Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This is a great lesson on Christmas by Tommy South

Why It’s Good to Celebrate Christmas

Luke 2:1-20, Rom. 14:1-12

Recently we received a Christmas card from some dear Christian friends we have known for decades. Devout, Godly people. But the card was striking in that it was one of those generic “holiday” cards with a picture of a snowman, “seasons’s greetings,” but nothing about “Christmas” per se or Jesus’ birth – not even a Bible verse.

That card is, I think, somewhat emblematic of a kind of schizophrenia that we’ve suffered from (myself included) for a long time in Churches of Christ. On the one hand, Christmas is a time that is very special to almost all of us – a time for family, friends, food, gifts, decorations, etc. – and most of us participate in all of that to some extent. On the other hand, however, it’s been a long-standing belief that we ought not to celebrate Christmas in any spiritual sense, especially not as the birth of Jesus, since such a celebration is not taught in Scripture. Those taking this view do so out of a respect for the silence of Scripture, but this leaves us in the odd position as Christians of celebrating the secular aspects of the holidays (often carefully avoiding the “C” word), but not the spiritual aspects of it.

There is often a considerable amount of judging one another that takes place, whether we do or do not observe Christmas. Here are some quotes from a bulletin article that I’ve kept in my files. It makes all of the usual arguments against observing Christmas, then closes with a stern condemnation of all who do.

Man invented the holiday season known as “Christmas.” The term “Christmas” is not found in the Holy Word. . . . There is no indication of the date of his birth, and to attempt to provide such amounts to the same thing as attempting to set a date for his second coming. . . . The term “Christmas,” according to history, was coined from the 12th Century practice of Christes Masse (Mass of Christ). The earliest evidence for a celebration of Christ’s birth comes from the time of the Roman emperor Commodus, around A.D. 188. The feast of Christ’s birth was first found in Rome at the time of “bishop” Liberius. It was made official by his decree in A.D. 354. . . . The scriptures provide mankind with ALL THINGS that pertain unto LIFE and GODLINESS (II Pet. 1:3). Thus, if the celebration of the birth of Christ pertained to either “life” or “godliness,” God would have included it in his revealed word. Therefore, to add a religious significance to the birth of Christ with religious celebration of the same is to be guilty of adding to God’s word, which is sinful (Rev. 22:18). . . . Paul wrote, “WHATSOEVER ye do in word OR DEED DO ALL IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS” (Col. 3:17). Doing things “in the name of the Lord” means doing things (all things) by his authority. Since his authority (his word) is void of directives for celebrating his birth in a religious setting, to do so is to practice that which is an addition and, thus, a violation of that word. When one does such, he rests under the condemnation of God.

I beg to differ with that article, and want to explain why, in my opinion, it’s good to observe Christmas.

1. Because there is good biblical precedent for celebrating Jesus’ birth. Some are quick to point out, and rightly so, that no one knows the exact date of Jesus’ birth, although we can get much closer to it than the writer of the article implies. It’s highly unlikely that it took place on Dec. 25, or even close to that. It is also true that Dec. 25 was chosen in order to “Christianize” a pagan holiday.

But regardless of that, how could it be “wrong” to celebrate Jesus’ coming into the world at ANY time of year? The argument is often made that no one celebrated Jesus’ birth until centuries later, but that’s just wrong. Read Luke 2:1-20, & you’ll see that it was an occasion for rejoicing from the beginning. By what reasoning would we argue that something that was right at the time is now wrong?

There’s an odd tradition in some Churches of Christ: we want to preach & teach about Jesus’ incarnation and use those great hymns that so powerfully express His divine nature – so we do it at any time of year other than mid-winter!

Since it IS right to celebrate Jesus’ birth, wouldn’t it make more sense to do so when the world in general is at least to some extent focused on Jesus? Shouldn’t we capitalize on that opportunity to tell more about Him & His coming, rather than avoiding the subject? In our post-modern, post-Christian era, it seems to me that we need to grasp every opportunity to tell the story once again. I recall several years ago, when I was stuck in the “ignore the whole thing” mode, that a couple visited our Sunday AM service just before Christmas. I don’t recall what I preached on, but it had nothing to do with Jesus’ birth, and none of the “Christmas songs” were sung. As they were leaving, the couple expressed their dismay, because they had chosen to visit us at that time, thinking they could participate in celebrating His birth. Needless to say, we never saw them again. Who knows what other opportunities we might have had to teach them if we hadn’t disappointed them? Why not “redeem the time” & fill the celebration with biblical content, rather than merely celebrating the secular aspects of the season?

I’m not suggesting that we should indulge in some f the excesses that some go to at Christmas (“Happy Birthday, Jesus,” etc.), only that it’s a great time to teach about His incarnation and the reason for His coming & why it’s an occasion for great joy, & to praise God for His inexpressible gift by singing those wonderful old hymns & filling our worship services with readings from Matthew & Luke’s birth narratives. It’s great to do that any time – it’s especially good to do so now!

2. Because by not observing Christmas, we ally ourselves with the enemies of our faith. As you well know, we are witnessing a cultural trend toward eliminating any & all public references to Jesus. Secularists, atheists, & the various non-Christian religions are all concentrating on this effort. Some religious groups who consider themselves Christian play right into that trend – groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the World Wide Church of God, for whom non-observance is a doctrine.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to stand any longer with atheists & non-believers & cultists by refusing or failing to celebrate Jesus’ birth! It amazes me that some Christians dive headlong into the materialistic & even mythological aspects of the season, while piously condemning – or at best ignoring – the spiritual aspects. Aren’t we playing into the devil’s hands by (a) missing out on a great opportunity to exalt Christ & (b) aligning ourselves with His enemies?

It seems to me that we should celebrate Jesus’ coming & urge others to do so as well, rather than stand by & lend tacit support to those who oppose Him.

3. Because the pagan origins of Christmas have pretty much died out by now, & are no reason not to observe it. Few people today even know the origins of Christmas, the reason for the date – that is, until some well-meaning Christian tells them!

