Friday, January 30, 2015


David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (1 Samuel 17:45 NLT)

In your Face! Sometimes, as a Christian, I think I'm too passive. I know that might come as a shock to those that know me. Normally, I am a bit outspoken. I have never really held back my thoughts or feelings, with one exception. I'm not that way when I talk about Christ. I don't know if I'm afraid to turn people off, or offend somebody. I'm not sure if it's lack of confidence, but I am just not as bold in this one area of my life. 

I need to be more like the David of these verses. In this story, David charges out to his enemy, screaming the power of God. He's not shy, he's not reserved, he's not afraid of offending or hurting someone. He charges against unspeakable odds with reckless abandon safe in the knowledge that his God is bigger than theirs. His God is the creator of the universe and his God is God! He knew his foes stood no chance against God. I need to remember that when I go into battle with my enemies, the stresses of life, temptations, and barriers to doing Gods will. I can charge into those times with reckless abandon, giving it all I have for him.

Praise God for his wonderful love and his unmatchable power. amen!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The 4D's

All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47 NIV

How's your New Years resolution coming! My goal, I don't do resolutions, is to draw closer to God. I'm feeling pretty good about it so far. I've prayed more and not missed a morning or evening devotion time. I am still trying to pray and focus more during the day on Jesus, it gets busy and it's not easy but I'm trying. 

For those struggling, don't give up. In my devotional yesterday, Rick Warren said 4 things get in the way of our goals: delay, discouragement, disapproval, and doubt. I am sure we can all relate to at least one of those. But, this verse reinforces that we don't have to fight alone. In fact the battles with delay, discouragement, disapproval, and doubt, belong to the Lord. It's not our fight! So turn it over to him and you will reach your goals, resolutions, and dreams. 

Thank you Lord Jesus for fighting my battles. You know my weaknesses and you make me strong. I love you and am amazed by you. Help me reach my goals. I want to rest in your arms forever! Amen!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Supernatural Resources

Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. (Luke 16:9 NLT)

It vacation planning time for me. I have mentioned before how I use this activity to make use of my time during the "no ride" season. So I'm in the midst of planning our summer. We are going to be gone a lot. We are planning two trips. First, We are planning for our first Grandkids summer vacation road trip. We are taking them out west. I am so excited. Second I am planning a shorter trip for Stephanie and I and VIC. 

I really consider these trips so valuable for many reasons. First they are a spiritual renewal for us. After the go, go, go of the school year, Stephanie and I need time to renew ourselves. We draw closer to each other and God because the hustle and bustle is left behind. We also have time to meet new people and many times make faithful connections with strangers. This year we are also looking forward to bonding with three of our grandkids. That will also be a time of renewal and spiritual growth for all of us. Using my resources for his purposes! It is great to be able to use your passions and resources for his purposes. 

This verse made me think about using my resources for the kingdom. I need to do that more and more. I need to dedicate all my resources to the throne of God. I'm not going to be able to take it with me so I better use all I have to build relationships that will last in eternity. My free time is not necessarily free. Vacation time, work time, play time ,and private time are all time that can be used for God. God needs to be in the center of ALL things, work, play, and rest! Praise God for his involvement in my life. Praise God for the opportunities he has given me to build eternal relationships.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I can see for miles and miles and miles!

The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves. (Proverbs 14:8 NLT)

One of my favorite songs is "I can see for miles!" by The Who. For some reason when I read this Proverb tonight in my Rick Warren devotional, I thought of this song immediately. 

As I have grown more in faith throughout my life I feel like I can see further and further into the future. I can't see forever, but I can see enough ahead of me to avoid most of the pitfalls and obstacles. Earlier in my life, I would fall into a canyon even if it was right in front of me. It's not through my own power or wisdom, but through the power of Jesus Christ.

Living in the flatland of Indiana you can usually see for quite a few miles, but it's nothing like the view from the mountains. God is that mountain top for me. If I rely on my own wisdom to see the future, my vision is very limited. If I rely on Jesus, I get a supernatural wisdom that is not my own. 

Why is it so important to see ahead? 

God gives us free will to make decisions in our lives. He knows the dangers that lie ahead and he also knows if we see further ahead we can avoid calamity. So, he grants his people greater vision. It's still not perfect. But, you would be surprised how many mistake you can avoid if you listen to our wonderful creator. 

Thank you Lord for the vision you grant us. Protect us. Keep us safe from poor choices and decisions made because we refuse to look ahead. Grant us wisdom to seek your eyes, to use your knowledge of the future to the blessings of the kingdom. We pray for continued wisdom and guidance in all things. We praise your holy name! Amen!

