Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Post-Easter Meltdown

After the left-over ham has been sliced up and put in the freezer, after The Ten Commandments discussions about "The Old Frog" and "bundage" slow down, we go back to work and return to the way things were. We are still the same. There is no change in us. Just a little religiosity at Easter and we feel better about ourselves. There is no change. Why is that?

What happened on Resurrection Sunday 2,ooo years ago SHOULD change us . . . majorly change us. Yet, has it? I think not. Look at Moses in The Ten Commandments movie. He was minding his sheep with his wife when he noticed Joshua and then a burning bush on God's mountain. He went to investigate. He became changed.

On the mountain Moses met with God. He "spoke" with God, or as Moses later recounted, "He revealed His word to my mind." Has that ever happened to you. Has God revealed Himself to you?

Later, when Moses came down off the mountain, after meeting with God, Joshua and Zipporah noticed a change in him. "Look at His face! He has seen God!"

Have we been changed after meeting God? We should be. We should become changed. We were once part of the world in which we live, but after our meeting with God, if we truly have met Him, we should exhibit some sort of change. After all, the Bible tells us that we have been "set apart" . . . made "holy." Where is the change?

There should be a time in our lives when we remember a change. I remember that day clearly. That day was January 15, 2006 for me. When was YOUR day of transformation? Do you remember it?

Still, after that day of change, we are constantly being pulled back into the world from which we came. A battle is now taking place within those of us who have been changed. A battle between good and evil, light and darkness, God and Satan. It is a constant battle, a tug-o-war and we are the rope.

We constantly have to examine ourselves and ask, "Who is winning the custody battle for our souls?" We must loosen the grip that this world has on us and pry the fingers of Satan's hand from our lives - finger by finger. Remove everything about him from our lives. We must change.

When Jesus met His disciples he changed some of their names. When Saul of Tarsus met Jesus his name was changed to Paul. Have you met Jesus? Have you changed?

"16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." - 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Moses And The Burning Bush - The Ten Commandments

Monday, March 28, 2016


What do you suppose was going through the minds of the disciples when their leader, Jesus, this "Son of God" they were following, was killed? Their "messiah" . . . dead.  One thing we know for sure . . . they were afraid.

"19 On the evening of that day (when Mary said she had seen The Lord), the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews . . . " (John 20:19)

Jesus had been put to death and, as His followers, they feared for their lives. That same morning Mary said she had seen Jesus. Yet none of THEM had seen Him. I bet there was a whole lot of discussion going on in that room as they tried to figure out just what they should do. Frustration, doubt, uncertainty, jealousy . . . What should we do!?!? How come Mary got to see Him and not any of us? Was she telling the truth or is she simply disillusional? Then, suddenly . . .

"Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” - John 20-19

How they must have swarmed Him!

I watched a video Easter Morning. The video at the bottom of this post. As the artists sings his songs we see images of an abandoned city. Images of abandoned people. They are basically dead compared to the cities and people we usually see in our lives. It occurred to me that those cities and people need a resurrection. What a wonderfully appropriate day for me to come to that realization. Easter. Resurrection Sunday.

As we walk through this world, let us not become part of it but let us work to reclaim it in the name of Christ. The lady down the street who lost her job and needs help paying off her debt. The young mother who struggles to put food on the table. The young man who thinks happiness can be found at the bottom of a bottle.

This world needs a resurrection. This world needs Jesus. We as Christians have a job to do. The job we were COMMANDED to do by Jesus Himself.

Make disciples!! God chose to save you and me. He saved us for a reason. To obey! I am failing at obedience. I need to make a stand, roll up my sleeves and get to work. HIS work, not mine! Let's do this my friends. Time is getting short.

"Whoever is generous to poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed." - Proverbs 19:17

I Lift My Hands - Chris Tomlin

Saturday, March 26, 2016

What's So Good About It?

It's the day after they crucified my Lord. A mix of emotions runs through my heart. Of course, I am terribly saddened by His death - grieved to the point where my heart aches terribly for His loss.  Saddened even more by the knowledge that it had to occur. Even more so knowing that it was MY sins that placed Him on that cross. Yet, even in His death I feel hope. And that is why my heart keeps beating. Hope.

