Saturday, December 31, 2011

Be on the Frontline for Christ!

2 Corinthians 4

 1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

We are just hours away from ending 2011 and the hope of 2012. God has greatly blessed me with a ministry through CMA (Christian Motorcyclist Association). For the second year, I have been voted as Chaplain of our local chapter (Sonrise Riders). I'm not really worthy of this position, but God has placed me here for a reason. So I count it a blessing to serve this ministry. I have the great opportunity of mixing my passion for motorcycles, people, and God. How many people get to do what they love and use it for God? 

What ministry are you in? I have mentioned before that I'm not fond of New Years Resolutions. They are very rarely followed after the first week or month of the new year. But, maybe now is the time for you to step up your commitment to ministry. Do you have a ministry? I mean a serious ministry. Have you made a commitment to a group of people whose focus is solely to bring people who don't know Jesus to his saving grace? I know the first thing you'll say is yes, your church. I'm not discounting what your Church does. I love my Church and it is a key to my growth as a follower of Christ. But, how do you reach those people who will never even have a desire to step into a church for worship. Are you a Frontline Christian? I think we should all be frontline Christians. The Battle is out in the world. The Battle is with the homeless, the criminals, the drug users, the poor, youth, the single families, the bars, the fatherless, the lonely, and more. Where is your passion? What is it that you get really excited about? What ministry would you love to start or take part in?

Take this next week and pray every morning and every night for God to make it clear where you should serve. Earnestly search for a ministry. Commit to serving others and bringing them to know the saving grace God has brought to you. Being a part of a ministry is a very selfish act for me. I get so much more out of it than I put into it. The blessings are amazing. PLEASE COMMIT TO MINISTRY! Not in 2012 but right NOW!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Prayer for 2012

2 Thessalonians 2

 13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits[b] to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings[c] we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

2011 is winding down. Another year in the books. I always get nostalgic and sentimental this time of year. I get to take a little break from the busy activities at school and look at how God has blessed me. My greatest blessing is my wife and family. I should always thank God for them. I love my girls. Now that they're all grown, I don't get to see them as much as I want. But, we are able to stay in touch and I love hearing how God is working in their lives. They all are faithful believers and every time I turn around I can see God, clearly, at work in their lives.

So, as we come to the last few days of December 2011 and head into a New Year, hear is my prayer for them in 2012:

Dear Lord, Thank you so much for the blessings you have provided me. Thank You for Stephanie and all the love and care she gives me every day. Thank you for the blessings of 3 beautiful daughters. I ask that in 2012 they draw closer to you every single day. I ask you to provide them with your guiding spirit. Lead them away from evil and protect them from the dangers surrounding all of us. Give them wisdom in dealing with their families, co-workers, and the people they meet every day. May the focus all their energy on your purposes and your mission. May they be a witness for you to everyone they see. Keep them healthy and safe in everything they do. Be with my 2 son-in-laws. I pray they also draw closer to you. I pray they also focus on your will and they provide strong Christ-centered leadership for their families. Grant them the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job. I love them and beg your blessings for them. May you also be deeply involved in the lives of my grandchildren. Help them be good leaders in their schools. Help them to make good decisions and to continue to work hard as they grow in knowledge and wisdom. Fill them with the desire to know you more. Provide them with friends who also love you and know you. Keep them healthy and safe in 2012. Thank You Lord for providing all of us with your grace. We have no right to your love, but you give it anyway. Thank you for the gift of life and the future you have set before us. Praise God you are in control. Amen!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Letter for God!

2 Corinthians 3

New International Version (NIV)

 1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

As Athletic Director for a High School, I get asked to write quite a few letters of recommendation for students. If a student comes to ask me, it usually means he/she knows me and I know them pretty well. Most of the time I love writing them. Sometimes, it's not easy. I don't like students asking me at the last minute for a letter of recommendation, because I really believe in taking time to write a thoughtful letter.

