Apr 24, 2010


My friend Stan went to the ball game last Sunday afternoon at the new stadium for the Minnesota Twins. I saw Stan later that night and he was still wearing his Twins “uniform” from the game (baseball cap, shirt, shorts, and socks). When I asked him about the game, I noticed that he had around his neck a lanyard with a plastic 4x6 card attached to it. I asked Stan what the plastic card was, he told me that it was an ESPN VIP Pass.   

Wow; what a great opportunity Stan had to walk through "Target Field", the brand new baseball stadium for the Minnesota Twins with really no one to stop him!  

I had a VIP Pass on a couple of different occasions in 1996 and found that it permitted me to go almost anywhere that I had wanted to go in the HHH Metrodome. I even went into the locker room just because I could! I was amazed at how quickly security people moved out of the way and opened doors for me all because of that pass. 

I asked Stan if he had used the pass to walk through the whole stadium. Stan said to me; “No, I came just to watch the baseball game.” I said to Stan; “You do realize that with that pass you could go almost anywhere that you wanted to go; including the press box; right?” Stan smiled at me and said; “No, I came just to watch the baseball game.” And the worst part was that the VIP Pass was only good for the duration of Stan’s time at the ball stadium last Sunday; after that it was no good.  

Stan is a great friend and someone who truly loves Jesus and continues to really be a great example of what a man of God looks like; I love him dearly. But Stan sure missed a great opportunity.   

I was reminded that so many Christians go through this life with a “VIP Pass” and never use it! Jesus came to give us “VIP” access to the Father at any time we want to! Jesus paid for our “VIP Pass” with His blood. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us; “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).  

Did you catch that? The passage tells us to come during our time of need; not when we die and go to heaven- today; right now; when we are in trouble! Some people forget that Jesus knows what we are going through. In that same passage of Hebrews it tells us; “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15).  

That means that Jesus understands and is waiting, longing, and made it possible for us to come into His presence BODLY! That means speaking freely to Jesus; that is, frankness and bluntness in how we say it. In other words people in a burning building don’t pray religious prayers like; “Durst Thou not know that the flames encompasses my soul?” We simply use our “VIP Pass” and call out to Jesus; “HELP!”   

My Friends, don’t forget to use your “VIP Pass” as you are going through the “game of life”. And that the VIP Pass is only good for the duration of our time here on the earth; after that it is no good because we don’t need to have one.  

Jesus said; “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)  


 Thank God for His indescribable gift of salvation available to each one of us through Jesus Christ! Need more information? Call 1-888-NEED HIM (633-3446)

Apr 17, 2010


I like surprises; do you? It was a typical Sunday afternoon; my wife Cathy and I had been at home leisurely spending the time between the Sunday activities sitting around reading the Sunday paper and checking our email. “Tom”, my wife Cathy called for me; “Please come here...the kids have something that they want us to open up.” I came down stairs to discover that my oldest daughter Elizabeth and her husband Chris had stopped over to visit and had a package for the two of us.  

Cathy opened the bag that my daughter Elizabeth had given to her. Inside was a simple frame that said “grandkids” and contained a photograph of a pregnancy test. Elizabeth was pregnant! And I was and am so very happy and couldn't wait to tell everyone! But, we had to keep a secret; that is, until now. 

What that photograph alluded to is that Elizabeth and Chris are going to be parents; this is their first child. Through all of the excitement and good news my heart was filled with gratefulness. Praise the Lord, I’m going to have a grandchild; did I say that already? I can’t wait to see this new child come into this world! Elizabeth has wanted to be a mom for so many years and I am confident that Elizabeth and Chris will make great parents.   

But what the photograph REALLY meant is that I’M GOING TO BE A GRANDPA! I am excited about being a grandpa because I love children of all ages; children are great! I love the smell of a new child, the feel of holding a baby in my arms. Whenever I can relieve a parent at church and can hold their baby, I like to do it; that is until my wife of some other person wants to take their turn. I love to watch them grow and discover life for the first time.    

