Monday, June 30, 2014

Victory against Persecution!

What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other. (Romans 14:6-9 MSG)

          People have some strange beliefs. With social media you see it all from strange diets to alien abductions, to conspiracy theories, to people preparing for a zombie apocalypse, to politics of all shapes and forms. I am amazed by the posts, you just can't make that stuff up. I know there are people who believe Christianity is one of those fads. If it is, it has some wonderful staying power. Trust me it's real and in all reality, I don't care what you think! Ok, I really do care, because I want you to be with me in eternity. But, just because you feel strongly against my faith in Christ, doesn't mean I'm going to change. I answer to God! My ENTIRE life has one purpose, serve God. He knows me, watches over me and leads me through darkness and even persecution. 

          Persecution is growing. Our own country is moving to a "Godless" society. Europe has been there for years. Our government, and in many ways the general public, are a growing force against my faith. I need to be strong in my faith in Jesus Christ. I need to study and prepare for days of persecution. I need to be prepared to fight with my life if necessary. 

          Yesterday was a good day for religious liberty. Hobby Lobby a public business run by good strong Christians was given permission to run their business as God would lead. My faith is interwoven in everything I do. The owners of Hobby Lobby believe the same. For now, the Supreme Court agrees that a family business can be run with God as the center. I am thankful and would love to see this trend continue. I am fearful it won't. In either case, I will be prepared to fight for my Jesus. Are you prepared for the battle?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I know.... I've been there!

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)

There is nothing more painful than a broken heart. Normally you think of a man and woman who break up as being broken hearted. But, I have seen others with a broken heart or crushed spirit. I've seen parents of wayward children with broken hearts. I've seen fathers out of work and desperately trying to support their family crushed under the weight of responsibility. I've seen cancer patients broken when a doctor brings bad news about another round of chemo. I've seen the spouse broken hearted after losing his companion and best friend. I've seen mothers worn to an inch of their lives worrying about a sick child. 

All those people are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to broken hearted and crushed spirits. The Lord is close. He does not wait to be called. He is there. 

The world is too full of people that have been beaten by the weight of turmoil. But, God is there for you. God is there to build you up and bring you through even the darkest times. I know. I've been there. I've been in so deep financially I thought I would never recover, God was there. I've sat through 14 hours waiting on a daughter to come out of surgery. God was there. I've been through job crisis, loss, and severe depression. God was there. I do not share to say how great I am for enduring life's challenges. I have overcome those challenges through Christ alone.  I share because you need to know, regardless the pain you are walking through right now, God is with you. You can rely on him and he will get you through. I may not be special in the worlds eyes, but in the eyes of the creator, I am more than special. So are you! Go to him, plead, cry, scream, show your anger, bare your soul. See what happens  next. Watch God reveal himself in a very powerful way.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31 NIV)

Do you remember when life was simple? I really remember lying on my back in our yard on county line road in Greenwood, Indiana, as an early elementary age kid, watching the clouds go by, washing my bike, killing bees and feeding them to the ants, building forts, playing outside until it got dark, walking to the corner store to get bubble gum cigars and candy cigarettes, using a baseball bat as a machine gun, playing war with my buddies, vacationing with my grandparents, spending summers with my cousins on the lake, countless baseball and football games, and nothing more important than spending time with family and friends. I'm sure my parents had worries about feeding six kids, bills, jobs, stress, but I was oblivious to it. 

That was the simple life. 

Now I'm not sure even the kids of our modern society get to enjoy the simple life. We have complicated life to the extent there's no joy. Sometimes I think we have complicated our faith in such a way it also steals the joy. That includes how we have complicated the Bible and it's message. This verse sums it up. The Bible is written that we may know Jesus is the son of God and if we believe, we will have eternal life. It's really as simple as that. Sure the Bible is also full of great resources for living today. But, it all points to this simple statement of the truth.

Dear Lord, please help us simplify life to the point it is all about you. It's not about money, schedules, jobs, bills, or THINGS. We are three days away from vacation. May it be a time to refocus on the simplicity of life. May it be a time of refreshing and resting in the knowledge that you are God and there is no other. Amen!


The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. (John 1:9 NIV)

I am in vacation mode. We are leaving on Tuesday and I can't wait for the next phase of our vacation adventures. Stephanie and I have taken summer motorcycle trips for the last 10 years. We have, literally, traveled the entire country. Well, most of it. We are heading northeast this trip to ad that region to the list. Next year, it may be Alaska and the great northwest. But, for now I can't wait! Maine, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Hampshire, Vermont, the Adirondacks of New York, and Niagara Falls are all on the list along with a couple of quirky stops along the way.

