Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pride in Family!

Acts 21

 4 We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.
I love my family. I loved watching them grow up and I love watching their families grow up. I am most proud of one thing............ they all know and have a relationship with the Lord AND they have passed that same love to their kids. Last week, my four year old granddaughter was asked an interesting question at her preschool. Every week her teacher asks the kids a question. They go around the circle and answer. They keep track of the answers on a tally sheet. The question of the week was, "Do you believe in God?" most kids answered yes. A few answered no. When it came around to my granddaughter, she affirmed confidently that she believed in God. But, she didn't stop there. She went on to ask, "How can you not believe in God? He made everything!" I couldn't be more proud of her and her wise words shared with her classmates. I share the exact same feelings. I just don't know how people can NOT believe in God. His pwer in our lives is so obvious. He is everywhere.

I am so proud of my daughters because there faith is such an important part of their lives, they have made it a point to share it with their kids. It is a part of their everyday life. In our society, that is becoming less and less normal.  I am more and more concerned that God is no longer the center of family life in America. We are so worried about offending people with our faith, we don't even make it a key part of our families. I always wanted my kids to chose for themselves. I have prayed they would not fall away, but grow closer and closer to God. Stephanie and I spent many hours involved at church. Not grudgingly but with joy. Our friends were at church. Their friends were at church. We never woke up dreading to go to church. They never expressed the desire to skip church. They loved it. Youth groups. plays, musicals, puppets, lock-ins, church camp, and more were just a big part of their lives. I am so lucky. My prayers have been answered. They have chosen and they choose to follow God.  

Thank You Lord for Kelley, Lindsae, and McKenzie. I am blessed to have them as my daughters. I am proud to know they follow you with all their hearts. Thank You for sending them in my life. I don't deserve them, but you gave them anyway. Praise God!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


1 Corinthians 5

 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”[d]

The modern church does not have the monopoly on scandal. The early church, specifically the church at Corinth, had it's share of scandal. This message from Paul really puts our churches on alert. We can not worry about our "Ministry" to the outside world of sinners, if we have scandal from within. Churches are not going to be perfect places. But, sometimes this is used as an excuse to accept sin from within. We must not allow sins of sexual immorality, greed, idolatry, slander, drunkenness, and other sins take over our churches. We must be diligent to deal with these sins upfront and with all candor and honesty. We can not accept immorality for the sake of members. We can not ignore the premise of the bible to be more popular. Churches must take a stand. We must draw the line in the sand to not accept sin in our midst. We can not even chance the appearance of endorsing sin. If we accept it from those who claim to be followers of Christ, if we accept it from those who are leaders, we will earn the label of hypocrite. The only respect we can possibly hope for is if we are true to the values of Christ. 

We walk a fine line between endorsing sin and accepting broken people who are in search of Christ. I'm not saying we should close our churches to outsiders. I am saying we must make sure that we are firm in our stand against sin and that we do not change our standards to make it appealing for people to attend our church.  

Example: Murder is a sin. Yet, we can accept the murderer. By accepting the sinner do we need to endorse murder as OK. NO, of course we don't. Yet, that is what we do for abortion, homosexuality, drunkenness, sexual immorality, and a multitude of other "controversial" sins. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Planning for Pain!

Acts 20

 22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

What a great scripture. Have you ever been led by the Holy Spirit in a way that was uncomfortable? Do you feel the Spirit predicting pain and hardship in your future? I have to admit, I have, and it's quite unsettling. The idea that I am going to be led into pain and suffering exposes my weak faith. Why would this God who loves me, put me intentionally in the middle of hardship? Is that Love? Am I expected to react as Paul? Can I stay focused on Christ through the pain, trial, and tribulation?

There have been times in my life when I have felt the guidance of God into the fiery pit. I wish I have the faith of Paul. Instead, my question, like most people, is why? Yet, immediately upon asking the question, I realize how crazy it is for me to question the creator of the universe. It's always at this point I plead for God to find a different way. "God are you sure there's not an easier path?" Again, how crazy is it to question the plan of GOD. His wisdom is infinite. He power is ultimate. My only remaining response is "God, your will be done." I go through this faithless cycle more often than I would like to admit. Sometimes I'm embarrassed by this show of weakness: Disbelief, Questioning, Pleading, relenting. Do you remember Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, just before his crucifixion?

