Sep 25, 2009


Throughout the history of man there have always been heroes. We need heroes. We want heroes. We look for heroes. We write comic books, novels, plays, movies, and televisions shows about heroes. We even have games that can turn an ordinary person into a “Guitar Hero”. 
Heroes fulfill our need to be rescued by someone greater than us all. We need someone to look up to; to emulate, to follow. Hero; as the song writer Steve Taylor said, “It's a nice-boy notion that the real world's gonna destroy. It's a Marvel comic book Saturday matinee fairytale, boy”.

Heroes run into burning buildings when everyone else says; “Someone should do something!” Heroes risk their lives to save others. Heroes lay down their lives for others. Jesus said; “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13).

The problem with heroes is that oftentimes they walk around as ordinary people, hiding their true identity until help is required; then they spring into action and become the heroes we need them to be. This is true for all heroes no matter whether they are “super” heroes or “ordinary” heroes; the kind that you and I meet throughout our lives. We see them in the news; we read about them in the newspapers. On September 9th, 2001 we saw a lot of heroes come out of the woodwork of our society and spring into action to save others. 

"When you grow up what will you be?" I wanna be a hero! I get motivated by heroes; not just the mythological super heroes that we hold up for all to see. I get motivated by the “ordinary” heroes who do seemingly simply heroic deeds. I’m talking about those who choose to be good moms and dads; doing their best to raise the kids to be nice, say “please” and “thank you”. I’m talking about those who pay their bills, and cut their grass, and shovel their sidewalk, and say “hello” when you pass them; not because they have to but because they are always thinking of others.

Ordinary heroes who choose to pick up their dog’s droppings instead of leaving them on my lawn.

Heroes who choose to not say everything that crosses their minds when provoked. Heroes who, when cut off in traffic, choose to not show a “finger” to the other driver. Heroes that drop what they are doing to help out a neighbor, or a complete stranger; simply because it is the right thing to do.

Ordinary heroes that let others go first in a long line; whether at the store or in traffic. Heroes are people who are compassionate to their server, even if their food is served cold at a busy restaurant. Ordinary people doing extra ordinary things for others with no motivation to be seen; these are the true heroes. Hillary Clinton is a hero of mine even though I didn’t vote for her; nor does she reflect my views. Hillary is a hero to me because she stood by her man when all of the world would have supported her if she would have left Bill. 

I want to be a hero! Heroes are people who go to work everyday and treat their bosses, or their employees, or their co-workers with respect. Heroes are people who keep their vows, their word that they gave, and follow through with commitments. I’m talking about those heroes who read the Bible and then live it out; especially when no one is watching. In other words, people who live out what they believe, not just preach it to others. These are the people who are my heroes. We need some heroes today in this cold selfish world; heroes who will rise up to the challenge to love the unlovely and live for Jesus!

The Bible says; “9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:9-21)

Can you imagnine what the world would be if Christians lived that passage out? I want to be a hero!

Jesus is my ultimate hero. He ran and saved me when I was still a sinner. “For when we were still helpless, Christ died for the wicked at the time that God chose. It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. But God has shown us how much he loves us---it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:6-8).

We need some heroes today; it’s not like there are only so many who can be in this elite group! You and I can be heroes! The world is looking for someone to be an example.

The Bible says; “1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4) 

The Bible also says "5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:5-11)

I wanna be a hero.
HERO” by Steve Taylor
When the house fell asleep there was always a light
And it fell from the page to the eyes of an American boy

In a storybook land I could dream what I read
When it went to my head I'd see
I wanna be a hero

But the practical side said the question was still
"When you grow up what will you be?"
I wanna be a hero

It's a nice-boy notion that the real world's gonna destroy
You know
It's a Marvel comicbook Saturday matinee fairytale, boy

Growing older you'll find that illusions are brought
And the idol you thought you'd be was just another zero
I wanna be a hero

Heroes died when the squealers bought 'em off
Died when the dealers got 'em off
Welcome to the "in it for the money as an idol" show
When they ain't as big as life
When they ditch their second wife
Where's the boy to go?
Gotta be a hero

When the house fell asleep
From a book I was led to a Light that I never knew
I wanna be your hero
And He spoke to my heart from the moment I prayed
Here's a pattern I made for you
I wanna be your hero

Sep 17, 2009


I love to watch football; both college and professional. Actually, Cathy and I still enjoy watching the local High School games even after our children have graduated and no longer attend or play football.