Are you a good letter of reference for God? I know that's a strange question. But, when people see you as a follower of Christ, are you a good reference. When I write a letter of reference,  I have a process I go through. I like to look at how hard a student worked in the class room. I like to hear what coaches and teachers say about their effort. I like to go to practices and observe how hard an athlete works. I want to know what type of servant the student-athlete is. I want to see them interact with other students, teachers, and coaches. What type of relationship do they have with their parents and their community?

As we go about our daily lives, people are also observing us. As Christians we are being watched constantly. People want to see how we react to stress. People want to see how we deal with relationships. They want to see how hard we work for our Lord. What kind of value do we give to our faith? They don't look at your attendance at church. They don't listen to your words. They look at your actions. 

Our actions are a letter of recommendation for a relationship with Christ. Do people say, I want to have what he has? Or, do they say if that's what a Christian is, I want nothing to do with it. You are God's letter of reference. What kind of reference are you?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

God's Justice!

2 Thessalonians 1

6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 

God's justice is always perfect. The justice of this world is not. All you have to do is watch the news every night and it's easy to see that justice is not perfect in this world. The Bad guys win, sometimes. In the final days, the Lord's people will be victorious over evil. Those that caused trouble will get trouble. Those who serve will be served. I have a very finite view of justice. I don't know the things God knows. From time to time, I catch myself questioning God's justice. I don't understand how he can sit idly by while evil runs rampant. But, I'm always brought back to God's reality. God is just. God wins in the end. The illusion that we are losing and evil is winning, is just that, an illusion.

Praise God we have a just God! Praise God he loves me and promises justice in my life. Thank You Lord for your love. Thank You for your kindness and your Grace! Amen!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Equal to the task!

2 Corinthians 2

........ And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

Sharing the message of Christ is so difficult in this world. What are your motives? I don't think I have ever thought of winning someone over to Christ for profit. But, if you think about it, you can see why they might think you are. Are you more interested in preaching the gospel to the lost, or finding members for your church? Are we just trying to increase the $$ in the collection plate or are we really looking to have people know the love of Christ.

I love my church and all that it stands for. We have a great senior pastor and support staff. Still, I need to be careful how I promote my church to the lost. Is my church filled with perfect people? I know that answer is no. Do I portray them that way? I have to be careful about describing the people, the facility, or the many programs we attend. We need to be clear about our message. That message is not about us, our church, it is about the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

All of us are equal to the task of leading the lost to Jesus. We are made specifically for this purpose. God provides us everything we need to lead people to him. His planning is perfect and he dwells within us. Check your motives. Check your heart. If you don't like what you see, change it with the power of the creator. If you like what you see, you should already be out there working for the Lord.

In all things I will serve him!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Peace on Earth.

1 Thessalonians 5

 1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

This time of year it is so popular to share the saying "Peace on Earth. Goodwill to Men!" It is a noble wish to all on this planet. But it actually comes from the Bible: Luke 2:14 -- 
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

But the real meaning of this verse is greatly twisted by our SECULAR society. This verse is used as a christmas wish and I agree with that. But, like 1 Thessalonians 5, people can talk all they want about peace. They can take this time of year to wish for peace on earth. But, Peace is not possible for people living in darkness.  When you look at Luke 2:14 in it's true translation, you will quickly realize this verse reinforces 1 Thess. 5. The better translation of Luke 2:14 is :Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth Peace for those who favor God.

The world thinks it can be at peace by our own will. That's just not possible. Peace can't  come unless it's through Jesus Christ. People who live in darkness can not and will not know Peace. It doesn't matter if it's at Christmas or not. Peace is only granted to those who are in God's favor. God favor's his people! We need to be his. We need to love God. We need to  accept his son as our savior. We need to let people know the great peace which comes through that wonderful relationship with God, not through our own will and desire. Simply Love God and Peace on Earth will be possible!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Comfort for my Brother!

