Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year

Who are the happiest people you know? In this week's passage (2 Corinthians 8:1-5), Paul describes some of the happiest people he knew, and it may not be for the reason you might think. Join us this week to find out how you truly can have a Happy New Year.

See you Sunday!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Greatest Announcement

We live in a world of the great announcement. Every store has "the biggest sale of the year." Every car dealership has "the lowest prices in town." And anyone who has seen the movie "Elf" knows there is a diner in New York that has "the world's best cup of coffee."

We see through the hyperbole. We know there will be another sale, a better price, or another cup of coffee that's just a little bit better. In the end, we don't really care - it's just another announcement trying to get us to buy something.

Not so with the announcement in Luke 2:8-14. Come this Sunday to hear what truly is the greatest announcement in all history.

See you Sunday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

No Small Parts

Remember: there are no small parts, only small actors - Constantin Stanislavski

Don't worry; I don't know who Constantin Stanislavski is either. If Wikipedia can be trusted, he was a Russian author and actor who developed the technique called "method acting." I'm not sure what that is - my acting career consisted of memorizing a grand total of three lines. In four different plays.

Whatever Mr. Stanislavski was talking about, it certainly is true in the account of Jesus' birth. Each individual played an important role in God's purpose. That's because we all play an important role in God's purpose. In this week's message from Matthew 1:18-24, we will discover how significant you are in God's plan as we look at the life of Joseph.

See you Sunday!

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Yes Message

Text messaging is changing the way we communicate. Not only is the technology changing the way we send our message, it's changing the message itself. Text messages, by nature, have to be short. My thumbs can only type so many words at a time. Necessity being the mother of invention, we have witnessed the rise of the emoji. These small symbols, originally faces created with colons for eyes and symbols for the mouth, have evolved into little drawings to express emotions that used to require an entire paragraph. For example, "The guy in front of me in the checkout line is taking forever to finish. I have no idea when I will get home for dinner. It is entirely possible that I'm going to spend the rest of my life reading the gum wrappers at Walmart." has become :\

This week, we look at the second of the Christmas announcements, the angel informing Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God. Her amazingly brief acceptance of the Lord's call on her life reveals how we should all be ready, when the Lord calls, to say "Yes."

See you Sunday!

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The right side of the fence

While driving down the road, I saw a horse craning its head through the barbed wire fence to eat on the other side. Further down the road, was a deer, gingerly walking along the road. How silly, I thought -- they both have wide open fields....why are they endangering themselves by going elsewhere?

Many times, we, too, are the same way. The grass looks greener, or we'll just go 'there' for just a little bit...we'll be careful...and all the while, God is providing us with wide open fields of blessing and protection.

He provides blessings that make our cup overflow....we have all spiritual blessings...he gives more than we can ask or imagine. We have no reason to look elsewhere.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


From time to time I'm glad the the powers in charge do something I despise - the emergency broadcast system. The "alarm" signal used by radio and television stations to signal an emergency announcement has to be the most annoying sound ever created, right up there with fingernails on the chalkboard. When the sound goes off, however, we all know what it means. Either it's a test of the system, or time to go to the basement.

Some announcements are essential to hear. The announcements of the Savior's birth are the most significant of all. Over the next several weeks, we are going to prepare for the Christmas season by surveying the announcements surrounding this extraordinary event, announcements we all need to hear.

See you Sunday!

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Grow Up

Different families have different ways to measure the growth of their children. Some keep a record of growth in a journal. Others make marks on a doorpost. My family measured my growth by the distance of the cuff of my pants from the floor. When my knees were showing, it meant I was growing up. And it was time for some new pants.

Paul mixes the images of a child growing up and waves tossed in the ocean to remind believers of the importance of maturing in our faith (Ephesians 4:14-15). Join us this Sunday as we learn how important it is for all of us to grow up.

See you Sunday!

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ready to Go

For some reason, I never feel quite ready to leave the driveway. There is always the nagging possibility that I forgot something. Did I lock the door? Did I close the refrigerator? Did I remember to feed the cat? Typically, I make one more trip inside the house to be sure, only to get back in the car and wonder, "Did I lock the door...." It's a wonder I ever get out of the driveway.

God doesn't want you stuck in the driveway. Too often, when God calls us, we wonder if we are ready. In this week's passage (Ephesians 4:12-13), we find the way God has chosen to make sure that we are.

See you Sunday!

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Read the Blueprint

At one time in my life, I wanted to be an architectural engineer. I went to a recruiting class the local college offered one Saturday for future engineers, explaining all the things a degree in architectural engineering could do for my life.

