Sunday, December 31, 2006

There will be no “Las Vegas” style parties at our house today/tonight.

What happens in Ditmore’s Scottsdale doesn’t have to stay in Scottsdale.

This morning we will head off to Lincoln Heights Christian Church where I will teach all of the adults in one large class in the fellowship hall. After class we will stroll over to the sanctuary for the morning worship service.

After church there will be lunch, a little rest, a little football and then we will head over to Desert Ridge to see the new Rocky movie. After the movie it will be Mexican food at On the Border Restaurant and then home to bed.

Will we ring in the New Year? Maybe--maybe not. Most likely, around mid-night the only noise to be heard around our house will be a lot of snoring!


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Did you ever have a day just get away from you—you know, like gone, over, and you never knew what happened to it?

You got up. You did some “stuff” and then all of a sudden you realize, “Hey, this day is getting away or this day is gone and I don’t know where it went.”

Some days drag by and you can keep up with them (unless you take a nap) but then some days, like today, just zoom along and you never know where they went.

It’s bad to lose a day—especially at my age. I can’t afford to lose a single one. I must stay alert at all times.

Tomorrow is the last day of the year. I’m going to get a hold on the day early in the morning and not let go until after midnight—if I can stay awake until then.

This is not really a blog, it’s an explanation. I was going to write a blog but I let the day get away.


Friday, December 29, 2006

God makes the difference!

“But” is a conjunction with a difference. “And” is likewise a conjunction, but it does not carry the same impact as “but.” To say “and” is to give additional information which may be either trivial or tremendous. “But” adds additional information and it qualifies, alters, and not infrequently completely negates that which has been said. For example, we say: “That is a good idea, but…!” Chances are that the proposed idea will be abandoned altogether. “He is a good businessman, but…” We hear, and we hesitate to put confidence in his judgment or to invest in his business.

A recent study has convinced me that God always makes a difference. When you are reading the Bible watch closely for the expression, “But God…” Notice the difference it makes in the overall situation at hand. The story of Joseph is a good example.

Many bad things had happened to Joseph and he ended up in prison. “And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. But The Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. (Genesis 39:1, 2, 20, 21) Notice: Joseph was in a mess—he was in prison. But he was not alone, God was with him. You will find this throughout the Bible. You will be reading about terrible things happening and then out of the blue you read BUT GOD!



Thursday, December 28, 2006

In the last three years I have had occasion to listen to a lot of “bad” preaching. For almost 50 years prior to that I listened to a man struggling to get it right—I listened to me. It wasn’t until I was ready to “walk out the door” that a light went on in my head but then I walked away only to preach two or three more times in three years. Don't you think that's funny? I think it's funny, or maybe it's more sad that funny. Just when you get ready to do your best preaching--you quit.

Elders are partially to blame for this loss. If I were an elder I would say to the old, retiring preacher: "Stay here as Minister Emeritus and teach, encourage and motive us on to maturity for a few more years. We will hire a pastor to care for the flock and do the "daily" work of the church.

I recently read about the kind of preacher needed today: "He and his family had been through hard times... and it showed. There was a reverence in his pulpit manner, a deep respect for his task, a deep feeling for the words of Scripture as he read them. His sermon was not eloquent, but he was sincere, his humor was natural, and he had a wonderful, hopeful message focused on Christ. This preacher was passionate in the best sense of the word: authentic, exhortative at times, and also rejoicing."



Wednesday, December 27, 2006

President Gerald Ford has died!

I am not the judge, but from everything I could see--he was a good man.



Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Good news—Santa came to the desert. He left here heading north and was sighted circling over the Denver airport. He must have been looking for some people he couldn’t find at home.

This is blue can day on our street and by the looks of the cans brimming with empty boxes—Santa dropped off a load on this cul-de-sac. So much for the words of the old song, “You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry…” I know these kids. There’s been a lot of poutin’ and shoutin’ going on around this cul-de-sac. Looks like Santa turned a “deaf ear.” Call it grace.

Well, we all need a lot of grace. Not so much from Santa but from THE GIVER OF ALL GOOD GIFTS. I pray that His mercy and grace will flow out to you abundantly in 2007!

Monday, December 25, 2006


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. In the morning at 9:30 I will continue my messages at Lincoln Heights Christian Church on the theme: “Christmas—Renewal through Christ.” Tomorrow’s message will be “No Man Need Stay the Way He Is.” Paul describing his life says, “I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.”

Like so many of us,Paul’s life was a mess. He did the things he didn’t want to do and didn’t do the things he knew he should. But praise God, he found the answer—the way out of the mess. Don’t miss this: “The answer, thank God, is …Jesus Christ.”

For Paul, the answer to everything was in Christ. In Christ became his favorite expression. He used it or some form of it in every letter he wrote but one, 2 Thessalonians.

That’s the answer for all of us—IN CHRIST!


Rosie O’Donnell is a bully! She is constantly attacking The President, Vice-President, all Republicans, Christian leaders, all Christians, and anybody who disagrees with her lifestyle.

Rosie is full of it!

Now, Donald Trump is no angel. But he is in charge of making decisions like the one he made about Miss America. If he had fired her, Rosie would have said, “Who is he to be judging anybody’s morals?” When he gave her a second change, Rosie said, “Who is he to be judging anybody’s morals?” In her eyes, there was no way he could win. She started the fight. Recognizing her as the bully she is, he decided to kick the crap out of her. It may not be the best answer to Rosie, but somebody needed to do it. He was just taking care of his own business and she butted in. He told her to butt out.


Oh, by the way, “Merry Christmas, peace on earth, good-will to all men (and women—even Rosie).


Friday, December 22, 2006

Denver is a great city. I love to visit there. The Denver airport is one of the best. However, I was stuck there one winter day and I didn’t like anything about it.

A snow storm has held travelers at the Denver airport for a couple of days. It has not only affected the travelers in Denver, but thousands across the country. They are saying that flights will start taking off from Denver today. The people flying out today will be those scheduled to leave today. The ones who have been stranded there will be placed on stand-by.

Some of these travelers will not get out until Monday—Christmas day.

Stop! No! You can’t go!

We hate those words. Nobody likes to be inconvenienced—but it happens. Life is tough.
Elvis sang about it, “I’ll have a blue Christmas I know dear…”. My heart goes out to those people stuck in the snow storm. Will good come from all of this? It certainly could. Will they recognize it? Some may. Most probably won’t.

The newspaper reported this morning that Arizona is now the fastest growing state in the nation. The weather in Phoenix is fantastic right now. There will be no white Christmas here and I’m not crying about it. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dr. Larry Crabb says that when he was 10 years old he heard the message of Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” He was really excited about what he would be able to do. He went outside and told God he wanted to fly like Superman and that he was going to jump and leave the rest to Him. He jumped four or five times and each time he landed a little further down the driveway. That was the beginning of a 50 year journey of confusion.