While Jesus was still with us He told us that "unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." And he also gave us this promise . . .

"Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."

When I consider the promise He made I am not really interested in living forever. That is not even a thought in my head. I am not interested in streets of gold or any kind of "reward." What gives me the strength to carry on after all of the struggles I have been through in this live, is the hope of seeing Jesus face-to-face. That's what I long for. That is what fascinates me. That I might have the opportunity to thank Jesus personally . . . if I can even speak in the presence of my King.

The Friday before Easter is called "Good" Friday. For the life of me I cannot think of a single GOOD thing about it. Just that it HAD to happen. It had to happen so the resurrection could happen. Jesus died so that we might live. He died for our sins. He died to give us hope.

These days we Christians find ourselves being persecuted for our beliefs. Brothers and sisters are dying overseas rather than deny their faith. We here in America are having our rights taken away in favor of political correctness. We are seeing God removed from our schools and from our government whose principals and laws were based on His. It is a dark time. But nowhere near as dark as when Jesus died nearly 2,000 years ago.

Each Good Friday I come home from work and watch Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ and each time I watch it I am saddened by humanity's sinful nature. But each time I watch the movie I also see hope. In the centurion . . . at the foot of the cross.

 "54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” - Matthew 27:54

There is tremendous hope in that. "he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." - John 11:25

Were You There - Largest Ever World Male Voice Choir

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Stuck In The Muck

My dad and I used to go trout fishing whenever he and my mom would come up to visit my wife and me. There's a river a few miles north of our house that has some good, deep holes in it. And clear, cool water with a gravel bottom are prime ingredients for a good trout stream.

A winding trout stream has a few other not so pleasant characteristics as well. The shallow spots near the shoreline, especially on the "inside" of a bend in the river, are breading grounds for our state bird - the mosquito!

These "slow" portions of the river also contain a lot of settled dirt that has flowed downstream and collected there. This "muck" can be a trap when you are trying to get into or out of the river. One soon learns to avoid these areas. They can easily trap you there and could even kill you if you're not careful.

When you step in that muck your waders sink in deep. Every movement makes them sink deeper. I have had my foot sink so deep that my foot actually comes out of the wader leaving it stuck there. River muck is a good thing to avoid if at all possible.

The world we live in is a lot like that muck. It can suck us in and kill us too if we're not careful. This world is a dangerous place to begin with. Then the traps and snares that quietly hide in those unsuspecting places reach up and grab us when we least expect it.

Drugs, alcohol, gambling, sexual temptations, gluttony, laziness, apathy, greed . . . so many traps. So how do we avoid all of the muck as we walk down the river that is our lives? Stay away fro it!

We I am fishing and wade in a river, I have learned to watch out for such areas. I don't even go there! And so should it be with our lives. Stay out of the casinos, empty the liquor bottles, flush the drugs. Rid your life and your self from anything muck-like.

"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." - Galatians 5:19-21

Jesus is that drink of "living water" that washes us clean from all the muck that clings to us . . . that pulls us under. If you find yourself in the muck of this world, reach out to Jesus. Grab His hand. He can pull you out of anything. But you must be willing. And our flesh is SO weak. Reach out to Him today.

Something In The Water - Carrie Underwood

Monday, March 21, 2016

Do You Have A Family Like Mine?

After being away from home the past two weekends it sure was good to be back to worship at my home church. The guy I usually sit next to, Robbie, greeted me warmly, saying he was concerned that I was sick because I hadn't been there the past few Sunday's.

When I got home after church my wife asked me how the service was. I related the story of Robbie's concern to her to which she replied, "No one asked me where I had been these past two Sundays." And that is exactly the problem the many churches today. They are not . . . a family.

My wife belongs to a different church than me. Theological differences and the importance of "tradition" keep us from worshiping together. Her church is much larger than mine, filled with tradition, liturgy, robes and a pipe organ. The church I attend is much smaller, has no liturgy or tradition and the worship team is composed of two grey-haired gentlemen with guitars. But that's the beauty of the church I attend. It's simple, it's humble, and it's . . . a family.

Big churches are okay I guess but I prefer small ones. They're more family like. In bigger churches it's hard to feel like part of the family when you have 1000 or more brothers and sisters. Still, even though the early church was small, God added to their number daily and it grew quite large.

