Friday, December 26, 2008

What Did You Get for Christmas?

Do you remember what it was like as a child to wake up on Christmas day and go downstairs or out in the living room and see all the presents underneath and around the tree? You would open them up one by one, play with them for a while and then sometime before the day was up you’d phone your best friend and tell him everything you got. (I suppose now they just text message their friends while they are opening their presents.)

Well before we are too critical, that’s actually what the shepherds did after the very first Christmas. They didn’t text message their friends but they did return to their jobs, to their friends and even their family to tell that what they had heard and seen.

17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Could I pause here for just a moment? We have an awful lot of information floating around out there about how we should witness to others and share our faith. For many Christians I know that is one of the most terrifying things, to tell somebody else how they feel about Christ. And part of it is because we have misunderstood what it means to be a witness.

A witness doesn’t necessarily mean you have to know (1) the four spiritual laws or (2) the evangelism explosion presentation of the gospel or (3) the Romans road or (4) any of the other methods that have been created to put the gospel in some sort of format.

Witnessing merely means you tell somebody else what you has happened to you. On that night the shepherds, had heard and seen that a Savior had been born, to them, the lowliest and least likely of all people.

Next week when we return to work or even this weekend when we return to our friends or family, let’s commit to being a witness, a witness of the things that God has done for us.

20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Am Tankful For. . .

II know it's not Thanksgiving but I "stumbled" across this the other day and thought it was too good to wait to share next year so here it is today. It might be good to remember as we prepare our hearts for Christmas.

I Am Thankful For...

  • For the teenager who is not doing dishes but is watching TV, because that means he is at home and not on the streets.
  • For the taxes I pay, because it means that I am employed.
  • For the mess to clean after a party, because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.
  • For the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.
  • For my shadow that watches me work, because it means I am out in the sunshine.
  • For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.
  • For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means that we have freedom of speech.
  • For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking, and that I have been blessed with transportation.
  • For my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.
  • For the lady behind me in my place of worship when she sings off key, because it means that I can hear.
  • For the pile of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear.
  • For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been capable of working hard.
  • For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that I am alive.

and finally....

  • For too much e-mail, because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I'm Thankful For

I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3

Name one thing you can thank God for this year that you couldn't thank Him for last year. Here are a few of my thoughts...

One thing we can be thankful for is the price of gas. Who would have thought we would ever see gas prices under $2 a gallon, let alone $1.57?!

Another thing I am thankful for is that the elections are over. That means no more political commercials! (at least for a while).

Also, I am thankful for the prospects of a new roof, courtesy of Hurricane Ike.

As I reflect over this past year, I am MOST thankful for where the "journey" has taken me - a deeper relationship with the Lord, birth of Journey Church, and the MANY new & deeper friendships I have with people like YOU!

A year ago we prayed that if God wanted us to plant a church that He would provide three things: a people, a place and provision. Now, a year later, He has provided all three! How thankful I am to just be a part of His plan and to obey His command to "go into all the world and make disciples." (Matthew 28:18)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dance like no one is watching.
Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you've never been hurt and
live like it's heaven on Earth."

A while back I was faced with a difficult decision that required taking a risk. A friend of mine understanding my "fears" gave me a wall plaque that said "dance like no one is watching." I shared it Sunday to illustrate how the Holy Spirit can transform us with his power to do what we wouldn't do on our own, Acts 2:13-41. Little though did I realize it is part of a larger quote. Does anyone know who said it? His picture is next to the saying. Now all I need is the courage to sign up for dancing classes! Yea right

Friday, October 24, 2008

11 Days and Counting!

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad when this election is over. For me it’s been a pretty big “distraction.” Maybe that’s not a fair description but it’s on my mind almost all the time. I don’t like it but it’s hard to avoid, after all it’s everywhere, on the radio, on TV, and even in video games! (no kidding, there are billboard advertisements in some new video games)

It seems like people are desperate and even in despair about the future of our country and the results of the election. Well I am concerned about the future of our country, but I am not in despair. God is and will be in control regardless of the results of this or any other election. What I am concerned about is that politics seems to have become our (Christians) primary concern and calling. Politics is our concern, but it’s not our calling. Our calling is to be “His witnesses.” That’s what Jesus told his disciples on the day he was taken up into heaven. Acts 1:8

8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

At the time the disciples were being distracted by the politics of their day. They were wondering if this was the time Jesus was going to set up His kingdom. Jesus said, “that’s not your concern. What is your concern is being “my witnesses.” Look at it again. It’s as if Jesus were alive and speaking to us today.