Prayer is confusing! I have been praying since I was a teenager but I still don’t have it all figured out.

Philip Yancey, one of my favorite writers, has written an excellent book, Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference? He probes the very heartbeat—the most fundamental, challenging, perplexing, and deeply rewarding aspect—of our relationship with God.

Does prayer work? More personally, does it work the way we think it should? What can we really expect from prayer? Yancy helps with these and other tough questions.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why are elders, shepherds, so dense when it comes to understanding what is happening to the congregations they are suppose to be leading?

It is certainly not because they do not care—they do care. I know they do. I have been intimately associated with elders for many years. They care but they also seem blind to the things that are going on around them.

I know churches where members—good, honest, God loving members are leaving. They are not radical and they are not trouble makers. They just leave quietly. The elders care but their comment is simply, “Well, you can’t please everybody.”

The Bible School attendance is down and the elders care but they just say the same thing, “Well, you can’t please everybody.”

My question is, “Do you even want to try?”

I have seen this happen so often that it makes me sick. One day, when Bible School attendance is so low that they finally say, “Let’s close it down,” they do “see” and want to make some changes—and it’s too late.

One day, when the attendance is so low that even the little, old ladies ask, “Where is everybody?” They “see” and want to do something about it, and it’s too late.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

In the real world we have to suffer the consequences of our decisions.

Try climbing Mt. Hood in December and you might get caught in a blizzard and not come down.

Get involved with alcohol, cocaine and bad conduct in general and you may lose your crown as Miss America.

Wait until the last minute to do your shopping and the present you wanted to buy may be gone and you may get crushed in the last minute rush.

Show up late for work, “smart off” at your boss, fail to do your job—you may get fired.

Have an affair and you may get divorced.

Drive while intoxicated and you may get killed and/or kill somebody else.

Never go to class and never study and you may never graduate and remain ignorant.

This is a law abiding universe. It’s not hard to figure out why things happen as they do. Mistakes? Yes, we all make them. Ignorant decisions? Yes, we all make those too. But common sense tells us not to just blunder along making wrong decisions and hoping that things will work out for us when they don’t for other people.



Monday, December 18, 2006

Yesterday I asked about family traditions at a Bible Class I’m teaching this month. Wow! There are a lot of traditions and they are not the same for each family.

One family always eats Italian food at Christmas. The fellowship hall was full but there was only one family that had this tradition. I have thought about it for awhile and I think I would like Italian food for Christmas dinner. Why not?

Several families have Mexican food on Christmas Eve. Our family has had Mexican food on Christmas Eve but not always. It is not a tradition for us.

We always have pumpkin pies and pecan pies. We always have turkey and sometimes we also have ham, but ham is not a tradition at our house. We always go to the Christmas Eve service and then our tradition is to open presents on Christmas Eve. When our children were small we opened them on Christmas morning.

Family traditions are wonderful because families are wonderful. Sometimes families are separated by great distances. I hope your family is able to be together. As I get older I see the need to get together as often as possible. I feel this way about the immediate family, distant relatives and the church family.

Do it often. You will always be glad you did.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Several years ago I committed a crime and a sin. I stole a white elephant gift I had taken to a Christmas party to be given as a gift. The person who became the possessor of the gift was a proud possessor and wanted it very much. The white elephant was a horrible picture of me. Some say it looks just like me but in my mind it is grotesque beyond belief. The person getting the white elephant picture of me had an evil scheme on her mind. She intended to take it to the church assembly the next day and have it projected on the big screen for everybody to see. Of course they would have laughed, made jokes about me and humiliated me until I would have ended up in tears.


I put my white elephant gift on top of hers (my ugly picture) and picked them all up and said, “I better put these things in the car before I forget them.” When I returned from hiding the stolen goods in my car, I heard this dear sister in Christ and our host for the evening telling her husband that somebody had taken her gift. They both looked puzzled and a little annoyed but being good host they didn’t say anything.

Well, that was many years ago. Last night we had the annual white elephant Christmas party. This dear lady was there but she no longer participates in the white elephant exchange. She has never said why. She just doesn’t. Last night after all the gifts were taken from under the tree—one remained. It was that ugly picture that I had decided to return to its rightful owner. She said she was glad to get it back but she wasn’t smiling. She also said that she was going directly to the church office to have it prepared for a showing on the big screen.

Wouldn’t you think that after all these years that her heart would have mellowed a little and that she would let me off the hook and also not put the church through such a horrible thing? Well, hopefully she will get back into the game and start exchanging white elephant gifts again. Maybe she will steal my next one. I hope somebody does.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Wheeeee! Tonight we get to go to another White Elephant Christmas party.

I detest the white elephant part of Christmas parties. I always have. It looks like I always will. It just seems so silly to me I can’t really get into the flow.

My wife’s former Sunday morning Bible class has had this kind of party for years. I always go as her guest. It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy every minute of it—all except the white elephant part.

She hasn’t been a member of that class for almost three years. But we continue to be invited and continue to go to these once a year parties. As Charlie Brown would say, “We need all the friends we can get.” It’s good to feel wanted. We enjoy the fellowship, food and fun. Everybody, except me, really gets into the white elephant thing. Not wanting to be a party pooper, I squeal, laugh, pretend disgust at an unwanted gift, and take a good gift from someone who really wants it—I’m a hypocrite all the way.

One year, when the party was in our home, an elder of the church brought an old piece of junk from a car. I got it! As soon as the party was over I went right outside to the garbage can and threw it in. I smiled with delight when the garbage truck took it away. The next year that same piece of junk showed up at our party. Everybody squealed, “Look, Clif brought that junk back.” The first giver of the gift joined in, my wife even agreed—“there it is.” I got loud. I was almost at the point of anger. “That is not it. I watched the garbage truck take it away.” I was ready to bet a million dollars. My wife put her hand on me and calmly and kindly said, “Yes, dear that is it. Paul had me get it out of the trash and return it to him.”


Thursday, December 14, 2006

A shopping Scottsdale mom caused a buzz around here when she left her 2-year-old son asleep in her Beemer to go shopping with her purse-size pooch.

Now those valets over at Neiman-Marcus look like nice guys and they are probably intelligent enough as valets go, but come on—did she really expect them to watch her kid while she went shopping?

She entrusted her BMW, and her child to them—but not her dog.

It’s just me, but of the three, the dog is the only one I would have left in their care.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I REMEMBER EARMUFFS. When I was a kid I lived in Oklahoma and it was cold in the winter—very cold. When you went outside your nose and ears got cold. Some kids wore scarves across their faces but I never did. But I did wear earmuffs. I remember having a pair of red ones that I especially liked.

