Dec 27, 2012

All I Want For Christmas

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? Was this the year you finally got a Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time? Or were you looking for something else?

As this year draws to a close, and a new year begins, oftentimes we look to the last two weeks of the year to finally get what we want. We seek for gifts at Christmas that will bring happiness; or at least temporary happiness. 

We go through this season not really looking for gifts like toys and hats and clothing and fruitcake. Really what we are  longing for is to hear parents and children FINALLY tell us we matter “This is the year…” we exclaim; “when I will finally hear someone express true love to me by tell me that they are proud of me!”  

Or we put all of our hope into a new year fighting any cynicism that is boiling up inside of us. And it may not happen.

You see, we can get everything we want externally and still be missing something on the inside. That is where we really need something to change.

The true reason for celebrating Christmas is that God chose to become flesh and walk among us. He came to lay down His life and be resurrected and to once and for all settle the debt that was ours to pay and to give us what we really need.

He came that we might have life abundant! (See John 10:10)

He came because

“…God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

He came to give us new hearts:

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26) 

“.. . I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33b-34)

As this year draws to a close, and a new year begins, stop what you are doing and where you are going. Has the road you’ve chosen to travel this past year gotten you where you really want to be? 

And ask God to reveal Himself to you and tell you that you matter and how much He really loves you.

You too can finally get what you really want for Christmas.

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."



Dec 20, 2012

The Warmth of a Small Child’s Embrace

Last Friday, I was at home getting my things together for my evening’s activities. A local ice rink hired me to be Santa at a “Skate with Santa” event and this would not only provide some cash, but also give me a chance to be a big kid again.

I was somewhat amused by the idea of playing Santa, because when we raised our children, Santa wasn’t part of the Christmas story that we told. No, I wasn’t a bad dad, I simply wanted my children to know that Christmas was a celebration of God’s love when He sent His only begotten Son to become “one of us”; Immanuel; who would die on a cross and then resurrected so that "whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)

Everything I needed for the event was packed into a duffle bag along with my sharpened skates and the Santa suit the organization gave to me to wear for the event.  I had some time before I had to leave my house so I decided to turn on the television to see what was on.

My attention was quickly captivated by the news that had interrupted most of the major networks. The stations were reporting the tragic news that a lone gunman had gone into a school in Newtown, Connecticut and shot to death several adults and children.

During the next few minutes, my attention was absorbed by the television reporters as they attempted to provide specific details about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and its aftermath. They broadcasted that twenty-six people were killed; reporting that twenty of them children around six and seven years old. The gunman then shot and killed himself.

I, like so many of us on that day, began to pray and cry out on behalf of the families and administrators and rescue people who had to sort through this tragedy. My mind tried to make sense of it all as my emotions as a father and grandfather began to overwhelm me. My heart began to ache as I tried to imagine what those parents in Connecticut must be going through.

I called my wife Cathy at the school where she works; simply because I wanted to connect with another person before I headed out to be with the children and their families at the ice rink. I also wondered about how many of the children I would soon be with knew about the tragedy that had taken place twelve hundred miles away.

I loaded my gear into my truck and drove to the ice rink as I tried to focus on loving those whom I was hired to play Santa for. I arrived ten minutes later and went into one of the locker rooms to begin my transformation. I laced my skates, put on the Santa suit, and secured the beard with adhesive so that it couldn’t be pulled off.

I stepped on the ice and was greeted by jubilant shouts of joy as the awaiting children saw Santa arrive. My heart quickly was totally aligned with my assignment for the evening; be the best Santa I knew how and love on these children and their families as a form of distraction from the realities of our broken world.

I spent the next hour and a half playing tag, posing for pictures, and skating around bringing joy to the one hundred and fifty or so people who had come down for the event.

One of the absolute joys was being able to use my grandpa superpowers and stop several crying children by picking them up in my arms and giving them a ride around the rink, much to the delight of their parents.

My heart was filled up as grateful parents and children thanked me as they left the ice for spending time with them by posing for pictures and skating with them.

I stepped off the ice and made my way back into the locker rooms to begin my transformation from Santa back to Tommy O. I wiped off my skates, packed up my equipment, loaded my gear into my truck, and drove home.

As I drove home, praise rose from my heart; I was so very grateful to God for the gift of the evening! I was so very grateful at this precious gift of being able to have spent the time bringing joy and laughter to so many.

I was especially grateful for all of the hugs that I received from the children that helped to fill my heart that had been broken from the tragedy that had taken place earlier in the day.