Small groups might seem like the answer - smaller size, more intimate relationships - but the accuracy of scriptural knowledge and theological discussions are dependent upon the most educated person in the bunch. Sometimes that's a drawback.

What make a church family a family? Well, the first thing is the Holy Spirit. He is that common thread that binds us together. Our mutual faith in God is another thing. When we believe the same things it is very easy to get along . . . just like family.

My earthly family is great but we do not always agree with one another, theologically speaking, That is not the case with my church family. We all love Jesus, we all believe He is the Son of the Living God. He was crucified, died and was buried but then on the third day He rose from the grave and walked among His "family."

Family is a precious thing. It is a gift that is given from God, but it can sometimes be lost. When we lose a family member it is always a difficult thing to go through. But family helps. Family helps us get through.

The Easter season is upon us or, as my church likes to call it, Resurrection Sunday. Have you come to know Jesus yet? All will get to meet Him one day. Some will be happy to do so. Others will not be as joyous. How amazing would it be if entire families were called to be a part of God's eternal family.

We all have a choice. Has God called you to be part of His family?? Is He knocking on your door?

"20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” - Revelation 3:20-22

Lauren Scruggs - I Am Second

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Have You Been Changed?

I saw a video yesterday that made me stop and think for a moment. Pastor David Platt, in the short video I have placed at the end of this message, said that when we encounter Jesus, we become forever changed. If there is no evident change present after placing our faith in Christ we are deceived and . . . we . . . are . . . a . . . lair.

I believe David Platt's statement to be true. We MUST be changed! If we haven't truly repented, we truly haven't placed our faith in Christ. We are still . . . dead.

There are several professing Christians in my life, and yours too, who say all the right words with their lips but then return to their old ways as if nothing has changed. That's because nothing HAS. There MUST be change.

"20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” - 2 Peter 2:20-22 we?

The word "holy" means "set apart." That should be us. We should appear different than everyone else who doesn't know Jesus. So why aren't we? Why do we return to our vomit? Why do we return to our eveil ways? Because we are sinners and , , , we love it.

There is a young lady on Facebook who sent me a Christmas card this year. She calls me her brother in Christ. That's nice. But she also rips her former boyfriends viciously, "F____ this, and F___ that." My young friend is deceiving herself. Nothing has changed in her. There has been no repentance. She is not saved. My friend will be going to hell if she does not change her evil ways, to quote Carlos Santana.

Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians, admonishing those who had returned to THEIR evil ways, to repent, reminding them that "such were some of you." - 1 Corinthians 6:11

When God's Holy Spirit enters us we become changed. There is no going back. The same Holy Spirit that convicts us of sin is the same Holy Spirit that causes us not to deny our Lord, even though we might be killed for taking that stand.

Jesus speaking to Nicodemus said, "You must be born again" - (John 3:7). We must! We MUST be born again! No amount of going to church or doing good deeds will accomplish what Jesus already accomplished through His death and resurrection.

To my young friend, I beg you to repent and turn to Christ. He is the author and perfecter of our faith" -  (Hebrews 12:2) and He CAN save you, but you must first repent . . . and change. Oh, dear Lord, how I wish you would change.

Evil Ways - Santana @ Woodstock

Why Many Christians Are Deceived - David Platt

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Who Am I?

There are times when I find myself in situations or positions I never thought I'd find myself in. It happens less these days, now that I am more mature and wise. Ahem. Yes. But when I was in my late teens and early 20's I often found myself in strange circumstances. Like when I was on the homecoming court in high school.

Most people would look at my high school senior picture and say, "Wow! What a geek!" And they would be right . . . because I WAS a geek. But I was on homecoming court. So there!!

The deal was that our school's foreign exchange student, Grace Artenzio, needed a date. The family she was staying with was my best friends family. So, Lori, my best friends sister, suggested I ask her out. So I did. I had no idea we'd be standing up on the stage. Geeks hate being in the spotlight.

The couples all got introduced. I don't remember all the names but it was jock, cheerleader, jock, cheerleader, jock, cheerleader . . . geek, and the foreign exchange student. I never expected to be there, yet, there I was.

