Friday, April 29, 2011

Grapes of God!

Psalm 80 (New International Version, ©2011)

 8 You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
   you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it,
   and it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
   the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 Its branches reached as far as the Sea,[c]
   its shoots as far as the River.[d]

God is often thought of as a Shepherd. Rarely is he described as a Vineyard Farmer. Growing Grapes is not easy. It takes the perfect location for the vineyard. It takes a lot of patience to "Train" your grape vines to produce grapes. You have to plant, prune, and give constant attention to your vines. A corn farmer does not inspect every stalk of corn. a Wheat farmer does not tend to every grain. But the caretaker of a vineyard must inspect and tend to every single vine. Once he cares for them they still need to have an abundance of sunshine in order to grow.

How appropriate for us to be thought of as grapes and God as the Farmer. We certainly need a lot of training. Care has to be given to where and when we are planted. God puts a lot of thought into the plan of our life. He tends to that life and prunes our branches when he needs to. He gently coaxes our growth and he supplies all the sunshine we could possibly need.

God is involved in every aspect of our lives. No matter how hard we try to mess it up, no matter how hard we fight the pruning and the correction, God patiently tends to us. He molds us and fertilizes us to get the best fruit he can. 

Thank You Lord for your love and care in my life. You are the great farmer. You know your vineyard. Your constant care and love helps us produce fruit for you. THe abundance of sunlight you bring to our lives helps us grow in ways we could never imagine. Thank You, Thank You Lord, Thank You!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pay Back!

Psalm 79 (New International Version, ©2011) 

10 Why should the nations say,
   “Where is their God?”
   Before our eyes, make known among the nations
   that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you;
   with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.
12 Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times
   the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord. 

13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
   will praise you forever;
from generation to generation
   we will proclaim your praise.

Don't you wish that God would be more vocal and make his presence known? I wish Evil would get destroyed more and the righteous would be the victors more! I am sure you know someone or a group of people you wish would feel the power of God 7 times over. Why? Would it make you feel better? Would it really be productive? Is that truly the attitude God wishes of us?

As Christians we see so much evil in the world. It seems like they have all the success. It seems the righteous are always the martyrs. It seems like evil, on this Earth, wins. It really is quite arrogant. To think that we know better than God. To think that we can second guess his plan like we second guess the decisions of a coach or boss or co-worker. God knows best. He knows when to praise and when to punish.  He knows what we can deal with. He knows all.

Lord, Please forgive me for my selfishness and my arrogance. Please help me t accept your plan as the ultimate righteousness. Lord, I have seen the power of your plan and I know your Love. I have seen it in my own life. I have seen how you can take death on the cross and use it to save us. I praise you for who you are and ask forgiveness for who I am. You have already won the ultimate victory. We don't need to win another battle, because the victory is ours through you. Thank You Lord! Amen!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Proud Gramps!

Psalm 78 (New International Version, ©2011)

Psalm 78

maskil[a] of Asaph. 1 My people, hear my teaching;
   listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
   I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
   things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants;
   we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
   his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
   and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
   to teach their children, 
6 so the next generation would know them,
   even the children yet to be born,
   and they in turn would tell their children. 
7 Then they would put their trust in God
   and would not forget his deeds
   but would keep his commands. 

I am a proud "Gramps". That's what my grandkids call me. "Gramps". I am proud of my grandkids for several reasons. Klayton is a freshman and he is a very good athlete. He has come a long way academically. Lauren is developing into quite a runner and is one of the sweetest young ladies I've ever known. Hannah loves reading and probably will end up being a brilliant Vet. Ayla is also a great little girl. She is full of so much energy and has her mothers wonderful energetic personality. 

But, I am most proud that my kids, my son-in-laws AND my grandkids have a great developing relationship with Jesus.  On Easter Sunday Lauren posted this: "Happy Easter everybody! I hope you're having a good easter Thank you God for washing away our sins!" I think Lauren gets it. Klayton takes himself to church when he is with his real mom. I think Klayton gets it! Hannah and Ayla both know Jesus. I think they get it! They know that Christ needs to be the center of their lives. Their Moms and Dads have modeled it for them. None of them are perfect. They have and will stumble, just like their Gramps. But, they know God will always be with them to pick them up.

