Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hangin' on

Some do really well with stress and struggle, pain and suffering, others find it painful to just hold on. It's been a very busy day for me with two speaking opportunities on opposite sides of our metroplex. I love the times I get to teach the word, but there are times when I find it painful to just hold on and get everything done. Today I'm tired, but smiling....holding on, but happy. God has been good to me and I'm blessed to be able to talk about Jesus and teach the bible...what an amazing job I have. So whether the days feel like I'm just holding on or ready to drop....I'll be smilin'....

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm excited. Tomorrow I will be speaking at the National Conference for Grace Evangelical Society. I'm teaching one of the breakout sessions. It's only 40 minutes of teaching, but those who attend are great students of the word and I know I have my work cut out for me. I would appreciate your prayers. I have spoken in dozens of different venues over the years, but this is my first time as a speaker for a national conference. I'll let you know how it went tomorrow.

Quote of the day

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Oreo crumbs...chocolate milk....and anything else you can put IN a 2 year old mouth will also be everywhere else ON a 2 year old. I love it! A ferocious 2 year old pretending to be a lion and roaring for all he's worth is really cute when he's covered in Oreo crumbs. I just wanted to share with you one of the things that makes me smile....an awesome grandson. (Click on the photo if you really want to be grossed out!)

Running on empty...


Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-on-one
I don't know where I'm running now, I'm just running on ...
Running on-running on empty
Running on-running blind
Running on-running into the sun
But I'm running behind
Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive
In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don't know when that road turned into the road I'm on
Running on-running on empty
Running on-running blind
Running on-running into the sun
But I'm running behind
Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don't know about anyone but me
If it takes all night, that'll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave
Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too
Running on-running on empty
Running on-running blind
Running on-running into the sun
But I'm running behind
Honey you really tempt me
You know the way you look so kind
I'd love to stick around but I'm running behind
You know I don't even know what I'm hoping to find
Running into the sun but I'm running behind
Running on Empty (Jackson Browne, 1977)
I have heard this song many times on the radio, but this is honestly the first time I have read the lyrics. It's amazing how common this feeling is in people I talk to. There is a common chord ringing in my ear as I listen to the stories of people's lives- they aren't happy...they want a change...but they don't know what to do so they keep going down the same empty road with an empty gas tank...an empty heart...no direction...no hope....but moving on down the road. Why do we continue to live such empty lives? This very theme is why country music is so popular. It rings the same chords in the listeners....no hope, no job, no girl, no dog.....but I've got my beer.
What a stupid race of people we are to continue to live this way when God has provided and promised a solution to our emptiness through faith in Jesus Christ. It seems we prefer the empty autonomy to the fulfilled dependence that God offers, and I think that is the core of the issue. WE want to be god in our lives and so emptiness is the result. We refuse to bow to the God who promises and provides our completeness. It seems we would rather be our own gods and be empty....how sad.

Anticipating Easter

We are quickly approaching the time of year when Christians remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world. For those who know him it's a time of great worship because in this time we remember what God has done for us to demonstrate his great love...he became a man and died on a cross to pay for our sins. For those who don't know him it seems silly, foolish or stupid, but for the Christian it's a time of great joy as we remember and praise him for what he has done for us. It's hard for me to describe how big this really is. God's intrusion into the history of this planet and his death on the cross has marked all of human history with a key event that has changed everything. God had driven a stake in the ground and changed all of history with that action. That stake is the cross and the change is that by faith alone I can now come before a holy God, be forgiven of my sin and have eternal life! Anticipating Easter is always a time of worship for me. I'm so excited that God's love made such an amazing statement to the human race....and I'm glad I believed.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth hour

In honor of those trying to save the planet I thought I would participate in "Earth hour." Here's my contribution-

Happy "Earth hour!"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Something fun for a Friday

Quote of the day

"We're in God's hands."

