Saturday, January 31, 2009

Quote of the day

A day without sunshine is like night. - Unknown
Some of the best quotes are just obvious things no one ever thought about saying out loud. Often I feel that way as I write. When I re-read a piece that I'm working on I have to deal with the reality that this has been said before by a hundred different people and they have said it better than I could. But it's not about the obvious, it's really about sharing our lives, thoughts and hearts with each other. Words are the best way we have to let others into who we are and help each other with our own lives. Often the words are obvious things, but meet a clear need of the moment. Lift is pretty simple- we are each broken people who need three things- 1. God, 2. salvation and, 3. other people. All the rest is just the stuff that helps us through each day. Solomon said, "we all work for our stomachs." But it's more than that....we live and work for significance. We want to matter, to make a difference. We want to leave a mark on this planet when we leave....but the only eternal mark any of us will ever make is in the lives of other people. People are the only eternal things you will ever encounter. All the rest will burn up, so work on the basics....God, your relationship with him and other people. That's the obvious statement of the day, but we all need to be reminded. Today I'm writing this for me. I hope it helps you too.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Hubble Deep Field: The Most Important Image Ever Taken

I mentioned these images before, but had not seen this video until now. The vastness of the universe is amazing to me. It's almost more than our minds can comprehend.....and yet its origin is described by the creator as almost an afterthought when he says, Gen 1:16 "God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also." With only 5 words God describes the creation of something so vast we cannot imagine it. I like knowing God is this helps me in my world to have a God big enough to handle my problems and yet personal enough that he would become a man to save me. What an awesome God!

The unmentionable three-letter word

This afternoon I read an interesting article in the Jerusalem Post. Here is a portion of the article by Emanuel Feldman....

The unmentionable three-letter word


"It is somehow difficult to fathom how we - who gave monotheism to the world, and in modern times miraculously returned to our homeland after a hiatus of 2,000 years, defeating the millions of enemies all around us in one war after another while building up a lovely and prosperous land despite the animosity of much of the world, one that leads the world in scientific, intellectual and technological advances - how after all this, we should have become so skittish about invoking the name of God."

As I read this paragraph by Mr. Feldman I thought about my own faith community, the Christian church, and must honestly admit we too have been brought to silence by the culture around us. There is almost an embarrassment about being a Christian in our culture, community and workplace, and so we rarely mention God in public. It's as if the culture has challenged our right to an open and passionate faith and dialogue about God, and we have bowed to their challenges, so now most of us only mention God in our faith communities.

What happened to a bold faith about a big God?

What happened to a real belief in heaven and hell?

What happened to sin?

Has the culture silenced us so effectively that, like the Jewish culture of Israel today, we are too embarrassed to talk about our God and our faith?

Do we really believe the Bible and its message or are we embarrassed to admit we believe in God?

It would seem to be true that Christians have caved to the secular culture in our part of the world as well. This article has challenged me. I want to intentionally live my faith boldly and talk about my God freely. In a culture where everyone claims the right to their own truth why are we ashamed to proclaim our faith in the one true God?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The wonderful church bulletin

What would we do without the church bulletin? We get all the news of the week, all the events we need to know, and an ongoing source of smiles. I know....I've written some funny bloopers myself. Here are few I got from a friend...

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

Christian Apologetics (Story of Ignatius) - Lee Strobel

Optimism is the cure for the downturn

Viewpoint by Sir David Tang, Entrepreneur

Pessimism is the most serious cause for the global economic tsunami.

"It is only with a sense of optimism, preferably accompanied by a sense of energy and laughter, that we will be able to pick ourselves up from a broken Humpty Dumpty." -Sir David Tang

There is an ocean of people who are now feeling so depressed that not only have they become resigned to the fact that they are in deep trouble, but they have told everybody else that they are also in deep trouble.

Pessimism has an uncanny knack of being self-fulfilling.

No wonder almost every single quoted share in the world has gone down significantly, mostly by half, if not much more.