2 Corinthians 1

 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

I've never been without a job. I was thinking of that a few days ago while I was watching the news. The news channel was talking about the unemployed who have given up. We are hovering at 8% unemployment in the U.S. Yet, those numbers don't come close to speaking the truth. They don't tell about the millions of Americans who have given up looking for work. It doesn't tell about the UNDER employed, those who are working in jobs just to earn any amount of money because unemployment has run out. I'm almost embarrassed that I haven't ever been without work. I want so bad to extend comfort and hope to those people who can not find fulfilling and meaningful employment.  Why am I the lucky one and they aren't? 

I have a brother who is in this situation. My brother is a smart guy. He is a talented Christian man who cares deeply for people. He is and always has been a hard worker. He has degrees and education that are well beyond the average person. Yet, he is grossly under-employed. I want so bad to comfort him. I want so bad to be able to fix things for him. I don't want him to HAVE to receive comfort. I want him to get beyond the suffering he is going through. My experience doesn't give me any authority or credibility to comfort. I can't say I know what he's going through. I can't give him the hope that "this too will pass". But, I know someone who can. ....... the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles,.........

I feel grossly under-qualified to know what my own brother is going through and has been suffering for years. Yet, God and our Lord Jesus know of his suffering beyond what I will ever comprehend. He was beaten and crucified for no reason. He didn't deserve it. But, he did it so he could comfort my brother through his suffering. Eventually, my brother will come through his suffering, even though he can't see the end. He has hope because of Jesus. Eventually, he will be able to share that hope from deep within his heart. He will be able to share that comfort and hope with someone else, because of Jesus. 

I don't want this to sound trite and weak. I truly believe God is preparing my brother for great things. He will be able to comfort like very few people have. God knows what he's going through and stands with him now and forever. Praise God he is the Lord of comfort and hope. Praise God he will see us through all trials and suffering. Praise God that he gave up his life so we might be comforted for all of eternity. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Good Grief!

1 Thessalonians 4

 13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 

Although this was Charlie Brown's favorite saying. It seems a little odd to say "Good Grief". They seem to be two terms that are completely opposite of each other. Grief can't be good  and good can't happen when you grieve. Right?

When my Dad died our entire family was filled with grief. My Dad was great. We missed him then and we miss him now. But, as a Christian, I grieve different than many. I have attended several funerals and "viewings". It is really different grieving for those who know the Lord and those who don't. Leaving the funeral of a follower of Christ has such a peaceful feel to it. It is such a comfort to know that your good bye is only temporary. We still grieve, but we have hope. I can't imagine grieving WITHOUT HOPE! We have a great example in Jesus Christ. Attending a funeral of a non-believer is so much more emotional for both believers and non-believers. One group was no hope for any future. The other group has no hope of any future that will include he deceased. There is a big difference.

The best way to grieve is with hope. The only way to have hope is through Jesus Christ. The thought of not being able to celebrate eternity with my wife, daughters, son-in-laws, grandkids, and friends, is nearly unbearable. So I have a choice, I can share the love of the Lord with them and hope to get them to build a relationship with Christ, or I can sit back and hope someone else shares with them. 

I don't know about you, but I can't sit idly by while all of these people die a meaningless PERMANENT DEATH. I have to do something about it. Will you? 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tebow: Be strong in love!

1 Corinthians 16
 13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

Tim Tebow has taken the NFL by storm. He has been phenomenal on the field for the Denver Broncos. But, he is known more for his faith than his come from behind victories. Regardless of his skills at Quarterback, he is a great leader on his team and he wears his faith on the outside so all can witness. For this reason, he has become the target for taunting and ridicule. Here is a clip of a Detroit Lion player mocking his prayer.