--Martin Schulz, 52, has been chairman of the Socialist group in the European Parliament since 2004. The German politician, from the Social Democratic Party, is a member of his party's federal executive committee, where he is in charge of foreign policy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quote of the day

"Because of Calvary, unbelievers don't have a sin problem, they have a Son problem." --Lewis Sperry Chafer

What will you do?

Over the years I have noticed something both in scripture and in my life that I want to talk about. I have noticed that often God will "step off the stage" of my life and allow my "play" to go on with his apparent absence. He's watching from the wings to be sure, but he's left the stage to see what I will do. He is letting me make the choices, choose the script, act my part as he watches. What will I do? How will I deal with the situations of life, the temptations that come, the challenges and tests? What will I do? When the act is over I will get his commentary, but he gives me the freedom to make choices. Will I walk with him even when he's nowhere to be seen or will I choose my own way and find his bad review at the end of the play? One of the men of the bible went through this in his own life...here's what the scripture says about his solo performance on the stage of life-
Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did.
2Ch 32:31 But when the rulers of Babylon sent emissaries to find out about the sign from God that had taken place earlier, God left him on his own to see what he would do; he wanted to test his heart.
2Ch 32:32 The rest of the history of Hezekiah and his life of loyal service, you can read for yourself--it's written in the vision of the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz in the Royal Annals of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
When God leaves you on your own to see what you will do, to test your heart, what will you do?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The mercy of God

Psalm 119:132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.

Last night I had the amazing opportunity to teach through the book of Revelation once more. I'm nearly finished with our 14 weeks together, but last night we came to chapters 14-16. Chapter 16 caught my attention because in this passage we find, for the first time in the history of man, a time when the mercy of God is suspended. As the world comes to the end of time we also come to the time when God unleashes his wrath on a wicked unrepentant world. Reading through this passage made me keenly aware that we have never known a time on planet earth when the mercy of God was absent. We live in the very air of his mercy and most are unaware of it. I'm so grateful for his amazing mercy to us. I can only imagine how bad the days will be when his mercy is suspended and we see the world's response to his judgment. It's not a good day. I am grateful for his ever present mercy, and I am glad I will never know a time when it is absent in my life.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

God and science

I read an interesting article online today about God and science. It's interesting to me because as I read the different views it is very clear that if you don't want to see God in the grand scheme of things you won't. And, likewise, if you believe in God and his divine hand in creation you see him everywhere. What is clear to me is that whatever view you accept it's a step of faith. You choose what you will believe and then all the evidence lines up very nicely for you. You can't imagine how anyone could disagree with you because your view makes so much sense. But behind it all is a step of faith. For me the step towards a grand designer is a very small one. It's amazingly clear to me. There is so much around me that has no explanation apart from a grand designer. I see his handiwork and evidence of his existence everywhere I look. All that I see speaks of his wonderful power and wisdom. It's a real faith based on his word, his world and my relationship with him.
Psa 19:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Psa 19:2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.
Psa 19:3 There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.
Psa 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What would you say? (conclusion)

Last week I shared a proposition with you. (See my March 16th post for the proposition.)

The question was this, "What would you say?" The answer is revealed in the lives of men of faith through the centuries starting with the life of David, a man after God's own heart. David is the first to have his life laid bare to us. Both His good choices and his bad are written for us to read. His journals (Psalms) have been a blessing and encouragement to believers for centuries. He didn't do everything perfectly. God knows that won't happen in any of our lives, but he wanted God's will in his life.

Men and women through the centuries have followed his example and have demonstrated what God can do with those who want to follow God above all else. So, what would you say? If you could only see all that God is doing in your life for HIS glory, if you could only see how he's taking your messy life and making it a model of his grace you would say "YES, please tell everyone all that YOU have done in my life"....because God's goal is his glory and our good.

A curious adventure

I have not been sure how to describe this, but a week ago we went to a conference in Colorado Springs and while there ate at a Moroccan restaurant in Manitou Springs.
The surprise was the dinner entertainment. A picture should tell you everything....
unless you have questions that must be answered.

