Sep 27, 2012

You Say Goodbye….

This past Sunday was filled with “goodbyes”. I know that “goodbyes” are part of life, but I don’t like them; I’ve had too many of them in my life. 

My daughter Anna is moving to another location 250 miles away so we had lunch together with almost all of the children and grandchildren. I say “almost all” because our son Jonathan lives almost 200 miles away with his wife Bonita and our grandson Emmett; so we don’t get to see them very often. And, although we want to encourage them and support them, we miss them so very much.

So the thought of Anna moving away has brought tears to my eyes today as I am writing this. I know that we will see her when comes to town; the main office of the company she works for is close to where we live. But, we are used to having her living two blocks away for the past few years. 

I am so very happy for her and proud that she continues to step out in leadership at the company for which she works, but once again, we said “goodbye” as we were just saying “hello” and I found my heart missing her and longing for more time together.

After the lunch, I had to say “goodbye” to my other children and grandchildren as well. They too leave a void in my life when they leave. I long to spend more time with EACH of them. It always seems that the time we spend as parents with our children when they are growing up goes by way too quickly. And now, we are saying “goodbyes” to our grandchildren as their parents are telling them; “We will see them soon”. 

Later, in the evening, I had more goodbyes to say. I had spent the previous eight days at a Leadership Conference at our church. It was attended mostly by Congolese Africans who came from the countries of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, USA, and Canada. It was such a rich time of worship, teaching, and fellowship; which means we ate a lot of food!

I enjoyed spending time with pastors who didn’t even speak my language and yet still wanted to connect because we are all Christians. It was one of those times where I wished that I knew French so that even if I couldn’t speak Swahili, I could’ve met them half-way in conversation. I do so much appreciate those who interpreted so that I could understand.

And then, our time together was over and they departed to the next stop on their journey before they flew to their homes. We said “goodbye” as we were just saying “hello” and I found my heart missing them. I saw a bigger picture of this world we live in and why I get so many requests to visit other countries and, perhaps, some of what they need.

Stop. Don’t take relationships and the time we spend together for granted! Savor and enjoy every moment; you don’t know how many you have left. Today, please take some time to think about life and death and what’s important. Death is a reality - but so is God's offer of salvation in Christ. Is your hope in Christ? Don't put off your decision for Him, because you could be called into eternity at any moment - and then it will be too late.

Take time to talk to God and to talk to your friends. Take time to think about what’s important. Take time to slow down and smell the roses; it will be next week soon enough.

Struggling with what to do next? Go to:

Or call 1-888-NEED-HIM. Someone is waiting to talk to you.

Sep 20, 2012

Who Said You’re Right?

Truth, in this modern age, seems to be a moving target. They say that 75.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot; or was that 78.32%?

So, what is truth? Well, that all depends on who you ask. Often times we base our answers and beliefs on what we have been told by others, and we were also taught not to question their answers. Depending on our school of thought, we accept so many theories as fact, never considering that there may be another point of view.

Problem is, what if they are wrong? Why do we believe things without any real substantiated proof, and yet when there is documented proof, we blow it off?

So many theories have become fact like “you need to get a flu shot.” So we line up to get the shot, never questioning; “Hey, what if they are wrong?” or “What is in this shot they are giving me?” Really, most of the people that I know who have gotten the flu were the people who got the flu shot; the ones who didn’t seemed to be pretty healthy.

We were taught from an early age that “No two snowflakes are alike” because temperature, time, humidity, and gravity all can radically alter the shape of a snowflake, making it virtually impossible for any two snowflakes to be alike. And we accept this as fact; and yet how could you really prove it with all of the snow all over the planet? Maybe we will leave that one alone.

We ask question such as “how old is the Earth?” Well, that all depends on who you ask. In the 19th century, people thought it might 70 million years old. During the 20th century, it was thought that the age of the Earth was as much as 1 billion years old. People will quote “carbon dating” as evidence of the age of things on the earth. And yet, the only recorded age of the earth has it at around 6,000 years.

Carbon dating is somewhat accurate only to a certain extent. Unfortunately the ratio has yet to reach a state of equilibrium in our atmosphere because there is more carbon in the air today than there was thousands of years ago. Furthermore, the ratio is known to fluctuate significantly over relatively short periods of time. And yet carbon dating measurements are accepted as facts.