Monday, January 26, 2015


“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)

I struggle with these verses. I really think I have a lot of stuff. I have quite a few things vulnerable to rust, moths, and vermin. By the standard of the world, I am rich, or wealthy, or any other adjective you can come up with. But, everything is relative. I don't feel like I have a lot of excesses. I live in a moderate home, I have two vehicles that aren't extravagant. I have clothes that were purchased using good stewardship. I don't waste money on fancy restaurants. I have taken some nice vacations. But even those were done so in a very frugal manner. I give to church, charities, and ministries in a very positive way. So, am I rich, am I violating the tenants of these verses? Ultimately it's a question only God can answer and in order to make sure my priorities are correct, I need to be in constant prayer about my finances and my budget. 

I am comfortable and I know I have God to thank for those blessings. I also know what it's like to suffer financially. I have learned tough lessons with my own spending. God has been teaching. I am listening. But, it might sound cliche, I really own nothing. God owns it all. I have been blessed with it all, not for me and my own statisfaction, but for his glory. You are the same way. If you have a lot or you have a little, you are expected to use it for his kingdom. Once I lose sight of God in my daily spending and finances, all the things I have become nothing more than rust. So, I promise Lord, to keep you in the middle of all I do in 2015. I will use my resources for your kingdom, Lord, not my own joy. 

Dear Lord, I am humbled by how you have blessed me and my family. It has been a road filled with challenges but I've always been aware of your presence. Thank you Lord! I give you all that I have physically and spiritually. I praise you for your love, mercy, and grace! Amen!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Caution, greed surrounds us!

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15 NIV)

Last night I watched "Sons of Liberty" on the History Channel. I loved it. I could see myself as a freedom fighter. As I was watching the show, I kept seeing parallels to our country today. I know many people have discounted the Tea Party, but I truly believe in order to bring this country back to the people, a rebellion has to occur. Our politicians, our corporate giants, our Wall Street leaders, are so influenced by greed, they have manipulated our democracy to suite there selfish gains. We can't rely on republicans or democrats to lead us out of our mess. They all give lip service to fighting for the middle class, yet fight it, oppress it on every side. We are in a time of powerful money. Greed rules our country, not the people. This is not confined to one party, it's not confined to one financial philosophy. The power of money is prevalent everywhere.

Just as the early founders of this nation, we must stand up for ourselves. Poverty has to be dealt with, oppressive government regulation must be stopped. Taxes should be used for proper support for the homeless, the widows, the orphans. Incentives to give must be everywhere to people, businesses, and other countries. Government needs to get out of the way of the people. We need to rise up and take back our liberty. Our rulers need to be one of us, we can't continue to turn our fate over to those of the privileged class. We must bring common sense to our legislators and leaders. We need to value life of our enemies and the lives of the innocent. We need Jesus and can't be afraid to shout it on Main Street nor should we be ostracized for that faith. 

Greed is the key to the evil in our daily lives. We can not stand by and let it destroy us.

Dear Lord, give us the strength, the perseverance, the determination to take back our freedom from the oppression of greed and the corruption of power. Lord we need you and your direction in this great land. Help us defeat the enemies of love, mercy, and grace. In your great and holy name we ask it. Amen!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I promise

J“The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. (Genesis 24:7 NIV)

Promises, promises, promises! The art of making a promise, a commitment, is non existent. Oh, people still make the promises, they just don't keep them. It's easier to say yes and not do it, than say no because you know you can't do it.

I pick on politicians about this , but they are not alone. I have seen parents lie to there kids just to get them to stop asking. I've seen employers lie to get employees to work. It's just not popular to be honest. Integrity is an art form long ago replaced with manipulation, arrogance and pride. Many times it starts with a failure or a mistake. Then instead of admitting the mistake, a lie forms and replaces the truth. Not being able to admit faults and mistakes is a gateway to dishonesty.

The most important promise we make is to love and serve Jesus. It's a commitment that has an impact through eternity. The consequences of lieing to the creator of the universe is certain death. Beyond this statement of dedication to Christ are the commitments we make to our family, friends, and coworkers. Those commitment say a lot about our Christian life. They could be the reason someone comes to Jesus or looks at us as hypocritical and never comes to know our savior. Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. 

Simply say yes or no. Anything more than that comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37 GW)

Thank you Lord, I am committed to you. I love you and promise to live my life for you. I am not perfect and will also promise to continue to fight my sinful nature and admit my mistakes. I will work to serve you and set the example for those that do not know you. I love you and praise your mercy and grace. amen!

It's real!

Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. (1 Corinthians 13:7 GW)

I just got back from traveling again. My lovely wife mentioned I have been away from her more this year than ever before in our marriage. I took a motorcycle trip around the Great Lakes by myself. I had a trip to Palm Springs by myself and now this trip to Orlando. I don't like being away. Stephanie is very understanding and patient. As a matter of fact she has always been there for me, always believing in me, always hoping the best for me, and never giving up on me. She does exactly what God wants us to do for each other. Her love is REAL!