Matthew 26 -- 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” .............42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

Wow! Isn't it amazing that Jesus himself had the exact same thoughts I have had. WWJD? He would do the same thing I do. Our thoughts are not lack of faith. God understands. God has heard it many times before, even from his own Son. He hears your cry and only wants what's best for you. Find the courage to let God be in control. Do what Jesus did.  You will not be disappointed. 

Dear Lord, I do not choose the path of pain in my life. I am weak. But, I know that we grow closer through the pain. I don't choose it, but I accept it as long as you are with me. I know you will not forsake me. Praise God you are there. Thank You Lord. Your will be done in my life, not my own. Amen! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lying is popular!

 Corinthians 4

 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 

How is your character? This is character counts week at school. I love the Character Counts program. Sometimes it seems like educators are the only ones teaching Character. Every day I see parents and other adults setting a terrible example of character. We found our a parent was having their child sneak them in the back door of the school to get in to athletic contests for free. What is that teaching their child.  The general feelings of society is "It's OK unless you get caught." I see it every day. Not just with students but more often with adults. 
I'm not perfect by any means. I have character flaws like everyone else. But, lying is not one of them. It is common place for America's work force to call in sick even if they aren't sick. It's acceptable to cheat on your taxes. How many marriages end because of a cheating spouse? Honesty is not revered as it once was. In athletics the popular term is  "gamesmanship", not cheating.  If you can get away with breaking the rules by some creative way, people look at you as innovative. I just look at it as cheating!

I don't see how people sleep at night with all the lying and cheating going on. Doesn't it bother their conscience? This is another example how we as Christians are changed. I believe the Holy Spirit is at work through our "Conscience". So many times I feel this inner voice telling me something is wrong. It IS an inner voice. It's the voice of the Lord dwelling within me. I wish I would listen to that voice more. I wish everyone would listen to that voice more. The sad part is Non-Christians don't have that inner voice. They don't have someone telling them what is right. No wonder their is so much dishonesty in this world. The further from Christ we get, the further we get from living an honest life. Is your conscience clear. Are you fearful about being caught or exposed? When we accept the Lord as ruler over our lives, we also give permission for him to convict us of our sins. It is supposed to be uncomfortable to sin. He wants it so uncomfortable that we are forced to change. Lord convict me!

Dear Lord, Forgive me for my dishonesty. Help me to listen to your spirit in my daily life. Guide me in what is right and keep me from evil. Provide me with a clear path so that my life might be pleasing to you. Amen!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: "Capitalism is not the problem."

Acts 19

 23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”

It's funny how things never change. Even after 2000 years, money is king. They say money is the root of all evil. It may not be the root of all evil, but it's close. Right now in America we have a movement called "Occupy Wall Street". As I'm sure most of you can tell, I'm a conservative at heart. But, I can certainly relate to some of the things coming out of "OWS". Our country bailed out big banks, we bailed out big business in the auto industry, we tried propping up businesses like Solyndra and the Federal Reserve runs the country. Why? Because greed and money have the same allure today as it did in the time of the early church. 

The problem in our country doesn't have anything to do with capitalism. The key to the problems in our country is centered around our rejection of Christ. A true Christian can't be greedy. A true Christian country takes care of it's poor and takes the blessings God has given to help others. Our Country was founded on Christian values. I still believe those values are present at the core. 

I believe the silent majority in this country, the ones without the power, are so busy living their daily lives, they don't get involved. They don't take the time to fight to keep our values, they are busy living them, raising their families, and taking care of their own piece of the world. I would have to put myself in that same category. I don't have time to "Occupy Wall Street" or protest with the Tea Party crowd. I'm busy with my daily life. Wether it's right or wrong, thats the way it is. I don't spend my time trying to make more money. I don't play the lottery, I don't gamble, I am satisfied with what I have. I am satisfied with my blessings. I am satisfied with my life. Greed doesn't have a hold in my life or the life of my grown family. Frankly, If everyone would just concentrate on living their daily lives for Christ and accepting the blessings they've been given we wouldn't have to worry about the values of our country. Turning to our Savior, Jesus Christ is the key. You can never be satisfied until you turn to him. Once you learn to rely on the KING of KINGS, money will no longer have  a grip on you. You will be so busy worshipping God you won't want to worship money!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I don't take care of myself!