Even the most solid companies, such as HSBC, which has no real exposure; or BP, which has significant oil reserves; or a company like Dell, which has an enormous amount of cash - the shares of these companies have traded down considerably.
That is the barometer of our general pessimism." -BBC News
Paul wrote similar words to the Christians of his day. Paul put it this way,
Col 3:1-4- So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ--that's where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life--even though invisible to spectators--is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too--the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A man with the right heart

This morning in my reading I came to 1 Samuel 16. Chapter 15 tells the story of Saul's disobedience to God's command and his rejection as king. In this amazing chapter are these words spoken by Samuel,

1Samuel 15:22 Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king."

To obey is better than sacrifice.....each time I read these words I have to stop and think about it for a moment. How badly we want to define the rules of faith...what we will and won't do for God, but what he wants is simple obedience. It's not hard, but we want to do it our way and God will have none of it. It's his way or not at all. He's looking for a people that will desire most of all to simply follow, worship and obey him. And so, as chapter 16 opens God goes on the search for just such a man...and he finds one. He finds a little shepherd boy whose name has become part of world history. He finds David. But in the search Samuel is still looking for the tall, the strong, the leader "looking" man. And here's what God says to Samuel in response...they are sobering words, chilling if you really think about them....he says,

1Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

God does not see as we see...he's looking at hearts, we look at strength, good looks, personality, leadership skills. "But the Lord looks at the heart." What a sobering statement that is....he's looking for hearts that want to follow him, that want to serve him, that want to worship him. Why do we spend so much time focused on the wrong things? Why do we invest so much of our lives on our looks, our weight, our clothes? I know these are important, but in the process we have for the most part ignored the most important thing. We have ignored the heart. God's in the heart business, but we find ourselves in the world of externals...looks, heights, hair, weight, smile and a hundred other things that are, at best, temporary. Suddenly, as I read this passage I find that I am, like Samuel, focusing my attention on the wrong things. But you ask, how can we see hearts? We can't. That's not really the point. If you know that God does see our hearts why aren't we investing more time into our "heart development and training?" Why aren't we cultivating a heart that seeks after God instead of wealth, looks, popularity, success? It's interessting to realize that this chapter 16 is between 15 and 17. I know...real obvious, huh? But here's what interesting to me- chapter 17 is the chapter that speaks of David and Goliath. When everyone else is focused on the externals and are fearful to the point of inaction because of them, David, the man with a different heart, is ready to take on the giant! The man after God's own heart is ready for the task ahead because he has cultivated a relationship with a God who is big enough to handle the giants.

I wish I was more heart focused than I am. I know it would change how I view my own giants. I know they would seem much smaller in comparison to a big God. Since God is looking at hearts I think I will make my focus the same thing....where's my heart? What are my affections? Who do I want to please? Do I have a heart that seeks after God most of all? I have a lot of work to do on me, but I'm doing it...bit by bit....looking at the things that God looks at, caring about what he cares about, working on the important things.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A personal comment on this blog

I know my content of late has been rather light.....I apologize for my busy schedule, but hope to be engaged and back at a good writing pace soon. Don't give up on me....I'll get back in the writing groove this week. Thanks for staying with me.

An eyebrow raising video!

Ok, ok.....I'm sorry. I just had to share this with's Monday!

History of world religions

Joye and I are in the middle of a course on world missions and in my search for material I found this graphic. It was interesting to see how the religions of the world grew over time. One thing I knew, but never thought much about, was the fact that most of us follow our parent's faith. I am glad to have found Christ as my savior early in life. More and more I'm becoming focused on missions and those who live in places where they have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. I am wondering what God will do with Joye and I as we serve him together. Getting interested in missions is a dangerous never know what might happen.

Monday's cartoon

I love dumb humor like this. It's just so bad it makes you smile even though you have heard the joke a hundred times. So, since it's cold and rainy today here's something to make you groan and smile. Have a great day.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

A coffee addict

I just recently got a new coffee roaster. It has taken a few tries to get it right, but I think I have the hang of it now. Each roaster has its own little nuances, and this one is no different. I am excited about this roaster because it will roast a whole pound each time. One of the amazing things about coffee is the difference between what you buy at the store or at a coffee bar compared to fresh roasted coffee. It's hard to describe the's the contrast between a good steak and a bad hamburger. I just got a new bean in the mail yesterday and roasted some this evening for a friend. We sat in the garage where I have the roaster set up and visited while his coffee roasted. It's a great experience....the smells, the sounds, the look of the bean.....and then you get to grind the bean and drink the amazing result of your work. We are drinking some of my work this evening and it's great. I am grateful for wonderful little blessing like this and the joy of sharing it with others who really want to experience a great cup of coffee. Even little things like this are blessings from God. I wonder....could all this coffee be keeping me up at night?

