Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Christian and the Bible

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obligated to act accordingly.
“Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship.
“Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close.
“Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.” - Soren Kierkegaard

Whales, worthless idols and grace

I came to Jonah chapter two this morning and as I read I stopped at verse 8. Rather, verse 8 stopped me! I read it over at least 10 times as I thought about Jonah's words,

Jonah 2:8- "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."

These words were part of Jonah's prayer when he finally gave in to God's will as he sat in the belly of the big fish. At the end of this prayer God instructs the fish to spit him out and Jonah finally obeys God's commands to him, but let me camp for a minute on this verse..."Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs." I honestly had never seen this verse before. It had to be there for the first time today. I know I have read this passage hundreds of times before, but I never saw this. It's profound! It's life changing to me. When we cling to the worthless idols of our lives we forfeit (miss, give up) the grace that COULD BE OURS. You can't hold onto your idols and grasp grace as well. You have to let go of one to find the other. I looked up the definition of forfeit for this discussion and here's what it means: "something to which the right is lost, as for commission of a crime or misdeed, neglect of duty, or violation of a contract." Another way of saying this is, "Those who cling to worthless idols lose the right to the grace that could be theirs." What idols are you clinging to that make you forfeit the grace that could be yours? What benefits of grace have we given up to have something worthless instead? Let me invite you to meditate on this verse for a bit and share your the belly of the big fish Jonah has shared with us an amazing truth to help us contrast the grace of God and any other option. It is, ultimately, the choice between the Christian faith and any other- grace or worthless idols. Cling to one and you will forfeit the other.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I can't keep up! I mean's just too much! Facebook, Blogger, Twitter....we are networking more and more, but communicating less and less. I see people sitting at dinner together at a restaurant with no one talking, but mom is on her cell phone, their teenager is texting a friend with thumbs moving frantically and dad is checking e-mail on his I-phone....they are talking to everyone but each other!
I'm honestly ready for an electronics free silicon allowed! Imagine a place where we would really have to talk to each other and no phones would ring? You wouldn't have to wait while your companion is distracted by a vibrating device that catches their attention. What a vacation oasis that would be! Even as I write this my silly phone is vibrating beside me....I think I'll just turn it off....

Monday, April 27, 2009

Worth the cost

As tensions and persecutions increase around the world I have been thinking about what I would do when faced with persecution for my faith. How would I respond? What would I do if my life was the price of my faith? I have had this lingering in the back of my mind for a while...thinking about it worth the cost? Is the prize worth the price?
I have good friends who are risking their lives for their faith even now....would I do the same if faced with persecution or death? Is it worth the cost? Am I willing to pay the price? It's a question I think every believer needs to wrestle with. If it's not worth your very life you may have some things to work out with God.
Personally, I hope I am never faced with the need to answer this question, but if it ever does happen I respond with a resounding cry, "It's worth the cost, it's worth my all. For all he gave for me I will give my all for him. It's worth my all!"

Monday's cartoon

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Communicating the wrong things

NGC 2244 cluster in NGC 2237, The Rosette Nebula in Monoceros
click here to see image at 50% size
As I'm roaming the web I came across this photo and text this evening. The text below the photo caught my eye. I didn't dare click on the link for fear of what would happen next...imagine if I really could see the image at 50% size just by clicking on the link? Suddenly, in a moment, an enormous galaxy at 50% scale right before my! How do they do that?
I know what they meant to say, I think, but we all do this at times....thinking we are saying one thing, but communicating something completely different. I have been thinking about this in reference to the Christian church, and I believe we have done that same thing to those around us who have not come to faith yet. We have not communicated what we thought we were saying. Instead of telling the world we love and care for them and want their salvation we have, in fact, communicated the wrong thing to a world needing truth. Just something I'm thinking about...I'll talk about this more as I work through it.....I welcome your thoughts on this idea of communicating the love of God to a lost world.