Besides, we can be pretty inconsistent about this. Think about it: the days of the week are all named for pagan gods (“Sunday” = “Day of the Sun,” “Thursday” = “Thor’s Day,” “Wednesday” = “Wodin’s Day,” etc.). Does that mean that we should avoid referring to the days of the week by name, or that we should devise an alternate set of names for these days? Of course not! We simply recognize that the pagan associations have no bearing on our usage. So why can’t it be the same with Christmas?

There really is no valid argument to be made here.

4. Because Scripture says it’s okay to observe special days – or not. Romans 14:1-12 reflects some of the “issues” about which early Christians disagreed – certain foods that some thought should be avoided, the drinking of wine, and the observance of certain “days.” What were these “days”? One possibility is that they were pagan festivals that Christian converts thought it okay to continue to observe, minus their pagan sacrifices & rituals. More likely, however, is the suggestion that these were the Jewish festivals from the OT. We know that some Jewish Christians continued to practice certain aspects of their Jewish heritage even after conversion to Christ (see Paul’s “vow” in Acts 18:18 – apparently some form of the Nazirite vow). It makes sense that some of them saw no reason to discontinue these festivals, even though they realized that Jesus had now come & superceded & completed them. We can only imagine some of the sharp disagreements that must have arisen over such questions!

Notice Paul’s response. For one thing, he never says who’s right & who’s wrong in such debates. His concern is that believers treat one another in a Christ-like manner, even in the midst of disagreeing strongly. Paul’s admonition: “Don’t pass judgment b/c someone’s conscience differs from your own” (paraphrasing vs. 6-12). The Romans were free to observe these “days” or not – & both be right. Whichever way they decided, Paul said, they should do so in honor of the Lord.

So, that article that I quoted from earlier, condemning others for their choice to observe Christmas is itself unbiblical, b/c the writer is doing exactly what Paul said not to do! If his conscience tells him not to celebrate, he’s justified in not doing so. But he is NOT justified in saying that others are “under the condemnation of God” simply b/c their convictions do match his own.

It is unlikely that all Christians will ever fully agree on this question (as on a great many others as well). Some will choose not to observe Christmas at all. Others’ consciences will allow them to observe Christmas as a holiday, but not as Jesus’ birth, & so they will avoid all references to that event. Some, however – including me – will not see anything wrong with remembering in late December each year, as well as at other times, that the Word became flesh & dwelled among us, & will, in the spirit of Luke 2, rejoice with the angels & shepherds & all who have been redeemed by Him. And we will use that opportunity to proclaim Him to others while they’re willing to listen.

The important thing: As Paul said, whatever you do – or don’t do – about Christmas, do it to honor the Lord! (And don’t look down on those who disagree with you.)

Tommy South

Glen Allen Church of Christ

Dec. 5, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

People I have Met and Lessons I have learned

He was my spiritual hero. I felt like he was the ideal preacher. He messed up big time. I mean really big time. I didn't know what to think. Here are some lessons I learned.
  • None but Jesus is perfect. That is "There are none righteous no not one." Face it we are all sinners saved by grace. We continue to need that grace our whole life.
  • Satan goes after those in leadership in a big way. He knows how it hurts God and the kingdom when leaders fall. Who knows how you or I would have reacted in the same circumstances. "There but for the grace of God go I."
  • If we want mercy we need to be quick to give it. "Blessed are the merciful..." I am not minimizing sin. Jesus died for us knowing that we would mess up.
  • It is good to have heroes but our real hero must be Jesus. Jesus never fails!!!!!!
Jesus Never Fails
    Words & Music by: Gary Driskell
      Featuring Shawn & Lee Ann and Tim & Bridget Dill
        Verse 1
          So many souls have tested Him throughout the course of time.
            So many still reach out to Him with broken hearts and minds.
              And every one of them will say,
                Without exception that they find…
                  Jesus never fails...
                    Verse 2
                      Even in the days of old, He brought His people through.
                        And then He came to show His love and died for me and you.
                          Then He rose again to prove,
                            That every story has been true…
                              Jesus never fails…
                                  Jesus never fails. Jesus never fails.
                                    You might as well get thee behind me, Satan
                                      You cannot prevail, because Jesus never fails.
                                        Verse 3
                                          Sometimes this world brings trouble I find so hard to bear.
                                            I know I could not make it without Jesus being there.
                                              It’s so encouraging to know,
                                                How ever deep we’re in despair…
                                                  Jesus never fails.
                                                    Verse 4
                                                      So what can I do to prove to you, tell me how can you deny?
                                                        No untold facts, no mysteries, it’s all so cut and dried.
                                                          On the witness stand of your life,
                                                            I’ll be the first to testify…
                                                              Jesus never fails!
                                                                Repeat Chorus
                                                                  I know… Repeat Chorus
                                                                      You might as well get thee behind me, Satan
                                                                        You cannot prevail, because Jesus never fails.
                                                                          Never fails…

                                                                          Friday, November 19, 2010

                                                                          People I Have Met and Lessons I have Learned

                                                                          He was dying and he was calling for me. His wife called and I Diane left and drove several hours for the hospital. When I got there his wife his wife told me he had not spoken since she had called me. She patted his hand and said "Mike is here." He woke up and looked at me and lifted his hand and pointed at me and said "You tell them preach Jesus. You tell them preach the Gospel." Those were his last words. Jesus last words were "Father into your hands I commend my spirit." Often last words say a lot about how someone lived.
                                                                          Here are some other reported last words I found on the internet:

                                                                          This is the last of earth! I am content.
                                                                          ~~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848

                                                                          See in what peace a Christian can die.
                                                                          ~~ Joseph Addison, writer, d. June 17, 1719

                                                                          Is it not meningitis?
                                                                          ~~ Louisa M. Alcott, writer, d. 1888

                                                                          Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well--let 'em wait.
                                                                          In response to an attending doctor who attempted to comfort him by saying, "General, I fear the angels are waiting for you."
                                                                          ~~ Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary general, d. 1789

                                                                          Am I dying or is this my birthday?
                                                                          When she woke briefly during her last illness and found all her family around her bedside.
                                                                          ~~ Lady Nancy Astor, d. 1964

