Mar 28, 2010


In the USA the economy has been tough for the past 2 years and has been a test of sorts for many people; a test to see what we are made of; a test to see where we turn in times of loss. There has been loss of jobs, houses, incomes, cars, careers, investments, and health (physical and mental).  

For some, this time of testing has resulted in a loss of meaning, and purpose, and a sense of direction for their lives. Many people here in the USA have been discouraged in the work of life, disheartened by its load; feeling ashamed by a sense that they have failed. For others, these tough times have resulted in a loss of faith that God will provide; for some they have started to doubt even the existence of God.   

My friend, this country has been through similar economic times in the seventies, eighties, and nineties and where one looked made all the difference in the world. For some people, this tough economy has been a time when God has proven that He can be trusted, and their faith has actually grown.   

Where do you go when everything is gone;  
When all of your regular sources of finances are removed?
Where do you go when all of your bearings are removed and you sense a loss of direction?
Where do you go when your faith is gone and you can’t see God anymore?    

These are important questions whose answers have significant impact on how well you weather this current economic situation. Do you look to yourself, to others, or to God?   

Psalm 37 is a Psalm of King David that offers such great hope as David compares those who trust and follow God with those who choose to practice wickedness. In verse 25 David wrote; “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” I love that; such a great testimony of the faithfulness and provisions of God!   

Further down in the same Psalm, David writes; v. 27 “Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore.” v.34 “Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.” v.39“But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. V.40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, because they trust in Him.”    

These are times of great testing; look up, look to God who is longing to demonstrate to you His power and His provision so that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (see 1 Corinthians 2).      

“In Every Need”  Words By Samuel Longfellow
From "The Continual Burnt Offerings"
I look to Thee in every need,  
And never look in vain. 
I feel thy strong and tender love
And all is well again.
The thought of thee is mightier far 
Than sin and pain and sorrow are, 
Than sin and pain and sorrow are, my Lord.

Discouraged in the work of life 
Disheartened by its load.
Shamed by its failures and its fears
I sink beside the road. 
But let me only think of Thee 
And then new heart springs up in me,
And then new heart springs up in me, my Lord. 

There is an eye that never sleeps 
Beneath the wing of night,
There is an ear that never shuts  
When sink the beams of light. 
There is an arm that never tires 
When human strength gives way, 
There is a love that never fails 
When earthly loves decay.  
But there's a power which man can wield 
When mortal aid is vain.   

That eye, that arm, that loves to reach
The listening ear to gain. 
That power is prayer which soars on high, 
Through Jesus to the throne, 
Which moves the Hand which moves the world
To bring salvation down, bring salvation down. 

Call 1-888-NEED HIM. Someone is waiting to talk with you.

Mar 25, 2010

A Fund Raiser for a Friend

This is family attends the same church that I do and I wanted to use my blog for a few days to get the word out for this family's need:

IBEW Local 110 Union Hall - 1330 Conway Street – St. Paul, MN 55106

"On Saturday, May 30, 2009, Tim was riding his Gold Wing motorcycle home from working in Northfield as an electrician. An inattentive driver took a left turn in front of Tim, resulting in a serious accident and sustained multiple fractures and a spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia and unable to work.

Tim remembers riding motorcycles with a co-worker to work the morning of May 30th and his next memory is several days later waking in the hospital. Following work that Saturday afternoon Tim was in a motorcycle/auto accident in Northfield, MN. As a result of an inattentive driver, he sustained life altering injuries. Tim spent 11 days in ICU at HCMC, 12 weeks at Bethesda Hospital to resolve respiratory complications and to offer time for bones to heal before entering an intensive 7 weeks at Knapp Rehab/HCMC. He endured over 25 surgeries/surgical procedures. The factual summary of events simply cannot express the endless hours of uncertainty, emotional anguish, and physical pain. Each procedure- a difficulty and a benefit. Each breath- a challenge and a triumph. Each moment- grievous and glorious. Slowly, Tim gained strength and stability with great personal effort and resolve.  

After spending 5 months in a hospital setting Tim was able to join his family at home. With injuries that keep Tim home-bound, physical and occupational therapists and nurses attend to him weekly at home. With ongoing therapies he improves physically and gains strength. Each day brings new challenges and new goals, which Tim meets with determination and faith.  

Tim has been a lifelong resident of the Hamline Midway area of St.Paul. He graduated from Central High School (‘82) and from TVI/ St.Paul College’s electrical program (‘86).He has worked as an electrician since 1985. Tim and his wife Michelle married over 23 years ago and have four children.  

On Saturday, March 27, 2010, IBEW Local 110 in St. Paul, Minnesota will be sponsoring a Benefit Fundraiser Dinner. The benefit will feature food, entertainment, raffles, and a silent auction.  

The Petschl family is in need of some modifications in both their mode of transportation and in their home. The goal of this fundraiser is to help offset the costs involved in getting these challenges to a place that allows Tim to safely be a part of routine daily activities and meets his new needs as well. Any additional funds raised will be used to make his family’s home accessible and go towards the mounting medical bills.  

