Thursday, July 14, 2016

Changing Seasons

As seasons change, it signals the reality of a changing world, a world that never stops.  A world that’s neither constant nor static. It reminds us that we live in a world that’s always on the move.  Did you know that an object on the Earth's equator that moves once around the Earth's circumference travels the distance of about 24,901 miles per day at the speed of 1,040 miles per hour?  This reality only reminds us that life is moving fast.  So fast, that many are no longer enjoying the ride.  According to, on average, 1 person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes.

Let’s face it; many people today are getting sick as they take the ride of life: depression, anxiety, worry, fear, sleeplessness, drug addiction, alcoholism and the list goes on and on.  Our health is on a path of rapid decline.  Some are so distraught that their jumping off the ride midway through and exiting the journey altogether by committing suicide.  Afflictions that used to hit people in midlife are now a reality for many younger people today.  These are all signs of a world spinning dangerously out of control.  How about your life?  How’s the ride?  Are there any signs of distress on the horizon?

Forecast: Life doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. 

One suggestion:  in a rapidly changing world, one moving at warp speed, look for the One, the only One who is unchanging, constant, sure, and certain.  Find the One who lives in the quiet green pastures of peace, hope, love, and happiness, where sickness and death no longer exist, and real life is worth the ride.  It’s your choice…

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 
Hebrews 13:8 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Is It 2 Late Now 2 Say Sorry?

I give Justin Bieber credit.  He seems to be asking the only question everybody wants to know the answer…just ask Steve Harvey, comedian, game show and talk show host, and now the infamous host of the Miss Universe pageant. Let me ask, “Can anybody make a mistake today and be forgiven?  Is human error today now beyond repair?”

Nobody feels worse than Steve Harvey about “his” mistake.  Miss Universe, I understand your hurt, embarrassment, pain, humiliation, and disappointment; yet it doesn’t rival that of Mr. Harvey’s.  Without minimizing your pain and suffering, or sounding heartless, Mr. Harvey’s mistake doesn’t change the reality that more votes went to Miss Philippines than to you.

In life, mistakes happen.  Human error occurs.  Wrong behavior stings.  “Stuff” happens, and we have to deal with it.  I say, “Well done Mr. Harvey”.  You made a mistake in front of the world.  You stood on a world stage alone, and confessed your mistake, you owned it, you apologized for it, you corrected it, you tried to rectify it, you consoled the ones hurt by it, and you pleaded for others not to compound it by blaming others.  Mr. Harvey, your character shined like a star in the darkness.  You were the winner that night by teaching a relentless, unforgiving, quick to joke, quick to blame world, what maturity and character really looks like under pressure.  All of watched and were relieved that it wasn’t us in your situation.  But we’ve all been there, just not under the bright lights of a world audience which makes your response even more incredible. 

But now let’s see how Miss Colombia responds to the pain and suffering she endured that night.  Or let’s see how Miss Philippines handle’s her misfortune quickly turned to joy.

So far, the only behavior worthy of recognition that night is the one who made the mistake.  The media couldn’t wait to broadcast it, twitter couldn’t wait to make fun of it, the promoters couldn’t wait to cast blame, and the networks couldn’t wait to capitalize on it.  And Mr. Harvey, well, he couldn’t wait to apologize for it and do his best to make it right. 

Every athlete knows the sting of a bad call that cost them the game.  Ask Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga who lost his perfect game on the last play of the 9th inning because Jim Joyce blew the call at first base.  The runner was clearly out, but the umpire called him safe.  The replay doesn’t lie. 

Well, I say watch the replay of the pageant once again, and tell me what you see.  I saw a real man, really sorry, really working hard to clean up his mess.   As long as there are humans, they’ll be human error.  Sorry!
Thank you Jesus for your gracious and compassionate gift of forgiveness!  Thank you Jesus, that with you, it’s never too late to say sorry.   Thank you for freeing us from our shame, guilt, pain, and humiliation.

Jesus said to them, "All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!" John 8:7
Merry Christmas everyone! 