6So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

My question today is, whose witnesses are you? Who do you tell people about? Who are you looking for to “save” you. I think the Psalmist had it right when he said,

7 Some trust in chariots, some in horses, but we truest in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

If the Lord is our Savior, then let’s be first and foremost His witnesses!

P.S. My name is not Barack Obama or John McCain but I approve of this message. Thanks

Monday, October 13, 2008

Think on These Things

Did you know the average person has over 1000 thoughts per hour. If he or she is writing the number of thoughts goes up to 1500. (No wonder we are tired by the end of the day.) What kind of thoughts do you think? If I'm not careful I focus on the things I've lost, rather than the things I have; the things that need to be done, rather than the things that are already done; the things I don't know, rather than the things I know.

Apparently I'm not alone. Look at what the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians in Philippians 4:8

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

He wanted to remind them and us that we need to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. But that's not easy, so after teaching this text I decided to start a journal called "think on these things." It's a place to record the "good" things God is doing in my life. It's amazing how many things I see now that I might have missed if I wasn't looking for them.

Up, Up and Away (sort of)

I've always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon, or at least I said I did, so when I saw one at Homecoming I thought, "here's my chance." I was sure it was my chance when I found out it was free! The only "hitch" was it was tethered. That means it was tied to four cars so you couldn't get any higher than 45 or 50 feet off the ground. Still it was FREE so why not. Besides I could get some pictures of the game from the air. Only disappointing thing was I couldn't get Carol to go with me. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fire Them All!

At least that’s what Barack Obama said we should do. Responding to John McCain's call for the firing of the chairman of the Security Exchange Commission, Christopher Cox, Obama called for voters to "fire the whole Trickle-Down, On-Your-Own, Look-the-Other-Way crowd in Washington who has led us down this disastrous path. Don't just get rid of one guy, get rid of this administration, get rid of this philosophy, get rid of the do nothing approach and put somebody in there who is going to fight for you."

In my humble opinion we should fire them all. That is everyone in Wall Street and everyone in Washington, Democrats and Republicans both. They have in essence all let us down. Their partisan politics is about to cost us 700 billion dollars and maybe more.

I know this is politics and I shouldn't’t be talking about politics but I think the lack of communication and trust in politics is really only symptomatic of what we see in every institution today including the church. We have let partisan politics divide the church and it’s institutions. It’s nothing new. Every church in the first century experienced it, even the church in Philippi.

Paul, when he dealt with conflict in the church said, I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord, Philippians 4:2. He doesn’t say what the conflict was nor does he say who is to blame but pleads with them BOTH, for God’s sake, to get along.

Whether in Washington or in the church there is plenty of blame to go around. Let’s stop pointing fingers and blaming each other and start being part of the solution. If we don’t it will cost us more than 700 billion it will cost the souls of millions of lost people who need to see us working together.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Like "Ike"

No, it's not a political statement, it's my opinion of the recent hurricane named Ike. I like Ike not because of the death and devastation it left in it’s path but because of the brief moment in time in which I experienced what it was like before electricity. I doubt I would ever want to go back to life in the “dark ages,” but there were some elements of not having electricity that I enjoyed.

For one I didn’t have to worry about answering any e-mails. (I was glad for my cell phone though) . . .For another I got to meet neighbors I haven’t seen all summer. It seemed like everyone and his proverbial brother was out looking at the storm. We sat out back for a little while and then Carol moved to the shelter of the front porch just in time to watch our neighbors chimney blow over. I told him he won for the house with the most damage. (I don’t know if he thought it was funny or not, but I tried)

Another reason I liked not having electricity is that we went to be earlier. We tried reading but that got tough with just candles. Eventually we gave in a went to bed, which made it easier to get up in the morning.