What are you looking at?

A lot of life is all about what you are looking you see things.
Do you see the problems or the opportunity?
Do you see the wall or the window?
Are you overwhelmed by worries and missing the joys?
What are you looking at? What are you focused on? I must often follow David's example in Psalms and intentionally change my focus. If I focus on the "wall" (my problem) I get depressed, discouraged, and can't see what God is doing, but if I look out the "window" I see beyond my own knowledge and abilities and am able to see God at work.....then everything changes. For me the word of God is like that window, it's gives me a new, expanded, different and amazing view on my situation. God's word and his work in it gives me a vision of what's possible beyond my wall. Here's an example of David's own change of heart because of his change of vision as he finds himself looking at a wall....
Psa 42:1-8- For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Amazing people

There are some amazing people in the world, and I'm thrilled to have met many. One of the things that always intrigues me is how many of these most amazing people around us aren't looking for glory or recognition....they are just doing what they think is most important and almost by accident they become one of the amazing people we all talk about.
One of the ladies in our church, Debbie Sardone, owns a cleaning/maid service in our area and she has been cleaning homes for women recovering from cancer for free. From her own company came the desire to make this available to others and so Debbie started a national non-profit ministry that now has hundreds of cleaning services doing the same thing. This morning Debbie was on television being interviewed about this organization she started, Cleaning for a Reason, and talking about this ministry to women whose very lives are in question due to the cancer they battle. I just wanted you to know about this most amazing woman I know, Debbie Sardone.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2008 in review

Here's a quick review of 2008. It was quite a ride. I hope 2009 is a little more like a merry-go-round. I would welcome going in circles for a while....

Today we have a new President

Today we have a new president. It's something that few countries in the world are able to do...transfer power to a new leader without war or bloodshed. Today we inaugurate our first black president. I'm excited about our new president not because he's black, but because I have an opportunity to pray for him.

I'm praying that God will give him wisdom to lead our country. I'm praying that he will desire to do the right things. I'm praying that he will have the will to do the hard things. I'm praying for him because it's what God's people are called to do.

I'm praying for our country too. Lord, as we near your return work in this country and in our lives for your glory and for your kingdom.

1Ti 2:1-4- First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quote of the day

The Church has not yet touched the fringe of the possibilities of intercessory prayer. Her largest victories will be witnessed when individual Christians everywhere come to recognize their priesthood unto God and day by day give themselves unto prayer. --John R. Mott

Advocates for Africa's Children Swaziland

It's great to see the scope of the message of the gospel. It reaches not only the heart and soul, but also meets the needs of the stomach. There is no other religion on planet earth that values life and cares for the needy like the Christian faith does. It's always exciting for me to see all that God is doing through his church and his people. If you are interested in more information about this work you can visit their site-

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Heroes and favorite quotes for $100 please....

Heroes are part of each of our lives. We all want someone to look up to and when you find a hero even the things they say are important. One of my heroes has been Jim Elliot. It's funny that he would be a hero because he never accomplished what he wanted to do, and yet his zeal and life have lived on. His most famous quote is one that is like a rally cry for many passionate about their faith and it's a quote I think of often. He wrote,
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
That statement of values has changed and shaped many lives including mine. My hero and quote for the day comes from Jim. Thanks for leading the way for so many of us.

