April 30, 2013

What Next?

A few weeks ago I unhappily had to replace my three-year old washing machine because a bearing had gone out of the motor. Our nine-month old refrigerator is scheduled for its third service call to replace defective parts. A few days ago the lifetime warranted furnace died and it will take two weeks to get in the part. I’m now keeping a suspicious eye on the dishwasher. One repairman told me that today most appliances have a life expectancy of only about three years. In warning about greed Jesus noted that treasures on earth are destroyed by moth and rust. Boy, wouldn’t I just love to have an appliance around long enough for it to succumb to moth or rust! “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt 6:19-20 NIV)

April 29, 2013

Climbing the Ladder of Success

In today’s society we feel that we step up and down the ladder of success by our own volition and we are seldom prepared for the fact that someone may come along and knock the ladder out from under us. Recently I saw a friend’s career came to an abrupt end, not because he was fired or demoted, but his job was simply eliminated. He then had to make a decision of whether to take the offer of a lesser position in the same company, to retire, or to seek employment elsewhere. For the believer, reevaluating and reinventing a career path has the added dimension of the Lord’s oversight. We know that God always has our best interest at heart, but sometimes our idea of what is best may not pass His scrutiny. “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:2-3 NIV)

April 26, 2013

Ready, Aim, Fire

Because of the recent terrorist attack in Boston I continue to contemplate gun-control issues. Recalling Vice President Biden’s suggestion to his wife that, (paraphrase) ‘if a bad guy is around, just shoot a shotgun into the air and help will arrive’ is mind boggling. I was reminded of young David’s willingness to fight Goliath and Saul cautioning, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33 NIV) Goliath came at David armed with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but David was armed with the Lord, a sling and five smooth stones. Thankfully David aimed at Goliath’s head rather than shooting the stones into the air on a wing and a prayer that he could rally the men of Israel and Judah to come to his aid.

April 25, 2013


We’ve all experienced going to the movies and being disturbed by people who are carrying on a conversation at various times during the movie. The culprits are either oblivious, or just don’t care that they are disturbing others. Glaring and shushing them is seldom very effective…especially if they are adults. Much to my chagrin the same thing happens in church. Fellowship and visiting continues even though announcements have begun, pew partners engage in conversations while congregational singing is going on, and my personal grievance is with people kibitzing during communion. All of the elements for the communion time – the song selection, prepared meditation, prayer, serving the emblems - are designed to focus the worshipper’s attention on the Lord. Because of the insensitivity of some, moments of meditation and reflection are often shattered and stolen from worshippers. I think Paul’s instructions to the early church concerning talking in tongues and orderly worship could be applicable to us today. “If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.” (1 Cor 14:27-28 NIV)

April 24, 2013


The newspaper reported that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who administers millions of acres of public lands in Western States, is asking for public comment on uranium programs. I went to submit my comments, but interestingly, the web address given in the article took me to an environmental group opposing all uranium programs. Going back to the article I did find the ‘official comment site’ listed, however it was more obscure and not as clearly labeled. I suspect that the reporter’s environmentalist bent had something to do with subtly redirecting the public’s attention. Certainly it’s the prerogative of the reporter to be ‘green’. However, leading readers to a website that had not been mentioned in the article brings journalistic ethics into question. Unfortunately, even among believers there are individuals who will use a passage of Scripture out of context to garner support for their line of thought. Whether in the world or in the church, none of us are completely immune from falling victim to deception. “A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.” (Proverbs 14:5 NIV)

April 23, 2013

Brother’s Keeper

When my children were teens I cautioned them about underage drinking. Well actually, it was more than a caution. I threatened that if I ever discovered them or their friends drinking I wouldn’t wait for them to get caught; I’d turn them in to law enforcement myself. I am absolutely amazed to learn that when the FBI released the photos of the Boston Marathon terrorists not one of their immediate or extended family members called law enforcement to identify them. The callousness shown by the family feels similar to the story of Cain and Abel. Cain killed his brother Abel and when confronted by God, Cain lied about knowing the whereabouts of Abel. The indifference and lack of concern displayed by the Tsarnaev family smacks of them too saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:10 NIV)

April 22, 2013

Well Armed

Bostonians were in house lock-down for 24-hours while law enforcement went door to door looking for the suspected bomb terrorist. Putting myself in their place I found an element of comfort in the fact that I had recently purchased a hand gun and taken a gun safety class. It really wasn’t so much a matter of my being able to protect myself against a man with guns, bombs and grenades, but rather that I wasn’t at the total mercy of police officers to come to my aid quickly enough if the terrorist was coming through the back door. Spiritually speaking we find ourselves in a similar situation if we aren’t prepared with Scripture written in our mind and on our hearts. When we come under spiritual attack from the evil one we can’t expect preachers, elders and deacons get to us quickly enough to defend us from the attack. Before Jesus began preaching he was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus was armed with scripture and with each of his three responses to the devil began with, “It is written…” (Matt 4:4,7,10)