I REMEMBER “CHRISTMAS” CANDY. I call it “Christmas” candy because that was about the only time we saw it. There were small pieces of hard candy that came in many colors. There was “ribbon” candy that was also hard and came in various colors. It was called “ribbon” candy because it looked like ribbon—not stretched out straight but folded and wavey. You can still buy this candy today but I don’t see it very often and it is usually a little on the expensive side.

I REMEMBER SEARCHING FOR JUST THE RIGHT CHRISTMAS TREE. We never, ever just went out and bought the first tree we saw. We looked at every tree on every lot in town and there were a lot of lots.

I REMEMBER RAIN, SLEET AND ICE. Do I ever! If you were walking you had to be extremely careful because the ice on the ground was very slick and you could go down hard. If you were driving you had to be careful because just the slightest pull on the steering wheel might send you sliding or spinning out of control.

I REMEMBER “MAMA.” My mother has been gone for sixty years but I still miss her. She was always there for me. When my brothers and sisters all married and left home, my mother and I were always together. We were poor but I didn’t know it at the time. I don’t remember ever wanting for anything. God knew what he was doing when he gave us mothers.

I REMEMBER MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS. I had four brothers and two sisters. I am the “baby” of the family. I am the only one left. They have all gone on. Most of the time I don’t think about being the only one left. I just try to get on with living my life. But there are those days when I do think about it and those days are hard to take.

I REMEMBER HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE BLESSED MY LIFE. Wow! When I get to thinking about all the people who have and are blessing my life it “blows my mind.” Wow! I don’t forget a single one. I truly am blessed.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Please, I beg you, click on the website I provide here and go to the Opinion Journal at the Wall Street Journal and read the opinion of Shelby Steele as he writes about the war. It is a long article and not totally unlike one lifted from his book, "White Guilt." But please, I beg you, take the time to read it. This is the best thing I have seen about the war in Iraq.


It looks like its simple enough a cave man could do it. Forget that. Men just cannot draw blood. I don’t know why they can’t—they just can’t. I’m thoroughly convinced it takes a woman to do it. I know about this stuff. I’m diabetic and I get my blood tested every three months. For years every time I went into the lab a young lady (not always the same one) would be there to take my blood. It wasn’t what I would call a pleasant experience—but it wasn’t bad either. Then one day, a young man appeared. He tried one arm. Nothing! He tried the other arm. Nothing! I left with both arms hurting and bright colored bandages on both arms. I looked like a clown. Like the one with tears in his eyes.
On two other occasions this young man tried to draw blood from me without success. He should have hit blood because he drove the needle all the way to the bone.

Today, I went in for my three month check-up. I made up my mind that if this young man was there, that I would be as polite as possible but I would ask for a lady to draw my blood. To my pleasant surprise, he wasn’t there! Instead there was another young man there that I had never met. So, not wanting to be rude and not wanting to believe that just because he was a man that he couldn’t draw blood, I sat where he told me to sit and put my arm out. I don’t need to tell you, you already know—he couldn’t do it! I said, “I don’t believe this. I want a lady to finish this. A lady came over and in just a second or so without any pain—she drew the blood.

I drove away from the Dr.’s office muttering to myself, “I hate to admit it, but there are just a lot of things that men can’t do.”


Monday, December 11, 2006

Try as you may, it is almost impossible to keep from offending someone. This is nothing new—it has always been this way. But what is new is that today almost everybody is offended about almost everything.

What can you do about it? Not a damn thing!

I never plan to offend anybody. If I do offend some honest, sincere person then I am extremely sorry and I apologize. But for those of you who just go around looking for something to be offended by, I don’t give a flip. Go ahead and be offended.

I put up a Christmas tree and have no plans to put up anything representing all the religions of the world. We decorated our house inside and out. We say, “Merry Christmas” and although we hope you have a happy holiday we don’t usually say so. But we don’t get offended if you say that to us.

Good grief! The number of things that offend people today is so long I can’t list them all. I don’t know about you but I plan to keep living my life the way I always have. I try to use common sense and do the right thing at all times. I hope you like that, but if you don’t –TOUGH!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Am I dreaming of a white Christmas? In Phoenix?? Are you kidding?
Last night I cooked steak outside on the grill. The weather was fantastic. However, it got a little cooler during the night so we had a fire in the fireplace this morning. We love it. Oh, it would be fun to have snow here, anytime—but we are not expecting it. If we want snow we can drive up to Flagstaff.

In our 17 years here we have seen snow twice. We saw enough snow to cover the ground one day when driving home from Cave Creek. Another time I had gone down town to the library on a Sunday afternoon. I had a meeting there with a group of ladies. I had to run the wipers all the way home to keep the snow off the windshield. The ground was completely covered and people were either outside or looking out their windows. It was marvelous. It came quickly and it left quickly.

Snow in Phoenix this Christmas? I don’t think so. But hey, maybe I will dream about a white Christmas. It will be fun. But if it doesn’t snow, I won’t cry. I will just run outside and get a tan.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

“In a few days it will only be a faint little memory.” Those words have always infuriated me. Just before I had gall-bladder surgery I heard them. You have heard them too. There is always somebody that feels compelled to enlighten you in an effort to make you feel better. I think we hate to hear these words, first of all, because we don’t believe them—at least not at the time they are said. In the second place we don’t want to feel better, we want somebody to recognize our problem and “feel our pain.”

But, as much as we hate to admit it—we know it is true. In a few days or maybe a little longer—it won’t hurt so much. Thank God, he made us this way. We have grit—true grit that enables us to bounce back or pick ourselves up and go on. Where does this strength come from? It comes from HIM. It really does. God gives us the strength to go on. My favorite Scripture is, Romans 8:28 “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Everything that happens in our lives is not good, but it can work for good. God sees to it!

In the morning at 9:30 I will teach a class, “Overcoming Emotional Depression” at the Lincoln Heights Christian Church. I would love to see you there if you live in the area.

God bless you as you live for HIM.


Friday, December 08, 2006

We are not winning the war in Iraq. But we must win. We can and we must. Don’t think for one minute that President Truman wanted to drop the atomic bomb. It was probably the hardest decision of his life. He did it to achieve victory and to save lives. Now, I’m not suggesting the United States drop the atomic bomb but I am suggesting that we need to fight the war and win it or come home and shut up and wait to be killed ourselves.

Listen to what Winston Churchill once said about victory:

“I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government, that I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind…You ask, what is our policy? I will say: it is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”




Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sunday morning at Lincoln Heights Christian Church in Phoenix, I will continue my series of Bible class lessons on the theme: “Christmas—Renewal through Christ.” The topic Sunday will be: “Overcoming Emotional Depression.” When we come into the delicate area of temperament and emotional behavior, there is no sharp, clear-cut distinction between normal and abnormal. We are all neurotic to some extent; that is, we all have nerves. We have emotions, and they sometimes misbehave abnormally. We all have our ups and downs, our good days and bad days. Everybody gets depressed at times.