I don't remember anything they said, but I do remember a video the professor showed of a bank building in the process of being constructed. The time lapse video showed the progress over several days which came to a screeching halt. All the construction workers stopped while a group of very official looking people huddled around what appeared to be design plans. After a lot of pointing and huddling, the construction workers began taking the frame of the building apart. The professor explained that the primary beam holding the roof had been installed backwards, so they had to tear everything down and start over.

I'm not sure how this was supposed to encourage us to be architectural engineers, but it did teach a lesson I never forgot - be sure to read the blueprint. In Ephesians 4, the Bible provides God's blueprint for the church. In this week's passage, Ephesians 4:11, we will look at who the church is and who created it.

See you Sunday!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Gray or blue, He's here for you

While traveling recently, it seemed that all around us were gray skies. But turning to my right and back aways, there it was....the prettiest patch of blue. It didn't matter if a gray cloud floated in front of it, I knew that beautiful blue was still there.

God is always there, even when it seems that all around us it is dark and gloomy. Sometimes it's easier to see Him than others, but what a comfort to know that it's not dependent on whether or not we see Him. He always sees US. We walk by faith, not by sight. Skies and life change, but He is the same yesterday and forever. "I am with you always." Matthew 28:20  It's a promise!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

How Many Times Can You Fold a Piece of Paper?

The old myth was you could only fold a piece of paper in half seven times (or eight, depending on who was telling the myth). This led enterprising high school student Brittany Gallavan to fold a piece of paper in half twelve times. The myth also led hard working mathematicians to theorize that if you could fold a piece of paper more times, say 50, you would have a wad of paper that would reach from the earth to the sun. That's assuming a piece of paper that is 0.1 millimeter in thickness, doubled fifty times over. The math gets away from me on that calculation, but what I do know:

Scientists have way too much free time.

The experiment does illustrate an important spiritual truth, that when we understand our unity in Christ, we can do amazing things for the Kingdom of God. Paul describes this essential understanding in Ephesians 4:4-6, the passage for this Sunday's message.

See you Sunday! (Bring paper)

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Not About Me

In his book It's Not About Me, Max Lucado writes:

God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of him. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s all about him.”

Want your life to count for something great? In this week's message, we'll discover the Bible's secret to successful living in Ephesians 4:2-3.

See you Sunday!

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Call

I used to carry a quarter in my pocket (actually, it used to be a dime). That was so, if I was ever stuck anywhere, I could always call for help. Good luck finding a pay phone now (and do they still cost a quarter?). Now, instead of a quarter, I've got my phone. Not only can I call for help, people can call me to let me know how much help I need.

You have a call, and you don't need a quarter or a phone to get this one. We all have a calling in Christ. This week's message looks at the scriptural command to "live worthy of the call" (Ephesians 4:1).

See you Sunday!

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

How Big?

We bought a new bed for our daughter, and went to pick it up in the little Toyota pickup we owned at the time. My wife drove the truck, my daughter sat in the passenger seat, and I sat in the back to hold the bed. Good plan right up until we actually loaded the bed. I had measured to be sure the bed would fit in the back of the pickup. I forgot that I was going to be in the back of the pickup, too.

Always a good thing to know if your truck is big enough. There is, however, something so big, you can't measure it. This week, we will see how Paul describes the power of God as "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20-21).

See you Sunday!

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Appropriate Seasoning

Another season is upon us and some of us will moan the end of summer days, while others will rejoice at the thought of hoodies, all things pumpkin, and the beautiful, changing leaves. Still others have already begun the countdown to Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, and look forward to seeing a blanket of fresh snow. Others can’t wait for the cold to pass. However, through all of these, we see the hand of God. The bright sunshine, the colors of fall, and winter with its celebration of the birth of Christ. But before long, many will start the countdown to the next thing, whether the first day of Spring, the last day of school, or the first long weekend of summer. The Bible mentions seasons in numerous places, and it makes me wonder….did people in Bible times also look forward and have preferences for the different seasons?

One common theme in the Bible is that God created the seasons, and He created each of them with specific purposes. Similarly, we have different seasons of life…rejoicing, contentment, sorrow, puzzlement, discouragement, but all which can be times of growth. Just as each season has a purpose in nature, God can use each season of our lives to His glory, and to teach us more about Himself. The question is….will we let Him?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Deep and Wide

My brother-in-law has an old quarry filled with water behind his house. Swimming in it one day, we asked him how deep it was. "I don't know," he told us. "I've never been able to swim all the way to the bottom."

This week, reading from Ephesians 3:17-19, we will see how God's love is like that, so great, we will never fully understand its depth.

Hope to see you Sunday!