I never expected to be where I am right now in life. I knew that I would be married one day, I guessed, and I would have kids, but I never dreamed I'd be a grandpa and be married to the same wonderful woman for nearly 40 years.

I also never thought God would mean as much to me as He does. I knew little of Him in high school. I knew OF Him, but I never KNEW Him. All that has changed and I suddenly found myself in ANOTHER position I would never have thought of when I was younger - a born-again, child of God, co-heirs with Christ, in a kingdom without end.

That sounds kind of fancy I guess. It sounds like I have been given WAY more than I deserve . . . and that is exactly right. What amazes me to this very day is, why did God choose me? Who am I that He would be mindful of me? Exactly!

"O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,

7 all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!"
- Psalm 8

All of us are unworthy of the grace that we have been shown. There is none worthy, no, not one. Even Moses asked, "Who am I?"

When we find ourselves in situations where we are way over our heads perhaps, instead of asking "Why me Lord?" we should ask, "What would you have me do Lord?" We have been given much - this gift of salvation. Let us use it for God's glory. Amen?

Who Am I? - Casting Crowns

Monday, March 14, 2016

Alone In A Crowd

I look around at all of the conversations going on. Everyone is having so much fun. Why not me? How come I'm not talking with anyone? I am alone in a crowded room. How is that even possible? Alone, in a crowd.

Do you ever feel that way? How can we be totally surrounded by people and still feel alone?

I think there is something within each of us that longs to be loved. Not in a physical, erotic sense, but in a nurturing, "hugging" sense of the word.

When my wife gets up in the morning she usually walks over to me to get a hug. Then she wants her back rubbed. She wants some attention. I give it. It's a beautiful thing. But what happens when we don't get that attention? When we long to be "held" or "touched" emotionally?

Some people chose to attain that missing element in their lives in many different ways. Some choose drugs, some choose alcohol, others sleep around, others lose themselves in exercise or watching television. There is a hole in us that longs for attention. That longs to be filled.

Go back to that "alone in a crowd" scenario. What would change that? What could possibly shake us loose from that funk? That conscious "trance" we currently find our selves in? I think it's love.

I have noticed that the one thing that can change our moods, from bad to good, is for someone to pay attention to us. For someone to think WE are significant.

I was standing with my family the other night. There were 19 of us in the room. Everyone was talking except me. I was feeling alone in the crowd. Then my nephew came up to me and started a conversation. Suddenly I was involved . . . someone was paying attention to me. Suddenly I was "normal."

There are many people in this world who are alone. You can see them on the street, staring blankly, as crowds of people pass by. We chose not to make eye contact, thinking "What if these people will rob me or ask me for money?" I admit to being one of those people. Should I not be about my Father's business and love these people as I wo8uld any other?

Everyone is "alone in a crowd" until they come to know Jesus. When we become followers of Christ we become members in a large, loving community. We care for each other. We love each other. We are WITH each other in this life and we are never EVER alone. And that my friends is a beautiful thing. :)

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” - John 14:18-21

Never Alone - Lady Antebellum

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Mindless Drone

Do you have one of those "mindless" jobs? Doing the same thing over and over and over?

Mowing the lawn is one of those mindless kinds of work for me. After you figure out how to start the lawn mower you pretty much just push it and watch it cut grass.

Have you done the same thing for so many years that it becomes dull, boring and mundane? I have driven 45 minutes to work each morning for 30 years. There have been times when I don't remember going past towns because I pass them every day and the same boring trip just numbs my brain.

How is your faith these days? Does going to church numb YOUR brain? Has your faith become so . . . routine . . . that you have forgotten the reason you were going to church in the first place? I think that describes a lot of people in the present-day church.

Do you remember the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Captain Picard got assimilated in The Borg? He became one of thousands of mindless drones, methodically serving "the collective" without thought or reason. Is that who we have become as church goers? Just mindlessly going through the routine? Without meaning or emotion? I hope not. We are called to worship "in spirit and truth."

"23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. - John 4:23-24

Is that how we worship? It that how we live our daily lives? Do we look like "boring Christians" as we walk through, and become assimilated into, this world? Or do we stand out in a crowd as we live out our faith? God does not desire mindless worshipers, but He does seek worshipers who lose themselves in worship. There is a distinction there. God has told us how we must worship. The question is, are we obeying His command?

