Monday, June 26, 2017

I will never understand

Colossians 3:17The Message (MSG)

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

I will never understand. It frustrates me. Don't get me wrong. I truly love the Lord with every fiber of my being. I am humbled that he loves me and know I am only who I am by his grace and mercy. BUT, I still don't get it.

Why does calamity have to happen in my life? Why do obstacles need to be placed in my path?  Why am I opposed like I am some villain? Why do trials occur with seemingly no purpose?  My life has been stressful over the past month. I have written about it continuously. If I understood, would it make a difference in my attitude? I like to think so. But, God has chosen NOT to reveal his plan to me. I DO know why?  He wants me to trust him. I say I do trust him. Do my actions back up my words?  I have to say, truthfully, NO!  

Dear Lord, Forgive me for my weak faith. Forgive me for doubting you are in control even through the fiercest storm. I am exposed. My tenuous faith is out there. Forgive me Lord. I love you. I trust you. Your plan is perfect and I will praise you through every step of my day. I love you. Every detail of my life -- my words, my actions, and every waking moment are yours. I praise you in this present storm because I know the peace that passes all understanding is a gift you want me to accept. Amen!

Friday, June 23, 2017

I'm tired, worn out!

Matthew 11:28-30The Message (MSG)

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

This past month has been a whirlwind. I have been beaten-up at work. I have been beaten up outside of work. I have been struggling. In my Chuck Swindoll daily devotional today he shared these verses. He mentioned about a system of measuring stress. In this method a person can not handle more than 200 points of stress. I think I am at 250. BUT, HELP IS ON THE WAY!

Today is the last day of Summer School. Tomorrow we leave on a month adventure out west. We are traveling to Medora, ND to see our grandson Klayton perform in the Medora Musical. Then we head to Beartooth Pass, MT; Olympia National Park, Mount Ranier, Mount St. Helens in Washington, Crater Lake, Oregon; and Redwood National Park in Northern California. We are more than ready to head out to enjoy campfires, epic motorcycle rides, time together, and time reconnecting with the creator of the universe. 

This trip is pure selfishness. But I think God understands. Yes, it is about me and my wife. If I am to be effective in ministry, at school, and at home, I need time away. I do not apologize, I rejoice. I am blessed that God has given me this opportunity. I know so many people do not even have the option of getting away. 

We all need time away. I am getting away with Jesus. 

Dear Lord, I love you and am humbled that you have given me the resources to get away, to relax, to enjoy your presence without all the distractions that life can send. I pray for rest and peace. I pray for a new spirit to fill me. I pray for time to reflect on my life and the goals set before me. Thank you Lord! 

Thursday, June 22, 2017


1 Peter 4:7-11New Living Translation (NLT)

The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

What is deep love? In our world today I think we have lost sight of what real love is. The deep kind of love we NEED to share is sacrificial. Shallow love is selfish love. Love is not about what we can get from it. Real, DEEP  Love is about serving someone else. Real, DEEP Love is about giving up your wants and needs so you can address the wants and needs of someone else. Real, DEEP Love is the love of Jesus Christ. 
God has granted us gifts, not for our own satisfaction, but for serving others out of love. The truth of the matter is, we DO get satisfaction and pure joy when we are deeply loving someone else. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and spirit means you sacrifice all to serve the Lord. Love is amazing when we do it right. I praise God I have the example of Jesus Christ to know what REAL LOVE is. I praise that he REALLY, DEEPLY, Loves me. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Romans 15:1-7New Living Translation (NLT)

15 We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”[a] Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

What do you live for?  Who do you live for? 
 I read a leadership book a few weeks ago called "Leading for God's Sake". What a wonderful book (Thanks for the gift Phil & Marlene Bontrager!) It claims leaders must focus on their purpose and the actions that back up that purpose. My purpose as a teacher is to serve my students. It's not to please an administrator. It is not to please my fellow staff members. It is not to satisfy the school board. Don't get me wrong. I honor my leaders, my fellow teachers, and the group of men and women tasked with setting policy for our school corporation. As a matter of fact, when I serve my students I DO serve those groups of people. When I lose focus I let down my school corporation who hired me to serve the students.

I need to make sure my actions back up my purpose. I hear so many teachers say they are putting the students first. It almost becomes cliche. They say they put students first but selfishness creeps in to every decision. Selfishness can destroy your purpose. It can get in the way of serving others. As a teacher, one of the best ways to make sure you are focused on your purpose is to ask the ones you serve. Student Voice is so important and most often neglected by teachers. What do students want? What do they need to meet THEIR goals?  My duty as a teacher is to serve my students, period.