1 Corinthians 3

 16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

I started running again today. The fall athletic season is finally slowing down. I am working on getting ready for the winter season, but it's not nearly as busy as the fall and spring. So, Stephanie and I went to the Running Store yesterday. I got some running shoes and today I took off for a run after school. It felt so good. I know many of you are saying that running is a wasted activity and people who LOVE running are crazy. Well, I'm crazy then! My whole family must be crazy. I have two daughters that love running. (Kelly would love it if she could!) My granddaughter just finished her first year of Cross Country and SHE LOVES IT. I love running, but when I get so busy and wrapped up in my life it always gets put on the back burner. I could find time to do it, but I choose not to. I NEED to run. I'm a diabetic. I have high cholesterol and I'm over weight. Running is necessary for my health. I know it, but I haven't run for over 2 years.

Does that sound familiar? How many of us use the same excuse for not Praying, or Studying God's Word, or Worshipping? We need to worship, pray, and study for our health. I'm not just talking about our spiritual health. I believe doing these things improves the quality of our life and our PHYSICAL HEALTH. God has designed our bodies, minds, and spirit to work best when we are close to him. He has built this Temple we live in, in order to be with him and serve his purposes. But, we get so busy and wrapped up in our busy lives, he is the first to get dropped. God wants a relationship with us. I have found that when I start running and getting in shape, it is addictive. I have also found the more I spend in the word of God or praying or attending my church, the more I want too. So, dust off that Bible, spend some quiet time with the Lord, reconnect with a house of worship and see you health improve. You need to take care of yourself and while you're at it, go out and run a couple miles!LOL!

Monday, October 17, 2011

You win some...... You lose some.... God never quits!

Acts 18

 5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
 7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. 8 Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.
 9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

There are over 400 schools in the state of Indiana. Not all of them have Football but most of them do. Out of those schools there are only 5 schools that get to end their season on a positive note. When you play sports, someone wins and someone loses. You can't win them all. Yet, I know how hard coaches take losses. I guess that's what drives them. They really want to win every game, even though they know that's impossible. They prepare to win.

Paul acts like a coach. He wants to win every soul he comes across. He doesn't plan on losing a single person. He wants all saved for the Lord. That should be the goal of every Christian. We should never prepare to lose.  We should always prepare to win. We need to look at every relationship. We need to look at every person we meet as an opportunity to change a life for Christ. We should never look at someone as being hopeless. It's sad to say but we can not save everyone for Christ. But, God does not need us to save everyone. It's ok if we lose.

God never gives up on anyone and we need to assume that if we are not successful, someone else could be. Just because WE have failed does not mean it will never happen. We need to be in constant prayer with our Lord. We need to know if we have done all we can do. God will let us know. If we have done all we can, we need to trust God will not abandon this person. He will send someone else, then someone else, then someone else again. He will not give up. Our Failures will not deter him from working until all are saved. We might think of it as failure. It may just be a part of God's plan. 

Coaches are stubborn people. They hate to lose and they are always working to find ways to win. We need to always be looking for ways to win souls for Christ. We should leave no stone unturned. We need to fight for every lost soul. We need to open ourselves to the leading of God. God will use us for his purposes, in his time, with his definition of success. If we are in Christ, we can not fail!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Don't rely on me!

1 Corinthians 2

 1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

I can certainly relate to what Paul was sharing. I have written this Blog for over a year. I have taught Sunday School Class. I have been a Christian since I was 13 years old and I have REALLY studied God's word for about 11 years. But, I am neither eloquent or full of wisdom. All I can say that these words come from my heart and my heart belongs to Jesus. I am selfish in my feelings about this blog. It started out, selfishly, just for me and for the most part it continues for that purpose. But, if it can be helpful to anyone in their walk with the Lord, it is worth it. 

I started this blog as a way to make me accountable to my study of the word. If you've never written for someone else, you should try it. It really makes you think about what you are saying. Not that I have said all the right things, I am no scholar. I really fear I might say something that would hinder someone following Christ. 

Christ is doing a good work in me. I am not where I should be. But, I am moving closer to Christ. I pray that he can use me and my weaknesses for his purpose. Even with these words, I hope he can use them to further his kingdom. I'm not looking for followers of this blog. I'm looking for followers of Christ.  Don't rely on me to provide some great wisdom. Read the word for yourself, let it speak to you how it will. Let your heart be open to the power of the creator of the universe.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Don't always drop the hammer!