Depression can be very serious. Sunday we will talk about ways to overcome this depression. In times of depression, we must cry out to God for hope and seek community with his people. Joy stems from the knowledge of God’s work in our past, plan for our present, and power over our future.

I’m excited about presenting these lessons because I know that we all have times of depression and sometimes it is unbearable.



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I hate to admit it but there was a time when I thought that people who worshipped with instrumental music were going to hell. How stupid is that? Pretty stupid, I would say.
You may have been faithful in every way possible, cared for the poor, reached out to lost souls—loved God with all your heart, but if you worshipped with instrumental music—Bingo, your goose was cooked.

Thank God he graciously led me to study my way out of that ignorance. And that’s what it is—ignorance. But I am also thankful to God that I am not the only one finding the way out of the maze. Churches of Christ all over the world are beginning to see the light. Are they now using instruments of music in their worship? A few are, but most of them are not. The Richland Hills Church of Christ, in Fort Worth, Texas, one of the largest and most influential churches of Christ recently added an instrumental service to their several a cappella services. A few others have done this but the majority still sings a cappella. Do I want them to change? NO! Absolutely not! What I do want is for them to all stop teaching that it is sinful to worship with instruments and that if you do you are going to be lost. That needs to stop and it needs to stop now!

So today, I am thankful that so many of these dear Christians whom I love with all of my heart are moving closer to the will of God. God wants us to sing and make melody in our hearts with or without instruments.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How many times have I seen it? I have lost track.

Some people think it’s silly and wish it would go away, at least for a year or two. Others love it. I’m one of the ones that loves it. I have it memorized. I don’t even need to watch it—and sometimes don’t. I smile just knowing its being shown.

A Christmas Story is a magical frozen Christmas for Ralphie. He is intent on getting what he wants—a Red Ryder BB gun. His mother keeps giving the warning, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Even Santa says, “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.” There are two brothers in this movie that are as mean as they come. Their last name is Farcus. I enjoy watching the Farcus brothers although I don’t like anything about them. They remind me of kids I have known. One time two adult brothers lived across the street from the church building. They dumped a truck load of trash on the church property. I went over to talk to them about cleaning it up. I asked who they were and they said, “We are the Farcus brothers.” I wrote that down and was half way back to my office before I realized they were “pulling my leg.”

This 1983 movie has become a holiday tradition. It’s a good one!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Yep, decorating for Christmas—that’s what’s on my mind today. It’s not just on my mind—that’s what I’m doing. We are late with our decorating this year because of a trip we made to California. And then when we got home from the trip I needed to study for a Bible class lesson and a sermon I was responsible for this past Sunday. I’m a simple minded person and I was afraid that if I got carried away thinking about a sermon I might fool around and fall off the ladder.

Well, it’s Monday and I’m ready to climb that ladder. We have the tree up and the lights are glowing but it’s not decorated yet. Charlotte will do that while I’m outside climbing the ladder. I decorate the front of the house, the garage, the gate at the entry way and around the front door. I always meet this with mixed emotions. It’s kinda fun and it’s not hard but I always complain. I don’t know why. Do you know why I do? I would like to know? Am I just squirrelly this way or do all men complain about this little task? I say, “little task” but Elvis, who lives across the street, wouldn’t say, “little task.” That rascal decorates his house and property until it looks like the “Strip” at Las Vegas. No, it’s not a small task for him. But he must like to do it. He does it every year.

Well, by sunset, the job will be done. The house will be decorated inside and out. We already have quite a few presents under the tree. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I’m thinking how tremendously blessed we are in every way. Sunday I will be teaching a class on, “Overcoming Emotional Depression.” My heart goes out to those who have lost control of their emotions and are unhappy. I hope I don’t get my mind on this lesson and fall off the ladder.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. We are making preparation for and looking forward to Christmas. Today Charlotte and I went “home” to Lincoln Heights Christian Church where I preached for fifteen years. It was a joy to be there. I taught a large Bible class in the fellowship hall. All the adult classes came together to make one big class. We will meet together for the entire month of December and I will teach. I also preached at the morning worship hour.

Being at Lincoln Heights is being with “family.” That church is a great group of Christians who love each other dearly. They are family and they care about each other. It is going to be an absolute joy to be with them for Christmas and this will be our best Christmas ever.

This is a joyous time of the year and I want you to experience the joy that God wants you to know. Open your heart and ask Him to come in and bless you and enable you to come to the end of the year with a smile on your face and joy in your heart.



Saturday, December 02, 2006

In the morning at Lincoln Heights Christian Church all the adult Bible classes will meet in the fellowship hall for refreshments and then I will teach on the Scripture, “Narrow is the gate and straitened the way that leadeth unto life and few are they that find it.” The truth that the destination we reach depends not on our ideals alone but on the bus we catch is personally critical. For the most part we do desire good things: happy homes, respectable characters, an honorable standing in our friends’ eyes. Are we on the right bus? In this Scripture we confront the serious implications of a law-abiding universe. It’s one thing to desire a great goal; it is another thing to fulfill the conditions of reaching it, and the conditions must be fulfilled. Consider further that we face here not only the profound implication of a law-abiding universe but one of the most searching tests of our own personal sincerity. It is one thing, and comparatively easy too, to desire something ideal and right; it is another thing to be willing to pay the price. We are dealing here with one of the most common causes of brokenhearted regret and penitence. It is easy to catch the wrong bus. We do it when we do not mean to. The gospel is that there is a right way, offered us in Christ. It does cost but it leads to life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

At the morning worship hour I will be preaching on, “The Essential Elements in a Vital Christian Experience.” I am excited to be going to the pulpit again. I will have a Bible in my hand and a message on my heart.

I hope to see you at these worship and study opportunities.


Friday, December 01, 2006

I’m interested in family traditions centered around Christmas. You know, like when you open presents, or always having the same kind of meal on Christmas Eve, or always eating that meal at the same restaurant or home—these kind of things.

We always open presents on Christmas Eve. Many families insist that presents be opened Christmas morning. We always go to a Candlelight service on Christmas Eve and some families, though very religious, never go. Some families get together days before Christmas and make tamales and then eat them on Christmas Eve. Our family never knows from one Christmas Eve to the next what we will be eating. On Christmas day our family always has turkey. We have turkey for Thanksgiving and then just a few weeks later we have it again for Christmas. We have often thought we might have something else, but we never do. We have often said, “Let’s not put up a tree this year.” But we always do. We decorate outside and inside. We have often said, “Let’s not buy gifts this year or at least, let’s cut back.” We always buy gifts, and we never cut back.