The power is came back on yesterday, almost 24 hours after it first went out, so guess what we did last night. We stayed up later than usual watching a tv in bed. Oh well so much for life in the “dark ages.”

How about you? Is your electric back on yet? I hope so. If not go to bed early and catch up on your sleep while you still can!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Would it be Wrong to Pray for Rain?!

I think it would, but not because I am for one candidate over another but because politics is out of control. We have made politicians our God. We look to them as if they can "save" us. G.K Chesterton, the great British theologian and pastor said, "Once we abolish God, the government becomes the God."

We shouldn't "worship" any politicial, neither should we dislike a politician so much that we pray for rain when he accepts the nomination for president from his party. Instead commit to praying "for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, . . " 1 Timothy 2:2

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Message in a Mug

A few weeks ago a friend dropped by my house. He and his wife had been to Starbucks (sorry Panera). While they were there they saw a mug that made them think of me, so they bought it. Then just a week ago another friend dropped by with the very same mug. He had seen it at a Starbucks out of town and thought of me, too. I guess there must be a message. Well, I think there is. It’s rooted in Philippians 3:12-14.

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The message for me is that I am supposed to live life looking ahead and not looking back. But according to the Apostle Paul that requires three decisions or disciplines.

First it requires the discipline of FOCUS, v. 13

“But one thing I do:”

One thing is a phrase that is repeated often in scripture. It’s something Jesus said to the self-righteous rich young ruler in Mark 10:21

21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

It’s something Jesus said to his friend Martha when she was stressed out over fixing food for him while her sister was setting and listening to him.

42but only one thing is needed.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

It’s also something that the man blind from birth said to his accuses after Jesus healed him, John 9:25.

25He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

Finally it’s something the Psalmist said in Psalm 27 when speaking of what was important to him.

4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

For the apostle Paul, his one thing was Christlike perfection, v. 12

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Second, it requires the discipline of FORGETTING, v. 13.

“forgetting what is behind. . . ”

This is the most difficult one for me. For some reason I have trouble letting go of the past. Maybe that’s the reason I connect so much with what Erwin McManus said in his book “Chasing Daylight.” He said, “I had things that wouldn’t let me go because I wouldn’t let go of them” (p. 18) Forgetting is a discipline. We have to choose to forget.

Third, living life looking ahead requires the discipline of FORGING AHEAD, v. 13b, 14.

“and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Paul uses two words here to communicate the discipline or effort required for him to make progress. First, he used the word translated "straining ahead". This is an athletic term, “straining ahead.” It’s a description of the kind of effort Michael Phelps used in winning the gold in the 100m butterfly. He didn’t glide in, but took one more stroke, making one last effort to push ahead.

Second, he uses the term “press toward” v. 14. Here he moves from the picture of an athlete to the picture of a hunter. The Greeks used it to describe a hunter eagerly pursuing his prey. It carries with it the idea of an intense endeavor.

Now when I drink from my mug, I'll be reminded by my friends and from Scripture that. . .

The past is over so. . . Forget it

There is a future so. . . Reach for It!

The plan is progress not perfection so. . . Start running!

Friday, August 15, 2008

News reader cannot stop laughing at model falling over!

Ever get one of those "laughing spells" where you just can't stop laughing. I have to agree with Todd Rhodes when he said on his blog Monday Morning Insight, ". .. It's usually when I haven't had or taken the time to laugh much, then the stupidest things make me laugh almost uncontrollably."

Well evidently that's what happened to these newsmen when they saw this girl on the runway fall. Warning: the laughter could be contagious.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Prayer is not the least we can do, it is the most we can do

A few months ago I sat with a friend in the hospital as he and his wife waited for the results of a cat scan. There was a possibility that it was something serious. Waiting in the hospital is such a helpless feeling. There nothing you can do but pray. I told him I wish I could do more, but then I was reminded of something I had just read, a statement that still resonates inside my head,

“Prayer is not the least we can do, it is the most we can do.”

