Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How a school teacher became my pastor

(read this and other testimonials on the "Our Amazing God" page of this blog)

The abdominal pains grew worse and worse.  He weighed less than 100 lbs, he was so skeletal thin that he looked like a holocaust victim.  The doctors could find nothing wrong with him.  They gave him prescription after prescription but nothing helped. 

One day, while lying on the sofa, overwhelmed by his constant and severe pain, he prayed emphatically to God to remove this pain, “Please! Make it stop!”  He was raised in the church and his faith was strong and like many of us when we feel desperate, he made a bargain with God---stop this pain right now and I will become a lay minister at my church.

His eyes were closed as he prayed these words and the pain instantly vanished. But so did everything else it seemed.  He could hear nothing, the world went silent.  He could no longer feel the couch beneath him.  His arms no longer had any weight, in fact, they felt as if they were floating.   He was afraid to open his eyes; he truly believed he must be dead.  Time stopped.  He did not know if this experience lasted 5 seconds or 5 minutes.

Then like a hammer falling on a nail, everything came back, sound, sense of weight, the feel of the couch---and pain---excruciating pain.   (Well, I only asked God to stop the pain “now” and not for good, he would later laugh)

Later he was taken to the emergency room.  He needed surgery to remove large sections of his intestines, but this hospital was not able provide this kind of surgery.  So he was rushed via ambulance to a university hospital.  Here he was told that he was too under weight for surgery.  As he stayed at this hospital, gaining weight for surgery, he improved.  The univeristy doctors determined he has Crohn’s disease and were able to treat him medically rather than with surgery. 

The medication worked, he improved and although he will be on medicine for the rest of his life---he does have his life back---and he kept his promise to God and became a lay minister.  Years later, after retiring from teaching, he then became the pastor of my church.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The God of No

One of the turn offs non-believers have for regarding God is that His rules are too strict, too old fashion.    No to drinking, drugs, no sex before marriage.  No to swearing, no to gossiping, no to lying, stealing, cheating.  

To many people follow the guide of "If it feels good then do it" and "If it makes you happy then do it" or "Live for today".  They push God and all His "No's" aside without a second thought.

This is not the proper way to view God.  He is not a God of No, He is a God of Love.  He loves us and wants what is best for us.  He knows that keeping us safe and healthy and close to Him will bring us true joy and happiness regardless of life's circumstances.

God has given us free will.  That means we are the ones empowered to say "No".  We can choose freely to tell God "NO" at any time and we are free to go against any of His silly rules.

However, we must realize that His "Rules" and His "No's" are His way of guiding us away from evil and wrongdoing so that we can be healthy and happy.  

For example.  One of His silly rules is "NO" to sex before or without marriage.  What a kill joy! And we can exercise our free will and say "NO" to this rule.  But look at what has happened to so many of us that have ignored this rule.  Teen pregnancy, abortions, disease, single motherhood, poverty, a and abuse prevail in a world of sex before / without marriage.

Another example:  God has a rule about NO to  getting high  and drunk.  He knows these are destructive behaviors leading to poor health, disease, broken families / relationships and abuse.

And another example:  God has a rule about NO to gossip and lies.  What would the news be without those two things??!!  What would we talk about in regards to celebrities and the people at work or in school?  We love juicy gossip and it doesn't really matter if it is true or not.  But people are hurt by this.  Some are so hurt to the point of harming their mental health and well being.  It may even lead to bullying which we know has been linked to suicide among teens.

Think about this.  Our parents love us and how often do they say "No"?  It is not to kill our fun or make us social outcasts.  They say NO to guide us so we can become healthy and independent, functioning, adults.

God's love for us is even greater than our parent's.  And like our parent's rules,  His rules are to guide and protect us.  He knows what we are capable of and how detrimental our choices can be.  So to protect us from the evils of this world He gives us these rules.  It is up to us to say yes----or no, and then accept the consequences of our choices as it impacts our health and happiness and those around us. 

And as we cite all the "NO" rules from God, 
we forget His greatest "YES".   

YES---He loves and forgives us

Remember, despite all the times we deny God and His rules, God sent Jesus to die for US.  It was His blood only that could clean up the mess we make in our lives because of all the times we have said NO to Him.  

Even as it happened over 2000 years ago, as He died on the cross, Jesus was looking into the future at YOU and your life and was thinking of YOU as He gave up His life for your sins.  