I agree that there seems to be evidence that something is going on with our environment and we are called by God to take care of our planet. There IS a cause and effect to what we do on earth. I am a huge proponent of “Green Building” and have taken classes and training in the past in “USGBC LEED for Homes” to promote the transformation of the building industry toward more sustainable practices. But, “Global Warming is accepted as fact, even though Al Gore's global warming philosophy has been debunked by many scientists and studies.

I’ve heard of so many philosophical beliefs that are stated as though there was evidence to support the beliefs, and yet they are simply based upon what someone else said.

So why do we believe that without any real substantiated proof and yet when there is documented proof, we blow it off? What do I mean? The Bible is filled with stories of people who walked the earth and we assume because it is the Bible, it can’t be true. 

We have historical evidence that Jesus was physically raised from the dead. No other founder of any religion ever did this. The resurrected Jesus was seen by over five hundred people.

The Apostle Paul was a historical person who walked the earth and wrote this when he was on the earth;
"Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

Luke, writer of one of the four Gospels in the Bible, was a historical person who walked the earth and wrote this when he was on the earth “He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)

Truth, in this modern age, seems to be a moving target. So, what is truth? Well that all depends on who you ask. And if you ask the wrong person, you could be sadly misled down the wrong path. And then it is too late.

Are you ready to get some truth? Have you tried 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.

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

Sep 13, 2012

Doubting and Faith

Although my friends call me ‘Tom” or “Tommy”, my birth name is “Thomas” and I am a Christian. I didn’t become a Christian until I was in my second year of college. It was watching my own parent’s lives change when they became Christians that caused me to consider becoming a Christian.

One of my obstacles to becoming a Christian was unbelief, or “doubting”. I thought that before I became a Christian I had to have all of my questions answered and all of my doubt removed. I was told that I was a “Doubting Thomas” because I didn’t believe.

“Doubting Thomas” is a term that is used to describe someone who will refuse to believe something without direct, physical, personal evidence; a skeptic.

The term is based on the Biblical account of Thomas the Apostle (You can read about the story in John 20:24-29 in the Bible).Thomas was one of the 12 disciples of Jesus in the Bible. He was given the nickname "Doubting Thomas” because he simply did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead and demanded proof before believing.

I want to point out that Thomas DID have some very good qualities. One time the other disciples tried to stop Jesus from going to Bethany. They were afraid of the danger from those in the area who had tried to kill Jesus. Thomas said to them, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him". He displayed great courage and loyalty to Jesus.
Not all of Thomas’s doubting was unfounded. Some of his doubt was based upon facts, and some of his doubt was based upon his emotions. In fact, Thomas had very emotional week when Jesus was crucified

On Thursday Thomas sees Jesus arrested by an angry crowd and he flees for his life and runs away from his Master.
On Good Friday Thomas watches at a distance as they nail his friend Jesus to a cross as Jesus' life drains away on the cross, so does Thomas's hope.
On Saturday Thomas is in shock; His friend Jesus is dead and is buried in a tomb.

On Sunday Thomas doesn't gather with his fellow disciples for an evening meal.

On Monday the disciples go looking for Thomas and tell him what has happened; “ Thomas, we were in that upper room where we'd been meeting. We locked the doors for protection. Yet, all of a sudden, Jesus appears. 'Peace, Shalom,' He says. Then He shows us His hands. There are jagged holes where the nails had been. He pulled back his tunic and shows us where the spear penetrated His chest. But he isn't weak or sick or dying. He is alive, raised from the dead!"

Thomas responded; "I don't believe it," barks Thomas. "I don't believe a word of it. You're seeing what you want to see. Jesus is dead! --- I saw Him die and He's dead, and the sooner you accept that fact, the better off you'll be.

Peter pleads with him. "Thomas, I saw Him myself, I tell you, and He was as real as you are!"

Thomas expresses his doubts; "Unless I see the nail marks in His hands  And put my hand into His side, I will not believe it."

On the Follow Sunday, Thomas is eating with his fellow disciples in the same locked room. Jesus stands among them once again and says: "Shalom, peace be with you." Jesus turns to him and speaks plainly to Thomas; "Put your finger here, see my hands." Jesus holds out His scarred hands for Thomas to examine.

Jesus begins to open his outer garment and says; "Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

Thomas is weeping now and then begins to sob out loud. Jesus reaches out and puts a hand on his shoulder. Then Thomas slips to his knees and says:"My Lord and my God!" Thomas is the first disciple to put into words the truth that Jesus is both Lord and God.

Jesus replies; "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jesus was saying  that believing isn’t always based upon seeing proof; sometimes it is based upon simply faith and believing God without proof

Even as a Christian I have times of acting like a “Doubting Thomas”. There have been times when I have questions and doubts, times when I don’t understand God, times when I simply need to walk in faith.

