Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Birthday Blog

Happy birthday to me? Well, yes. Yes it is a happy birthday. I’m forty-four years old and happy. What is the significance of forty-four? Heck, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’m happy. I’m not just joyful. I’m happy, too.

Maybe tomorrow I won’t be able to be happy. Maybe circumstances won’t allow tomorrow’s happiness. Who knows? As a Spirit-indwelled believer, I’ll always have access to joy, but happiness is dependent upon happenings, so tomorrow may not be a happy day. But I’m happy today, and I’m thankful for that.

The Bible tells me what to do if I find myself happy.  Is anyone happy? Let him sing praises. (James 5:13b). I actually did that this morning and found it rather fulfilling. I’m happy and I know it, so I’ll clap my hands… to the Lord.

Isn’t it weird that Christians almost seem to feel like apologizing for happiness? And hey, I’m the first to remember about “taking up my Cross,” and “This world is not my home” and all of that, but gosh, if the God of the Universe cared enough to save my soul and give me hope and purpose even in this life, how can I not mostly be happy most of the time?

What am I happy about? For starters, as mentioned, I know God loves me. Without that truth, everything else would be sort of empty. But since I know I’m at peace with God in Christ, I’m happy because my wife is the most wonderful woman in the world. I’m happy because my children are flat out amazing and I couldn’t be prouder of who they are in Jesus. I’m happy because my parents love me and still help me be a better person and they are there to pick me up when I need them. I’m happy because my son has met a wonderful young lady who we all believe is to become part of our family when the time is right. I’m happy because I have a wonderful church family, many of whom really and truly love me. I’m happy because I have a staff family who respect me and support me and who have my back. I’m happy because God has blessed me with some of the most wonderful relationships anyone could ever hope to enjoy.

Lord, I do praise you. My heart sings to You. My soul magnifies the God of heaven and earth, the One who lived and died and rose again. I praise you, God of Goodness and Lord of Love. You have blessed me with more than 10,000 reasons to be happy. This is a happy birthday, because of You. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you for a happy, happy birthday.

Friday, November 30, 2012


The best thing about Missouri is that you never know when you are going to have a beautiful day.  -- Mark Ford  (November 30, 2012)

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Better Saying...

People, especially Christians, often say: "Everything happens for a reason."  If you think about it, this statement is obvious and unhelpful.  Of course everything happens for a reason.  The letter "Q" just appeared on this page because I typed it.  I just heard a sound because the wind is blowing outside.  My neck hurts because I sit at the computer too much.  Yes, everything happens for a reason.  A more meaningful saying, and a biblical one, is this: "God is able to redeem everything that happens."  See God doesn't cause everything that happens, but He somehow works everything into His ultimate plan.  That is the absolute miracle of God's Sovereignty.  If the above saying is too cerebral for you, here is another version: "God works everything out eventually."  That's true, and it actually says something hopeful.  Just a thought.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Leftovers From Sunday

[Sunday I am preaching a sermon about evolutionism (sort of).  The following thoughts were cut for the sake of time.]

Think about this… How many public school science teachers don’t believe in evolutionism (the broader kind) themselves?  In my experience, many don’t.  In fact, I’ve known more science teachers who did not believe in it than I have known who do.  That’s the truth.  But I thought all scientists supported evolutionism?  That’s what we’re told isn’t it? 

And beyond that, how is it, that in this land of the free, science teachers are forced by the state, that is, government, to teach evolutionism, while they are explicitly forbidden to teach anything that hints at creationism or even intelligent design? 

Why is it mandated that middle school and high school science teachers teach one “ism,” evolutionism, as if it were fact… and that they shall not under any circumstance advocate or even present as a possibility another “ism,” creationism, which incidentally is still believed by the majority of Americans?

If that were not wrong enough, those teachers who do embrace evolutionism and reject creationism are allowed and even encouraged to teach AGAINST creationism.  Often, spinelessly, they simply show videos crafted to carefully make creationists look foolish.  I know this from personal experience.  I have two older teens.  I’ve seen it happen.  I offered to rebut the video to no avail.  

Let’s return to the main fact that I wanted to point out.  Our science teachers are forced by our government to teach one belief system over another, even regardless of what they, as scientists, may believe themselves.  How is this freedom of religion?  How is this academic freedom? It is not freedom, rather it is the government mandated, forced indoctrination of our children, and that of the godless kind you would expect from a communist regime. 

Who won the cold war again?

And I can hear the tired, worn out, historically ignorant mantra already...  Separation of Church and State… (repeat 3 times). It’s like the only five words some people know, meanwhile they apparently have no understanding of what it means.  For now, I’ll simply say that forcing science teachers to teach a theory about our origins which some of them don’t even embrace… a theory that often leads to agnosticism and atheism and has created an almost robotic generation of anti-religious, anti-church, secularly-biased young men and women… is a far cry from anything anyone ever had in mind for "Separation of Church and State," which by the way is not even in the Constitution.