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Top of the List

I have a "to do" list for each day. For one thing, if it isn't written down, I tend to forget to do it. So when it's important, I write it down. Most days, the list just happens. I write things down as I realize they need to get done. Even though the order is more or less accidental, I still work my way down the list, from top to the bottom. That's not a great way to prioritize my life. I have learned if something is really important, I make sure to put it at the top of the list.

What's at the top of your list when you pray? When you pray for those who are important in your life, what do you ask God to do for them? This week, in Ephesians 3:16-17, we will find out what was at the top of the list on Paul's prayers for his fellow believers. It might not be what you think.

See you Sunday!

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

How Do You Pray?

I'm a big believer in what the scripture tells us to do when Paul writes, "Pray always."

Ephesians 6:18
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. That pretty well covers it. I figure whatever situation I'm in, it's a good time to pray. This week, we will take a look at the importance of prayer in our life, especially prayer that hallows God's name, reading from Ephesians 3:14-15.

See you Sunday!

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Don't Worry

We've all heard the advice: Don't Worry. For most of us, that only makes it worse. It's like telling us not to think about chocolate chip cookies. The more you try not to think about chocolate chip cookies, the more you think about them. You can probably smell them right now.

Telling us not to worry does much the same. It only makes us think more about the worry. The Bible gives much better instruction. In this week's message from Ephesians 3:12-13, we will see that the scripture tells us to replace our worry with prayer.

Hope to see you Sunday! (I'll bring the cookies.)

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015


On a regular basis, a child will ask me for a band aid. It might be for a pesky mosquito bite, for a scraped knee or elbow, or sometimes, I look closely and can't see anything, although I am ASSURED there is a 'boo-boo' there. And so, I do my best to keep plenty of band aids in stock! All I can offer the kids is a sympathetic word and a material cover-up, wrapped in paper and an occasional small treasure to try and take their mind off their hurt.

We all have hurts in life....some are pesky annoyances, some are real hurts, and some are quite deep. And SOME people's hurts don't show to the naked eye. Sometimes we try to take care of our hurts with life's band aids....we act tough like we can handle it, we cover it up with a gruff exterior, we try to take our minds off it by being a workaholic, or countless other things that we think are remedies.

Jesus is the only one who truly has the remedy for our hurting hearts and souls. He does cover them, but it is with His mercy, love, and grace, and His cover brings about healing, if we will only allow it. He truly understands because He's been there. What a wonderful promise...."The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."  Deuteronomy 33:27

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why Did I Come In Here?

We've all had the experience. We are in the middle of a busy day. We walk in a room in our house, on a mission to complete the next task. Then something interrupts us: the phone rings, the doorbell sounds, somebody left trash in the floor and we have to pick up after them. We take care of the interruption and then ask the question, "Now ... what was it I came in here to do?"

Life can be that way sometimes. Rushing through the business of everyday, interrupted by the challenges life throws our way, suddenly we stop and ask, "What was it I was supposed to be doing?" Often, it's not forgetfulness, but a real sense of dismay; the more we try, the harder it seems to understand our purpose in life.

Why do we do the things we do? This week begins a message series from Ephesians designed to help everyone understand that God has a plan and purpose for your life. We will start by looking at Ephesians 3:10-11 where in no uncertain terms the scripture tells us that God has a plan.

Hope to see you Sunday!

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Try It Before You Buy It

KY3 has a repeating news segment called "We Try It Before You Buy It." News reporters purchase products advertised to make your life easier, and try them out. Sometimes the products are as advertised, sometimes - not so much. My personal favorite so far: the HD Night Vision Wrap-Arounds, some glasses advertised to vastly improve your night vision. Although they apparently don't improve your night vision, they do make you look like you had a starring role in the "Back to the Future" movies. (Click Here to see the News report - even if you don't have the glasses)

Sometimes things don't quite live up to their promises. God always does. In this week's message from 2 Kings 7:16, we will discover that we can always take God at His Word.

Hope to see you Sunday!  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Other Space Race

During the 1950's and 60's, the United States and Russia were in a competition to see who could get into space first. Those who lived through that era can remember the nightly news broadcasters sounding like sports reporters for ESPN, relating accounts of the latest satellite or astronaut.

Less known was the race to drill to the center of the earth, probably because that competition was slightly less successful. While the Voyager 1 spacecraft has reached the outer limits of our solar system, some 10 billion miles away (give or take a few billion), the deepest hole dug into the earth is currently 7.5 miles (the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia) which eclipsed the previous record (the Bertha Rogers hole in Oklahoma). The digging stopped because of temperatures in excess of 356 degrees Fahrenheit. Apparently, drills don't tolerate that temperature well. Though the 7.5 miles was the deepest anyone has ever dug, it is slightly short of the center of the earth, some 4000 miles.