When Captain Picard got "plugged in" with the wrong group of people his individuality and uniqueness were lost. We Christians are supposed to be holy - "set apart". Are we? Or are we simply part of the collective, going through the same mindless routine Sunday after Sunday?

There is a fine line between losing "self" in worship and an unfeeling, mindless worship. We must be cautious of not falling into the trap of sameness and boring repetitions.

Right before Jesus taught us how to pray (The Lord's Prayer) He offered these words of warning.

7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
- Matthew 6:7-13

You and I have been set apart by our faith in Jesus. We SHOULD stand out in a crowd. Jesus did. As believers we are called to be light in a dark world . . . to be like Jesus. Are we shining brightly? Today, let us stand out. Let us DO as Jesus taught us, not simply exist . . but get to work. Let us make a difference for God and His kingdom . . as long as it is called "today."

We Are The Borg

Worshiping You - Deluge

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hey, I Have An Idea!

A few weeks ago I wrote a story called Where Dreams Come From. This will be a similar story, yet it will be amazingly different. This story is about . . . ideas, and their source.

“If you have money, power, and status today, it is due to the century and place in which you were born, to your talents and capacities and health, none of which you earned. In short, all your resources are in the end the gift of God.” Tim Keller

I was driving through the pre-dawn darkness on my way to work this morning when I suddenly had an idea. I wasn't thinking about anything in particular, yet all of a sudden, boom, I had an idea. Let's start a greeting card company! What!?! Where the heck did THAT idea come from? A greeting card company? That idea, like all other ideas, come from God. Let me explain. Let's begin at the idea and navigate our way back to the source.

Last night my wife told me I had received some mail. It's always good to get mail from someone. Usually. This was good though. A hand-written envelope, a familiar name in the return address. Someone I care about had sent me a letter!

When I opened the envelope I discovered my "letter" was actually a card, and a beautifully hand-made one at that. The hand written message inside was an invitation to lunch from someone who missed me. How wonderful! How nice it is to be loved!

A few weeks ago I had received ANOTHER card from, someone. Hmm. Two hand-made cards from two separate individuals. Why would two people send me cards, suddenly, after receiving nothing from them before? Ever. Why now? And what's the connection?

Well, the two people who sent me the cards actually do know each other. As a matter of fact they are best friends. They actually made the cards together, at the same time. It's like they had a purpose in mind when they made them. Both cards were beautiful, reflections of the people who made them.

I have a friend at work. She is MY best friend. Together, we have formed an organization called We Build (look for us on Facebook). Our focus is on young adults, helping them get started in this world and doing so in the name of Jesus. These two young ladies and their greeting cards are just one example of young adults with Go-given gifts and abilities, just not know how to apply them.

God created people. To each He gave different gifts and abilities. How could God reach these two young ladies and use them for His glory? He gives an old man (me) an idea and a passion for helping young people get started in this fallen world. Imagine, these young people, both of them with little or no faith, creating faith-based greeting cards. Imagine them doing researching and writing Bible verses in cards created by their amazingly gifted human hands bringing glory to God and love to others. Does that sounds like something God might do? Oh yeah. Please pray.

I would be willing to bet that if you examine your ideas . . . or should I say God's, Godly ideas, those "where did THAT come from" ideas, you will find God and the center of it all. In the meantime, watch your mailboxes. Perhaps God will be sending YOU an idea!

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

Where Good Ideas Come From - Steven Johnson

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Land Of The Lost

I remember coming home from college and seeing my brother watching a show called Land of The Lost. It was about a dad and his two kids who somehow got lost on a rafting trip and ended up in an unknown world where it was often hard to tell the friendly people from the evil ones. Hmm. Sound like the world we live in today, doesn't it?

Think about that old television shows title - Land of The Lost. Doesn't that perfectly describe us? Watch the news at night, especially the political coverage and tell me we are not lost. It looks like we are going to have a choice for president between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Talk about lost!!