Prayer is our VOICE with the Creator of the Universe. Isn't that amazing? WE have a voice and we have an open channel to the God of Abraham. I have seen the power of God through my conversations with him. He has set ME as priority in his life. He has chosen me and I will serve him with all the my energy. God cares so much about us that he sent his son to serve us and ultimately died for us. He could have been selfish. I'm glad he wasn't. Praise God for his love. Praise God for the opportunity to serve him and the students I teach every day. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Call me Rhoadzie!

Luke 10:20New Living Translation (NLT)

20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

My name is Steven Lawrence Rhoades. My dad used to tell me we were related to the "Rhoades Raiders from Russia". That conversation came about when my Grandfather claimed his family "Lewis" were descendants of Merriwether Lewis from the Lewis and Clark expedition. I later found out the famous explorer never married and was an only child. Names are so important. They say a lot about who you are and are forever connected to your character and the way you live.

Most of my close friends call me  "Rhoadzie".

My nickname is a family name that has been passed down from generation to generation. This might be the name I cherish the most because it is a FAMILY name. When I was in middle school one of my friends called me "Highways". Fortunately it never stuck. My sisters dressed me up in girls clothes (when I was REALLY young) and called me Stephanie. I hated that name. I swore I would never marry or even date someone with the name. I changed my mind. (I Love you Stephanie Rhoades!) My middle name is Lawrence. I love that name because it also was passed down to me from my Grandfather on my Mom's side. I know people that hate their own name. I love mine and cherish it and the ties it has to my past and what they have represented. 

The most important name in my life is Jesus. I am not afraid to proclaim his name above all others. Although people try to trash this name,it has survived the test of time and the attacks from the vilest of sinners. I am proud to claim this name above all others and will do everything I can to live a life worthy of being a follower. Praise God for the life of his son Jesus and the death he suffered for me on that cross. PRAISE THE NAME OF JESUS!

Monday, June 19, 2017

What's in a name?

“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

What do you do to prepare your mind for action? The obvious answer is studying the word of God, prayer, and worship. Yes, these disciplines are so valuable in keeping our minds focused on the mission assigned by our Lord. There are other things we need to do to prepare our minds for action. In my daily devoitional today from "Insight for Living",  Chuck Swindol, talks about remembering people's names. I was convicted. I need to put effort in to remembering the names of people I meet.

There is nothing more valuable in building a relationship than to call someone by name. I have been approached by former students in Walmart and I have learned to avoid calling them by name. I just can't remember them. I am always impressed when people come up to me and remember me by name. I have to put more effort into that. I blame it on lack of memory, but it is probably more about effort. It's about focusing on the people you interact with. It is about caring to put them at the center of the conversation and avoiding distraction. It's about getting to know someone beyond pleasantries and connecting with them and the lives they lead.

I am glad God knows me by name. He knows everything about me. Even if I reject him and forget to call on him for years, he never forgets who I am. I praise him for his love!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Living like there's nothing but bad news!

“Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

We are all sinners saved by the grace of the Lord. Sometimes we forget that. Sometimes we get caught up in the craziness of the world and lose sight of our salvation. We know the good news but we live like there's nothing but bad news. If we believe there really is no good news, maybe we never really believed in the grace of God in the first place. Are we confident in his Amazing Grace or is it just some words to an old hymn? Do we believe Jesus is the answer to life's turmoil or his he just a historical religious figure?

Turmoil surrounds our lives, all parts of our lives. I have a couple of dear friends faced with that in their own church. Yes, even Christian fellowship can be tumultuous.  We need to focus on one simple but glorious mission, bring others to a relationship with Jesus Christ. Satan wants nothing more than for us to forget about that purpose. We can't get distracted by, the sin around us.  We can't get distracted by the lies, deceit, selfishness, anger, and hate We see every day. It shows up in our families, our coworkers, our friends, and yes, in our churches. 

Lord Jesus, Open my eyes to your light. Open my heart and keep me focused on my real purpose. I need your hedge of protection from the evil that surrounds us and even lies in the midst of our daily lives. It is only by your grace and mercy that I have been saved. I praise you Lord. I praise you within the midst of a chaotic and sinful world. I need your eyes to remain focused on my real purpose, to serve only you. Amen!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Be nice!

Hebrews 13:1-3
Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. 

Stephanie and I will be heading on vacation next week. We will certainly run across a few strangers in our travels. I love talking with strangers. When you camp it seems like everyone is more open. It's like there are no strangers. We are camping this weekend and I had a great conversation with a family as I was walking down the road. People are more friendly in a campground. I think that's the way God would like it to be everywhere. 

People just aren't nice to each other anymore. Hospitality is a lost art. We need to get back to treating each other with love and respect. We need to go out of our way to be nice to our family, friends, and strangers. We need to love them, serve them and share Christ with them. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pray for those in Authority over You!

Romans 13:1-2New Living Translation (NLT)

13 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.