This means we know more about the outer reaches of our solar system than we do about the earth underneath our feet. The truth is, the more we learn, the more we realize we don't understand. No wonder that Paul writes:

Romans 11:33
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

In this week's message, some soldiers learn that God's power is greater than they could possibly imagine - and so is his mercy (2 Kings 6:18-23). I hope we can all learn this same important truth.

See you Sunday!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015


I went outside last night, or more specifically early this morning, to watch the Perseid meteor shower, an event that happens once a year as the earth passes through the dust trail left by comet Swift-Tuttle (don't be too impressed; I googled all of that off the internet). I did what the instructions told me to do - I looked northeast, let my eyes adjust, and waited for the show.

Nothing. Not a single meteor. A couple of times I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye, but I'm pretty sure either it was just a lightning bug or me falling asleep and dreaming I saw something. If there were any meteors, I didn't see them.

In 2 Kings 6:15-17, what Elisha's servant could see really worried him, and for good reason. He and Elisha were surrounded by an army sent to kill them. So Elisha asked God to open his servant's eyes. What he sees should fill us all with hope in the faithfulness of God.

Join us this Sunday to find out what Elisha's servant saw.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

More Than You Have

I have learned two things about jewelry shopping:

1) Jewelers don't show the prices for items in their showcase for a reason.

2) The reason: everything costs more than I have.

This week's passage (2 Kings 5:26-27) provides a truth we all need to understand: God's grace costs more than we have. The good news is that God has provided what we cannot purchase at any price.

Hope to see you Sunday!

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

One little word

I've read it thousands of times. I've repeated it in my mind over and over. But finally, I heard it..."I can do all things THROUGH Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13) It's not just that He will help me do anything....but anything that passes through Christ.

In order for something to pass through Christ, it cannot be impure or contrary to God's will. Therefore, I can pray for strength to do anything that is according to His will, and He will help me do it. It's a promise because it will go through Christ...and His power has no limits. It's a standard for my prayers and my requests. One little word.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

When Life Throws You a Curve

I always wanted to know how to pitch a curve ball. Unfortunately, in the Little League where I played, the curve ball was an illegal pitch. No matter - I had enough trouble just getting the ball over the plate. Actually, in Little League, I had trouble getting the ball to the plate. As a pitcher, I was a very good right fielder.

We quickly learn that life is not Little League. Sometimes, it seems like life is pitching us curve balls every day. When life throws you a curve, when things don't work out the way you planned, when disaster strikes, what do you do? This week's message focus's on what a man named Naaman learned about handling life's curve balls (2 Kings 5:1-15).

Hope to see you Sunday!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lunch Box

I went through several lunch boxes in my day. I had a red and black checked lunch box that looked like a miniature checkerboard. I stuck Chiquita Banana stickers on all the black boxes until I had covered the entire lunchbox. It was great - until my mom threw the lunch box away.

Then I had a Beverly Hillbillies lunch box with a photo of the Clampett truck that now resides down at the College of the Ozarks. The lunch boxes are currently selling for $175 to $250 on Ebay. Unfortunately, my mom threw that one away, too.

For the rest of my academic career, I had brown paper bags. That way, I could throw them away, and save my mom the trouble. The good news is, mom always packed a great lunch. I had exactly what I needed to get me through the day - a peanut butter sandwich, a bag of chips, and a banana with a sticker just the right size for the squares on my first lunch box (as well as a great hat for Ellie Mae in the Clampett truck).

This week's message describes a story from the life of Elisha (2 Kings 4:1-7) that demonstrates why we don't have to worry - we serve a God who has everything that we need.

Hope to see you Sunday!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dad's Boots

I remember the day my dad let me borrow his boots. After finishing a golf tournament I was wearing golf shoes with metal spikes, but needed to go to an awards dinner. My dad had his boots in the trunk, so he let me borrow them. I was in the eighth grade. My feet were in the twelfth grade. I looked like a pencil wearing swim fins. On this particular day, however, big feet were an advantage. Dad's boots actually fit. Even though my award was basically only a participation medal, at least I could walk up to the podium in style.

This week's message is from 2 Kings 2, the account of Elisha taking up the mantle of Elijah. It was more than just a coat. Elisha was stepping into the ministry of proclaiming the word of God to His people. The question for us is, are we ready to take up the mantle?

Hope to see you Sunday!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lessons from the forecast

I listened to the weather forecast and groaned....there it was again....rain, flooding, saturated. The radar map was once again bright colors of red and yellow, with more moving our way, they said. I thought of our yard, which may soon need a sickle for me to keep up, I see my flowers bent over from another soaking, and I ponder the errands I must run in the pouring rain.