Saturday's cartoon

Friday, April 24, 2009

Amazing grace

There's a big difference between the Christian faith and other religions around the world. Religions around the world demand works, deeds, suffering, self-denial and a list of other self-imposed works to gain forgiveness, heaven, acceptance with god. The Christian faith stands alone in this one way- to be a be forgiven... accepted by God and bound for heaven you only have to do one thing, and to be honest it's not a "doing thing" at's a "believing thing." Here's how simple it is- all that God requires is impossible for us to do. We can't do enough, we can't be good enough, we can't do enough good deeds to meet his approval so God took the task on himself and met his own requirements for us. All you have to do is trust in his provision for your sins and you have God's forgiveness, a relationship with him and a promise of eternity with him. God describes this amazingly easy transaction in this way, "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." All the work of paying for our sins was done by Jesus Christ and it's faith in him alone, no works added, no works needed, that gives us forgiveness and peace with God. Why would anyone not want that? Why would anyone say "no" to this free offer? People reject it because it seems foolish to them, too easy....and it is. Some call this grace message of the cross "cheap grace", and it is...for us, but for God it cost him the death of his son on a Roman cross. God loves us so much that throughout history he invites us to come to him by faith in Christ alone for deeds of our own needed, no personal suffering required, no penance demanded. It's completely free. It's, rather, it's amazing grace.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Important to God

This morning, as part of my reading, I continue to work through the first chapters of 1 Chronicles. Each time I come to these chapters they make me wonder...why are these in the bible? It's chapter after chapter, verse after verse of names and lineages. "George was the father of James, and James was the father of Harry, and....." These are names that would be completely forgotten from history except for their record in the bible. In fact, I doubt that any other book of history has such a complete history of families. Why are they in the bible? The book would be much lighter without them. I honestly find myself skimming these chapters. As I do I think of 2 Timothy where it says, "ALL scripture is profitable.." and I wonder, how does this profit me? What do I do with it? I think it's as simple as this- each person, each name is someone God cared about. He knew them by name and he's kept a record of them. He doesn't forget anyone. Everyone is important to God. Even those who history has forgotten....even those people are remembered and important to God. So, today, it makes me aware that everyone I meet, pass by, or even ignore is a person that God knows by name and is important to, my own value is enhanced. When I think no one cares about me, no one knows me, God does. He has my name written down. He doesn't forget about anyone, everyone is important to God.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quote of the day

"What we are in danger of--in our country, in our churches, in ourselves--is practical atheism. This s not a considered embrace of godlessness. It is instead the slow slide into lives where God is irrelevant." -Tony Woodlief, WORLD Magazine, April 22, 2009

God Pie

Fears in the night hours

The night hours are a wonderful time to sleep and rest. The world comes to a stop and everyone takes a few hours to sleep, to rest, to recover for the next day to come....but there are nights when many of us find ourselves awake...awash in fear and worry of what might happen, what may be coming, what will happen to US! For, you see, fear is a total focus on ME and the fears that arise from what might happen to me. "What if ?....." Surprisingly I find myself at this point tonight....awake with unfounded fears of "what if...." They are dreadful hours when we battle these demons of the mind because there is no resolution, only the fears. Times like this make me go back to a focus on my awesome God. I have to revisit verses that get me thinking clearly again....I have to remember who is in charge.......and it's not me! So here are a few of the verses I go to when the night hours slip away from me....

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
Pro 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.


Php 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2Ch 32:7 "Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him.


There are many other passages like these in the bible where God literally takes my face in his hands and says to me, "don't look at the problems around you, look at me." And with that one look all my fears and worries evaporate as I look at the face of my creator God who loves me more than I can ever know and has promised to care for, back to sleep....and fears, be gone....God is in charge!