Isn’t this a great time of the year? I love Christmas music—the sacred and the secular. I hope you have the Christmas “spirit.” It’s a great thing to have. While you’re enjoying all of this, don’t forget “the Reason for the season.”


Thursday, November 30, 2006

If you have not visited the Reagan library in California—you have to go! It is wonderful. Now, of course you need to have liked Ronald Reagan or be extremely interested in history or you will not enjoy it as much as I did. The library is wonderful and Air Force One (Which is inside the building) is fantastic.

It was good to be away and enjoy a visit with long time friends but it is also good to be back home. I am scheduled to preach at Lincoln Heights Christian Church Sunday and I also will be teaching a combined adult Bible class for next five weeks. If you live in the Phoenix area I would love to see you there.

As we move more into the Christmas season I hope that you are as excited as I am. I love the season and almost everything about it. I get up every morning with the excitement of a child thinking about the coming of Santa Claus. I like and enjoy the secular side of Christmas but I am tuned more to the spiritual and the Savior who came to Bethlehem. It was 39 degrees in Phoenix this morning and it will not get over 58 degrees all day. IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS!


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Seventy-two! I can remember when I was amazed that anybody ever reached the ancient age of seventy-two. Now I’m there. It’s been a long road—rocky sometime, but mostly smooth. It’s been a good trip and I’m glad to be here—right where I am. I hope there’s another long road ahead, but if not—it will be OK.

The Apostle Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8)

I want to finish well. And by the grace of God I will. You can too. Fight the good fight, finish the course and keep the faith.

The end is better than the beginning.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Day is over. Are you still thankful?

Writer, Max Lucado said he prays and thanks God sometimes two or three times in an hour. I do that! I believe that is the attitude of “being always in the spirit of prayer.” I mean by this, that I pray often. I don’t see the need to bow my head over a huge meal and then go on and on thanking God for everything he has blessed me with all year.

I try to keep caught up. I don’t thank God for every bite of food I pop into my mouth. I just try to always be grateful. I want to have an attitude of gratitude. And then as far as praying goes, I keep an ongoing conversation with a heavenly Father that loves me.

Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite days. It has now passed for another year. BEING GRATEFUL HAS NOT PASSED. IT GOES ON ALL YEAR.




Thursday, November 23, 2006


Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection, aid and favors…
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these states to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country, and for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

Note the emphasis on God, the giver of all good gifts! Notice he assumes that God exists and that we are to obey Him and be grateful for His benefits. Today, many are wondering if there is a God and they don’t want anybody talking about obeying Him. Be grateful that we have a President that believes in God and tries to obey Him.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I’m thinking about words from the song, “The Way We Were.” Do you remember these words? “Memories…light the corners of my mind…”

My sister-in-law’s aunt lived in the country and was used to cooking for her large family and also a special crew of workers who came at harvest time. At Thanksgiving we would drive down the highway many miles and then turn off onto the country roads and continue for more miles until we arrived at the country home. Turkey, dressing, ham, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, salads, always five or six pies and more. It wasn’t just the food—it was the fellowship—being together, sharing. That was a long time ago (50 plus years) but the memories linger.

After I got married my family, my brother’s family, Charlotte’s parents, and sometimes other relatives, got together at Thanksgiving and Christmas. What joyous occasions. Brothers, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, friends. My brother has passed away. My sister-in-law is in poor health. Charlotte’s parents and several other family members have died. Memories—how they linger. But we are thankful that our children both live here and this year Carol is fixing the Thanksgiving dinner.

Memories—how they linger.

When Charlotte and I moved to Phoenix our children came from California to be with us that first Thanksgiving, but we still felt lonely. We had worked with a church in California for twenty years and this was our first Thanksgiving in our new home of just a few months. Two couples left their families in California and came to Phoenix to be with us. Our hearts were filled with thanksgiving. The memories of those days will go with us forever.

What memories do you have of Thanksgiving Days past?

“Memories…light the corners of my mind.”


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It doesn’t make any difference why I go to the store I always find myself rolling my cart around in the bakery section. I stop and look at the pies. Now, I don’t intend to buy a pie, it’s not good for my diabetes. I just want to see if they have any pineapple pies. They don’t! Pineapple pie is not one of the most popular pies so I understand why they don’t have any. But I check just to see. They don’t!

Yesterday, Henry’s was selling everything at 30% off and going out of business. I rolled my cart through the bakery section just to check the pies. There were only seven pies on the table. THEY WERE ALL PINEAPPLE.

I don’t know what you think, but I saw this as a sign. Every pie on the table was pineapple. Diabetes my foot. Damn the torpedoes—full speed ahead.

Last night I had hot pineapple pie topped with ice cream. This morning I’m thinking, “I should have bought two pies.”

Yep, good things come to those who wait!


Monday, November 20, 2006

I got my first car before I had my driver’s license. It had to sit in the front yard until I turned sixteen. It was a 40 Ford coupe. It was in great condition and didn’t need many repairs. But like all cars, it did have to have brake adjustments, etc. as it grew older. I have lost track of how many different cars I have owned over the years. They all needed repairs from time to time. In my teens I always took my cars to a small garage where I knew the owner. He always knew what to do, repaired it quickly and didn’t charge me “an arm and a leg.” His shop was small and he was the only person working there.

How times have changed. Today I drive a Volkswagon Passat and when I have a repair I can’t make, I go to a nearby Volkswagon dealership for service. Man, it’s like driving up to the Ritz. A valet comes out to greet you and ushers you into the showroom, which is beautiful, and on into one of several small offices. Your first thought is, “I don’t want to buy a new car, I just want to have this old one repaired.” A little sensor light isn’t working and it seems like a minor matter. You discover that this professional can sit there in his office and by just glancing out the window at your car, tell that you need a $1,000.00 worth of work done. Amazing!

Well, today was different. I needed a headlight bulb for my Volkswagon. It cost less than $20.00 and the Valet put it in, which was quite a task, and there was no charge. They greeted me with a smile, acted like they were happy to see me, and we all were smiling when I left.

Hey, has the Christmas spirit kicked in already this year?


Sunday, November 19, 2006

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving—kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

I like the words of Tim Hansel:

Some of us in our loneliness try to become more attractive so that we will be more lovable. We think that will somehow heal us, make us whole, make us real. The truth is that we need a love that lasts for a long, long time from someone who is not playing with us, but really loves us. He heals us bit by bit. When our striving fails, he is a God who comes to find us—even when we can’t find ourselves. All too often we think we have to change, be good, to grow in order to change and grow and be all the things that God wants us to be.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

When Bishop Phillips Brooks, author of “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” was recovering from illness and not seeing any visitors, Robert G. Ingersoll, the anti-Christian propagandist, called to see him. He was admitted by the bishop at once. “I appreciate this very much,” said Ingersoll, “especially when you aren’t permitting your close friends in to see you.”