I was so very grateful to my Heavenly Father for the warmth of a small child’s embrace.

“Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Luke 18:14-17 NKJV)

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Dec 13, 2012

Learning From Joe and Mary

One of the subplots behind the story of the first Christmas is how God was faithful to Joseph and Mary. Have you ever thought about that?

Here was this young couple who was chosen by God to become the vessel through which He would take “the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 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” (Philippians 2:7-8)

As exciting as it may sound to be chosen by God for this task, the truth is that it was very hard; it had to be!

Mary was told by an angel who appeared to her in her house (yeah like that happened every day!) and told her; “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

We gloss over this situation and romanticize it as we place the two figures into the manger scene at Christmastime. But oh the scandal! Oh the ridicule! Oh the shame!

Mary had to go through the next nine months or so telling people that although she was a virgin, she was pregnant. Her explanation was that an angel told her  that “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Joseph, her fiancĂ©, had to walk this through as well. He had to tell people that “yes” Mary really was still a virgin and that the child wasn’t his. His explanation was that “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

Constantly explaining on the outside that it was God’s will while perhaps on the inside wondering if they had made it all up. Joseph wasn’t there when Mary had her encounter with the angel; nor was Mary there when Joseph had his. They were each alone and they had to totally trust that God would prove Himself.

They were misunderstood and shunned by a town would not put up with this immorality and the subsequent lying that followed this tall tale. They were alone as they had only one place to look, and that was for each, individually, to look to God to prove Himself in this wild story.

And God did with such grandeur that each year all around the world we stop and set aside time to celebrate that He was faithful to prove that what He said was true!

My friend; walking in faith and following what God tells us to do is hard and it takes a grace beyond what we can muster in our own strength. We can’t do it on our own; we need God to walk us through. We have to each, individually, look to God to prove Himself to be true.

And if it was He who told us to do something, He will back it up, and He will be faithful with such grandeur that all of eternity will set aside time to celebrate that He was faithful to prove that what He said was true!

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."



Dec 6, 2012

Driving In The Fog

My wife Cathy and I were driving home late one night after spending a few days on the road doing ministry. The freeway that we were driving on was covered in an ocean of fog and it was very hard to see where we were going.

About thirty minutes into the trip, we realized that we probably should have stayed over where we were one more night rather than drive home so late. The couple that had hosted us had invited us to stay one more night, but we declined. I had to get back home because I had an early morning appointment with another pastor who was coming over to my office and I didn’t have his number to call and cancel.

We continued to drive on as the fog grew thicker by the mile. The sky above us was bright with stars and a full moon; which helped a little because this area of Minnesota that had no lights along the freeway.  However, they also illuminated the tips of ears on herds of deer that were lined up grazing in the ditches for miles on either side of the highway, which meant that we had to be very attentive. 

We could only use our high beams for short times as we quickly had to switch back to low beams when we came upon another weary traveler on the road.

Driving under these conditions led to fatigue very quickly as every muscle in our eyes strained to make out the road ahead as we also kept our ears attentive to deer potentially crossing the road. Hands grew tense as they gripped the steering wheel keeping the car headed in the right direction.  

We were very tired and it was way too late to be driving and yet, we pressed on hoping to finally be past the fog that was surrounding our very lives.

The fog reminded me of the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews in the Bible. The author Philip Yancey affectionately refers to it as; “Survivors of the fog”. In this chapter, we read about ordinary people who looked to God as they by faith “drove through the fog” in some area of their lives.

 “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)

 My friend, I’m not sure what you are going through today. You may be in a place where you feel as though you, too, are “driving in the fog” and it is very hard to see what is coming up ahead. You, too, may be fatigued as you strain to make out the road ahead; not quite sure of what you are doing or where you are really going. You, too, may be aware of so many potential obstacles lying in the “ditches” along your journey.

My advice for you is to press on; in faith. No, not your own, but in Him; in God, the only One you should look to. That is how those mentioned and referred to in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews made it through. He wants to be the One who will “drive” you through this situation.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

Don’t try to do it all alone. I am so glad that Cathy was in the car to help me watch the road and to keep me awake.  Call 1-888-NEED–HIM; someone is waiting to talk with you.

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."



Nov 29, 2012


What if everything you have brushed off was true; are you confident enough in your convictions to “bet-the-farm”, to lay it all on the line?

 What if the Bible is true? What if Jesus Christ truly is the ONLY way to God? What if He ALONE is the Way, the Truth, and the Life? What if salvation is not found in any other than Jesus; that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved?