So, what do we do about all this?  Ha, let me remind you this is a blog… basically a place to vent… and it is already too long.  Pray.  Vote accordingly where you can.  Speak up when you get a chance.  At any rate, at least give it some thought. Ideas have consequences.  Or, if you like, we could all start an organization.  We could call it, "Citizens for Separation of Atheism and State."  Who's with me?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Stuff of Acts

My second trip to Nicaragua with Project H.O.P.E., the last week of July, was the stuff of Acts. On Sunday morning, I preached a message to our team (that I was afraid to preach) from Acts, chapter four. We learned that the early church expected signs and wonders to accompany their mission. What did we expect for our week of mission? The early church asked for boldness, expected miracles, and got both. We decided to do the same, and God responded beyond what most of us ever could have hoped. I’ve seen God work powerfully before, including last year’s trip, but I’ve never seen God work like this.  We saw the stuff of Acts. “And the Lord added to their number day by day, those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). But numbers don’t really tell the story.

One day, while I was working on blocks, a man named Jose came up to say, “Hi.” I had baptized his sister last year. Jose remembered me and I remembered him. I asked him if we could talk for a minute, and I grabbed that all-important translator. I began to share the gospel with him, “cold turkey.” He was hungry for it. Like so many others, he knew who Jesus was and what Jesus did, but he had never trusted in Jesus as his Savior. I was privileged to help Jose do that and then to help him see from Scripture that he needed to be baptized as a public profession of his faith. He was literally jumping up and down. This started a chain reaction of evangelism. Over the next two and a half days, I was privileged to lead about 15 people to Christ through one-on-one conversation (in between loads of cement). On Thursday I was blessed to baptize 13 of those, but that isn’t even close to the whole story.

As “camp pastor” it was my privilege to sort of “set the tone” each night during our worship time, and the tone became evangelism, because that is what God was doing. We did a lot of praying and a little training. Quickly others in our group were caught up in the fire of God’s moving, and we were sharing Christ while we worked. Women’s ministry, VBS and everything else we were doing was bearing great fruit. It was all real. In the end, many of us were used by God to lead people to Jesus, and many of us baptized folks. In fact, on Thursday, we baptized 37 Nicaraguans and one Gringo, one of our own who had been so impressed by the work of God that he finally made a decision he had never before been willing to make, trusting Jesus to save him. Among the 37 Nicaraguans, two of them were our wonderful translators, who, after some conversations, realized they needed to be baptized since they had recently trusted in Christ. The move of God had gone viral. Soli Deo gloria!

Thirty-eight people were baptized after four days of ministry. Wow. Pause for a moment and think about this. Many of these trusted Christ for the first time this very week. Others, not included in this number, were saved but will later be baptized through other groups. Some are planting, some are watering, and God is bringing a harvest. We’re talking about men, women and children who moved from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light this week. They were saved because of God’s love and the faithfulness of His children to share Christ with the nations. They knew how to be saved, because we told them (Romans 10:14).

Building houses for people in need is a wonderful thing to do. Helping them acquire mansions in heaven is even better. God is working in Mateare. I pray this is only the beginning of a spiritual awakening that will sweep through Nicaragua. What a privilege to join in the clear working of God!

Monday, July 2, 2012


We prayed for rain.  It's raining.

Are you kidding me?  Yesterday afternoon I was talking to someone about how crazy dry it is and it dawned on me for the first time that I should pray about it.  I prayed that it would rain.

This morning, I woke up and checked the weather.  Same song, different verse. My iphone told me there was a 0% chance of rain today and pretty much for the week.  Oh well, I thought.

Next, my son and I went for a bike ride on the Katy Trail.  It was only 100 degrees.  We were fine.  It felt good to get out and work up a good sweat.  On the way back we noticed a few clouds and I started singing songs about rain.  Conner laughed.  I sang "Let it Rain" and I meant it.

As we got back to the car I had a text from Kristy, my wife.  "Praise the Lord" she wrote, "it's raining."  I called her.  She said there had been like a single dark cloud over our house and she prayed it would rain and it started raining for a bit but not that much.  A little later it started pouring down like a monsoon, she said, and it has been raining off and on at our house now for about two hours.  There is standing water in my garden.  We have received several inches, I'd say.  The rain has been very heavy at times.

We prayed for rain.  It's raining.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Moment With Grams

Grams is my Mom's mom. She is eighty-four. In her soul, she hasn't lost a step. She has always been very healthy and "spry" for her age. Sweet as sugar and sharp as a tack, she is an inspiration to all who know her, and especially to those of us who know the painful memories she carries. Her life has not been easy.

Some day I may write something more extensive about who she is and her experiences, but right now I just want to pass on one powerful moment. Monday I was in her hospital room where she was recovering from an exploratory procedure they had done earlier that day. What did they find? It was as they feared. They found a very serious form of cancer. Thankfully, it is treatable, but it will involve chemo and there are no guarantees.

What did Grams have to say about all this? Well, she said several saintly things, but the best moment was when she shared a Scripture that she had recently memorized for such an occasion. She said,

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalm 27:13-14 (NKJV)

I'll never forget that moment. May God answer her prayer and may He give Grams the spiritual strength to stay true to Him even in the difficult days to come.