For some reason we are driven “to do.” I don’t think that’s a bad thing but it should never take place of praying. Prayer reminds us that we need Him. (Philippians 4:13)

Well now, humanly speaking my friend justa got even more difficult news regarding his wife. I sat with him again and we prayed. After praying I said I wish I could do more and he reminded me that “prayer is not the least we can do, it is the most we can do.” If prayer is the most we can do, will you pray with me for my friend and his wife. Some of you may know him, his name is Glenn and his wife’s name is Chris. Thanks

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How Many Facebook Friends Do You Have?

Well, I only have 11, but I didn't have any a week ago. That’s because I just started facebook last week. I wonder how many friends the apostle Paul would have if he were on facebook. Friends are an important part of Paul’s life, in fact he mentions 28 of them in Romans 16:1-18. However returning to his letter to the Philippians, he says something rather interesting. He says, “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, . . I have no one else like him. . . Philppians 2:19,20.

I think there are three reasons Timothy was such a special friend. .

First he was a kindred spirit, v. 20

I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare.

The Greek uses the word “same souled”. Timothy’s same souledness (isopsuchos, 2473) made him a special friend, you know the kind that love you for who you are. That don’t put unrealistic expectations on you but appreciate you for your strengths and overlook your weaknesses.

Second he had a concern for others, 20.

I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare.

Paul carried a heavy burden of concern for the saints both at Philippi and everywhere else (2 Corinthians 11:27-28), thus it was a special encouragement for him to have someone like Timothy who shared the same kind of concern as he did for the saints, especially those of Philippi.

Two things marked Timothy’s concern.

First it was genuine. The word genuine means, authentic, open and real. Paul knew that Timothy’s concern was motivated by a genuine love for others. He had no ulterior motives.

Second his concern was unique in that it was not for himself but the sake of Jesus Christ. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ Philippians 2:21

Third, he had a servant attitude, v. 22

But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.

In those days when people visited prisoners who were held captive under Roman authority, which Paul was, they were often prejudged as being criminal types as well. Therefore, a Timothy exposed himself to great danger just by being near Paul. Timothy didn’t care, he still was committed to serving Paul, his spiritual father in the faith (1 Corinthians 4:17)

So what kind of friend are you? If Paul needed friends you and I need friends too. I hope you have a friend who is your kindred spirit, has a genuine concern for the things that concern you and will serve both with you in the work God has called you to do.

P.S. Hey, just for fun, write and tell me how many facebook friends you have.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

35 and counting!

No that's not how old I am. It's how many years Carol and I have been married. I used to think people who had been married that long didn't know how or at least didn't have the energy to enjoy life but that's not true. We proved it last monday when on our anniversary we did it all beginning with breakfast at Jack's Diner in downtown Columbus, followed by 9 holes of golf. (I won, but barely!) Then we went to G. Michael's for a great dinner followed this time by a little shopping at Easton followed by dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. Note in spite of the picture, we shared the desert!

Summer Reading

Ok, so I didn’t get all the reading done I wanted to on vacation but I did get some reading done and for what it’s worth, here are a couple of quotes that God hit me with while I was away. Maybe some day I'll write more about each of them since they all tell a story about the journey thus far.

God is more interested in the workman than the work, Warren Wiersbe, Be Joyful, p. 64

If we are going to seize divine moments, we must accept the reality that we have no control over many things. Erwin McManus, Seize the Moment, p. 68

I had stuff that wouldn’t let go of me because I wouldn’t let go of it.

. . .remember, though we are time travelers, we were designed to go forward, not backward. When you keep traveling backward, it tears away at your soul. Erwin McManus, Seize the Moment, p. 16

P.S. Thanks especially to my friend Aaron who reminded in a one of his posts of a book we read together. It’s one of those books that after you’ve read it you can’t stay where you are. Maybe that’s one of the reasons he’s on a journey “seizing his divine moment”

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sea's the Day

OK, that's not the way you spell "seize" but it works when you are at the beach, which is where we are this week. Yesterday we "seased the day," by spending the whole day at the beach. We walked on the beach, sat in the surf, and played in the sand. Then we went out to eat. There were 18 of us total. I could write more but I want to sea's the day today.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Share the Journey

This week we started vacation. Vacation for our family is a real time for connecting. . .connecting with family and with God. Besides my immediate family, Ben and Erin, Jonathan and Kayla, Tim and Matt, my brother and his family along with their three boys and my mom are coming. Also this year my “older” sister, Diane and her husband Mike are coming, too!