“Oh,” replied the bishop, “I’m confident of seeing my friends in the next world, but this may be my last chance of seeing you.”


Friday, November 17, 2006

It’s that time of the year again—at least at my house. It’s time to conquer the paper pile-up. Some of you will have no idea of what I am talking about. You stay on top of every piece of paper coming in. You sort, organize, file and store every piece of paper in your home and office. I do some of that every day or at the end of the year I would be lost someplace in my home office. But regardless of how hard I try—paper still piles up. You see, I have a hard time determining value. I think, “Don’t toss or shred that. You are going to need that information as soon as it’s gone.” At the end of the year I have a pile of this “valuable stuff.”

Every year at this time—sometime in late November or early December, I come to my senses regarding this stuff. Out it goes! It’s not a fast procedure; in fact, it sometimes takes hours—even days to complete. I read, re-read and read again. I think, “Oh, this is good. I forgot all about having it. This is very valuable.” But at this time of the year I come to my senses and out it goes.

It’s hard parting with some of this stuff but by Christmas I will have closure and move on.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Christmas is a miracle. I’m not talking about the secular Christmas—the one with Christ left out. I’m not talking about Santa Claus, although I will have to admit that jolly old fellow pulls off some fantastic stuff. You know, like being here, there and everywhere at the same time. Like flying through the sky in a sled with reindeer. Pretty fantastic stuff!

But still, Santa’s stuff doesn’t compare with the miracle of God coming to earth as a baby.

And yet, many don’t see anything miraculous about what God did at Christmas. They don’t believe Christ ever did any miracles and they want him out of Christmas altogether.

C.S. Lewis said: “Do not attempt to water Christianity down. There must be no pretense that you can have it with the supernatural left out.”

That’s so true, and yet many of my friends who praise Christ the most, don’t have room in their lives for the supernatural. They believe he is a miracle and that he performed miracles but they don’t see any miracles today.

How sad! And especially right here at Christmas time.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

America should never, never have gone to war if we did not have the will to win.

It seems that we do not have the will to win!

No one believes that America lacks the power to defeat this insurgency if it wants to.

We sent our soldiers to war to hold the enemy at bay (away from America). They are dieing every day performing this job. We did not send them to kill the enemy, win the war and come home. The only way to win the war is by force—a lot of people have to die.

We should admit that if we are not going to use a lot of force, we should give up, shut up and come home.

Will the enemy then, come here and kill us? YES!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wise old Ben Franklin said: “ If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory some times; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.”

A Boston paper printed this:
“Here lies the body of William Jay,
Who died maintaining his right of way—
He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
But he’s just as dead as if he were wrong.”


Monday, November 13, 2006

The elders at the Lincoln Heights Christian Church, where I was Senior Minister for fifteen years, have asked me to teach a combined adult Bible class during the month of December. I am grateful to them and excited about this opportunity to teach. I would be thrilled to see you in the class.







We will be digging into the Scriptures and centering our thoughts on how Christ gives meaning and direction to our lives.


Sunday, November 12, 2006




Saturday, November 11, 2006

Regular and enthusiastic sex is good for you, finds a 10 –year study conducted by the Irish and published by the Brits in the British Medical Journal. Sex offers a host of benefits including increasing life span, boosting the immune system, and aiding pain relief, urinary control and weight loss.

Wow! I’m for all those benefits.

Other studies have claimed additional benefits of intercourse several times a week for women as well as men: IMPROVED SENSE OF SMELL. (Well, that one will never be high on my list). BETTER FITNESS. Intercourse burns about 200 calories, which is the equivalent of running 15 minutes on a treadmill. (Great news. I hate running on anything). DEPRESSION RELIEF. (Fantastic. I’m amazed that there are as many depressed men as there are). PAIN RELIEF. (Hey, here is another one high on my list. No wonder I hurt so much). IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOST. (Another good one). BLADDER CONTROL. (Not a problem yet, but why not head it off at the pass). LESSENS CANCER RISK. (Wow! Wonderful. Maybe someday this will even cure cancer)

One doctor, in typical British understatement, summed everything up when he said, “The relationship found between frequency of sexual intercourse and mortality is of considerable public interest.”

Who knew? Just think how much better shape I could have been in all my life and all the diets I could have avoided.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Later in the month Charlotte and I are going to meet old friends in California and we plan to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. I have visited some of the great museums in the world, in London, Cairo, and Los Angeles. In addition to these I have visited other museums in other parts of the world that weren’t so great. As a general rule, I don’t like museums. But I do like the friends we will be going with and I liked Ronald Reagan—a lot.

The library has informed more than one million visitors since opening in 1991. Perched on a mountaintop with sweeping views of mountains, valleys, and the Pacific Ocean, this l00-acre site, 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, offers memorable experiences for people of all ages—even me.

I heard Ronald Reagan speak once at a formal dinner meeting sponsored by Pepperdine University. I toured the state capitol and his office when he was the governor of California. I paid close attention to him while he was President of the United States. I liked Ronald Reagan a lot!

A highlight for me will be seeing “Christmas Around the World.” There will be trees beautifully decorated to represent cultures and traditions from countries, most of which President Reagan visited while in office, along with toy soldiers, trains, garland and Christmas music. In addition to 30 trees from different countries there will be a 17 foot tall tree and a White house tree on display. Also there will be a Menorah exhibit consisting of the Menorahs given to President Reagan while in the White House.

Needless to say, I’m excited about touring the library and being with friends. I hope you too will make a trip to the library some day. Take some old friends with you. It will make the whole experience much better.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

My wife and I never get colds. But a few days ago I guess she decided it was time. She has had a terrible cold this week and I have really felt sorry for her. Oh, she’s tough. She doesn’t complain a lot but she looks like “something the dogs drug up.” I wanted to help her but there wasn’t much I could do except a few domestic chores, etc. I just sat across from her and stared.

Yesterday it hit me. I feel like _ _ _ _!

When I’m sick I complain a lot! I mean a lot. I groan and moan and then groan some more. Does it do any good? Oh no, I still feel like _ _ _ _ but I do it anyhow. This will go on for about two more days and then I will be well. At least, that’s the way it has been in the past.

If I don’t make it I will have my tough wife send out an announcement to the one or two people who might care.



Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The liberal Democrats won big last night!

I’m sore all over. I fought bravely but went down hard. I absolutely detest the direction our country is going in—away from God. I’m sad that Christians did not vote for those who would support a Godly President.