Am I anticipating the return of Jesus with as much excitement? Should I be excited about his return? The first arival of Jesus was greatly anticipated and longed for by the Jewish people. When he got here they were dissappointed, but the world got just what it needed. We need Jesus! I want him now! Some people will be dissappointed with his return. We don't really know what all will happen with his return, but I trust my savior and his arrival will be more than I can ever imagine. I am worried about family, friends, and coworkers that don't know him and have not committed their life to him. For that reason and that reason only, I worry about his return. There is so much to do before he gets here. Let's get busy spreading the gospel so he can return in all his glory!

The anticipation is rising! The world needs him now! come Lord Jesus!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The consequences of my life!

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV)

Practice what you preach. That is the message of this verse from Timothy. People are greatly affected by what you do. Your "hearers" can be saved just by watching you. Just think about who your hearers are. Your wife/husband, kids, grandkids, friends, coworkers, anybody you come in contact may be lost or saved by your own life. That is a powerful thought. Your life and the way you live out your Christian witness affects more than just your own life and we all need to take that seriously. 

Living a life as a Christian hypocrit could discourage someone from ever coming to accept Christ. Living a life of immoral choices affects the choices of others and their own salvation. Live like you know that. I need to live like I understand the gravity of my own life. If the beliefs you live by don't match the beliefs you confess, you need to do some serious re-evaluation.

Dear Lord, help me be clear about what I believe. Help me to align those beliefs with you and the life you want me to lead. I know I am not the person I want tobe, but know you love me and will help me through this life of growth. You are amazing and I love you! Amen!

The mindset of POWER!

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5 NIV)

As a teacher I have power over the students at my high school. I get to determine what I teach, I set the rules, I determine grades, I am in control. Yet, in this past year I have chosen to give up much of that control. My school corporation has long been an advocate for students. I think we've done a great job doing what's best for students. We are taking that a step further. We have slowly transformed a part of our schools to a truly STUDENT-CENTERED school within a school. We have been giving more freedom for the students to control the pace and ways they learn at school. It's been a huge step for this old guy! By nature, I am a control freak and yielding that power is a big step for me.

Jesus has set the bar on this mindset very high. When he came down to Earth he had all the power and he chose to set that power aside. He could have destroyed his enemies, he could have taken an earthly throne, he could have led a powerful army, he could have wielded the power of nature itself. Instead, he came as a humble servant living a life as one of us. He sacrificed all the power to serve, love, and teach grace. We can all take that "mindset" and apply it to our relationships. Politicians, CEOs, parents, teachers, and other power brokers need to become humble, setting aside their power in order to serve. Our relationships with each other will blossom fully if we can make this one change in our lives.

Lord, help me mirror your mindset. Help me to be a humble servant, not ruling with power, but serving with love. Help me to serve my family, my friends, my students, and my community in ways that reflect your  example. Thank you Lord for your grace, mercy, and love. Amen!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It's not WWJD, it's WWIDT!

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9 NIV)

Do you remember WWJD? "What would Jesus Do" was all the craze for awhile. It was a fad. My skeptical side tells me most the people that had those bracelets, probably, didn't really know what Jesus would do. The statistics shock me about how much time People spend reading the Bible. The religion news service released these statistics about people reading their Bible:

"If they do read it, the majority (57 percent) only read their Bibles four times a year or less. Only 26 percent of Americans said they read their Bible on a regular basis (four or more times a week)." 
So how can people claim to know what Jesus would do if they don't know what Jesus did? I have been doing daily Bible readings for about 13 years. It has changed my life. I have missed a few days here and there. I've even missed some blocks of time, but not for any extended periods. I started by reading through the Bible in a year. I did that for about 6 years. Then transitioned to deeper reading, writing my thoughts in a journal, and now blogging about my reading. Beyond, the actual reading I still have to work hard to apply every verse to my life. That's where I'm at right now. I'm not just asking "What would Jesus do?" I'm asking WWIDT, "What Will I Do Today?" The most difficult stage of my faith development is taking what I've learned and put it into practice. Reading the Bible is critical, but the most important step is taking those readings and living them! We need to take the actions of Jesus, Paul, Peter, Moses, David, and others from the Bible, learn from them and apply their life lessons to our own. The Bible is a great tool that applies directly to my life and yours.

Growth in Christ is a process. I'm not happy where I'm at, but happier than where I was. Praise God for his patience. Praise God for teaching me out of pure love and grace. Give me strength to take your example and make it my life!

Monday, June 23, 2014

College Bound!