Monday's cartoon

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Still under construction

I'm fascinated that we live in such an instant society and yet the odyssey of faith takes a lifetime. Every day I'm more keenly aware of how much there is yet to do in my life. I'm constantly under construction! As I read the word each morning I find more that the Lord needs to do in my life. There is always something I discover the Lord working on in my life. Day by day, little by little, he's molding me into the image of Christ. It's going to take a lifetime!
Years ago, while on a mission trip to Mexico the missionary I traveled with took me to a potter's shop. This was a man who made pottery as they did in the days of the bible. He was at his wheel when we arrived turning a vase. It appeared to me that the vase was nearly done when he mumbled something and in a moment crushed the vase and started over. I was shocked and asked the missionary, "What just happened? What did he say?" He asked the potter, and with only one word he responded, "lumps." The missionary explained that if he fired the vase, as pretty as it was, with lumps still in the clay, it would break in the fire. He had to get the lumps out so the fire would not break the vase. And so I find that God is still working in my life.....he's still getting the lumps out. He knows I won't hold up in the fire of trials if he doesn't get me ready for the firing process. I'm still under construction and I'm glad God is working in my life.
My wife and I were drawn to the grave stone we saw for Ruth Graham. Carved in the stone were these words, "Construction complete. Thank you for your patience." One day construction will be complete in my life, but while I'm breathing God and I are still working to mold me into the image of Christ. I can't wait for the day when I see him face to face and the work will be done.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quote of the day

“God’s not as concerned with what you do as he is with who you are. Because who you are will determine what you do.”

Insanity in reality....

I know our culture has literally gone insane on the whole topic of God. Here is a great example of how insanity has taken over-

Chaplain at Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton resigns over ban on word 'God'

By Howard Goodman South Florida Sun-Sentinel
March 18, 2009

A chaplain at Hospice by the Sea in
Boca Raton has resigned, she says, over a ban on use of the words "God" or "Lord" in public settings.Chaplains still speak freely of the Almighty in private sessions with patients or families but, the Rev. Mirta Signorelli said: "I can't do chaplain's work if I can't say 'God' — if I'm scripted."Hospice CEO Paula Alderson said the ban on religious references applies only to the inspirational messages that chaplains deliver in staff meetings. The hospice remains fully comfortable with ministers, priests and rabbis offering religious counsel to the dying and grieving."I was sensitive to the fact that we don't impose religion on our staff, and that it is not appropriate in the context of a staff meeting to use certain phrases or 'God' or 'Holy Father,' because some of our staff don't believe at all," Alderson said.
Signorelli, of Royal Palm Beach, said the hospice policy has a chilling effect that goes beyond the monthly staff meetings. She would have to watch her language, she said, when leading a prayer in the hospice chapel, when meeting patients in the public setting of a nursing home and in weekly patient conferences with doctors, nurses and social workers."If you take God away from me," she said, "it's like taking a medical tool away from a nurse."A devout Christian who acquired a master's degree in theology after a career as a psychologist, running a program for abused and neglected children, Signorelli has been ministering to the dying for 13 years. She worked at the Hospice of
Palm Beach County before moving seven years ago to Hospice by the Sea, a community-based nonprofit organization that cares for terminally ill patients in Palm Beach and Broward counties.Signorelli said that she and other chaplains were told Feb. 23 to "cease and desist from using God in prayers."