I may not be a famous person on this Earth. I may not be rich or have any of the worlds power. But, I am the most successful man around because my kids and grandkids love Jesus! I know the task is not done. My energy and my prayers are for them to continue growing in their relationship with our Lord. I will pray constantly for God to plant a hedge around them to protect them from evil. I pray he will guide them through this, often difficult, life.  They are on their way to a Heavenly Home with me. I am so blessed. I am so thankful. Praise God  "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This stuff drives me crazy!

Psalm 77 (New International Version, ©2011)

 7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
   Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
   Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
   Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
 10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
   the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
   yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 

12 I will consider all your works
   and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
 13 Your ways, God, are holy.
   What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
   you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
   the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

This song has been pretty popular on the radio lately. It is me. But, this song drives me crazy. I have forgotten my coat some place at least 3 times in the past couple of weeks. I used to forget my keys a lot. I haven't done that much lately. I have been known to get picked up for 45 in a 35, on occasion. The weather has really gotten to me lately. I have spent so much time watching the Weather Channel lately, I feel like Jim Cantore is family! The life of an Athletic Director in Spring time is not good. I get frustrated pretty easy. It's amazing how easy these little things get to me. I let these little set backs, these little, trivial events, drag me down. Satan loves it so much to see me brought down by such minor things. What would I do if something major happened to me?

I think God sends even these little events to us for a reason. We have lessons that need learned all the time. God wants us to grow. Sometimes that growth has to occur with major events in our lives. Sometimes, God sends these little events to teach us also. We don't like it. If we could choose, we wouldn't choose to go through them. But, we're not God. He knows what he's doing. We need to trust him and his infinite wisdom.  It's so easy to forget what God has done for me. I have a short memory. God doesn't want to smack me with a 2x4. Sometimes I need smacked with a 2x4. But, sometimes a little more subtle "nudge" is all I need. God knows when I need smacked and he know when I need a nudge. I'm thankful he chooses to nudge me, it doesn't hurt as bad as the 2x4.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

They had no idea what we know today!

Mark 15 (New International Version, ©2011)

The Burial of Jesus
 42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Not much is said about Saturday after the Crucifixion of Jesus. I am sure the disciples and other followers of Jesus were at their lowest. The realization of what had happened was setting in. The loss was also sinking in. They had no idea what we know today. They thought their life was over. They didn't know what we know today. They wondered how they could have misunderstood everything. They didn't know what we know today.

Do we  know what we know! Do we realize how spectacular an event happened on that Easter so long ago? I say, even we christians, take it for granted. God came down to Earth. He lived a Holy and righteous life and suffered a cruel death. God knew what he was doing. I am sure he was so pumped on Saturday night. He knew what was going to happen and I'm sure he could hardly contain the Heavens. He knew the plan was almost complete!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's hard to watch... but we need to!

Ok, I am sharing with you a very graphic video. It is very difficult to watch. It's barbaric, cruel, inhumane, and life changing. Please do not watch unless you are prepared. But, if you think you can take it, watch by clicking on the video below and then repent for causing such pain.

This was just the beginning. My Jesus would be carried to the cross and nailed there. He hung with criminals and through all of this he asked his Father to forgive us. He took the beating. He took the pain. He took all of the sin of the world. Not because he deserved it. He certainly did not deserve it. He did it to save me. I cry when i watch this and it's just a video. I don't know why I don't cry more often realizing what he did for me.