And then.....I hear the birds chirping....I see the most beautiful cardinal hoping around, collecting the wonderful worms the rain has caused to surface. I see the hummingbird going from flower to flower because that's what he was created to do. I doubt that either the cardinal nor the hummingbird complained before they started out about how their beautiful wings would get all wet or their feet would get muddy. And last, it occurred to me....didn't the forecaster also mention highs in the 70's instead of the 90's? What a blessing THAT is!

I bowed my head in humility. How many times when the rains of life come, such as sickness, conflict, or even just the inconveniences and interruptions that come up, do I groan and think, "not AGAIN!" I complain that it interferes with my plans, that it's 'unfair' or question. Instead, I should be thinking of all the blessings that come out of rain...friends who comfort, growth (if I allow it), and most of all, a God who faithfully PROMISES He will be right there with me and will provide peace that passes understanding. I should still sing because of the Hope I have, and I should keep moving...just like the hummingbird....just like I was created to do.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Celebration Xray

This weekend includes a celebration of the beginning of our nation, which includes outdoor cookouts, swatting mosquitoes and watching fireworks light up the night sky.

It will also include the annual Fourth of July trip to the emergency room. According to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 230 people per day go to the emergency room with fireworks related injuries during the days surrounding July 4. A few of the statistics: 74% of the injuries are suffered by males (no surprise there), 41% are to people over the age of 25 (shouldn't they know better than to try to relight that roman candle?), and 20% of the injuries are caused by firecrackers, followed closely (19%) by sparklers.

2 Kings 1 describes an injury by lattice work. King Ahaziah of Israel fell through one (perhaps while lighting his last bottle rocket). What he does after his injury is a lesson to all reminding us to focus on the one true God.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Father's Day

My dad was a handyman. He always had a project going in our home, everything from plumbing to remodeling. I remember when he remodeled the master bedroom. He was adding a half bath and a closet, as well as increasing the size of the room. To me, it seemed like a project somewhere in the magnitude of the Empire State building. I'd never seen so much lumber and so many nails in the same place. Our house looked like Home Depot.

My dad had a plan for every piece of lumber, and I suspect for every nail. He didn't waste anything. Sure enough, in about six weeks, my mom had a new closet, my dad had a new bathroom, and I had a whole new part of the house not to mess up. Dad's plan worked to perfection.

Our Heavenly Father has a plan. He wants us to know him and to love one another. Following that plan will change the world. Find out this week as we study 1 John 3:23-24.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Know the Answer

Quick math trick: here's how to square any two digit number ending in five, no calculator needed. Multiply the first digit by itself plus one, then place 25 at the end. Example: 852 is 8 x (8+1) = 8 x 9 = 72. Put 25 at the end and you will discover that 852 is 7225. Go ahead - impress your friends!

It's great to know the answer. In this week's message from 1 John 3:19-21 we will discover how we can know the answer to the greatest question of all.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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As so often is the case, God uses the lessons for the kids to reach ME, too. This year's Bible School theme was "Journey off the Map." How many times do we have our days, weeks, our very lives all planned out, and even have a map in our minds of how we will get there. THEN we ask God to guide us. But, God calls us to follow HIS path and HIS plan for our lives...and it may be off 'our' map.

Sometimes we balk when God tries to adjust our steps, when instead we should be oh, so grateful. He is the ultimate guide, He sees up ahead that we cannot see and He sees where our planned steps will take us. It might even be a good route, with great things along the way. But HIS plan is the BEST route, with only the best learning experiences along the way, steps that will lead us closer to Him.

So, I hope this theme sticks in my mind, as well as the motto and verse....THIS is the way, walk in it. I pray I will listen to the voice of my guide, and I will remember that I know my guide, and so I need to trust and follow Him.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Action Figure

Like most boys who grew up in the sixties, I went through my action figure stage. Mine was a little different, though. My parents wouldn't buy me the GI Joe I wanted, so I had to make do with my sister's Ken doll. My GI Joe was the best dressed soldier in the entire armed forces.

The problem with action figures was not their name or their wardrobe; the problem with action figures is that they really didn't do anything. You could bend their arms upward, but that only made my GI Ken look like he was surrendering. The "action" had to be supplied by me.

This week, we look at a passage of scripture that describes a love that does more than just look good. I John 3:18 calls every believer to love with action and truth.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Good Friend

Growing up, I had a good friend named Jerry. I'm not sure how I met Jerry - I'm guessing our parents knew each other from church or something. Jerry and I did everything together. We swam, played baseball, waited for the ice cream truck - we did every summer activity known to childhood.
And then I moved. I never saw Jerry again. I always wondered how his life turned out, and regretted not being able to continue our friendship. Good friends are hard to find.

