Monday, December 12, 2011

Time for Christmas

I heard of one woman who was invited to join a Baptist church. Her friend told her about a Sunday School fellowship she could attend, in addition to choir practice, missions meeting, covered dish supper, and a discipleship class. The woman shook her head and replied, “I would love to be a Baptist, but I'm just not physically able!”

Sometimes I feel that way about Christmas. Between the shopping, the decorations, the parties, and the food, it feels a little more like a marathon than a celebration. Then I remember the reason we celebrate, that God so loved the world, he sent his only begotten Son. Don't let the busy-ness of the season rob you from the joy of celebrating the Savior. We have reason to sing!

Psalm 96:2 (NIV)
Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good Eyesight

I was reminded recently of the importance of good eyesight. I normally wear contacts which my ophthalmologist has formulated to allow me to see both things far away and read items close at hand. Somehow, I got a piece of dust under one of the contacts, creating a condition I can only describe as an icepick in the eye. If you have contacts, you know what I mean. If you don't, believe me, you don't know what I mean.

Because of the icepick in my eye, I was forced to wear my glasses for a day. I only bought single vision glasses (primarily because I am cheap) so I could see things far away clearly. Up close, things were in a complete fog. In the grand scheme of things, that's not a great problem, but when you are scheduled to preach in fifteen minutes, it's an issue. The verses in my bible looked like one giant ink smudge.

Fortunately I remembered – we have a copier that enlarges. Two minutes later, I had scriptures Mr. Magoo could read. The experience taught me an important lesson: we need to be the enlarging copier for our friends and neighbors. They can't see the extraordinary promises of God's word. We need to be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to use us like enlarging copiers, making God's promises visible to the world around us through our lives. They've got ice picks in their eyes, too.

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Service Call

This week, my family had our gas furnace serviced for the winter. Our repairman came out and cleaned the dust off the burners, made sure the filter was clean, and checked everything out so that we would be ready for cold weather. I was just glad to be ready not to blow up the house. Being warm is nice, too.

We need those service calls in life, too. It's one of the reasons I'm glad to have close Christian friends to keep me grounded in the Word of God. They can let me know when things are getting a little dusty. The weather will surely come; we all face those challenging times of life. Better to be ready now than cold then.

Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)
24 [Jesus said] Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Water the Grass

It has been feast or famine with my yard this year. We had so much rain during the spring, it was hard to mow because of the mud, then the rain stopped in July and my yard has begun to resemble the Sahara. One area, especially, where I had seeded new grass last year looked so wonderful during the spring, now looks like the infield where I played Little League. I have an urge to steal second base every time I walk out on our back porch.

Water is an essential ingredient for grass to grow. We need to realize the same thing about studying God's word and growth in our spiritual life. Too often, we fall into a feast or famine routine. We read the scripture diligently for a time, then begin to miss a day here and there and suddenly, we are in the spiritual Sahara. Water the grass. Find time to read God's Word daily. Your neighbors will thank you.

2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Calendar

I recently had to update my calendar. My old calendar was on software that is no longer compatible with my computer, so I had to make a change. That meant typing in each event for the coming year. Software does simplify that task, to an extent, but I still had to review each day one by one. That's always a humbling project. Some days were full to overflowing; other days are waiting for new adventures to present themselves.

Jesus knew what he would be doing everyday. Mary and Joseph learned that truth when, after searching for the young Jesus after a trip to Jerusalem, they found him at the temple. Jesus told them:

Luke 2:49
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

The scripture says that at the time, Mary and Joseph didn't know what Jesus meant, but all they had to do was look at his calendar. Jesus' Day-timer would have said the same thing each day - “Being about my father's business.” I could eliminate much clutter from my life if I would learn this same truth and apply it to my life. And my calendar.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Missions R Us

Marsha and I passed by the Toy's R Us store a few days ago and had one of those melancholy moments of midlife. We realized it had been years since we had made the journey down those hallowed aisles. Years ago we started buying diapers and formula there – at that time they had the cheapest in town, if you bought in bulk. And we needed bulk.
Then there were the years of toys, beginning on the preschool aisle and working our way through to the “big kid” toys. I liked all of them, especially when the had the occasional sample out to try. My daughters used to have to drag me out of the store. “Mom, would you tell dad to stop playing with everything. We are ready to go home!”
Then suddenly we stopped going. The girls didn't pester us for the latest toy, I stopped looking for toy coupons in the Sunday paper, and the mall became a more likely destination. To be honest, I didn't notice. We just moved on in our life.
Sometimes that happens with missions. We hear the story of a missionary or mission and get excited about the possibilities. We give, we pray, we go. . . and suddenly we don't. It doesn't happen all at once. Other activities begin to call us away and suddenly weeks go by we don't think about missions at all.
That can't happen. We are a mission people. It is our calling. Missions R Us. Pray that we will always be faithful to our Lord's command:

Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Week in the Big Apple

Today is the first day of VBS. This year, we have embarked on the Big Apple Adventure. I've never been to New York, but if it looks anything like NHBC looks this week, I want to go! We've had a great start with excited teachers, workers, and the best group of VBS learners in the world. Through the week, we will be learning how we can be connected to God through Christ. Who knew the streets of NYC could lead you to JC?!? Thanks for all the prayers for our VBS – God is answering in a great way.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Joyful Noise

I remember the day my children's choir director let me lead the choir onto the platform for our annual concert. It was the proudest moment of my six years of existence, being first in line as the choir proceeded up the stairs at the front of our church ready to sing our rendition of “Jesus Loves Me.” What I failed to realize was that, because I was in front, I was closest to our director, meaning she could grab me if I got a case of the wiggles or began to wander off, as I sometimes had the tendency to do. I'm not sure, at that moment, if leadership was a privilege for me, or self preservation on her part.

