Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday's cartoon

I completely understand his confusion! There is so much bad science being sold to us about global warming, oh....I'm sorry...the new term is climate change.....since global warming isn't happening. Yes, it's confusing. Yes, things are changing. Does it mean that we are destroying the planet? Not according to God. I do agree we need to be wise and take care of our environment, but I do believe we are overestimating our ability to affect what God has created and sustains. Many in our culture don't trust God, so when things look difficult the weight of "fixing it" is all on us...we must "save our planet!" Well, excuse me, but what arrogance! If you believe what God says he has promised to be sovereign and maintain our day and night, planting and harvesting, summer and winter until he is finished with this universe. If all of us went "green" and lowered our "carbon footprint" as low as possible we would still make little impact on a planet that God is caring what do we do? Conserve, save gas when you can, recycle, carpool, drive a smaller car, and trust the Lord who said HE controls and sustains our planet and environment.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quote of the day

God is not as interested in what you do as he is in who you are....because who you are will affect what you do.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Freedom in Christ

I've often thought about, read and taught a passage in 1 Corinthians that I read again this week. It's a passage that always makes me stop and dwell on's a very challenging passage. Here it is:

1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
1Co 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

In these verses, which are part of a whole chapter of Paul's thoughts on our freedom in Christ, Paul asks a question that should stop every Christian in his steps to read it again,

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,

This is a new thought to the early Christian and to us. When we think of the temple of God we think of Solomon's temple or the temple of Herod during Jesus' day...something made of brick and mortar, but since the cross God no longer uses one place, one building, as his residence on planet earth. Now, instead of dwelling in buildings, he lives in the lives of his children...flesh and blood. Now we are his temple! Now, right now, we are the living temple of God on planet earth! Isn't that amazing? And from that amazing revelation he makes three statements that outline our freedom in our Christian life. Here they are:

1. you are not your own

2. you have been bought with a price

3. Therefore glorify God in your body.
Because of 1 & 2 we have a decision to make. Because we have been purchased by another, Christ himself, we belong to him. We are his, we are his dwelling place, his temple. We don't "own" our lives any longer. We are now the possession of another, therefore to glorify God in your body is the logical response to all that he has done in and for us. The application is our response to all that Christ has done, but it does demand a response. A "thank you" is not what he wants....he wants your life.

So, how does this describe our freedom in Christ? It's rather simple- I can do anything in my life (understanding that I belong to someone else) that will glorify God in my body. What simple, clear and liberating guidelines. What amazing freedom!

Some would say, "how restricting, I can't do anything!" But the opposite is true. You can do anything as long as you realize that you are dealing with someone else's property, and he expects you to make HIM look good, to bring glory to him. It changes how we look at life, how we view ourselves, how we deal with others, how we take care of ourselves. What's it like to be a living temple of God? It's an amazing blessing and challenge for you see that YOU are the one place that those of the world will look to see what God is are you doing?

Friday, June 27, 2008

A great story

I love to read stories like this where great blessings come to those in need. This "accident" couldn't have been written any better if you made it up! I wonder if a wife took "that old painting" her husband liked and just gave it away? Wouldn't you love to know "the rest of the story?"

Painting Left At Goodwill Auctions For $40,000
POSTED: 9:22 am PDT June 26, 2008

EASTON, Md. -- An old painting dropped off at a rural Maryland Goodwill store turned out to be a work by a French Impressionist. And now, thanks to the sharp eye of a store employee, the charitable organization is $40,000 richer.
The Parisian street scene, left at the store in March along with daily donations of pots, pans, old clock radios and other items, turned out to be a work by Edouard-Leon Cortes, probably from the early 20th century.
The painting -- called "Marche aux fleurs" or "Flower Market" -- was sold for $40,600 at a Sotheby's auction a few weeks ago.
"It could have very easily ended up put in a pile, marked for $20," says Ursula Villar, marketing and development director for Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake Inc.
Store manager Terri Tonelli said employees asked her to look at the donated painting because they suspected it was valuable. She found the artist's name on Google and discovered that Cortes was a notable French Impressionist whose work had sold at auction for prices near $60,000.
If the owner of the painting wants the money, he or she may be out of luck. Goodwill says it doesn't keep track of donors. Donations, meanwhile, are gifts that are considered legal and final transactions.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Beans, glorious beans!!!!!!