How to Share Your Faith Using MythBusters

Fri, Jan. 16, 2009 Posted: 02:57 PM EST
MythBusters, the long running Discovery Channel show, sets out to test the validity of various myths, urban legends and rumors that buzz through the popular culture.
MythBusters teams have explored everything from whether accelerating into a moose causes less damage than braking to whether the Apollo moon landing was faked. Through replicating and testing, you might say they’re searching for the “truth” using the basic elements of the scientific method.
Part of MythBusters’ success is driven by the desire inside most people to determine truth from non-truth. We’re wired to care about what’s true and what isn’t…it’s part of our pursuit of justice, fairness, and science, to name a few. Truth is also a major player in our relationships with each other.
Does the pursuit of truth always involve a replicate and test scenario like the teams on MythBusters use? Fortunately, no. In fact, Jesus had some intriguing things to say about the pursuit of truth. He made several bold, radical statements about truth during His time on earth.
Check this verse out:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
He didn't say, "I am a way, a truth, and a life..." He claimed He was the truth and that all truth flowed from Him, including truths in the realm of physics, truths relating to math and spiritual truth. He also promised that His truth would transform those who follow Him when He said: "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32.)
Jesus is making a bold, audacious statement here, talking about the changes that flood into your soul when you first embrace His truth, changes born out of grace and freedom. As a follower of Jesus you’ve experienced these changes firsthand. But do you have friends who haven’t connected with Jesus’ transforming truth yet? Is it time to talk with them about the truth you’re carrying? So in MythBusters’ terminology, step up and help your friends reach a reasoned conclusion about the truth of Jesus and His message, so they can decide whether the message of the gospel should be labeled “Busted,” “Plausible” or “Confirmed.” Share some of the reasons you believe and be prepared to share your own personal story of experiencing God’s love and forgiveness. Here are a few questions to help you get started:
• Have you ever watched MythBusters?
• Do you have a favorite episode? If so, what was it?
• Have you noticed that MythBusters steers clear of exploring questions about God, the Bible and Christianity? Why do you think that is?
• Have you ever thought of the Jesus and Christianity as “just a bunch of myths”? Why or why not? Listen and share the reasons you believe. If you need help explaining this, check out the Soul Fuel article “Jesus and the MythBusters” at
In your conversations with friends, remember that most people need to have their hearts persuaded of the truth of Christ, not just their minds, so pray for your friends, talk to them about God and let them know the ways in which a relationship with Jesus has transformed your life.

Jane Dratz serves as Editor for Dare 2 Share Ministries (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit
Jane DratzChristian Post Guest Columnist

Saturday, January 17, 2009


My friend and fellow staffer at church, John, proposed to his girlfriend Megan last night. Here is a photo he posted on Facebook.
John & Megan, I'm very excited for both of you and congratulations!


This morning I have been thinking about and dealing with the baggage of other people....all the stuff we carry around from our lives that weighs us down and causes problems. I've been thinking about a very troubled person who made an appointment to see me yesterday and then didn't show up and now blames me for not having time for them. Excuses are a great way to hold onto all your baggage....if you don't ever have to sort through all the stuff you carry around you won't ever have to admit how silly it is to continue to carry it. We all do this...we all have baggage....issues, things, thoughts, habits, feelings, hurts, attitudes we have carried with us because of something someone did...someone said OR didn't do or say. It doesn't matter the source, we are a race that loves to keep baggage and to be honest with you...I must tell's all junk! The stuff we carry around hurts our lives, our relationships, our walk with God, our happiness, our success, our todays and our's all junk! Why do we continue to hold onto it? Why do we grasp our "junk" so tightly and refuse to let it go? I think the main reason is that we are broken, foolish hurting people who think our junk has great value and so we hold onto it. As I write this I think about C.S. Lewis' words in his book, The Great Divorce, where he describes just such a situation with a poor soul holding onto her baggage even after death...unwilling to let go of it because "she has every right to feel that way." And in that story C.S. Lewis saw our problem clearly- it's our rights, our pride, our selfishness that makes us hold onto our baggage even when we clearly see that it's all just junk! Often, as I look at others and try to help them (I include myself in this commentary by the way) I see such broken people still proudly trying to bear up under their load of junk. Why won't we let it go? We truly think we have every right to our feelings, our hurts, our scars, our woes...and so proudly we bear them and refuse to bring them to the only one who can relieve us of these great loads of junk.....Jesus himself. (A side note- Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan deals with this topic well.) I wish the person that caused these rambling thoughts this morning would be willing to let go of their baggage, but sadly, because I hit a nerve and threatened to help them with their cargo, they have chosen to avoid me at all cost.....imagine that....avoid me, the very person who wants to help lighten their load. But like the dear woman in C.S. Lewis' book this person, I'm sure, feels every right to their baggage and so will continue to bear it. I wish so badly we could each really understand how significant the words of Jesus are on this topic when he said,