So, let me ask- if I can't use the name "God" in my prayers, then who am I talking to? This is silliness and political correctness gone to the brink of insanity. When I work in hospital myself and talk to people they expect to hear about God from me. I'm a pastor! That's who I talk about all day long. I'm not going to bow to some organizational rules so I don't offend people. God and eternity are too important! And, just a question from my strange mind- if you're a chaplain, but can't mention "God" then what do you do? How do you offer people any hope, any direction, any guidance at all? As Paul describes it....that leaves us "having no hope and without God in the world." This is insanity in reality!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Extreme Sheep LED Art


Yesterday I did something I have never done before. I don't know why, but it never came to mind before. Yesterday I met with one of our men and as we finished our time together I asked him if I could pray for him. I'm not sure why the next thing happened, but I'm still thinking about it this morning. As I began to pray here's how I started- "Lord, would you give me the right words to pray for my friend?" Then, after a moment of silence, I prayed for him. I was surprised at what I said, but it was clear that God was working in my life. It wasn't just me with a list of requests or my own thoughts put to words. I had actually invited God into even my part of the prayer time.....not just as the listener to my requests, but even more....I had invited him to be part of the very prayer I prayed. I'm not sure why I have never done this or thought about it before, but I do want him involved in my requests as well as in the answers. It's something I'm still thinking about. I wonder what God will do with this in my life? I wonder what he will do in my friend's life as well?

Monday, March 16, 2009

What would you say?

Here's the proposition- God comes to you with this query, "Would it be ok if we put your life in print to help people after you're gone? Oh, and by the way...that means the bad stuff too. Would it be ok if we tell them about all your mistakes as well as your victories? We won't keep anything secret...we'll tell them everything. It will really help them. Would it be ok?"
What's your answer?
I think, like most of us, the answer would be, "NO WAY! I don't want everyone to know all the bad stuff too. You can tell them the good stuff, but don't tell them everything!"
And God replies, "But it won't help if you always look good. They have to see someone like them, someone who struggles, has problems, says stupid things. They need to see how messy it is to be a human being in relationship with me. So, would it be ok if we write it all down?"
Finally you give in, "Ok, Lord, if it will help other people...ok."
But then the Lord replies, "Oh, one more thing. I'll need your journal too. We need to give your journal to them as well so they can see how you felt as you went through those bad days. Can I get a copy of your journal for the book I'm writing?"
"My journal too? It's bad enough that you're going to tell them all the stupid things I've done, but you want to put my personal journal in print as well so they can see what I was thinking? I don't know Lord, that's embarrassing....now you're asking too much!"
"But they won't understand how you felt, what you thought, your anguish during those days if you don't share your journal too. We need both pieces to help them in their walk with me. They need to see the good and the bad. Won't you share that with them as well?"
What would you say to the Lord? Would you let him tell the world about you? Would you let everyone know about you failures as well as your victories? Would you share with everyone how badly you messed up and how frustrated you were with God at times? Would you let the world read your journals too? If God had this visit with you what would you say?
I ask this for a reason. After I hear your comments I will share with you part two of this discussion......"What would you say?"

Monday's cartoon

The old saying, "when it rains, it pours" sure applies now. These are difficult days. I think everyone knows someone who has lost their job, their home or their retirement fund. The very foundations we have trusted have been shaken. It's a fearful time.
It's also a great time to emulate the early church and their care for one another in time of need. All through the book of Acts I read about the giving of those who have extra to those who don't have enough. What a great example for us today. Instead of just taking care of me and mine this is a time for us to demonstrate the love of Christ for one another by opening our lives and sharing our excess with those who don't have enough. What a great opportunity we have to demonstrate the love of God to those around us.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Great art

Some of the greatest works of art are not in museums. Some of the most cherished art is done by our children and grandchildren. Our sweet granddaughter, Alice, drew one of our cherished works of art. She told us it's a picture of her with us, her grandparents. The blonde hair is her artistic license.....I think it's a great!
God views our deeds done for him in the same way. Our best attempts for him, crude and basic as they may seem, are cherished by him because we gave it our best. What others might consider a poor attempt at art is cherished by God. It's not the quality of our attempts to serve him, to walk with him, to obey him....it's the very heart he's looking at. The fact that we did it for him makes it an amazing work of art in his eyes.

