Thursday, November 30, 2006

Something to make you smile

Here's a video that will make you smile. We all need that sometimes. Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Winter is coming!

Winter is coming to Texas tonight! It will be cold.....I don't like cold. I moved to the south from Iowa to get AWAY from the cold....but here it, snow, freezing rain, 30 degrees, WINTER! Did I mention that I don't like cold?

I know that seasons are one of God's great creations, and in fact it's a big help to nature to have these changes. I just wish it weren't so cold. Now I know that I sound old, but there's more to it than that. I really do love long days of sunlight, warm weather, and gentle makes me smile (I guess I should live in Hawaii.) But winter- short nights, cold, bad weather, snow, gloomy skies, cold, ice, heavy coats, biting winds, did I mention cold?

Ok, ok...enough already. I'm done. I won't complain anymore...I'm just glad I'm not a penguin.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Big claims

I have been studying Isaiah 40-53 for a while. I find myself strangely drawn to this section of the book, and am reading it over and over again. It is the "mountain top" of the book. It contains some amazing claims. In this section God makes claims that must be addressed by those who are truly seeking after God.

Here's just one of God's claims in this passage:

Isa 45:5 "I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
Isa 45:6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other,
Isa 45:7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.

This whole section of scripture is filled with this kind of language. God is trying to make as clear as possible this one fact- HE IS THE ONLY GOD! Now, in a politically correct world that is not accepted well, yet God said it. The very concept of "GOD" means that there can only be one...there isn't room for more than one sovereign creator. The God of the bible is claiming that place. He claims to be the only GOD.

He continues on in Isaiah to say something like this, "Let me prove I am God. I will tell you what is going to happen before it does (Omniscience). I challenge any other "gods" to do the same thing." Prophecy is one of the great evidences that God is God...he tells us what's coming before it does. No other "god" has ever done that.

I have also been reading Revelation. I am amazed to watch as God reveals himself as GOD to the world in days ahead, and still they reject him. So it's no surprise that the only God who exists is rejected for cheap copies, gods we can control. It's much easier to worship a "god" you design rather than the one who insists on being king in our lives.

I talked about this on Sunday, and am still feeding on the idea of God as king...king of everything, and longing to be king in me. I'm so blessed that the God who is has reached out to us, and wants to have a relationship with us as father, as God and as king.

Isa 45:18 For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), "I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Monday, November 27, 2006

seas 'n greetings

Well, thanksgiving is past, now it's time for Christmas! The holidays have arrived. So, let's burst forth with mad expenditures of money to buy things for those we love.....
...but maybe, just maybe there's a better way to "do Christmas," I know many have tried to do something different...homemade gifts, gift certificates, a family dinner together with no gifts (except for the kids), and a host of other ideas to make this time of year more personal...more about Jesus. I would like to challenge us to think of ways to celebrate Christmas that would be "out of the gift box." What do you think? How could we make it about HIM, and not about "the stuff?"

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I turned my laptop on the other day, and it wouldn't said "script errors", and "missing .dll files", and frozen screens, and other scary stuff. I am one of those guys that predates computers, so I panicked! I called our computer guy, but it's Thanksgiving, so he's out till next week. So, I did what any foolish novice will try to do- I tried to fix it myself! And believe it or not (not is ok), I fixed don't ask me how, or what I did, but it's working again. So, forgive my absence, I had a good reason. Ok, just wanted to update you.

Now to loftier things. I am speaking again tomorrow. I am having fun, and I think the body is as well, but I must admit it is hard. I hadn't done this weekly for a number of years, so preparing for a message weekly is difficult. I often feel very inadequate for the task, as I should.
For tomorrow I feel like the little boy with a few loaves of bread and two fish- I feel ill equipped to feed so many, any good minister of the gospel does I prepare as well as I can and pray like crazy! I would appreciate your prayers as well.

I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Have a great Thanksgiving!

