Timing March 21, 2017
When it comes to patience I am consistently inconsistent.  For example, I just do not get bent out of shape when made to wait as a customer.  I can be very patient as some poor clerk struggles to get through a transaction - usually with a difficult client.  I can wait - there are far more important things to fret about in this world.  However, such patience is not always evident.  I have a rather large, complicated program I use for sermon prep and study.  Several thousand texts are resident in the program and on start-up it can take several minutes, especially if a program update is underway.  It is not unusual for two or three other programs to be going at the same time on the three screens attached to the computer.  I will start a process on the Bible program but quickly become impatient with the slow response, switch to one of the other programs on another screen and quickly realize by doing so I inadvertently cancel the process started on the Bible software…


Prayer March 10, 2017
en·ig·mat·ic enəɡˈmadik/ adjective
difficult to interpret or understand; mysterious.
"he took the money with an enigmatic smile"
synonyms: mysterious, inscrutable, puzzling, mystifying, baffling, perplexing, impenetrable, unfathomable, sphinx-like, Delphic, oracular; cryptic, elliptical, ambiguous, equivocal, paradoxical, obscure, oblique, secret.
It's hard for even me to believe, but I've been in church leadership for over 40 years now.  That means countless sermons, thousands of Bible lessons, one-on-one question and answers, counseling, guiding, leading, teaching and sharing.  What never ceases to amaze me is how so many people - churched and unchurched alike - are intimidated by prayer.  Perhaps a few object, "Not me!  I pray all the time."
Be honest.  When was the last time you led prayer in church?
My experience and observation - the last is obviously subjective, I do not know the heart of man except my own, and evidence w…

Tap Dancing in Roller Skates

Tap Dancing in Roller Skates February 28, 2017
If you are old enough to remember, and I AM old enough, roller skates had a primitive ancestor to today's evolutionary masterpiece.  In those bygone days, it could be said that roller skate design was intended to weed out the weak - an intentional survival of the fittest.  Early designs were all-metal, with cleats on the front and straps in the back in order to clamp them onto your street shoes.  The rich kids, and I was NOT a member of said category, could afford to have actual shoes designed for skating.  The wheels were still metal, but you did not have to rely upon thin leather straps, and two half-inch cleats to hold the wheels onto your street shoes.  When new, the leather straps worked extremely well.  Invariably though, the cleats on the front would slip off the soles of my shoes and dangle by the leather strap around my ankle.  Normally, this was the cause of a spill, I would be on my back, blood oozing from several wounds a…

Raised Up to Look Up

Raised Up to Look Up February 7, 2017
I guess it's understandable.  After all, we are basically a sponge at birth - soaking up the stimuli afforded by the world around us.  We learn how to trust those around us to guide our way in the first years of life.  Then we spend the remainder of our lives learning how to distrust others.  This life is often contradictory in that manner.  Love is often the field upon which we battle with trust.  We learn to love and speak highly of it, yet as much as is written about love is equally testified to broken love, betrayal and withdrawal of trust. Still, we pursue love.  In the same way we pursue heroes to save us, kings to lead us and idols to inspire us.  Yet the same cycle exists, we discover or heroes have torn capes, our kings often lead where we are unwilling to go, and our idols are tarnished and brittle.  So, as trust is destroyed, we discover a new casualty in humanity's pursuit to create paradise on earth - truth. 
For this reason,…

December 19, 2016

December 19, 2016
If you consider the Bible from beginning to end, it's a pretty interesting journey.  The beginning - literally - The Beginning starts with beauty, grandeur and hope.  In those first few pages the universe is created, the earth is populated and God gives man a prime spot in creation..then man messes up.  A good portion of what follows is humanity making sure they are consistent in their rebellion.  The New Testament is like the first Star Wars movie - a new hope - His name is Jesus.  For the first time in millennia things have changed.  Still, things were going to be grim for humanity outside of Christ, and those in Christ were promised a tough job continuing Jesus' ministry of the Gospel.  So, we were given the final chapter - Revelation to motivate us through the mess.  I particularly like the final pages of Revelation - today's verse is especially inspiring.  Jesus is coming again...soon.  That was written 2,000 years ago.  I guess that when time is me…

Ten Thousand Blessings and Counting

Ten Thousand Blessings, and Counting November 24, 2016
This Thanksgiving is the first one in years without family.  It's easy to think of things to be thankful for when grandchildren, and children are running around - at least that's true in my situation.  I can imagine some folks distressed about family time.  So, I began the day with an ATV ride around the farm we are staying on.  I'm thankful for the ATV, the farm we are on, the hospitality of the folks who opened it up to us and that we close on our new home in just six days.  As I drove around giving thanks, it dawned on me how often gratitude is about things, and places, and sights and...well, material sort of things.  If we are to believe Paul in 1 Timothy 4:4-5, then I imagine people are something to be thankful for.  That's easy with my wife, my family and people who are easy to like - like much of the congregations(s) I am privileged to serve.  What about EGR (Extra Grace Required) people?  Surprisingly, esp…

One Thousand Blessings...and Counting - Election Day

One Thousand Blessings...and Counting Election Day November 7, 2016
We started a new sermon series on gratitude and thanksgiving yesterday.  A challenge was issued to begin keeping a daily gratitude journal.  We are calling them ALttitude journals - borrowing from Zig Ziglar:
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude."
Gratitude to one another is a very good thing, but gratitude toward God is the best of all things.  I don't think God gets enough thanks for what He does.  When we demonstrate gratitude toward God the Bible talks about running and not growing weary, rising up on wings like eagles, and Paul makes the observation that being grateful to God will provide the following, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  I don't know about you, but I really like that.  It would hurt me to be more grateful, to spend five minutes a day recording my gratitude in a journ…