Father, forgive me for sending your Son to a brutal and senseless death. I know I am a sinner and ask you to forgive me for my sins against you and against my fellow man. Please make me a better man, make me a better servant. Help me to serve you and only you with all of my life. Help me to never forget what Jesus did for me! I Love you Lord. I Praise You and I Worship You! Amen!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Luke 22

The Last Supper
 7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
 9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
 10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
 13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
 14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a] 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Today is "Maundy Thursday" or Holy Thursday. Tonight we commemorate the Last Supper and the events that lead to Easter. Most Churches view this as a very solemn event and is nothing like the jubilant celebration to come on Sunday. 
I always wanted to know why they called it Maundy Thursday. When I was a kid I thought they were just confused what day it was. "Monday-Thursday" seemed like a calendar contradiction. I'm not sure when I realized this was a Holy event. After doing a little research I was surprised to find the meaning.

Maundy  is derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning "commandment," Maundy refers to the commands Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper: to love with humility by serving one another and to remember his sacrifice.
This evening we are to remember Jesus final message. Serve one another in Love and sacrifice.  Just as Jesus served the disciples. Just as he took the position as lowly servant by washing their feet, we are to do the same. What are you doing to serve people. What task are you willing to do that no one else will do? When Christ demanded us to go out into all the world, we were to do it as servants, not as masters. 
As the crescendo builds to Easter Morning take a look at your priorities. Take a look at what Jesus is calling you to do. Pray about it, confirm it through those prayers, and Do it! Serve Others in Christ!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Split Personality!

Psalm 76 (New International Version, ©2011)

 1 God is renowned in Judah;
   in Israel his name is great. 
2 His tent is in Salem,
   his dwelling place in Zion. 

 I had a softball and baseball game tonight. It was cold. When I have more than one event going on, I have never figured out how to be in two places at once. It seems like I'm always needed where I'm not. Does anyone know that feeling?

God is Omnipresent. Omnipresence is the quality of being everywhere at the same time. This is such a strange concept for us. It is so hard to grasp how that happens. But, God is everywhere all the time and he chose to limit or ability to "Be" to just one place. Can you imagine if we could be in more than one place at a time. I don't know about you, but my life is complicated enough without adding this quality.

It is good to know that we have a God who not only wants to be with us, he IS with us all the time. He is with you, me, and everyone else at the same time. He is ever present. We don't have to put in a request for an appointment. We don't have to wait for our turn. We don't have to stand in line to be with him. He is here right now and he will be here always.

The knowledge that God is always with us is so comforting. It should bring peace to you in a very complicated and lonely world.

Thank You Lord, for being with me. Thank You for loving and caring enough about me to stand by my side through good times and bad. Thank You for being with me now and forever. Amen!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I exalt me!

Psalm 75 (New International Version, ©2011)

 1 We praise you, God,
   we praise you, for your Name is near;
   people tell of your wonderful deeds.
 2 You say, “I choose the appointed time;
   it is I who judge with equity.
3 When the earth and all its people quake,
   it is I who hold its pillars firm.[b]
4 To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’
   and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.
[c] 5 Do not lift your horns against heaven;
   do not speak so defiantly.’”

 6 No one from the east or the west
   or from the desert can exalt themselves.
7 It is God who judges:
   He brings one down, he exalts another.

Arrogance is not a positive character trait. I have been listening to Donald Trump on the news lately. It appears he is the front runner in the early race for the Republican nomination for President. I can't imagine we won't have another choice. Mr. Trump is as arrogant a person as I have seen. Arrogance according to Miriam Webster is: 

an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.

I can truly say that Donald Trump fits this definition to the extreme. I can't say what type of President he would be, but can he truly be as great as he says he is. He brags about his business sense. He fancies himself as a ladies man, and he views himself as a great Television star. Does that mean he would be a great President? I think I look more for a humble person to represent the people of the United States. I look up to a person who is more "human" and down to earth. If you look at our present leader, I get the same feeling of arrogance from him. Is that a pre-requisite for running for President. Would the American people vote for a President who speaks softly and has the heart of a servant. I'm afraid we wouldn't. Can you think of a politician that publicly portrays a humble servant's heart? I want my leaders to be confident. I want them to have convictions. I want them to lead. But, I do not want them to be arrogant! There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

When did it become popular to "exalt" ourselves? When did it become unfashionable to serve others? Jesus set the best example how to serve. Paul was arrogant and then transformed by God and chose the role of a servant. We need to be more servant like. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord, worship, and serve him and him alone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Church under siege!