Celebrate the Savior of the world, and His free gift of forgiveness & eternal life!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Super Success

Test time!  What are the 5 things that “Super Successful” people do before 8am?  Most people would be frozen, paralyzed, right?  Did you say before 8am?  Well, here are the 5 things hyper-successful people do before 8am according to an article by Forbes:

1. Exercise   2. Map Out Their Day   3. Eat A Healthy Breakfast   4. Visualization   5. Make Their Day Top Heavy

It’s “Fuel & Focus.”  These principles are no secret to hardened followers of Jesus Christ.

Exercise, A Healthy Breakfast, and Visualization speak to “Fuel” for the day.  Before 8am the ultra-successful have already serviced their body, mind and soul.  “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” Mark 1:35.  The hike to a quiet place to meet with His Father wasn’t mindless meditation or meaningless visualization but focused conversation about the day.  Jesus started each day, early, very early, while it was still dark, fueling his body, his mind, and his soul for a full day of successful service. 

With the Father’s direction, He Mapped Out His Day, Making His Day Top Heavy, the “Super Successful’s” way of saying, “I’m focusing on the most important things first.”  Fuel & Focus make for powerful results!  Show me a spirit-filled, spirit-led follower of Jesus and I’ll show you a “Super Successful” person.  It’s that “before 8am” that bothers me…that “very early in the morning, while it was still dark.” 

Let Jesus have the first crack at you before the day’s begun and let “super success” be your result!

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
                                                                                                                                 Psalm 34:8

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Great Debate

What makes for a great debate?  Is it the topic?  Is it the moderators?  Is the participants?  Is it the hype?

One of history’s all-time greatest debater’s was the Apostle Paul.  He was so good that he was able to convince multitudes of something that seemed impossible, that is, that God raised Jesus from the dead.  That’s right! 

So what was it that made him so successful?  Was it his extensive education and training as a teacher of the law and as a debater?  Was it his privileged upbringing as a Roman citizen and being such a respected member of that society?  Maybe it was simply his ability to relate well to the people in his culture.  Paul’s challenge and topic of debate was to try and persuade unbelieving people to believe in a real-life resurrection.  Good Luck!

In this season of elections, the principles of effective debating have been overrun by personality, money, boisterous language, personal attacks, bias media, and most importantly hardened hearts.

Hear and listen to the Scripture:
2 And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ."  Acts 17:2, 3

Certainly the Apostle’s credentials matter, his status, his personality, his education, and his love for God’s law, but Paul’s dependence on truth is what ultimately made the difference in persuading others concerning the resurrection.  Let’s face it, Paul had the facts on his side and simply “explained” (to open up completely) and gave “evidence” (to set beside) to the truth.  He laid out all the facts, like a person laying out the pieces of a puzzle, each piece laying side by side, different shapes with different tones and colors to tip off the placement of each piece into one giant, complete, cohesive picture.  And the finished picture doesn’t lie.  Truth never lies. 

Get past the personalities, the hype, the language, the attacks, the bias, and develop a soft and playable heart that sees and hears the truth of God.  A great debate is when truth is seen and understood, not simply with the mind, but with the passion of the heart, a passion that receives it, lives it, and shares it with others.

and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you...  Ephesians 1:18

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

“Words Mean Things”

Because words have meaning, words ultimately change opinions.  Words are positively powerful in the mouths of the wise, but to the foolish, words are an opportunity to deceive, trick, manipulate, and destroy. 

Words are the avenue by which people honestly communicate their values, desires, likes and dislikes, passions and pains, victories and triumphs.  But what if the one communicating wishes to change opinions by hiding the truth, manipulating the data, bending the facts, or twisting the reality?

Case in point:  we should be disgusted with the poacher who broke the rules to kill a big game lion in Zimbabwe.  Our moral compass tells us so, but should we sympathize with the killing of Cecil the Lion because the media humanizes his lion cubs by calling them his children?  And that his children are now fatherless?  Does the media intend to communicate the truth of the story by turning Cecil the Lion into a sympathetic human figure instead of presenting him as the animal he is? Cecil, the animal, rules his large harem of lioness’ with brutal selfishness, kills rivals with grotesque force, and would pounce on any human being crossing his path by going straight for the jugular.  That’s hardly humane, probably pure animal.   Beware of the Lions, who are the media.