Besides connecting with family I am looking forward to connecting with God as well. Vacation for me is a major time of reflection. It’s almost like New Year’s. It’s a time I tend to look back as well as look ahead. A year ago I “got out of the boat” and resigned from a fairly comfortable position at a great church. I had sensed for a while that God had something else for us, and little did I know that it would be to plant a church in my home town with a special group of friends.

I doubt that I will get to them all but I brought a number of books I hope to get to read, some for the first time and others for a second time. Some of the books I brought are for the current sermon series at journey church. They are commentaries on the book of Philippians. Another one is a study in Proverbs that I hope to do with the family. Also, there are some books I hope to read for ministry and personal development. They include 7 Practices of Effective Ministry, by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner and Lane Jones, Disciples are Made Not Born, by Walter Henrichsen, The Disciplines of Grace by Jerry Bridges and Chasing Daylight by Ervin McManus. And, if I feel like it, a book by Peter Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Church.

I also brought some games which we love to play: Crowns. Phase 10, Skip Bo, Hit the Deck, Sequence and Dominos. Somehow, I think a week isn’t going to be enough time to it all, plus walk, swim and eat! But, we’ll sure give it a try. Meantime, I hope I’ll get a chance to share the journey some more with you when I get a chance.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We've Been Robbed!

Well not us but Carol’s Aunt. They broke into her house and stole the copper water pipes. They apparently broke in though a basement window and then proceeded to cut the pipe into smaller pieces with a bolt cutter. They cut them into pieces small enough to go inside a duffle bag and then walk out the back door leaving us a mess to clean up just a week before closing

Well there is a much more serious robber at work among Christians today. He is not stealing copper pipes but rather something much more valuable. He is robbing us of our joy. Paul addressed his joy-robbers in Philippians 4:2 Their names were Euodia (fragrance) and Syntyche (fortunate). For whatever reason they were not getting along, thus he appeals to them to agree or be of the same mind.

2Iplead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree (or to be the same mind) with each other in the Lord.

That mind, I think is the same mind or attitude that apostle Paul wants the Philippians to have is the mind of Christ, which is an attitude of humility, Philippians 2:5-8

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!@

But what does it mean to have an attitude of humility? I think it means three things. First it means to be selfless, v.6

6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

Jesus who is God and was God from the beginning, was selfless and willing surrendered his position of authority and power.

Second, I it is being a servant, v.7

7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

This is the great Kenosis passage. The phrase “made himself nothing” here in the NIV is only one word in the original. It means to “empty, or “to abase.” “To neutralize or make no reputation”

That doesn’t mean however that he ever stopped being God, when he became man. It simply means that he “voluntarily surrendered the independent exercise of His divine attributes.” He never ceased to possess them all, but he voluntarily put Himself under the authority of God the Father and the control of the Holy Spirit. Then after he emptied himself of all that he was he became a servant.

Third it means to sacrifice, v. 8

8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Many people are willing to serve others if it does not cost them anything. But if there is a price to pay they suddenly lose interest. Jesus “. . .became obedient to death-even death on a cross.” Dr. J. H. Jowett has said, “ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing.” Warren Wiersbe said, “If there is to be any blessing, there must be some “bleeding.”

Mark Driscol perhaps explained humility best when he gave 10 practical ways we can walk in humility. They are not his, but rather from a friend C. J. Mahanney. Let me share them with you.

10 Practical Ways to Walk in humility

1. Follow the truth wherever it leads. If the truth leads to you’re wrong then follow it. Don’t try and defend yourself. Follow the truth wherever it leads.

2. Invite and pursue correction and counsel. Ask people to tell you when they see sin in your life. Let them speak truth into your life and confront you of sin. And then when they speak don’t argue. Don’t talk a lot. Don’t blame shift, don’t change the subject. Don’t defend yourself and don’t shift the responsibility to someone else.