Another day to praise God

Today is "Earth Day". So I will use the day to praise God for his amazing provision for us on this little speck of dirt we call earth.
Lord, thanks for your amazing love, care and provision for us today. As the world around us celebrates "Earth Day" I want to thank you for your care and provision each moment of each day. It's your care that sustains us, not our efforts to fix a broken world. Thank you for your wonderful care for us and for providing such an amazing place for us to live and see you work. Thank you for the earth you have made. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thinking about what's important

I love the early morning...just before first light when it's completely quiet. I'm alone, no one wants my time and I can think. Read. Pray. Meditate. This morning I'm just thinking about what's important to me and my mind thinks of people, not stuff. I think about my wife, my kids, grandkids, parents, friends and the list continues. I think of friends and family who have died, I think of those who have touched my life. I think of Godly men and women who have long ago gone to be with the Lord, but their influence continues. I think about people. The stuff of the world is so temporary, it's all wearing out and will end up being thrown away, but the people around us...they are eternal. And yet, I find as I talk to people about their lives, the one thing they consider most disposable are the people around them! They discard marriages as they would old shoes. They turn their backs on friends as if they were strangers. They hurt those they should most care about. How have we gotten so confused that we would prize the stuff and carelessly throw away the eternal ones around us? Are we that blind? In fact, I have to admit, we are....and so we need these words from the lips of Jesus. Words spoken that have changed the world. Words that call us to value eternal things....
John 13:34 "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another.
As you begin your busy day I invite you to make the people around you the most important things on your agenda for the day. You will never regret the investment. You will never miss the hours invested in the lives of others...for you see...they are eternal and they matter most to God.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The rest of the story...

Joye and I took a few days off last week to ride the motorcycle to the hill country with some friends. We stopped at "the Alamo" set in far west Texas and Joye had to spend some time in jail....just kidding. It was a fascinating place...the site of the filming of the original movie, The Alamo with John Wayne. The location has deteriorated after nearly 50 years, but still a fascinating place to see. And, yes, I got Joye out in time to come home.

Monday's cartoon

This is so ME! God wonderfully provides all that I need, but there is just one more thing, Lord....could you also......
I think it's part of our fallen condition to never find contentment, but always want more. Lord, if you could just do this one more thing....then I'll be happy. And the truth is that we won't be happy, because there's always one more thing...there's always a subtle discontent in us that wants more. We won't find that contentment we seek until we see him face to face. I long for the day when my "appetites" will be sated and I will finally be truly content. It will an amazing day when this subtle discontent we all experience is finally done away with and we find all we need by simply being in his presence.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Strange brew

If they can think of it they will make it, but this is ridiculous! I would never have thought of such a brew, but someone did and now I wonder, what does it taste like? Where can I get it? Maybe it might be good....

The Good-O-Meter

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thought for the day

Snuck away...

Sorry for my absence, but my sweet wife and I snuck away for a few days with some friends and motorcycles in the Texas hill country. We stayed in the little town of Leakey, Texas and rode every mountain road in the area. It was beautiful and other than a little rain we had a great time. Nothing like a few days away and a motorcycle to refresh a weary soul!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Aware of God's presence

There's an interesting story in Genesis 28 as Jacob is on his way to his uncle Laban's house. On the way he rests for the night, but is awakened with a realization that God is there. He has a dream and God tells him of his care and of his promise, but the words that always catch my attention are Jacob's,
Gen 28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it."
How often this happens without us even realizing it. God is the ever present one and we are often completely unaware of his presence, his care, his nearness. God is in this place, wherever your place may be, to woo you, care for you, watch over you and work in your life. I do wish I was more aware of his presence, but I know that I would be overwhelmed by its reality. Like Jacob I don't always know or sense God's presence and am surprised when I turn around and he's here with me all the time! If this is true, and it is, how would being aware of his presence change your life? Would you talk to him more? Would you worry less? Would you sin less? He is the ever present God. He is forever with me, and most of the time I don't even know it....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

God's amazing care

I have a few moments before I have to run to the last class of the Revelation course. I have enjoyed teaching this class and can't believe it is over!
But, for the moment, I'm grateful for God's amazing care for us. I had planned to go to hospital this morning at 8:30 to pray with friends before surgery, but I woke up at 4 am this morning, not knowing why. I checked my e-mail to find that the hospital had changed the surgery and they needed to be there at 6:30 this morning. I had time for the word, some coffee and the trip to hospital to be there when they arrived. I know they were glad to see me, and happy that I had gotten their e-mail. I was the only one who met them there and I know it was God's way of showing them his care for them. Little waking up at 4, checking e-mail, meeting them there to just take a moment to pray before surgery. God's wonderful care for us shows up in ways we often miss, but are amazingly beautiful.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Who's On First for the Next Generation

Being a big Abbott and Costello fan I loved this parody and couldn't resist sharing it with you. Enjoy....