One of our friends in the church just got back from a vacation in Hawaii. Before she went I asked her to find some raw Kona coffee beans, and I'm blessed to hear that she has! She is bringing them by today. I can't tell you how excited I am to get some raw Kona beans. In case I haven't mentioned it I roast my own coffee beans, and to get a great bean like this is a treat. There is nothing like fresh roasted coffee. I'm convinced that coffee is one of the foods that wasn't cursed in the fall (just kidding.) So, I will report back to you on the results of this quest for Kona!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Enjoying life

One of the things that I notice about Jesus in the gospels is that he enjoyed eating. I know he made food for nourishment, but it's also clear he made it to be enjoyed. It's clear, as you read, that he enjoyed a good meal and fellowship more than those around him. So, in honor of the one who is coming soon a fun cartoon about of my favorite topics (and his too)!

The church and the world

Early in my pastoral years one of my dear members gave me a copy of this poem. She was in her 70's at the time, and had kept a copy of this poem from years earlier. My copy is now yellow and faded, but it's an amazing poem. Although it's language is from another time the message is still important-
The Church and the World walked far apart
On the changing shores of time,
The World was singing a giddy song,
And the Church a hymn sublime.

“Come, give me your hand,” said the merry World,
“And walk with me this way!”
But the faithful Church hid her gentle hands
And solemnly answered “Nay!

I will not give you my hand at all,
And I will not walk with you;
Your way is the way that leads to death;
Your words are all untrue.”

“Nay, walk with me but a little space,”
Said the World with a kindly air;
“The road I walk is a pleasant road,
And the sun shines always there.

Your path is thorny and rough and rude,
But mine is broad and plain;
My way is paved with flowers and dews,
And yours with tears and pain.

The sky to me is always blue,
No want, no toil I know;
The sky above you is always dark,
Your lot is a lot of woe.
There’s room enough for you and me
To travel side by side.”

Half shyly the Church approached the World
And gave him her hand of snow;
And the old World grasped it and walked along,
Saying, in accents low:

“Your dress is too simple to please my taste;
I will give you pearls to wear,
Rich velvets and silks for your graceful form,
And diamonds to deck your hair.”

The Church looked down at her plain white robes,
And then at the dazzling World,
And blushed as she saw his handsome lip
With a smile contemptuous curled.

“I will change my dress for a costlier one,”
Said the Church, with a smile of grace;
Then her pure white garments drifted away,
And the World gave, in their place,
Beautiful satins and shining silks,
Roses and gems and costly pearls;
While over her forehead her bright hair fell
Crisped in a thousand curls.

“Your house is too plain,” said the proud old World,
“I’ll build you one like mine;
With walls of marble and towers of gold,
And furniture ever so fine.”

So he built her a costly and beautiful house;
Most splendid it was to behold;
Her sons and her beautiful daughters dwelt there
Gleaming in purple and gold.

Rich fairs and shows in the halls were held,
And the World and his children were there.
Laughter and music and feasts were heard
In the place that was meant for prayer.

There were cushioned seats for the rich and the gay,
To sit in their pomp and pride;
But the poor who were clad in shabby array,
Sat meekly down outside.

“You give too much to the poor,” said the World.
“Far more than you ought to do;
If they are in need of shelter and food,
Why need it trouble you?

Go, take your money and buy rich robes,
Buy horses and carriages fine;
Buy pearls and jewels and dainty food,
Buy the rarest and costliest wine.

My children, they dote on all these things,
And if you their love would win
You must do as they do, and walk in the ways
That they are walking in.”

So the poor were turned from her door in scorn,
And she heard not the orphan’s cry;
But she drew her beautiful robes aside,
As the widows went weeping by.

Then the sons of the World and the Sons of the Church
Walked closely hand and heart,
And only the Master, who knoweth all,
Could tell the two apart.

Then the Church sat down at her ease, and said,
“I am rich and my goods increase;
I have need of nothing, or aught to do,
But to laugh, and dance, and feast.”

The sly World heard, and he laughed in his sleeve,
And mockingly said, aside:
“The Church is fallen, the beautiful Church;
And her shame is her boast and her pride.”