Paul has something to say to Tim Tebow. 1 Corinthians 16:13,14. 13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

When someone mocks God like this, I just want to see God's wrath come down and justice done. I don't really expect it. God uses these situations to help us endure this sinful world. Tim Tebow is reaching more people today than I might ever reach in a lifetime. He is the focus of Christians and non-Christians across our country. For the rest of his life he will be under a magnifying glass. Can he hold up to the scrutiny? I can tell you for sure, Tim Tebow is a sinner, just like you and I. He is not perfect. When you and I sin, it's private, between us and God. When Tim Tebow sins, it will be on the national news.  I pray that Mr. Tebow will be on guard. He needs to be deeper in faith today than ever before in his life. He needs to continue to be courageous and strong against the forces of evil that pursue him.  But, the most important advice he will get is "Do everything in love." Even playing football. 

That's advice we can all take to heart. If we are persecuted at work, at school, or in play, we need to do everything with Love. We need to be strong in faith. We need to be courageous in the presence of ridicule and mockery. God is with us, he is our strength. He will be the victor in the end.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Best Stress Ball!

1 Thessalonians 3

 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

Have you ever seen those stress balls? I have several in my office. Every Athletic Director event I go to, they hand them out.  I know why. Most people don't. I'm not sure how well stress balls work. I have used them and can't really tell the difference. One of the best ways to handle distress and persecution is taking courage from those who have gone through it. I have seen so many people go through the stress of job loss, illness, loss of loved ones, and problems at work. Yet, they still stand firm in their faith. Most of the time these "faithful followers" see a deepening of their faith. I am so encouraged to know that I will survive as long as I lean on the Lord. 

Thank You Lord for my brothers and sisters in faith. Thank you for our trials and the strength you give us. Thank you that we can be an encouragement to others by those trials. Thank You for helping us through trials and distress. Praise God for your strength and power. Amen!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I am what I am!

1 Corinthians 15

 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

Can you relate to what Paul is saying? There have been many times in my life that I feel so inadequate for the task God has placed before me. I, too, look at myself of being unworthy. I can look back at opportunities missed or ignored. I can look back on selfishness that overruled the plans God has for me. But by the Grace of God, I am what I am. God's grace is so wonderful it has affected me in amazing ways. It is grace that enables me to get past my poor choices, my weaknesses and my sins. Just like Paul, it is grace that gives me the motivation to work even harder for the Lord. When I dwell on my inadequacies the Devil is pleased. But God's grace enables me to overcome and work harder for the kingdom of God. The Devil can't stand that!

That is the message we have to share with the lost this Christmas. God sent his son to Earth to make the greatest sacrifice he could. He wanted to demonstrate to us what his Grace was all about. Jesus didn't deserve to die the death of a criminal. We do! Yet, he took our crimes upon himself. None of us are good enough, yet we are all recipients of that same grace.

Thank You Lord. I want to serve you more today than ever!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Don't Flatter me!

1 Thessalonians 2

1 You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children[a] among you.

Flattery (also called adulation or blandishment) is the act of giving excessive compliments, generally for the purpose of ingratiating oneself with the subject.

It is good to say nice things about people. Paying someone a genuine compliment is not as popular as in the past. I think it is hard to accept compliments. But, it's even harder to take flattery. Flattery takes a compliment to a different level. Compliments are always nice. But compliments lose their value the more you get. I always get suspicious of someone who goes overboard saying nice things about me. The reason is simple. I'm a sinner. I'm not that great a person. So, either the person dishing out the flattery doesn't really know me or they're just doing so for their own gain.

Paul had a tough time sharing the gospel message. People were suspicious of the message. It was new and unique. The early apostles of Christ had to be careful to be as genuine as possible. People then and people now can see through the "fluff". Their motives were questioned constantly. It's not much different than today.  The message of Christ today gets quite a bit of bad publicity. So, when  people here the message, they are cautious. We need to make sure we follow the early christian example. We need to be persistent, accurate, pure in motive, honest, open, unselfish, and innocent as children. We need to follow the guiding of the Holy Spirit. We need to be humble and constantly realize WE ARE SINNERS! Remember God is your witness. He is with you every time you share the message. He is looking for a pure heart with pure motives. The message doesn't need to be sweetened to make it great. Persistence and a pure heart committed to the Lord is all you need.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Louder than Words!

