Who Are We Listening to?

May 9, 2022

I wonder if you have heard this story: There was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. He was hard of hearing and had no radio and he had trouble with his eyes so he read no newspapers, but he sold good hot dogs. He put up signs on the highway telling how good they were. He stood by the side of the road and cried: “buy a hot dog, mister?” And people bought. He increased his meat and bun orders, he bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.

He finally got his son home from college to help him out. But something happened. His son said “father havent you been listening to the radio? Havent you been reading the newspapers? There is a big depression. The European situration is terrible. The domestic situation is worse” Whereopon the father thought “Well my son has been to college, he reads the newspapers, and he listens to the radio, and he ought to know”

So the father cut down on his meat and bun orders, took down his advertising signs and no longer bothered to stand on the highway to sell his hot dogs. And his hot dog orders fell almost overnight. “You are right son” the father said to the boy, “we certainly are in the middle of a great depression”

How many times are we told in scripture that we are in this world and not of it. How many times are we told to follow the Holy Spirit, to do God’s will . But how many times each day do we listen to the naysayer and follow what the world is telling us and not what God is telling us. This story is a good example of following the world and not what is right and what we are called to do and be. It can be depressing if we listen to the loud clatter of those who would tell us how to think.

Think back, how many times EACH DAY do you listen to and react to what you hear and see in this world. If that is your frame of reference, what a negative stressful life it can be. But I like to think that we, as Christians, and yes I am painting a broad brush, live in the Kingdom and are guided by a God who created us , loves us and wants the best for us.

We don’t have to look far to see the ungliness and evil in this world. The uprising in Ukraine, slaughter in Somolia. But we can also focus on our own backyard. Children held as sex slaves. Fathers that killl their spouses and children. Public figures who seem to have everything, dying of drug and alcohol abuse. Doctors who perscribe medicines to those with influence to keep their business. Pharmacies that dispense more than the perscribed dosage “to do a favor” for the same reason.

So what are we to do, look the other way and say “that is not our problem?” Mayb we can take to the streets to protest what is wrong with our world. Or maybe we do as Jesus commanded his disciples to do, shine our light in the world and bring people to Christ one at a time. By living in the world we are called to feed the hungry, give the thirsty something to drink, cloth the needy, take care of the sick (Matthew 25:34-37)

Jesus said, “enter through the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to distruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” My point is that we cannot save or change everything in the world, but we can influence the person in front of us, the people we meet each and every day. And most important, we can pray for all those who suffer, and yes, for those we may classify as evil. Pray for this world that the Prince of Darkness be defeated. That defeat will come because we have a weapon that cannot be stilled and that is love. The love that God has for all his creation, the love that we have as followers of Christ, that we show in all that we do. We must keep the faith!…Amen

April 4, 2022

This is what it is all about

This month we go from the last weeks of Lent to Easter and Resurrection Sunday, April 17th.

Easter week is so meaningful to me and to so many. Starting with Palm Sunday. We recognize Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the people celebrating as He rode into town on a donkey (he was mocking the Roman Generals – that is another story). Everyone was convinced that He was going to take power and drive the Romans out and become the leader of the people. Of course they got it wrong. Some understood why He came but not even all the disciples were fully aware of His mission.

The next day Jesus went to the temple and saw the people changing money and selling doves for the sacrafice. He drove them all out. The next day Tuesday He went to the temple again and was confronted by the chief priests and elders. They challenged him upon what authority he was doing those things. They left confused as to where he was coming from. Wednesday He and his disciples were preparing for the Passover. He tells many parables at that time.

Thursday was the Passover Feast. Jesus gathered His disciples in the Upper Room And gave them the new Covenant. Then He passed the bread and the cup and said to them “this is my body and blood which will be sacrificed for you and for many” Then He led them to the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed for God to take his burden from him. But in a statement that all of us should live by He said: “Father take this cup from me, yet but not my will but what you will”

Jesus was captured, tried and convicted. The Romans didn’t want anything to do with what would happen to Him so they turned Him over to the crowd. On Friday they nailed Him to a tree to die. He said, again a lesson for all of us: “Father forgive them for they do not know whaat they are doing”. The nineth hour Jesus cried out “Father why have you forsaken me?!” He then said “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” Then he died. He was buried in a borrowd grave.

On Sunday the woman prepared spices and went to the tomb to anoint the body and found that the stone had been rolled away and all that was in the tomb were the buriel clothes. They saw two angels who said why are you looking for Him, He as risen just as he said.