What if God really does expect us to believe Him and follow Him? What if He really does command us to do some things and to not do other things? What if one day we will each of us shall give account of himself to God?
“But”; you protest, “That’s just your opinion…”

But I say;What If It Is true?” What if there IS more than meets the eye; more to this life than we can imagine? What if reincarnation isn’t true? What if there are no do overs, no second chances? What a huge difference it should make on how each of us lives our live

“But”; you persist in your protest, “I still say that’s just your opinion…I don’t think it matter whether or not there is a resurrection…”

But I say;What If It Is true?” The Bible tell us:
“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

What If It Is true? Perhaps it is time for you to stop and at least ponder what so many have understood to be truth for so many thousands of years: That we all live our lives and then there is another life that follows. The Bible goes on to tell us:

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)

“But”; you protest, “That’s still just your opinion…”

But I say;What If It Is true?” If I’m wrong, then we either all cease to exist when we die or we do it all over again. But if what the Bible says is true, then it may be too late for you to change your mind once you die.

What If It Is true? What if He is real and really does love you and believes that you exist even though you don’t believe that He does? What if this whole time it has been YOU who has been walking around deceived by your philosophies and vain imaginations?

And that's why I hope you'll understand and listen to me as a friend as I tell you that if you'd only ask Him to He'll draw close to you, He will respond. He is standing, knocking, waiting for you to call out to Him. He understands your heart's most secret prayer. But turning away you just might miss the love you've waited years to find.

What If It Is true? To miss out on the life that Jesus came to bring us; that truly would be a tragedy.

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."



Nov 22, 2012

Sitting in Dad's Office

I’ve had many offices over the years, located both in and outside of my home. When I’ve had my office outside of my house and my children were young, Cathy would sometimes bring them to my office along with a meal because I would be working late.

When they were older and able to drive, I loved it when my children would call me and ask if I was busy because they needed to stop by or better yet, when they would stop by unannounced. I loved it when we would meet because they needed something printed or because they wanted to show me something or simply because they brought coffee for me! What joy it was that I could show them what I was working on or to introduce them to a co-worker or a client.

One of the great joys of having an office at home is when my children were young was when they would stop in and sit in my lap because they wanted to be held. I really loved it, especially when I was meeting a couple who was going through a rough time; they brought a new prospective to the situation as only a child can.
Currently, Cathy and I share an office together on the third floor of our house. It has been a great space to gather, study, and seek God. The space includes an office area, a small library, and a meeting area that can easily seat 9 people. One of my daughters told me that there is still more space that we are not using. My biggest “problem” with the space is that because it is a comfortable space, people have a hard time leaving once they stop in. Someone told me that the office feels like a Caribou coffee shop (which he said was a good thing) and we do serve great coffee!

Even today, as adults, my children will stop over to my house and come see me in my office. Sometimes they need something or to use my computer. Other times they have stopped upstairs to my office to simply let me know that they had stopped by to pick up mail and wanted to say “Hi” to me and will give me a hug!

This “tradition”, this joy, is now onto the next generation as my granddaughter Fallon will request to go upstairs to my office so that she can color with my markers or sit at my desk and watch “Tales” as she calls them (Veggie Tales). I love to watch her as she goes from area to area and picks up items (my shelves are filled with an eclectic items that I picked up or gifts given by others over the years).

My children know that they are free to stop in and spend time with me without having to call ahead or set an appointment or “permission”. This was brought home for me recently. Cathy and I were like two ships passing in the night due to our busy schedules and we had one hour to catch up with each other and were sitting in our office drinking coffee or tea. She had been gone for three days and I was about to leave for a meeting at church and then would be gone for two days at a pastors’ retreat.

We were sitting and talking when we heard someone coming up the stairs. It was one of my daughters who came upstairs with a cup of tea and proceeded to sit at my desk so that she could use the computer. I love it that she knows that she can do this without “permission” or an appointment; that she knows that “me casa tu casa”! She knows that she has an open invitation to use something that I have or to simply hang with her dad.

Do you know that God has that same policy with you? Do you know that you are free to stop in and spend time with Him without having to call ahead or set an appointment or “permission”? Do you know that when take Him up on His offer to spend time sitting in Dad’s office that it bring great joy to Him just like my children bring to me when they hang with me? He wants us to come to Him; His office is always open. The Bible says;

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

“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. 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 4:15-16)

 “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

Come. Sit. Rest. Hang and sit in Dad’s office. Take time to hear Him say to you;

 Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10a)

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Nov 15, 2012

“When It Is Time for a Change”

I love autumn in Minnesota! Autumn is a season of changes; radical changes! All around, the trees are changing from green to vibrant colors as a way of distracting us from the fact the temperatures are plummeting from the eighties towards the freezing mark.