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:19 NIV)

I have a grandson going away to college this fall. He will be attending Dickinson State University in North Dakota. I know, I'm getting old. He and his father just made a visit and Klayton got his official acceptance today. He will study music and wrestle on scholarship. He is a great, talented, young man with a heart that has accepted The Lord. But, I know what's ahead for him. College and the freedoms of being on your own has it's price. Billy Graham talked about college students. They are so anxious to strut their independence. They yell from the roof tops they need to make their own way, discover their individuality and yet, at college, all they do is conform. The pressure of the crowd is so powerful, they don't gain freedom, they lose it. They lose nearly all of their independence by following the crowd. They never gain it back. When they graduate from college, they want to settle down, search for the perfect job, and build the perfect life. It's not possible unless they put Jesus in the center.  There is a battle on college campuses. I hope and pray my grandson has the strength to stand up to the pressures to rebel against God and make destructive decisions. It's not easy to go against the crowd. It's an internal battle and ca have massive consequences. Keeping Jesus at the center of the battle is the only way to win.

Life is full of irony. To gain your freedom, you need to lose it. To live you need to die to your selfishness. To lead you need to serve. Going away to college is not where people learn to think on their own. College is a place to learn to think like everyone else. It's sad, but true. The only real freedom we gain, in this life, is through our commitment to Christ. He alone can grant eternal freedom. He alone can grant you all that you look for. He alone is the only way to acquire eternal life. Your so called independence is false. You are either conforming to the world or conforming to Christ. One grants a life of slavery, the other grants a life of real freedom, grace, and love!

Lord, protect my grandson. Protect him from making destructive decisions at college. Help him to stay focused on you and enjoy a life that is blessed by you. Help him to enjoy the real freedom that comes with a commitment to Christ. Amen!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Boastful people drive me crazy!

I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:5 NIV)

What a great verse! I hear so many people brag about themselves. In education, part of our evaluation process is bragging about what you do. It's not a place to be humble. I always feel uncomfortable sitting in front of my evaluator talking about how great I am. I guess in that situation you have to do dome bragging. Yet, I know teachers appear to enjoy bragging. They view themselves as the greatest thing since teaching began. I see there posts on social media saying what great and cool things they are doing with their students. In fact they are good teachers. Yet, why do they feel it's necessary to boast like that. What ever happened to a humble spirit? Even a statement like "I should get teacher of the year...." in jest, is not what I consider humble. Politicians do the same thing. They can never admit their faults and do everything to share their "wonderfullness". Social media provides a tool that many use to build themselves up and to tear others down, If you have to tell someone of your greatness, you're probably not that great! I am confident that we are all sinners and fall WAY short of the glory of God!

Boasting about someone else is another matter. It is good to build others up with words. We need to be careful that it is deserved and not hollow praise. It's the same things with your kids. Give praise, "where it's deserved", to your kids. Praise Godly behavior, praise serving others, praise sacrficial giving, and praise hard work are all great with our kids, and others as well. My best advice, boast on others, keep praise for yourself inside your heart.

Dear Lord, help me have a humble spirit. I will boast on you and on other a Godly people. I will keep my self pride in check because I realize, I'm not that great. I am a sinner, I have rejected you on many occasions. I am embarassed to say how truly weak I am. Yet, I love you more and more each day. You are awesome Lord and I praise you for your wondeful grace and patience with me.

You get to choose!

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NIV)

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It is great common sense advice. As a Christian, I'm not here to FORCE  you to follow Christ. If this doesn't sound like the God you want to serve, don't. You need to shoes for yourself. Everyone chooses to serve a god. Even an atheist who Denys the existence of God, follows his own god. Most worship themselves and they consider themselves gods, in control of their own life. They have a doctrine that puts humans at the center. Some people worship gods like the early Greeks and Romans. They have a different god for all things, winter, summer, work, etc. Some follow a doctrine of doing good, they serve others, and are great people to be around. Many of these people go to church. They "believe" in God, but haven't made the commitment to turning all life over to him.

We all worship something. We make religion of our political beliefs, our science theories, our work, our recreation, and our families. Our beliefs include nothing about God.  You can choose. You have the choice. The God I serve has made it that way. That's the irony of ll this.God has designed and granted the very freedom used against him. I recommend you look hard at what or who you serve. Who or what is your God!? You need to go all out serving that go. Don't give that god your second best. If you worship your work, you better dump your family and concentrate on your work, if you believe in the nothingness of life after death, live it up now with all you can. If you believe there is no right and wrong except what is controlled by you, sit down and make sure you know what that is and life life exactly to those beleifs.

In the end, I have chosen to follow God, the one God that sent his son to earth to die for me and my sins. I choose to believe in a single creator of the universe. I choose to believe in the God that sent his word, his plan for our lives in the book we call the Bible. My wife, my kids, my grandkids, and those that are members of my house, we choose to serve that God. Let's compare lives. Let's just compare if that would be possible. But, it's not possible, because my life will continue and yours will not. As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wordless prayer!