We now celebrate the Risen Christ…Happy Easter. Amen

Filtering the news

March 1, 2022

I know some people that have about decided to not read the newspaper anymore. They say that it is so depressing to read about all the hate, abuse, war, and man’s inhumanity to man. Right now, the news is dominated by Russia’s attacking Ukraine. We need to keep up to date but sometimes I wonder if we should just turn off the tv, not read the newspapers..

I agree that a lot of it is very disturbing if not depressing. The same with the evening news. ..it seems like the local stations must start the news with 3-4 stories that catch our attention (read: burglary, murder fire, auto accidents) After you get through all that, maybe you get some interesting stories about people doing neat things, helping other people or achieving success in an endeavor.

I remember some radio stations that had only “good” news. Unfortunately they didn’t last long. But there are Christan radio and tv stations that have good inspirational programming. But I ask you as I would ask on a telephone surveyor man in the street interviews, who but Christian folk tune into these programs.??

What is wrong with all that you say? Let me set a scenario for you. A man or woman comes home at night after a hard day of work. He or she is tired,, maybe have had a bad day or not. Life is not what they thought it would be. Then they pick up the newspaper or turn on the tv and what do they get? All the bad news. How is that going to help them regroup for the next day’s work and stress… it is not… and every day that this happens they will get more and more discouraged about life.. If they are in the majority, they probably don’t even know about Christian programming,

This is an oversimplification , but I think that those of us who have The Lord and Savior to count on each and every day, who have Christian friends that we can talk to in any situation, just don’t understand the cloud that so many people walk under each and every day. We know that we are in the world but not of it. We know that this is our temporary home and our true home is in eternity.

But Christ said to us that while we are here we are to bring the Good News to people that are of this world. In this space we have talked about ways to do this, but I want to focus on bringing the good news of the wonderful things that people are doing each and every day. The inspirational stories , the feel good stories. And to do it in part through the media. We can call or write our local TV stations and ask them to run more positive programming. You can write letters to the editor of the local newspaper and ask the same thing. Say to them that you will bring stores to them to broadcast or to print.

This is just an idea. A way maybe to help those unknown people who carry a burden around each day. Like I have said, we have talked about different ways to reach the lost and the least, but everything we can do to bring the Good News to hurting people, is another step in carrying out Christs commission to us all. Amen

What would Jesus Think?

February 4, 2022

I wonder what Jesus would think if he looked at the world today? I have read in the last few weeks of 3 instances of spouses killing their partners and the children. We have heard in the news of a man who killed a 17year old boy who was walking to the home where he was staying. We read of young girls being shot for no reason. We read of men who were laid off or fired returning to their place of work and shooting their supervisor and any one else they could before killing themselves. We also saw in the news that a police chief days from retirement, was killed and other officers wounded when they went into a house for a drug arrest.

I know that these things have gone on before. But I ask are people more prone to violence now than 10-20 years ago, or is it more publicized? May I offer the opinion that people today are more insensitive to human life than they used to be.That people who kill other people do not have the remorse you used to see in those who took another life. I see that so many more people are self-absorbed. They have a me first attitude now more than ever.

If that is all true, Why? What are the factors that make people so insensitive to others and to the consequences of their actions? Obviously my take on this is that our society is becoming a society where morals and responsibility are character traits that are not valued. Where can we begin to develop character and responsibility? First in the home ..Parents who demonstrate good citizenship, responsibility, self reliance honesty, will have a positive influence on their children’s lives.

It is like the father tells his son not to lie. The next day the dad decides not to go to work. The phone rings and the son goes to answer it. The dad tells him “if it is my boss tell him I am not here.’ What impression is that on the child? Parents can demonstrate good citizenship when they see that their children go to school, do their homework and do what they are told. I was at my children’s school many years ago. I was in the nurses office (she did phyiscal exams for my clients), talking about an upcoming appointment. A young man came into the office saying that he was sick. The nurse examined him, took his temperature and had him lay down so she could observe him for a little while. After 15-20 minutes when it was clear that he was in no shape to go back to class, she called his mother to come take him home. The mothers answer was “this is school time and he is your responsibility” I was stunned. Here was a mother that didn’t have time to pick up her sick kid. What kind of attitude do you think that boy is going to have as he grows up with that example of love and concern.

Elton Trublood the Quaker Theoogian, writes in his book A Place to Stand, “what we desperately need is the literature of witness in which men who have reached a firm place to stand, are able to tell us the road by which they have come and why it was taken” Dr.Trublood takes the tack that we have something on our hands much more serious than we have ordinarily supposed. “Failure to honor particular moral standards is one thing, rejecting the very idea of a moral standard is another” Even though Dr.Trublood wrote these words many years ago, he certainly touches on a symptom of what is wrong with todays society that has come to a point of not honoring moral standards but not even having them.