The angel drew near to the mercy seat,
And whispered in sighs her name;
Then the loud anthems of rapture were hushed,
And heads were covered with shame.

And a voice was heard at last by the Church
From Him who sat on the throne:

“I know thy works, and how thou hast said,
‘I am rich, and hast not known
That thou art naked, poor and blind,
And wretched before my face;’
Therefore from my presence cast I thee out,
And blot thy name from its place.”

by Matilda C. Edwards
Best Loved Poems (Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing, 1936), pages 345-347
(The words near the end of the poem reflects a holiness theology, but the message of the poem does deal with a problem we continue to have- a comfort with the world. I wonder what the author saw as she wrote this poem nearly 100 years ago. I would love to hear your thoughts.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just thinking

I'm at a secret location today to recover from what the doctor told me yesterday is strep. In the past, before I broke my heel in February, I was rarely ever ill, but now it appears my immune system is weakened and I'm getting everything. So, from my hiding place today here are a few random thoughts....I haven't done this in a while, so here goes:

-I read an article yesterday in the news that said 92% of Americans believe in God (however they define him). That surprised me. If true we have a dramatic disconnect between what we believe and what we do. My mind races to a question Jesus asked, Luke 6:46 "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? Somehow we have built a chasm between our faith and our practice. I'm sure, from what I read in the bible, that God is not happy with that.

-I'm dreading the next few months as politicians battle with words to climb to the top of the presidential mountain. It's hard to listen to, and in fact I think most people I know have become rather jaded to the whole political game played in Washington. I know God will put the one in power he wants, but I'm sure the politicians don't believe that, so they denigrate each other to gain our votes. It's become a very sad system for getting elected.

-Our two oldest granddaughters are here for the week to go to Vacation Bible School. It's great fun to have them with us for the week, but for some reason adding two little girls to our home for a week raised the noise level to about 83 decibels!


-I had the great pleasure of going to a Texas Rangers game last week with two of our pastors. I really enjoy baseball, but don't get to watch it enough.

-Filled the gas tank on my little compact car late last week and it cost me $60.00! I know many have spent more at the pump, but this is a compact car. Now here is my question- why isn't our government speaking out to tell us, "CONSERVE!" It's such an easy solution, and could save several million barrels per day, but they haven't said a word! Where's intrusive government intervention when you really need it?


-And on that same note since my foot is much better I'm getting the motorcycle out again! It's been parked in the garage for these 6 months waiting for me, so I can't wait to be on it again and save some of that gas money.
Have a great day!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Caution- Eternity ahead

I was saddened to read that George Carlin, the comedian, died yesterday. I have, over the years, prayed for his salvation. He was a very angry and vocal atheist, and, as far as I know now, he left this world as one. Here's part of the press release, and then my comments at the end:

By Dean Goodman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -

"Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs, dirty words and the demise of humanity, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday. He was 71." In an interview with Reuters in 2001 George said this, "I don't have any beliefs or allegiances. I don't believe in this country, I don't believe in religion, or a god, and I don't believe in all these man-made institutional ideas,"

As a kid I really loved George's comedy. In those early days it was still "family friendly," but as he aged his comedy became crude and offensive. I'm sorry to hear that he died.

John wrote these words about men like George, John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

I hope, in his last days, George did come to faith, but if not he faces a sad eternity. It grieves me to think about a life lived without Christ and then an eternity without life.

Life is short, eternity is long. Heaven and hell are real. The bible is true. There is only one way to life and that is faith in Jesus Christ alone. I wish I could have talked to George before he died, it might not have done any good, but I don't want anyone to face eternity without life.

We need to be clear and passionate about this one thing- Caution-Eternity is ahead! Don't enter it without life!

Monday's cartoon

This is a little different for a Monday morning, but it's great animation and music as well. Have a great day!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where in the world is Matt? (2008)

Here is Matt's latest video. Again, a lot of fun. How do the rest of us get a gig like this? I can't dance either, but no one is offering to fund my trip around the world to dance poorly. Oh well, I'll just not dance here in Texas.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The people God loves

One of the first songs I remember from Sunday School as a child is the simple children's song, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Here are a few of those people God loves.... The ones Jesus died for.