This very famous verse from the love chapter is not just a description of God's love, it's the   standard for our relationships also. It's great for marriages, but it's also for all our relationships at work, school, and at home. It's also the most important missing link in most relationships and its absence is a great barrier to the lost. For that reason, as a Christian, I need to fullfill these needs with those that don't know Jesus. Can you imagine what would happen if we did this with EVERYONE we meet? The world is missing this abundantly positive attitude toward others. We must modify our lives to live this verse. We can't serve God without truly loving others. This is the definition of that love.

Lord, thank you for being patient, believing in me, providing hope in my life, and never giving up on me. I am humbled by your amazing love. I am blessed with an amazing wife and seeing real love through her. Please help me focus on sharing your perfect love with the ones who are close to me and the lost. I praise you and love you! Amen!

(The thoughts are my own, but they were inspired by Daily Hope with Rick Warren, "Love others the way God loves you", January 23, 2015)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mountain views disappear

For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you. (Isaiah 54:10 NLT)

I love flying. I'm heading back home tomorrow after spending the week at a conference in Orlando. So we jump on a flight to Chicago, then to Fort Wayne. I always think it's fascinating how everything looks so flat from the air, you still get a sense of some "bumps" but it looks like the mountains and hills disappear. Obviously that's not true. From the ground the mountains and hills seem so solid and permanent. Gods love is even more solid.

Regardless what we think of ourselves or what others think of us, The way God thinks about us never changes. His love endures forever. I can't change it regardless how stupid I am. So, why am I so hard on myself? Why do I spend so much time blogging or thinking how bad I am. If God says I'm alright, then why do I choose to argue with him. I guess part of the reason is how amazing his grace really is. I'm awed that he can love me eveninmy worst times. So when I talk aBout my weaknesses and the sin in my life it's because I know what a sacrifice has been made for me. Another reason I talk about those sins and failures. I don't want people to feel I'm perfect. Most people that know me know that's not true. But, the people that only know me a little might think because I am a follower of Christ, I think I'm perfect. That also is along way from the truth. I want to be real and genuine. But, when it comes to the end of the road, I know I am forgiven and completely loved by the creator of the universe. It has never been anything less than complete love. 

Lord, thank you for your wonderful, unwavering love. I need to take your lead and love myself AND others the same way. You are my rock and my redeemer. I praise you for giving me a life full of love and blessings. I know you don't love me because of anything, you just love me! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Water under the bridge!

Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins— even those you do in secret. Then you won't be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless. Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, and your darkest night will be brighter than noon. You will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry. (Job 11:13-18 CEV)

I have heard this saying hundreds of times, "That's water under the Bridge!" I hear it often when some one is trying to tell me to forget something. I never knew it was biblical. It's hard for me to forget about my faults and failures. Sometimes I have a dificult time forgiving and forgetting. I struggle forgiving myself and others. Being a Christian puts you under a microscope with others but also yourself. Because I know the power of God, I also know he knows everything about me. He knows my deepest and darkest sins. There is shame for that weakness. But this is verse states it all. I need to surrender it ALL to God. 

When I surrender to my Heavenly Father, I slept easier at night. I walk through my day with confidence and more importantly it allows me time to focus on the job at hand. If My mind is occupied with my failures and shortcomings, I can not focus on the things that really matter. Surrender!

Lord I know my sins. I praise you for removing them and giving me confidence in my weakness. You have granted this amazing gift through your son, Jesus. Thank you Lord for washing my sins away in that water that flows under the bridge. I praise you for the peace, joy, and hope you provide in the midst of the pain! Amen!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mood Rings

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

Do you remember "mood rings"? It was a regular ring that indicated your mood by changing the color of the stone. They were fun and pretty quirky. It would really be great if mood rings did what they proclaimed. How valuable would it be to know, before you said something stupid, what mood your wife was in when you walked in the door? People would know when it was best to leave me alone. Yep, I certainly can be moody. I think all of us can to some degree.

The key to maintain an even mood is to have the same mindset as Jesus. Even when confronted by his enemy Jesus never got rattled. He never got moody because of he circumstances of the day. Contrary to my actions, Jesus did not have issues with being grumpy or irritable. The more and more I draw closer to  Jesus the less I display moodiness. But I need to do better. I need to tie my daily attitude to thoughts from above. The more I dwell on the things of Jesus, scripture, prayer, worship, and service, the les chance I have to dwell on those things that sour my outward thoughts. Hanging out with people that have a negative spirit can also destroy a mood pretty quickly. What I watch on tv, what I read, and social media, all impact my steadiness. I have to remove these things in order to be in the right frame of mind.

Lord, I can't change on my own. I need the wonderful support of your heavenly spirit. Guide me in your ways. Guide me in the path that I should take. I want to be your shining light. I want to be the type of person that leads others to Christ with my actions and the ie I lead. Help me Lord, serve you. Amen!


Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2 NIV)

Do ..... Or ....... Do Not, there is no try! This famous line from Star Wars Yoda is so very true for many areas of our lives. Once we turn our life to Christ we are done with sin. I know, I've said it, "I'm trying!" But we either do it or we don't. It is in our minds. Our thoughts control wether we live earthly lives or Godly lives. I have to admit my thoughts often get the best of me. The battle rages inside me. Rick Warren gave some great advice for controlling your thoughts. He said we need to:

1. Explore why I feel the way I do? - if I just look at why I'm angry, frustrated, or "hateful" it becomes easier to control those thoughts, keeping the good and discarding the bad.