Psalm 74 (New International Version, ©2011)

3 Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
   all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.

 4 Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;
   they set up their standards as signs. 
5 They behaved like men wielding axes
   to cut through a thicket of trees. 
6 They smashed all the carved paneling
   with their axes and hatchets. 
7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground;
   they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. 
8 They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!”
   They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.

The Church is under siege . Just like marriage between a Man and a Woman (what other kind of marriage is there?), it is a real battle. The Bride known as the Church is also under attack. The attack grows stronger every year. The Liberal media, secularism, and down right apathy are all forces behind the reduction of the importance of the church in America. If we look in Europe, the attack has been going on for years and it almost seems hopeless. Here are a few statistics:

American church statistics have reported [via Goodmanson]:
  • In America, 3500 – 4000 churches close their doors each year
  • Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through conversion growth
  • Churches lose an estimated 2,765,000 people each year to nominalism and secularism
The 3,500-4,000 U.S. churches annual closure count is also cited by Ed Stetzer in “Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age.”
Excerpted from The Condition of the Church in America, complied by Andy McAdams [via #mmi, 2005]:
  • 1,400 pastors in America leave the ministry monthly.
  • Only 15% of churches in the United States are growing and just 2.2% of those are growing by conversion growth.
  • 10,000 churches in America disappeared in a five-year period.
Would it make a difference in your life if your church closed? It sure would for me.

My wife and I have made a strong commitment to the ministry of the Christian Motorcyclist Association,CMA. Because of this we have not attend our church regularly recently. We have made church visits with CMA and attended CMA training events. Over the next several months, we will attend many different churches and organize our own services. I'm not complaining. I feel led to this ministry. But, I love the music, I love the preaching and teaching, I love the fellowship, and I love the worship that takes place at my church. It affects my life by encouraging me, by challenging me, by convicting me, and by supporting me. I need my church.

I can not imagine life without County Line Church of God. I also can't imagine why people don't find a church they feel the same. It pains me to think of America without the strong presence of the Church. The church has been critical in the development of this country and it is the moral compass of our society. It is the driving force behind our bill of rights and the constitution we defend. The Church is the primary force in winning people to Christ and securing eternal life through faith in Christ. We need the Church. 

Dear Lord, Bless the Church. Grant wisdom to church leaders and members to reach those who don't know you. Give us the strength to fulfill your Great Commission. We know that we may falter and we will fail on our own. But, with you we will have victory. Amen!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Green Grass!

Psalm 73 (New International Version, ©2011)

 1 Surely God is good to Israel,
   to those who are pure in heart.
 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
   I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
   when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
 4 They have no struggles;
   their bodies are healthy and strong.[a]
5 They are free from common human burdens;
   they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
   they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity[b];
   their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
   with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
   and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
   and drink up waters in abundance.[c]
11 They say, “How would God know?
   Does the Most High know anything?”
 12 This is what the wicked are like—
   always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

It's spring time. My grass if finally green again. My neighbor has already cut his lawn 3 times. I just cut mine for the first time. It looks great. I envy my neighbors yard. He is retired and has time to work on it. But, his lawn and landscaping are great. I have had other people say they are envious of my lawn. I guess "Green" is in the eye of the beholder. Do you ever catch yourself envying someone or something? I have to admit, I catch myself envying someone or the things they have. As the saying goes, "The grass is greener on the other side." Do you know this proverb has actually been researched and it's "literally" true? A scientist proved that grass viewed close up from a higher angle is visually greener than grass viewed from a more perpendicular angle. Scientific proof of the proverb "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."