Saturday's cartoon

This cartoon reminded me of my first pastorate. We were very young, and had taken a pastorate in the Quaker churches. Shortly after settling in one of the men in the church came up to me after the church service to introduce himself to me. He said, "Pastor, my name is ______. I don't want to be here, but my wife makes me come with her. I'll give you 20 minutes to preach, but then I'm going to sleep and I snore!" And true to his word he did! The thing that made it harder was that they sat on the front row. I quickly learned to preach a 20 minute sermon. There were days we raced to the finish line- I to the end of the message, and my unwilling parishioner to sleep. It's a funny memory now, but was a challenging experience for a young pastor then. It's funny how a little cartoon will bring back such unusual memories......

Friday, June 20, 2008

Catering to the "cute" lovers.....

Ok, I admit it.....this is just an attempt to cater to those who love "cute" was too good not to share.....

High MPG transportation!

I've found it! High mileage transportation tht will take care of those $60 visits to the gas station. I'm looking for a dealer now, but afraid the commute might take too long...what do you think?


Balance.....what an interesting word.
The dictionary defines it this way- "A state of equilibrium or parity characterized by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces."
I often hear this word used in a discussion about Christian living, "I want to live a balanced Christian life." Other word combinations similar to this still express the same thing- an attempt to balance my Christian life against something else. My good friend, Dave, says there is no such thing as a balanced Christian life. You are either fully committed to Christ and your walk with him or you aren't. You can't balance your Christian life with anything else. All of your life IS your Christian life and everything you do should be affected by your walk with God. To try to live a balanced Christian life is really living a divided life- divided between "being a Christian" and whatever else you want to put on the other side of the scale.
Balance....great for tractors, bad for Christian living.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

World's largest fish tank

"If you wanted to visit the world's largest fish tank, you'd have to go to Okinawa, Japan, home of the "Kuroshio Sea," otherwise known as the Churaumi Aquarium. Their fish tank is so humongous, it holds four whale sharks – the biggest fish alive! Not only is the local sea life that's housed in the tank beautiful to look at, but the observation window at the Churaumi is a marvel on its own. The acrylic-resin window clocks in at 26 feet high by 73 feet wide, and almost two feet thick in order to hold the pressure of the water which is pumped in from 300 feet offshore. Don't the people in this picture look like fish food compared to these massive sea creatures!?" -7:00am by PetSugar

I love to watch fish swim, it's such an amazing thing to see a world so removed from us. The beauty of God's creation in the oceans is awe inspiring. There is nothing more soothing to me than to simply watch fish swimming is a wonderful way to worship the God who made it all. How amazing he is, how creative, how inventive, how fascinating....he's thought of creatures we put in tanks and pay to see. Watching fish a way to worship God? YES, of course....hey, let's go to Japan and spend some time watching fish!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eat (Chocolate), Drink (Coffee) and be Merry

I knew I was making the right food choices! Here's proof-

Eat (Chocolate), Drink (Coffee) and be Merry

Just What the Doctor Ordered: Photo by Jon Åslund (CC Licensed)

Stumped at the café? Go for a mocha.
According to new research, the tasty beverage provides a double-whammy of health benefits: chocolate may slow cancer growth, and java could help you live longer. The good news about chocolate comes from scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center, who found that a synthetic chemical that is similar to a compound present in cocoa beans slows the growth of colon cancer by 50 percent. Not only did it retard growth, it damaged most of the colon cancer cells. The compound, known as GECGC, is most effective at impeding those cancer cells that usually grow at frighteningly-quick rates; promising, given that they are also often the most deadly.

Quote of the day

"You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." -Mary Tyler Moore

Difficult things

This morning I am reading Genesis 18. In this chapter Abraham is visited by three strangers. It's a very interesting chapter, but what caught my eye this morning is something that the Lord asked Abraham in response to his disbelief of God's promise. Here's the short passage and then my thoughts-

Gen 18:10 He said, "I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him.
Gen 18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.
Gen 18:12 Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?"
Gen 18:13 And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?'
Gen 18:14 "Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son."

All through the Bible I see God asking very interesting questions. They aren't ever meant to get information as most questions do because God already knows the answer. His questions are meant to get a response from the hearer. In this passage he asks a question that he will ask of others later in the Bible. Since God asks the question more than once let's talk about it. Here's his question that caught my attention this morning-

Is anything too difficult for the LORD?