2. Are my thoughts true? Deciding wether my thoughts are true or not can go along way to eliminating those that are not true. If my thoughts and feelings are legitimate, a plan can be developed to deal with them or discard them.

3. Are these thoughts helping or hurting me or someone else? This is key for me. Many of my thoughts end up coming out my mouth and that's not always a good thing. I need to think before I speak and trying to decide if my thoughts are helpful or hurtful is a good filter before they end up being heard by my family, friends, and coworkers.

When we starting battling earthly thoughts, human desires, we need to step back and analyze those thoughts. If those thoughts are not true, noble, kind, or uplifting, we need to change those thoughts.

I need to be closer to God in 2015. My thoughts are the key. Lord help me to think about my thoughts and how they further the kingdom of God. I need to do more than try. I need to DO. As I reflect, help me to destroy the earthly thoughts and expand on those pleasing to You!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I respectfully disagree!

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:8-10 NIV)

First I need to say I love my church. I love my pastor and feel my church is truly doing the work of the Lord. I also don't want to discount the need for people to serve specifically in the church. All churches rely on volunteers who love the Lord to offer services every week. You need teachers, greeters, choir members, and various other positions must be filled in order to "produce" a Sunday morning worship. 

Today the sermon was about service. God certainly calls us to serve as you can see from these verses. But, my pastor tied this verse specifically with serving the church. 

I respectfully disagree. 

I believe not all of us are called to serve AT the church in Sunday Morning worship and I don't think these verses call us to do that. For the past 6 years, Stephanie and I have been serving in the Christian Motorcyclist Association. It is our calling. It is our ministry. Before that we served at church in the choir. Before that we have served as youth leaders, adult Sunday school leaders, and children Sunday school teacher. We also felt called to fill those service positions at the time. But, now I am called to serve bikers, outside the walls of the church. This calling takes us away from the church we love. It keeps us from committing to service at Church on Sunday morning every week, but my service to these lost men and women rivals any service I could perform at church on Sunday morning. 

God calls us to serve. He calls each of us to unique ministry. Some will serve in a congregation. Some will serve outside the walls of the church. The most important thing is to serve where the spirit leads. It is important to listen to the spirit and use the gifts and passions God has given. I agree 100% with our opening video today at church. Most christians sit on the sidelines as a spectator in the kingdom. We are called to action, to serve, and not passively serve our mighty God. Speak to Jesus. Search your heart. Find your passion and serve the Lord.

I am thankful for the people that do serve the Lord at our church. We are truly blessed with a great community of believers. Praise God as his mighty hand guides our ministry.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Which church is best?

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NIV)

I had such a great time last night with my CMA family. We had a Pizza Party/game night to help us occupy our lives while we await the spring thaw. It is so amazing to me how each of our chapter members are so different. I praise God that he has blessed us all in very unique ways. Our job, our families, our churches, are all different. Yet, we are one when it comes to our love of Jesus.

Churches are the same way. I have learned not to be critical of churches. I know God puts churches in different places because people are in different places. A church that preaches more of "the loving of God" vs "a rathful God" is MEANT to preach that message. A church that is "entertaining" is MEANT to entertain. We are so quick to judge a church that doesn't worship like we do, or doesn't preach the same way. God is working through all situations. He is working through all denominations. He is working on our hearts with all types of pastors, churches, and sermons. Yes, he wants the truth being taught. Yes, the messages better be biblical. I've never been to a church that hasn't taught from the bible. He uses contemporary worship and traditional worship, great worship music and no music. I have "church shopped". I was a Methodist for years. I dedicated my life to Jesus as a Methodist. Yet, now my faith has taken me to a church which has a slightly different view than the modern Methodist church. I don't agree with much the Methodist Church stands for. It doesn't mean I hate them. Every Christian church has a place in the kingdom and development of our faith. I am thankful for my Christian heritage, the churches, and the pastors that helped my faith grow.

We / I need to find a church that meets our/my needs. God will put us in the right spot so we may flourish. Praise the Lord he has all this "stuff" figured out. He wants us to be with him, he doesn't care how that is done. Praise God! Praise God!

Penny for your thoughts

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. (Romans 8:6-8 NLT)

  My CMA (Christian Motorcyclist Association) chapter h a monthly bible study that I thoroughly enjoy. I made a coment about controlling your thoughts and everyone laughed it off as impossible. I agree it is very difficult but we MUST get it done. These verses give the consequences of not controlling your thoughts. We can not let sin control our thoughts. Sure others don't know our thoughts, but God does. So how do we control our sinus thoughts. Here are some of my "thoughts":

Control who you hang out with - spending time with Christian friends, serving Christ, having clean fun can help control your thoughts. That doesn't mean you can't serve the lost, but you have to pray your way through those encounters. Entering into a mission field, even here in your own community, can not be done lightly. God has to be in the center of it. 

