June 28, 2013

Bizarre Bizarro

A recent Bizarro comic strip titled Divine Intervention depicts God as downcast, sitting on a heavenly cloud surrounded by three angels.

One angel places a consoling arm around God’s shoulder and a comforting hand on his arm. Another angel-scribe reads from a piece of paper and the dialog bubble reads, “…and then there was the weekend bender when you reached rock bottom and created man.”

The take-a-away for the readers is:

·       God drinks

·       God can’t remember

·       God not only makes mistakes, but grieves over his lapse in judgment

·       God hits rock bottom

·       This is only one in a long of mistakes that God has made

·       Angels keep a scorecard on God

·       A function of angels is to console God and remind him of his errors

·       Angels are superior to God because they don’t lose control

I’ve asked my local newspaper publisher to consider dropping the syndicated comic strip. It’s not merely offensive to believers, but it mocks God. “How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever?” (Psalms 74:10 NIV)

June 27, 2013

Firmness Test

A few days ago we had a new cement driveway poured and after less than eight hours Bill wanted to see if it had cured enough to walk on so he stepped onto the green cement. Now this is not like sticking a toothpick into a cake to see if it is done, or testing in an inconspicuous place. This was more like pushing in the middle of the cake to see if it would spring back.

The next morning as I looked over the driveway there were the outlines of two footprints. Fortunately for Bill the outlines are only in the film on the surface and will eventually wear off, but had the cement not been set enough, it would have been like Bigfoot in a bakery.

“Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:26-27 NIV)

June 26, 2013

Picking and Choosing

A recent discussion on baptism ended with the speaker saying, “Although I don’t have Biblical evidence to back up my thoughts, it’s my personal opinion that there will be some people in heaven who have not been baptized.” I’ve really struggled with his comment because it seems to water down baptism and put it in the area of personal choice. Peter is very clear, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39 NIV) If we set aside baptism as part of forgiveness of sins, can we also set aside repentance?  I can’t imagine anyone saying, ‘It’s my personal opinion that there will be some people in heaven who have not repented.’

June 25, 2013

The Price of Contrition

Celebrity chef Paula Deen offered an apology for using racial slurs in the past. She admits to using hurtful language and in a video apology states, “I’m begging for your forgiveness. Please forgive me.” Although her brand has been dropped by a couple of sponsors, many of her fans are standing by her with the attitude that ‘we all make mistakes’.

Discussing the situation during a TV news segment a guest commentator questioned the sincerity of Deen’s apology. He suggested that in order for her to really show contrition, she should donate the proceeds of one of her cook books to some group that furthers the cause of racial diversity.

Unfortunately many of us are just like the commentator when we put stipulations and price tags on forgiveness. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Eph 4:32 NIV)

June 24, 2013

The Spirit Within

The reality show called Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition follows an overweight person for a year and documents their struggle and their success with losing weight. One episode is of a 21 year-old woman who has been overweight all her life and started the program weighing in at 369 pounds. “I’ve always asked God to just someday let me see what it feels like to be skinny. The person I really am, the one on the inside is trapped in this body.” Although the situation itself is not funny, I have to laugh when I imagine what the indwelling Holy Spirit might say, ‘Just someday let me see what it feels like to be righteous and holy. The Person I really am, the One on the inside is trapped in this body.’

June 21, 2013

Storm Warning

Some people who thought they could ride out a category 1 hurricane didn’t heed evacuation warnings. One man who suffered loss tried to blame the weather service for his failing to take action by saying, “No way was this a Category 1!” I can imagine those who fail to respond to the warnings of the Second Coming will also be looking for someone to blame. “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thess 5:1-3 NIV)

June 20, 2013

Weekly Visitation

A City Councilman just bought a new home in another area of town and he will no longer live in the district to which he was elected. According to the City Charter he must vacate his seat if he moves out of his district, however, his current term doesn’t expire until next year and he desperately wants to hang onto the seat. One of his excuses for not changing his address officially is that he is still doing repairs on the new house. If the conversation on the street is correct, say he’d like to ‘live’ at his old residence during the week and ‘visit’ his wife and five children on the weekend. I’m indignant. He swore to uphold the Charter, which he is now trying to manipulate, and his in-action to vacate the seat while continuing to draw a salary borders on fraud. Hmmm. Not much different than believers who want to keep their feet in both worlds. They accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and think they can just visit Him on weekends.

