September 30, 2013


Last weekend the ladies at church hosted a wedding shower for my daughter, Leslie. They began the festivities by asking everyone to introduce themselves and tell something about their relationship, or interaction with the bride. It was a trip down memory lane as ladies recounted stories, memories and long forgotten accomplishments. Of course all the comments given were a tribute to Leslie and her character, but beyond being the proud mother of the bride, I think I actually caught a glimpse of heaven. The writer of Hebrews talks about believers being surrounded by a “great crowd of witnesses”, who are spiritual heroes of the past, but I had never thought of a living crowd of witnesses surrounding us today. The Lord is not the only witness when we give a drink to the thirsty, feed hungry and visit the sick. “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”(Matt 25:40 NIV)

September 27, 2013


A wheelchair bound man, who hadn’t had a date in years, thought his handicap was holding him back from having a girlfriend and developing meaningful relationships. He turned to Dear Abby for help and she directed him to organized agencies and social outlets. After encouraging him in his quest, she ended her advice with, “There is a saying, ‘Seek and ye shall find,’ and it applies to your situation.” (9/26/2013) It’s interesting the Abby would relegate the words of Jesus to simply being a ‘saying’, as though the phrase might well have come out of a fortune cookie, or the mouth of Confucius. For the record Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matt 7:7-8 NIV) People often confuse seeking The Door to the Father with doors of opportunity and fulfillment.

September 26, 2013

Carrying One Another’s Burdens

Recently there was a heartwarming story of a homeless man who was honored for turning in a satchel he found which was filled with almost $45,000 in cash and travelers checks. The man said that even if he were desperate, he wouldn’t have taken any of the money. The honoree lost his job of 13 years because of health reasons. He now lives a shelter, gets food stamps, and panhandles to make money for laundry and other necessities. Reportedly he said he, “…doesn’t want to be a burden to his relatives and that people at the shelter help him. He said God has always looked after him.” I appreciate the man’s moral compass which points to God and returning what belongs to another. However, I find it bewildering when people say they don’t want to burden their relatives, yet they have no problem burdening the taxpayer. I suppose it is easier for a panhandler to say he doesn’t want to burden his relatives than it is to say, ‘my relatives will no longer give me support’.

September 25, 2013

Offer of Proof

I find the tragic mall shooting taking place in Kenya to be very thought provoking. Laying siege to the expansive shopping mall, terrorists are killing Christians and anyone one else who is not Muslim. It is reported that the litmus test given to shoppers is that they must quote a certain prayer or say the name of a specific relative of Mohammad. If they fail the quiz they are immediately gunned down. I‘m thinking that if these demands and roles were reversed, where victims would be spared if they were Christian, many of them might still get shot. Sadly, people roaming the Christian landscape today might also fail the test because they can’t come up with the names of Jesus’ relatives, nor be able to recite the Lord’s Prayer.

September 24, 2013

Getting the Last Word

Last week an obituary became an Internet sensation when it exposed a 78 year-old deceased mother of eight as being the perpetrator of mental, physical, and emotional abuse on her children. AP writer’s Scott Sonner and Sandra Chereb reported the adult children were celebrating their biological mother’s passing and quoted one son as saying, “The main purpose for putting it [abuse] in there was to bring awareness to the child abuse. And shame her a little bit.” Maybe the adult children will gain some peace and community support through their very public revelations. However, the idea that it might somehow shame their mother is intriguing. The woman apparently felt no shame during her life as an abuser; it seems unlikely that she will feel shame when she stands before the Lord. Of course I have to remember the story Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus, who both died at the same time. Lazarus went to the place of righteousness and the rich man went to hell. The rich man’s torment must have finally reached a compassionate nerve because he said to Abraham, “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” (Luke 16:27-28 NIV)

September 23, 2013


As though he were on an amusement park ride the child in the grocery cart came straight at me giggling and waving arms and legs in the air. It took me a second to realize the young dad was pushing the cart from the basket rather than the handle, giving his son the full effect of facing forward with nothing obstructing his view. They reminded me of bobsledders as they sped through the produce isle with the child as the driver and the dad as the brakeman. I am amazed at this innovative father who found a way to let his child look forward. I’m thinking we believers could learn something here…looking forward can be much more exciting than looking backwards at where we just came from.