Walking in the park one day, Cathy made an observation about the leaves. She said; “The old leaves are being pushed off by the new buds that will become the new leaves next spring.” She also mentioned that oak leaves stay on the tree until spring when the new growth and buds will push them off.

Cathy said that she thought of a scripture passage which says; Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Eugene Peterson’s Message Version writes it this way: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.

My friends; God is up to something new in our lives, and the old just may have to go in order to make room for the new. Do you see it? It’s important that you do because when God takes us through changes; it’s easy to get disappointed when we can’t see what He is doing.

Too many people spend their lives stuck on what could have been as they fail to fulfill the expectations or wishes of themselves, or others for their lives, and disappointment becomes the new focus of their existence.

Proverbs 16:9 says; “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps… In other words, just because we planned some path for our lives, it may not go that way; God may have a different direction.

Grasping this truth can change your perspective and will make the difference between disappointment and “His”-appointment. It be an opportunity for anticipation of what God might be up to; rather than disappointment for how things appear to have turned out.

When God takes us through these changes, He does cares for us as individual children:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:29-31)

BUT He probably is not thinking only about you and how this affects your immediate life.

He is thinking about how He will show Himself THROUGH your situation and to WHOM He will show Himself throughout your life; He is thinking about generations. The changes don’t always make sense to us if we try to assess everything in light of whether we are doing something right or wrong.
Job (of the Bible) didn’t do anything wrong, in fact he was doing things right! And yet big changes came upon him Do you realize that Job never was privileged to understanding what was really happening the same way that you and I can because we are able to read the WHOLE story of the Book of Job?

Do you realize that when Joseph (of the Old Testament of the Bible) went through massive changes, it wasn’t because he was doing something wrong, in fact he was doing things right! And yet big changes came upon him

Do you realize that Peter (of the Bible) went through massive changes? In fact his FRIEND Jesus was giving permission to Satan to bring change into his life.

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32 31)

In all three stories, the changes were not only about their lives. The changes had as much to do with how we would talk about them and learn from them in our lifetime. We too can see how merciful the Lord actually was being; all three had stories of great victories after their changes.

If we are going to do this, we need to look at what is being asked in light of what He has done; looking through what He has done for us and how good He is

THEN: We can submit to God BECAUSE He has been so good to us
THEN: We won’t be conformed BECAUSE He has been so good to us
THEN: We will renew our minds BECAUSE He has been so good to us
THEN: Then we will know what is the perfect will of God …

Then we will be people who are flexible when changes come. Flexibility is about bending and adjusting with the changes that come. Being rigid can leave things broken (physically, emotion, etc.)

Let’s choose wisely how we respond and stop the mental erosion by asking the Lord to open our eyes to see what He is doing.

My friend, your story isn’t over yet! My guess is that His plans are so much better than what you would have ever thought or planned. Let Jesus Christ change your story for HIS-story.  The best is yet to come!

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Nov 8, 2012

“Ambassador For Whom?”

Let me test your ability to discern. Which of the following is an actual joke?

A priest, a minister, and a rabbi walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says; “Is this a joke?”  Or: A woman walks into a church and is told by the ‘man of God’ that if she can’t come every Sunday and every holy day, she is going to hell. The woman says; “Is this a joke?”

If you guessed the first one, you guessed correctly. In fact it is probably the simplest joke that when told by me can still get a smirk from my wife Cathy. She said that it is part of my job description to make her laugh and to keep her warm (we live in a place in which the winters get cold).

Sad to say, the second one is a true story that happened recently to someone who, when telling the story to me, said; “I haven’t been back to that church or any church since then, so I guess I am going to hell.”

Now I work hard to build bridges between ministries and between denominations; making “every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3); believing that the church is ALL a part of the Body of Christ and under His Lordship. So, I watch what I say looking for ways to build up, not tear down.

But inside I got mad at how poorly that ‘man of God’ represented God; he is supposed to be a ambassador for God! Now, I don’t expect the ‘man of God’ to be perfect; without the Lord’s grace and mercy hell should be my destination. The truth be told, all of us who are ministers have at one time or another misrepresented God; myself included and I owe the world an apology.