Our next and I think the most important positive influence we can have on those we come in contact with, is by our actions as Christians. If people see us being kind, considerate helpful and caring, maybe they will want to emulate our behavior. A while ago I read in China, when a person joins the church, and commits their life to Christ, the change in them is so great that friends and neighbors ask what is different about them. The new Christian then explains their new found relationship with Jesus Christ. What a tool of evangelism –the way we act toward other people.!

We cannot bemoan and just look away what we see in human relationships today. We are called as Parents, educators, leaders to be the kind of persons that those around us want to be like.. if we show that example , if we promote people that have those positive characteristics ,if we encourage our children, friends and neighbors to be better citizens, then we may make a difference that will eventually be felt throughout our nation. Amen

What would Jesus Think?

February 4, 2022

I wonder what Jesus would think if he looked at the world today? I have read in the last few weeks of 3 instances of spouses killing their partners and the children. We have heard in the news of a man who killed a 17year old boy who was walking to the home where he was staying. We read of young girls being shot for no reason. We read of men who were laid off or fired returning to their place of work and shooting their supervisor and any one else they could before killing themselves. We also saw in the news that a police chief days from retirement, was killed and other officers wounded when they went into a house for a drug arrest.

I know that these things have gone on before. But I ask are people more prone to violence now than 10-20 years ago, or is it more publicized? May I offer the opinion that people today are more insensitive to human life than they used to be.That people who kill other people do not have the remorse you used to see in those who took another life. I see that so many more people are self-absorbed. They have a me first attitude now more than ever.

If that is all true, Why? What are the factors that make people so insensitive to others and to the consequences of their actions? Obviously my take on this is that our society is becoming a society where morals and responsibility are character traits that are not valued. Where can we begin to develop character and responsibility? First in the home ..Parents who demonstrate good citizenship, responsibility, self reliance honesty, will have a positive influence on their children’s lives.

It is like the father tells his son not to lie. The next day the dad decides not to go to work. The phone rings and the son goes to answer it. The dad tells him “if it is my boss tell him I am not here.’ What impression is that on the child? Parents can demonstrate good citizenship when they see that their children go to school, do their homework and do what they are told. I was at my children’s school many years ago. I was in the nurses office (she did phyiscal exams for my clients), talking about an upcoming appointment. A young man came into the office saying that he was sick. The nurse examined him, took his temperature and had him lay down so she could observe him for a little while. After 15-20 minutes when it was clear that he was in no shape to go back to class, she called his mother to come take him home. The mothers answer was “this is school time and he is your responsibility” I was stunned. Here was a mother that didn’t have time to pick up her sick kid. What kind of attitude do you think that boy is going to have as he grows up with that example of love and concern.

Elton Trublood the Quaker Theoogian, writes in his book A Place to Stand, “what we desperately need is the literature of witness in which men who have reached a firm place to stand, are able to tell us the road by which they have come and why it was taken” Dr.Trublood takes the tack that we have something on our hands much more serious than we have ordinarily supposed. “Failure to honor particular moral standards is one thing, rejecting the very idea of a moral standard is another” Even though Dr.Trublood wrote these words many years ago, he certainly touches on a symptom of what is wrong with todays society that has come to a point of not honoring moral standards but not even having them.

Our next and I think the most important positive influence we can have on those we come in contact with, is by our actions as Christians. If people see us being kind, considerate helpful and caring, maybe they will want to emulate our behavior. A while ago I read in China, when a person joins the church, and commits their life to Christ, the change in them is so great that friends and neighbors ask what is different about them. The new Christian then explains their new found relationship with Jesus Christ. What a tool of evangelism –the way we act toward other people.!

We cannot bemoan and just look away what we see in human relationships today. We are called as Parents, educators, leaders to be the kind of persons that those around us want to be like.. if we show that example , if we promote people that have those positive characteristics ,if we encourage our children, friends and neighbors to be better citizens, then we may make a difference that will eventually be felt throughout our nation. Amen

A Good New Year Resolution

January 4, 2022

Reflecting on this time of year and the Christmas celebrations just past, and those for whom this last Christmas was not a wonderful one. I called or emailed too many of my friends and acquaintances that went through their first or 2nd Christmas without their spouse or a child. If you know of someone who is going through this time, a note or a phone call just to say I am thinking of you, means a lot. …please hesitate to say, “what can I do” or “how can I help” Your presence or you’re reaching out in an expression of love and concern is the best gift you can give them,

Also, I reflect on the year ahead. We make resolutions to “do better” or to get healthier or to eat right or…..well you get the idea. This reflection brought to mind things that we can say and do in the new year that will make those we meet feel better. Here Goes: Comfort them: is to sooth in a time of grief or fear, Concern, regard for the interest of someone else; Care. an object of our source of worry attention. Try to be a rainbow in some one’s cloud; Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up; Never ruin an apology with an excuse.