September 20, 2013

Creating You Own god

In a neighboring community a Unitarian-Universalist Congregation is starting an evening study titled, Build Your Own Theology. The press release reads, “Based on the assumption that everyone is their own theologian, the classic Unitarian adult education program invites members to develop their own personal credos, fundamental religious beliefs, values and convictions that inform and direct their lives.” I’m not sure where one would begin to build their own theology, unless of course you borrow a little of this from one religion and a little of that from another. It must be lonely worshipping your own ideas…unless of course you can suck others into your way of thinking.

September 19, 2013

Preparing for Rescue

A few weeks back Chinook helicopters were doing high altitude training exercises in our area. One resident complained to elected officials because of the noise and she also had safety concerns because the helicopters were flying so close to her home.

Fast forward to last week and the devastating floods on Colorado’s front range. What I find interesting is the training that was going on in our backyard is now bearing fruit as Chinook helicopters are the only means of rescuing hundreds stranded people from the flood waters.

I see a reverse of this situation with the prophet Jonah. A vine, which once had shaded Jonah from the blazing sun, withered and died. Jonah was angry and more concerned about the plant dying than he was about the people of Nineveh perishing. The Lord’s perspective is quite different when he tells Jonah, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11 NIV)

September 18, 2013


My mother-in-law just turned 90, but we couldn’t celebrate this milestone with her until she returned home from a weeklong conference in Maine. A week after Ruth returned home we had an open house and invited friends and family to the Birthday celebration. As the party progressed I was getting weary, but I could hear Ruth visiting with friends and making plans for the conferences of 2014 in Reno and 2015 San Antonio. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful that at 90 years of age Ruth is healthy and active, but I have to tell you she is making some of the rest of us look really bad. The Psalmist considers the advanced years of the righteous and says they will flourish like a palm tree, “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” (Psalm 92:14-15 NIV)

September 17, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing

A recent editorial in my local paper cites that when it comes to the number of nonprofits in one location, our city is one of the leaders in the State. No wonder I get so irritable every time a fundraiser knocks on my door, or I have to run an obstacle course of good causes in order to go to the grocery store. The newspaper correctly diagnosed the community as having “charity fatigue”, but I question their prescription. Their cure is to have one community umbrella organization receiving donated funds and then dispersing those funds to other nonprofits who qualify for support. Wow…This would be like asking all the churches in the city to put their tithes in one pot and then an umbrella agency would oversee dispensing the tithes as they deem appropriate.

September 16, 2013

As Long as He Lives

Both previously widowed, Laura and her fiancé David attended Laura’s 50th class reunion. When she asked David to take a picture of her and her gal pals, Laura absent mindedly called David by her deceased husband’s name, Nick. One of her friends elbowed her in the ribs while another whispered in her ear, “David…His name is David!”
Very matter-of-factly David re-told of the episode saying, “Well, it’s not like I haven’t called her Karen a couple of times.” I laughed at how non-pulsed both were at the faux-pas. Shrugging it off Laura quipped, “It’s OK. Really, David and I don’t care…and Nick and Karen don’t care either!”
Laura and David are both believers, so I’m certain they have Paul’s blessing. “A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” (1 Cor 7:39 NIV)

September 13, 2013

Please Pass the Baton

On more than one occasion Paul compares the Christian life to running a race. The image that usually comes to my mind is one of individual competition and Paul even says that only one person gets the prize. However, I’m wondering if the race I’m running more closely resembles a relay race. As part of a relay team I still have an individual responsibility to, “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Cor 9:24b NIV), but I’m positioned in the leg of the race that is best suited to my abilities. Just as Paul passed the baton to Timothy and others in the early church, the race continues today and everyone has not only an opportunity, but an obligation, to run in the race and carry the baton.