I’ve been a new dad 6 times; and I still remember the first time I held each of my children. I remember the inexplicable joy and pride I felt as I had the privilege to hold a little one in my arms. As a dad I felt the awesomeness of God trusting me to hold a new life! I have really enjoyed being a dad to my own children as I used them as an excuse to not have to grow up as we did things like catch crayfish way too late at night up at the cabin. I enjoyed watching my own children play sports, and win championships, and create works of art, and learn to dance and to cook and to discover who they are. Six new babies have grown up to become six uniquely gifted adults who are full of life and full of love.   

And I still very much enjoy my children as they are now adults. My heart still “lights up” when I receive an email or a note from them; even if it is to request me to do something for them. I deeply enjoy having family gatherings and meals with them to celebrate birthdays and other milestones in each of their lives. I really enjoyed events we spontaneously spent together like laying on the lawn to watch the sky change colors as a storm rolled in or getting a cup of coffee. Spontaneous gatherings like this past Christmas when almost all of us were able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning together to avoid a blizzard that had put a halt to travel plans to other parts of the country. 

But, I must admit, my time with my own children at home went by way too quickly; they really do grow up and move out of the house way too fast! You who are parents, take my free advice and slow down! Enjoy your children; this time with them at home really will go by way too fast. Love your children and hug them, and kiss them on the cheek. Let them know that you love them; they (and we as big kids) never get tired of hearing that.    

One of the things that I like about children is that they can see right through all of our facades and measure us up and then vote on who we are. I like that because kids seem to like me and let me know it. I think that children see through all of my masks and use their superpowers to melt my suit of armor, and let me know that my secret identity has been discovered; that beneath my hard-shell I really am a nice guy who likes people; especially kids.   

I’M GOING TO BE A GRANDPA; did I say that already? I’m really excited because grand parenting is the chance for us to get it right; to reset the bar, to do it over again. Grandparents are parents who have learned to slow down and enjoy life at a slower pace. Grandchildren give us an excuse to once again be outside when it is raining and to walk through mud puddles instead of being concerned about getting wet.

Grandpas get to show this new world to their grandchildren for the first time. Grandpas get to drop everything to spend time with their grandchildren instead of having to be in such a hurry. Grandpas get to buy ice cream cones for their grandchildren and not be concerned about “spoiling their dinner”.   
Elizabeth and Chris sent me an email this week that said; “We appreciate your support and are proud that our baby is going to have a great grandpa“. Children truly are a blessing from the Lord!  

Psalm 127: 3-5 says; “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

Apr 9, 2010


I was taking a shower the other day and realized the joy of a new bar of soap. It was a bar of soap that was still in the package prior to my shower; unopened, waiting for someone to open it up; and so I did. The new bar of soap was still as factory fresh as the day it was first made! It had no marks, no cuts, and no foreign objects. The edges were still as sharp and crisp as though it just came out of the mold. Some days I think that it would be great to start each day with the simple pleasure of a new bar of soap waiting for us to use!  

Unfortunately, the “joy” was gone the next time I took a shower; for once a bar of soap is used it is no longer new or clean. It had taken on a whole new shape from hands and hot water. The bar had become soft and the edges were now round. The bar soap that had been new before, was now slimy, and soft, and shaped to the hand of the previous user(s). 

And, no matter what you do with a used bar of soap, you cannot ever get it ever like it was when it was brand new. You can try scrubbing the bar of soap and it can still feel dirty. You can try “squishing it together” to reshape it, but you will never get the edges to be as sharp and crisp as when it came out of the mold.    

That used bar of soap reminded me of the reality that even after we take a shower and are clean, we, like the bar of soap, will eventually become dirty. As soon as we leave the sanctuary of the shower, we step into the world of dirt and grime. Our clean skin easily can become contaminated as we go through our daily activities. And that is just our physical body.    

A used bar of soap can be a reminder of a much bigger problem. Our souls (mind, will, and emotions) easily become contaminated by the filth of our daily activities. The “hot water” and pressures of life leave our lives slimy, and soft, and shaped to the mold of wrong mistakes.  