Case in point:  When a doctor, in his own words, talks about harvesting aborted babies body parts and selling them, the alarm on our moral compass goes off.  When a doctor, in his own words, talks about removing the fetus in such a way that it stays intact so that the worth of the parts are more valuable to sell, our moral and human sensitivities are awakened.  Describing a growing life inside the womb as a fetus and its tissue as fetal matter only disguises the truth and facts of what’s really happening.  Doesn’t science and technology in the 21st century now give us a clear picture into what’s happening in the womb?  Are the pictures from an expectant mother’s sonogram not clear enough?  Do mini-cameras inside the womb not tell the story accurately?  Doesn’t the value of the body parts being sold speak to the value of the life itself?  When a doctor delivers the “aborted fetus” so that it stays intact don’t we call that intact fetus outside the womb “a baby”?  Words mean things.  They change opinions.  Don’t be fooled by those wishing to deceive you. 

Shame on the media for taking an animal and portraying him as a human while taking a human baby and portraying him as mere fetal tissue.  Words are powerful.  Be on guard.  Choose your words purposefully.  Listen carefully to others.  Be wise with your words if you want to positively change the world.

So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.

See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!   James 3:5

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


I hear people say all the time, “I don’t care what anyone thinks.” But the research and science would beg to differ.  In the book, entitled, “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives,” the authors make the suggestion that everything we think, feel, and do are connected to that of our friends three levels removed; in other words, your happiness depends in part on your friends’ friends’ friends.

Here are the facts of one study:  if someone becomes overweight, their friends were 57% more likely to become obese, and the friend of the friend of that obese person was about 20% more likely to become overweight.  The same kind of influence happens in the case of a friends’ friends’ friend who smokes.  So how do your friends influence your language?  Your relationships?   Your sexual behavior?   Your spending habits?

Is it possible that maybe we do really care what are friends say and think?  The evidence is strong.  If our friends “like” it, it changes our behavior.  We love the “Like” button or a favorable comment on a post.  But sometimes being a real friend means disliking, rejecting, or standing against something that contradicts your own values and beliefs. 

I get it, it’s easy to get caught up with the crowd, go with the flow, and not want to make waves.  But if we want to promote positive change in our social circles, whether personally or online, maybe a little more discretion is necessary before we hit the “like” button? 

Dear friend, don't let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God's children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God." 3 John 11


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

“Medical Christianity”

So I was having trouble with my sinuses.  The pain and discomfort was unbearable.  I was soon referred to a specialist every few months to get shots deep inside my nose cavity near my sinus passages.  I was less than thrilled as you could imagine; however, before administering the shots, the doctor numbed my nose by packing it with gauze coated with cocaine.  Knowing that as a pastor I might be concerned, the doctor simply told me; if anyone questioned my use of cocaine, just tell them, “I’m a user, not an abuser.”

In a day where everything has a “medical” solution, one might want to stop and consider what that means.  As it relates to drug use, it’s not the use of an effective drug we should question, but whether it’s the right drug.  If marijuana has a medical benefit, by all means, put it in the doctor’s bag for possible and appropriate use.  What we should question, however, is whether such drugs are being used effectively or simply being abused.

As a Christian, I wish I could just take a pill that would make me the perfect follower of Jesus.  A medical solution to my constant struggle with sin would be great.  Pop a pill and the pain and discomfort of my bad choices would be gone.  How perfect!  I’m the proud owner of a “Medical Christianity Card.”  

Thank God for medication, like cocaine, that can numb your body, and when used, not abused, contributes to the quality of our lives.  If marijuana has medical rewards, let’s use it, but be careful not abuse it.  Recreational use of drugs is harmful to you and everyone around you. 

If you need a drug to deal with real physical pain, a medical doctor can prescribe a solution, but if your pain is coming from a deeper place of emotional hurt or distress, masking it with a pain killer, recreational drug use or a trip to the bar downtown, is only a temporary fix.  What you need is the Great Physician.  He can heal every pain, physical and spiritual, emotional and mental.  The best drug in the world today is Jesus Christ!  Before the pain and discomfort of everyday life becomes unbearable, let me refer you to Dr. Jesus.  He’s the specialist you need!

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 

Matthew 11:28 (NLT)