I have a boss. I love and respect my Principal, my Superintendent, and my School Board. God has placed them in authority over me.  I will support them in public. I will obey their rules, their plans, and their mission. If I have a dispute, I will keep it private and never air that in a public forum. IF we have fundamental, irreconcilable differences, I will quietly accept it unless it goes against the word of God. IF that goes against my faith, I will quietly step aside.
As a Christian, I will make sure I do the same with my Christian Leaders. I will not publicly bash my pastor or other leaders and will only deal with any dispute privately. How we deal with disputes says a lot about who we are as a Christian. We need to humbly review any and all conflicts. We need to look at ourselves. Are WE a part of the problem? How did we contribute? There are always multiple sides of every issue. BUT, when a person of authority disciplines us or makes a decision, we need to accept and support that decision even when we disagree. TO reduce those conflicts, instead of bashing those in authority, we need to be in constant prayer for our leaders. We need to pray they have wisdom and insight through any and all decisions and situations. This is true for our political leaders, work leaders, leaders of our households, and Christian leaders. 

Pray for those in authority over you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Philippians 2:3-8The Message (MSG)

1-4 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
5-8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Today's "Insight for Living" devotional was awesome. It told a story about putting aside political differences to help another in need.

Here is the link.

I certainly can't commentate on these verses like the great Chuck Swindoll. He is definitely one of my favorites. But these verses, especially in the Message are so important for everyone to hear. One of the most significant barriers to the lost turning to Jesus is "Hypocrisy". Has Jesus changed us?  Can we set aside differences to help each other. Do we think to highly of ourselves? 
Our Society, me included, are so selfish. WE need to be more like Christ. We need to serve others, selflessly, and with pure love. Thank you Lord for your love even when we fail!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

BOTH the Good and the Bad

"Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10)

Let me start by saying I love my life. God is SO GOOD. My relationship with my wonderful creator is better than it has ever been. I feel his presence in so many areas of my life. My relationship with my students is so valuable to me. I love working with them. The ministry opportunities I have through CMA just keep increasing daily. I can feel the Lord guiding me and moving me along life's path. 

I feel under attack.

I truly believe the closer I draw to the Lord, the more satan targets me and my life. In the past three weeks, I have been personally attacked on several occasions. My wife feels it and so do I. I do not share this to garner some type of sympathy or action (except your prayers!). As a matter of fact, I am very much at peace who I am as a teacher and as a leader in ministry. God knows what he is doing and my faith in him is NOT wavering.

Job had it right. We must accept the Good with the Bad. The attacks will not draw me away from the Lord. They will drive me closer to him! The attacks will not keep me from the mission of serving my students. The attacks will not keep me from serving the bikers and the lost. I love the Lord and know he can do anything and everything. His plans are perfect. I may not understand why? I don't need to. Praise God he is in control of my life!

Job 42:2-6The Message (MSG)

42 1-6 Job answered God:
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
    Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
    ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
    made small talk about wonders way over my head.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Don't Seize the Day....... Forget about it!

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”  2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

Today started a new week and tomorrow a new day. I'm glad last week is behind me. I know it's Monday and Sunday really starts the beginning of the week. After a busy weekend, TODAY officially starts the week. I don't know what this week will bring. I'm not going to fret about it. One bad week doesn't guarantee another bad week. I don't know what will happen in the next month, year, decade or the rest of my life. It really doesn't matter. God is with me. I also know beyond ANY doubt, God has guaranteed that I will live forever in ETERNITY with him.  I look to that great future. I look forward to it even though I really don't  know how I'm going to get there. I don't know what lies in between today and my life in Eternity. I don't really care.

A great advantage to my faith is I no longer dwell in the present or the immediate future. I do not have to fret. I don't have to look at the troubles I see as permanent.   We get stuck dwelling on the past, worried about the moment, and dreading the future. Our Society says "Seize the Day". I say forget about it. In the grand scheme of my eternal life, today means nothing. The only real meaning I can give to today is in convincing others to join me in eternity. Nothing else matters. My stresses at work, failed relationships, or my foggy future will all fade away. My eternal place in Heaven is permanent. Why do I get so caught up in my daily life?  Why do I let the struggles get me down?  God is in charge. He has a perfect plan and he alone has our eternity in his hands. Nothing else matters and all else will fade away. PRAISE GOD for my FUTURE in ETERNITY!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

I am a Thinker!

Ephesians 5:15-17The Message (MSG)

Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

I pride myself in being a thoughtful person. I am a Thinker. I analyze stuff! But, many times in my life that I have reacted without thinking. Along with being a thinker, I am an emotional, passionate person. I wear my feelings and my emotions for ALL to see. That's not always a great character trait. Those emotions and passions can lead me to say things I later regret. They can lead me to build barriers with those I work with or those I randomly meet on the street. If I don't use my head, If I don't think before I speak or act, I am not fulfilling the plan God has set before me.
God calls us to be thoughtful people. He calls us live life "carefully". In these end times, most people live with abandon. They live in the moment, with no consideration for the past or the future. We need to prayerfully consider our daily lives. We need to prayerfully consider our words and deeds. Every moment of every day needs to be processed through the filter of our Master, Jesus Christ. You can't do that and REACT to life's situations.