It is our relationship with God that makes it possible to hear and understand God’s message. We are born broken. We are mending. The Grace of God is the glue. Grace like water flows to the lowest point; Embrace Christ, don’t let the world influence your walk with the Lord. If he gives us a burden it is either for our own growth or an activity to help someone. Be an encourager; Complement others ; give them your time; pray for them; point them to scripture; fill a need; be forgiving; be a good example

I am sure you can add to the “things to do in the new year”. I just want us to understand that we are here because of the Grace and power of God. We just celebrated Christ coming to earth as a baby. But even now He is saying to us, spread the Good News to all you meet. Be the person that God created you to be, the example to the world that you are a child of God and that you have the characteristics of Jesus. That is the best message you and I can give as we begin the new year in His Grace… Happy New Year,

Christmas Is Here!

December 12, 2021

Yes this is the Christmas season. yes we sing Christmas carols, yes we decorate trees and sanctuary’s and homes, yes we put up lights and other colorful displays , yes we have the advent candles, yes we have the Christmas parties, yes for a moment we look outside ourselves to our hurting society as we prepare Christmas baskets, and not inward as we do most of the time. All of this to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a birthday certainly to be celebrated.

But I wonder how many of us really understand why God was manifest in Jesus Christ and put on this earth? Do you know that God created all that we hear , see and touch? He created us in His image. When He was done he said “it is good”. He gave humans a utopia, a garden that would fulfill all their needs and be a comfort to them and their offspring forever. However the first humans sinned against God and the result was that they were banished from the perfect place. And all of us from their children to now are marked with sin.

So God sent his Son Jesus Christ to become human and live among the people first to teach, preach, heal and love us as His children. But His real mission was to atone for the sins of the whole world, and he did that with His death on the Cross. This death took away all our sins past, present and future. Jesus was obedient to the end when he shouted “God why have you forsaken me?” That is the moment when we were made clean as God accepted us now because His Son took the burden of our sin.

The final gift from God, the resurrection was gift for all who believe in Him. We will not die at the end of our earthly life, we will live together in eternity! All because God loved us so much that he sent His Son to atone for our sins and provide a path for us to be with Him in eternity.

So as we celebrate this season, let us focus on the wonderful gift of our Savior Jesus Christ who was born this season, and what He did for us. Yes , God wants all people to be saved and come to Him. All we have to do is acknowledge that Christ is our Savior and that He died for our sins and then ask Him to come into our life and have Him be the Lord of your life. Is this the day, the season, where you take that step? After all it can save your life! Amen

How Is Your Prayer Life?

November 15, 2021

Thanksgiving should not be a once-a-year event. It should be the perpetual attitude of our hearts. In fact thanksgiving is inextricably woven together with the principles of prayer. Too often people think of prayer is a way to Get things from God. In reality it is about intimacy with God. A memorable way of prioritizing the principles for developing intimacy with God through prayer is the acronym F-A-C-T-S and it starts with the prayer of faith.

FAITH is only as good as the object in which it is placed. Put another way, it is the object of faith that renders faith, faithful. The secret is not in the phrases we utter but in coming to know even more fully the One to whom we pray. Since God is revealed in His word, the prayer of faith must always be rooted in scripture. R.A.Torrey stated it well when he said

“to pray the prayer of faith we must, first of all, study the Word of God, especially the promises of God, and find out what the will of God is….we cannot believe just by trying to make ourselves believe, such belief as that is not belief but credulity: it is “make believe”. The great warrant for intelligent faith is faith in Gods word. “

Paul puts it in Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ” Jesus summed up the prayer of faith with these words “if you remain in me and my word remains in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you (John 15:7.

Faith in God naturally leads to ADORATION. Prayer without adoration is like a body without a soul. Through adoration we express our heartfelt love and longing for God. This inevitably leads to praise and worship, as our thoughts are focused on the greatness of God. Psalm 95: 6-7 is a great example

Come let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His Hand.

Psalm are filled with exclamations of CONFESSION. While un-confessed sin will not break our relationship with God, it will break our communion with God. Therefore confession is a crucial aspect of daily prayer. The concept of confession carries the acknowledgement that we stand guilty before God. There is no place for self-righteousness before God.

Nothing , and I mean nothing is more basic to prayer than THANKSGIVING. Scripture teaches us to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.(Psalm 100:4) Paul says that pagans know about God but they neither glorify or give thanks to Him.