1 Corinthians 14

 6 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.

I don't know a whole lot about speaking in tongues. You have to remember I'm not a biblical scholar by any definition. I understand it's quite amazing when the Holy Spirit works through someone in this way. I've not witnessed it, but am fascinated by it. But, what good is speaking in tongues if no one can understand it? What good am I if I witness to others but can't do so in a way that is understood by the lost?

Have you ever heard someone try to speak to a non-christian, but get bogged down in one cliche after another? We might as well speak in tongues. It is our mission to speak the Gospel message so others can understand and relate to our story. Our great hope is to be the catalyst for change. We can't do that unless our message is clear and understood. I think the best way to make your message clear is not with your tongue, but your actions. Sharing your story in words can be very important. Just like a picture is worth a thousand words, our actions are worth ten times that.

As we get in to this early Christmas season, make sure your actions are speaking louder than the Christmas words we share. In the season where we all hope for Peach and Goodwill, make sure YOU  actually DO it.  Speak clearly about God's Love. Speak Clearly about what Jesus has done for you. Speak Clearly about the miracles the Holy Spirit has worked in your life. But, more importantly, show that the Spirit of God is behind all your ACTIONS and is the most important part of your life!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank You for you!

1 Thessalonians 1

 2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm not sure people realize the value of positive words of encouragement. It really doesn't matter if they come from family, friends, coworkers, bosses, or strangers. Everyone appreciates when someone talks well about them. Today is Thanksgiving Day. It's a great time to tell PEOPLE how much you appreciate them. There are no rules here except to be sincere. It always helps to be as specific as you can. There's nothing wrong with saying you appreciate someone, but what about them do you appreciate? It costs you nothing but it is valued more than any gift purchased on Black Friday.

 I am Thankful for my family. Specifically, I am so thankful they all Love the Lord and have made worshipping him a big part of their family. I am so thankful God has blessed me with a wonderful wife for 33 years. She is the greatest blessing I have ever received from God. Like all of my blessings, I don't deserve her and thank God every day for her love.

I am Thankful for YOU. You help motivate me to stay in God's word. YOU help me to meditate and consider what God is saying to me. This Blog is a place where God speaks to me. I pray those of you who read these posts are also open to the voice of God. Thank YOU!

Dear Lord, I am thankful for my family every day, not just on Thanksgiving. Thank you for giving them a faith they put in action every day. Thank You for the Love they share and the hope they live in winning others to your kingdom. Thank You for speaking to me through your word. Thank you for the Spirit which guides my life. You are an amazing and wonderful God. You are creator and savior for all mankind. Thank you for your grace and promises for eternity!
Thank you Lord! Amen!

Monday, November 21, 2011

What's love got to do with it?

1 Corinthians 13

 1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

This is one of the most popular chapters in the Bible. It is most popular at weddings but it seems like everyone knows it. It is such a "pretty" chapter. it leaves you feeling all "gushy" inside. OR DOES IT? In fact, this verse is pretty tough on us. It is especially tough in verses 4-7. Do you consider yourself a Loving person. Can you live up to God's description of love.  If you're not quite sure try this: Replace the word Love with the word I. I found this in an internet site and was floored by it's impact. What do you think?

4 I am patient, I am kind. I do not envy, I don't boast, I'm not proud. 5 I don't dishonor others, I'm not self-seeking, I'm not easily angered, I don't keeps no record of wrongs. 6 I do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. 7 I always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. I never fail.