I read that, stopped, read it again...I have read it hundreds of times before....but this time I ask myself the question......Is anything too difficult for the Lord? Your answer tells you a lot about your theology, but I thought about that in my life. Does my prayer life reflect a belief in a big God or do I refrain from big requests because I'm not sure God can handle them. I'm in the middle of a biography of George Muller right now who lived his life in dependence on God alone to meet the needs of his life and ministry and I know George would tell me emphatically, "No, there's nothing too difficult for God!" But I think that most Christians live their lives with a small God theology, a theology that doesn't really believe that God is able or willing to answer the "big prayers." So, today I'm dwelling on a question for me- Is anything too difficult for God? Is the God I worship the same one who created the universe with a word? Is the God I worship the one who holds all things together and is powerful enough to meet my needs? Am I really a worshipper of the God of the Bible or have I settle for a "pocket God"...a token of the real one? Is anything too difficult for the LORD? Do I really believe that God is who he says he is or not?

Each of us has to work through these questions and come to a place of dependence on the God who is able or try to manage our lives on our own. I think this question to Abraham is probably one of the most important questions we will ever answer in our own lives- Is anything too difficult for the LORD?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Now for something really silly

Now I know that our culture has gone completely insane- high heels for babies! Here's their motto- "her first high heels." I'm sure they will be successful because stupid ideas like this always do well. When you combine a bored culture with too much time and money you get silly things like this. (Sorry to get on my soap box, this is just too much for me or am I simply getting too old?)
So what's the big deal? I just see so much that is really needed in our world that to waste money on this silliness just bugs me. Ok, I feel a little better now. Thanks for listening......

Monday's cartoon

Sorry I'm late with the regular Monday cartoon, but you wouldn't believe my Monday if I told you, so I will use that as my excuse. I found this cartoon and thought it was's like the story of the little boy who responded to his Sunday School teacher, "I know the answer is Jesus, but it sounds a lot like a squirrel."

Monday, June 16, 2008

The difficult parts of my job

It was nearly 1 am this morning. I was finally sleeping well and then the phone rings. It was officer Scott from our local police department. Scott told me, "We have a notification of death to do tonight, will you come and help me?" And so, at 1 am this morning I get dressed, head for the police station and we get in Scott's patrol car to go to the families home. Scott said, "I have never done this before, would you tell the family that their 27 year old daughter was found dead in her apartment?" Thanks, Scott! (I thought), but I responded, "Sure, I'll be glad to talk to the family." This poor family was awake, waiting for news. They had called the city where their daughter lives to ask the police to check on their daughter....they hadn't heard from her on Father's day and that was not normal or good news. So here we were....with the news they didn't want to hear. When we arrived at their home they were waiting in the driveway. We introduced ourselves, and I turn my attention to the young ladies mother. I took her hands and softly told her the bad news. It was a ministry of presence more than anything else. Once they knew the truth their words turned to thoughts of their daughter, questions about what to do next, caring for each other and tears. These times are always sacred moments when you care for people in their deepest times of sorrow. I almost feel I shouldn't be there, or should take off my shoes as Moses did. In those minutes together we heard their daughter's whole life story. It was a great comfort to me to know that she was a Christ follower and an avid student of God's word. I know these moments happen thousands of times each day, but when I'm part of a life's odyssey from mortal to immortal it's always a life changing experience. I know you don't know this family, but I would ask that you pray for them as they grieve over the death of their young daughter. Personally, I look forward to seeing what God does in this families life in the days ahead, and am praying for them. Even these difficult times in my job are blessed opportunities to serve God simply by being there.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Who's in charge?

This morning I was reading in Jeremiah and came to these words-

Jer 27:4 "Command them to go to their masters, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, thus you shall say to your masters,
Jer 27:5 "I have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight.

It struck me that I live in a culture that has the perception that WE decide who is in charge. In fact that's not the case at all. God says over and over in the Bible that he places the leaders in place he wants, but what frightens us is seeing WHO he places in leadership. After the words above are these-

Jer 27:6 "Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him.

It was hard for the people of Israel to understand how God could do such a thing. Nebuchadnezzar was very violent, cruel and wicked ruler. His exploits are legendary. I know my question to Jeremiah would have been, "how can God do that?" I often forget that God has a divine plan and is bringing that plan to it's final chapter. The best news to me in our time is not that the next leader of our country is a republican or democrat, but that God is in charge. That makes me smile, even when I don't know how we will ever survive the leader of the day......God is in charge.