We will now address the final letter in the acronym, SUPPLICATION. Let us be ever mindful that the purpose of supplication is not to pressure God into providing us with pleasures and provisions, but rather to conform us to His purposes . If we approach God with confidence , that if we ask He will respond but only if we kneel in faith, adoration, confession and thanksgiving.

May your prayer life be filled with these principles and may your communion with God be a blessing to you. Amen


Dealing With Trials In Our life

October 5, 2021

We all go through trials in our lifetime. We have events that affect us deeply. Your can’t live a very long life until sin, sickness, tragic death, loss of a job, children in trouble or a myriad of other events hit you when you least expect it.

I want to talk about two elements of dealing with those events. We can either deal with it or let it overwhelm us. IF you don’t deal with it, life can reflect your suffering by depression, sickness, addictive habits and lost relationships. If you ignore the pain you are going through, if you say to yourself, I will get over it. If you tell yourself to suck it up and go on you will most likely suffer for it.

So may I suggest you start following James 5: 13-16. it says, “if anyone is in trouble he should pray. If anyone is happy, let him sing songs of praise. If any of you is sick you should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. and the prayers offered in faith will make the sick person well., the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned he will be forgiven. Therefor confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous man is powerful and effective”

What we may glean from that scripture is that the community of faith will be there for anyone who is going through distress. Can’t we all remember when we had a problem. had someone to discuss it with who would listen and be supportive? Wasn’t that a relief when you unburdened yourself? The church is our sanctuary , a place we can go that will help us heal. How? Expanding on the scripture, I would say that church friends, fellow Christians ,believers can, through their individual concerns and listening be an instrument of healing. But let me suggest another church activity and that is small groups. IF you are a member of a small group bet it Sunday School, ,bible study, outreach ministry to name a few, they can be the loving and concerned folks for you to turn to.

The second element of dealing with these life events is your grief. We could write several blogs about the elements of grief but for this discussion I want to focus on being able to grieve. So many people deny their grief and as I have already said this manifests in unhealthy behaviors. This is where I think small groups (as well as individual Christians) can play a part not only in expressing their grief but walking through it. I have had many instances where a person in grief found help and comfort talking about it with their group, or Christian friend.

Just last month I have had occasion to be supportive to 3 people who have lost loved ones. The first one was a 45 year old lady that lost her husband in an explosion. Her grief was profound. She of course was surrounded by good friends and family. I played a small part in helping her through the grief process. Another lady lost her husband of 15 years to COVID. His death was not totally unexpected as hi had not been in good health for a while. However she depended on him for everything. Her grief was as much for what was she going to do next as anything. The third was another older couple. He was not feeling well that they went to the hospital to check him out and he never recovered. She is a strong Christian and as she said her grief is tempered with the knowledge that he is with his Lord in heaven.

God want you to have life and have it abundantly, however we all suffer losses. You will never forget the incident, but He wants you to know that He walks with you through your grief. Amen

Shining our light in this world

September 4, 2021

As children of God, we can be assured that He has a purpose for each one of us. Discerning that purpose is a life long walk with Him. Not all of us are called to proclaim the Gospel in a distant land, or stand behind a pulpit and preach to an audience. But let us never underestimate the power of being a Godly example every day. A faithful life will be an effective sermon. We as Christians are being watched by the world-first they don’t believe that we have a Savior that gives us eternal life. Second, they really question our sincerity when we reach out to others They are observing how we respond to testing and trials that come our way.

I read this somewhere: “The flower lady was smiling , her wrinkled old face alive with joy. On impulse, I picked out a flower. “you look happy this morning” I said. “why not” she replied “everything is good. “She was dressed so shabbily and so frail that her response startled me. “you wear your troubles well” I remarked. She replied, “when Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, it was the worst day for the whole world. Then three days later Easter. So when I get troubles, I have learned to wait three days, somehow everything gets all right again” And she smiled a good-bye. Her words have followed me , whenever I think I have troubles –I wait three days”

Words are easy to say, but we exert our influence when our attitudes and actions demonstrate what we profess. Hebrews 6:10 says “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love” God takes notice when one of his children live an honest upright life and when they show genuine love for God and for his neighbor. 2 Timothy 2:21 says “a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meant for the masters use”

Remember these things:

1- Try to be a rainbow in somebody’s cloud

2-Don’t ever tale a fence down until you know why it was put up

3-Never ruin an apology with an excuse

4-Make a connection with another human being, even if it is just a touch, it can convey the love, compassion and grace of Jesus Christ.

We are here to make disciples but in doing that we are to shine our light in this sometimes dark world. May it be so for all of us ..Amen