Quote of the day

"You can’t change a heart with a law.” -Pastor Rick Warren

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spending time with good friends

Joye and I have the great treat of spending the weekend with our friends, Steve and Gayla, at a marriage conference in Colorado Springs. Steve and Gayla just celebrated a major anniversary in their marriage and this conference is Steve's gift to Gayla.
The surprise for us was that Steve invited us to join them. We are really looking forward to the weekend with good friends. I must tell you a little secret about Steve and Gayla...they are two of the nicest people I have ever met! It should be a great weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Really nice pretenders

One of my dear missionary friends working in another country posted a blog entry to describe the sudden wave of missionaries from one of the major cults who have moved into his part of the world. His comments were meant to simply address their work, how nice their followers are and a few comments about the errors of their theology. His one mistake was to mention them by name! I have made that mistake myself. This cult has "missionaries" whose work is to "google" any words connected with their faith and then address comments made about them. Quickly they swoop in, like vultures attacking their prey, to kill any negative comments and address any differing views. Their claim is always the same- they say, "we are Christians too..." And with many words they defend their place among us, but they do not believe what we believe at all. Like any good cult they are masters at saying the same thing, but meaning something completely different. As my missionary friend noted- I wish most Christians lived lives as good as those in this cult, but they do it to gain salvation, and since most Christians know they are forgiven they forget Paul's words of Romans 6 where he says, "Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!" I wish we who are Christ followers would genuinely follow him in our lifestyle and emulate the love of Christ in our lives. I think that many in the cults actually look more like Christ than many Christians I know....oh that it were not true. No wonder so many in the generations growing up now are not following Christ. It's rare that they ever see anyone who really looks like him.....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quote of the day

"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."
-Sir Winston Churchill

New birth

Spring is a great time of year. The trees budding, the flowers blooming, green everywhere. I love it! In front of our church we have two trees that bloom with these amazing flowers for a few weeks. The smells are great. The hope of new life, the smells, and the warmth of Spring all give us hope of new beginnings. Hope for another year. The promise of new life. It's a great reminder of what God does in my life all the time. He's constantly taking what looks like dead things, things I have destroyed, and bringing new life from them. With that new life I find I have a new hope....the promise that I'm not a complete waste, not a complete failure, but that God can still use me. Spring refreshes us because it reminds us that God is and will make all things new. His new life in us will bring about an eternal Spring in our lives as he lives his life through us. There's nothing like the new beginnings of Spring!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

People God uses

I've been thinking about a passage of scripture for a while so I thought I would put some of my thoughts down on paper. What I've been thinking about is this- most of the people used by God are not the successful, rich, smart, famous or pretty. God used available people. He uses the helpless, the hopeless, the hapless so that He will be glorified through our lives. Here's the passage I mentioned and then a few more thoughts-

1Co 1:26 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families.
1Co 1:27 Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses,
1Co 1:28 chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"?
1Co 1:29 That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.
1Co 1:30 Everything that we have--right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start--comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.
1Co 1:31 That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God."

Most people never give God a chance to work in their lives because they don't think they have anything God can use. They have completely missed the point- these are exactly the people God wants. He doesn't want what you can do for him, he wants you with all your failures and "warts". He wants the broken, the hurting, the failures of society and will do great things through them if they will simply give him their lives. It's never your ability he wants, it's your availability. I love that about God. He does great things with anyone who will simply give him the only thing he asks for- US. Most think God could never use me, but have never made themselves available to find out what he could do in their lives. My wife and I have been attending a class on missions, and the thing that comes up over and over again is that God will use anyone. He will do great things through anyone.....anyone who will say "yes" to him.

