June 29, 2012

The Unexpected

It was expected, but yet when my mother passed away early yesterday morning it was oddly enough, unexpected. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55 NIV)

June 28, 2012


This year there seems to be a multitude of crises, both in my personal family as well as in the church family. This is one of those seasons in life where there are so many situations going on that I can’t even prioritize which one deserves more of my attention. I can easily start beating myself up over my earthly responsibilities, but thankfully Paul puts things in the proper perspective when he says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Phil 3:20 NIV)

June 27, 2012

Tuned Out

I have a friend who is a political activist and while I would agree with most of what he says, I’m tired of hearing it. It’s the same thing over and over. Normally I just let him go and blow, but if he wants my attention he needs to get a new script or come up with a new platform. It’s dawned on me that we believers may do something similar when we witness to our family members. Is it possible that our scripted gospel message is delivered it in the same manner, with the same judgmental tone and same worn out phrases? “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col 4:5-6 NIV)

June 26, 2012

Fading Authority

I see an interesting common denominator with some of our community agitators. Many of them come from a career in the military where they retired as either officers or high ranking enlisted personnel. These folks are accustomed to giving orders and having subordinates jump-to. When civilians fail to respond, the old-timers get indignant, demanding and assertive. It’s a good lesson for those of us in the church. If the Lord moves you to a new position in building the kingdom, don’t just assume that your past authority moves with you.

June 25, 2012

Fading Authority

I see an interesting common denominator with some of our community agitators. Many of them come from a career in the military where they retired either as officers or high ranking enlisted personnel. These folks are accustomed to giving orders and having subordinates jump-to. When civilians fail to respond, the old-timers get indignant, demanding and assertive. It’s a good lesson for those of us in the church. If the Lord moves you to a new position in building the kingdom, don’t just assume that your past authority moves with you.

June 22, 2012

Saving Business

I find that environmental groups often push their agenda and burden the public with their demands. Recently I attended a public meeting that was designed to get feedback on community recycling. There was an ecologically zealous crowd and the majority in attendance wanted to force city residents to not only recycle, but those who refused to recycle should be charged more. One woman said, “We have to save the world, we must save the world.” It wasn’t the place to burst her bubble, but I would have loved to tell her that the world cannot be saved. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” (Rev 21:1 NIV)

June 21, 2012


Since the first of the year I’ve had four family members admitted to Hospice. It’s interesting to me that none of them thought it was time for them to make such a decision. Apparently we don’t always see things clearly for ourselves and in order to fully accept our situation it takes someone in authority to tell us that all of our options have been exhausted. From Mount Nebo God showed Moses all the Promised Land and then told Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.” (Deut 34:4 NIV) Moses was 120 years old, however his eyes were not weak, nor was his strength gone. I can imagine Moses thinking, “Really. It’s time for me to be in hospice?”

June 20, 2012

Scratching the Itch

As I read and listen to campaign ads I’m struck by how many politicians run their race on what they are going to do, rather than on what they have done. It’s amazing that we voters often buy the rhetoric and cast our vote for a future promise, rather than a past track record. Unfortunately the church is not immune to such tactics. “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4 NIV)

June 19, 2012

Unwashed vs. Unclean

We took our grandkids to the Father’s Day picnic where they picked clover leaves, dueled with tree branch swords and played hide-n-go-seek. Seven year-old Lydia brought her home hygiene rules to park with her and when it was time to eat she was concerned about washing her hands. We told her that this time, because it was an outdoor picnic, we were making an exception and she didn’t have to wash. “Oh yea. I get to eat with dirty hands!” After living under the critical eye of the Pharisees I can imagine the disciples had a similar reaction when Jesus said, “…eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean’.” (Matt 15:20b NIV)

June 18, 2012

The Perfect Gift

Our communion meditation on Sunday was a walk down memory lane as the speaker recalled being a child and looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift. His question was, “So, what could I give to the father who has everything?” Then answering the same question for the believer he said, “You give the Father what He wants most, what He has ask you to give, you give Him yourself.”

June 15, 2012

In Defense

Recently I worked with a group of women for a couple days and one seemed to go out of her way to throw barbs at me…all under the guise of making a joke, of course. Because we were working in one room there was no escaping her jabs and by the end of day two I felt like I was back in junior high. She eventually stopped, I suppose because she wasn’t getting the reaction she wanted. As I rehashed the situation in my mind I think what bothered me more than her playground antics was the fact that none of the other women stepped forward to defuse or deflect any of the comments. If we believers can’t even come to one another’s defense, it’s no wonder we fail miserably to follow the Lord’s example, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NIV)

June 14, 2012

Follow the Rules

I’m serving on the elections Credentials Committee for a local utility and part of my job is to determine whether or not a returned ballot is valid.  A few people don’t follow the voting instructions, causing their ballot to be invalidated. Interestingly most of the invalid ballots are the result of the voter simply failing to put the ballot in the secrecy envelope, but others fail to sign the ballot or sign for a deceased person. Somehow we voters think that the only thing necessary is getting the ballot to the polling place on time and that it really doesn’t matter if we follow the rules. Wrong. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor 6:9-10 NIV)

June 13, 2012

Where Does it Hurt?