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Romans 8:26 NIV)

Have you ever closed your eyes or bowed your knee in prayer only to lose the words? Or have you moaned your way through a plea for Gods intervention? I have, so I can truly relate to this verse. The amazing aspect is that God is pleading with us in prayer to God himself., "but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." If I understand the trinity, God and the Spirit are one. God himself then actually pleads with us TO HIMSELF! I'm not sure I can fully fathom this, but having the creator of the universe as a partner in prayer is always a good thing. In order to have that kind of relationship you must develop it long before the need arises. Although it's never too late to turn to God, in order to be instep with him in prayer, you need to know him deeply. 

My goal is to know God deeper. I want to not only know his thoughts, but be his hands, feet, and voice in this troubled world. It will take time and effort on my part to build this relationship. I can't just do it on Sunday or religious holidays. I can't just depend on my own understanding I need to enlist the help of God himself in building this oneness. My advice to you, do the same. Don't  waste any more time. Tonight, meet with God, open your heart to him, be silent and listen, begin to develop the best relationship of your life. Study his plan. Talk to him all the time, plead with him, fight with him, praise him, laugh with him. If you do all these things, when it some to a time where you just don't know what to say, he will speak for you!

Science vs Faith

so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:5 NIV)

I have written on my views about this on other occasions. This adversarial relationship between science and faith is ridiculous. I love science. I love the pursuit of knowledge. I love the pursuit of God! I can love science and love God and not compromise my faith. I completed a study from Dr. Sproals that helped me clarify some of my own thoughts. I'm by no means an expert in any of these areas of faith or science. BUT, I DO HAVE AN OPINION based on my limited knowledge!

The controversy between science and faith really centers around two main theories, although there are others. The Big Bang Theory and Evolution seem to be huge battleground topics. The Bible  does not say how God created the Earth, it's great to pursue the knowledge of that process. I think the pursuit helps prove the existence God. If you believe in the theory of the Big Bang, that created the existence of life, what is it that blew up? Where did that come from. We can not prove the creation of something from nothing. Science hasn't and can't prove HOW THE STUFF THAT BLEW UP CAME INTO EXISTENCE, it has no answer for this thought. I do -- it's God!

I believe in Evolution! I know my conservative Christian friends are cringing. What I don't believe is that we descended from Apes. I do believe that the outward appearance of man has changed over the history of humanity, I can call that evolution. I don't dispute the existence of Neanderthal man or prehistoric man. I may disagree with some of the theories we attribute to our prehistoric brothers and sisters, but our thoughts, our appearances, our skills, our entire existence has changed over the years. Did we have an ape like appearance? Yes, and who cares. I think we look like apes right now! I don't think that's a game changer. That is indisputable. But, we did not descend from Apes and there is no proof of it. The theory takes the information we have as fact and extrapolates that to the origin of man. It's a theory. But, we can't dispute the human race has evolved in many different ways over the centuries. Our skin color, height, over all appearance, and our intelligence has changed, evolved. Why are we so threatened by this. Could God have designed it this way? Could God have designed the evolution of birds, fish, and other animals? Why not? I am not intimidated by evolution. A big part of evolution is the age of the Earth. Somebody is right and somebody is wrong. I, again, don't see this as a game changer. It doesn't change the Bible. It doesn't change my belief in the infalible word of God and the truth of Christ. 

We get so caught up in minutiae. I want my science friends to pursue the truth in science, in evolution, in creation of the universe. They are going to be wrong sometimes and will be right as well. My faith friends also need to pursue the truth through their relationships with Christ. I hope that I have friends that are pursuing both at the same time!

God created the universe and the mysteries it holds. He designed it this way on purpose. He designed us to be curious, to seek truth, to have an insatiable desire for knowledge. He wants us to pursue it with all of our being, because eventually it will lead us to him. That is the real goal. He just wants to be with us. It's exciting to read a great mystery novel. It's just as exciting to try to unravel the mysteries of our existence. Life is exciting because God designed it that way. Praise God!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My inner voice!

keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:16 NIV)

How could anybody speak against someone's good behavior, let alone speak maliciously? But, when it does happen I need to battle the urges to get even. It is confidence in yourself, but more importantly confidence in Christ, that allows our heads to be held high even through verbal harassment. I have found if I listen to my inner voice, my conscience, the voice of the Holy Spirit, I can come out on top when dealing with my critics.