Like many older homes, the Petschl’s 1920’s floor plan was not designed with wheelchair mobility in mind. Narrow doorways, small spaces for maneuvering, bathroom and kitchen fixtures at the wrong heights all make it necessary for Tim’s family to be available to assist him at anytime needed.  

A reliable van that Tim can roll up into and lock into the adapted driver’s position would allow him more independence. The ability to get to appointments, to rejoin his kids’ activities again and to attend church services are just a few of the benefits that would be possible with an accessible van.  

As a benefit donor, your company name will be associated with a good cause. Your company will be featured on the “Donor’s Link” on the website: 

Donations may be made payable to Bethel and are being accepted at the following address: Tim Petschl Benefit Fund c/o Bethel Christian Fellowship - 1466 Portland Avenue - St.Paul MN 55104"

Mar 18, 2010


Three months is a long time. Do you remember what you were doing three months ago? It was December 18, 2009; one week before Christmas. Do you remember the last-minute-rush and flurry of activities that you went through wondering if you would get everything done before Christmas? And you made it; and more that that it is now three months later. You made it through Christmas and New Years’ and Valentine’s Day and several other important celebrations such as President’s and MLK Jr. Day.     

What have you done with the past three months? What have you done with this first quarter of the New Year? How have you used this precious gift of time? How many of the NEW THINGS are you no longer doing; or worse still haven’t gotten to?      

Do you realize that three months from now it will be June 18th? There is a pretty good chance you will have been to a wedding, a graduation, and a graduation party; or two or three by this time three months from now. You may have already been swimming or planned where you will be going on your summer vacation. And then, the year will be almost half way over; three months from now.      

Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? 15 years ago (March 12, 1995) I was ordained a pastor. Later this year I celebrate my 52 birthday and time seems to be traveling at jet speed. My children are all grown up. My hair is becoming more and more grey. The seasons all seem to blend together and I measure time in months, not years.   

Time is a precious gift that I think we at times take for granted. We honestly don’t see time ever ending and so we squander it, acting as though we will never have to give an account as to how we lived our days or that our lives will ever end. We always assume we have another tomorrow and then adversity or tragedy comes and changes all of that.     

The Bible says; “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)       

Let’s not waste our lives. Be productive. Make a difference in someone else’s life today. Make a difference in the world you live in. Three months will soon be over; and then what?   

The Bible says; "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2Corinthians 5:10)      

BE IN TIME” Lyrics By Anonymous & Phil Keaggy
Life at best is very brief,
Like the falling of a leaf,
Like the binding of a sheath,
Be in time.

Fleeting days are telling fast,
That the die will soon be cast, 
And the fatal line be passed,
Be in time.

Fairest flowers soon decay, 
Youth and beauty pass away,
Oh, you have not long to stay,
Be in time. 

While God's spirit bids you come,
Sinners do not longer roam
Lest you seal your hopeless doom
Be in time, won't you be in time.

Lord I want to live for you,
Give all I can give for you,
Help me, Jesus, to make
The most of my time.  

Fleeting days are telling fast,
That the die will soon be cast,
And the fatal line be passed,
Be in time.
Lord, help me be in time.

 TIMEBy Phil Keaggy
Well He hasn't always been around
And He won't always be.
But He's on the move at this moment
Measuring life for you and me. 

I fear we all submit to him
Existing anxiously,
And no one is able to turn him off
Except the Lord who holds the key. 

When the Lord stops him, that'll be it,
Too late for apologies.
Too late to forgive your brother,
Too late to get on your knees.
When the Lord stops him, that'll be it,
Too late to help the needy
And worst of all it's too late to turn
You must face eternity. 

His name is Time and he's coming to an end.
His name is Time where will you be my friend?
His name is Time and he's coming to an end.
His name is Time where will you be my friend? 

Most people think he'll never stop
He'll go on perpetually,
But old man time is running out
And he'll cease eventually. 

When the Lord stops him, that'll be it,
Too late for apologies.
Too late to forgive your brother,
Too late to get on your knees. 

When the Lord stops him, that'll be it,
Too late to help the needy
And worst of all it's too late to turn
You must face eternity. 

His name is Time and he's coming to an end.
His name is Time where will you be my friend?
His name is Time and he's coming to an end.
His name is Time where will you be my friend? 

Call 1-888-NEED HIM. Someone is waiting to talk with you right now.

Mar 11, 2010


Do you know what your Reticular Activator is? It is that part of your brain that heightens your awareness of certain things. Let’s say that you purchase a particular type of car and you start seeing them everywhere that you go. In fact; your reticular activator can fool you into thinking that EVERYONE is thinking of buying the same type of car as the one that you just purchased. You get interested in some activity, and you become keenly aware of the numerous places that you can go to do that activity.

The reticular activator never sleeps. It is a part of the brain the stays on alert; it is always active. Because our brains can only handle so much information and stimulation, the reticular activator makes you notice some things and ignore other things by sending a message to the conscious side of the brain that says, “Here’s something you need to pay close attention to!"     