                                                                          Nothing, but death.
                                                                          When asked by her sister, Cassandra, if there was anything she wanted.
                                                                          ~~ Jane Austen, writer, d. July 18, 1817

                                                                          Codeine . . . bourbon.
                                                                          ~~ Tallulah Bankhead, actress, d. December 12, 1968

                                                                          How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?
                                                                          ~~ P. T. Barnum, entrepreneur, d. 1891

                                                                          I can't sleep.
                                                                          ~~ James M. Barrie, author, d. 1937

                                                                          Is everybody happy? I want everybody to be happy. I know I'm happy.
                                                                          ~~ Ethel Barrymore, actress, d. June 18, 1959

                                                                          Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.
                                                                          ~~ John Barrymore, actor, d. May 29, 1942

                                                                          I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace.
                                                                          ~~ Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, d.1170

                                                                          Friends applaud, the comedy is finished.
                                                                          ~~ Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, d. March 26, 1827

                                                                          I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
                                                                          ~~ Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957

                                                                          ~~ Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor, May 5, 1821

                                                                          I am about to -- or I am going to -- die: either expression is correct.
                                                                          ~~ Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian, d. 1702

                                                                          Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you.
                                                                          ~~ Johannes Brahms, composer, d. April 3, 1897

                                                                          Oh, I am not going to die, am I? He will not separate us, we have been so happy.
                                                                          Spoken to her husband of 9 months, Rev. Arthur Nicholls.
                                                                          ~~ Charlotte Bronte, writer, d. March 31, 1855

                                                                          In reply to her husband who had asked how she felt.
                                                                          ~~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, writer, d. June 28, 1861

                                                                          Now I shall go to sleep. Goodnight.
                                                                          ~~ Lord George Byron, writer, d. 1824

                                                                          Et tu, Brute?
                                                                          ~~ Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman Emperor, d. 44 BC

                                                                          I am still alive!
                                                                          Stabbed to death by his own guards - (as reported by Roman historian Tacitus)
                                                                          ~~ Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor, d.41 AD

                                                                          Don't let poor Nelly (his mistress, Nell Gwynne) starve.
                                                                          ~~ Charles II, King of England and Scotland, d. 1685

                                                                          Ay Jesus.
                                                                          ~~ Charles V, King of France, d. 1380

                                                                          I am dying. I haven't drunk champagne for a long time.
                                                                          ~~ Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, writer, d. July 1, 1904

                                                                          The earth is suffocating . . . Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won't be buried alive.
                                                                          Dying of tuberculosis.
                                                                          ~~ Frederic Chopin, composer, d. October 16, 1849

                                                                          I'm bored with it all.
                                                                          Before slipping into a coma. He died 9 days later.
                                                                          ~~ Winston Churchill, statesman, d. January 24, 1965

                                                                          This time it will be a long one.
                                                                          ~~ Georges Clemenceau, French premier, d. 1929

                                                                          I have tried so hard to do the right.
                                                                          ~~ Grover Cleveland, US President, d. 1908

                                                                          That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted.
                                                                          ~~ Lou Costello, comedian, d. March 3, 1959

                                                                          Goodnight my darlings, I'll see you tomorrow.
                                                                          ~~ Noel Coward, writer, d. 1973

                                                                          (expletive) . . . Don't you dare ask God to help me.
                                                                          To her housekeeper, who had begun to pray aloud.
                                                                          ~~ Joan Crawford, actress, d. May 10, 1977

                                                                          That was a great game of golf, fellers.
                                                                          ~~ Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby, singer / actor, d. October 14, 1977

                                                                          I am not the least afraid to die.
                                                                          ~~ Charles Darwin, d. April 19, 1882

                                                                          My God. What's happened?
                                                                          ~~ Diana (Spencer), Princess of Wales, d. August 31, 1997

                                                                          I must go in, the fog is rising.
                                                                          ~~ Emily Dickinson, poet, d. 1886

                                                                          Adieu, mes amis. Je vais la gloire.
                                                                          (Farewell, my friends! I go to glory!)
                                                                          ~~ Isadora Duncan, dancer, d. 1927

                                                                          It is very beautiful over there.
                                                                          ~~ Thomas Alva Edison, inventor, d. October 18, 1931

                                                                          No, I shall not give in. I shall go on. I shall work to the end.
                                                                          ~~ Edward VII, King of Britain, d. 1910

                                                                          All my possessions for a moment of time.
                                                                          ~~ Elizabeth I, Queen of England, d. 1603

                                                                          I've never felt better.
                                                                          ~~ Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., actor, d. December 12, 1939

                                                                          I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring.
                                                                          ~~ Richard Feynman, physicist, d. 1988

                                                                          I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
                                                                          ~~ Errol Flynn, actor, d. October 14, 1959

                                                                          A dying man can do nothing easy.
                                                                          ~~ Benjamin Franklin, statesman, d. April 17, 1790

                                                                          Come my little one, and give me your hand.
                                                                          Spoken to his daughter, Ottilie.
                                                                          ~~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer, d. March 22, 1832

                                                                          Yes, it's tough, but not as tough as doing comedy.
                                                                          When asked if he thought dying was tough.
                                                                          ~~ Edmund Gwenn, actor, d. September 6, 1959

                                                                          God will pardon me, that's his line of work.
                                                                          ~~ Heinrich Heine, poet, d. February 15, 1856

                                                                          Turn up the lights, I don't want to go home in the dark.
                                                                          ~~ O. Henry (William Sidney Porter), writer, d. June 4, 1910

                                                                          All is lost. Monks, monks, monks!
                                                                          ~~ Henry VIII, King of England, d. 1547

                                                                          I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.
                                                                          ~~ Thomas Hobbes, writer, d. 1679

                                                                          I see black light.
                                                                          ~~ Victor Hugo, writer, d. May 22, 1885

                                                                          Oh, do not cry - be good children and we will all meet in heaven.
                                                                          ~~ Andrew Jackson, US President, d. 1845

                                                                          Let us cross over the river and sit in the shade of the trees.
                                                                          Killed in error by his own troops at the battle of Chancellorsville during the US Civil War.
                                                                          ~~ General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, d. 1863

                                                                          Is it the Fourth?
                                                                          ~~ Thomas Jefferson, US President, d. July 4, 1826