But I have never had an ailment that God had no salve to soothe. His Word is a panpharmacon—a salve for every sore.

Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent forth his word and he healed them.”

Hey, this is a new day. I’ve taken heart. I’m excited to see the sun shining so brightly. I have heard his word and healing has begun. He is the Panpharmacon!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I love America! I have traveled to many countries and there is no place like home. America is not perfect but it is better than any other place I have been.

I love our President. He is not perfect but I believe he does a better job than anybody else could. I would not want a change.

I love the United States Congress. These men and women are not perfect but we selected them. We need to pray for them and tell them when we think they are doing wrong.

If you are a Republican, today is the day to vote. Your vote counts. Go Vote!

If you are a Democrat, tomorrow is the day for you to vote. Get to the polls early.



Monday, November 06, 2006

God is “close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps.34:18). One of the ways God heals the brokenhearted is through his church. As his members, we are his hands to touch each other’s pain. He has commanded us to love and minister to one another with compassion, mercy, confrontation, help, and strength.

God doesn’t like it when his people do not help his hurting ones: “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.” (Ezek. 34:4).

It is God’s love that heals the brokenhearted through his people and his Spirit. When someone has a broken heart, they need the love of other believers. The Bible says that loving one another is a manifestation of the grace of God (l Peter 4:8).

If we fail to heal the brokenhearted it is not because we do not know we should. We let other things take priority and we just don’t get it done. What a shame!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

When Abraham was 75 years old, he began receiving promises from God that he would become the father of a great nation. What followed the promises were long periods of silence on the subject. Abraham’s wife had tried for 40 years to have a baby. Yet Abraham accepted the promise and waited for its fulfillment. But no child came.

Sarah however, did become pregnant when she was 90 years of age and Abraham was l00. A son was born. God had performed a mighty miracle just as he promised.

“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waiver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:19:22)

Abraham believed God even when God didn’t make sense. The facts clearly said, “It is impossible for this thing to happen.” The Lord had made “empty promises” for nearly 25 years, and still there was no sign of action. Nevertheless, Abraham “did not waver through unbelief.” Why? Because he was convinced that God could transcend reason and factual evidence.

What about you?


Saturday, November 04, 2006

SCALES – Don’t even own them unless you plan to use them. I weigh every day. Today I didn’t like what the scales “said.” Tomorrow, I begin a brief diet. I will cut back on my eating until I like what the scales “say.”

BIG BREAKFAST – I said, “Tomorrow I begin a brief diet”—not today. This morning we went out to the Deer Valley Airport restaurant and I ate the breakfast buffet—well I didn’t eat the whole buffet, just most of it. I had biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, and fruit. It’s almost 2:00 p.m. and I haven’t eaten since breakfast. I’m still not hungry. Tomorrow I begin a brief diet.

FREEWAY FOUL UP – After that great breakfast I was in a great mood. We were cruising down 101 smiling all the way until we came to the off ramp for those cars headed for Los Angeles. IT WAS CLOSED! No big problem, we will just cross over the freeway onto 10, go to the next off ramp and come back on 10 headed for Los Angeles. When we got headed back west and out of town toward L.A. the freeway was closed and we were sent back onto 101 and heading back toward home. Have you ever heard the old expression, “That’s enough to make a preacher cuss”? Well, I didn’t cuss but I thought about it (which may be just as bad). I thought a lot of nasty stuff. However, it didn’t come out of my mouth and mess up Charlotte’s spirit. We got back off 10l onto a side street and finally ended up at our destination. We weren’t going to Los Angeles, it just seemed like it. We were just going way out west.

THE CRAFT FAIR AT THE WIGWAM RESORT – Man, this is a great craft fair. Great, if you like craft fairs, horrible if you don’t. There were over 300 vendors with a lot of beautiful and interesting “stuff.” The winding pathways, the green grass, the shade and the cleanliness of the place made for a great morning. I had a big breakfast and couldn’t eat a bite but the food booths were offering great food. They had everything from bar-b-qued turkey legs (which I hate) to fry bread (which I love) to huge snow cones (which I love) to homemade fudge. I didn’t eat a thing! I had a serendipity experience at this fair. Some organization was having a book sale. I found and bought seven great books. Made my day.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON FOOTBALL – The game I am interested in is only on the radio today. So I will listen to it and take a nap at the same time. Of course, I will not be listening while I am napping, but since there will not be any pictures to watch I will doze off. I know. I have done it before.



Friday, November 03, 2006

Marshalls is a great place to shop. It is also a great place to get killed.

I have been on the Autobahn in Germany where there are no restrictions on speed. The same holds true in the shopping aisles at Marshalls. I expect those aisles to be renamed, “Blood Alley.”

Mothers race up and down those aisles “driving” at ridicules speeds. The huge, truck like things the kids are riding in were once called, “strollers.” Forget that. There is no more strolling. These dune buggies come in all shapes and sizes.

Old men should never go shopping. It’s just too dangerous. Our reactions are not what they once were. These mothers meet you head on in a narrow aisle and they don’t give an inch. If you are fortunate enough to see them in time you can dive into a rack of clothes and let them whiz by. If not—you're going home banged up.

Let’s face it old men, we need to be at home, in the garage carving something. MOTHERS RULE THE DEPARTMENT STORES!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

The real question is not, “Can you tell a joke?” but “Can you tell a joke right?” That is, can you tell a joke so it is funny?

Senator John Kerry cannot tell a joke!

My sister-in-law could not tell a joke. She rarely ever tried. My brother and I were shocked one day when out of the blue she asked, “Do you know what the Indian said when his dog fell over the cliff?” We smiled at each other and admitted we didn’t know. She quickly blurted out, “Dead dog!” “Dead dog?” what’s funny about that?” Now she was shocked. “Oh, I meant to say, Dog gone!”

I never heard her tell another joke.

John Kerry needs to learn a lesson from my sister-in-law. However, her misfire was funnier than if she had told the joke the right way. John Kerry’s failure at joke telling was a disaster.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My homiletic professor at Abilene Christian encouraged young preachers to be themselves. He knew the tendency to try to act like and sound like older, respected preachers. He told us to just be ourselves and that we would communicate the Word of God forcefully and sincerely. This is good advice not just for preachers but for everyone. We just need to be who we are instead of always trying to be somebody else. Many times we do this in an effort to please other people. Stop it! Be who you are! Be the best you can be, but be real.

In his excellent book, Truman, David McCullough says this about people from Missouri: “…they could be tough, courageous, blunt, touchy, narrow-minded, intolerant, and quarrelsome.” I do not know a lot of people from Missouri but two I do know fit this description perfectly. Radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh and my friend Paul Covey are from Missouri and what McCullough said about people from Missouri describes them both.