Whatever the case, I have been blessed through the years to have numerous patient, kind, praying leaders who have taught me the significance of making a joyful noise before the Lord. God gave us music to help guide us to worship. As National Heights prepares to move forward in the calling of a new minister of music, I am looking forward to learning even more how to worship the Savior. We have been blessed with extraordinary music in the past; God has great days ahead as we proclaim His name. Be in prayer for this coming Sunday, and for days ahead, that we all might unite in one voice to say:

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. (Psalm 122:1)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I was reading a report this morning of a church near Little Rock. The report communicated that God was doing some very exciting things in, through and around this church and in the city of Little Rock. The hungry are being fed, people are being saved and God is being Glorified!

As I read through the timeline of what had happened I could not help but notice it all started with people praying. First a few then more and more. Eventually several hundred people were committed to praying.

Then I couldn't help but think, "hey, we have several hundred people here that can pray". The challenge... Lets pray. Lets pray that people are reached. Lets pray that the hungry are fed. Lets pray that God is glorified.

Lets pray!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Old Dog

My dog is growing old. She turned 15 this year, which, if one dog year equals seven human years, makes her 105 years old. She is fairly spry for having past the century mark. Last night, she was chasing bunnies. She moves slowly enough that she can't catch them, but she does give them a good run. I think the rabbits have figured this out – they were sitting by her house when the athletic events started. Besides her hair being a little thinner, her main problem is that she appears to be going deaf. Instead of calling for her at night, I have to shine a flashlight in the yard so she can see me. Otherwise, she will simply wait for the next rabbit to stroll by.

At fifteen, she has been a part of our family for a significant time. My girls and my dog have literally grown up together. My vet has prepared us for the inevitable; from what he has said, her particular breed lives for an average of 13 years. She is two years above average, and counting. We know that one day, she won't be chasing the bunnies anymore. That's the nature of this life. It ends.

It reminds me of my own mortality as well. One day, I won't be chasing bunnies, either. But that is what makes the reality of Jesus' resurrection so significant. He has solved what we could not. He has won the victory over death. When we know Christ as Savior, through his death and resurrection we have forgiveness and life everlasting. That's what we celebrate at Easter!

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (NIV)
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Snowing on Spring Break

I remember when I was young and had better knees going snow skiing for spring break. I would gather my youth group, my wife, and any willing participants from our church and we would head to Purgatory (always an interesting location for a Baptist church group to visit). I probably fell more than I skied, but it was always great fun and a wonderful time to build relationships and enjoy the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Time went by, muscles grew older, and I haven't been skiing in awhile. I still enjoy spring break, if for no other reason than the word spring. For some reason, cold weather just doesn't appeal to me so much anymore, and anything with the word “spring” indicates there will be warmer weather.

So today, the first day of my daughter's spring break – it snowed. At least it doesn't appear to be accumulating – I draw the line at shoveling my driveway on any day named “spring,” even if it is just a date on the school calendar.

Still, the snow reminds me of the unpredictability of this world. We may have snow one day and drought the next. The instability around me only serves to contrast with the stability of Christ. He is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). His love and grace will be greater still long after this world has ceased to be. That's worth celebrating – snow or not!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

According to, on February 14, 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate will be exchanged, 198 million roses will be given (smart choice, guys), and 160 million valentine cards will be signed, sealed and delivered (not counting the boxed set cards children exchange at school valentine parties), making this the second largest greeting card holiday (next to Christmas). I bought my wife a chocolate-colored greeting card with a photo of a rose, so I guess I added to all three categories.

The day is an important time to tell the ones you love what they mean to your life, but we don't have to do that only one day a year. God certainly doesn't. His love for us is expressed 24/7 year round. Five hundred and five verses in the scripture speak of love. God's love is amazing.

1 John 3:1 (NIV)
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Romans 5:8 (NIV)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Our response to Him isn't too hard to figure out.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

And no wonder -

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I found some shoes in my closet last week. I had purchased a new pair, so it was time to get rid of the old ones. These were old ones, twice removed. I guess they had been shoved to the back of the closet and missed in the previous shoe shuffle.

My shoes tend to wear out on the inside, making the heel of the shoe about half as tall on one side as the other. These had the typical wear pattern, but worse. I guess I had tried to stretch their life a little longer than usual. I placed them, along with the old pair I was replacing, in our family's donation stack, but I almost felt embarrassed. If someone uses those shoes, they are going to end up walking like a pigeon-toed duck (is it a grammatical foul to mix a fowl metaphor?).

It made me thankful for the new life we have in Christ. When we know the Savior, we are always new, having received a life that will never end. Cool! I won't end up like those shoes!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)