Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Don't Worry Be Happy - Nature's Sunshine Employees Lip-Sync

Feeling blue and missing nature's sunshine? Then enjoy Nature's Sunshine employees lip sync rendition of Don't Worry, Be Happy. The 80s hairstyles and clothes alone should make you happy. Only 25 days till Spring!! Don't Worry - Be Happy!

Erosion of Loyalty

When I was young our family shopped at Lazarus, drove a Buick and bought gasoline at Sohio (BP). Today I shop at Target, drive a Toyota and get gas wherever. Also, when I was young we belonged to a denominational church. My mom still belongs to the same church today, but I’m part of a non-denominational church.

I guess I fit the profile of a recent Pew Survey that found that 44% of American’s have switched religious affliations. The report titled “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,” depicts a highly fluid and diverse national religious life. For at least a generation, scholars have noted that more Americans are moving among faiths, as denominational loyalty erodes. (Shifting Religions by Neela Banerjee, New York Times, February 25, 2008)

The report also noted groups that have gained the most people, in net terms, are non-denominational Protestant churches, which are largely evangelical and, in many cases, megachurches; Pentecostals; and the Holiness Church, also an evangelical denomination.

Prof. Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, said “The trend is towards more personal religion, and evangelicals offer that. Those losing out are offering impersonal religion,” he said, “and those winning are offering a smaller scale: mega-churches succeed not because they are mega but because they have smaller ministries inside.”

The point for me is that the church is to be so much more than a building, an organization and one hour on Sunday. It is you and I (1 Corinthians 12:27). We are his temple, all of us from the smallest to the biggest (1 Corinthians 3:16;6:19) Our hope of glory is not in the building we use but in the Master who is building His life in us.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

TOP TEN Things I Wish Jesus Had Never Said!

My wife, Carol, works at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. She and I both graduated from Cedarville. I better not tell you when since that might let you know how “old” she is. Ok, it was 1976. They had just dedicated the “old” Jeremiah Chapel which was a tremendous improvement from Alford Auditorium, but a far cry from the “ new” Jeremiah Chapel in the Dixon Ministry Center. Anyway, she is Dr. Bill Brown’s administrative assistant. Dr. Brown is the president of Cedarville University and speaks in chapel every Monday. She sent me one the Top Ten lists he shared with the students awhile back. He may have gotten it from the Victor Kulgin book, "Ten Things I Wish Jesus Had Never Said" or maybe Victor got it from him, but either way, here it is. It’s shared a bit facetiously, yet you’ll get the point. Be sure to read all the way through the list so you’ll see the one thing I’m glad Jesus did say.


10. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”

9. “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.”

8. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

7. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

6. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

5. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”

4. “If you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

3. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and his mother, his wife and his children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple.”

2. “Judge not, or you will be judged.”

1. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The "Pressure" of Perfection

It's only one day till Valentine's day. Wow, do you feel the pressure? I do. There is just so much pressure to be "perfect" no matter what realm of life we are talking about. We think we have to find the perfect gift, the perfect card, the perfect restaurant, etc. . . Wow, where did that come from?

Our drive for perfection "pushes" us in every realm of life even in our relationship with our God. We think we have to be perfect to come to him. For awhile we were lucky enough to have a house keeper. She would come in every other week, to dust, vacuum and clean every little corner of the house that you could think of. It was great but I felt like we had to clean the house for the housekeeper. After all I didn’t want her to think that we were slobs!

I know that sounds stupid but that’s exactly the way we act with God. We think we have to get our life “cleaned” up before we can come to Him. First understand you will never be good enough to come to God on your own. Second understand that God comes to you just the way you are.

According to the New Testament Jesus is attracted to the unattractive. One author put it this way. “He prefers the lost ones over the found ones, the losers over the winners, the broken instead of the whole, the messy instead of the neat and the crippled instead of the noncrippled. . . .Until we admit we are a mess, Jesus won’t even have anything to do with us. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead seek God.” Mike Yaconelli, “Messy Spirituality”

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Top Ten Things NOT to Give Her For Valentine's!

Just in case you forgot, there’s only one more “shopping” day before Valentine’s. So to help, let me share with you a few suggestions someone once shared with me. Hope it’s not too late!