Dear Lord, Forgive me for letting my feelings, my passions, and my thoughtless actions get in the way of the path you have set before me. Help me Lord. Help me to live in a thoughtful way. Help me to use the thinking skills you have given me to be careful about my interactions with others. I Love you Lord. I praise you for the grace you have given me. I want to do nothing to hurt spreading your Gospel message to others. I can't do it on my own. I need you! Amen!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What REALLY matters?

Philippians 1:9-10New Living Translation (NLT)

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.

I am here to tell you that it is often difficult to determine what REALLY matters. It's not just the world around us that gives mixed messages. As Christians, we often get tangled up with mixed priorities. We can over do it in ministry. We can neglect our families. We can absorb ourselves so much in ministry, hobbies, or work and neglect what is most important. So, how do you KNOW what to devote your time to.

Prayer, Bible Study, and worship

Connecting with God, filling your life with the Spirit of the Lord, is the only way to really set priorities. You need to listen to the promptings of the Lord. His will is revealed when you regularly study his word. The Bible is NOT just filled with stories from the past. It is alive. It is meant to be the voice of God right here, right now. Prayer is also critical to setting the correct "schedule" for your life. It's not just a way to provide a list of wants. It is a two way conversation. It's a way to develop a relationship with the creator of the universe and share your deepest thoughts. Your PRIORITIES, what really matters can be clarified through a deep relationship with the Lord. Worship the Lord, live a pure and blameless life until you join him in eternity. There will never be a question about your motives, your life plan, when you center all you do around the King!  Praise God for his power in my life!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Peace will return!

“When King David was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all the surrounding enemies, the king summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out there in a tent!” Nathan replied to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you have in mind, for the Lord is with you.”” 2 Samuel‬ ‭7:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Right now I'm not very comfortable! 

Do you know what that means?

God is up to something and usually that something deals with growth! But, I hate it. Don't get me wrong. I don't hate growth. I hate the pain associated with the growth. I love being comfortable. Comfort usually means peace in my life, just like King David. I have had more peace in my life than I deserve. That's grace! But, God doesn't let me stay at peace for long because he knows I will stagnate if I don't grow. Like the old saying, "we are either green and growing or ripe and rotting."

Nobody likes the idea of "No pain, no gain". It has been true throughout my entire life. I can look back and say the pain was worth it. I can look back and see the mighty hand of the Lord, active, and helping me through all the turmoil. He will not fail me now! 

So, I wait on the Lord. He will eventually provide peace. This season will pass. Joy will return. The Lord is still King! Praise God for his infinite wisdom, power, and strength!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The battle inside!

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.””  Joshua‬ ‭1:8-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

God is trying to tell me something!

I hope you can  sense the battle inside me right now. I feel like Luke in Star Wars. I have often felt the spiritual battle being waged inside me. Like Luke the forces of good and evil are active and trying to capture my heart and soul. My recent study has been exclusively about standing up for yourself, giving up, and now being strong and courageous. God is speaking to me through his word. I want to give up, I don't want to give up. I want to crawl into a quiet hole and then I want to fight for my life. Confusion is part of life.

I love reading the Bible. I have learned so much through studying the God inspired words. There are times when a message is very clear, other times it can be a pure mystery. One truth I have discovered, I have to be patient and let God handle things. When I am confused about an issue, it's Gods way of saying don't try to figure it out, just sit back and let God be God.

Let God be God!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Accepting Defeat! Giving in!

“Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.”  Luke‬ ‭23:46‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

It seems odd to talk about giving in when yesterday I was writing about making a stand. It's amazing the difference 24 hours can make. There are times in life where fighting is not worth it. There are times in yuor life when it is best to just give in instead of fighting. The perfect example is the crucifixion. 

Jesus could have fought his sentence. He could have denied his accusers. Instead he stood in humility, taking the accusations, not defending himself. He was beaten and took the undeserved punishment. He marched to the cross beaten, bruised, and a crown of thorns piercing his brow. On the cross, he endured the pain and then he gave up. He did it for us. He chose an odd path that no other historic leader has ever taken. 

I can relate to the idea of giving in. Our competitive society frowns upon giving in. People that choose to give in are looked as weak. Sometimes it is for the greater good that you just give in. The ultimate goal in life is not to win. I say these things but know I am a competitive person and have a difficult time admitting defeat. Today in front of all people I admit defeat. God has changed my heart that I can now admit defeat, give in, even when I know I'm right. That's what Jesus did. There is no greater example!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Plant the Flag!