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible

This is a great testimony to the witness of one man, and Penn is right...if you really believe this stuff and don't tell those around you then you must really hate them. I can tell this man touched Penn, and I pray that the Lord will draw him to faith in Christ because if we are right then this stuff really is important!

A new name

All things new....that's what God seems to be doing as he wraps up time and history. The first thing he made new was me. In 2 Corinthians Paul writes that if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation (something that has never existed before), and as the bible comes to a close it gradually reveals God's plan to make all things new. His plan is to make a new everything. A new heaven and earth is part of this renovation plan. Amazing...amazing to me because of the vastness of the task, and yet to God it's like rolling up an old tablecloth and putting out a new one. He plans to make a new world and bring heaven down to this new world to literally create a new heaven for us to dwell with him on. God's desire is to renew everything and everyone....if they will trust him to do so. In this grand renovation plan is a subtle, but interesting part of God's's to even renew my identity. In Revelation 2 Jesus speaks these words,
"To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it."
In the book of Daniel I remember the king of Babylon giving Daniel and his friends new names, new identities, to make them "fit" into the Babylonian culture, but with a name change there is also an identity change. We are, in part, identified with and by our names. I'm Mike Messerli, but I'm much more than that. And yet my name says something about me. It talks of my linage, my history, my parents, my past. Imagine getting a new name, a new identity....if in fact, I am a new man in a new world it only makes sense to have a new identity and a new name.....I wonder what mine will be?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thoughts on the last book of the bible

Last night.....actually only a few hours ago....I had the great treat of teaching the first of 14 sessions on the book of Revelation. It's an amazing book. I am teaching twice each week so we can fit everyone into the class so it's clear there is a real interest in this topic at this time in history. That interest is well founded. It appears, from all we see in the news, that we are living in the last days. Of course John, the author of Revelation, said this was true in his day as well, but as world events escalate I think people really want to study this last book of the bible. For me it's a great study in who Jesus Christ fact that is the purpose of the book. The first 5 words of the book say, "The revelation (unveiling) of Jesus Christ" and that is what I've found so far.....a verse by verse unveiling of who Jesus Christ is and all that he has done. My only problem is that I already know that 14 weeks is simply not enough time to really study this book, so I am challenged already. I'm sure glad I have trusted Christ as my savior. As I watch the events of the book unfold and the end of time and space described I am so glad that he sought me out and by faith I have trusted him as savior. That decision and relationship give me a completely different perspective on this most amazing book. As I mentioned in the class last night this book has the greatest verse of victory and saddest verse of loss in the entire bible. I'll tell you about those another time, but for now...a little sleep. And, if you haven't read this last book of the bible I encourage you to do so. It may seem difficult, but there are some amazing treasures in these 22 chapters for you to discover.

Monday, January 12, 2009

No news is good news

Every morning I start the day by reading the word and then reading a number of online "newspapers" starting with Al Jazeera, BBC, Fox News, Jerusalem Post, and a number of others. The thing that struck me this morning is that no news was good was all BAD news. Death, murder, thefts, greed, divorce and sadness. It struck me that I would really like a little oasis of good news, something encouraging, but there was nothing encouraging going on in the world today. A little fresh water of some good deed, someone doing the right thing for no reason at all, a hearty soul serving another person just because it was the right thing to do....I know these things go on, but the media seems to completely overlook the good in hopes of feeding off the bad. Probably the saddest article to me this morning was a college girl who is auctioning off her virginity to pay for grad school. I'm sad for her, but ever more grieved for a culture that would document this rather than grieve over it. In case you wondered...the bid is up to over $2 million virtue does have value after all. I guess I'm just a little burned out from wandering in the desert of bad news and wicked men and long for a day when the Lord will come and there will be no more bad news. Can you imagine it? You go online and no one killed another person. Nobody was carjacked, no banks were robbed, no one is crying today, no one had their heart broken.....can you imagine what a world it would be when sin is finally dealt its death blow? I can't wait.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I am second...