Monday, March 09, 2009

People you need to know

I've been thinking about some of the people I know...people who you would pass on the street and not even notice, but people who are most amazing because of their lives. What I would like to do is talk about some of these people. These amazing people are the jewels in our lives that we often take for granted. They are the friends, relatives, neighbors who are most amazing if you took the time to know them.
The first in our series is a man I have known for 56 years. As I write that it sounds strange, but this guy is one of the good guys on planet earth. He's living a difficult life well and has the best sense of humor of anyone I know. I think he got it from his grandfather who was the ultimate practical joker. This man has his own business and has used his business to take care of a number of people. His son works for him now and will probably take over the business someday. It's blue collar work....sometimes brown collar work, but good work either way. He's a plumber. He tried college, but it just wasn't for him, so he found an old plumber and apprenticed with him. Ultimately he bought the man's business. He's worked in the same, small Iowa town for many decades and loves it. He has friendships that are more than 35 years old. He's one of the really great men on planet earth. He isn't looking for fame. He doesn't try to get rich. He always has time for you if you need to talk. Men like this are rare. There's much more to say, but what I want to close with is this- don't overlook the people in your life. For all they go through, all they have struggled with, most have come through life's struggles with a strength and resilience that would amaze you. Take some time to really talk to those around you. There are amazing people everywhere just waiting to be discovered. I just wanted to introduce you to one of them. This is my brother, Mitch.

Monday's cartoon

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Shhhhh.....be very quiet......

Shhhhh......she's still asleep. Granddaughter #3 spent the night last night. It's her turn. She stayed up until after 1, so she's still sleeping, but I know she wakes at the slightest sound, so I'm trying to be very quiet......
It's funny how noisy children are when you don't have them under foot all the time. When you become grandparents there is a wonderful silence that is part of the home environment, but when the grandchildren come over it's all noise all the time! I can see why old people get nervous when children are around...they just aren't used to the noise level anymore.
But, we do love the sleepovers with each of the kids. #3 is a lot of fun and each one of them is so different. Each of them has such a different personality and way of looking at things. #3 is stuck in the middle of 4 children so she has to whine to get a voice and it's an unfortunate habit for her. So, this morning, I'm working as quietly as I can...enjoying the moments of silence before #3 awakes because when she does it will be all noise all the time and all about her! I love it!

Another amazing part of creation

Every year, about this time, the Monarch butterfly migrates to central Mexico. It's amazing to me to imagine that millions of butterflies will actually fly thousands of miles to a specific place in Mexico each year at the same time. They seem like such fragile creatures, but if you watch you will see them flying by, all flying south, on their way to the annual "convention" of butterflies.
I think it's quite amazing that such a fragile creature can and will travel so far each year as part of their annual migration. It just makes me more awed by the creation and how it all works. Everything around me, that God has made, makes me constantly say "WOW!"

Saturday's cartoon

Friday, March 06, 2009

Running in circles

Well, I have done it....I have found myself running in circles. It seems I'm visiting the same topics I have discussed before. I guess that happens when you pass 1,000 posts. It's strange when you realize you have already said something, but here I go again. I know I've done it when my wife just smiles at me and nods her head. She has heard some of my stories dozens of times and for some reason I forget I've told her. Sad, isn't it? Old age isn't kind. So, for one running in circles again....my repeated themes are not intentional, just a shallow mind stomping through the same puddles I have visited before thinking I have found them for the first time. I'll take a mental break and try to stomp through some new territory. I hear myself thinking, as George Jetson said, "Jane, how do you stop this crazy thing!"

Thursday, March 05, 2009

New realities

Life has changed dramatically in the last year. Many have had everything they trusted in turned upside down. Others have lost their savings and must go back to work. Others have lost their jobs and their hope is to simply find another one. It's as if all we have trusted in has been taken away. Now what do we do? Who do we trust? How will we survive?
It's exactly the situation the nation of Israel found themselves in while living in Egypt. God had to literally pry their hands and hearts off of all they trusted in so they would trust in HIM. Could it be that he's doing that now? Could it be that he is using this time to ask, "Will you trust me now? Will you trust me now?" But I watch as so many scramble to reestablish confidence in a job....savings....themselves and are not yet ready to ask for God's help. In our days of new realities I hope more and more of those whose lives have been changed will make a change that includes a dependence on God to lead, provide and care for them. He's the only one who won't change in the middle of all of our new realities.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

honey birds

I love this video and thought you would as well. It's amazing how man and animal often work together. I can't wait for the day when the curse the world suffers under will be lifted and our relationships with the world around us will be as God meant them to be.....