Acts 17

 16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there................ 22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

I have talked before that I like people who tell it like it is. I think of myself as one of those people. Yet, sometimes that direct approach is not the best approach. Paul must have thought the same thing. He came to Athens and was appalled by the idol worship. He really had the right to just tell it like it is. He could have dropped the hammer on these people. Would that have been best? Instead he used a more indirect approach. He walked their town. studied their culture and used that knowledge to "hook them". Paul did a masterful job and the results were many people coming to know Christ. Maybe we should think about doing the same. Many times evangelism is about taking your time, learning, studying, and then sharing. It's not always about being direct.  We need to know when to be direct and when we can take a more circular route. God knows. If we ask him, he will help us with that judgement. 

Dear Lord, I want to bring people to know you, your love, and your grace.  Lord your wisdom about how to share, how much to share, when to do it, and how to do it, is perfect. Please share that wisdom with me. Teach me to be sensitive to people and what they need. Help me to push win time is short and how to recognize when to be patient. I want to be effective for you and only you Lord. Amen!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What really matters?

1 Corinthians 1

 10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Our lives are so complicated with needless conflict. Just take a look at our political institutions. Take  a look at the modern family. Take a look at the division between religions and faiths. I am amazed at what division there is in this world.  I would love for the world to be full of christians. But, does that mean there would be no conflict, no division? If you look at the divisions in the Christian Church, you would have to say NO. If you take a look at the division in the Bible and the conflict that is seen from the beginning of time, you would have to say conflict and division is a fact of life. God is saddened by the division and the pettiness of our disagreements. We are called to be in "perfect unity".  We are not followers of the Methodist Church, or Baptists, or Missionary, or Lutheran, or (fill in the blank). We are followers of Christ. 

Why can't we concentrate on the things that unite us instead of the things that divide. We may worship differently. We may have different thoughts and feelings about Baptism, music, communion, ordaining ministers,etc. But, we can agree that Christ is the son of the most High God, he was crucified, dead, buried, and rose on the third day. We can agree he died for our sins and has promised his followers eternal life. We know how he have revealed himself to US. We can see his hand in our daily lives. What else REALLY matters?

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Acts 16

 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

How lucky for Paul and Silas! It just happens that there was a violent earthquake that was strong enough for the prison doors to fly open, the chains to fall off, and they were not injured. How amazing. What a coincidence!

The rest of the story is that the jailer accepted the gospel message and his whole household was saved. 

There is nothing on this earth that is by chance. God has set all things in motion and is in complete control of all things. There are no coincidences. There is no such thing as Luck. I committed my life to Christ when I was 12 years old. I asked God to take over my life and to fill me with his spirit. I haven't always been a great servant. But God has always been in charge and he has brought me to where I am right now. He planned me to be married to Stephanie. He planned my career moves. (I would never have believed what I have done and am doing.) He has planned my family and their families. He is in charge and knows what he is doing. I can take no credit for the blessings I have received. He is my savior and has wonderful plans for me still. 

Why don't you ask him to take over your life and see where his plans will send you? He created the universe an he created you. What makes you think he doesn't have a plan for your life. Give him a chance and just see his power revealed!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Innocence: Teach your Children Well!

Romans 16

 17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

One of my grand daughters is spending the weekend with us. I just love having her here. I always enjoy having them visit and stay with us. After living for 51 years and witnessing the good and the bad in life, it is fun being able to spend time with someone who has not been tainted by the world. I love the innocence of children. As parents, as grandparents, as educators, one of greatest callings is to preserve that innocence as long as we can. We are to protect them from evil. We want them to know as much good as we possibly can. We want them to know of the good in this world, not the evil. 

God wants us to be wise of the good around us. God wants us to know of the good within us. God wants us to be innocent of evil. As Christians, we have a choice to dwell on all that is wrong with the world, our world, or we can dwell on the goodness. It seems that evil in this world is growing and it is easy to get wrapped up in it. The times can seem to be hopeless. But, we know that our Good and Holy God is in control and there is hope in him. God is Great. He wants us to be innocent as children, as grandchildren.

Thank You Lord for your love. Thank you for your hope. Protect us from evil. Protect the innocence we have remaining in our lives. Amen!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Us and Them!