Control what you watch - television, Internet, social media, and other media help shape your thoughts. I really am working on this. unfriendliness those that do not post positive thoughts, blocking inappropriate spam, and keeping pure the things you let your eyes see.

Filling your mind with the Holy Spirit - once you get rid of some of the bad input, you need to fill it with thing of God. I'm increasing my time in the bible, reading more books that are of God, serving others, and praying, communicating with God.

Dear Lord please help me control the through to of my mind. I want them to be your thoughts. I want them to be pleasing to you and not controlled by the sinful spirit. Help me do the things that I can do to eliminate those thoughts. I praise you for your love, grace, mercy, and patience.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Read it! live it!

“‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:29-30 NIV)

Is it possible to read these verses without power, excitement and emotion. I can't. I've been trying. 
You try it. Try reading it without emotion or feeling. 

It may sound strange, but when I read these verses I instantly get a picture of Charlton Heston in my mind. He is playing Moses in the Ten Commandments and challenging Pharoah. The power of the gospel comes through its strong words. But it means nothing, it loses its power, if I don't live it.

I wonder what would happen if I lived that way. (Not like Charlton Heston) what would happen if I really gave everything I have to Jesus? What happens if I really turn my mind, my heart, and soul to the creator of all things. For me, that's my goal in 2015. I want to live closer to God than I ever have. I need to care more about people. I can't reject others and love Jesus more. My thoughts need to be more focused on Jesus, not just in the morning or evening devotions, but throughout my entire day. I need to be in contact with God, praying throughout the day. I need to take my bible studies out of this blog and apply it when I deal with people I'm in conflict with, people I just don't like, and people who hate me. 

Dear Lord, I need your help reaching my goals for 2015. I want o be closer to you. I know we love each other and have for years. I want our relationship to go deeper. Help me do that with the same power and strength for these verses. You are my God, I want to show you that I do love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)

The number one problem on our planet is selfishness. It shows up in all parts of our lives. Politicians are more worried about getting re-elected than serving the needs of their constituents. Business leaders are more interested in the bottom line than their employees. Churches are more worried about their survival and filling more seats than preaching the truth. It is against culture to put others ahead of yourself. But that is exactly what we need to do. That is exactly what I must do. 

How much of your life is focused on others and how much is focused on yourself? How much of a Servant are you? In order to draw closer to my creator, I have to act like him. I need to share his priorities and I need to model his focus. Jesus was focused on others. He never put himself first. He was the ultimate servant and I need to model that to my students, colleagues, family, and friends. I have said it so many times, in this blog, "It's not about me but about bringing Jesus into the lives of other people through my life."

The best place to start thinking of others first is in my prayer life. To draw closer to God, I need to pray more about others and less about myself. It's not easy, but o have noticed when I am really more focused, closer to God, my prayers become less selfish. May that be my life in 2015 and beyond.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Most prized possession?

Some merciless people are trying to trap me, but I never turn my back on your teachings. They will always be my most prized possession and my source of joy. I have made up my mind to obey your laws forever, no matter what. (Psalms 119:110-112 CEV)

I'm sure you can guess what my most prized possession is. It definitely is my motorcycle, until I read these beautiful verses out of the Contemporary English Version of the Bible. I've never thought of the teachings of Jesus as being a possession. But, I get it. They are definitely prized. They are the joy of my life. In my prayer time last night it just struck me, as it often does, how wonderfully blessed I am. I'm not talking about "thanks God for the motorcycle blessed", I'm talking about blessed that I have found favor in Gods eyes. It just seems like even when things are going bad, I always feel blessed. Even when things seem there darkest, I clearly see hope. Yes, the things of this life are also with me, but my joy goes way beyond stuff. I have a peace, joy, and hope that I just don't deserve. That's being blessed.

It is easy to think this life I have is all because of ME. I know it's not. I have done nothing without the power of Jesus Christ. Pride could well up inside me, but because I do know my sinful nature and that battle going on inside my mind. It is obvious to me who deserve the credit. It may not be that clear to those I see every day. That's why I need to share Christ. I don't want to take credit for my wonderful life when the creator of the universe deserves the credit. 

Thank you Lord for your great love. It's all about you!


But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4 NLT)

I love fast food. McDonald's, Arby's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, you name it, I love it. I know all you healthy eaters are cringing. Fast food is my second love compared to a good old fashioned sandwich made on fresh bread. Give me peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a bologna, potato chip, and mayo sandwich on fresh bread and I am a happy man. I don't think these sandwiches are in more healthy than the fast food but I love them even more. I don't think I could make a diet on bread. As a matter of fact I found out that a "bread and water" diet is very unhealthy. Eating just bread can cause all sorts of health issues including hormone issues, infections, and immunity problems.