                                                                          Does nobody understand?
                                                                          ~~ James Joyce, writer, d. 1941

                                                                          Why not? Yeah.
                                                                          ~~ Timothy Leary, d. May 31, 1996

                                                                          Now I have finished with all earthly business, and high time too. Yes, yes, my dear child, now comes death.
                                                                          ~~ Franz Leher, composer, d. October 24, 1948

                                                                          A King should die standing.
                                                                          ~~ Louis XVIII, King of France, d. 1824

                                                                          Why do you weep. Did you think I was immortal?
                                                                          ~~ Louis XIV, King of France, d. 1715

                                                                          I am a Queen, but I have not the power to move my arms.
                                                                          ~~ Louise, Queen of Prussia, d. 1820

                                                                          Too late for fruit, too soon for flowers.
                                                                          ~~ Walter De La Mare, writer, d. 1956

                                                                          Let's cool it brothers . . .
                                                                          Spoken to his assassins, 3 men who shot him 16 times.
                                                                          ~~ Malcolm X, Black leader, d. 1966

                                                                          Go on, get out - last words are for fools who haven't said enough.
                                                                          To his housekeeper, who urged him to tell her his last words so she could write them down for posterity.
                                                                          ~~ Karl Marx, revolutionary, d. 1883

                                                                          I forgive everybody. I pray that everybody may also forgive me, and my blood which is about to be shed will bring peace to Mexico. Long live Mexico! Long Live Independence!
                                                                          ~~ Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, (Archduke Maximilian of Austria), d. June 11, 1867

                                                                          Nothing matters. Nothing matters.
                                                                          ~~ Louis B. Mayer, film producer, d. October 29, 1957

                                                                          It's all been very interesting.
                                                                          ~~ Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, writer, d. 1762

                                                                          I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room - and (expletive) it - died in a hotel room.
                                                                          ~~ Eugene O'Neill, writer, d. November 27, 1953

                                                                          Get my swan costume ready.
                                                                          ~~ Anna Pavlova, ballerina, d. 1931

                                                                          I am curious to see what happens in the next world to one who dies unshriven.
                                                                          Giving his reasons for refusing to see a priest as he lay dying.
                                                                          ~~ Pietro Perugino, Italian painter, d. 1523

                                                                          Lord help my poor soul.
                                                                          ~~ Edgar Allan Poe, writer, d. October 7, 1849

                                                                          I love you Sarah. For all eternity, I love you.
                                                                          Spoken to his wife.
                                                                          ~~ James K. Polk, US President, d. 1849

                                                                          Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms.
                                                                          ~~ Alexander Pope, writer, d. May 30, 1744

                                                                          I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor.
                                                                          ~~ François Rabelais, writer, d. 1553

                                                                          I have a terrific headache.
                                                                          He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.
                                                                          ~~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, US President, d. 1945

                                                                          Put out the light.
                                                                          ~~ Theodore Roosevelt, US President, d. 1919

                                                                          They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist. . . .
                                                                          Killed in battle during US Civil War.
                                                                          ~~ General John Sedgwick, Union Commander, d. 1864

                                                                          Sister, you're trying to keep me alive as an old curiosity, but I'm done, I'm finished, I'm going to die.
                                                                          Spoken to his nurse.
                                                                          ~~ George Bernard Shaw, playwright, d. November 2, 1950

                                                                          I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . .
                                                                          ~~ Dylan Thomas, poet, d. 1953

                                                                          Moose . . . Indian . . .
                                                                          ~~ Henry David Thoreau, writer, d. May 6, 1862

                                                                          I feel here that this time they have succeeded.
                                                                          ~~ Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, d. 1940

                                                                          Don't worry chief, it will be alright.
                                                                          ~~ Rudolph Valentino, actor, d. August 23, 1926

                                                                          Woe is me. Me thinks I'm turning into a god.
                                                                          ~~ Vespasian, Roman Emperor, d. 79 AD

                                                                          Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something.
                                                                          ~~ Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary, d. 1923

                                                                          I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.
                                                                          ~~ Leonardo da Vinci, artist, d. 1519

                                                                          I die hard but am not afraid to go.
                                                                          ~~ George Washington, US President, d. December 14, 1799

                                                                          Go away. I'm all right.
                                                                          ~~ H. G. Wells, novelist, d. 1946

                                                                          Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
                                                                          ~~ Oscar Wilde, writer, d. November 30, 1900

                                                                          I am ready.
                                                                          ~~ Woodrow Wilson, US President, d. 1924

                                                                          Curtain! Fast music! Light! Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good, the show looks good!
                                                                          ~~ Florenz Ziegfeld, showman, d. July 22, 1932

                                                                          I sometimes wonder what will my last words be. What about you?

                                                                          Thursday, November 4, 2010

                                                                          Question: "What is the value in attending a Christian camp? Is the concept of Christian camping biblical?"

                                                                          Question: "What is the value in attending a Christian camp? Is the concept of Christian camping biblical?"

                                                                          There are many factors that make Christian camping a positive and valuable experience. All of these experiences are found to some extent in the local church and in other types of ministries, but they are strongly present in Christian camps.

                                                                          First, in most Christian camps, there is an extensive exposure to the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Bible is living and powerful. A typical day in a Christian camp will have some form of personal or group devotions, an evening chapel service, and a Scripture memorization program. This repeated use of the Word of God over a week’s time is very valuable in letting the Word dwell richly in the lives of the campers and staff (Colossians 3:16). God often orchestrates the various times in the Word to emphasize the same themes from different angles or to offer a variety of emphases that will meet different needs in the different individuals.

                                                                          There is also the opportunity for campers to observe and learn from godly mentors (counselors, staff, and speakers). Many campers come from broken homes or grow up with less-than-ideal role models because one or both parents are unsaved or weak and immature in their faith. As Paul encouraged others to follow his example as he emulated Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), these godly mentors are able to model loving discipline and the freedom it offers. They are also able to show unconditional love, model how a godly man or woman behaves, and display God-centered living before the campers. Commonly it is God’s written Word that He uses most to affect and change lives, but often He also effectively uses the “Bible” bound in shoe leather—godly mentoring.