God can prove that our view that someone else has a much better life than us, is also wrong. I often hear Christians and non-christians alike, claim that sinners have a lot more fun. They appear to be more prosperous and amass more wealth. But, the longer I live, the more I realize this couldn't be further from the truth. I have a perfect example. My Grandpa and Grandma Lewis, were devoted, their entire life, to Christian service. They literally had nothing. They owned nothing of worldly wealth, but they had everything. I have never known a more contented couple. They cared more about people than things. They were more worried about their next ministry than their next pay check. They loved life, they loved their family and more importantly, they loved God!

We are not very content with our lives. I need to accept more of what God has blessed me with. I need to look more at what God is asking of my life, than the things I have or the things I want. God will provide, God has provided for me. His plan for me is greater than I could ever dream. My focus needs to be on his plan, not my stuff. Truly my ultimate blessing, eternal life, is more than the arrogant and the wicked can ever acquire on their own. That gift alone is more than anything we could envy on this earth.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sunrise / Sunset

Psalm 72 (New International Version, ©2011)

 1 Endow the king with your justice, O God,
   the royal son with your righteousness.
2 May he judge your people in righteousness,
   your afflicted ones with justice.
 3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
   the hills the fruit of righteousness.
4 May he defend the afflicted among the people
   and save the children of the needy;
   may he crush the oppressor.
5 May he endure[a] as long as the sun,
   as long as the moon, through all generations.

6 May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
   like showers watering the earth.
7 In his days may the righteous flourish
   and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.

What are the things in  your life that are constant? What are the things in your life that, no matter what happens, you can rely on them? I can give you plenty of examples of things that are not reliable. Every time I supervise one of my athletic events, I am SO nervous until my workers and officials show up. Why? Well, people aren't always reliable. I have owned a few motorcycles in my time and I can tell you, they are not reliable. I am sure you are making your own list.

The sun and the moon are reliable. The sunrise and sunset are so reliable, we know exactly when the sun comes up every day and when it will set every night.

This Psalm was written as the hope for King Solomon. But, it could have been the hopes we have for ourselves or our families. We want prosperity. We want justice. We want to flourish. But, just like Solomon, these things are fleeting. The only constant, the only thing reliable, even beyond the sun and the moon, is the Love of our Lord. We so often ignore this fact. We are in search of prosperity, power, justice, and the things of this earth. All of these things will pass away. The only constant in this universe is God! Search for him, seek him, know him and you can add another constant. You can add Eternal Life to your list of constants. That will be worth it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who needs the Bible?

Is the Bible Important in 2011? (click to view the article)

I'm taking the night off because of this article I found on Fox News. I could not say it any better than this. Read the Bible! It is the basis of our Country and is as relevant now as ever before!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

God's Track Meet!

Psalm 70 (New International Version, ©2011)

    For the director of music. Of David. A petition. 1 Hasten, O God, to save me;
   come quickly, LORD, to help me.
 2 May those who want to take my life
   be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
   be turned back in disgrace.
3 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
   turn back because of their shame.
4 But may all who seek you
   rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
   “The LORD is great!”
 5 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
   come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
   LORD, do not delay.

Our society is moving at such a fast pace. We ran our second track meet of the year tonight. Track is one of my favorite sports. I just love watching the 3200m and 1600m run. There is such strategy that is played out in those 4 or 8 laps on the track. But, most people hate these races. They have no patience to attempt to study the race. Spectators usually love the 100m or 200m race. These races are pure speed races. I don't see the enjoyment of the brief 10 seconds versus the 10 minutes of the distance race. There's not enough time for strategy in a sprint race. Track and field is like life. We have very little patience to wait on the race to develop. We won't slow down and wait to see how God's plan develops. We want the race to end now so we can see the results when we want to.  I don't know how many times I have heard someone say, "Patience is a virtue", or  tried to give comfort by saying "In Gods time". When we are suffering and Praying for God's intervention, we take no comfort in waiting. We are impatient people. Really what we are saying is "We know better than you God, so speed up my blessings and answer my Prayer NOW!"