3. Learn from everyone. Even your critics and enemies have something to give you and if you are humble enough to overlook their pride, you can receive the gift they have to give you, which may be painful but it’s helpful.

4. Repent quickly and thoroughly. Don’t turn it into an enormous event. Don’t require a large number of people to get involved. Don’t force others to pin you to the mat before you give up. Just say, “I’ve sinned, I’m sorry, I’m changing, I have no excuse.

5. Seek and celebrate God’s grace at work in other Christians. God is at work in the lives of other people, seek it, encourage and nurture it. “I praise God.” “I see this in your life.” “I see what Jesus is doing in your heart.” “I see the ways in which you are growing.” Encourage and nurture that in others.

6. Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness. Thank people and thank God. And thank God for people.

7. Listen to Scripture more than yourself. We have a tendency to lie to ourselves, deceive ourselves, whine, complain, blame. We need to listen to Scripture, more than ourselves.

8. Exalt the name of Jesus in all you do. Don’t ask, “what’s best for me?” but “what’s best for Jesus and his people?” “What will make Jesus look good because he is good?” What will exalt the name of Jesus? What will enable Jesus to be seen as glorious as he is? The right answer is always the one that makes Jesus look the best.

9. Laugh. Proud people have no sense of humor. They are so serious and they especially can’t laugh at themselves. “How dare you mock me!” Humble people can laugh and do laugh at themselves.

10. Sleep. Proud people don’t sleep well. They are worried. “How will this work out?” “What are people thinking?” “What are people saying?” “What are people doing?” “How are people perceiving me?” “How are they responding to me?” “What do they want from me?”

One other thing humble people do. . .and it is the most important thing you and I can do today. . .It’s found in Philippians 2:9-11.

9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The most important thing we can do to walk in humility today is to confess Jesus as Lord. Romans 10:9

9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him for the dead, you will be saved.

There is coming a day when everybody in heaven and everybody on the earth and everybody under the earth (that is the dead) will confess Jesus as Lord. You and I have the opportunity to do it today and when we do we have the promise of salvation.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 4th Trivia

Just in case things slow down at the Barbeque today, here is some July 4th trivia that you can either use to entertain or bore your friends courtesy of the Dallas Morning News, July 3, 2004. Whatever you do don’t forget to thank God for our country and pray for it’s leaders. “I urge, then, first of all, that request,s prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that w may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1,2

July 4th Trivia

1. Which three presidents died on July 4?

2. Which president laid the cornerstone for the Washington Monument on July 4, 1850?

3. What was the title of the 1969 Broadway musical, written by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone, that told the story of the founding of the United States?

4. What city in the American South fell to Ulysses S. Grant and Union forces on July 4, 1863, after a short siege?

5. What twin advice columnists were born on July 4, 1918?

6. In one of the wildest baseball games of all time, the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves, 16-13, in how many innings on July 4 (and 5), 1985?


1. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (1826) and James Monroe (1831)

2. Zachary Taylor. He became ill with cholera that night and died five days later.

3. 1776

4. Vicksburg, Miss. It came a day after the Union victory at Gettysburg, marking a turning point in the Civil War

5. Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren (real names: Esther "Eppie" Lederer and Pauline Phillips)

6. 19 innings. The game ended at 3:55 a.m., and the Braves then fired off their Independence Day fireworks, leading many local residents to believe the city was under attack.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vanity Plates

Do you have a personalized license plate? If you do, what does it say? Chances are it say's something about who you are or what you love.

Imagine if they had personalized license plates in the first century. If they did, what do you think the apostle Paul's would say? Well I don’t think it would say anything about his position as an apostle, nor do I think it would say anything about him being the first missionary. Instead I think it would say something like. . .“4me2live.” That’s because of what he said in Philippians 1:21, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain." This was more or less his life’s motto or purpose as well as the secret to his joy.

What are you living for? Well if it is anything other than Jesus then to die is not gain but loss.

  • "For me to live is money, and to die is to leave it all behind."
  • "For me to live is fame, and to die is to be forgotten."
  • "For me to live is power, and to die is to lose it all."
  • "For me to live is possessions, and to die is to take none of them with me."