As a modern Christian we emphasize "going to church" or even serving Jesus. These are important and I don't want to minimize them. But, we can not just live on these acts. We also need to be deeply into the word of God. It is easier to do than you think. We now have the bible available wherever we go without having to carry around a book. Our smart phones make it available 24/7. You really have no excuse not to study the word of God every day. It takes only a few minutes. But' it does take some dedication and commitment. We need to draw closer to God. We can't do that without digging deep into his word. 

Thank you Lord for your word. I need to live my lie with your words in the center of everything we do. Keep my heart open to all the things you say to us through scripture. Thank you for your love and patience as we draw closer to you.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Thinking about thinking!

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6 NLT)

          What do you fill your mind with? How often would God be happy about your thoughts? How often are your thoughts of God?

          Sadly my answers aren't that great. My thoughts often prove how much a sinner I really am. But, my goal for the year is to draw closer to God and that starts with my thoughts. Rick Warren said "God is more concerned with your thoughts than your circumstances". I really thought that was a rather interesting comment. The more I pondered it the more sense it made. It just shows how far I still need to go in my Christian walk because I think more of my circumstances than my thoughts. Just look at my prayers to confirm that. But, I think that can be another part of my goal for 2015 -- I want to work on my thought life more than my life circumstances. I need to pray more about God helping me align my thoughts to his. I need to change my thoughts about others. I need to change my thoughts about myself. If I fill my mind with sinful thoughts, I will sin. If I fill my mind with the Holy Spirit, I will live a live that leads to peace. 

Dear Lord, 
          You know my thoughts. You know the battle inside of me, in my mind, that leads me to choose sin over you. I pray Lord that you will direct my thoughts to you. I pray you will clear my mind of thoughts that are not pleasing to you so that I have more room for thoughts which make you smile! Thank you Lord for your patience. Thank you Lord for your involvement in my life. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bad examples!

I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. (Psalm 18:1-6 NIV)

A big issue in schools the last several years is "Bullying". Parents, teachers, administrators, legislators, and clergy have all identified this as a huge problem. It's serious. Young people have been losing their lives because of relentless verbal and sometimes physical abuse from other students. It's disgusting and everyone has a plan. But, I think we are missing one key factor contributing to teenage bullying. I never hear this as a source of this undefendable character flaw. 

Adults are teaching young people how to bully. 

The same parents, teachers, administrators, legislators, and clergy that are outraged at the way young people treat each other, do the same thing to other adults. Sure they do it in the name of politics, religion, or values, but they literally bully anyone who disagrees with them. We just aren't nice to each other. As I heard Rick Warren say, we have lost all civility. He said "Little people belittle people." How true, how true, how true! So many people thrive on intimidation and threats. Social media and emails are the primary tools. It's so easy to be mean to someone when you don't have to look them in the eyes. It's cowardice to hide behind social media or emails. I have been a victim and I am sure many of you have as well.

Don't we realize the kids of this generation are learning from their adult mentors. We can't stand people who are different than us, disagree with us, live different than us, or worship different than us. I do NOT exempt Christians from this group. Many times we are the least loving and tolerant people on the planet. We justify it by the same message we should be using to denounce it. We can tolerate with out endorsing. We can love the sinner without loving the sin. Instead we attack, abuse, and belittle. It's not going to win people to the kingdom.

Dear Lord, we/I must change. I need to be more loving and accepting of all people. I need to love more and more, especially with this in opposition of you Lord. Slapping then in the face isn't going to bring them to your throne. Embracing them with humility and love with a blind eye and accepting heart will open doors that will lead to salvation. Stop Bullying! Stop it now!

Rest, repentance, peace, and faith!

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:15 NIV)

It's 12 midnight and I'm still up. I finished my school work and then completed my bible study. I'm listening to two different studies this month. I'm studying Rick Warrens Transformed series on his daily hope broadcast at night and I am going through Chip Ingrams "From Good to Great in Gods eyes" study in the mornings. I've made the commitment, I'm enjoying the thoughtful study of Gods word, and it is refreshing. But I need rest. However, school has been cancelled tomorrow from the bitter cold temps, so I can stay up a while longer. 

I bring that up because of my verse for the day. Isn't it amazing that God put so much emphasis on rest? It's even in the Ten Commandments. God wants us to rest. He wants us to repent, rest, experience some peace in our day, and trust in him. If we combine those, we will thrive, not just survive life. The stresses and strains may be caused by lack of rest, refusal to repent, a busy schedule and lack of faith that God has it under control. We have no need to fear. We have a savior who loves us dearly. Even when we ignore the rest we need, the peace, openess with God, and faith, we will not be abandoned. Praise God!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Making people mad,

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (Psalm 23:5 NIV)

Have you ever made anyone mad at you? I know that's a dumb question. Of course, we have all done things to upset others. I am no exception. I don't wake up in the morning trying to offend someone, but it happens. I don't mean to do it. I always look back and try to figure out how I could change it. I take responsibility for those times it happens. But, it is a two way street. I have found that some people just tick me off easier than others. I wouldn't go so far as calling them enemies, but there are people that rub me the wrong way. I am sure that has something to do with me making someone else mad. Some people just don't like me. That hurts but I can't dwell on it.