We may not understand God's plan. But, it will be revealed in his time. He is the God of the universe. If we truly believe that, then shouldn't we trust he knows what he's doing? God will not do things just to do them fast. He will answer our prayers in the right time. He will provide us with just what we need, exactly when we need it. We will have good laps in the race of life and we will have laps where we run in last place. But, the race is not over. We need to endure. We need to go the distance. God will stretch us. He will grow us. He loves us. His time is perfect time. If we have patience to let the race of life develop as God would, we will surely when the Blue Ribbon. We will get to stand on the podium as victorious through Christ.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Whipping Boy!

Psalm 69 (New International Version, ©2011)

 1 Save me, O God,
   for the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in the miry depths,
   where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
   the floods engulf me.
3 I am worn out calling for help;
   my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
   looking for my God.
4 Those who hate me without reason
   outnumber the hairs of my head;
many are my enemies without cause,
   those who seek to destroy me.
I am forced to restore
   what I did not steal.

Have you ever heard the term "whipping boy"? In ancient biblical times if a prince made a mistake in his training or made a poor decision, he was never punished. Instead of punishing the Prince, a boy, known as a whipping boy, would take the punishment. He did nothing wrong, but he received the punishment.  That would be like seeing someone commit a murder and since you were a witness they forced you to serve the time. Maybe if you knew the murderer personally, you might to do this to protect him. That type of character is rare. That sacrifice is not natural.

Wether you're a coach, business leader, school administrator or just a friend, sometimes you decide to take responsibility for something someone else did. Many times it would be so easy to put the blame where it belongs. But a good leader, who cares about his people, might decide to take the blame to protect them. It takes a thoughtful, caring person with strong character that takes this step.

Jesus was our "whipping boy". He did nothing wrong and yet he suffered the cruel death on the cross for us. He could have called out the God of the universe to set the record straight. He could have told the truth and let us take our own punishment. He didn't. He did it to protect us from our sinfullness. He sacrificed his life for us. What have we done in return?  Would we make the same sacrifice for him?

Dear Lord, I am so ashamed of my sin. I know you suffered a cruel death for me and you did not deserve it. Please forgive me of my sins. Lead my life in a way that is pleasing to you. I owe you everything and can give you nothing. Thank You for your Grace. Thank You for your Love. Because of you, I will live forever. Amen!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wanted: Good Fathers!

This is a reprint of a blog I wrote last year. I thought it was fitting to reprint it for Fathers Day. 

To all you fathers out their, I hope you had as great a day as I did!

Psalm 68 (New International Version, ©2011)

 4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
   extol him who rides on the clouds[b];
   rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
   is God in his holy dwelling. 
6 God sets the lonely in families,[c]
   he leads out the prisoners with singing;
   but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

My Dad was a great man. I grew up in a "normal" home. We not only went to Church, but I witnessed first hand the transformation of my father from a business man to a Methodist Pastor. (A darn good one too!) I would give anything to have had more time with my Dad. Everyone can not say that about their Dad. As an educator and an administrator, I can tell you that the world is suffering for Fathers. The norm for our society  is getting to be families minus fathers. Even if a family does have a Father, many times they are weak and uninvolved.

The Old Testament mentions God, the Father, only 15 times. The New Testament speaks of God as Father 245 times. Once Jesus, God came down to be with us, we started thinking of him as Father. He is the ultimate Father. New Testament Fathers were the leaders of their households. He was the person family members went to for advice. He was the religious leader by the example he set.  This is also the perfect description of my Dad. I was lucky. God created Fathers to be all those things and more.

The most common factor of troubled kids at my school absent or weak father. Kids we expel, Kids that get into fights, kids with poor grades, kids who are absent and kids who just don't care about school, nearly all have weak or absent fathers. I was talking to a friend who does a lot of Prison Ministry, he finds the exact same thing when he visits those in jail.

It's no wonder we have so many people rejecting God. We Christians look to God the Father. When they hear about God the Father, they think of abuse, apathy, and someone who just doesn't care or left when things got tough.

Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father, help us to follow your example. Give us the tools to be a Father to the Fatherless. Help us to heal the broken families of this country and the world. We are weak Fathers to those who are lost. Give us your strength. Give us your Love so we can share with those who need us the most. We praise you. We Love you. We worship you....... Father! Amen!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

911 - We will never forget!

Psalm 67 (New International Version, ©2011)

 1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
   and make his face shine on us—
[b] 2 so that your ways may be known on earth,
   your salvation among all nations.

I had the privilege today to be a part of a great event for our Nation and State. Today, on 4/9/11, Two beams from the wreckage of the World Trade Centers destroyed by terrorists on 9/11 were delivered to Indianapolis. Somewhere around 5,000 motorcyclists braved the rain and thunderstorms to rally in Richmond, Indiana to escort those steal beams to their future home in Indianapolis. A 9/11 memorial will be constructed around those beams. The weather conditions were terrible early in the day. But, it was a great day. I couldn't help but get a little emotional looking at those beams close-up. The thought of all those lives lost and the thought of the selfless sacrifice by the Firefighters and other rescue workers brings emotion out of all of us. I couldn't help but get emotional when I saw people cheering the event for over 70 miles from Richmond to Indianapolis. Every Bridge, every overpass, and every side road had people supporting the escort of this symbolic piece of steel. We live in a great country and a great state!

We are not a perfect nation, by any measurement. But, I still believe we are a Christian Nation and we are trying to  promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Sometimes we do a good job of it and sometimes we don't. We are sinners promoting Christ. But, none-the-less we are promoting Christ.

We are in a battle with the world. The world is Anti-Christian. They want us to die. But, we still need to try to change them for Christ. We need to sacrifice ourselves just like those rescuers on 9/11. We need to sacrifice just like Christ sacrificed for us. There is no more important a mission!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Brother Lue Shouts!

Psalm 66 (New International Version, ©2011)

 1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name;
   make his praise glorious. 
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
   So great is your power
   that your enemies cringe before you. 
4 All the earth bows down to you;
   they sing praise to you,
   they sing the praises of your name.”

I learned something new tonight. Have you ever heard of "Shouting"? I'm not talking about yelling something at the top of your lungs. I'm talking about "Shouting in Church". I stumbled on this, I'm guessing by the Holy Spirit. I was thinking about this verse and shouting for the Lord. I searched "Shouting" on Youtube and witnessed this phenomena:

I think I've lived a sheltered life!

Have you ever seen anything like it. I think my church is pretty open to displays of the spirit. But, I can't imagine how people would react to this.  Why? God loves it when we get excited for him. He loves it when we shout for joy. What else are you supposed to do when you just can't contain the Love of God and the Spirit inside you.

Most Churches I've been to are so "reserved". Don't get me wrong. I love my church and the worship is real and meaningful nearly every single week. I have been to several Christian Motorcyclist Associtaion events that are just like this. THere are people who just can't contain themselves. They display this Joy in wild and exciting ways.   I'm not making fun of this display of worship. In some way, I'm kind of jealous of it.

Sometimes we christians live our lives just like we worship. We live reserved, we live "close to the vest". We don't want to do anything outside our comfort zone. We don't live like we have just discovered the greatest thing in the universe. We act like it has not affect on us at all. It's sad.

Lord, Fill me with your Spirit! Help me to express the Joy that is from you. Help me to just SHOUT! I love you Lord. I want to share what you have done for me! You are amazing, wonderful, beautiful and completely awesome! Amen!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Take my Life!

Psalm 65 (New International Version, ©2011)

 1 Praise awaits[b] you, our God, in Zion;
   to you our vows will be fulfilled. 
2 You who answer prayer,
   to you all people will come. 
3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
   you forgave
[c] our transgressions. 4 Blessed are those you choose
   and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
   of your holy temple.

 5 You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
   God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
   and of the farthest seas, .....