Knowing He died for YOU, how can you not think He always has YOUR best interests in His heart, even when He is saying No?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dirty Hands, Dirty Heart

Taken from Shine 95.1 FM's web page:

As we prepared to lead a weekend retreat for our students, I gathered our leaders in a huge circle and asked them to close their eyes and hold out their hands.

I took an old dishrag covered in Karo syrup and dirt, and I went around the circle and rubbed it all over each leader's hands.

They all twisted their faces in to the most disgusted looks, and everyone around heard their sighs and groans.

Then, I told them to join hands and pray.  I prayed and prayed and prayed some more--I prayed for everyone I knew and didn't know.

When I said "Amen", everyone let go and stared at me.

I asked, "How many of you heard a single word I said?"

"Nooooo," they all said in unison.

Friend, the dirt on their hands represents the sin in our lives.  The moment life gets sticky, all we can think about is ourselves and how uncomfortable we are, how bad we feel, and we stop thinking about others.

When we are covered in sin, we can't hear others, can't offer anything to them because we are only concerned with meeting our own needs.

This world is full of people with their own issues and their own worries.  If we aren't where we should be in our walk with Jesus, we're not going to be able to love on them and help them.  Dig deep, reach out!

Philippians 2:4  "Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too."

Mark Hall, Casting Crowns

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Blood is life.

Without it we die, bodily.

Sin will also cause us to die, not bodily, but spiritually.

For our souls to live eternally they must be clean of our sins.  
Only life giving blood can do this. 

 Blood gives our body life on earth, 

Blood gives our soul life in eternity.

In ancient days to cleanse ourselves from our sins we would sacrifice something to God.  
A dove, a lamb, a calf. 
 The offering should be pure and your best.  

Just as you would never bathe in mud and expect to be clean, 
you can't sacrifice an unhealthy or blemished animal 
and expect your soul to be clean.

But when the right time in history came to be, 
God offered a sacrifice on our behalf.  

And it was the purest of anything that existed.  
It was Himself, His word becoming flesh in the form of His Son, to die for us.  
His blood to cleanse our souls from our sins.

Because God sacrificed His pure and sinless Son, 
nothing can match the cleansing of His innocent blood. 

 We are saved.

However, we are still expected to sacrifice.   

We are to die to self and put others first.  

We are to give up our pride, 

pursuit of popularity, 

money,   power, 


pursuit of things that are harmful to us 
(such as drugs, immoral sex)



What do you bring to the alter in sacrifice to God?  

What do you give up?  

What part of you dies so you can follow Christ? 

 Pride? Pursuit of Popularity?  Immoral behavior?

Take up His Cross

Be a Blessing to Others

And Live

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fatherless Homes

One of the problems in our culture is raising children in homes without fathers.

One in Three households in America is Fatherless.  No big deal our society says.  We  pride our single mothers as women who have it all.  We depict fathers as imbeciles on TV.   The feminist movement has marginalized men and glamorized the woman who needs no man.   We tell the world a boy doesn't need a father, his mother can teach him all he needs to know.

But here are the facts:

Fatherless homes are more like to exist in poverty.

Children without a father to guide them are more aggessive ,more likely to do drugs and are at a greater risks of criminal behavior.

Babies are more likely to die in homes without fathers, children are at a greater risk of abuse.

Children in homes without father are more likely to do poorly in school, drop out, not attend college.

Children in homes without fathers are more likely to engage in sexual behavior, more likely to experience teen pregnancy--leading to both a higher rate of abortion and a higher rate of continuing the cycle of fatherless families.

I doubt this in news to you.  Watch the news....see that teen arrested for murder?  see that boy arrested for dealing drugs?  See that girl heading into the abortion clinic with a friend?  No father in the home is almost a guarentee.

But I think this can also be extrapolated to a society without Thee Father.

I see a society that not only promotes drugs and sex, it celebrates it and normalizes it.  Wait until marriage?  You are the weird one.  Don't want to get drunk or high?  There is something wrong with you!

Why are Christians always made to feel they are on the defense for their good morals?

Because so many in our world do not have Thee Father to nurture and guide them, to teach them right from wrong.    God teaches us that children need both a mother and a father.  He teaches the importance of family. And He teaches that when we let Him be the head of our household, when we let Him be our Father, we will prosper over evil.

There are many citations on Fatherless Homes, for one Click Here