My wife told me about a web site that she found from a commercial on TV. It's a site you should visit. It's called "I am second."

Making an impact

Last night I got to teach the book of Ruth to one of our small groups. It's always fun to get in the word of God and talk about how God works. The one thing I told them is this- you cannot plan to have an impact in life....that's God's can only do what he calls you to do today and leave "impact making" to him. What I mean by that is illustrated by Ruth's life. I'm sure this little Moabite girl had no idea she was part of God's plan, and really never found out all that God would do with her life, but more than 3,000 years later we are still talking about her and how her small choices put her in the place to be the great-grandmother of David, king of Israel, and ultimately to be in the lineage of Christ. How can you plan stuff like this? How can you anticipate what God wants to do with your life? You can't! All you can do is serve him one day at a time and be faithful to trust him to use your life for his glory. The rest is up to God. The impact maker is God himself...and you may never know what God will do with your life lived for his glory....but live for his glory anyway because one day he will show you all that he was able to do because you walked with day Ruth will see all that God did with her life and say, "Wow!"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The new year ahead

The year has barely begun, but I already have drool on my's the subtle awareness that this is going to be an extremely busy year! I have more things to do, more stuff to teach, more places to go than I can possibly fit into the year and the hours I have. When I consider the year ahead I just can't believe will I do all of this? When can I find time to fit it all in? WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?
But the year is young, and I'll gather my wits about me and jump in head's just that looking at it from this vantage point I wonder if I will have a year full of drool on the chin with an open mouth in wonder at how God could possibly use me and let me be part of his work on planet earth. But you know, he's in the miracle business...I'm just another poster child for his miracle working abilities.....drool and all.....................

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Quote of the day

"We can be happy where we are, whether gunshot or no gunshot, as long as we have Christ."

-James Lul Atak, founder, New Lives Ministries; from Christianity Today, Janary 2009


A dog's life

I saw this article this morning and thought you would enjoy it. We love dogs, and have had a number of them through the years. The applications from this story are great and encourage me to live more simply each day....yes, to more often live a "dog's life."

A Dog’s Purpose (from a 6-year-old’s perspective)
Saturday, September 20, 2008 in Dogs, Misc.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The 6-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like when loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy-ride. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. Take naps (I like this one!). Stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily. Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’re not. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and just gently be there.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Revelation of the King

I couldn't sleep....I woke up after just a few hours thinking about the unveiling of the King that is described in the book of Revelation. I'm preparing to teach through Revelation beginning next week, and when I teach a book like this it literally consumes my thoughts for weeks as I get ready for the class. I woke up thinking about the first 5 words of the book, "The revelation of Jesus Christ...." It struck me....I wonder what IS revealed about Jesus in the book so I got up to try to document what I found. Verse by verse I wanted to see if there is an ongoing unveiling of this one called the son of God. I was surprised to see that my list includes nearly every verse in chapter one and I'm just starting to work through chapter 2. It had never struck me to do this before, but as I am looking at what the book reveals about Jesus each verse, nearly every phrase unveils something more about this one who has literally changed time and history. I don't know if I have enough time to list all the verses that describe him before the class begins, but I'm going to try. I'll let you know what I find, but so far, in the 20 verses of chapter 1, I have found more than 26 different things revealed about Jesus. I have never gone through the book like this before to document, verse by verse, the revelation of Jesus Christ and I'm looking forward to discovering how many things I find about him in these 22 chapters. One thing I know already- 22 chapters are not enough to describe the most amazing, wonderful person of all time and history, the God and savior who has saved us and is soon coming to be Lord of heaven and earth. This last book of the bible is an amazing book of hope and I am looking forward to teaching it, but I am honestly overwhelmed by all I'm finding as I study it again.....I don't know if I can get through the book in only 13 weeks!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hot chocolate