My actions under duress speaks more to my faith than any thing I do. My response to tense relations will make even the strongest enemy take note. I'm not sure I've ever gotten to the point where my response "shamed" an enemy, but I will always be cautious of my words and actions with those that choose to persecute me. I will think be for I act.

It just affirms how much we are on display as followers of Christ. We are placed under a microscope and our lives critiqued by those who are not brothers and sisters. Do I live up to their standards? Can anyone? The goods news is we have only one standard to uphold. That is the standard of Jesus Christ. God has gifted us with a conscience to help us follow those standards. We may choose to ignore the message of that inner voice from God, but it is placed there for our benefit. 

Thank you Lord for your love and the protections you give me. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and  the help it provides. I want to follow your plan, even in my weakness. Thank you for your love through persecutions in all forms. Guide my actions and my words through this wondeful life. May I be a blessing to those around me! Amen!

Monday, June 16, 2014

My own Secret Service "team"!

PThe Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

I am always fascinated by the entourage that travels with our President and the planning it takes to coordinate his protection. Recently President Obama has been making unscheduled public appearances. I'm sure this makes his security team anxious to say the least. They are with him and his family 24-7 and there is no such thing as being alone, yet you always get the impression the president and his family are just like the rest of us when we leave home. Not true!

I have my own secret service. God, my mighty warrior, is always there to save me. He constantly watches over me like a finely trained secret service detail. He loves his job! He delights in the time he spends with me, he rejoices with singing at his assignment. He is there to keep me from my enemies. He is not there to judge. There will be time for that later. I am awed by his unyielding presence in my life. 

Thank you Lord! I feel your presence even though you are not visible. I know you are there, behind the scenes, directing my life and I praise you for it! I praise you that you let me be free to choose your direction in my life. I have seen your protection and I know the only real choice is to choose you to guide me and watch over me. Thank you Lord. You are amazing and truly wonderful!

What do you love?

And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:21 NIV)

I love riding motorcycles, especially with my wife. I love traveling and exploring Gods creation. I love technology and all the cool things we can do with it. I love teaching and working with kids. I love spending time in ministry with my CMA family. I love summer time and the warm weather. I love taking care of my yard, growing flowers, and watching them bloom. I love a great sunset. I love camping and sitting around a campfire. What is it that you love? I know I use this word love in a rather flippant way. People say "I love your outfit, your hair, your car, your house, your, blah, blah, blah!" I am one of those people. 

It's not evil to love the "things" of life. But, when I get to what I really Love -- God, my family, my brothers and sisters in Christ, there is a big difference. In some ways I wish there was another word for these two types of love because there is a huge difference between the love I feel for my motorcycle and the love I feel for God. But, there's not so it's up to me to make sure I live my life in a way people know what is REALLY important to me. I need to put people in front of "things" in my life. Love is about relationships. I don't think the Bible ever mentions love in terms of anything except relationships. This is love, that God sent his Son to Earth to die for us. That's not the "love of things" kind of love. That's real Love!

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7 NIV)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Running through Life!

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

This verse has a different meaning for those of us who call ourselves "runners". I have run 5k's, 10k's, 20k's, half marathons, and marathons. It doesn't matter the distance, I've always been exhausted at the end. I've seen sprinters run a 40 and be useless the rest of the day. So saying "they will run and not grow weary" I saying a lot. 

The bible refers to life as a race, on many occasions. Running a race is exhausting and there always comes a point, after you think you have given everything you have, that you start wondering if you can make it. You fight an internal battle between your body and your spirit. The body says "this is crazy, stop!" and your spirit says "you can do it!" The spirit starts fighting the battle well before race day when it would be easier to stay in bed instead of getting up early to go on a training run. The body tries to convince you that a twenty mile training run is not necessary. The minds says, "do it, it will be worth it!"

That's exactly what God is trying to do for us. The world is telling us everything is ok. Do what you want. Live now, eat , drink, and be merry. There is no right or wrong, there is no truth. Living  in step with the world levels you tired, drained, and drifting aimlessly through life. The Holy Spirit is here to encourage us to remain faithful to the real truth of The Lord Jesus Christ. The spirit of God is here to help us fight our sinful nature, to make good decisions, and follow the perfect plan he has laid before us. I have found life continues to be exciting, energetic, and full of joy, when you follow the Spirit of God. You will be strong and able to deal with anything! 

Life is sometimes a grueling marathon. We need training and guidance to be able to win the race. We need the coaching of Jesus Christ to not only run the race, but win the race and cross the finish line into eternity! Our strength will be renewed, we will soar, we will not grow weary, and we will be blessed and life will be amazing!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Are you Coachable?