                                                                          A Christian camp is typically sponsored and supported by a number of local churches. These churches commit and encourage their members to systematically pray for the campers, staff, and speakers. God promises that the fervent prayer of a righteous man (or woman) accomplishes a great deal (James 5:16). God, in His grace, works in response to these praying saints, and it is the campers (as well as the staff and speakers) that receive the benefit of these unseen labors.

                                                                          Another beneficial factor is what are commonly absent at a Christian camp: TV’s, cell-phones, mp3 players, computers, video games, etc. These distractions serve to busy the mind and keep young people from focusing on the deeper questions of life such as, “Why am I here?” “What will happen to me when I die?” “Does my life have meaning?” While occupied with fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind (Ephesians 2:3), young people have little time to ponder such questions. When these mind-occupying distractions are taken away, campers have the time to ponder the Word in a much deeper way than a once-a-week church experience allows. Once distractions are removed, campers find themselves surrounded by God’s creation, an environment that turns their minds to Him and to the eternal and away from the world.

                                                                          A Christian camp also provides a place for godly young people to grow in serving Christ, both behind the scenes in tasks that Amy Carmichael might have described as “holy drudgery,” but also in learning how to share the gospel, give devotions from the Bible, and pray with others about their needs. God not only works in campers’ hearts, but He is typically busy in the lives of staff and counselors as well.

                                                                          Another major blessing is that Christian camping allows the broadening of one’s circle of fellowship. For many campers, new friends they meet at camp one year, and continue to see year by year, become life-long friends that they care for, pray for, and encourage in Christ for decades. And it has happened more than once that a camper even ends up meeting his or her future godly spouse while attending or serving in a camp setting. God has greatly used Christian camping in calling out ones to be saved and to serve Him as Lord, whether as missionaries, pastors, or just as importantly, as “full-time Christians.”

                                                                          © Copyright 2002-2010 Got Questions Ministries.

                                                                          Sunday, October 31, 2010

                                                                          Now That's Really Scary!!!!!

                                                                          I am not much for scary movies but I remember one movie with Dan Aykroyd that was funny and scary. In one scene he is driving down a dark country road with a guy that I believed had been hitchhiking and Aykroyd's character had picked him up. They were having nice conversation and Dan Aykroyd turn to the man he had picked up and said, "Do you want to see something really scary?" Then he turned away and turn backed and his face had transformed into a really scary monster. I don't remember much else but I remember that line "Do you want to see something really scary?"

                                                                          On this Halloween do you want to hear something really scary. The scariest words ever spoken? "Depart I know you not." Now that is really scary. Everything else pales on the "Really Scary " meter when you compare it to the words of Jesus, "Depart..." Aren't you glad that Jesus know you? He does doesn't he?????????????

                                                                          Friday, October 22, 2010

                                                                          People I have met and Lessons I have learned

                                                                          She had lots of tattoos and talked rough. She was a native (born and bred in Jersey) She was at my office to sell me radio time for my Bible Break radio program. She sure didn't appear to be interested in Christianity and yet she was. She was the first person I baptized in New Jersey.

                                                                          It turns out that she really did have a Holy Hunger. That she was a God seeker. You can't always recognize a God seeker by their appearance or even manner of life. God knows those who are his. We must not be soil inspectors but rather sowers of the seed. God makes it grow.

                                                                          Wednesday, October 20, 2010

                                                                          Someone Cares

                                                                          Have you ever felt like no one cares? This article by Phiilip Eichman touched my heart.

                                                                          SOMEONE CARES

                                                                          There were only two of us waiting in the truck on that cold winter morning. One was an older man who had worked at the cemetery for many years, and the other was me, a college student who worked on Saturdays and during the summers. We had been told to wait by the graveside because they might need help with pallbearers.

                                                                          Finally, the black hearse pulled up and the driver got out. The three of us carried the casket to the grave. It wasn't very heavy--only a wooden box covered with some type of fabric and the remains of a frail elderly lady who had died in a nursing home.

                                                                          The man from the funeral home read a few words from a small book and we lowered the casket. That was it. No one else seemed to know or care that this lady had passed from this life to the next.

                                                                          That isn't quite right. Someone did know and did care. The Bible tells us that God knows and cares about each of us. David wrote, "O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways" (Psalm 139:1-3). Jesus used a more earthy, yet no less profound illustration when he said, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Luke 12:6-7).

                                                                          Perhaps most amazing of all is that God still knows and cares about those who live in defiance of him. Like the father waiting for his rebellious son to return home in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, God hopefully waits for those who live as if he does not even exist.

                                                                          Yes, it may have seemed as though no one cared that cold morning in the cemetery, but Someone did.

                                                                          Philllip Eichman

                                                                          Searcy, Arkansas


                                                                          I am on my way to the Lewisville Texas church this morning. Please pray for Traveling Mercies for the little blue Gospel Chariot as I head down the road.


                                                                          It has been a joy to watch Diane and her sister. Sherry is visiting with us and it is a joy to see the Bodine girls at "play" with each other. Family is so important. How sad that so many are without family while others undervalue it.

                                                                          Tuesday, October 19, 2010

                                                                          People I have met and Lessons I have learned

                                                                          Tim had not been a christian very long but he was on fire. I baptized Tim in Williamstown West Virgina. Tim was not raised in the church. He was dating one of our outstanding young ladies. Tim was not a push over. He questioned everything. But when he got it he really got it. What he knew he shared. And now here he was in the baptistery ready to baptize a friend. When he immersed his friend he brought him up and joyfully said"Wow this is fun!" Some sitting in the office were offended by his joy. I wasn't because I knew Tim "Got it." Now some 30 years later he still gets it. He is a preacher and elder at a congregation he helped start from scratch. It is a amazing congregation of several hundred filled with lots of people who "get it." Thanks Tim for the joy you have given me watching you teach what you know (which is a whole bunch now) to hundreds and helping them "get it."