September 12, 2013

There is No Free Lunch

There are two well established meal sites in my community who are purported to be in great need of volunteers, food staples and fresh produce. I find the number of free breakfast and lunch meals served to be astounding for our mid-size community. Both organizations boast of being respectful of their clientele’s situation in life, “We’ll feed anyone who comes in for a meal; we never ask any questions [about their financial need].  The Prodigal son who squandered his wealth in wild living comes to mind. I have to wonder if he ever would have come to his senses and returned to his Father had his employer served him a daily complimentary breakfast and lunch. This lost son, “…longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. (Lk 15:16 NIV)

September 11, 2013

The Door

We have one back door that we seldom use, but it can serve as an emergency exit if we ever have the need. The other day when Bill decided to use the door as a short cut to the alley the family dog, Charlie, was hot on his heels. Charlie, who didn’t even know the door existed, stopped dead in his tracks when the door opened and the whole outside world greeted him. I had to laugh. It was definitely one of those Wizard of Oz moments when the world of black and white suddenly turns to color. Wouldn’t you just love to have a Lord’s-eye-view of people when they open the door to Jesus? “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20 NIV)

September 10, 2013

Righteous Man

Recently New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner got into a shouting match with a Jewish constituent who confronted Weiner about his sexting scandal and the hurt it must have caused his wife. Unable to shut the constituent down, an angry Weiner got in his face and accused him of judging, “You are not superior to me. You are not my God.” Weiner went on to call the constituent a jackass.
First let me say, kudos the Jewish man for standing firm while shining a light on sexual immorality.
Although Weiner is correct in that the man was not God, that doesn’t mean that the Jewish man wasn’t sent by God. Jesus said, “…anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.” (Matt 10:41b NIV)

September 09, 2013

Go Team, Go

The game show ‘Wipeout’ has contestants racing against one another on an obstacle course, and depending on the show, they participate either as individuals, or on teams of two. During a recent episode one contestant was trying to get his partner out from under some pressure so he told her to just take her time. From the announcer’s booth one of the hosts quipped, “Yeah right…it’s not like this is a race or anything.”
I had to laugh because if I were a contestant I too would have slipped into the role of being an encourager by telling my teammates to take their time and just do their best.
I can almost hear the Apostle Paul groan, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1Cor 9:24 NIV)

September 06, 2013

Melodic Sounds

Walking through the park the other day the quiet stillness was interrupted by measured squeaking coming from the playground swings. Unlike the annoying squeak of a pulley in need of oiling, the swings rhythmic call brought back memories of youth, carefree summers and reaching for the sky. I continued walking and when I had a line of sight through the trees I could see a group of handicapped adults swinging and enjoying an unhurried field trip. For a moment I felt a little envious that, even at their chronological age, they were still enjoying their youth. “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”— (Eccl 12:1 NIV)

September 05, 2013

Ready, Set…Maybe Not

Last Sunday the preacher reminded us that even with Jesus preaching, not everyone was convicted. He went on to say, “Some people are just not ready, not open to the Lord.” For some reason this was one of those ah-ha moments. When my witnessing seems unsuccessful with friends and family I usually think of it in terms of rejection, rebellion and lack of understanding. I’m not so sure that I’ve ever looked at the lost sheep that I’m trying to reach as simply not being ready. What a relief. Just because I am ready and prepared to impart the WORD doesn’t mean my friend is ready to receive the Gospel. If a guy’s not ready, he’s just not ready.

September 04, 2013


I’ve been helping a couple of people update their resumes and both have worked for their respective companies for so many years that they have trouble recognizing their own value. For them, talking them through their talents, abilities and accomplishments is a real eye opener. They begin to realize they are much more than ‘just’ an employee, they are an asset. I can imagine David’s reaction to being labeled, “a man after God’s own heart” or Nathaniel being described as, “one in whom there is no guile”. I’m now beginning to think it might be a good idea if we all thought about updating our spiritual resumes. After all, we are more than ‘just’ a Christian.

September 03, 2013

Hedge of Protection

The last few years we’ve had a summertime problem with dogs using our yard as their personal rest station and in the winter kids use the low growing evergreens as a slope for sledding. It’s finally time to put up some chain link fencing, but the assumption that my problems would be solved were dashed when the estimator remarked, “Fencing won’t keep anything out; it only serves as a deterrent.” I think his observation can also have a spiritual connotation. Every once in awhile I mentally start building a spiritual fence thinking that it will somehow keep sin out. The conversation the between Satan and God over the man Job is a reminder that there is only one Master Fence Builder. “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.(Job 1:9-10 NIV)

September 02, 2013


Speaking to his disciples Jesus said, “…the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” (John 4:37-38 NIV) I find it interesting that most of us have determined in our own mind that our ‘mission’ is sowing. We seldom recognize reaping, whether it is in ourselves or in others and yet Jesus said, “I have sent you to reap what you have not worked for.”