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. (Proverbs 16:20 NIV)

I have enjoyed coaching students and athletes in my lifetime. I have had the great fortune of being around some really talented young people both through athletics and In the classroom. My fondest memories are with those young people that were coachable, those students that trust you enough to try new things. They let you push them into uncomfortable territory and are willing to fail to get better. I can't remember too many of the great ones that weren't coachable. 

I wonder how God would describe my coachability? Do I listen to God? Do I let God stretch me, push me into uncomfortable territory? Am I willing to fail to improve myself and further the kingdom of God? In education, I see so many of my colleagues unwilling to try new things, stretch themselves, and risk failure to grow. We either have an arrogance that we can't improve or we are paralyzed with fear of failure. As a professional educator or as a Christian, these two theories doom us to ultimate failure and missed blessings.

We all need to be coachable in all we do. We need to always accept instruction because we are not perfect and we need to grow.  God wants us to develop beyond where we are right now in ALL parts of our lives, jobs, faith, and relationships. I need to be open to the leading of his spirit and willing to be led by those coaches he puts in my life. Open your hearts, minds, body, and soul. Let Jesus coach you up!

God as Father

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:3-5 NIV)

It's almost Fathers Day. I am a proud father. I have three wondeful daughters, two son-in-laws, 6 grandkids, and a wife who is my best friend. It may seem strange, but I wonder what my kids will remember of me after I'm gone. I know it seems a little vain. I want to be remembered well. I want to be remembered as someone who first loved The Lord, was devoted to his family and would die for them. I want to be remembered as someone who worked with passion and conviction, loved adventure, loved people, and was excited about life.  

I don't want to be remembered as the father who "talked" the dog into getting hit by a car, or who had to pull the car over on the Springmill Parkway to follow through on a threat of discipline. I don't want to be remembered as the angry father that found out his teenage daughter was pregnant. I don't want to be remembered as the father that brought fear to his daughters when they made mistakes or put undo pressure on them to run faster or work harder.

How do we look at our Heavenly Father? Do we look at him like a fat, jolly, Santa Claus? Do we look at him like the heavy handed tyrant that doles out discipline when we sin? Do we look at him as a God of mercy and grace or Father that sends pain and suffering out of his anger?

I have seen nothing but a loving Heavenly Father. I have seen a God that has shown ME mercy when I deserve wrath. I have seen a God that has brought me through my own mistakes to help me grow closer to him. I have seen MY Heavenly Father send his own son so that I might live. I have seen a Father that endured the pain of rejection and opened his arms when I came to my senses. He sacrificed all for me and continues to show that same love everyday. I love you Lord! I love you with all my heart! Thank you for directing my life in ways I could never understand! Tank you for being the perfect example of a Father. You are truly amazing! AMEN!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Slow process

But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life! (Jude 1:20, 21 MSG)

The savior is coming! Soon we will receive our gift of eternal life. But, not today! While we wait, we prepare. We study the word of our Lord, we pray for wisdom, and we serve the lost and the needy. We carefully do these things so as not to grow in our own confidence, but in the confidence in our Lord. Our faith needs to grow in a way as to prepare us for the worship and the glory we are to be a part of.

I wish I could say I was always in the center of God's love and his will for my life. I can not. I need help doing that. I need my family, my Chrisitian friends, constant study of God's word and daily communication with Him. I am working at building up my faith and following Gods will. When I am not faithful in my study and prayer, I faulted and move away from the center. It's a slow process. I praise God for his patience with me. Thank you Lord!


One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NIV)

How many friends do you have? I'm not talking Facebook friends, I'm talking about friends that you would do anything for and friends you would do anything for. I have a lot of people in my life that I consider friends. My CMA friends, my coworkers, my neighbors, and my friends from years past. But, My best friend is my wife and next comes my daughters, their husbands, and my grandkids. Yes, that's right! My family is my FRAMILY! Here is the definition of a friend:

  1. 1.
    a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
    synonyms:companionsoul mateintimate, confidante, confidantfamiliaralter ego, second self,playmateplayfellowclassmateschoolmateworkmate;

The definition of a friend excludes family members. I hate to disagree with Webster, but I couldn't disagree more. Look at the synonyms, companion, soul mate, intimate, confidant, are those NOT great descriptors of our families? They specifically describe my wonderful wife.

I love my CMA friends and biker buddies. We spend a lot of time together, but the bulk of my time outside work is spent with my family. We share common interests and we all love The Lord. I am a better friend to those outside my family because of the friendships I have developed within my family. I praise God for the friendship I have with my wife. I praise God for the wonderful gift of my wife and family. I praise God for my wonderful daughters and their families. We have been together through so much in our lives. I enjoy the time we spend together not because we are family but because we are friends. We have made it through life together and I can't imagine a life without you! I love you!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Stop the "post game" analysis!