Jesus has made me very much aware that He does exist. No, He didn't appear to me and show me His hands and His side. But He has showed Himself to me in many other ways and helped me to simply believe Him by faith through answered prayers and through times when I read the Bible
And Jesus continues to be there taking me deeper in faith in Him. Even in the times where my faith is the weakest I still turn to Him with what little I have. And the experiences make me a better person and made my faith so much stronger.

The Bible tells us that that:  “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6)
It takes faith to believe this passage, not academic knowledge. Becoming a Christian is not an academic thing; it is a moral decision. You don’t have to have iron clad faith before you are “ready to believe”. Wondering how religion and science could agree.

You simply need to step out and apply faith to what you already know. And He will take care of the rest.

Faith is an act of obedience, walking in a way pleasing to God. It doesn’t matter how much we probe, and ponder, and question. Eventually we simply step out using what we know. That is faith. The formula is this: Doubting + Faith = BELIEF

That is true for spiritual things as well as Medical, Scientific, Engineering, Chemists, and yes, even marriage. You take what you know and put it to the test. That is faith

Eventually, after all the study and pondering and calculations are done. An engineer has to build the bridge and THEN send the car across. A medical doctor has to pick up the scalpel and THEN make the incision. A chemist has to mix the two chemicals together and watch what happens. Two people can study and study about marriage, but eventually they have to walk it out.

I love the story about “Doubting Thomas”. Here is a man who had been with Jesus for over 3 years. As a student and disciple of Jesus, he saw with his own eyes Jesus performing miracles. Jesus told Thomas that he would die and then be raised from the dead multiple times! And still Thomas had doubts that Jesus was raised from the dead. He was a man who is just like us! Thomas expressed his unwillingness to just accept other people’s word that Jesus was truly raised from the dead. Thomas asked God for proof that Jesus was raised from the dead and he was given the proof.

The Bible tells us that the early church had a whole group like Thomas: “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11 NIV)

In other words it is OK to still have questions and be a “Christian”; that is “a follower of Christ

It’s OK if we still have some doubts from time to time and study to find out answers and ask questions to find answers and read the Bible to find answers and pray to find answers.

How does God respond when we doubt Him? Jesus said, “You’ve seen Me you seen the Father” (John 14:19). In other words, we can look at how Jesus responded to Thomas’s doubting, and then understand how God responds when we doubt Him

You too can come to God with your doubts and your questions and ask Him to show you the proof. God is not going to push us away. God wants you to know and to believe Him and He will help you to do it!

Sep 6, 2012


I went on a mission trip recently to a city for which I had no real love; which is not the right frame of mind to do ministry. I was going to that city simply because I was asked to go and I knew that the Lord would eventually give me a love for the city and the people who live in it.

I didn’t hate the city. There were parts of it that reminded me of my hometown and a neighboring city. I didn’t dislike the people; I like people everywhere. So I prayed about and confided with a friend of my lack of love for the city that I was in.

One day, I looked around the homeless shelter in which I was helping out at and saw something. There were people sitting around waiting for something to happen; perhaps knowing that not much was really going to change regarding their circumstance. And yet it did. All around me were people who looked to me like sheep; specifically sheep without a shepherd.

In the Bible, the prophet Jeremiah wrote; “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray; they have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place.” (Jeremiah 50:6)

They were all sheep without a shepherd; searching for rest and hope. And even if I wasn’t the one to be a shepherd to these people, I knew the One who was. His name is Jesus who referred to Himself as the “Good Shepherd”.

I am the good shepherd. I am the one who really cares for the sheep. The good shepherd is willing to die to save his sheep.” (John 10:11).

Jesus understood what I saw; he too saw people as sheep without a shepherd:

“But when He (Jesus) saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

This same Jesus wants to be a Shepherd to those people as well as to you. He is a God who is passionately in love with us. He wants us to know that He DOES care what you are going through and where you are currently at.

And more than just changing your external situation (and He wants to and will), He wants to change the internal part of you that is really looking for contentment and peace as you struggle to make sense of your current situation.

He is waiting for you to respond to His mercy and grace that has already been extended to you through Jesus Christ. And you can; today. And it can make all the difference in the world as you look for hope in your present world. Let Him be your Shepherd.

Need further help? Someone is waiting to talk with you. Call either:

        1-888-NEED HIM  or  1-877-2GRAHAM (1-877-247-2426).

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