My two teams are THE Ohio State Buckeyes and The Dallas Cowboys. My dad grew up in Ohio; so I was raised in Minnesota cheering for the Buckeyes and the Minnesota Gophers. I watched the Minnesota Vikings lose 2 years in a row in the SuperBowl and so I went to another team. What can I say; Tom Landry and Roger Staubach made me a better offer; they understood that the goal at the end of the season was to win it all. We will have to wait until January to see how far the Cowboys and the Buckeyes go.  
A young football player was working out in the gym last night. He had on a shirt that said; “Champions Are Made When No one is Watching” I like that. In fact, it is one of the qualities that I like in the Cowboys and the Buckeyes. They understand that what goes on during the off season, in the gym, and everywhere there is no presence of fans or the media, will affect what happens when the lights turn on and it is their time to shine.

Successful teams understand this. “Hall-of-Fame” athletes understand this. What we do in the secret places affects what we do in public spot light. As I searched the web for photos of athletes working out when no one was looking, I couldn’t find any. All of the photos seemed to be of when they scored a goal or caught a pass or blocked a shot. Very few photos of “Rocky Balboa” athletes who are running or lifting weights all alone; athletes going through the daily rituals that separate the champions from the rest of us. Very few photos of athletes putting in the time it takes to become a champion.
Why? Because we are a society that loves to be seen and heard by everyone, and everywhere instantaneously…so much for our “fifteen minutes of fame”, Mr. Warhol. We want the attention but don’t seem willing to put in the time and the effort. We want the gain without the pain. We want the rings and trophies without shedding any blood or sweat or tears.And because we don’t think that what we do in private makes any difference at all as to how it affects what we do in public. It does; both good and bad. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap.” (Galatians 6:7.) 

I like to tell you that this doesn’t happen in the church; but it does. Christians; like everyone else, seem to search for the spot light. This was one of the things that seemed to bother Jesus about the Pharisees: they loved to be seen by men when they did religious acts such as praying or giving money. “Woe to you, Pharisees! For you love the chief seats in the synagogues and greetings in the markets.” (Luke 11:43).

Jesus said; “Take heed that you do not do your merciful deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in Heaven. 2 Therefore when you do your merciful deeds, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may have glory from men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward.” (Matthew 6:1-2)

CHAMPIONS ARE MADE WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING. Spiritual champions; like athletes, don’t just happen. What we do in the secret places affects what we do in public spot light. Jesus goes on to say that we should spend time in fellowship with God alone, by ourselves, away from the crowds. Private time with the God who made us.

“But when you do merciful deeds, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, 4 so that your merciful deeds may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret Himself shall reward you openly." (Matthew 6:3-4)

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward.” (Matthew 6:5)

“But you, when you pray, enter into your room. And shutting your door, pray to your Father in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly. But when you pray, do not babble vain words, as the nations. For they think that in their much speaking they shall be heard." (Matthew 6:6-7)

“And when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, of a sad face. For they disfigure their faces so that they may appear to men to fast. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to fast, but to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18)


Rise up.

Take the challenge to be a champion.

The world is waiting for you.

 “Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be weary and faint in your minds. 4 You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:1-4)

Sep 10, 2009

Dance with Cinderella

My oldest daughter is now married; I’ve turned another chapter in my life. I am now a member of an elite group of men who have walked their daughters down the aisle as a dad at their wedding (and then extra special when I officiated as a minister).

It is a group into which entrance is gained by process that takes place when we don’t expect it to. I should say upfront that I take a risk when I write about one of my daughters. I have four and I love each of them (and my 2 sons and children-in-laws) so very much and don't want to risk misunderstanding by the others as I single one of them out in this story. And yet, it is right that we celebrate joyous occasions and events in individual lives. And so I continue with my story...

It started when my daughter and I looked into each other’s eyes just before we walked down the aisle. It continued as I fought back tears as I led the happy couple in their commitments to each other. But the entrance into this elite group (which came later) caught me by surprise. It came when I danced with my daughter in the “Father-Daughter Dance”; I wasn’t prepared for that at all! My daughter had asked me 6-8months before if we could have a dance together, and I had said, “Yes”. But then I forgot about it.