And, no matter what we do, it is hard to get our lives like they were when they were brand new. We try cleaning up our lives and they still feel dirty. We try new programs to attempt to reshape who we are, but never seem to be able to become as sharp and as crisp as when we first “came out of the mold”.  

We try “scrubbing” and still we have marks left by sin. The Bible says; “For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before Me," says the Lord GOD.” (Jeremiah 2:22).   

David, of the Old Testament was a person who had a commitment to the Lord and had been clean, fresh and crisp, only to become stained and misshaped as he found himself in the “hot water” of sin. David cried out; “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7).     

The hope of the Bible is that we CAN start over; no matter how dirty and slimy we are. The Bible is filled with stories of redemption; lives that had been marred and misshaped by sin and brokenness that were redeemed by the hands of a merciful God.   

The Prophet Jeremiah wrote in his book of Lamentations about a “new bar of soap” that is waiting for us daily; “22 Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" 25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:22-25)    

We may not be able to start each day with a new bar of soap, but we can awaken with the hope that as we turn to God each day, we will find His mercy fresh and new waiting for us to use. Great is His faithfulness; in that we can place our hope! 

Are you ready to get your life cleaned up? Have you tried to clean up your life with no success? Are you tired of trying to do it your way?

Call 1-888-NEED–HIM; someone is waiting to talk with you.

Apr 3, 2010


Have you ever watched someone do a ‘magic trick” or illusion that seemed so real until you found out that it was all fake? Have you ever pulled a prank on some unsuspecting victim? Have you ever been tricked, or had someone pull a prank on you?

Today’s youth would understand my question as have you ever been “punk’d”? We old folks would use the term “smoke and mirrors”, which is an expression referring to the performances of stage illusionists who use actual smoke and mirrors to deceive the audience. “Smoke and mirrors” is a term is commonly used to refer to the work of “spin-doctors” who craft their stories to obscure or embellish the truth in order to deceive the general public, by distorting or blurring facts and figures very much like a stage magician.  

"Smoke and mirrors" sometimes refers to attempts to trick some unsuspecting prospect into believing that someone else has the capability necessary to deliver something; when they really don’t! “Smoke and mirrors” is often times used as a metaphor for situations that are deceptive, or when there is a fraudulent explanation or description of some situation, person, place, or thing.   

Some skeptics to Christianity believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead never took place; that the whole thing was done by “smoke and mirrors” or that the early Christians were "punk'd". I have read explanations from unbelievers trying to make sense of this miraculous event by concluding that it had to been faked. Others would say that it really doesn’t matter whether or not Jesus was raised from the dead. The Apostle Paul had a good response to those statements:    

“Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there's no resurrection, there's no living Christ. And face it—if there's no resurrection for Christ, everything we've told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you've staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there's no resurrection.  

If corpses can't be raised, then Christ wasn't, because He was indeed dead. And if Christ weren't raised, then all you're doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It's even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they're already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we're a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.   

There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man. Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in Christ. But we have to wait our turn: Christ is first, then those with him at his Coming, the grand consummation when, after crushing the opposition, he hands over his kingdom to God the Father. He won't let up until the last enemy is down—and the very last enemy is death! As the psalmist said, "He laid them low, one and all; he walked all over them." When Scripture says that "he walked all over them," it's obvious that he couldn't at the same time be walked on. When everything and everyone is finally under God's rule, the Son will step down, taking His place with everyone else, showing that God's rule is absolutely comprehensive—a perfect ending!” (1 Corinthians 15:12-22) From “The Message” Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson 

My friend, Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to over 500 people who attested that Jesus was indeed raised from the dead! (See 1Corinthians 15:6). That is why we respond to the greeting of others on Easter or Resurrection Sunday; “He is Risen!” with the response; “He is Risen indeed!” 

Easter Song by Annie Herring 

Hear the bells rining
They're singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They're singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah

Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ, He will reveal it now

The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus' power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah, hallelujah

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
Hallelujah     © Latter Rain Music

Don't go through another day without knowing Jesus Christ; your eternity IS dependant upon it. Call 1-888-NEED-HIM.