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7 NIV)

Sometimes I just don't get it. People complain about everything. Mostly people complain about being tired, sick, or they complain about regular aches and pains. Mostly, people complain about other people. Sometimes the teachers lounge is like an NFL post game show. Every student, parent, and fellow teacher is open to "post game" analysis. It's so easy to be critical of others. Here's a piece of advice: STOP IT! We have no idea what people are going through in their lives. I'm not saying we condone some of the actions, but we need to look beyond the faults and mistakes, even the sins, of others. We need to stop the constant analysis and critique of every decision they make.

Do I do the same thing with God? How many times have I questioned God's plan in my life. The most popular question we ask our Lord is, "Why?" How amazing is it that we question, critique and analyze the God of the Universe? Even more amazing is the response of Jesus. God is not offended by our questions and fears. His love overlooks the anger, the stress, and our lack of understanding. But, we need to have faith in our Heavenly Father. He loves us and will not bring harm to us. His plan is greater than our plan and is designed for a life time and not just the moment. Our lives are planned with love and desire for us to draw closer to him. 

Instead of critiquing God, today thank him, praise him, and rest in the thought that you have a loving savior that adores you. Go beyond your circumstances, regardless how difficult they may be, and know that God's plans are perfect!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Representing Christ!

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20 NIV)

Stephanie and I will be leaving in just a few weeks on our annual cross country motorcycle trip. This year we are traveling uncharted territory. We are traveling Northeast into Canada, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland/Labrador. I know it's just Canada, but it really is a foreign country. Don't laugh! Many of the areas we are traveling will speak very little English. I can't wait. We have to travel by ship to Newfoundland and have to get a room on the ship to sleep over night. It's another of our many adventures! 

When we travel I act differently than I do when I'm home. This will be even more important when I travel this summer. Americans don't always have the greatest reputations. I want to make sure I am setting a good example. Everyone will be able to tell we're tourists from the USA. I will be more considerate, more friendly, and have a servant attitude everywhere I go. It's just like my Christianity. I am always on display as a Christian. This is definitely true when I travel by motorcycle. I love wearing my faith on the outside. My CMA patch, clothing, and labels put me in a spotlight as a Christian. I have to make sure my walk matches my declaration of faith.

Does my life match my faith walk when I'm not wearing an external label? Can people recognize my love of Christ? I am a Christian 24/7 and I need to make sure I present that faith in a way pleasing to God. I need to do that every day, not just during my vacations across this continent!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 NIV)

Sarcasm is dangerous! I love kidding with students, friends, and family. But, I know for a fact it can go too far. Many times "picking" on someone, teasing, and sarcasm ends with hurt feelings. It always starts out as fun, but continuous, relentless teasing and sarcasm can get old and eventually gets tiresome for the recipient. I cross that line way too often and I need to stop it!

We need to promote peace and building up others, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, not tearing them down, even in jest. I will say that I have never been offended, but I know others that have and have even brought it up to me. I would like to tell those people they need to not take it so serious. I would like to say, "lighten up". I don't know anyone who  does this type of teasing that means it for harm, including myself. But, I also understand that after a while it can get old. If all you hear from someone is the verbal jousting, you start wondering if they really mean what they say. You start wondering if your own faith family loves you. Teasing and verbal harassment can tear a group apart, quickly.

It is said you need to say at least three positives to out weigh the just one negative in someone's life. I think this applies to teasing. We need to take time to demonstrate the love of each other. We need to say it, we need to act on it. We need to love each other with our WORDS and deeds.

So, stop the teasing, or at the very least build up more than you tease! Love your brothers and sisters as Christ has loved you! We are members of one body and we are to promote the PEACE OF Christ!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bucket List

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, (Colossians 2:2 NIV)

Do you have a bucket list? For those who are scratching their heads, a bucket list is a list of things you want to before you die. Here's mine in no particular order:

-- ride a motorcycle in all 50 states and provinces of Canada -- I'm getting closer. This year I scratch off Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and maybe Newfoundland in Canada. I will also add the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusettes, and New York. After this year, I have ridden in all the lower 48 except Delaware, Lousiana, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

-- live to be 100 years old - being a diabetic makes this very difficult.

-- own a motorcycle shop.

-- own a donut shop in Florida

-- learn to fly

-- travel to the Arctic Circle by motorcycle via Alaska

I'm sure their will be more. The list just keeps getting longer all the time. But every one of my goals, including my bucket list goals, include sharing Christ because my ultimate goal is to bring people to Christ.