A friend and I were discussing the many people we know who are fighting cancer and she remarked, “Most people I know are suffering more in their mind than in their body.” She made a good point and I wondered if the same could be said of Jesus. Certainly crucifixion is a horrible, painful death, but beyond the Lord crying out in a loud voice as he breathed His last, there is no record of Him expressing the physical pain He endured. However there is evidence of His mental suffering, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46b NIV)

June 12, 2012


Yesterday in the VA medical clinic waiting room there was an old WWII Veteran and his wife. Each had matching wheeled walkers and they were accompanied by their elderly friend who brought them in for a doctor’s appointment. The vet came back from seeing the doctor looking dejected and a solemn, halting conversation ensued.
Vet: “The doctor said I can’t drive anymore.” His wife gently patted his knee.

Wife: “I guess we knew this was coming.”

Friend: “But it still hurts.”

Vet: “We’ll have to sell the house.”

Wife: “We could move closer into town where we can walk to the store.”

Vet: “Neither one of us can walk.”

Wife: “Well at least we won’t have to buy gas for the car since we can’t drive it.”

Vet: “We’ll have to buy gas for the car if we keep it…I guess we could sell the car.”

Wife: “Well, I think we can cancel the appointment with eye doctor, don’t you?”

From my bird’s eye view my heart went out to all three of the old-timers as they grieved the loss of a driver’s license and tried to formulate plans for the future.  Jesus reminded me, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt 6:34 NIV)

June 11, 2012

In a Bubble

The space shuttle Enterprise never went on an actual space mission, but it was used for flights in the atmosphere. The new home for the Enterprise is the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York and as per the requirements from NASA, a climate controlled environment is to be built around the space shuttle. Say what? A shuttle that is designed for space travel must now be protected from the earth’s environment. Sounds remarkably like some of us on the religious landscape. Believers are designed for reaching the lost, but some of us just want to stay in the climate controlled environment of the church.

June 08, 2012

Holding Down the Fort

There are some of us who are always at church on Sunday mornings. We seldom take vacations and we make every effort to schedule out of town activities so they don’t coincide with church. Then there are those members who are sporadic in attendance and they seem to just drop-in every once in awhile to say hello and then you won’t see them again for another month. I have to tell you that it does occasionally yank my chain. However, I recently did an interview with a woman who is out of town a lot because of business travel. Donna said, “It’s such a blessing to be in a church where we take to heart the meaning of being a church family. God keeps me grounded here even when I’m out of town and can’t be here each week.” OK, so holding down the fort is a blessing to others…I can live with that.

June 07, 2012


In his book How We Think, author John Dewey says, “To say, ‘I think so’ implies that I do not as yet know so. The inferential belief may later be confirmed and come to stand as sure, but in itself it always has a certain element of supposition.” I’m still digesting Mr. Dewey’s statement because I have never considered that saying I think means I don’t yet know. However, it does make sense. Jesus was always asking others, ‘What do you think?’, but He himself never told others, ‘I think so’. I’m going to work on changing my vocabulary. I think I may have to stop thinking about things I already know.

June 06, 2012

To Keep Us from Speaking

I get angry at those who attack the public displays of the Ten Commandments, who demand that memorial crosses on government land be removed and who want to take Christ out of Christmas. I just realized that the folks who are trying to stop the Gospel message have a lot in common with the Jews who killed the prophets. Paul views such craftiness as an effort to keep people from being saved. “They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved.”  (1 Thess 2:15b – 16a NIV)

June 05, 2012

Always in Season

Last Sunday I had empathy for the man who was scheduled to do the communion meditation. Apparently there was a snafu and he didn’t get the word that he was to give the meditation until he walked in for Sunday worship and read it in the bulletin. Since he was not prepared he ask another man, who also was not prepared, to take his place. Interestingly both of these men are Biblically equipped and spiritually qualified for an impromptu meditation. However, one did not feel prepared in his own strength and declined to speak, but the other man spoke relying on the Spirit’s strength. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Tim 4:2 NIV)

June 04, 2012

Blood Cry

Recently there was a report of a medical facility worker who couldn’t bring herself to destroy aborted fetuses so she preserved them in jars. One has to consider the reaction of women in the area who had abortions, believed that their deed was simply past-history and now have to wonder if one of those children sitting on a shelf all these years is their child. I thought of Cain killing his brother Abel. Even though Able was dead, his blood continued to be heard. “The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.” (Gen 4:10 NIV)

June 01, 2012

Preaching to the Choir

I get a lot of politically charged email forwards from people who are blowing the trumpet and trying to rally the troops for their cause. I’m not against their efforts, but they are wasted on me because I’m already politically pro-active and armed for battle. I think it’s like hearing a salvation message preached each Sunday morning when everyone in the audience is already a confessed believer. The message we put out, whether political or spiritual, needs to hit the right audience. We can’t simply spend our time looking for lost sheep amongst those who are already in the fold.