It's time for turkey and gorging today.
Time to be with family.
Time to rest.
Time to say "Thank you" to the God who loves us and provided for us.
Take time to celebrate, take time to be with family, take time to rest....and have a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Celebrating "here"

I am amazed at my own thoughts at times. I find that I often think about "somewhere else." We are such funny creatures. We are so seldom content with where we are, who we are, and what we are doing. We all want to be somewhere else, doing something different. We miss so much with our wandering desires, our dreams of "something better."

Paul wrote these daunting words-

Phi 4:11 Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances.
Phi 4:12 I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty.
Phi 4:13 Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

I have lived a lot of years on this poor planet, and yet contentment often eludes me. I "want" something, not sure what, something more...something else...somewhere other than here. It's a terrible disease- this discontent that we feel. Why can't we find peace with who we are, where we are and doing what God has given us to do? But we don't, we can't, we won' peace evaporates before our eyes.

I know I have written about this before, and I visit it again because I see such a struggle with this issue of contentment. How do we sort all of this out? What do we pursue as Godly desires, and when do we simply rest in his provision? It's a walk with the Lord that brings clarity to all of this, but it's not easy to achieve. It's a challenge to find that place, that walk, that peace of contentment with here, now, what I'm doing, who I am.

Lord, for me, help me to find that place with you where the calm of contentment brings clarity to my life. Lead me to that place, that knowledge, that relationship. Help me to find peace with here, now, and what you have given me to do.

As Bucaroo Bonzai said, "Just remember, wherever you go, there you are."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

33 years ago today...

Time passes so fast. It was only yesterday that one of my best days ever happened, but as I look back it has been 33 years!

33 years ago today was a Sunday.

33 years ago today I was the minister of evangelism at a bible church in Ft. Smith, Arkansas working with a college friend of mine.

33 years ago today, at about this time in the day, we were in the morning know- doing church. My old friend, David Shibley, was pastor. We had a growing ministry we were trying to care for, and it was exciting!

33 years ago today, when the invitation was given, a young lady came forward to receive Christ as her savior. I prayed with her. Talked with her. It was great to see another person in the kingdom. (It's funny to me how a little meeting will turn out to be a big thing in the years ahead.)

33 years ago today, in the evening, we had a baptism service, and this young lady came back to be baptized with her family. I visited with her and her dad and uncle after the service. She was a real sweet girl. She had my attention. (And did I mention she was very pretty too?)

33 years ago today is when I met my wonderful wife, Joye. She was that young lady. I am blessed!

33 years...seems like such a short time to me now, but what a wonderful day it was in both of our lives.

Our lives are so short and how quickly they fly by. In each of our lives are days like mine and Joye's- days that may not seem like much right now, but are turning points in our lives. This is one of those days for us.

Pro 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD.

Pro 31:10 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Getting to know the Father

Pictures of dads and kids always make us smile. It's such an important part of life to have a dad, to have a dad who loves you. So many in our world don't have a dad that loves them, many don't even know who their dad is.

The New Testament introduces a concept that was not a theme of the Old Testament- that God could be our Father, that we could talk to him as Father, as "daddy." Jesus taught this new concept in the gospels, and

for us in the church it doesn't seem foreign, but for the Jewish nation of the first century it was a big deal! They did not view God as "Father." They didn't feel that they had that kind of access to him, but Jesus used this language in the sermon on the mount and redefined the relationship God wants with his people- a relationship of Father and child. It was, and is a big thing to know that we can have an intimate relationship with the living God who made us. A relationship where we call our creator "daddy." Wow!

1Jo 3:1 What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it--we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to.
1Jo 3:2 But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him--and in seeing him, become like him.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A personal psalm

In a class I teach I asked the students to write a Psalm. I really loved the one that Janet wrote. It has such a wonderful flavor of the kind of Psalm that David would have written. I hope you enjoy her psalm, and let me encourage you to write your own psalm. I would love for you to share them in your comments. What is your psalm?