June 19, 2013

The Bride of Christ

I listened to the 40-something speaker decry the traditional church in favor of a home-based church model. He described his previous experience as being all encompassing – he was the right hand man to the preacher and the go-to-guy for everything going on in the church. Disillusioned, discouraged, and spiritually drained he walked away from the mega-church and for four years wandered in the wilderness. With some pushing and prodding from friends he discovered an outreach church in another State, which he now describes as the ‘real’ church. No one would doubt his enthusiasm for the Lord’s work, but his anger with the organized church permeated his presentation.

 As he denounced the traditional church, some in the audience nodded in agreement as they reflected on the faults within their own church. I on the other hand, wanted to stand up and say, ‘Wait a minute…The traditional church has a few warts, but we are still the body of Christ too!’
Certainly people can throw rotten tomatoes at the established church if they so desire, but it gives me the image of the Bride of Christ being pelted with criticism as she walks down the aisle to meet her Groom.

June 18, 2013


The June 4, 2013 edition of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has an article written by reporter Charles Ashby on the recall effort against Senator John Morse. At issue is the work Morse has done to push on the passage of tougher gun-control laws. In the article Mores’ detractors are charging that he is not the same person he was when he was elected. The article states, “Mores, however, said it wasn’t him who changed, but the circumstances.” Interesting deflection. Unfortunately that same attitude weaves its way into the body of believers when we bend to the circumstances in today’s society. However, Paul reminds us of why we need to be alert and mature, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” (Eph 4:14 NIV)

June 17, 2013

Following Directions

Last week I served as the chairman of the Election Credentials Committee for my local electric association. We go to great lengths to ensure the election process will withstand any and all scrutiny, but unfortunately every year a few members get incensed when their ballot is rejected because they failed to follow voting requirements.

One member verbally assaulted a Customer Service Representative when she told him his ballot could not be dropped off, but rather had to be mailed, or personally hand delivered to the meeting. He became irate and described the ballot in explicit terms telling her where she could put it.

Another member was highly agitated because we wouldn’t accept his ballot after the polls had closed.

And then there were the argumentative people who showed up with multiple ballots that they wanted to submit for friends and family.

It’s interesting how we always want to blame others for our failure to follow directions. As believers we too have some instructions to follow, but you can bet that when the Lord returns there are going to be those who will want to argue with Him.

June 14, 2013


In the late 1990’s I picked up a new, in the box, electronic game at the thrift store. Although we never had the instructions to the game, we could sort of play one of the concentration games with either one or two players.  Over the years the toy would rise to the top of the toy box and then once again settle to the bottom. Just the other day seven year-old Lydia was reading one of her daddy’s old books and the instructions sheet to the electronic game fell to the floor. What a surprise. We didn’t even know there was an instruction sheet, much less that it was missing. Chuckling we read directions to one another and discovered which buttons to push in order to play a host of different games. “So this is how it works! Well now, this game is worth something. Check this out, this is really cool.” I can see this same scenario being played out with our Bibles. Some of us are content to learn just a little portion of Scripture here and there, but when we do really get into the Word and read the instructions we’re amazed by what we discover.

June 13, 2013


There are a variety of television reality shows that focus on transformations – people, houses, restaurants. Recently I read that a local spa is taking contest applications for a ‘Body and Soul Makeover’ and I have to tell you I’m feeling a little indignant on behalf of the Spirit. But on second thought, maybe the Spirit and those in the heavenly realms are getting a good laugh at the idea that a spa massage and soothing music can actually makeover the soul. “For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”  (1 Peter 2:25 NIV)

June 12, 2013


At a writer’s conference I discussed a book idea with an acquisitions editor of a Christian publishing house. Although my concept didn’t fit with their current needs, the editor strongly encouraged me to submit to the secular, rather than the Christian market. He reasoned that religious writing meant to hold the church accountable did not have an audience. Curious, I brought up Paul as an example. Paul did not mince words, putting both individuals and churches on notice and exposing their sins – sexual immorality, false idols, impurity, just to name a few. I was flabbergasted by the editor’s response, “Yes, but Paul was in prison so he could say whatever he wanted to say. He wouldn’t lose his job. Preachers [today] won’t preach tough stuff, because they would lose their jobs.” If in fact this editor knows what he is talking about, our pulpit or ministry search committees need to take another look at their acquisitions.

June 11, 2013

Back to the Basics

At a recent writer’s conference I signed up for a fifteen minute appointment with a technology specialist to talk about social media. I admitted that I have never used Facebook because of all the horror stories, but I proudly proclaimed I was just beginning my 7th year of blogging.  