This week is Friend Sunday at NHBC. Sometimes, we may wonder how to be a good friend, usually basing our efforts on the friendships we have experienced in life. Sunday, we will see the perfect example that we have in Christ, described in 1 John 3:16.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Friday, May 22, 2015

One Thing

My next door neighbor set out a display of Christmas decorations every year. She had collected incredibly intricate porcelain manger scenes, glass ornaments, and more. Each December she filled her home with them, and then invited our family to come and see them. My mom took me aside and said, "You have one job - don't touch anything!"

So that's what I did. I went through the house and did not touch a thing. I knew when my mother was serious. "Don't touch anything" meant "don't touch anything." I didn't even scratch my nose.

This week, the scripture points out one thing we are supposed to do as believers that, if we get this right, it will transform our witness and ministry.

1 John 3:11 (NIV84)
This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Curb Service

In a parking lot outside a grocery store, the space in front of mine was empty. Instead of having to back out, I could go forward and drive out of the spot like all the professional drivers who back into their spots in the first place. I put the car in drive and hit the gas, but instead of going anywhere, I heard a loud "clunk."

It didn't take long to figure out what had happened. My parking space had one of those curbs they put in parking lots to keep people from doing the very thing I was trying to do. Even though I couldn't see it from my vantage point in the driver's seat, it still was not going to let me go forward, no matter how much I pressed on the gas.

Sometimes in our spiritual lives, we seem to be stuck. No matter what we try, we can't seem to move forward. Often, the problem is unconfessed sin. In this week's message, we will read from 1 John 3:3-10, where John comes to the same conclusion twice: sin is serious business. If we are going to live out our faith, we are going to have to allow Christ to deal with the sin in our lives.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Thursday, May 7, 2015


This Sunday, we celebrate Mother's Day, a day commemorating the longest name in most children's vocabulary. At least it was in my house. When I got my foot stuck in the sewer, when the neighbor's chihuahua had me cornered in the backyard, when I had to have a salt dough volcano for a school presentation tomorrow, I knew the name to call: MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

Mom's are those folks who are there when we need them. They help prepare us for the catastrophes of life. My mom helped prepare me for my greatest need of all - she told me about Jesus. The message this week, from 1 John 3:2-3, describes that greatest need and how everyone can be ready.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Keepers

I read this in The Baptist Messenger today. We have so many wonderful people at NHBC who serve by letting God love up on kids through them. So blessed by them!

The keeper is a term I use in my teaching. It comes from 1 Sam. 17:20, “So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper.” But the keeper’s name is never mentioned in the Bible. Keepers stay in the background doing what the world calls mundane. David went on to challenge Goliath, become king and get both princess and palace. The keeper stayed out in the field, and all he got was the sheep and whatever they produced. But David would have had no victory if the keeper hadn’t kept, and he wouldn’t have become king if the keeper hadn’t kept.
David’s experience is no different from what happens today. Those middle school students wouldn’t have a Sunday School teacher if the childcare workers hadn’t kept. And those people who came to Christ this morning? They might not have found salvation if the church hadn’t provided some keepers who kept their children. If it weren’t for the keepers, the world would come to a standstill.
When God decided to send His birth announcement, He didn’t send it to the kings or the palaces of this world. Instead, He sent it to “shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8b). God reveals Himself to the keepers first.
This week, let the keepers in your life know how much you appreciate them. And especially the one whose job it is to find that certain smell.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Who's Who

Periodically, I receive an email informing me that I have been selected as a member of "Who's Who of Young Professionals." All I need to do is order one of their official annual publications for $99.95, and my name will be listed with other young professionals recognized around the country.

As best I can tell, my inclusion in this elite group would be because I was dumb enough to pay $99.95 to get my name listed in a book. I get that for free every year. They call it the phone book.

Membership in some groups doesn't mean much. However, sometimes it means everything. In this week's message, we find out what it means to be children of God as we read about His magnificent love for us in 1 John 3:1.

Hope to see you this Sunday!


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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Return With Joy

Each year, my mom and dad would tell me and my sister where we were going for our summer vacation. My sister and I learned to tell how the summer was going to go by the way my parents looked when they came into the room after making their decision. If they were all smiles - we're headed to the beach! If they were looking somber, it would be another year of roasting marshmallows in the backyard.

Anyone who saw the disciples after the ascension of Christ would know what it meant. This week's message looks at Luke 24:50-53 where we will see the joy of the disciples as they come to a recognition of the meaning of the Resurrection.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Now I Get It

I once heard an important rule of teaching: About the time you are sick of repeating something is the same time your students finally understand it. I think these words were spoken by my eighth grade algebra teacher somewhere around the four hundredth time she tried to explain the quadratic formula. For me, it took four hundred and one.