“And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.””
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:8-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

Sometimes you need to plant the flag. You plant a flag and state this is it. I will defend this place or issue in your life. Do you have anything you would stake a flag for? I do. Certainly every Christian should be willing to stand up for the battle of righteousness. We should defend at all costs the devotion to Christ and faith. We should also exhaust our commitment to the orphans and homeless, the poor, widows, and the lost. As a member of an amazing family. I will defend them with an unending love. As a teacher I will defend my students to my last breath. I will take a stand for what is best for them. I will stand up for them with all the passion a furvor I can muster. I will plant my flag for my closest colleagues. I will not let them fight alone. I answer to God, not to man. The spirit of the Lord compels me to defend those that I love and causes that are just. Jesus planted the flag to save me. I must fight for him.

Out of all the things I will rigorously defend, my integrity might be the most valuable. Nothing gets me more "wound-up" than someone questioning my integrity. Without integrity, my faith in the Lord means nothing. Without integrity how can I convince others to commit to Christ. It is everything.  I will not compromise my values for anyone, for any reason. Doing what is right is the cornerstone of my life. Being open, honest, and credible is the key to my faith walk. I plant my flag here, right now, and I will defend this ground with my last breath!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A season of pruning!

““I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

Praise God in all things! I say it again, Praise God! I'm going through a pruning season. If grape vines had feelings, pruning would be painful. The results eventually cover the pain and make it all worth it. During the pruning I doubt the grapevine appreciates the pain.

Times of pruning need to occur. Pain is always a part of growth. It is important for us constantly review where we are at in our faith, in our careers, and in our relationships. Anything that stands in the way of the plans God has laid before us, needs to be pruned.

We are at the last day of school. As always, I will take the time I am blessed with to focus and evaluate. I will do this professionally, personally, and spiritually. I am thankful for my life and I want all I do to reflect my faith in Jesus. If I need to do a little, or a lot, of pruning to keep focus on Jesus I welcome it because the harvest will be worth it in the end!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Do you have hope right now or just in eternity?

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

I can truly say I've never given up hope. What I mean is my hope, my long term hope, is in Jesus. I know my salvation. I know my ultimate destination in eternity with Jesus. But, I have given up hope many times , for various reasons, in the here and now. I give up hope, even if it's only for a brief moment, on a daily basis. Have you ever pleaded for the Lord to get you through the day? When things aren't going right, does it seem like there is no end in sight? Sometimes I see a clearer path to eternity than a path through the day. My ultimate hope is secure, I am not as confident form moment to moment

I know the ultimate victory is in and through Jesus, but I wonder how much I'm going to have to suffer right now. I don't doubt God can deliver me, the question is will he deliver me? God stretches me, he molds me through stress and challenging moments. I don't want to go through this fire, but I trust in my Lord. Yet, I have to admit, I lose a small amount of hope when I am tired of life and it's trouble. 

The  key to real hope is through the JOY and the PEACE only God can provide. Last night was a perfect example. I have had trouble sleeping lately with a lot on my mind. I prayed last night for peace and the ability to sleep. The Lord answered that prayer. Praise God. As I sit here frantic about the end of the school year, or the plans for next year, or changes that are going on all around me, it is easy to get overwhelmed until you realize there is a peace I can experience only by releasing that pain, to the one on the cross. Thank You Lord! I love you and am honored with your love. Amen!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Live right

“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.”  ‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

If you've read the newspaper recently I think it's obvious we are living in the end times. Now more than ever we need people of faith to stand up for what is right. It's not easy because persecution is everywhere. Time is running out. We need to show others what it means for a sinner to live a righteous life. We are all sinners. We've all fallen short of the glory of God. That doesn't mean we continue to live a life in darkness. We need to live life as God designed it, not apologizing if we offend someone and not compromising our values to match society. When we live "right" we are rewarded with a strong armor of protection. Nothing can touch us. We can not be harmed. Eternity awaits us. 

We don't have time to waste. We need to wake up. We need to wake others up. We need to preach with a sense of urgency. We must get others to see a life without God will doom you forever. Our passion for God needs to shine through in how we liveand how we treat others. Shed our dirty clothes and put on the full armor of God. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

From Tragedy to Victory

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

Yesterday was a sad and joyous day all rolled into one. Stephanie and I traveled with our CMA SonRise Rider Chapter to central Indiana to honor one of our CMA brothers that tragically passed away in a motorcycle accident. The funeral was a great celebration. As you can guess, the family and particularly his wife are devastated. The family of Christian brothers and sisters came out in force to show our support. Even though they are in the depths of discouragement, you could see the love.

It is so easy to get discouraged through life's tragedies. It is easy to lose hope. But we have to remember that Jesus conquered death and he is victorious for all time. We are strengthened by the love of our Lord through others and we always need to know we are victorious because he was victorious. We know his promise of eternal life for our fallen friend. We know that even if we appear defeated by the standards of this world, we are never defeated. We have won the perfect victory!