Acts 15

 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

This country, our planet for that matter, has way too much US vs Them. Are we really that different that we can not get along with each other. What is the real difference between a Democrat and  Republican? What is the Real Difference between and American and an Iranian? God did not put barriers between us, we did that on or own. Christians are not very much different than Non-Christians. We are both sinners! We both need the Lord! We might have different religious priorities. We might believe in a certain type of communion. We might believe in one baptism over another. But, we are all the same. We need God's perfect grace and we need to be saved by Lord Jesus. 

Grace! We can spend our lives concentrating on our differences or we can realize we all need Jesus. That is the tie that binds us together. If we let Jesus purify our hearts and know that he accepts us as we are, we will be able to tackle all of life from a different, more united perspective. God never looks at us as being different. He looks at us with Love and he made a choice to work to leave none of us behind. He did it even though he knew we did not deserve it. True Grace! He doesn't look at our differences, he doesn't look at our weaknesses, he doesn't even look at our sin. He just looks at us as lost and needing him. 

Thank You Lord for not seeing me as different. Thank You for not seeing me as the enemy. Thank you for not dividing between US and Them. Thank You for your Grace! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cross Country Runners!

Romans 15

 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I now have a granddaughter who is a Cross Country Runner. I love Cross Country. I enjoyed Coaching CC so much and now that Lauren is running it brings back fond memories. Cross Country is a tough sport. Not only in running a 5k race, but also in running every day. Workouts grow in order to  build endurance. Endurance is built by lengthening your training runs and by increasing the speed at which you can maintain that endurance. The job of the coach is to design the workouts. But, the highest priority of the Cross Country Coach is encouragement. Endurance and encouragement go hand-in-hand. You can't build endurance without receiving encouragement. You have to have encouragement from your Coach, Family, Friends, and your teammates.

As Christians, we need to have that same combination. In order for us to endure the pains and struggles of this life, we need encouragement. Our main source is God. Those who know the Lord get a great dose of encouragement through their Lord and Savior. I am not the least of these. My life's struggles have been the subject of many of these Blog Posts. Yet, through it all, God has been there to encourage me through those times. I am constantly in awe of how he speaks to me. He speaks through his word, through prayer, through the message of my pastor, through my CMA friends, through my family, and through my co-workers. Even when I am down, I have hope. That hope is in and through Jesus.

Praise God for helping me endure and encouraging me to move toward him! Praise God!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I get knocked down!

Acts 14

 19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Paul is amazing. He gets stoned by some Jews. He gets knocked down, but he gets right back up and gets back in the game. How many of us would have done that? I certainly have had that happen to me. Some people intentionally take people down. Some people do it without even thinking about it. Still other people know exactly what they're doing and enjoy it. 
I'm not sure why I keep getting up. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a "Rocky" movie and my corner keeps telling me to stay down. I'm bloody, bruised, and mentally exhausted. But, for some reason, I keep getting up and doing the same things I've been doing. I'm either stupid or driven. I'm not sure which (please don't answer that)

God is always in my corner and he is the one who keeps encouraging me not to give up. He stays with me when I'm beaten, battered and abused. He is my "fight doctor". He heals me and keeps me in the fight and he has miraculous powers to heal me. I'm sure he was doing the same thing for Paul. He was beaten physically, but God was there to put him back together and helped him get back in the game. Ask him. God will do the same thing for you. He doesn't want us to give-in to evil. He wants us to keep over coming the enemy.Endurance will win in the end!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why I don't drink beer!

Romans 14

 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

I  like beer. But, I don't drink any more. I used to. I stopped drinking beer many years ago for a simple reason. I did not want beer to be a stumbling block in my ministering to people. Both in the Christian community and non-christian community, it is expected that Christians do not drink alcohol. This isn't true for everyone but most people.  Alcohol and Beer are not evil and I certainly do not condemned anyone who drinks. Like I said. I like Beer. Drunkeness is a different story. Drunk Driving is absolute craziness. Under-age drinking is also wrong. But, Alcohol is not wrong.
I still chose not to drink and I do it for the Lord. It's a sacrifice that makes a statement that I care more about how I represent Christ than what I eat or drink. 
I go on many organized motorcycle rides with various groups. Many of them stop at Bars to drink. I also stop, go inside and enjoy ordering a diet or a water. I end up having the same amount of fun as everyone else. I just choose to do it without alcohol. One of these rides, I was referred to as a "do gooder" because I wasn't drinking. All of these bikers know I'm a Christian. I am on display. They want to know how I will act. They watch me to see if I will "fold". In their eyes, they are looking to see if I'm a hypocrite. Do I live up to the standards THEY have set for Christians? I think it's my own personal statement that I don't drink, but still don't condemn them. Many Christians really condemn people for drinking alcohol. This is so sad. They don't see the barrier they are putting between themselves and these people. We need to build relationships with people not destroy them. We can not let the use alcohol build a barrier. Christ didn't go into situations with Sinners condemning them. If I remember correctly, I think he challenged the so called "Sinless" people to cast the first stone. I also think they all turned away and left, ashamed. Just sayin!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tell it like it is!