But if he is going to be an ambassador for God, shouldn’t he represent the Lord? I want to personally ask the ‘man of God’ in this story; “And who are you an ambassador for?” Certainly it isn’t for the One whom died for this woman!

In the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, he writes that when we come to Jesus, we are new creations; “…old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  

Paul goes on to make clear what that new life means. It goes on to say that God; “…has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (v18) and has “committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (v19). In other words He wants to use us to tell others the gospel story; a story of hope that we can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ!

Paul makes it really clear whom it is we represent; it is God. Paul wrote: “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (v20). The Greek word Paul uses for “ambassadors” means to be a senior, that is, (by implication) act as a representative (figuratively preacher): - to be an ambassador.

The Greek word that Paul uses for “pleading “means to call near, that is, invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): - beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.

Did you catch that? We are supposed to be talking and acting as His ambassadors, “as though God were pleading through us…” In other words, what God would say and is saying. We are supposed to be inviting people passionately to come through Jesus; not informing them they are going to hell if they don’t come to church “every Sunday and every holy day”.

Hell is the destination for those who reject what Jesus accomplished on the cross with His death, burial, and resurrection, and choose instead to pay for their own sins; not necessarily for those who don’t come to church each week. Keith Green once said; “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger”

The Bible tells us that we come to God through GRACE! NOT by keeping man made rules like “you have to go to church or else or will go to hell”.

 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

There is nothing you can do to earn salvation. God does not require you to do something otherwise Jesus wouldn't have had to die! Jesus Christ has done it all. Salvation is finished; all you have to do is take it; receive it by faith. God simple wants us to say “yes” to His grace that is available and to receive His gift of salvation.

When Jesus was asked;

… “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29)

To all who have been pushed away by ‘men of God’; intentionally or unintentionally, I want to say that I am sorry. I’m sorry that we haven’t represented Him. Please don’t stop seeking him just because you’ve met some of us.

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."



Nov 1, 2012


My schedule has been very full lately. On some days, I have opportunities to be at several different events, gatherings, or parties at the same time. I have even been asked to preach or do ministry at two different places at the same time. I know that others might think that I that I could do it. But I can’t; I don’t have multiple personalities and, dare I say it, it’s impossible for me to be in two places at once!

It can be tough to choose, because our decisions can affect other people and we want to make wise choices.

But what really bothers me is when someone pleads their case as to why I should attend their gathering by stating something that alludes that to miss it, I would be missing the very will of God for my life. Really; is it God’s will that I try join both parties at the same time?

No. That isn’t the will of God for my life; He said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (See Matthew 11:30) And it doesn’t take me long to realize that it can’t possibly be the will of God for me to try to attend several events at the same time; I simply need to make a decision and attend one. And then, if I choose, join one of them…or neither, if I choose, and I can stay home; it’s really my choice.

Today I found myself pursued by two more people who each felt that it was in my best interest to join their party; to come to their gathering. Perhaps they even invited you to attend each of their parties at the same time; their names are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

And, what really bothers me is that each of them is trying to convince me that he have the best party to come to and his will be the best, while telling me why the other’s party will be lame.  Each of them pleads his case as to why I should attend his gathering by stating something that alludes that to miss it, I would be missing the very will of God for my life. Really; is it God’s will that I try join both parties at the same time?

No. That isn’t the will of God for my life; He said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (See Matthew 11:30) And it doesn’t take me long to realize at it can’t possibly be the will of God for me to try to join both parties; I simply need to make a decision...

Or, if I choose, I can stay home and “doing nothing”; which I know is impossible because as a Christian I must respond. What should I do? The Apostle Paul writing to Timothy said;

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Paul is exhorting me to not be silent before God as to what He would want me do, but more importantly Paul is saying that I have a responsibility to pray for them, no matter what party they are in and then, if I choose, vote for one of them…or neither; it’s really my choice.

It can be tough to choose, because our decisions could affect other people and we want to make wise choices.

In 1 Chronicles 21 in the Bible, we read about King David having to make a very difficult decision due to his sin. He was given three different types of punishment that would happen to his country. I love David’s decision. He said in verse three “I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

David was saying; “Lord, You choose what is best because You alone know what is best for our country.”

This week as we prepare to cast our vote to choose who will be the next President of the United States or America, let’s keep that posture in mind as we seek the will of the Father for our country as to what He thinks is best and as we pray for those who serve as leaders. Remember, there is more to this life than what we are currently living.

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."