - The Lord, God Almighty.

Use Me Too - Jonny Diaz

Saturday, October 4, 2014


"19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld."

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” - John 20:19-29

I'm like Thomas in so many ways. It is easy for us to believe things when we see them with our own eyes. But to believe in a God we have never seen? That's a little more difficult. Yet, so many people do. Why is that?

Do you believe that what the Bible says is true? I do. Why? Because God revealed Himself to me in a sermon one Sunday morning. It was like the sermon was written just for me. That was when I fully believed. That was when I began reading the Bible with new interest, realizing that the things Jesus said, the things that God said through it's various writers were indeed true.

Do you believe that you will live forever? I do. Why? Because Jesus told me that I would in John 3:16.

"16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

If we truly believe that we will live forever with God on The New Earth (Rev 21) why don't we live like it? Why do we keep living and breathing in the things of this world? This place is ruled by Satan (Ephesians 2:2).

We're going to try a little exercise. Go back up to the story of Thomas's belief. Grab that exclamation point at the end of verse 29. Now tip it over on its side. We have a dot and a long line. If that line extended on forever, if that life represents our life in eternity, why do we live our lives as if we're still in the dot?

The death rate on this planet is 100%. We are all going to die here. But God has PROMISED US eternal life!! What an amazing gift! Our sins will be forgiven, despite our unworthiness and then we get to live forever with no pain, no suffering and surrounded with loving brothers and sisters, like King David, Noah, Moses, Ruth, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Let's live and think that way!! We should live life like an exclamation point, not a period.

I invite you to sing this worship song with me. Listen to the words and sing them loudly. Imagine singing them in heaven to Jesus. Think eternally and take His message"to all nations" . . . making disciples as we go.

Hosanna - Hillsong

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I have a challenging question for you today. Can you think of something that you deserve? Coming up with a correct answer is not as easy as one might think. I can think of a few things I deserve but not all of them are good.

"I deserve better than this."

Have you ever heard anyone say that? How about this one.

"He got what he deserved."

Companies like McDonald's think that we deserve something. Do you remember their slogan from the 80's? "You deserve a break today." We do? Do we really deserve a break? And from what? Do we really deserve all the things we think we do?

Some people think that we humans deserve to be happy. Others are quite sure that God Himself wants us to be happy, no matter what we do. "Hey, if it feels good, do it!" Is that right? Is that true?

What if killing another human being makes us feel good? If it feels good God would want us to do it, right? Is there such a thing as right or wrong? Are there moral absolutes? Who determines the penalties? Who determines what truth is? What do we really deserve?

I entered the word "deserve" in the search engine in my on-line Bible (ESV version). I found two basic uses for the word "deserve."

The first was about receiving payment for our labor. We deserve our wages. That makes sense. It's the American way! We earned something by performing a service for someone. We have a right to be paid for it. We deserve it.

The second use of the word deserve has to do with our sins. We have earned our payment there as well. However, according to Romans 6:23, "the wages of sin is death." Everyone of us deserves death. Nice. Where is the happiness we thought God wanted us to have?

So does that mean we humans don't deserve to be happy? Yes, I'm afraid it does. Happiness is situation dependent. Happiness is always fleeting and depends on many emotional variables.

There are several pastors preaching in very large churches these days who will tell you that we all deserve happiness and that we deserve your best life now. To put it rather bluntly, and in the words of the apostle John, "they are liars and the truth of God is not in them" (1 John 2:4).

So, if we deserve death and God is just and righteous in handing out exactly what we deserve, what possible hope for happiness can we have? Let me introduce you to a different and a better feeling than just plain old happiness . . .


Joy is the feeling we get when, although we are deserving of death for the things we have done or left undone, Jesus paid the price for our sins with His death on the cross. He took the penalty that WE deserved. And He willingly paid that price because He loved us.

"Greater love has no man than this: to lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13

 The joy that we feel when we come to realize just what Jesus did for us makes us incredibly humble. Our sins caused the death of God's only son! Where is the joy in that you might ask, and rightly so. The joy came on the third day, when Jesus rose from the dead. He died so that we might live (1 Thessalonians 5:10).

There is great joy to be found in Christ. And we don't deserve any of it. It is a free gift, available to anyone willing to surrender themselves and become a child of God.

The choice is ours. We can live like the world wants us to - feeling that we deserve this and that we are owed that. Or we can surrender our hearts to Jesus and find joy that last until the end of time. Easy choice if you ask me.