April 19, 2013

Treasure on Earth

Recently in the news media a few financial advisors are expressing concern that people in their 50’s are taking money out of their 401K. They feel that the only legitimate reason for dipping into a nest egg would be to purchase a house and those who have used funds for other purposes should pay back into their retirement fund ASAP. I gave value to their opinions until one 30-something accountant tweaked my jaw saying, “If you haven’t planned for retirement you better enjoy living with your kids…and if you haven’t put aside enough money for your retirement, you will be unfairly burdening the rest of us because we will have to take care of you.” Wow. Some of us already have a hard time grasping that God will take care of all our needs; we certainly don’t need the added pressure of storing up treasures on earth so that we won’t be a burden to others. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matt 6:19-20 NIV)

April 18, 2013


For the last few days I’ve been a care-giver for a sick dog with digestive problems. Charlie is now on medication, but the vet restricted him from eating grass because it causes him to vomit. I’m getting an up close and personal look at the proverb, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11 NIV) Interestingly there doesn’t seem to be a definitive reason from either veterinary science or Biblical commentary which tells me why a dog would eat his vomit. Peter referenced this proverb applying it to false teachers and their destruction. Left to come to my own conclusions I’m thinking that false teachers either like the taste of their own deceptions, or they think that reiterating heresies will make it easier for others to swallow. (2 Peter 2)

April 17, 2013


The government is assuring us they will find out who is responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings and that justice will be served on those who perpetrated this act of violence. Most of us are anxious for the results of the investigation, but we may be overlooking the fact that God knows who is responsible and we can play a part in the situation by petitioning Him in prayer to quickly reveal those who have committed the crime. “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Matt 10:26 NIV)

April 16, 2013


I’m getting acquainted with a 41 year-old man who is receptive to becoming a Christian, but has reservations. “Well, I believe in God, but I just don’t know anything. I don’t know any of those Bible stories that everyone else learned when they were kids [Noah, Moses]. Regardless of age, his feelings of inferiority when stepping onto the religious landscape are not unusual. What he, and others, not fortunate enough to be raised in the church fail to realize is that no one is going to question them about Moses, Noah and Daniel in the Lion’s Den. While these are all wonderful faith building stories, they are not a pre-requisite to becoming a believer in Christ. Unbeknownst to my young friend, he is in an extraordinary and enviable position right now because he would be a new believer starting with a clean slate. “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety–nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7 NIV)

April 15, 2013

Weed Collection

A favorite pastime of one of our local politicians is sowing seeds of dissention in the community. When I see evidence of his half-truths starting to sprout I’m inclined to get out the weed spray or try pulling them up by the stalk. In the Parable of the Weeds there was a problem with being able to tell the difference between the wheat [believers] and the weeds [non-believers]. Intellectually I understand the Lord’s reasoning and His advice against pulling up the weeds, but personally I’d just rather not be growing up among the weeds. “Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” (Matt 13:30 NIV)

April 12, 2013

Clear Choice

My niece is using Facebook to garner support for her homosexual lifestyle and those who aren’t supportive are accused of being intolerant and bigoted. What I find absolutely amazing is that these alternative-lifestyle folks are really asking people of faith to choose between them and God. When I look back over my family tree I see people who struggled with sin in the form of alcoholism, drug addiction, and sexual immorality, but I’m struck by the fact that not one of them ever petitioned the family to accept or support their lifestyle. It’s interesting that even in the church some believers have gone beyond simply embracing their loved ones to embracing the gay agenda. There are consequences for believers who bring sinful agendas into the fellowship of believers. Jesus said, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:1-2 NIV)

April 11, 2013

Iron Lady

I love hearing and reading remembrances of the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s only female Prime Minister. In a report by Associated Press her press secretary said, “Let us not kid ourselves. She was a very divisive figure. She was a real toughie. She was a patriot with a great love for this country, and she raised the standing of Britain abroad.” Thatcher certainly had her political critics, but they always knew where she stood and that she would stand her ground. I think of those in the early church with a similar resolve and determination, such as Paul, Peter, and Stephen. Since we have the benefit of the revealed WORD, I wonder if individuals think Scripture can speak for itself and therefore they are less courageous in confronting and publically stirring the masses. I’d love to see someone in the religious landscape with the tenacity of a Margaret Thatcher. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)

April 10, 2013

Clean-Up on Aisle Three

We had family visit us for the weekend and my 30-something nephew, who loves to cook, volunteered to do all the cooking. I didn’t feel I could turn his offer down, but I jokingly ask if he also did the clean-up. His answer was ‘no’ to the clean-up, but that the rest of the family would rally around for that chore. Turning over my kitchen to someone is no different than a guy handing over his keys to his woodworking shop and then just watching from the sidelines. By default the kitchen clean-up chores fell to me because I knew where everything was, where things went when they needed to be put back, where the cleaning supplies were located, and which kind to use. The large stockpot cooking on the stove boiled over, there was BBQ sauce on the screen door, and salad greens on the floor. I found myself having a major Martha Meltdown, but unfortunately it was only after I had put the house back in order that I could hear the Lord saying, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things….”  (Luke 10:41 NIV)