As you can see a lot of my goals deal with travel but all of them deal with being talking to people. I travel to meet and talk to people. I love talking to people in gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, parks, and just along the side of the road. Pulling a camper with a motorcycle is the hook. People just can't resist seeing the Vic and the camper. I love wearing my CMA colors and I love explaining what our mission is. I had opportunities to pray with strangers, share Gods love and witness by my friendliness. Life is about relationships with people even if they are brief encounters along a vacation trip.

God has given me a mission and I love it. I praise him for the desire he has put in my heart to talk to strangers. I praise home for the gifts he has given me.i pray I use those gifts for his purposes and not my own. I pray he brings people into my life that need his message of love. Give me the boldness to share and love people!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

His eyes!

“His eyes are on the ways of mortals; he sees their every step. (Job 34:21 NIV)

What you do when no one is watching, that's the definition of character. The problem, God is always watching. You can not go through a day without God witnessing your every move, every thought, and hear your every word. Through the history of man we act like we can hide. Adam and Eve were the first and we haven't grasped the omnipresence of God since that time.

The thought of God viewing my every move is terrifying. I have moments of righteousness, but most of the time I'm far from acting in a way God would be proud of. How can I change that? Just the thought of God's watchful eyes should be a deterrent. I know it's not. 

The answer is repetition of the same theme. You must build a relationship with the creator of the universe in order to understand his heart. The more your get to know a friend, the less likely you will do something that hurts them. The more you draw closer to The Lord the less likely you are to sin against him. The eyes of The Lord are saddened by our disregard for him, his laws, and his will. I beg your forgiveness, Lord. I know I am weak and let sin rule my life. Help me Lord. Help me to grow closer to you and your will. I love you. Amen!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51 NIV)

The miracle of food, literally, coming down from Heaven every day is nothing short of spectacular. God chose this method to feed his people when they wandered the desert. I love that my God likes the spectacular. He will go to great lengths to show his existence and availability. Some people say he doesn't do that anymore. They say he doesn't show himself in spectacular ways. I completely disagree. Is it any less spectacular his healing cancer, saving lives, or healing relationships? I personally have experienced his REAL presence in my life. I do not need mana from Heaven to feel his presence.

The greatest miracle is the fact that God sent his son to live with us, teach us, lead us, and then chose to sacrifice him on the cross for our sins. We overlook this miracle all the time. We look past the truth that the creator of the universe cares about us, loves us, wants to be with us and sent his spirit to walk with us everyday. We overlook the miracle of life, the consistency of the rising and setting sun. Life in itself is a miracle. He provides us so much more than mana. He gives us eternal life. I would have loved to been there to witness the mana. But I wouldn't exchange that miracle for my own. Thank you Lord for your great love and the miracle you perform every day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Do not be discouraged

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14 NIV)

I hate it when I read a verse that tells me to be patient. It's not one of my greatest attributes. But this verse is slightly different. It gives hope. In my morning Bible Study from Billy Graham, he talked about discouragement for Christians. He stated, "Christians can not stay discouraged for long." I couldn't agree more.

I have had times where I was discouraged, even for extended periods of time. I claim it was doubt in myself and not The Lord. Is that true? Now that I look back, I would have to say it's an excuse. I have given my life to The Lord. He has promised to never leave me. How can I doubt that? If I have a faith that is real and deep, I can not be discouraged without doubting in The Lord. Our Faith must be strong during difficult times. Our discouragement is lack of patience. Our discouragement is our wanting to be in control and not releasing our life to The Lord. We must wait on The Lord. We must be strong, resist the urge to lose heart and wait! God is always faithful.

We all have times of discouragement. Things don't go well at work, relationships with family, friends,and coworkers can be trying times. But it is exactly at those times that we must rely on the strength of The Lord. We need to wait for The Lord, be strong and take heart, WAIT FOR THE LORD!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Don't Judge me!

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. (Matthew 7:1 NIV)

Don't judge me!

I hear this phrase all the time! Whenever a teacher questions a student, it's judging. Or at least it is in the their eyes. In fact they are right more often than not. People judge other people and many times, unfairly. 

We are not judges!

God has not appointed us to judge the lost, or the faithful for that matter. So why are we so quick to judge people. It happens all the time with bikers. Just because someone rides motorcycles, has tattoos, or has lived a bit of a rough lifestyle, doesn't mean they are not followers of Christ. It happens because of race, ethnic background, and all sorts of areas. Stereotyping is the first step in judging someone and we need to stop it. In order to bring the lost to Jesus we have to stop judging, stop trying to fix people, and stop trying to create "Christian clones". We are all uniquely created by our Father in Heaven and He is the only one that can judge. He is the only one that can look past outward appearance and see the heart. He is the only one that doesn't stumble over stereotypes. 

We need to stop judging and learn more acceptance and love.