Reading the New Testament, we might wonder why it took the disciples so long to understand who Jesus is, but with the Resurrection, everything came into focus. The Resurrection does the same for us, and like the disciples, we are witnesses of these things (Luke 24:45-48).

Wondering who Jesus really is? Join us this Sunday and find out.

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

If Only Jesus Could Be Here

The Bible does not record the conversation of the disciples between the time of the crucifixion and the resurrection. It's not too hard to imagine, though.

"What do we do now?"

"Where should we go?"

"How are we going to get through this?"

"If only Jesus was here, he would tell us what to do!"

And then He was! This week's message from Luke 24:36 describes that extraordinary day when the disciples saw and heard the Risen Christ. What Jesus said to them holds tremendous hope for us all.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

So thankful to be adopted

As we watch the babies around us growing, we take delight in every milestone....the first tooth, first word, beginning to crawl, and so on. However, we know as exciting as those milestones are, they are just stepping stones to the next marker...walking, new words, and on to school days, graduations and perhaps marriage. If growth doesn't continue, there is cause for concern.

How our Father must delight as His children begin to grow, as well. However, that growth process is supposed to continue as well. We are commanded to mature in our faith, to cry out for spiritual nourishment, and to grow in our knowledge of our Lord and Savior.

Just as our earthly children are still our children, no matter how old they get...nothing will cut the bond we have with our Heavenly Father, either. John 10:28b tells us that no one will snatch us out of His hand. He loves us with an eternal love--so strong that He died so that relationship could happen. We can be adopted, we are chosen. And all we have to do is believe and say yes. Wow.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The One Place You Won't Find Jesus

I was looking for my dog. Apparently, she decided our yard was not exciting enough for her, so she wiggled her way under the gate and went exploring. As it turns out, she was fast asleep on our neighbor's porch. At her age, that was an adventure. Unfortunately, she did not leave a forwarding address, so I spent the afternoon searching for her. Had it not been for my neighbor calling me, I never would have found her. All I found were places she was not.

On the first Easter Sunday morning, women went to find Jesus, but they went to the one place he was not. Angels told them why:

Luke 24:5a–6a
Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!

Join us this Easter as we explore the meaning behind these extraordinary words.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Squirrel Hunting

My grandfather took me squirrel hunting. He told me to listen, and the squirrels would tell us what they were doing. I thought he was just trying to keep me quiet, but then he said, "Listen - those squirrels are getting ready to jump." And sure enough, two squirrels jumped from one branch to another. All morning long, my grandfather accurately predicted what squirrels were about to do, based on the sounds he heard.

I never heard them. Try as I might, all I could hear was the wind. My grandfather, on the other hand, knew what to listen for, something he had learned from years of listening. The sound was there, I just didn't know what I was hearing.

Many have heard the story of the cross, but don't yet know what they are hearing. This week, we will look at Luke 23:46-47, where we hear Jesus final words on the cross, and the words of a Roman soldier who witnessed the events of the day, words that tell a story every person needs to hear.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Backyard Sermon

I remember the first time I saw Saturn. My dad bought me a telescope for Christmas, and we eventually made it out in the yard to take a look at the skies. Aiming the telescope took a bit of a learning curve, so I remember a lot of "be patient son - this may take awhile." Finally, just before I was about to go inside and see what was on TV, my dad said, "Take a look at this." I squinted through the eyepiece of the telescope, and there it was - the planet Saturn, complete with rings and at least one moon. I had seen photos of Saturn in books, but never from my backyard. I'm not sure all the reasons why God put rings around that planet, but I know at least one was to give me and my dad an experience neither of us would ever forget.

Psalm 19:1 tells us "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands." Creation reveals the Creator. That prophecy comes full circle in the experience at Calvary described in Luke 23:44-45. Join us this Sunday as we learn how creation itself revealed the gravity of what happened at the cross.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Difference

A current television show, Undercover Boss, asks a simple question: what would employees do if they didn't know they were working with the boss? In the show, the owner of the company dresses in a disguise and goes to work with different employees in the company. Some people do a good job like they normally do, and at the end of the show they are rewarded. Some people do a lousy job like they normally do, and at the end of the show they are fired.

This week, as we continue to look at the events at Calvary, we meet two people - the thieves crucified with Christ (Luke 23:39-43). One did not know Jesus and acted despicably. One recognized Christ and that day entered heaven with the Savior. The difference between these two men is crucial for every person to understand.

Hope to see you Sunday!


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Monday, March 9, 2015

What I meant to say was….

Toddlers sometimes get their words mixed up. My nephew would reach up to me, saying, “Hold you” when he wanted to be held.  They usually learn ‘no’ before ‘yes,’ and so when asked if they want a bite, they say no, all the while they are opening their mouth for a bite. And of course, as they are learning, many words are used ‘wrong’—cows may say ‘ruff, ruff,’ or the sky may be ‘green,’ and so on.