                                                                          Tuesday, October 12, 2010

                                                                          This and That

                                                                          My little Caden was four this week. I bought him a bicycle and Diane will take it to him this weekend. Where do the years go.
                                                                          People I have Met and Lessons I Have Learned
                                                                          I completely forgot my Financial Peace class last Thursday. I have only done something like this a couple of times in my 40 plus years of preaching. One other time I was sitting at my desk in Mt Carmel, Illinois and my phone rang. The voice on the phone said, Where are you? We have 500 kids waiting for you to speak." Opps! Big Opps!!!! Thankfully they were very forgiving although they never asked me to speak again. We all do big Opps don't we? Thankfully God is very forgiving. But in saying that we must be careful. While God forgives there are often ongoing consequences. So let's thank God for His grace but let us also work at going to him in our times of need so we can beat (with his help) some of our weaknesses.

                                                                          Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. New Living Translation (©2007)

                                                                          I leave for Fayette Missouri in the morning. When I return I Thursday I teach Financial Peace that night. Friday I leave for Waco Texas. I will speak to three different congregations. Then when I return on Tuesday I get to spend the night at home. Wednesday I leave for Lewisville Texas. When I return I have two days at home and then I head to Bernie, Missouri. I think I hear, On The Road Again, lightly paying through my mind. Please pray for Traveling Mercies.

                                                                          Monday, October 11, 2010

                                                                          People I Have Met and Lesoons I have Learned

                                                                          I really wasn't all that interested in what was going on. But when Madge sang in the beautiful alto voice I couldn't help but listen. Sometime I would every try to sing the notes she was singing. I was only 12 or 13 and still had a very high soprano voice. Despite my bests efforts I really enjoyed singing, especially when I could hear Madge. Some of the songs shaped my faith.

                                                                          You never know how God is impacting lives. Sometimes even 12 and 13 year olds.

                                                                          Thursday, October 7, 2010

                                                                          Sunday Night At the Park

                                                                          People I have met and Lessons I have learned

                                                                          Bob was one of the rowdiest kid ever. Well not "ever" but he was pretty rowdy. At church camp he was a really a pill. But you couldn't help but like him. He had a wonderful personality and I felt like he had a lot of talent but I was afraid he might never use it productively. Who would have thought he would ever stand before thousands preaching the Gospel. Or that he would help establish a congregation of hundreds. But he did both.

                                                                          He has turned out to be one of the most effective preachers I have ever know. You just never know do you? God does amazing things with people. A rowdy young man has become someone I admire greatly. Isn't God good. He doesn't give up on us. If he could use a rowdy young man with a good heart I wonder what he could do with you and me.

                                                                          Tuesday, August 24, 2010

                                                                          Lessons I have Learned and People I Have Met

                                                                          Leo was a good man and I am sure he meant well but boy did he get on my nerves. Every Sunday he would present me a list of mispronounced words. He would hand it to me at the door on his way out of the auditorium. I often made the mistake of looking at it right then. Talk about a downer. I wouldn't do that now. I mean immediately read the note. I know when you step down from the pulpit emotions are high. I needed to learn to take evaluation and consider the source. But if the evaluation is right learn from it. God sometimes used the enemies of Israel to teach them a lesson. Words have the power of life and death.

                                                                          I also learned that some things need corrected and some things just need to be covered with love. Be careful about giving honest criticism for someones own good. Unless it is really important or has been asked for don't give it. Just pray instead. I am pretty sure everything is not a salvation issue. If God opens a door or gives an opportunity take it but Be Kind to One another. Ask yourself, "How would I react to this kind of evaluation?"

                                                                          Friday, August 20, 2010

                                                                          Lessons I have Learned and People I have Met - 7

                                                                          Some of you have asked if I am stopping this series of blogs. I am going to try to be more disciplined and blog at least 3 times a week. Life happens and I have been distracted.

                                                                          Layton L. is the first preacher I remember. He seemed to a young boy to be just a normal person. He took a interest in me and even after he moved to another congregation he had a big influence on me. He encouraged me to go to FHC when no one else was very encouraging. He helped me financially every semester. He saw something in me that not many did.

                                                                          One night at church camp I was bunking in his cabin. ( I still remember waking up at camp with Layton singing corny songs over the loud speakers) I asked him what the L. (his middle name) stood for and he said I would have to guess. I never did get the right name. 50 years I still don't know what his middle name was. But I know this -- that whatever good I am doing in the kingdom is in part because of him. My fruit is his fruit. You never know what a scrawny, shy 13 year boy might do or how he might be used by God. Thanks Layton L.

                                                                          Thursday, July 29, 2010

                                                                          Thursday, March 25, 2010

                                                                          Lessons I have Learned and People I have Met -6

                                                                          Aggie loved the song, There Is A God. When I led it for her and the little group gathered she would sing out with great fervor. I always got chill bumps watching Aggie sing. You see, Aggie had spent her life in institutions, pretty much abandoned and she was a quadriplegic. If anyone had a reason to doubt it was Aggie. But she did not give into doubt. Instead she sang with great conviction and incredible joy, "There Is A God!" God forgive me when I whine!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aggie I hope you are running the streets of Gold when I get there.

                                                                          Thursday, February 25, 2010

                                                                          Lessons I have Learned and People I have Met - 5

                                                                          In every congregation over the last 40 years there have always been those that seemed to always know a better way to do everything that that the congregation is doing. They always know a better congregation, a better program, or a better speaker. Sometimes they are right but they really have very little influence. Often their attendance will be spotty, and their personal life is sometimes not very good.

                                                                          One of the things I leaned from "I can do it better people" is that being right is more than just being right. If you are going to influence others for good there needs to be words and deeds. It really is true that people will often follow a good example quicker than they will good words. Sometimes, even when we know a better way or at least think we do, we need to be quiet, set an example, and say good job. Show people the way and they usually will follow.