I don't know about you, but I'm in trouble. With that slight modification to these verses, I realize I'm not quite the "Lover" I like to think I am.
This is quite the standard God has set for us and frankly, this is what life's about.  All the other things that we deem as important are nothing. Knowledge, wisdom, and Faith are all important parts of our life as Christians. But, GOD SAYS, without Love we have nothing. The song "what's love got to do with it" can't be further from the truth. Love has everything to do with everything. Do I really love my family? Do I really love my wife? Do I love my GOD? If we can't accept this great definition of love, we can't say we really love at all.

Now on the other hand. God perfectly reflects all these great characteristics of Love. God sets the standard. We can only dream of working toward that standard. Our choice is, will be even try. He is all those things and so much more. When we realize, GOD IS LOVE, and then realize what Love is, we can begin to share that Love with others. Love is the key. True Love, is the key.

Dear Lord, Please forgive me for not really Loving you, my family, and my friends. Lord I am blessed to have your Love. Help me to share that Love as you would have me. Help me to understand what it truly means to love. Thank you for loving me. Amen.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

God's Geometry!

Acts 28

 11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome.

What a trip for Paul, bouncing from port to port, being shipwrecked, hitching rides on strange ships. I always taught, as a geometry teacher, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If you want to get from point A to point B you follow a straight line. God doesn't always follow the rules of Math.

Paul is a perfect example of a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. He didn't whine, he didn't complain, he didn't pull a "Jonah", he just went where God took him. I know from my own experience, it's not always easy to follow the path God has laid before us. The path is not like an Interstate Highway. It's more like a meandering river.  But, every part of the plan is important for the purposes of Christ. There is nothing by chance. When we are committed followers of Christ, we must relinquish control of the plan. We need to be willing to trust in the Lord to take us where he wants us to go. We might scratch our head and wonder. We might even question him. But, he is perfect. His plan for us is perfect. Geometry doesn't matter.

If we let him be in control and willingly follow where he leads, we will be on the greatest adventure ever. We will see people, places, and do things we never imagined. But, the blessings will be amazing. Praise God he is in control. Praise God he has a personal adventure planned just for me. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


1 Corinthians 12

 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a]and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 

What's your best? What is it that no one else can do like you? I'm watching IU Basketball. I am amazed at the skill level of those "kids" on the court. I am equally amazed at my pastor, Stuart Kruse, and his great ability to be able to deliver the Word of God. My wife is an amazing Special Education instructor. We all know doctors, lawyers, teachers, social workers, businessmen, moms and dads that are exceptionally gifted at what they do. It is the Spirit of God living within us that supplies our gifts. These verses emphasize over and over, these gifts come from one spirit, from one God, not a bunch of different Gods.

When I've read these verses in the past, I've always concentrated on the variety of gifts people have. But, what do all these gifts say about God. What kind of God has all of these GREAT attributes? We always look at the majesty of the Mountains, the beauty of a sunset, the vastness of the universe, to describe the awesomeness of God. We use the miracles of our daily lives to describe his power. What about the diversity he has created in us? The seemingly infinite gifts that God has granted, say so much more about my God than the gifts say about us.  

We are created in the image of God. His character and his image is reflected in the gifts we all have and so much more. My God is an awesome God. Think about that great pastor, counselor, teacher, lawyer, athlete, mom, dad, friend, co-worker, social worker, business owner, politician, nurse, doctor, soldier, fireman, policeman, scientist, and more. All of those GREATS together are just a hint at what God is. How can you not worship a great God like that?! He is God. He is Great! There is no other!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I told you so!

Acts 27

 21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

Ok, I have to admit. I think this is a little funny. Paul was a prisoner on this ship and he warned the crew that they shouldn't sail. All of the sudden they got stuck in a Hurricane, a "Noreaster". I am sure when he told them "I told you so" it went over like a lead balloon. SO now, with the storm raging, he's providing great words of courage and comfort, except the last sentence. They are going to crash! Yet, he's just not sure where!