Dear Lord, provide comfort and peace for the Anderson family and healing for Cindi. Make your presence known to them. Wrap them with your love. Bless them in a powerful way. We praise you for the gift of Cliff's life and the blessings he shared with others. We love you Lord and honor you with our praise. It is not enough but we give you all we have. Amen!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Train your replacement.

“Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, giving them authority to cast out demons.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭3:13-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

Leadership is making sure to train your replacement.

A true sign of leadership is to develop leaders. It's not good enough to be organized, possess great insight or have a dynamic message. What will happen when you leave? I don't care who you are you will retire at some point. You can't live forever in your current job or ministry. If the success of your company, school, ministry, family, or church is solely dependent upon you, it can not remain successful forever.

Jesus chose twelve men to mentor. He taught them and helped them prepare to reach out on their own. I need to be deliberate in doing the same thing and I'm just not good at it. I need to walk along side new leaders, help them, but not do for them. I need to do the same with colleagues and students. I must train them up in service, love, and caring for their fellow man. I can't get caught up in being the "boss". I need to serve to lead. I need to build up others to serve for the long haul. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Exploding with excitement!

“The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone,”
‭‭John‬ ‭4:28‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

Are you that excited to share your story? Has Jesus made such an impact on your life that you are literally running to find others to tell? Are you exploding with excitement about Jesus?

I hope I never lose the passion Christ has created in me. I hope I never look at my faith as a drudgery or "routine". The sad note............ I have.

 I don't think I'm unique when I say my 42 year life as a follower of Christ has not always been on the mountain top. I have been bored with my faith, tired of it, lackadaisical about it, and I admit I am on a rollercoaster when it comes to passion for ministry. So, I am thankful God has a way of reminding me  how blessed I am and also has a great way of stirring the passion in me. Thank you Lord. 

How can we convince others of the power of Jesus if we do not live like it is life changing? We need to connect with Jesus daily in order to feed our passion. Right now I am on fire for Jesus. I see his hand so powerfully in my life. I feel that presence at school, at home, and in ministry. I see his presence in my friends, coworkers, and my family. I am excited about life. May I never lose that passion again. 

Thank you Lord for my life. Thank you for revealing your presence and being active in my daily words and deeds. I praise you for your power. I praise you for your glory and am humbled by your grace. Amen!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hit the streets!

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”  ‭‭James‬ ‭1:22-25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I am getting more and more disappointed in my fellow Christians. Fewer and fewer people are studying the Bible, really internalizing the scriptures. The same can be said for ministry, going out, to bring the lost to a saving relationship with Jesus. Our church is booming. We have a strong devotion to evangelism. We don't just send money to others that are going out to serve. We send people. I fear CLCG is unique. So many are listening to the word, agreeing with the word, but stopping there. Do we really have a heart for spreading the Gospel or are we just wanting to send others to do his work? There is a unique difference. The great commission didn't say we should send others to do the work of Christ. We need to Go ourselves. I have heard people say they don't feel comfortable doing evangelism, that God did not design them to do it. I could be wrong but I think we are all designed to bring others to Jesus. 

We have to get out of our comfortable church pew and hit the streets. We need to share Jesus, directly, with others, C'mon Christians don't just read the Bible, obey what it says, make it your life and share those wonderful teachings with others.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


“Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.””  ‭‭John‬ ‭4:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

Do you like water?

There are so many people, my wife included, that don't like water. They prefer flavored water or some type of soda. To me, there is nothing better than a nice cold glass of ice water. I don't need soda, although I drink it and there are many other drinks I love including tea and coffee. But nothing satisfies my thirst like pure water. The description of a fresh, bubbling  spring is perfect.

Water is so important to our very existence. Life on this planet could not continue without an abundance of water. My diabetes is largely controlled when I drink adequate amounts of water. My faith is sustained only by the power of Jesus, copious amounts of scripture, worship, and prayer. Just like the seedling, I am transformed by the life giving water of Jesus. There is no substitute. 

For those that do not have the life giving spirit of Jesus in their lives, please take a drink. Ask Jesus into your life. Admit that you do not have the answers and that your life is filled with sin. Admit that Jesus is the savior of the world and died for you. Just like the watering a dying plant, you will spring to life. You will be transformed and your life will be filled with eternal blessings.

Dear Lord, Thank you for your presence in my life. Thank you for giving me life eternally. I am forever changed by your love, grace, and mercy. Amen!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Who's welcome

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum? ” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:9-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

Would I be welcome in your church?