Oh, and in case it's not clear he's in charge of his church as well. Having a sovereign God is a very comforting thing.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What an amazing family!

It's early Saturday morning and I just got back from seeing our Mexico mission trip off. This morning, at 4:30am, 80 people gathered to go to Mexico to build homes for people who don't have a decent place to live. What an amazing family the church is! Every day there are churches around the world reaching out to help others in need. In fact hospitals, soup kitchens, universities and a hundred other helps services were all started by the church of Jesus Christ.

Here's what's amazing to me about our trip this morning-

-each person raised their own support (which included part of the building cost)

-each of them took a week of their own time to go to a dusty, dry part of Mexico and work to help someone else

-all of them were at the church at 4:30 this morning to ride for 12 hours to serve others

-they will be sleeping in tents all week to build a house for someone else

-most of these people have done this trip before and love it

-they are all excited when they return because they were able to help someone else

-did I mention that most of the people on this trip are teenagers?

What an amazing family the church of Jesus Christ is! Having been on many mission trips it's always amazing to see that on every trip people are sacrificing of their time and money to help someone else. There is no other group of people on planet earth like the church of Jesus Christ. The church, reaching out in love as Christ commanded, has made a tremendous difference in the lives of millions. Today I'm excited to be part of such an amazing family- the Church of Jesus Christ!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The results of bad food

You've heard the expression, "sicker than a dog?" That was me. I found myself suffering from food poisoning. The food induced illness triggered other problems, and I was miserable. I'm feeling better today, but things like these are always opportunities for object lessons to me. I really trusted the restaurant I went to on that day, and enjoyed the meal little knowing that it would make me miserably ill for the next 3 days. I trusted the restaurant to give me good food, and because they failed I suffered. (I'm still a little ill today, but getting better.)

Many of you have had food poisoning, so I don't need to go into details on the results, but it's not fun.

So let me use this horrible experience to make a spiritual application- what you "eat" spiritually does matter. You may trust the source, but it might make you ill. There's a lot of "food" (ideas, truths, teachings) being offered that are good for you and will make you grow, but there is much being offered that will make you sick spiritually. You take in the nourishment with great enjoyment only to find soon afterward that you have been made ill by it. The problem with spiritual food poisoning is that you may not know how sick you are from the "food" (ideas, teaching) you have consumed. It's easy to eat from a dumpster thinking it's great stuff if you don't know any better. But when you get good food then the "bad stuff" becomes evident. There needs to be a reliable food source that we can measure the rest by, and there is...the bible is the one food supply that always offers good food for the hungry soul. It's also a great measuring stick to evaluate all other food offered to you. If the "meal" being offered doesn't line up with what the word of God offers then there is a real good chance it will make you sick. So be careful where you go for your nourishment. There is wonderful food available, but there is also much that will make you miserable. Be careful where you go for your "spiritual meals." It will affect you for good or for ill.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Today I find myself at home, ill, trying to rest and recover. I'm also aware that my mental gas tank is quite empty. I am constantly pouring fuel in- time in the bible, reading several great books, but I find that I feel very empty headed....out of gas. I have several things I am working on, thoughts I'm developing, personal issues I'm working through and should be back at full speed soon, so thanks for your patience.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Amazing missionaries

When you have time read Jenny's blog entry about a possible new member of their family. Missionaries find their mission fields in unusual places, just as we do here at home, but I think this post will really inspire you, and I hope challenge you to pray for Brandon and Jenny.

We're back!!

We're back!! It was a whirlwind trip across Arkansas, but we got home safely last night. Thanks for your comments last week while we were gone. It was hard to find a place to get online, so I didn't post as I normally have, but will get back to work this week. It was great to be back home in our little house again. I know our poor dog was glad to be back. He had to stay with the kids for a week and it wasn't a good fit for anyone. He's just getting too old to travel. We did see a lot of Arkansas, and loved the scenery. It is a beautiful state to travel through, but miles in Arkansas are much harder and slower than they are here. My brother-in-law, Scott, called them "mountain miles." Anyway, it's great to be back!