Top Ten Things NOT to give her for Valentines Day:

10. Any food item with the words "diet", "light", or "high fiber" on the label.

9. A box of chocolates, clumsily rearranged to hide the fact that you already sampled a few.

8. Flowers from a hospital gift shop.

7. Anything you ever gave another woman, including your mother.

6. Any clothing item with the words "slim-down" on the label.

5. Any household appliance, power tool or other item from the harder side of Sears.

4. A gift certificate to a gym.

3. Cash.

2. Anything you could have bought at the gas station mini-mart on the way home.

1. An apologetic look and the words "That was today?”

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Jesus Can Take Care of It!

Carol sent me a devotional from Ron Hutchcraft's Ministries this week. It's entitled Taking Care of the Consequences. I appreciate Ron Huthcraft's ministries. I remember reading a great book he wrote about parenting, 5 Needs Your Child Must Have Met at Home.

In this devotional he shares the simple truth of Psalm 4:5 - "Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord." Do what is right, and trust God with the results. This was an encouragement to me because I am prone to feel I am responsible for the results, when all I am responsible for is my obedience.

You can read it below, and let me know what you think.

Taking Care of The Consequences, Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Our grandson was really concerned about me. Grandma was at his house, taking care of him while Mom and Dad were gone, and I wasn't able to be there. Grandma was lying in bed with our little guy, trying to help him get to sleep. But he had some questions first. "Are you going to stay at our house all night?" Well, Grandma assured him she was. "But who's at home with Granddad?" Grandma assured him I was there alone, but that I could handle it. "But isn't Granddad going to be lonely?" Again, Grandma told our grandson that I would be okay. And finally he thought of some childlike theology that allowed him to go to sleep that night. He said, "I know. Jesus will take care of him." And I can assure you He did!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Taking Care of the Consequences."

I think a lot of us could get to sleep a little more easily if we could rest our worries right where our grandson rested his, "Jesus will take care of it." That may be a childlike theology, but it's the secret to some grownup peace of mind.

I love the simplicity and the depth of a Bible verse that has only eight words in it, but those eight words say volumes. It's Psalm 4:5, our word for today from the Word of God. It simply says, "Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord." In other words, do what you believe God wants you to do, whatever it may cost and then trust Him for whatever consequences may come from your obeying Him.

So many people hesitate to do what God is telling them to do because they're worried about all the "mights," and the "coulds" and the "what ifs" that may happen as a result. It's like we answer God's leading with our list of what I call "yeah buts." "Yeah, but this might happen; yeah, but what if I don't get a good response; yeah, but what if the money doesn't come through; yeah, but what if there's a bad fallout from me doing what You want?" Do you know how many people have missed God's plan for their life because of the "yeah buts," their fears about the backlash, the risks, the bad reaction?

In fact, you may be holding back on doing what God wants you to do right now because of your fear of the consequences. Well, here is the liberating truth of the Word of God: the consequences of obeying God are God's responsibility! You offer right sacrifices, then you trust God for whatever happens after that. God's ancient people stood on the threshold of a glorious Promised Land that God was ready to give them, but they refused to go there because they feared all the bad things that might happen. So for forty long years, they got wilderness instead of Promised Land!

Peter got it right when he was wondering if he should step out of that storm-tossed boat and walk on the water with Jesus. He simply said, "Lord, if it's You, I will." That's the only thing you need to worry about, "Lord, if it's You..." If it's Jesus asking you to do this, go for it. The consequences, the unanswered questions, the resources that you have no idea where you're going to find, it's all up to Him. It's your job to obey.

That's why the old hymn bottom-lines it this way, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey." My grandson knows the answer when you're worried about things, "Jesus will take care of it."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What's Your Purpose?

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16.

What’s amazing about this verse is not what it says, but who it’s being said to. Moses, in speaking for God, is saying it to Pharaoh. It teaches us that no matter who we are, God's purpose is for us to proclaim His name in all the earth. The problem is we often get ourselves in the way of proclaiming His name.

Undoubtedly that’s what happened to Pharaoh. He was busy building a great name for himself, building magnificent buildings at the expense of others. God sent the plagues to Pharaoh, not just so he would let His people go, but so that Pharaoh would, even though unwillingly, proclaim God’s name as great in all the earth.

The apostle Paul reminds us that someday, “every knee should bow, . . .and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 The question I have is if someday we will all fulfill our purpose and proclaim His glory then why not willingly and why not now?