I went to a different church on a Sunday. It was nice. The pastor had a well prepared sermon, the choir was good, we had communion and I felt welcome. But, I was dressed like them, I looked like them and I fit the mold of the average attender. I wonder what would have happened if I would have worn my biker clothes, my leather, my jacket, my chaps, a doo-rag, and had a couple of tattoos. Most churches, at the very least would do a double take. I know this to be true. I have gone visiting with other churches and I have been REALLY looked over, inspected, when I entered a church. It's a little disconcerting. If they look close enough they will see my "Jesus number 1" or my "Prayer Warrior"  patches. They might see my CMA patch with the cross and the Bible. They would think I'm a little strange but they would support me if they noticed those proclamations.  What if I were a 1%er, had offensive tattoos, or nothing outwardly that represented Jesus?  Would I still be welcome?

Our churches need to not only open their doors to bikers, they should deliberately go out and look for the lost to invite them in. We just don't do a good job inviting those that don't fit our regular "mold". How can we reach the lost unless we go out and seek them. We spend so much time sitting in a church pew or serving the church. We may never go out and serve the "sick". We need to Go! Get out of your church, get out of your comfort zone. Save the lost.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Oh boy! I'm in trouble!

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” Ephesians‬ ‭4:2-4‬ ‭NLT‬.

Have you ever read scripture and said, "Oh, boy I'm in trouble!" This is one of those scriptures for me. I've never really ever considered myself, humble or gentle. I can't think of myself as patient either! My personality, that I received directly from the Lord, is just not that way.

Help me Lord! Nothing is impossible for him. As I travel through this life, verses like this are meant to convict me. They are meant to change me in powerful ways. I am who the Lord made me to be, but the Lord also wants me to be a better person tomorrow than I am today. I should never be satisfied with the way I am. The only way to make real changes is through the power of Jesus. That power comes only through study of his word, constant prayer, and worship. Jesus changes us from the inside and makes us better if only we let him. Praise God I can be humble, gentle, and patient. There is hope I can be the person God wants me to be. 

Dear Lord, Change me. Take my life and let it be consecrated to the Lord. Take every breath I breathe and every word I speak and transform it for your glory and your purposes. I am not done yet. I am not satisfied where I am. I need to be a better person and I sal you, Lord, to continue to transform me. I love you Lord. I praise you for this wonderful life you have given. Amen!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sometimes my path sucks!

““You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬.

Sometimes when I read these verses I wonder why? Why does the road have to be so hard? Then I remember how I get when things are easy. I usually forget all about God when things are going well. God knows how we are. He understands how soft we are and how we abandon him when we live on easy street. So life is a struggle. In order to find the right path we need to seek it with all our heart. We can't find it on our own. We need to let God take us by the hand through the briars, the ravines, and through the treacherous jungle.  We can take the path of least resistance, but it always leads to misery.

I have to admit I am not excited about the trials and conflicts of life. I don't like the drama. I have Zero tolerance or desire to play politics. Sometimes, my path sucks!   I don't mince words because I know what I believe and don't have time to play games. I guess people will have to decide if that bothers them or not. I am who I am.

Sometimes the path is tough because Satan adds barriers to discourage us. We could give up or we could fight on! Some days I feel like giving up. I get tired of the constant battle. I see nothing but jungle ahead of me with no clear path through. During my time with God he reminds me of the rewards and reminds me of my life to come. He helps me down the path even when it's tough! He won't let me give up. So I march onward!

Praise God he loves me enough to guide me through all of life, through the joy and the sorrow, through the peace and through the turmoil, and the rugged path is made smooth. Praise God!

Thursday, May 11, 2017


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

How much do you trust God? What do you do to demonstrate to others you trust him?

I have been in CMA for 9 years and I am just now gaining the trust of some of the area bikers. It takes time and patience. I enjoy the fact that they ask me to pray for them and their rides without me ever bringing it up. They show appreciation for our supporting their causes. They acknowledge our generosity and dedication to serving others. They are comfortable around us. But, do I genuinely display that same kind of trust in God? Do I have a calmness and peace while life is going nuts. When things don't go right do I fly off the handle? Do I show worry and fret over the details? Do I really trust God?

How can I show my undying trust of God? If the lost don't see me trusting God, I am pretty confident they will not trust him either? I have to give my words substance. I can't just say I trust God it has to be visible. It has to be real. It does take time, even trusting the Lord. The more time we spend with Jesus the more we realize we can turn everything in our life over to him.  God understands but longs for us to enjoy the blessings he has planned for us. When we don't trust him and lean on our own understandings we miss out on many of those blessings. Trust in him!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Peaceful life

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.””
‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NLT‬.

Knowing that God is in charge fills me with peace. Even in the midst of turmoil, there is peace. No one likes the pain until we can step back and look deeply into that unique moment. It's then we realize that we have grown through the trial and pain. The moments in our lives that we endure suffering are only temporary and I have never gone through trials without coming out better on the other side. Now, I even EXPECT to grow and while I still don't want to go through the troubled times, I look forward, not to the trial, but to the personal growth that always happens.