Monday's cartoon

(If you've seen my office wall this would be funny. Have a great Monday!)

One more trip update

Here is one more photo from our Arkansas adventure. Our purpose for the trip was to see Joye's parents and brothers. Here is a great photo of Joye and her dad. He had just gotten back from a double radiation treatment the day before for thyroid cancer and we weren't supposed to be within 6 feet of him, but we ignored the rules for a moment here and there to get a hug or a photo. (Although he did seem to have a funny glow about him.) Joye's dad and his wife have built a great mountain retreat near Mountain Home, Arkansas and we took a long day to drive through the Arkansas mountains to see them. (He's doing great by the way.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

People are important!

I'm sitting in Taco Bell in Ft. Smith, Arkansas drinking Mountain Dew and writing a quick note. We saw the "Free WIFI!" sign, so we ran over here. My brother-in-law, Scott and I are sitting at a table with our "dueling computers" so we can communicate with the "outside world." Joye and I are taking a week to visit with her family. It's the first time in over 10 years Joye has been with both of her brothers at the same time. Here's a photo of the three siblings with their mom:

Family is important, and it's been a great visit....listening to stories of their childhood, the trouble they got into, the things they did together and to each other. Over and over their mom would say, "I didn't know you did that!" It was fun.

As I think about our time here I'm also reading 1 Chronicles. It's a hard book to read for the first 11 chapters because it's the Chronicle of Israel's history. Here's a short sample:

1Ch 1:1 Adam, Seth, Enosh,
1Ch 1:2 Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared,
1Ch 1:3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech,
1Ch 1:4 Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth.
1Ch 1:5 The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras.
1Ch 1:6 The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Diphath, and Togarmah.
1Ch 1:7 The sons of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim and Rodanim.
1Ch 1:8 The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.

It's funny how a passage of scripture will fit with a time in life. Here we are with people who are important to us, but no one else would know them if they passed them on the street. In this brief passage, which is rather boring really, is a list of people just like us who lived their lives, loved their families, told stories on each other and have now been all but forgotten except for their names written in the text of the Bible. People are important, but not for the reason most of us think. People are important because they are important to God. To God the value of each name, each person is priceless and is never forgotten. Although I will be all but forgotten to those living 100 years from now I will never be forgotten by God. He remembers every name, every life. Their stories, their sorrows and joys matter to him.

So, having written this I plan to slow down a little as I read 1 Chronicles. A list of names and lives I will never know, yes.....but lives that matter to God and have not been forgotten, absolutely! Amazingly it's reassurance to me that I am not forgotten by my creator either. I don't need to leave a memorial of my life, put my name on buildings, make sure I'm not forgotten....God will remember, and that's enough for me.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A smile for the day

Here's a smile to get your week started. I hope it makes your week a little brighter. This photo always makes me smile....I hope that it does the same for you. Have a great week!

10 years ago today....

Ten years ago today I started my job as a pastor here at the church. It's been an amazing 10 years! It's a strange feeling to go through 10 wonderful, but also very hard years and try to describe it to anyone else. I think I have grown in my faith through these years more than I have in any time before this. The church family here is wonderful. I love them dearly. They are a warm, loving, caring group of people that have walked through many of these years with me. For you who are part of our church family- thank you for your love and faithfulness. You are the reason this job never gets tiring. Thank you all for your friendship, love, care, prayers and support during this time. This body of believers will be a part of my life until I go home to see the Lord.

So here area few things that have happened during these 10 years-

-both of our kids have gotten married.
-our daughter and her husband have had 4 of the most beautiful children I have ever seen!
-our church grew from a few hundred to nearly 2,000.
-we went through a major "earthquake" as a church and survived it.
-a number of our church family have gone off to the mission field, that has been great to see.
-5 years ago we moved into our new church home. It's been a great facility, and is starting to feel like home.
-we have helped a number of the churches in our area grow through our earthquake time. It's something we prayed for, but didn't anticipate it happening this way.
-I have been busy helping other pastors with their ministries by encouragement and support. It's been a blessing to me to invest in their lives.
-we have a new teaching pastor. He's a great guy, and I really enjoy working with him.

There's a lot more for the list, but may I simply tell you how blessed I feel to have been part of this church family for these years. It has been a highlight of my life, and I can't wait to see what the next 10 years brings.......