Psalm 000
Written by Janet *******
November 12, 2006

For the director of music. With stringed instruments.

What a glorious morning to be on this earth, O Lord!
I praise your Holy Name and all the blessings you have bestowed upon me.
You’ve given me eyes to see and ears to hear in your beautiful world.

I joyfully start my day with a run through your path of peace.
You give me strength to go further and faster than I could do on my own.
I see the moonbeam fade and the sunrise to the east –
your symbol of a new day full of promise and hope.


Hear my prayer, O Lord, as I prepare for the day ahead.
May your Holy Spirit give me peace during times of tribulation.
Give others the comfort that only you alone can provide.
May your love endure forever and ever.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Life lessons

I have always loved this picture. It's so amazing that this lighthouse can stand against the waves that pound it daily, but I recently read that the designers of these lighthouses figured out a way to link the blocks together so that when it's hit by a wave the blocks of the building are pushed together, tighter, and the building is stronger because of the waves that hit it.
I'm finding that I am becoming that way as well. Problems that would have knocked me down a few years ago only annoy me now. I am becoming stronger because of the problems. Now, I must admit I don't like difficult times any more than anyone else...they are very annoying, but I am beginning to see what God is up to- he's using these times to get my attention and my trust. The struggles are making me stronger in my faith.
I wish someone would have told me all of this years ago, but I don't think I would have understood it as well as I do now, having gone through all of these waves myself. The problems of life do take a toll- there are scars from the fight, but the inner strength we gain, the faith developed is amazing to see. We have a dear friend and her husband who have gone through a very difficult time and her recent post is wonderfully written about her walk of faith. May I encourage you to read it? I think it will be a real encouragement. Here's her blog-

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thank you!

For all of you who have served this country in the armed services, thank you!
Your sacrifice has made this country a great place to live.
Thank you all!

(It's also my birthday! My dad always told me that the parades were to celebrate my birthday. So it took me a while to figure out that it was for the veterans, not for me.)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dry days, part 2

I'm blessed to find that I'm not in the desert alone.

Several of you have shared that you are "out here" with me.

Thank you for your wonderful love and comfort.

Others have offered to "bring me a drink."

Your love and support is a very real blessing. Thank you so much.

I think my problem, and the problem I see in others is the desire to always be near an oasis, to always have water near. I want "cool water" available to me all the time. But if God didn't take me to the desert once in a while I wouldn't know how to trust him.

The desert is the place where I do not have what I need, and so I look to God. It's in the desert where faith is built. In the desert is where I see miracles. It's here where I really hear God.

When everything is easy and comfortable I'm not as sensitive to God's voice. Elijah found that true when God led him to the mountain of Horeb. It was there that he heard God's still small voice. It was there, in the desert, where he met with God.

If that's where God leads people so they can meet with him then I think I will stay out here a little while longer....I'll get to the oasis eventually, but for now I'm listening for that still small voice...water can wait.

1Pe 1:3-7 (The Message)- What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven--and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you'll have it all--life healed and whole. I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Priceless things

I found this story on a great blog page from India. It was so good I "borrowed" it.

"A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said. "I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone."Sometimes it's not the wealth you have but what's inside you that others need. "

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dry days

I find myself in a dry place. I'm in the word every day, but....

I feel like I'm in the part of my journey where I am now walking through a desert. I'm in the word each day, but still feeling dry and thirsty.

What do I do?

How do I get through this?

Keep "walking"...God has promised to provide, there must be water up ahead.

I can't stop here in the desert and be mad at God. I know there is water somewhere because I have been refreshed by it many times before.

Just because it dry here, right now, doesn't mean anything.

I will keep walking, these are the times when I know I will see miracles, don't forget about the rock of Horeb, gushing water for 2,000,000 children of Israel in the desert....the same desert I'm walking through.

Don't forget that God has given you water and met your needs your entire life. He won't stop now.....just keep walking.....