Peace in the midst of trial is truly a gift of God. It happens as we mature in our faith and learn from our experiences. It's hard to understand the power of God unless we have times where we really need him and can't survive on our own. I am so thankful to have seen his power multiple times in my life. If you want a peaceful life, turn everything over to Jesus. Trust him. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

We can't rest!

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!””
‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

The weekend was packed full of activities. Run for the Son on Saturday and charity ride Sunday. The upcoming week looks like it will be even busier. I have a track meet Wednesday, Kings Island Friday, Bike Blessings, veterans ride and gkids pops concert on Saturday, Mothers Day, and Moms retirement on Sunday.

 I'm getting to old for this !

 But I love it. We will have multiple opportunities to share Jesus. I get to spend time with friends, family, and bikers. Life doesn't get any better than that. I can't wait! Just like these verses say, they can't believe unless they've heard about him. How are they going to hear about him  if we don't go? 

SO, I'm going! Even though my life is really busy and I can get tired, more than ever before, I am driven because of Jesus. We need to get the gospel message to everyone. Time is drawing near when Jesus will return. All need to know him in order to receive eternal life. No rest for the weary!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

It's not WHAT you say, It's HOW you say it!

““You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

I learned something new tonight. Salt can only lose its saltiness if is mixed with an impurity. Yep! That's what my CMA devotional stated. Just like us, we have to be careful with our witness, we must keep the worlds impurities out of our lives in order to be the salt of the earth.

A case in point:

Do you know people, Christians, that can't be positive and loving with someone that messes up. I'm not talking about a genuine sin. I'm talking about an innocent mistake or just not doing something the "right" way. 

How should we share criticism? 

Today, I heard somebody being pretty harsh to a fellow believer. The tone and the way the criticism was shared was not at all what I think Jesus would want. I hear the same thing by "Monday Morning Quarterbacks" in so many different areas of my life. I think it's obvious we need to love with compassion even through mistakes. We need to criticize differently than the way the world criticizes. The more we let the world creep into our lives, the more we lose our saltiness. A gentle rebuke or, many times, no rebuke at all would be fine,

How we treat fellow believers is an important example for non believers. We must learn how to be firm and gentle when correct someone. Of course this also holds true, maybe even more so, when we deal with non-believers. We have to put aside our impatience. We have to constantly remember how we treat others says more about our witness than anything else we may say or do. We can't get lost in doing our jobs and taking strong leadership roles without first looking at our relationships with others. The love we show is the most important seed we plant.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

I can't praise him enough!

“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:5-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Today is the day. Every year, around this country, Christian Motorcyclist Association Chapters celebrate our ministry by hosting our annual Run for The Son. It's not a party about us. It's a party to celebrate what God is doing and will do through the money raised today. Nationally we hope to raise $5 million for our ministry, Open Doors ministry, Missionary Ventures, and the Jesus Film project. This money will directly bring people to know Jesus.

Every year I get nervous about this event. Then I realize, how can it fail when we have committed this day to the Lord. Our cause is just. This is God's event. As I was going over the last minute details in my mind last night, a real peace came over me. How can I fret when God has always gotten us through? He has brought us through the rain, storms, and valleys of our lives. He has remained faithful in all things. Today will be no different.

I love the Lord. I don't deserve his love. I don't deserve his grace! He gives us joy, heals our broken hearts, and props us up when we can't stand on our own. I can't praise him enough.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Light up the World!

““You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”Matthew‬ ‭5:14-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This is such a great illustration on the value of light in this world. I would take these verses one more step. We are asked to carry the light of Jesus INTO the world. The light of Jesus is meant to be on the move and just like a torch, or a match, that light is meant to ignite other fires to provide more light. It is great to set a lamp on a stand, the light will overcome the darkness in the room, but what about in the next room, or the next town, state, or country. No, God did not intend for our light to stay put, we need to carry it wherever we go. Our good deeds are not meant for a small group of people. They are meant for ALL to see, not for our glory, but for his. Praise God.

Lord, I praise you for the light of Jesus. I praise you that you have given me the power to spread your light to others. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you. You are amazing Lord and my life is a glorious adventure because of the light and direction you provide. Use me for your purposes. Amen!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The simple message

“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:3-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

This has been explained to be one of the most important set of verses in the Bible. IT IS THE GOSPEL! Christ died for our sins, he was resurrected, and appeared to a bunch of people. There is nothing else. If we believe in this, we will live with Jesus in eternity.

This is also, exactly, what we should be sharing when we GO. If we don't share this message, there is no hope. Our message is simple, it is clear, and accepting these verses will change your life, literally, forever. How many times have you shared this specific message? Have you ever uttered these words to a nonbeliever?  Look deep inside yourself and reflect on what kind of believer you are. Is it what God has called you to be? Pray that God will put you where he wants you. Pray he will guide your words and actions to bring others to the Gospel and then to eternity.