Acts 13

 6 They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
   Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

I really like people who tell it like it is. I'm not much of a politician. I don't like politicians and I can't stand political correctness. I'm sure that gets me in trouble sometimes. The Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie is one of those guys that tell it like it is. You can disagree with him, but he is going to let you know what he thinks. People like that up front honesty.

As Christians we need to make sure we call a sin, a sin. We need to make sure when we talk to unbelievers they are clear what the truth is.  There is only one path to God and it goes directly through Jesus. There is no detour. There is no alternative. The ONE GOD we serve is GOD. It's not good enough to be a "Good" person. It's not good enough to believe in God. We need to confess our sins, acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of GOD and died for our sins, and ask him to come into our heart. It is only by his Grace that we are saved.

We need to tell it like it is. We need to be open an honest with everyone. The salvation plan is simple. But, if we wait, if we beat around the bush, if we worry about offending the sinner, we may never get the chance. Eternal life might hang in the balance.  The Holy Spirit will give us the words. The Holy Spirit will give us the boldness we need.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Romans 13

Submission to Governing Authorities
 1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

The political season is heating up and as usual it's getting ugly. We are so mean to each other. I don't know how this got to be so popular. It polarizes our nation and after the election we always have hurt feelings. Then stubbornness sets in and then gridlock. Compromise? You never find it any more. We can't seem to get along unless a crisis occurs. 911 is a great example of that. But, recently even a crisis isn't a good enough reason to come together. Now we just argue about money, taxes, debt, entitlements, social issues, morality and a multitude of other minor squabbles. To outsiders it might appear that we hate our country. 

Well, I'm here to tell you I LOVE MY COUNTRY! I love what we stand for. I love our institutions and all our internal bickering. What other country do you know that doesn't resort to bloodshed to solve big issues? If other countries were facing the financial crisis that we are, or the downfall of our financial institutions a few years ago, they would have resorted to violence. We fight, we debate, we argue, and I wouldn't live anywhere else but here. We disagree with our elected officials, we get upset when they let us down. But, we don't go out and shoot them, we elect someone else. We have peaceful transitions between our political parties and we move on regardless if we agree or disagree with the ones in power. I don't care what people might say, Our country is endowed by God. Now, are we prefect? Nope. Governments are made of sinful people. ALL PEOPLE HAVE SINNED and fall short. Our government, run by people, is no different. But, it is the best and I love it! 

Thank You Lord for the wonderful gift to live in this country. We are blessed! May we never forget that the authority you have given them, over us, is real, it is divine, and we are to respect it. Praise God for the USA!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Praying is not Believing!

Acts 12

10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” 12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!” 15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” 16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
I find this story somewhat comical, but I also find it a typical. I find it comical how Peter shows up at the door of a group praying for his release and the greeter is so shocked, she doesn't even answer the door. He is left at the doorstep! That's funny! But, I can certainly relate to this group of faithful followers. They are praying for God to intervene. When he does, they don't believe it. Am I like that?

 Just because you pray for something, doesn't mean you have faith it will happen. I know about this first hand. If it weren't so, why am I always so surprised when my prayers are answered? As a matter of fact, I think I'm equally surprised when they ARE answered as when they ARE NOT. My weak faith is not something I'm very proud of. I have seen time and time again, the power of God answering prayer, yet I am no different than these early believers. The more amazing the miracle of an answered prayer, the weaker my faith. My God is the creator of the universe. He has power I can not even imagine. He produces the miracle of life every day. This miracle is seen from sunrise to sunset. He provides a miracle every time I take a breath. This miracle occurs all around us and yet we still do not believe he can answer ANY prayer. I am so ashamed of my poor faith. But, I am also told that the Faith of a Mustard seed is enough with the power of THE God of all things. Praise God he doesn't rely on my weak faith to answer my Prayers. Praise God he hears me even in my imperfections! Thank You Lord!