Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Go Ahead, Believe What You Want To

Isn't it interesting that the term One way is such a dirty word? Well, two words. I read a book by John MacArthur over the week end. It is called Why One Way? it is a short book, my favorite kind. Pastor MacArthur gives some points On why it is so important for the church not to back down from teaching that doctrine. If the gospel is the truth, it cannot be shared as truth by other world views or philosophies. John 14:6 was spoken by Jesus to His closest followers. He told them that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Later, Peter said in a sermon that there is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Although the book is written to the church and Christians in general, this particular chapter hit home to many of our non-believing friends who have that philosophy of it is okay to believe in whatever you want to. That is very dangerous for anyone to think that. There is so much to hang our thoughts and beliefs on that any one can jump on the next best thought or world view and get further from what will ultimately save them from eternity seperated from God. But is also a call to Christians to not allow those thoughts to permeate our friends' minds. To parphrase an old saying, true friends should not let non-believing friends live in unbelief. Friends on the surface are those who thinks like each other. A good friend is one who lets you believe in what you want and supports you in your beliefs. A True friend will not allow you to not live without the Gospel. To my tolerant friends within the church, who feel that being liked by the community and getting along with others is so important, take a good look into your heart. Is being liked more important than sharing the gospel? Then you are in the wrong business. To my friends who have not experienced the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will hear much more from me and hopefully your other friends who are followers of Christ.

Monday, April 16, 2012

These are not my words and I apologize to the person who I clipped this from... As a general rule, I try and avoid making trips to Wal-Mart. If I have to go, however, besides the pure entertainment value in people watching there, I inevitably end up getting frustrated at the check-out counter due to combination of a long line and my short attention span. We have a Super Wal-Mart near our home, so when I go to check out, there are about sixteen lanes at the front of the store to make the process as efficient as possible. The problem is, that for whatever reason, nearly every time I go there are only two of them open. Sure, there are those self-service lanes, but no one ever uses those because they know that they don't work. Instead, there usually are about twelve of us (somehow it always works out that everyone finishes at the same time) that end up waiting in those two lanes and we're all thinking the same thing. "Open up some lanes!" All too often I feel that same frustration when I look at the state of church planting today. Again, I aplogize for clipping this, however, these are the thoughts I have had for a very long time. In this age of competition, churches often make me think of the frys, Safeway, Wal-mart competition in the Phoenix area. go big or stay home. This is how we do super market shopping. I am so happy that people are recognizing that big is not always the best. That the larger the store does not always mean that the store is better. Because when it come to checking out... taking the goods and making them work, there are just not enough check out stands and the frustrations forever out weigh the positive. I knwo church is not about good feelings and frustrations, but the fact is that churches need to make each "patron" a disciple and not a satisfied customer.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A FREE TICKET: How Will You Receive It?

Some people I know from work received a free ticket to an upcoming baseball game. They were chosen to receive the ticket and they really did not have to do anything special for the ticket.

They did not need to accept the ticket. They could accept the ticket and not use it. They could accept the ticket, go to part of the game and leave early. They can receive the ticket and go to the game and stay for the entire game and get the whole flavor of a spring training baseball game. They can watch the players, they can enjoy being with other individuals from the same work place, they could appreciate the free gift they were given. They could then go to their homes and tell their family what a wonderful afternoon they had and, perhaps, make plans to take the family to a future baseball game. They, then, could let the people who gave them the free baseball ticket how much they enjoyed the time.

It got me to thinking that this is how we respond to God's Gift of Faith and worship and enjoying Him.

Some how, many, but not all, are chosen to receive the free gift. Some do not even accept the gift. Some take it because it is free and do not do anything with it. Some may receive the gift and even attend a church or do some nice things for others and not fully appreciate the gift they were given. Then, when it gets old or hot or uncomfortable or something else interests them, they move on.

But some take in the entire package. Receiving the free gift, responding with gratitude, enjoying the process and being there at the end to have been able to show appreciatation to the One who has, by preordained knowledge, given them the gift.

As Joh Piper has said, it should truly be that Man's chief end is to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever.

Life in Jesus is not a chore.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An evening with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike

I spent an evening with a couple of old friends Sunday. We havent touched base for about a year. It is always good to find out what they have been up to.

It seems I had so much catching up to do when we first made contact. Elvis Cole first told me about the Monkey's raincoat and that began a relationship that made me hang on every word he shared about him and his dear friend, Joe Pike. Even when Elvis was recovering from a gun shot wound, Pike set out on his own to help even more people, from avenging the death of a friend to looking out for the safety of someone he did not even know, and never did know much about her.

Yes, they are fictional characters from the mind and pen of Robert Crais. I found out about the books he wrote just a few years ago while in California caring for my ailing grandmother. I picked up the first book and did not stop reading until I had read the entire series plus the stand alone books he also wrote. I feel like I know the characters, although you can not get me to describe what I think they look like. When they seek out clues to solve the situation, I am right there with them. When they take a few seconds to subdue someone, I am am in awe of each punch or hold or battering. When they have cried, I have cried. I have Mr. Crais to thank for that.

After the last enstallment, I had to wait almost 13 months for the latest book. Finally, last Friday, Taken was released. I went to Costco, picked up a copy and was going to finish a book I was reading before I opened it up. I couldnt wait. I started reading, at my usual slow pace. I read until I went to bed at 9:30, turned off the light and put the book down. At 1:30 AM, I could not sleep. i had to see how the story played out. Finally, at 3:30, I finished the book, speed reading record for me, and put the book down. of course, I was so wound up I couldnt sleep the rest of the night. I have so appreciated the way the two men can show how much they love each other with very little fanfare or demonstrative outpouring of emotions. But it is there. Oh to have a friend like that.