Barak: Hillary! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Hillary: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
Barak: Great. Lay it on me.
Hillary: Hu is the new leader of China.
Barak: That's what I want to know.
Hillary: That's what I'm telling you.
Barak: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
Hillary: Yes.
Barak: I mean the fellow's name.
Hillary: Hu.
Barak: The guy in China.
Hillary: Hu.
Barak: The new leader of China.
Hillary: Hu.
Barak: The Chinaman!
Hillary: Hu is leading China.
Barak: Now whaddya' asking me for?
Hillary: I'm telling you Hu is leading China.
Barak: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Hillary: That's the man's name.
Barak: That's who's name?
Hillary: Yes.
Barak: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China? Hillary: Yes, sir.
Barak: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the Middle East. Hillary: That's correct.
Barak: Then who is in China?
Hillary: Yes, sir.
Barak: Yassir is in China?
Hillary: No, sir.
Barak: Then who is?
Hillary: Yes, sir.
Barak: Yassir?
Hillary: No, sir.
Barak: Look, Hillary. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
Hillary: Kofi?
Barak: No, thanks.
Hillary: You want Kofi?
Barak: No.
Hillary: You don't want Kofi.
Barak: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.
Hillary: Yes, sir.
Barak: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
Hillary: Kofi?
Barak: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Hillary: And call who?
Barak: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Hillary: Hu is the guy in China.
Barak: Will you stay out of China?!
Hillary: Yes, sir.
Barak: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.
Hillary: Kofi.
Barak: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.

Monday's cartoon

Coffee with Jesus

A few weeks ago my wife found this video and used it in a message she taught in the women's ministry. I have waited to share it, but I really like the message, and so may I share it as we start the week? This is a very pointed video speaking to the way we often pray. We have our list and end up making it a monologue instead of a visit with the Lord. How often has your prayer time been a time when you didn't take time to listen?

Molding the next generations

2Ki 17:41 So while these nations feared the LORD, they also served their idols; their children likewise and their grandchildren, as their fathers did, so they do to this day.
This morning I am reading about the demise of the nation of Israel as they continued to reject God generation after generation. Ultimately God judged them and scattered them to the nations. At the end of the chapter is this short verse. One thing that caught my eye were the last words..."so they do to this day." What the author was communicating is not only the sins of Israel and their results, but the reality that we are molding generations after us by how we live and raise our children. What we are they become and so on and so on....generation after generation. We are molding our grandchildren by how we raise our children. When God says the sins of the fathers will be visited on the children to the third and fourth generations he's speaking to the results of our sins in the lives of our lineage...our children and grandchildren will be affected and influenced by our lives and how we live...good or bad.
Yesterday we had a great day celebrating Easter and spending the afternoon with the kids and grand kids. As I watch the grandchildren I realize how true this verse really is. How we raised our children and how we lived has affected even our grandchildren....and their children who may never know us. We have made an impression in the lives of generations. What are we molding into the lives of those yet to be born by the way we live and mold the children in our care? Do you want to make a difference in time and eternity? You have that opportunity....they are living in your house right now. You are molding those yet to live by the way you live today.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is risen!

Good morning. Today is the day Christians remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the Jews and the savior of the world. In spite of many attempts to discredit his story and history itself he did live, die on a Roman cross, was buried and rose to life after 3 days. He is the KING OF KINGS, THE LORD OF LORDS. And he will come back very soon as the Lord of all. I'm glad I have trusted him as my savior and Lord. If you are curious read the gospel of John and find out about this one who was God in flesh and who saves anyone who will trust him. He is risen indeed!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday's cartoon

I can already tell it's going to be one of those days.....

Just one more...