This weekend for me was, in a nutshell, the two extremes this world has to offer. Saturday I attended the wedding of a young couple that was simply wonderful. We prayed three times during the brief service and God was honored, not only during the wedding ceremony but in the lives of the two young people. My friend is ROTC, preparing to serve others and her country.

Sunday, however, I am heading back to Wisconsin to minister to a young friend in trouble. This friend took a different turn in life and now finds herself in a battle between good and evil. No sign yet as to who is winning that battle. It could go either way.

And look at the presidential race, especially the Republican side. We The People are totally lost! Or are we? There is definitely a message that is being sent to Washington's politicians. Get out!! You're lost!!

As we examine our lives are WE lost? Have WE gone astray? How do we know we haven't been sucked into the world we live in and our views about God have become changed?

We must place our faith in Jesus and receive in us His promised Holy Spirit. We must read the Bible and apply its truths to our lives. We must remove from us any wrong thinking or sinful action, and that is the battle we face.

This world constantly pulls at us wanting us to be assimilated into itself. Yet God calls us to be holy - "set apart." Who will we follow? Are we following someone that is leading us astray? And how will we know?

God gave us His Holy Word - The Bible. Read it lately?

I am reminded of the lyrics in that old hymn Amazing Grace.

"I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see."

God's grace truly is amazing. But the only way we can experience it is to receive it. We must allow Him to "find us" in our lost nature. Only then can we leave the Land of The Lost behind. Only then can he truly see.

"3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." - Luke 15:3-7

Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) - Hillsong Worship

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Truth Is

We've all seen the "Truth is" Facebook statuses go scrolling by on our news feeds. What that usually means is that someone is really bored. SO bored that they are offering to tell you the truth about your relationship with them, but what does that really mean deep down inside? What if someone really knew the truth about us, beyond what we are WILLING to tell or have known?

Have you ever found out something about someone you never knew before? Or that you never wanted to know in the first place? Maybe you saw your next door neighbor on the news who had a secret meth lab in his basement. Or maybe you learned that the sweet couple down the street was actually keeping their kids in a dog cage down in their basement. Sometimes the truth can be a rather nasty pill to swallow.

If Jesus had a Facebook page and posted a "Truth Is" status, would you like it? Would you be willing to hear the truth about yourself from God Himself?

When Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman at the well He told her things about herself that few people knew. When confronted with this truth the woman ran off amazed to tell her family and friends.

"28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did." - John 4:28

Is your life clean enough of mistakes and sin that you could confidently stand before God, fearless of the truths He would tell you? Mine's not. There are plenty of things in my past that I don't want anyone to know. Yet, God knows them already. And He still loves me.

As I watch the world scroll by . . . the narcissistic world in which we live . . . I have to wonder if there is hope for us. Truth is . . . there is no hope at all. With one amazing exception.

"3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." - 1 Peter 1:3-9

Truth is . . . it doesn't get much better than that.

Voice Of Truth - Casting Crowns, The Story Behind The Song 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Master Weaver

Do you think that God controls our lives? What about free will? Does God arrange our lives according to His purpose? If God moves through time effortlessly, He already knows the decisions were are going to make. Could He arrange things so the decisions we make line up with His original plan?

Usually we are too busy to notice the events and meetings that God orchestrates in our lives. They often pass by without notice, or thought. Sometimes we might utter a, "That was weird" when we experience some of these "coincidences" in life, but usually, we forget about them just as fast as they occur.

I am currently going through a series of events and meetings that seem as if they have been cleverly arranged, scheduled and woven together by some greater power. No human could have arranged these things.

Have you ever seem a weaver work their loom? It's all rather hypnotic, the way they throw the shuttle back and forth and shift the threads up and down, back and forth. So many things in motion, yet, in the end, one beautiful tapestry.

Right now in our community God is weaving something bigger than any individual. I am part of the tapestry but only a thread. Right now it's like God is placing all the threads on His loom. Each person a thread, each of us a different purpose. The finished design has not yet been revealed. It exists only in The Weaver's mind. God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah reminds us that he is WAY about our thinking here on earth.

"8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9

Is God working through you in your community to reach the lost around you? Where do you see God working? Why don't you join Him there? I'm sure He'd love to have you. :)

"13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." - Psalm 139:13-16

A Master Weaver At Work
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