I hate it when someone tells you "I told you so". But, I really enjoy telling someone else! Am I the only one who thinks that way? But, there is one time I would love to share those words. When we all get to Heaven, I am looking forward to saying "I told you so" to all those who are there with my help. That will be a glorious time indeed. But, I sure don't want to share that sentiment with those who will NOT be there with me. How can I prove to them, RIGHT NOW, the reality of eternal life through Christ. The only way to attain it is through the Son of God. The  only goal I have in life is to take all of you with me to paradise. I want all my family there. I want all my friends. I even want all my enemies! 

Lord, give me the words, give me the opportunities, give me the boldness to share with others. Help me to convince them of the wonderful life you have prepared for them both HERE and in ETERNITY! I am your vessel, your hands and your feet. Amen!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What do you take for granted?

1 Corinthians 11

 27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

Communion is one of my favorite worship activities. Yes, I said WORSHIP. Our church does not take communion every week. I know some do and I'm not going to be critical of those traditions. But, personally, I like taking communion on a less frequent basis. As in all things, I have a tendency to take them for granted if they occur regularly. I can give you several examples: I take it for granted that I have a place to eat and sleep each night. I take it for granted that I have a steady paycheck. I take it for granted that I have a fantastic wife who loves me and treats me like a King. (Not the treatment I deserve) I take for granted the free country I live in. I take for granted I can worship in the way I choose and take communion without the penalty of death. I take for granted many, many things in my life. What do you take for granted in your life?

Sometimes, when I take communion it's easy to treat lightly what it truly means.   It is easy to take for granted what Jesus did for me.

Communion is to remind me what Jesus did for me on the cross. It has been handed down for centuries from Jesus himself. Yet, I can't say I have always treated it with the dignity it deserves. The thought of Jesus being crucified for my sins, the thought of him dying a senseless death because of me, brings me to my knees, praying for forgiveness. It's when I lose sight of that reality, that I don't treat the worship of communion as it should. 

Please forgive me Lord, for taking YOU for granted. Please forgive me for the times I am more worried about Sunday Lunch or the Sunday Football games than taking communion with dignity and respect. Lord you have freed me from sin by you selfless, grace-filled, act. You are God and yet you gave up your life for me. Forgive me. I Love you with all my heart! Amen!

Monday, November 14, 2011

You can pay me now or pay me later.

Acts 2

 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
 29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

This Fram Oil Filter commercial is a classic. Sludge builds up in the hearts of those who don't know Christ. That sludge can do damage to the heart. It takes patience to clean the heart, rebuild some parts, and replace others. Sometimes the damage is overwhelming and time is the only thing that will help. Don't give up. You can't just use one approach. You can't just think that changing the oil will cure the problem. Sin causes a lot of damage. It takes time to clear that damage and heal the heart. Lives need rebuilt and old destructive habits need replaced. That's why the believer should never give up on anyone. Sometimes it just takes time. Never give up!

The real problem, though, is not giving up. Most of the time, the real problem is getting started. We need to get off the couch and SHARE the gospel. Sure many will not accept it immediately. Some will out-right reject it, at first. The sin in their lives is like the sludge in an engine. It does serious damage and can take time to thoroughly clean. 

Building a relationship with non-believers is the best place to begin the change. We can share the gospel with our actions, not just our words. We also need to be in constant prayer for those we encounter. We need to pray for opportunities to share. We need to pray for the heart to be open to the message of the gospel. Then we just need time and patience to wait for the Lord to work. We can't fix things like a 60 second commercial. Everyone will face Christ for the final judgement. If we choose Christ now, the bill has been paid for by Christ. If we choose to wait, we might not get the chance. Engine failure will be eminent without Christ.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Deer Encounters!

1 Corinthians 10

 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

It's the middle of November and I had the great joy of riding "Harley" in two parades on Saturday for Veterans Day. THe weather was a little chilly in the morning, but it was wonderful most of the day. The riding days for 2011 are certainly numbered. We may not have many left. It also happens to be deer hunting season. November and December are peak deer accident season. While riding on Saturday, I couldn't help but think about the possibility.