My goal was to do whatever they needed to help them to get married without crying like a “baby” in the process. In the middle of a conversation with one of the guests at the wedding reception, someone came and told me that it was time for the “Father-Daughter Dance”; I was being called to come dance.

My daughter had picked out the song “Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman. I really wasn’t prepared for that at all! When we danced to the song, my daughter held me tightly and cried; and then it hit me; deeply. I was now a member of a very elite group. And I was so very grateful.

As I danced with her, I realized that my daughter chose me; I wasn’t there because I forced my way in. She chose me to walk her down the aisle, and chose me to officiate, and she chose to invite me to be a dad at her wedding, and she chose me to dance with her and to share this joyous day with her. I realized this wasn’t anything that I had “earned” this by being a "perfect dad" nor was I “owed” this opportunity; this was a free gift of love! And I was deeply moved.

I had experienced UNCONDITIONAL LOVE; God kind of love. In John 15:16 Jesus said to His disciples; “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”

I like that Jesus is setting the record straight; “I CHOSE YOU”. They weren’t left-overs; He CHOSE them! Hand picked them! LOVED them! He was telling them so that when they blew it, they could remember that Jesus was the initiator of the relationship. In fact the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Rome; “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Isn’t that great! While we were sinners; not perfect!

I realized this wasn’t anything that I had “earned” this by being a "perfect" nor was I “owed” this; this was a free gift of love! Jesus died for the broken, wounded, imperfect people of this world because He loved us, He chose us; we weren’t left-overs; He CHOSE us! Hand picked us! LOVED us!

And He chooses to be with us and to share new life with us on a daily basis; if we let Him. God really longs for us to know Him; to “dance” through life with Him. Since He is the initiator of this relationship, let Him reveal Himself to you. Jesus said that “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 15:6b). Jesus alone is the “Way, the truth, and the life" (John 15:6a). And then, respond to His leading. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Won’t you ask Jesus today to reveal the Father to you? He longs to do that. Today can be a new day for you as you too dance with the Father; a day when you too become a member of an “elite” group know as the “Body of Christ”. “

Cinderella" Lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman from the album This Moment

Verse 1:
She spins and she sways
To whatever song plays
Without a care in the world
And I'm sitting here wearing
The weight of the world on my shoulders
It's been a long day
And there's still work to do
She's pulling at me Saying "Dad I need you!
There's a ball at the castle
And I've been invited
And I need to practice my dancing
Oh please, Daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms'
Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song'
Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

Verse 2:
She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I approve of her dress
She says, "Dad the prom is just one week away
And I need to practice my dancin'
Oh please, Daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms'
Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song'
Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone
She will be gone

Verse 3:
But she came home today with a ring on her hand
Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned
She says, "Dad the wedding's still six months away
but I need to practice my dancin'
Oh please, Daddy, please!"

So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms'
Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song'
Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

Sep 3, 2009


I make it a habit to not be critical of another person’s ministry; its safer and more importantly, I’ve discovered that I, too, become a target for criticism. Pastors get beat up more than anyone could imagine; I make it a habit to encourage instead. But, after reading an article on the web that said: “Phoenix Pastor Draws Protests After Telling Church He Prays for Obama's Death”; I think that I must make an acceptation.

My concern is more that people will draw a conclusion that this is what God thinks. The Apostle Paul wrote letters to pastors instructing them on how to conduct their lives and ministries. In 1Timothy (one of these letters) chapter 2 Paul clearly instructs us to pray, BUT not in the way this pastor from Arizona was instructing his congregation.

Read this passage: “1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (1Timothy 2:1-8) Later on in that same letter to Timothy, Paul wrote: “12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1Timothy 4:12-16) The Apostle Peter wrote: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

We ask the question “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD?), but then we don’t go to the Bible to get an answer.

So, WWJD? Jesus said “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:15)

WWJD? A woman was caught in adultery and brought before Jesus: “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.” (John 8:6-8)

Finally, WWJD? Jesus made perfectly clear why He came here on this earth; “For the Son of Man has not come to destroy men's lives, but to save.” (Luke 9:56a)

WWJD? Jesus on the cross: “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34a) My friends, whether you voted for this current president or not, he and all leaders need our prayers. They are humans who are subject to temptations and pressures to make quick decisions just like you and I. Their bad or good decisions affect us all.