Joh 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
Joh 7:38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Life happens

I love faces! There is so much to see- time, life, sorrows, happiness, regrets, satisfaction, hope, fears....all of it shows in the face. I sometimes wonder about a persons life when I meet them- what caused those wrinkles? Why are they so sad? What makes them so happy? What happened in their life to create that heavy brow? What history has happened in this life to create that look? What have they gone through?
We each live out our choices and over the years they add up to a life...lived well or lived poorly...the choices show, and become part of who we are. It's the art work we are creating called our faces.
Once in a while I will see a smile on an old's hard to do, but they try.
What makes us smile?
Is it an easy life?
A lot of money?
No problems?
I have found one thing that will bring a smile. In fact it's the only place in the bible where the word "smile" is used. It comes from an understanding of ME, and an understanding of GOD. When I get those two things right then the little things of life stay little. When I lose focus on who is God, then I have problems.
Make it your goal to let God be God,
and smile because he is!

Psa 39:1-13- I said, "I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle While the wicked are in my presence." I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, And my sorrow grew worse. My heart was hot within me, While I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue: "LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. "Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah. "Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them. "And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You. "Deliver me from all my transgressions; Make me not the reproach of the foolish. "I have become mute, I do not open my mouth, Because it is You who have done it. "Remove Your plague from me; Because of the opposition of Your hand I am perishing. "With reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity; You consume as a moth what is precious to him; Surely every man is a mere breath. Selah.
"Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I am a stranger with You, A sojourner like all my fathers. "Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may smile again Before I depart and am no more."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Living in two worlds

A Christian is a very strange creation- living in the world of flesh and matter AND at the same time indwelt by the very spirit of the God who made us. Made alive because of His presence.

It's a strange creation. Paul described it this way,

2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

What an amazing creation of God- a fallen man, saved by faith in Christ AND indwelt by His Spirit, given life he didn't have, to live eternally in the presence of God. In this time, until we enter eternity, we live in time AND in eternity, in the flesh AND in the Spirit, reading His word AND illuminated by His Spirit, walking in the flesh, but living by His Spirit.

Living in two worlds- the world of the flesh AND Spirit. No wonder we look so strange to the world!

Personal Mission Statement

I've noticed that most businesses have a mission statement. It's their statement of who they are and what they want to do. Here are a few of them:

Microsoft- "At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. This is our mission. Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible."

Chick-fil-A- "Be America's Best Quick-Service Restaurant"

Honda- "Maintaining a global viewpoint, we are dedicated to supplying products of the highest quality at a reasonable price for worldwide customer satisfaction."

That's only three, but you get the idea. Do you have a mission statement, a personal one? Do you have an overarching mission statement for your life? I know that businesses and churches all have them, but I find that few people have ever thought of such a thing for their lives. What do you want to be "when you grow up?" What is the goal of your life, your mission statement?

If asked to write one what would your mission statement be?

Here are a couple examples of personal mission statements-

"For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." - Paul

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." -Jim Elliott

"He who dies with the most toys wins." -bumper sticker

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Too busy?

Do you find that you are too busy? I have found myself there. It's amazing that we fly through a week and have to schedule time with God as if he were just another appointment in our lives. What sad lives we have when we get so busy that we have to "fit" God into our days.
But most of us are overwhelmed with the demands of life- commute to work, long work days, commute home, soccer, baseball, dinner, homework, a little time watching TV and then we crumble into bed...oh yeah, forgot time with God...maybe tomorrow.
Sound like your life? It's mine right now. I find I'm "fitting" God into my life instead of fitting my life around him. I feel poorer for it. It's not the way I want to IS Christ. He's not someone to fit into what I do, he's all of it.
Now, don't let my thoughts frustrate you, because I know that many are living just as I do at times....too time for God, but let me share Jesus' words to his disciples (and I think they apply to us as well.) Jesus wants us to rest, to have time with him, to refresh. We cannot function without that time with him.

Mar 6:31 And He *said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while." (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)