                                                                          I'd see him go to church almost every Sunday
                                                                          He had invited me to go a time or two
                                                                          made no bones about the fact that he was a christian
                                                                          And he seemed to know I was looking for some truth
                                                                          Never looked at me with eyes of condemnation
                                                                          though he knew I was uneasy when he pray
                                                                          he was always there to lend a hand
                                                                          and when he did he'd always say
                                                                          that the good Lord and his blessing
                                                                          are what made him act that way
                                                                          I'd rather see a sermon
                                                                          than to hear one any day
                                                                          I'd rather one would walk with me
                                                                          than merely show the way
                                                                          Actions speak much louder
                                                                          than all the words can say
                                                                          That's why I'd rather see a sermon
                                                                          than hear one any day
                                                                          There were times that I would see him from a distance
                                                                          and he didn't know that I was watching him
                                                                          he always took the time to love his children
                                                                          and he treated his wife like his best friend
                                                                          I got the call two weeks ago this Monday
                                                                          that the job I had ten years was at the end
                                                                          he was the first to call and show up on my doorstep
                                                                          and he said that he would be there
                                                                          till we got on our feet again
                                                                          I'd rather see a sermon
                                                                          than to hear one any day
                                                                          I'd rather one would walk with me
                                                                          than merely show the way
                                                                          Actions speak much louder
                                                                          than all the words can say
                                                                          That's why I'd rather see a sermon
                                                                          than hear one any day
                                                                          I never was much for religion
                                                                          too many double-standard people let me down
                                                                          but the message this man lived was very simple
                                                                          he showed me what I needed
                                                                          and he was there when I let Jesus
                                                                          turn my life around
                                                                          I'd rather see a sermon
                                                                          than to hear one any day
                                                                          I'd rather one would walk with me
                                                                          than merely show the way
                                                                          Actions speak much louder
                                                                          than all the words can say
                                                                          That's why I'd rather see a sermon
                                                                          than hear one any day
                                                                          That's why I'd rather see a sermon
                                                                          than hear one any day
                                                                          Bruce Carroll

                                                                          Monday, February 8, 2010

                                                                          Let it snow!!!!!!

                                                                          One of my favorite memories is when the Knappiers lived in New Jersey. We lived right across from a golf course.  When it snowed that golf course became a toboggan run. My boys loved taking our sleds and sledding. Nathan was just 2 or 3 years old.   The toboggan runs were fast and long so we wouldn't let him go down by himself. Or at least that was the plan .  I turned my back for a moment and when I turned around I saw my sled zooming down the course with two little feet bouncing up and down. I watched with great concern . I started to yell, "Nathan come back here," but it was to late for that.  He made to the bottom of the hill and kept go into a snow bank. The sled stopped but he kept going head first into to the snow bank. I got down to him as quick as I could and all I saw of him was to little legs sticking out of the snow.  I pulled him out, brushed him off, and he said, "Again!"

                                                                          It is understandable that a small child might not recognize a dangerous situation.  It is different for an adult. It is to easy to think I can read that. I can say that, I can watch that, and etc. Remember what the apostle Paul wrote, "When you think you stand, take heed least you fall."

                                                                          Tuesday, January 26, 2010

                                                                          Lessons I have Learned and People I have Met - 4

                                                                          I heard some noise in the auditorium and I went into check it out. When I looked in i saw 3 or 4 children playing church. One little girl was leading the singing. One little guy was the designated prayer leader and after a little singing he stood and said "it is time to pray."  After he said amen another little girl got up behind the rostrum and starting preaching. She shouted ,No. No, No, No! Then they had the invitation.   It was so cute and yet disturbing. Is that how they saw preachers and Christianity.  Was it all about, "No?"  

                                                                          There is a saying that I have heard through the years, "Little pictures have big ears."  Our children are devoloping their God views by what they see and hear at church and at home.  Wouldn't it be terrible if we were giving them the idea that God's favorite word is no!? 

                                                                          2 Corinthians 1: 18But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas] and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

                                                                          Friday, January 22, 2010

                                                                          Lessons I have Learned and People I have Met - 3

                                                                          The bathrooms were in the back of the building and you had to walk by the pulpit to get there. I was preaching (waxing eloquent)and a little by got loose from his mother and ran down the aisle past me and said, " Hi preach!" The door was left open and I tried to get everyones attention but it was impossible. You could hear everything that was going on. Finally after what seemed an eternity I heard flush and a little sweet voice hollering out, "Mom come and wipe me." For a moment there was a stunned silence and then a blushing mother ran back there and I heard her saying I am going to kill you!" The congregation erupted into laughter and it got louder and louder. When the embarrassed mother and little boy emerged the congregation went hysterical. One old fellow who always sat on the front row and never cracked a smile laughed so hard he fell in the floor. One of the leaders finally got up and said "I think the Lord will understand if we dismiss now." And He did and he does. You can't read the Gospels without knowing that Jesus would have laughed as hard and harder than anyone. Nehemiah 8:10 has always impacted my life 'The joy of the Lord is my strength." Laughter is good medicine. "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22, NIV) I bet that Sunday added years to my life.

                                                                          Wednesday, January 20, 2010

                                                                          40 Years - 2

                                                                          We had 90 on Sunday morning and 105 in Sunday night.  A few months earlier the attendance had been at 35 on Sunday mornings.  I couldn't believe how God was blessing this little congregation in this tiny rural community.  I am pretty sure it wasn't about my oratory skills because I still got ill every Sunday morning before speaking. Sometimes moments before sermon time and immediately afterwards.  I know Diane and I were working hard but it had to be God moving in the hearts of the people.  A couple of the older men asked to speak with me after the evening service.  They said, "Mike you are doing a wonderful job and we have never had so many baptisms and our attendance is the best it has every been. In fact our building is overflowing and if you keep bringing in people we will have to build."  I was very thrilled to here their assessment. But that wasn't all they had to say. "Mike we want you to quit bringing in folks because  we have enough and we are not going to build."  I couldn't believe my ears.  I will never forget that moment. I know they were good men and in their way loved God and the truth.  But  the phrase "we have enough" still echoes in my heart. 

                                                                          Through the years I have been surprised how many times I have heard that same thought. Oh it might not be spoken as bluntly but the idea was the same.  I pray that I will never have that attitude. I pray that "church" will never be about me, my kind, and my comfort in the auditorium.  My we ever have the goal of "bringing many sons to glory'

                                                                          Tuesday, January 19, 2010

                                                                          Lessons I have Learned and People I have Met

                                                                          Today I am going to begin 40 blogs of walking through my 40 plus years of of ministry. Some stories, incidents, and characters will be combined.  Each posting will have include an incident or person and a lesson learned from my past 40 years.