When those words are mixed up, we lovingly try to figure out what they really mean, and understand that they’re learning. I didn’t enter into a long discussion with my toddler nephew as to why he couldn’t hold me--I scooped him up in my arms.   

Talking with God is often like that. We say one thing; however, God knows our hearts and what we really need, but don’t know how to ask. And scripture has a promise for when we don’t know what to say, ‘For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.’ Romans 8:26.

He's waiting....He wants to hear, both what we say and what our hearts are trying to say. There's no language barrier with Him. After all, He created both communication and the communicator. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015


I'm having trouble with my reading glasses. My ophthalmologist recommended using a different power contact lens for each eye. That means my left eye can now see things that are close while my right eye can see things that are far away. Yes, that is confusing, especially when I get them reversed.

When everything is working, I can see fairly well, but I still use glasses to read. That creates a problem - my right eye needs a different strength of lens than my left eye. They don't sell the Walmart cheapies that way. Both lenses are the same power. That means I read the same way I see the rest of the day, with half of everything out of focus.

Focus is important, especially in prayer. Often events in life focus our prayers. The messages in March are from the Gospel of Luke about Jesus' actions and words on the cross. Jesus' first words from the cross were a prayer. What did Jesus ask in that moment on Calvary? Find out Sunday as we take a look at Luke 23:34, a passage that will help all of us focus our lives on what is important.

See you Sunday!


PS Remember, to set your clocks forward for this Sunday, March 8. Yes, it's already Daylight Savings Time. If you forget and come to the 8:30 service at 9:30, don't worry. Just come on in and join us for Bible Study - no one will ever know!

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Jerry was my friend. We did everything together, or at least that's what my mother told me. I was only four at the time. I vaguely remember going over to his house. I've seen photos of us at the local swimming pool, so we must have gone swimming. The only activity I remember was standing on the corner in front of Jerry's house waiting for the ice cream truck. We both bought ice cream sandwiches, which melted all over our clothes. I'm guessing our mothers were not too please about that, but we thought it was great. Everything stuck to us the rest of the day. It was like having an extra pocket.

I'm not sure what happened to Jerry. I haven't seen him since I was a kid. I hope his life turned out well. People come in and out of our lives. Some we will know only for a moment, some for decades. In this Sunday's message from John 15:11-13, I'll be sharing Jesus' statement describing how we can be a friend and how he is our greatest Friend.

Hope to see you (and a friend) Sunday!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Waiting and Trusting

I've gotten back to exercising and watching what I eat. It's aggravating, because I never should've gotten to the point where I am, if I had just stayed consistent with what I was doing before to take care of myself. 

It's hard not to get discouraged--why am I not seeing the fruits of my labors yet? I've been faithful, I've worked hard, and I've spent lots of time. But....I know that ultimately I am seeking to be more healthy and that things ARE happening below the surface...I'm burning fat, reducing cholesterol levels, strengthening my bones, etc. And where will I be if I give up and quit? Negligent and in even worse shape than before.

I was reminded that sometimes we feel the same way with our Christian walk. We never would've landed in the valley if we had done what we know is right and not deviated from that path. And then we get discouraged. "Why, Lord? Why aren't things changing? I've prayed, I've been involved in ministries, I've contributed...." and our list goes on. But always God is working and many times there are spiritual battles occurring that we don't see. Trust. Be still. Wait upon the Lord.

But Jesus replied, "My Father is always working, and so am I." (John 5:17)  He is working behind the scenes to do "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!" (Ephesians 3:20)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


How many friends do you have? How many names are listed in the contact section of your phone? How many Facebook friends and Twitter followers do you have?

What would happen if you invited them to church?

Surveys have repeatedly shown that over 80% of people currently not involved in church would consider visiting if someone asked them. What about your friend?

Find out on Friend Sunday, March 1, at NHBC. During the month of February, we will be sharing ways you can invite your friends to be a part of this special day. Start praying now to think of friends you can invite - it will be a day to remember!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Joshua 1:9

It's been cloudy for days and days lately. And now it is so very cold....with even colder temperatures to come. But we know Spring will come. It always comes. We can count on it.

However, today it is so good to see the sun. Did it disappear during the cloudy days? Was it completely gone from the world? No, we knew it was there even when we couldn't see it for the clouds.

Life gets that way sometimes. Day after day when life seems dreary and we feel we can't see the "Son." It feels cold and dreary and we long for those times to pass. But then, too, the Son is there...He always is, we can count on it. What a wonderful promise for the New Year!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.