Your reticular activator can be used for an obsession for good things as well as not so good things. I define “obsession” as the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, passion, or things of that nature.     
I was thinking about this part of my brain this past week. Spring is in the air and while the rest of Minnesota looks for tulips or daffodils, I look for hockey pucks. I spent time after my game last Saturday picking up pucks that were once buried beneath the 5-6 feet of snow that was around the rinks that I play hockey on. At first I looked once a week, then it turned into a daily event.   

This once passing fad has turned into an obsession for me! Today it has become a ‘three times a day’ event; searching for hockey pucks that are now out in the open as the 40 degree weather melted the snow. Some days I was picking up as many as 30 pucks at one time. What is worse is I dream of pucks; I think of pucks; I even look for hockey pucks on roadways that are miles from any hockey rink. Getting out looking for pucks has become a literal obsession; just ask my wife Cathy. I would rather say that I am ‘leaving the ninety-nine’ (pucks), and going after the one which is lost until I find it.    

And then it hit me; if my reticular activator could be tuned in to something as (dare I say it) unimportant as collecting hockey pucks, could not my reticular activator be turned on for something much more important? If this part of my brain could be so easily tuned to take something from a passing hobby to an obsession; what else could I use my brain to focus on? And then I thought of what was most important.    

When Jesus was asked; "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" (Mat 22:36) Jesus answered, 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' (Mat 22:37). Did you catch that; ALL your mind, soul and heart. I needed to shift what my reticular activator was tuned into. I realized how quickly my reticular activator could change what I thought about; it really took only a few days to go from hobby to obsession. And that gave me hope. 

Hope that with the help of the Holy Spirit my God-built brain could be used to become obsessed with knowing Him; and looking for Him as passionately and obsessively as my reticular activator made me focus on finding temporal things. Hope that with God’s help I could become consumed with a heart, mind, and soul longing to be close to the Maker of me! Hope that my heart could burn for God passionately! Hope that I could glorify God and enjoy Him throughout my whole day. Hope because of a part of my brain called the reticular activator.   

What will you do with your obsession?   

Obsession by Delirious    
 What can I do with my obsession?
With the things I cannot see
Is there madness in my being?
Is it wind that blows the trees?
Sometimes You're further than the moon
Sometimes You're closer than my skin
And You surround me like a winter fog
You've come and burned me with a kiss 
 And my heart burns for You

And my heart burns    And I'm so filthy with my sin
 I carry pride like a disease
You know I'm stubborn God and I'm longing to be close
You burn me deeper than I know
I feel lonely without hope
I feel desperate without vision
You wrap around me like a winter coat
You come and free me like a bird 
 And my heart burns for You

And my heart burns for You
Written by Martin Smith 1995 Curious? Music UK

Mar 6, 2010


It’s pretty sad that sometimes we forget or can’t figure out what this life is all about. We get to the end of our day, or month, or year; or (worse) our life without finding any purpose or joy in our existence. We have drunk from anything and anyone still trying to squeeze every drop out; hoping to get some fulfillment. Day after day people are going through the motions of dead end jobs, living out dead end lives, still never finding any life or any hope or joy.  

And what is really sad is sometimes people see the “DEAD END” sign and still keep going down the” road” they are on hoping to end up somewhere else. 

This lifestyle I’ve described can be true for both Christians and non-Christians. We can go to work, or school, or even church, or read our books and magazines and even the Bible hoping to fill the void in our life and still come up empty because we seek fulfillment in everything but in God Himself.   

Jesus said; “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40) 
It’s pretty sad that we are still wrapped up in what we do, believing at times that nothing really changes. Day after day even Christians can lose focus and feel that their lives have no meaning, no purpose, and no real joy. 

But it isn’t the way God intended it to be. Jesus said; “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b)  

Jesus also said; "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:9-11) 

That’s what’s in store for you if your heart and your mind and your soul are in line with the Heavenly Father. Life has so much more meaning. Jesus has so much more. Jesus has so much purpose for your life.  

Don’t just go through this life without knowing the love of the Father. Please don’t live a dead end life.

If you need to let go of the sin that has weighed you down, if you are looking for purpose in this life; turn to Jesus Christ who died for you. If you believe and put your complete trust in Jesus, He will forgive your sins, and you will go to live with Him forever. You don’t have to worry about hiding anything from Him; He knows it all any way and is waiting with arms opened wide to offer you His forgiveness. All you have to do is ask. 

Father God I confess my sin to you and I repent (turn away) from those things that keep me from you. I turn to you. I repent of making other things more important that You. Forgive me. Thank you Jesus for forgiveness.” 

If you prayed that prayer you can take hope; not because I said it but because the Bible says so. The Bible says: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES ON HIM WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME." (Romans 10:9-11) 

Need help? Someone is waiting to talk with you.
Call either:  1-888-NEED HIM (1-888-633-3446)
or 1-877-2GRAHAM (1-877-247-2426).