April 09, 2013

Already Said

I’m working on a non-fiction book proposal and while discussing the premise with others, two people recommended I read a particular fiction novel that they thought had a similar theme. Their intent might have been to help me generate additional thoughts on the subject; however, it felt more like they were saying, ‘What you’re proposing has already been written. I just read this other book that says what you are trying to say and it’s already on the market.’ I have to smile when I think of the Gospel authors Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I wonder if they had similar comments and warnings from their friends, publishers and editors.

April 08, 2013

Preaching Milk

Every once in awhile I’ll hear a sermon that, to me, seems diluted and lacking depth, but invariably someone else will say the same message was exactly what they needed to hear. Paul chastised the Corinthians for their lack of spiritual growth and described them as worldly, mere infants in Christ. “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” (1Cor 3:2 NIV) I have to admit that my thoughts have always focused on the immature Corinthians, but I’d never considered the frustration that Preacher Paul must have experienced when he was forced to deliver a milky-type message.

April 05, 2013


The sandstone rocks in Utah have become an attraction for daredevils ‘pendulum’ swinging through the stone arches. One young man was recently killed when he smashed against the rock wall. Although his equipment was all in order, he had miscalculated the length of rope needed. It’s interesting that there is a cost associated with everything we do, yet we give it little thought. Our focus is always on the benefit, the pleasure, or the reward. Jesus said that just as a builder estimates the cost of building his building and a king estimates the cost going into war, we too must estimate the cost of becoming His disciple. Unfortunately, most evangelism methods concentrate on having all the equipment in order, rather than on calculating the cost. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27 NIV)

April 04, 2013

At the Well

In today’s society it’s not unusual to see a hyphenated name when a woman keeps her maiden name, or a long established first marriage name may be kept when there is second marriage. In a recent obituary the lengthy hyphenated surname of 90 year-old Sally was the result of four marriage and divorce situations. The family is quoted, “She never gave up on finding love.” I thought of the Samaritan woman who Jesus encountered at Jacob’s Well. Jesus revealed to her that he was aware of her five previous husbands, as well as her current in live-in relationship. Without any apparent discomfort, hesitation or explanation, the woman simply said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.” (John 4:19 NIV) I love the fact that this woman, rather than going home in embarrassment, went back into town and shared her Jesus experience with her community. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did”…and knows I haven’t given up on finding love.

April 03, 2013

Same Services

Civil unions are now law in Colorado and the only exemption is that the bill doesn’t require religious leaders to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony. Charles Ashby, reporter for the Grand Junction Sentinel states, “Unlike last year’s bill, the new law doesn’t allow anyone, including religious groups, to discriminate against same-sex couples by denying them the same services they provide to heterosexual ones.” Apparently legislators made a distinction between ceremonies and services. One has to wonder if services include sacraments, baptism, or even being a candidate for positions of authority – elder, deacon and teacher. It will be a struggle for churches to navigate the waters of holding fast to the Word of God and also being forced to be as inclusive as the new law demands. “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self–condemned.” (Titus 3:10-11 NIV)

April 02, 2013


Every month our congregation focuses on a different outreach ministry and last month our support went toward the local soup kitchen. The information insert in the church bulletin described the dedicated kitchen volunteers as coming from all walks of life, “who are the hands and feet of Jesus for the poor, hungry and the disenfranchised”. On the surface all three of these categories might seem benevolent. Certainly people of faith are to feed the hungry, even if they are an enemy (Ro 12:20). Jesus suggested that the rich young man give to the poor (Matt 19:21) even though the poor will always be with us (Matt 26:11). However, citing the disenfranchised gives me pause. By its nature, being disenfranchised means being deprived of something that you have a legal right to, such as the right to vote. I have to tell you that I’m struggling with the idea of feeding someone because they are disenfranchised. The question becomes, do any of us have the right to be fed? Paul said, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (2 Thes 3:10 NIV)

April 01, 2013

The Day After

Our local newspaper doesn’t publish a paper on Mondays, so occasionally the comic strips and syndicated columns differ from those printed in other local papers. On Easter Sunday the paper published the Dear Abby column which began, “Dear Readers: It’s April Fool’s Day…” I have to say that I was a little miffed at the newspaper editor. I couldn’t decide if it was just sloppy editing or if he wanted to move the community quickly past Easter and get minds set on the next calendar event, April Fools…or both. After some thought, maybe the error is more appropriate than at first glance for those who reject the resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God. “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalms 53:1a NIV)