Like many of you I get a lot of e-mails forwarded to me. Some are annoying, some cute and others I don't even read. This one came from a friend as a powerpoint presentation with cute photos (yuck!), cute music (sappy), and these words. I overlooked the photos and the music and want to share with you the text. (Thanks, Mike, for sending this to me.) True story or not it's a simple way to describe the truth of life in our culture-
A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were discussing their lives at a class reunion. They decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired, who was always an inspiration to them.
During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work, lives and relationships.
Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups. Some cups were porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite. He invited each to help themselves to the hot chocolate.
When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand,the professor shared his thoughts.
“Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.”
“While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.”
“The cup that you are drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.”
“What each of you really wanted was hot chocolate. You did not want the cup . . . but you consciously went for the best cups.”
“And soon, you began to eye one another’s cups.”
“Now friends, please consider this . . .
“Life is the hot chocolate . . .your job, money and position in society are the cups.”
“They are just tools to hold and contain life.”
“The cup you have does not define,nor does it change, the quality of life you are living.”
“Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup,we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us.”
Always remember this . . . . . . . . . . God brews the hot chocolate, He does not choose the cup.
The happiest people don't have the best of everything.
They just make the best of everything that they have!!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Escape from Hamas #.6

Here is the last part of a program FOX news recently aired. It's the testimony of the son of a Hamas founder who became a Christian. It's a bold testimony you need to see. This is also a young man we need to pray for. I pray that the Lord brings more of the Muslim world to the knowledge of the true God and savior, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Photo dictionary: Pack-a-derm

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself.....I saved this photo for just this purpose. Groan and enjoy-

Choosing the right things for the right reasons

This morning in my reading I came to 2 Corinthians 7. In this chapter the very first verse finishes the thoughts of the last six chapters and then Paul changes topics and goes in an entirely different direction. It's as if this first verse is the conclusion of six chapters of exhortation and admonition and then, when the application is given, Paul is finished with the "sermon" and is on to other thoughts. Here's the verse, and then my own thoughts-
2Co 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
God is amazing. He provides all the tools we need, everything that will help us live the Christian life, and then in one short admonition gives us the goal of all these tools- holiness. God wants his children to live holy lives. Lives that look different than the world around us. But, sadly, we are in a day when it's hard to tell the difference between a child of God and a child of the world. We look just like the world around us. God had no such intention when he sent Christ to save us and give us his life. His design was to create a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), something completely different. A man or woman who looks like Christ. The problem is that as humans we imitate what we focus on, and almost everyone is focused on the world around us, the media, the celebrity, the hero...few are focused on Christ. We imitate what we focus on and that presents a sad commentary for the church today. We look like the world. But God's provision was made so that we would be not only Christ followers, but Christ imitators....walking in love, truth and kindness.
Here's how Peter described it in his letter-
2Peter 1:3 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!
Peter clarifies the solution. We become what we focus on, who we hang out with. For the Christian the goal has always been to become like Christ, but many in our day tell me they just want to be happy! They will walk away from obedience to Christ and following him to be "happy?" I have told them, and will repeat it here- you will not find happiness by disobeying God. It's just not there. Ultimate fulfillment and the goal of our lives is to know Christ, both personally and intimately, and by that relationship become like him. We become like the company we keep. Do you want to please God? Spend time with him, get to know who he is, what he's like, how he responds to choices.....and you will begin to look like him. You will begin to do the right things for the right reasons. There is no happiness like this. There no other way to live that will be as fulfilling as knowing him, following him and becoming like him. My desire is to so look like Christ in how I live and act that the world will notice I'm different. We are in a time when a real Christ follower will be noticed if they really are following HIM.

Friday, January 02, 2009


This is the time of year when people make new resolutions. It's a time for a fresh start, a new chance to mend bad habits or chart a new course. As anyone knows who has made a resolution for the new year, it fades into reality and rationalization within a few months at best.
And yet there is a chance for a fresh look at what's important. I think, for me, there is one thing I want to focus on this year more than any other. It was Paul's great passion, and has been mine over time, but this year I want to pursue it with a new zeal and make it the one thing most important in my life. Here it is-
Php 3:7 "But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Php 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..."
This year I want to know Him and pursue my relationship with Him above all else.