                                                                          A long time ago and in a galaxy far away... I was a 16 year old at church camp.  I loved camp. Most of the staff were preachers and this particular year they were all really cool guys.  I loved Dean who was a great preacher and a wonderful singer. He could play the guitar and sing and often did for us during talent night. Layton (my hometown preacher)was also a counselor and he knew a million jokes. He was old (about 40) and I was amazed at how athletic he was. Then there  was Bobby who was a dramatic speaker and who could hit a softball a long way.  One of my favorites things was when we would have camp news during lunch at Sherry's Beanery. Bob with his booming voice would give a very funny news broadcast. Sometimes  around a campfire Russell (one of the smartest and kindest men I know) would play his guitar  and sing "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly..."  It was great fun.

                                                                          Then Bob, with the booming voice, shook up my world. He asked me to do chapel and he wouldn't take no for an answer.  Didn't he know that the last time I stood before a crowd, except with a basketball in my hands , was when I was 13 and I was leading singing and my voice cracked and  people laughed and I vowed never to stand before a crowd again?  But somehow he talked me into it and for days the food that enjoyed at Sherry's Beanery, and the softball games, and Dean singing, and the campfires lost their joy. I had to stand before a crowd again. Even worse they were teenagers.

                                                                          Wednesday came, I preached for ever (5 minutes) and I set down. No one laughed, I didn't die and camp became fun again.   Interestingly (at least to me) the sermon I preached had three points about the cross of Christ that I later in life used in a Bible Study Course for Africa that was study by thousands.  

                                                                          When you surround yourself with positive people who love you they will often see things in you that you do not see in yourself. If you surround yourself with negative critical people they will help you confirm the worst in yourself and other people.

                                                                          Saturday, January 16, 2010

                                                                          Get out of the Baby Bed

                                                                          My youngest Grandson Caden is a little hoot. He is getting ready to have a little brother and he doesn't quite know what to think about it. His mom and dad are working on the babies room and he decided last night to sleep in the baby bed. When he awoke he just laid there and cooed and giggled like a little baby. It was really sweet. I am sure when the baby comes  he will adapt and be happy, but for now he is reacting like a little child might react.

                                                                          It is not sweet when those who have been a Christian for quite awhile don't understand why the "new baby" is getting a lot of attention. No doubt we everyone is  important in the Kingdom of Jesus but it is natural and expected that we grow up and teach, nourish, and love the next generation. Caden will soon do that for his baby brother Jude and Jude will pass it on. And we will all be loved by God. We have to get out of the nursery. God expects us to grow.

                                                                          Hebrews 5: 11 - 114 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

                                                                          Friday, January 15, 2010

                                                                          I Am Jesus

                                                                          There is a true story of a boy who suffered under the Nazis during World War II that clearly communicates what I am trying to put into words. This Jewish boy was living in a small Polish village when he and all the other Jews of the vicinity were rounded up by Nazi SS Troops and sentenced to death. This boy joined his neighbors in digging a shallow ditch for their graves. Then they were lined up against a wall and machine-gunned. Their corpses fell into the shallow grave and then the Nazis covered their crumpled bodies with dirt. But none of the bullets hit this little boy. His naked body was splattered with the blood of his parents and when they fell into the ditch, he pretended to be dead and fell on top of them. The grave was so shallow that the thin covering of dirt did not prevent air from getting through to him so that he could breathe.

                                                                          Several hours later, when darkness fell, this ten-year old boy clawed his way out of the grave. With blood and dirt caked to his little body, he made his way to the nearest house and begged for help. Recognizing him as one of the Jewish boys marked for death by the SS, the woman who answered screamed at him to go away and slammed the door. He was turned away at the next house as well as at the one after that. In each case, the unwillingness to risk getting into trouble with the SS Troops overpowered any feeling of compassion that these people might have had. Dirty, bloodied, and shivering, the little boy limped from one house to the next begging for somebody to help him.

                                                                          Then something inside seemed to guide him to say something that was very strange for a Jewish boy to say. When the next family responded to his timid knocking in the still of the night, they heard him cry, “Don’t you recognize me? I am the Jesus you say you love.” After a poignant pause that must have seemed like an eternity to the little boy, the woman who stood in the doorway swept him into her arms and kissed him. From that day on, the members of that family cared for that boy as though he was one of their own.

                                                                          This story was told by the woman who took him in on that horrible night. She told the story not to elicit praise for herself, but to tell others of the joy and happiness he had brought to her over the years. She had discovered that when one labors to help hurting people, one labors to serve Jesus Himself. What could be more fulfilling work than that?

                                                                          -Tony Campolo, Who Switched The Price Tags?, Word Publishing, 1986, pages 119-121.

                                                                          Heart Problems?

                                                                          Today I took Diane to have a Echo Cardiogram. This test will allow the doctors to see her heart function. Unfortunately there is not a Echo Cardiogram for our "spiritual heart." Of course God can see it but we cannot. Thankfully we have the living and active word of God to reveal the thoughts and intents of our heart (Hebrews 4:112) But the Echo Cardiogram does no good if you don't let the technician view your heart and the Word will do us no good if we don't invite the Spirit of God to search our heart.

                                                                          Thursday, January 14, 2010

                                                                          Tuesday, January 12, 2010

                                                                          Monday, January 11, 2010

                                                                          I love my bed!!!!!!

                                                                          I love my bed. Diane and I live a pretty modest life in most things such as car, home and etc. But we did splurge in one area. Our bed. I bought one of those with memory foam that can be raised up and down. It is so comfortable. No matter how many hours I sleep I never want to get up. It is so so comfortable and so warm. I love my bed. I love my comfort.

                                                                          I wonder if some times that's is not the way we live our christian life. We know we need to get up. We know we need to be challenged but "our pew" and the way we have always done things is just so comfortable. Here is the truth, unless we are perfect we need to get up, get out, and get going. We need to remember what Jesus said about those wine skins that wouldn't stretch.