Ok, ok....I couldn't help it....just one more picture of Vaughn. It great being a parent, but being a grandparent is even better. We are really excited about the new boy and I can't wait to get to the hospital today to take more photos. All right, that's all...I won't inflict myself on you any further. Have a great day, I know we will.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Celebrating new birth

It's my great pleasure to introduce you to our new grandson, Vaughn. He was born about noon today, Good Friday, and weighs a little over 6 pounds.
Of course he's beautiful!
I'm thrilled to introduce him to you and I know my son, Ian, is most excited to be his dad.
Congratulations Ian and Tiffany!

My King!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Two key things

This short verse, Proverbs 3:3, is one I have memorized. Not because it's short, but because it speaks about two of the key things that we should intentionally weave into our lives- mercy and truth. It's fascinating to me that these two things are two of the most elusive in a world running away from God, and yet most prized by that same world. They want mercy, they seek truth, but don't want the God who helps us live them out. Over and over the bible calls God a merciful God and the God who always speaks truth. It's an honor to God when we demonstrate mercy and truth in our culture, and it's noticed because they are both so rare....

Dead mayor re-elected by US town

"Voters in a small town in the US state of Missouri have re-elected their popular mayor to a fourth term, several weeks after he died of a heart attack.
Harry Stonebraker died at the age of 69 in March - after ballot papers had been printed and absentee voting in the town of Winfield had begun.
He won by a landslide, securing 90% of the vote in the 723-population town.
Winfield will appoint a temporary mayor to serve until a special election is held in April 2010.
Lincoln County Clerk Elaine Luck likened the outcome to Missouri's US Senate race in 2000, which was won by Democrat Mel Carnahan who had died in a plane crash weeks earlier.
She said Harry Stonebraker was a popular mayor who had helped lead the community after flooding in 2008 damaged dozens of homes and large tracts of farmland.
"I figured he'd win because he seemed to get even more popular after he died, just like Carnahan," she was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
Mr Stonebraker was a life-long resident of the Winfield area, some 50 miles (80km) north-west of St Louis.
He was a retired construction superintendent who had nearly completed his third two-year term as mayor, AP said." -BBC News Online

I thought this was a wonderful article for two reasons,

1. It's a great commentary on a man who finished well. Even after he's dead people still want him to serve as mayor. What a great vote of support for this man and a great legacy for his town and family.

2. Stories like this make the news because here, unlike so many, was a politician who served the needs of his people. Their support and love for him was evident by their response. May men like this become the model of what a servant leader should look like. So many in politics simply serve themselves at the expense of the people. How refreshing to see a man in politics who served the needs of his people instead of them serving his needs.

This is a great story of a man who finished well!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Quote of the day

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” --George Washington

If I can prove it, I can justify it!

I thought this was good. It shows what we can justify if we really want to....

Bread Kills!

1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.

2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.

3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.

4. Every piece of bread you eat brings you nearer to death.

5. Bread is associated with all the major diseases of the body. For example, nearly all sick people have eaten bread. The effects are obviously cumulative:
99.9% of all people who die from cancer have eaten bread.
100% of all soldiers have eaten bread.
96.9% of all Communist sympathizers have eaten bread.
99.7% of the people involved in air and auto accidents ate bread within 6 months preceding the accident.
93.1% of juvenile delinquents came from homes where bread is served frequently.

6. Evidence points to the long-term effects of bread eating: Of all people born before 1839 who later dined on bread, there has been a 100% mortality rate.

7. Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as a teaspoon of dough can be used to suffocate a lab rat. The average American eats more bread than that in one day!

8. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.

9. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and being fed only water begged for bread after as little as two days.

10. Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.

11. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.

12. Newborn babies can choke on bread.

13. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.