I can testify to the power of prayer. I am 50 years old and have seen God intervene and answer my prayers through sickness, financial distress, jobs, protection and safety, and blessings beyond anything I could imagine. I keep a prayer list and go back through the prayers and can see, specifically, the answer to those prayers. I have facts. Take my own 100% real life as an example of what can happen when God takes over.  The more I communicate with the Father, the more I have become aware of his gracious answers. I am not a Saint, I am a sinner, just like you. I have done nothing to deserve God answering my prayers. Yet, he answers them. I have proof and my 50 years of living to verify what I am saying is true. I wasn't there when Jesus was crucified. I was not there when God inspired the writing of the Bible. Yet, my very own life and the reading of this BOOK, bring me to only one conclusion. God is God, Jesus is God's son, and the Holy Spirit leads my life in a wonderful way.

God forgave and forgives my transgressions. Even when I have been overwhelmed by the consequences of my sins, God still forgives and answers my prayer with "awesome and righteous deeds". God is my Savior. My Hope is in him to the ends of the Earth.

Do not live your life apart from God. Come to him and know that he is waiting for you to come and be with him. Don't believe me! Try it yourself and see what happens. You have nothing to lose by committing your life to him. If you don't you will lose your life. It's your choice. Eventually, we'll all have to come to him!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Complaint Department -- Take a number!

Psalm 64 (New International Version, ©2011)    

 1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; 
   protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
 2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
   from the plots of evildoers.
3 They sharpen their tongues like swords
   and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
4 They shoot from ambush at the innocent;
   they shoot suddenly, without fear.

Do you ever feel like you are the "Complaint Department"? I am in a job that gets a few complaints now and then. I get complaints from Parents not happy with Coaches, Players not happy with playing time, Coaches not happy with Players, Coaches not happy with Parents, and Coaches not happy with other Coaches. I think you get the point! It can be draining at times. Sometimes I think people just need to vent. I'm ok with that. If I can provide that opportunity and it makes them feel better, I guess it's worth it. Every once in a while I have someone stop by my office and thank me, or tell me I'm doing a good job. Not that I need this to survive, but it is pretty nice and makes me feel like it's worth it.

Do you think God feels like the complaint department? If it's dependent upon me, I can imagine he does. At the very least I usually have a long list of things I want God to change. I don't hesitate to give him advice. I also have been critical, at times, of his PLAN. I don't think I'm the only one who does this.

How often do I just spend time praising him?  How often do I just thank him for the blessings and his wonderful plan. How often do I just listen?  I am ashamed to say, I rarely do this. So, tonight, when I spend my time with God, I will praise him, thank him, and worship him. I won't quote a laundry list of wants or complaints, or advice. I will just spend time with him. He deserves all my praise!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I can't sleep.............Praise God!

Psalm 63 (New International Version, ©2011)

 6 On my bed I remember you;
   I think of you through the watches of the night. 
7 Because you are my help,
   I sing in the shadow of your wings. 
8 I cling to you;
   your right hand upholds me.

Do you ever have a hard time getting to sleep? On occasion, I wake up at 3 or 4am. I always have difficulty getting back to sleep. Sometimes I start thinking about all the tasks I have the next day. Many times, this happens when I have a big tournament to host, or several different events going on at the same time. IIt really can be furstrating be awake at 4am in the morning, wanting to go back to sleep. But, instead I am going through the day like it was already happening. 

 A few years ago, when this happened, I decided to just spend this special "awake time" praying. At first it was not easy. I lost concentration and would always drift back to thinking about the day ahead. But, the more I do it, the easier it becomes. Now when I wake up in the middle of the night, I naturally just use it to spend time with God.

I wonder if this is what David was going through? Obviously, being King, he had worries and stresses that kept him awake at night. But, "he thought of God through the watches of the night."  It can be a great time of quiet. It can be a great time of bonding with the King of the Universe. It can be a great time for God to speak to my heart. 

I can't say I look forward to waking up in the middle of the night. But, I don't dread it anymore. I'm not as frustrated. Maybe it's Gods way of getting my attention. Maybe he just longs to be with me and knows this is a time when he will get my undivided attention. So, "Praise God..........I can't sleep!"