I am not perfect. I am so glad I have a savior that doesn't hold grudges, that doesn't look for chances to catch me doing something wrong. I am thankful my Lord knows my heart and knows my motivations. He knows how I am truly trying to do the best things in terms of my family, my job, my ministry, and all other areas of my life. He knows my love for people and how I hurt when I offend someone. Thank you Lord. I love you and know I can  always turn to you to help me build positive relationships with those that don't like me. I will continue to show love to my "enemy".

Monday, January 5, 2015

Worrying is disease

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8:31-39 MSG)

That's powerful stuff!

I'm a worrier. 

I have passed it down to my kids and their kids are doomed! As I've grown older, I don't worry as much and you could even say, I have been cured from chronic worry. It has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with my loving God. These verses say it better than I could ever say it.

God has shown me time and time again that he loves us, would do anything for us, and  protect us from the worst enemy. We have no reason to worry. Praise God that he can heal us from our deepest sicknesses, even the ones in our minds and our hearts. Worry is a sickness just like any other disease. It can eat away at us and eventually affect our families, friends, coworkers, and ministry partners. If we let it, it will devour us just like a cancer or a severe infection. The only healer is Jesus and turning over our cares to his loving mercy and grace. I wish I had known this 30 years ago. I would have probably added more hairs to my head and years to my life!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Great hopes and dreams!

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you”; (Matthew 9:29 NIV)

Is setting a goal the same as a New Years resolution? They sure sound the same but I'm going to say they are different, at least in my context. I have been reading the Daily Hope Devotionals. Today's was titled Goals Stretch Your Faith BY RICK WARREN — JANUARY 4, 2015. He cited this verse, Matthew 9:29.

A few days ago I ridiculed New Years resolutions. I'm not back tracking, but I view New Years resolutions as frivolous because we never keep them. There not from deep inside. They're just surfacy. Goals are much more thought out. They come from deep inside our hearts and minds. Goals should be a part of everyone's life especially the Christian. 

The question is "How big are your goals?" Rick Warren says, more or less, they are an indication of your faith. Small goals yield little, medium goals yield some, but large goals yield large, wonderful results. Am I minimizing my God by setting puny goals? Am I lacking faith when I don't publicly proclaim those goals? Yikes, when was the last time I let anyone in on my private goals? Is it because I doubt myself or the power of God to fulfill them?

I am just about 7 years away from retiring. I love educating youth and I'm not one of those teachers that drag everyone down their last years before retirement. I love to go to school every day. But, I do have dreams, goals for when I retire. I'm not going to sit around and just do nothing. I'll share with you my dreams. I want to be in full time ministry when I retire. I don't mean being a preacher in a church, but I want to travel and  preach the gospel along the way. I really don't know how YET. But, I am dreaming big. It could be as a national evangelist for CMA, it could be in the mission field overseas, it could be traveling around this country serving churches or other groups. But, I have felt the stirring for the past 6 years. I love traveling and I love sharing with people. It's my goal and I serve a God that can make it happen!

Ok, now you know my hopes and dreams! I haven't told many people, now let's see what God does with that! What are your dreams? What are your goals? Do they prove you worship a great and powerful God, or a small and weak one? 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Serving him IS the prize!

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV)

I am addicted to planning. Not just any planning, I love to plan vacation and now is the peak of my addiction season. After Christmas my mind always turns to summer and, of course, riding my motorcycle. So, while I'm stuck inside in the harsh Indiana winter, I dream of summer and where my lovely wife and I will travel. I need the knowledge of the final destination to lead me on, but it's the focus on the details that gets me through the winter. It takes 6 months to plan a 3 week trip. Once we leave, it is glorious to see the plan come together. The actual destination is only 10% of the vacation. 90% is the planning and the adventure reaching that destination. The stories of our trips, how God has been with us, could fill endless posts in this blog. To see his hand in the people we meet and the places we have gone are awe inspiring. So, for the next 6 months, I will be planning and the anticipation will grow, even in subzero temperatures, fierce winds, and a foot of snow!

My life as a Christian is very similar. I am so blessed to have a wonderful savior. I could literally sit around, do nothing, and receive a fantastic heavenly reward. My salvation has been won. The war is over. I know who wins and I am on the victorious team. So why should I care about the lost? Why should I worry about anyone else but me? 

Don't you get it? There is a great adventure ahead of us as we serve here in this life. It's not just the ETERNAL destination that matters. It's the trip getting there that makes life so wonderful. I think that's what Paul was trying to tell us. It's not the prize that matters, it's the race to that prize that has real value. Yes, sometimes it's a strain. Sometimes it's an all out war to even lift your head off the pillow in the morning. That, too, is a part of the grand adventure. That's when we forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. We press on toward our goals.