14. Most bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

In light of these frightening statistics, we propose the following bread restrictions:

1. No sale of bread to minors.
2. A nationwide "Just Say No To Toast" campaign, complete celebrity TV spots and bumper stickers.
3. A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.
4. No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.
5. The establishment of "Bread-free" zones around schools.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Watching the birds

Mat 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

Return of the King

Tonight I'm teaching Revelation 19. We are almost done with this amazing book, but what struck me is that we find ourselves talking about the returning king in the very week when we remember his first ride into Jerusalem. The first time he came as the suffering servant to provide salvation. The second time he will come as conquering king to rule and reign.
For many of us who have trusted him as savior we are already part of his kingdom. I look forward to the day when king Jesus comes! I look forward to the day when I will see him face to face. Soon we will all see the return of the real king of kings...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Monday's cartoon


Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
Fears in the night are unfriendly visitors. They wake you, trouble you and will not let you rest. Fear of what might be, fear of what you think is happening.....fear for fears sake is as good as a cup of strong coffee to wake you up in the middle of the night, but it doesn't taste nearly as good.
We are in a time when everything is being shaken to the very core. Jobs, culture, finances and all we have trusted in is being shaken. It's as if the great earthquake has already begun to rumble and the very tremors we feel cause us to be afraid.
After only a couple hours of sleep tonight I awoke with thoughts of great fear bouncing around in my head. I know fear comes when we feel a sense that we cannot control the things that are happening around us, but truthfully we never could....we only thought we could. Now, realities become clear that we cannot control the world around us and so fear invades even our rest.
Being a pastor does not make me exempt from these fears. All humans struggle with them...the fears that could fill a page if I listed them are all resolved by what we do about them....and so I go to Psalms to read the directions for the indigestion of fear.
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
What I hate to admit, but is true, is that when fears invade my mind I'm not trusting God. And so, I must come back to what I know....God loves me, he's fully in charge of all that goes on in my life, he's working for my good, my world is not spinning out of control, but is fully in the hands of my Father. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in YOU, dear Father. There is no other place to run, no other place to hide, no safer place to be.
So when you awake with fears racing through your mind affecting even your heart rate, go to this short Psalm and realign your trust....come back to the one who will calm your fears and care for you. Whatever is causing your fears can easily be taken care of by our wonderful, loving Father. Trust in to sleep....

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Lazy or Bold?

Lazy or Bold? You decide.....

Fear of whales

A couple years ago my wife wrote a blog about her own fear of whales and since then most of her random hits on her blog come from a Google search for "Fear of Whales." This has been very interesting for me to watch....people who live nowhere near water being afraid of something they may never see! So, I thought I would write this post for two reasons-
1. To get more traffic from all those Google searches for "Fear of Whales." (Just kidding)
2. To talk about the irrational nature of most our fears. I know that we all deal with fears of some kind, but most of the fears I battle, and I have helped others deal with, are pretty much fear of nothing. Fears that could not possibly happen. Fears that are suffocating, but impossible in the life of the one in fear. Fear of whales is like that. It's a fear that has little chance of actually happening, but haunts the one in fear. "What if?...." is our first line of defense to tell another person that we have good reason to fear and in fact, every right to hold onto this particular fear.
Fears are, first and foremost, a declaration that your God isn't big enough for the issues of your life. If he really was able to handle these problems and you believed him able then your fears would evaporate with the presence of your faith in the God who is able. Today, in my reading, I came to a verse in Proverbs that I smile at each time I read it. The author says, "Don't be afraid of sudden fear..." It's that fear of fear that can handicap us and make the God we worship unable to help us. This story is lived out over and over again in the pages of the bible. Men and women who simply don't trust God for their problem, and so fear dominates their life.
If you're dealing with whale size fears it might be time to talk to God about them. They are only big because HE is not.

Saturday's cartoon

Quote of the day

“When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

Friday, April 03, 2009

Who decides what's right?

Here's a great article about the situation in my home state. Core to the debate is what Lynn writes about. I think her insights speak to the real issues we are dealing with in our culture today. -Mike

Miracle in corn country
Written by Lynn Vincent, WORLD Magazine
April 3, 10:52 AM