The apostle Paul on the other hand made Jesus his focus. That allowed him to have joy whether he lived or died, because dying only brought him more of what he loved, Jesus (John 14:3).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wild at Heart

Tim, our third son, is a “wild at heart” kind of guy. He’s been that way since he was born. He’s the kind of guy who on his first time skiing went straight down the hill instead of zigzagging like most skiers do. That made him the perfect choice to be the “skipper” of the solar powered boat that won the Solar Splash 2008.

Solar Splash is the World Championship of Intercollegiate Solar Boating, hosted by the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The solar boats are built and raced by the engineering students of their respective universities. Universities from as far away as Turkey and as large and respected as the University of Arkansas and Carnegie Mellon entered this year's competition.

Cedarville entered the Solar Splash competition for the first time in 1997. Since 2004 they have won the competition every year but one (they came in 2nd that year). Points are earned in 7 categories: Technical report, Visual Display, Workmanship, Sprints, Maneuverability, Solar Slalom & Endurance. Tim said the Endurance race was like Diddy Kong Racing (we knew playing all those video games would pay off some day!)

It proved to be a close race between Cedarville University and Istanbul Technical University with the University of Arkansas placing third. Congratulations to Cedarville University and the entire team of engineering students including Dr. Tim Dewhurst, professor of Mechanical Engineering, for a job well done!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stop & Smell the Roses

Last weekend on our "Destination Walking" we stopped to smell the roses at the Park of Roses in Clintonville. It was the weekend of the annual Festival of Roses. Before going on our walk we ate breakfast at Jack & Benny’s, a favorite breakfast spot near the OSU Campus. It was so crowded that we ate at the counter, right by the grill. Jack & Benny’s has been rated a Citysearch Best breakfast restaurant with serving breakfast all day. I would only give it a 3 ½ on a scale of 5. (My personal favorite is Tommy's Diner)

I like going to the Festival of Roses because it reminds me of my dad. Every Saturday I helped dad work in the yard which included tending a special rose bed by the garage. After we trimmed the roses we would have to put peat moss around them. Peat moss enriched the soil and made the beds more attractive (those were the days before mulch). Walking through the Park of Roses made for a nice way to remember my dad on Father’s Day.

Nearby the Park of Roses is what must be a 12,000 – 15,000 square foot home. Someone bought three houses and remodeled them into one big one. It’s not for sale, but I thought about buying it. Well, maybe not. The house across the street is for sale but it’s only 5,200 square ft. for only $585,000. I guess I’ll have to be content to just stop and smell the roses, which is a pretty good idea after all.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Power of Prayer

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. Philippians 1:18,19

I just got done praying for a friend of mine. I was supposed to pray from 11:30 to 12:00. His name is Stef Tarapchak. We prayed for him before. He is having his second surgery since being diagnosed with cancer almost a year ago. I’m just one of 45 others who have signed up to pray for him throughout the day. I’m sure there are many more praying for him both here and all across the country.

The apostle Paul knew the importance of prayer. He said it, along with the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, was critical for his joy and deliverance, (Philippians 1:18,19). If it was critical for Paul in the first century it is critical for us in the 21st century. I hope then you will take a moment to pray for Stef and Sandi and for the rest of their family and friends as we “wait upon the Lord.” Thanks.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Top 10 Things We’d Like to Hear DAD'S Say.

The boys get me a Father’s Day card every year. I suppose their mom makes them! One year they gave me an especially humorous one. I suppose it’s because it’s partly true. That’s what makes for good humor. Anyway, it was titled “10 things we’d like to hear Dad’s say.” I don’t know if it was a Hallmark Card or what, but here it is.

Top 10 Things We’d Like to Hear DAD’S Say.