What are your life goals? What "carrots" have you placed in front of you to make it through the "harsh winters of your life"? You may never reach your goal, but you must have a goal just the same. Don't just wander through life looking for the end. Seek God, that's my goal. I don't want more things, I don't want an easier life. I just long to be close to God. I want to be so close, I can touch the hem of his robe. I want to be so close, he trips over me like a pesky toddler. I want to be so close, people see God through me. I may never get as close as I want, but I will powerfully race toward the prize. Like Paul, I don't claim to be "there" yet. But I will race toward that goal because Their is no greater prize than serving him. Really, serving him IS the prize!

Friday, January 2, 2015

How close do you want to be!

O“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD ’s Decree. “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”— GOD ’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it. (Jeremiah 29:12-14 MSG)

I love this paraphrase and it's wonderful truth. I also love this phrase I heard from Rick Warren: 

You are only as close to God as you choose to be.

How hard am I seeking God? Am I really serious? Do I want it more than anything else in my life? More than wealth, motorcycles, things, success, power? You fill in the blank with your personal weakness. But the good news, God is just waiting for us to get serious. He's waiting and ready to turn things around for me. Turn things around? If you have read this blog you know I am thrilled with my life, how can he make it any better? I am blessed in ways I could never imagined yes, I have plenty of things, but I also am blessed with a great family, wonderful friends, and a peace in my life that can only be from God. Why should I seek him more? It may seem impossible to my feeble mind, but if I don't pursue God with ALL my heart, I will be missing out on the best that God has in store for me. Sure I might have it pretty good. It can always get better. He promises I won't be dissappointed. Shouldn't I want that absolute best? Then I should not hold back. I need to, literally, attack God, pursue him with all my heart. If I do that with all effort and seriousness, I can count on amazing things happening. 

Dear Lord, fuel my heart for things of you. I know you want the absolute best for me. You want to lavish me with gifts through eternity. Yet, I hold back. Please forgive me. I truly love you and desire your perfect will I my life. I want to be closer to you every day of my life. May I be a true servant in relentless pursuit of your kingdom. Amen!

Don't make a New Years resolution

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Don't make a New Years resolution. The entire world, it seems, take the next few days to make new commitments for the year. In just a few short weeks, they will be forgotten. My second grade granddaughter gets it. When asked if she was going to set a goal or make a resolution, she said "I think I'll just surprise myself!" I love it. We will not be transformed by these commitments. We will do it all over again next year. We will laugh off our inability to follow through, and repeat this process forever. Let's break the cycle. If you want to start brand new, if you really want to change your life, right now, renew your mind!

I started a new 6 week bible study with Rick Warren. Transform. The first verse is Romans 12:2.

In order to change our lives we need to reach the point we recognize the need for the change. It has to drive us to change. If you don't really feel the need to lose weight, you won't. Losing weight is hard. It take commitment. It takes a strong mental toughness. If you want to grow closer to God in 2015, it takes a renewing of your mind. You need to WANT the change. You can't get past the tough first three weeks without a real desire to renew. You have to see the patterns of your life as needing change. Once you get to that real desire, then and only then can you make the first steps to lasting renewal.

So what are you resolving to do in 2015. For me, I want to strengthen my closeness with God. I want to respond to more of the calling of the Holy Spirit. I don't want to just blog, or talk about God. I want to act. In order to do this I need to renew and step up my commitment to prayer, study, and worship. I can't change my commitment without changing my mind. I need to feed my mind more things of God and fewer things of this world. I need to replace my time surfing the Internet with searching for God.  I need to spend less time watching tv and spending more time studying his word. Your, our, first resolution for 2015 should be the renewing of our mind, filling it with the things of God. All else is meaningless.

Don't make a New Years resolution that ignores God. Put him in the enter of all your commitments and you will truly be transformed physically, mentally,and spiritually. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. (Psalm 17:15 NIV)

Happy New Year! I reposted something on facebook yesterday that said something like "tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book,write a good one" That is my plan for 2015. 

I know that darkness is everywhere. Just look at our headlines, racial tensions, war, famine, disease, it's all there waiting at the door step. But, I don't live in fear. I have the hope of Jesus Christ. I know that no matter what ills await me in the new year, Jesus is there for me and the ultimate victory has already been won. I woke up this morning seeing the face of my savior. He will be with me as I start this new year in ministry. We ride on our first motorcycle ride of the new year. Yep, it's 10 degrees and I'm riding to breakfast with my CMA family then we are on our way to the POLAR BEAR ride. It is perfectly fitting that I start this new year serving the Lord. My hope is to do this for all 365 pages. My hope is in him!

Dear Lord Jesus, even though life will not be perfect in this new year, I can rest assured that you are perfect and will be with me always. Bless this year for your glory and not my own. Protect me and send me where you would have me serve. Praise God for his wonderful victory!