The Iowa Supreme Court this morning ruled that a statute affirming only traditional marriage in the state is unconstitutional. The Associated Press reports:
“The court reaffirmed that a statute inconsistent with the Iowa constitution must be declared void even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion,” said a summary of the ruling issued by the court.
Here’s a question: At its roots, what determines law in this country? Is it not precisely “strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion?”
Why is stealing wrong? Why is it wrong for an adult to have sex with a child? Because we as a society say they are wrong. And we elect, by popular vote consistent with our own deeply held traditions, lawmakers who legislate accordingly.
The Iowa court’s summary statement sets up the state constitution as some kind of objective moral interpreter that somehow burst into being independent of the collective mind of the people. As though it appeared, miraculously, without human authorship or any accompanying original intent.
The Iowa constitution is apparently a document so miraculous as to be able to mediate all societal disputes, when in fact constitutions, both state and federal, are meant to be precisely the opposite: Reserving to the people — those stubborn stewards of pesky traditions and opinions — all rights not explicitly assigned to the state.

Choosing darkness

I found an article online this morning regarding what I would call the "billboard wars." One camp will buy a billboard sign saying, "THERE IS A GOD!" and the counter attack will post a billboard saying, "NO THERE ISN'T!"

From this article I just want to quote one statement and compare it to a passage of scripture that it brought to mind. It's funny how they are so clearly similar and how well the bible describes the heart of man. Here's the quote that caught my eye-

"We want to help those who have grown beyond religious belief to find their philosophical home," the nontheistic group states. The Dallas/Fort Worth Coalition of Reason

And, in response, here's the word of God-

Rom 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind....

When people refuse the light God has given then darkness is their only choice. I'm saddened to see people who prefer the darkness of their own way to the light of following God.

Just thinking

Just a few thoughts as the day begins-
I have noticed that contentment is missing in our culture today. People are never content or happy with where they are, what they are doing, what they have now. Have we bred into our culture a subtle discontent that has made us a people who want change, but are never happy with the change we get?
I have noticed that silence is missing. There is no place to find quiet. Noise is everywhere. Even as I sit in my car at a stop light with the radio off the car beside me will have the radio so loud it rattles MY windows. I watch people and see a real uneasiness when silence happens. They don't know what to do. I love silent times....times to think, quiet my mind and heart, listen to God. Are we addicted to noise so we won't have to listen for God's quiet voice?
I have noticed, as I visit with people, a great pride in what I would call "personal truth." I'm a little amazed and surprised at how brazen and bold people are about "their truth." There is no common ground of truth we all acknowledge any longer, but now there is a rising tide of pride in personal truth. And, on that same topic, there is an increasing disdain for anything that would say "this is what God says." Constructing our personal gods is a messy business.
I have noticed, doing a lot of counseling, that shame and remorse over sin is gone. I remember a day when a real shame and remorse over sins committed was part of repentance, but I have not seen shame in a long time....where did the awareness of God's holiness and our own sinfulness go? How have we come to a place where people have no shame at all for the most wicked behavior? This very question dates me, but sadly, with the word of God being taken out of our culture there is no longer a clarity on what is right and what is wrong. And, even worse, there is no fear of God in the lives of those who flaunt their behavior. It's Romans 1 lived out in a culture. I know we are in a post-God culture when shame has gone missing from the lives of those around us.
I have more....but let me stop here for now. My intent in this blog is that it be encouraging, edifying and positive. My thoughts today run in a different direction, so I will close with just these thoughts on what's on my mind this morning. I would enjoy your comments with this as the first phrase...."I have noticed..."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Celebrating faith in Christ

Last Sunday night we celebrated the public testimonies of a number of those in our church by water baptism. One of the young men I was blessed to baptize was Blake. He's an awesome guy, and I'm looking forward to seeing what God does in his life.
In many countries there is penalty of death for this kind of public profession, but for us it's a wonderful celebration of the new life we have by faith in Christ.

Your vote?

Often God will interrupt our lives with a demonstration of his power and greatness. This photo is an amazing demonstration of that. While enjoying a fireworks celebration on the left the photographer caught the contrast of God's fireworks on the right. Which one is more impressive to you? I love the contrast!

Amazing creation

I'm one of those geeky guys who finds strange places on the internet.  I'm not sure why, but I love the hunt...the hunt for great sites that inspire my faith, that encourage me, that help me to grow in knowledge.  Here's a site I encourage you to visit...I think you will really enjoy it.