10 Could you turn your music up LOUDER so I can enjoy it, too?

9 Curfew is just a general time to shoot for. I’m not running a PRISON.

8 I don’t mind air-conditioning the whole neighborhood! Leave the door OPEN!

7 Holding this REMOTE is such a burden. Somebody else take it for awhile.

6 Look’s like we’re lost. I’d better ASK for directions.

5 Make all the RACKET you want. I can sleep through anything.

4 My tools are YOUR tools. Help yourself.

3 Your taste in clothes is quite REMARKABLE.

2. While I’m gone please feel free to invite all your FRIENDS over.

1. Your chores can wait. Go have FUN.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Road Trip to Joy

Are you planning on taking a vacation or “road trip” this year? Well, we are. We’re going back to Holden Beach, North Carolina. We’ve been going there for at least 15 years. Prior to that we went to Atlantic Beach for 6 or 7 years and once or twice to Myrtle Beach.

The beach holds a lot of special memories for us. It’s a time for us to reconnect as a family and even as a couple. There are no distractions for us or the kids. All we have is each other and it’s great. Carol loves to sit at the beach and read. The boys love to surf in the ocean and play soccer on the beach and I love doing both.

But not all of our memories at the beach are “good.” Some of them are sort of scary. One of the scary memories is the time I got stuck in the middle of a school of jelly fish. They were swimming all around me. The crazy thing was I was on an old inner tube. I had fallen asleep and drifted out a little too far. Carol was afraid she was going to have to call the Coast Guard to come and get me. I didn’t want to get stung so I got up on my hands and knees to get out of the water. Have you ever tried balancing yourself on an inner tube in the middle of the ocean? Well, that didn’t work too well for me either so I finally got back on the inner tube and swam away as fast and as hard as I could.

Another almost tragic memory is the time my sister-in-law nearly drown. My brother had gone out to “rescue the boys”, he has three and I have four, from going out too far. They were out on a sand bar and the tide was coming in. It got too deep for her so he sent her in while he went on to get the boys. She fell off the sand bar and got caught in the incoming tide. I was further up on the shore and didn’t realize there was a problem until I heard her calling my name. I thought she was just kidding around until I saw her go under. Finally I realized she was in trouble, so I grabbed one of the boy’s boogey boards which I brought out “just in case,” and swam out to her. We both hung on to the board and “swam” in together. The boys and Dale made it in safely too for which we are all grateful. In spite of all that, the beach is still a place that holds great memories.

I wonder then if that isn’t the way the apostle Paul felt when he said to the Philippians, in spite of everything that happened in Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you” Philippians 1:6. Truth is not everything that happened to Paul in Philippi was "good," at least not on the surface or at the moment. First, Paul never wanted to go to Philippi. His plan was to go to Asia. But God prohibited him from going where he wanted to go and sent him instead to Macedonia and ultimately to Philipi. Acts 16:6-12

Second, once he got there, it wasn’t what he thought it was. How many times has that happened to you? Plenty, I bet. Anyway, in a dream used by God to direct Paul, he saw a man begging him to come to Macedonia, but when he got there he didn’t find a man, instead he met a woman. Her name was Lydia. Scripture describes her as “. . .a worshipper of God.” She then became his first convert.

More tragic than all that is the fact that Philippi is also the place where Paul and his missionary companion, Silas were beaten and thrown into jail. Paul had cast out a demon in a slave girl which incensed her owners. Consequently, they had Paul and Silas arrested, beaten and thrown in jail. Yet, in spite of it all, Paul said, “I thank my God every time I remember you

The reason is found in verse 12 of Philippians 1. Paul didn’t look at what happened to him in the past or the present as an obstacle but as an opportunity. He didn’t see the cup half empty but half full. Look what he said in this verse. He said, Now I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel.” Paul and Silas, BECAUSE they were beaten and thrown into jail, were put in a place where they could save both the physical and spiritual life of the Philippian jailer, Acts 16:29-34.

Let me ask you (and myself for that matter) a question. What closed doors in life have you experienced that though at the moment were disappointing, resulted in you doing something else or going somewhere else for which you are grateful today? Maybe a better question is what closed doors are you experiencing right now that if you knew God was at work directing and redirecting for His purpose and your good, would help to restore your joy? Well, I want to remind you (and myself) that God is at work in your life both opening and closing doors in order to direct your steps and you can and will someday look back and be able to thank God “every time I remember. . .” even the closed doors of life.