 With a grin he said “Well, that’s good. At least you aren’t afraid of blogging.” He went to the Christian Ear blog site and, as though it were somehow inferior, he said, “Oh. You’re not on Blogger, you’re on Blog spot.” It appears my blog is in the wrong neighborhood.

He preceded to quickly diagnosis some of my blog’s aliments by telling me my titles were not catchy enough and the paragraphs were too long. Huh? “You should never write a paragraph over four sentences long and a one sentence paragraph is acceptable. You need more white space around your paragraphs and a photograph of yourself.” Apparently people are more attracted to short thoughts that will fit on their cell phones and they want to see who is doing the writing.

 “Have you ever read a book on blogging?” Well of course I did…seven years ago.

It appears I need re-education in blogging, Twitter...and Facebook.

Spiritually speaking, I suppose one could find themselves in a similar predicament if they hadn’t picked up their Bible in seven years.

June 10, 2013


While attending a recent Christian Writer’s Conference we were reminded that the publishing industry is changing rapidly because of eBooks, blogs and Twitter. Where authors once had publishing houses and editors to help them through the maze of getting published, today’s writers must take on more responsibility for marketing, promotion and selling their own books. The angst between authors and publishers is at a heightened level with authors saying, “What am I paying you for if I have to do all the work myself?” and publishers saying, “We can no longer afford to take a risk on an unproven author or books that may not sell.” I see something similar happening in the church. Years ago the preacher seemed to do everything with help from a few leaders, but then the focus moved to having a paid staff who specialized in youth, seniors and singles. Many of us then abdicated our serving to staff because after all, aren’t we paying them to serve?

June 07, 2013

Evangelism 101

I took my grandkids to play at a family entertainment center where they made friends with five-year-old Shaylee, who could be overheard telling her grandma, “I’m really having fun with my two new best friends.” About an hour later seven year-old Lydia came to me downcast saying, “I don’t think I like Shaylee anymore. She told me that she didn’t have to love everyone if she didn’t want to.” I know exactly how Lydia feels. There are times when, even as adults, our attempts at witnessing, evangelism, and fellowship get rebuffed simply because we’ve applied the Lord’s commands to the wrong audience. Jesus was speaking to his disciples when He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)

June 06, 2013

Leading By Example

My friend David is a PK (preacher’s kid) who in now in his 70’s. One Sunday during the invitation when he was nine years-old his friend sitting next to him went forward. David, who wasn’t going to be left behind, followed his friend up the aisle to the altar where he too made the confession of faith. The following week his dad was satisfied with David’s understanding of accepting Christ and he proceeded to be baptized. A life-long believer, David was recently selected to serve as an elder in his current church. However, before officially taking on the position as elder David surprised the congregation by going forward to be re-baptized. “It was just something that I needed to do. It’s always been in the back of my mind that my motivation for going forward the first time was because I was following my friend.” I have to smile when I think that David is once again following his Friend.

June 05, 2013

Whatever You Do

The church group Care Givers was discussing ideas on what they could do to support a fellow believer who was critically ill when someone mentioned that people could donate blood. Whipping her head around one woman said, “What did you say? Really, we can donate blood? I’d rather do that than cook a meal any day!” You’ve got to love it. I can only imagine the reaction if asked to take a meal to a shut in and one responded, ‘I’ll donate a pint.’ Paul reminds us, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col 3:17 NIV)

June 04, 2013


In giving her report on the local Prison Ministry, Ms. Clair congratulated our small congregation on supplying 100 dozen homemade cookies for the ministry’s yearly retreat. She went on to explain that at the end of the retreat each participating inmate was given a small bag of cookies and they were instructed to give them to someone they disliked. The implications of this unique lesson were formulating in my mind when she continued, “The majority of the bagged cookies were give to a prison guard that most of the inmates don’t like.” I have to wonder if I would have had the same courage displayed by these men if I were asked to do something similar in the work place, the church environment, or in social circles. “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28 NIV)

June 03, 2013

Life Support

The longer a blog is in existence and as reader activity increases, the more susceptible that blog is to SPAM. Interestingly the Spammers I hear from are getting more sophisticated and are now using a more conversational tone in order to get me to link to their website. One recent blog comment that came in read, And I actually do have some questions for you if it's allright. Is it just me or does it appear like some of these comments appear as if they are coming from brain dead folks?” I had to smile because Steve Corey is the only person who consistently comments on my blog. People of the world are easily confused when they encounter believers. They assume we are brain dead, when in reality we’re simply on Spiritual Life support.