Now, the hard part..... Waiting another 13 months to read about their next adventure.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mark Driscoll and Ricky Gervais: Why Is Offensive an Option?

I stopped following Mark Driscoll on Facebook awhile ago. It was just too much Mark on his posts. Then, I thought, if I delete his posts maybe I should delete a few others because of the same thing. So, I did. But that is a topic for another rant of randomness.

I dont follow Ricky Gervais either. He may be a very entertaining guy. I didn't know what he was up to until I saw the commercials and interviews leading up to the Golden Globes, a program I don't follow either. But I was intrigued by statments he made concerning how offensive he was going to try to be. My first thought was if you need to ask how offensive you can be, then you probably have gone too far already. But, I could be wrong.

I heard a few comments about his performance. He wasn't very good because he wasn't offensive enough. Oh my.

Mark Driscoll may be a gifted preacher, a man solid in his beliefs, a good leader and someday, may be a well-quoted teacher. However, I don't hear about him unless he offends someone. I don't mean offending a non-believer because he mentions Jesus. I mean offends the very same people who, apparently believe the same as him.

In entertainment where many people listen to you and take in what you say and mega-churches with great multi-media means for many people to listen to you and take in what you say, why is being controversial and offensive worn as a badge of courage?

Of course, I could be wrong.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I was going to wait until the end of the year, but I am going to have surgery next week and I will be recovering for a number of weeks. So, I will take a look at how I did this past year in my non-resolutions resolves for 2011.

I SAID: I need to read more meaningful books. I have done a pretty good job on this. I will say that Francis Chen proved to be the most challenging. But a book by Leonard is helping me to look at evangleism as discipleship. It is the little things we do daily that are more effective than one big push or pull.
I have enjoyed reading many different authors this past year. Of course, the new Robert Crais Elvis and Joe novel is coming out and Harry Bosch will be here soon in a new book by Michael Connelly. So I give myself a very good score in this area.

I SAID: I need to pray more. I am still not a prayer warrior. I have tried to grow in that area this year. I am disappointed that I have not gotten better in my prayer life, which is really real life. That is one that will carry over into next year. My score, not too good. C bordering on C-.

I SAID: I wanted to be more of a second chance person. Well, this is a tough fight. I want to work on patience, understanding, tolerance and acceptance. Unfortuantely, these are traits that begin to wane as you get older. So the fight for me has been a rough one. But I feel being a second chance person is winning out over my intolerance. A strong grade there.

I SAID: I was happy we were in the church we were going to and I SAID that I wanted to find a mentor..... Well, it was an interesting summer and fall concerning that. God brought a man and a church into our lives. We have started attending a church other than the one we were going to. The previous church served a purpose in our lives and we will forever be grateful. However, sometimes one just feels God's leading in a very real way. A couple of perfect storms led to our decision and we are very pleased to be involved in a small church as we grow along with this family of believers. It looks like it will be both rewarding and challenging, in a good way, this coming year.

God put the pastor in my life in a unique way and it makes the transition so much easier knowing it has truly been a God thing.

I SAID: I needed to address the health issue. Next week I will have colon surgery. Although they will cut me open and do some work, the surgery is being deemed routine. As I have tried to stay on somewhat of a course concerning my weight, I look forward to using the recovery time to reajust my diet routine. That will be helped by a week of broth and jello. But I will give my grade a Hold until further notice.

ALL IN ALL: I can not see my life without Jean in it. I cannot see OUR life TOGETHER without God guiding her and I. I can not see us being where we are, able to make the decisions we have made in the past year without yielding to God's presence and leading. In that area...... A+.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I fasted on Tuesday. Now before you think I am so super spiritual, I fasted to clean myself out for my ten year colonoscopy. The prepaeration started out by me not eating, all day. Then at 4:00PM, I began drinking two gallons of some sort of prep mix that really did not taste that bad. Butit did not taste good either. I drank two gallons of this prep drink, eight ounces at a time until it was gone. Now unlike a bottle of Maker's Mark that suddenly goes empty without warning, or so I have heard, this two gallon jug stayed half full for what seemed like, well forever. But it was gone by 7:15.

Then the purging. That lasted until right before I went to the endoscopy place. That part was over in a matter of minutes. I was home in less than two hours.

As I was sitting there Tuesday evening, drinking the prep, purging, halucinating about food, I was thinking about those who actually fast for the right reasons. I was so busy thinking about the lousy tasting prep drink and how hungry I was, I did not take time to think about why I was doing all of this. The purpose was to check and see if I was healthy down, well, in there.

Could I fast if I really wanted to? I mean for the right reason? Would I be so worried about when I could eat again or how bad I felt or how long I had to go without food that I would not be taking the time to be really into prayer. I would not be thinking about God. I would not be listening for what He wanted to communicate to me. I would be worried about my comfort.

Do we do things out of duty and not for the right reasons? Are we reading our chapters in the 100-day challenge because it is our duty? Do we attend services because it is the thing to do? Do we serve because we are so good and we feel we are supposed to?

Serving, attending, worshipping, fasting and praying should be done for the right reasons. To honor God. To know His will. To better be His child. I hope when it comes times servin gHim, I am not doing it just because I am supposed to.