My closest encounter with a Deer was about 7 years ago. I had my Goldwing and went to a sectional girls soccer game. On my way back, along Hwy 18, I saw farmers taking out corn in fields on both sides of the road. Suddenly, I also saw a big buck flee from the corn field into my path. It all happened so quickly. The deer saw me and I saw him CLOSE UP! He put his two front hooves straight down to brake himself (about 6 inches from my leg). I went to accelerate and veer to the left. He slowed just enough to let me by, as he jumped over my saddel bags and rear trunk. He snapped off my rear antenna and took the paint off the top of the trunk. I just kept on going, shaking but safe!

One of the best safety tips for riding Harley is: Keep alert! Always be alert for a potential accident and prepare an escape route. You should know what's behind you, in front of you and coming from each side. You have to plan an escape route for every situation. You need to constanly think what will I do if????? God provided for my safety that night. He gave me a way out and I was kept safe. He will do the same when it comes to temptation. you are not going to encounter something God isn't prepared for. He will always be in control and have an escape route for you. All you have to do is rely on him. If you truly claim him as the Lord of your life, you will have nothing to fear. He will see you through every crisis. Rely on him!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

People never forget and rarely forgive.

Acts 25

 6 After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.
 8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.”

Paul was ruthlessly attacked by the Jewish leaders. It sure sounds alot like politics in America. When someone in America decides to run for major political office, they better be ready for the storm. Several great candidates including our own Governor Mitch Daniels have decided to forgo the strain because of their families.  I can understand that. No one is perfect, we all have "skeletons in our closet." It would be great if we could honestly air those and move forward. But, that just can't happen, especially in politics. It should but it can't. You can't explain your life of sin before Christ. It takes too much time and our society is too interested in 10 second sound bites. 

Even if you're not guilty, no one wants to know about it. In our country we take pride in innocent until proven guilty. That certainly holds true in criminal trials. But, in every day life, it's far from true. In politics, it's guilty until proven innocent. You are guilty on the front page and you're cleared on the back page.

It's time our country has compassion for people who genuinely make mistakes and are sorry for those errors in judgment. We need to be able to forgive and move on. Even more so are those who are ASSUMED to be guilty and are not. Those who accuse are not held to the same scrutiny as those accused. We need to leave room for the sinner in all of us. I am not like Paul, I have made mistakes in my life. Mistakes I'm not proud of. Yet, they are buried in my past. I don't want or need to bring them up. God has forgiven me and he has forgotten. People never forget and rarely forgive. Paul didn't even need to hide his sin, but it didn't free him from the attacks. 

This world is ruthless. We can only survive with the power of a Savior who is full of grace and love. God forgives and forgets. He is there for us, through guilt and innocence.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


1 Corinthians 9

 19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. The greatest freedom I have is the freedom to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. This freedom has been earned with the blood of service men all over the world. I know we spend a lot of time talking about defending democracy and I am proud to be a part of this country. On Tuesday, I spent time going to the voting booth just to vote for Mayor. But, the freedom I cherish the most is more precious than the right to vote. The freedom I can't live without is the freedom to OPENLY develop my relationship with Christ and to encourage others to do the same. THERE IS NO FREEDOM GREATER! It is a freedom worth dying for. 

The veterans in our military deserve to be honored, not just tomorrow, but every day because they have unselfishly defended my right to love the Lord. We should use our freedoms to share the Gospel with as many as we can. We should cash in this freedom and become slaves to the message of Christ. What good is this freedom if we don't use it for the kingdom. 

Tomorrow do two things. First honor our veterans in a special way. Do it like you have never done it before. Personally thank them for your freedom. The Second thing you need to do is share that freedom by sharing the gospel message with someone who needs it. You have the freedom to share. Don't waste it!

Praise God for our Troops!