What do you think of when you hear the word "church"? Do you think of a place? Do you think of a day and time? Does sleeping in come to mind? It's unfortunate that the word "church" actually has two meaning. It has come to mean a place, but it was meant to communicate a group of people. A people called "the gathered together" family of God. It really doesn't matter where we meet. When a group of believers gather "church" happens whether it's a meeting in a restaurant, a bar, a hospital or a home. Location is never considered when this word is used in the bible. I wish we could get back to that definition. Today I was in "church" as I met with a group of ladies from our church family. We ate together, told stories and I shared with them for about 15 minutes. It was great. These dear people are some of those I get to spend eternity with. I am so excited that I will get many more opportunities to spend time with, get to know and fellowship with all those people I only get to speak to briefly now. I can't wait for that great day when I will be able to say, "why don't you come over for 1,000 years and let's have coffee and visit a bit." It will be amazing to have time to really see all that God has done in the lives of his people.

The challenges of the days

My good friend, Brandon, suggested that since I hadn't blogged in a couple days perhaps I had sold everything to head for the mission field. I'm more and more interested in such an idea, but alas I'm still here. It's been extremely busy, and even as I write this short post I am pressed for time and aware of the need to prepare a message I will give in only two hours....nothing like waiting until the last minute. But what I want to mention is my visit with one of our men yesterday over lunch. In this visit my friend, who is retired, said, "I want to finish well, but I don't see a place to serve." I thought about this and realized that often the most valuable people in your church family who are available to serve and be part of the ministry are those who are retired. My friend said he wakes up hoping to have something to do that day. How have we so often ignored or missed this amazing resource of people. They may be retired from work, but they don't wish to be retired from life and ministry. For me this is now a "front burner" item to work on. "I want to finish well..." What a great desire, but how could it be that so many don't have a place to serve? A ministry to do? Something of value they can do for the kingdom of God? In a little over an hour I'm speaking to one of the groups in our church and will be talking about these very issues. What a great desire- to finish well. That's my desire, and here is my model for what that might look like- Billy Graham. He didn't do everything right, he made a lot of mistakes, but finish well he has. I'm not heading for the dark reaches of the planet to preach to the unreached yet, but maybe one day....who knows what God has in store for each of us? I can't wait to use every day for God's kingdom and only retire when I die.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The little red light

Years ago, when I was a teenager, I attended a church in another town for a service. I can't remember why we were there and I don't remember the message, but I do remember their mission board at the back of the church. It was a world map with the locations of all the missionaries they supported. There was another thing on the map that caught my attention...it was a little red flashing light. It was on the mission board with these words below it- "Each time this light flashes another soul passes into eternity without Christ." My first thought was, "Oh, that's a neat thing." But, after taking my seat in the service it started to bother me. Often, during the service, I would look back at the light and it was still blinking. It started to bother me....a lot! My thoughts ran from, "I wish that would stop!" to "What if I just unscrew the bulb?" What seemed like a neat idea at first started to really bother me. It has bothered me for many decades. That little red flashing light, meant to communicate the need for missions, has been an ever flashing light in my life to remind me of the crisis of humanity. As Penn Jillette says, "If you really believe this stuff and don't tell me about it then you must really hate me a lot!" So, today, once more....probably for the 10,000th time, I'm thinking of that little flashing light that has been flashing in my mind for these many decades. My prayer is that I would be part of God's plan to help many I meet not be one of those eternal flashes.