Rush is a fantastic communicator and is beloved by millions. At the same time he is probably despised by an equal number. That’s the way it is with people that are tough, courageous, blunt, touchy, narrow-minded, intolerant and quarrelsome. So be it. If Rush tried to be somebody he is not, we would turn him off. The ones who dislike him would not start liking him, even if he changed. My friend Paul is an elder in the church. He is effective only when he is being who he really is. Occasionally, because of critics, he tries to be somebody else. He loses his effectiveness. We all need to be who we are. There is a lot of stuff that goes into making us who we are—like being from Missouri.

I’m not from Missouri but I like who I am and I am going to continue to be me. You don’t like me? Ok. I wish you did but I’m not going to change for you because it wouldn’t do any good. As the old song says, “I gotta be me…”. I’m having fun and I have no desire to change—not even for you.


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"In the movie Lawrence of Arabia, there is a scene where Thomas Edward Lawrence, the English colonel who helped organize the Arab revolt against Turkey, tells his Arab counterpart, 'If the desert tribes do not unite as a nation they will be forever destined to be a silly and inconsequential people.' We face the same alternatives in our churches." – Preaching Now, October 31, 2006

The Churches of Christ and Christian Churches came into existence as a unity movement. The desire was to go back to the Bible and let the church be the church of the New Testament. The motto was: “Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.” All this was good—very good. However, today the Churches of Christ/Christian Churches are among the most divided in the world. Some of these churches are trying to at least unite these two groups—the Churches of Christ and the Independent Christian Churches. But still many oppose even this.

If things do not change we are forever destined to be a silly and inconsequential people.


Monday, October 30, 2006

The lights will be on and my wife will go to the door with candy. I would go but I just can’t get into the spirit of Halloween. I never know what to say to the little “devils.” I can’t bring myself to say, “O how cute” because I don’t think they are. I can’t act afraid because I’m not, until the six foot teenagers show up. I’m just not believable—so I send Charlotte to the door with her gracious smile and genuine welcome.

I wish Halloween would go away and never come back. But it’s not going to. It’s here to stay. We could turn off all the lights and pretend not to be home. We could make our neighbors think we are better than they are. We could say to them, “We will participate with you only on our terms.” But since we do not believe that Halloween is evil and that one night does not a pagan make, we cooperate. Well, the truth is, Charlotte cooperates—I tolerate it.

Another thing I don’t like about Halloween is I usually gain a few pounds. We buy the candy early and then I sample it to make sure it’s good enough for the little terrorists. And then we usually have some left over and I eat that to avoid waste. But this year we have not opened the candy early. Last year there wasn’t much left over and hopefully it will be the same this year.

Tomorrow night the lights will be on and Charlotte will be waiting. Come and get it kids!


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Starbucks is planning to increase their stores to 40,000.



Saturday, October 28, 2006

Theologian Daniel Hawk said, “The basic human problem is that everyone believes that there is a God and I am it.”

Yes, that is a problem: we believe we are God or at least at times we act like it.

Listen to these words from God found in the Book of Job: “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?…What is the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?...Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?…What is the way to the place where the lightening is dispersed?…Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?…Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south?…Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high?…Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!”

My answer: “There is a God and I’m not Him!"


Friday, October 27, 2006

Yep, we’ve got our standards all screwed up.

Tom Cruise strongly disagreed with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. He didn’t curse him, hit him or even raise his voice. He just didn’t let Matt force his opinion on him. I personally believe that Cruise was wrong in his views and that Lauer was right. But what he did was not all that bad. And yet when you hear the media talking about it you would think that he had committed the world’s worse crime and that he sinned.

Tom Cruise went on Oprah’s show and when she asked him about his girl friend, Katie Holmes he jumped up and down on the couch. Criminal? No! Sinful? No! It was just silly—very silly. But the media describes it as being very wrong and they question his sanity.

Tom Cruise shacks up with Katie Holmes. They have had a baby together. They are not married yet. The media reports these facts but makes no judgments about it at all. They think this is ok behavior but strongly disagreeing with someone and jumping on a couch is wrong, wrong, wrong.



Thursday, October 26, 2006

I like what writer, Beth Moore says about God giving good gifts to us:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:11). If we, being comparatively evil parents, have priorities concerning what we believe to be the best life has to offer for our children, would we be surprised to think that God does too? Ours is a God of priorities. Might He have an A and a B list? I wouldn’t be surprised if He has a list for each of us stretching all the way from alpha to omega. After all, “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you” (Ps. 31:19). Scripture is replete with God’s bountiful desires for us, but He also clearly knows what He desires most to accomplish not only in each believer, but in each generation.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Today I am thinking of death. I am working on a funeral message for a dear friend who lived to be 95. Two days ago I received news of a long time acquaintance in California who passed away at age 48. I have death on my mind. Hebrews says, “It’s appointed unto man, once to die.” I have lived long enough to see it happen many times.

My mother and father are gone. I had four brothers and two sisters. They all have passed away. On a regular basis I receive word of a high school or college classmate who has died. Word comes on a regular basis of relatives, friends, neighbors who die. The headlines of the newspapers tell of those dieing in war. Death is real.

There are days when I feel very lonely. There are times when I struggle with the fact that some of these people are actually gone. But they are gone and they are not coming back to this life. This is tough—real tough. But if you are a Christian it will be alright. We do not live without hope. Our hope is in God. God is faithful. And in those lonely days I lean on him. I feel his presence. Our God is a God of comfort. If you don’t know him, make it a point to get acquainted—and soon. You will always be glad you did.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Today at lunch, I ordered a cherry pie at What-A-Burger. The little sticker on the outside of the container said, “Cherry” but the pie was apple. I like apple, so I ate it. However, the reason I ordered cherry in the first place is because I rarely get it. Charlotte doesn’t like cherry pie and so even though she is an excellent pie maker, she doesn’t make cherry pie. So having a chance to get one slice of cherry pie just for myself I was happy. I was happy until I opened the box and found apple.

Isn’t that the way life is? You want cherry but you get apple!

I know there is no need to sweat the small stuff. I ate the apple pie and thoroughly enjoyed it. That’s my point. You better not sweat the small stuff because it is just going to keep coming. It’s called Murphy’s Law, “If anything can go wrong, it will”

I have decided to make a game out of it. Next time I am at What-A-Burger I am going to order apple pie. Who knows, maybe I will get lucky and get cherry.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Genevieve passed away last Friday. She was 95 years old. Her last days were spent in a nursing home. I visited her there but my memories of her will not be there---but at the church she loved. Genevieve loved God, her family, the church, the Suns basketball team, her friends, Phoenix—the list goes on and on. She was loved in return.

We will gather at the church building Thursday afternoon to say “Good-bye” to a dear friend. For me, I have already said “good-bye” to Genevieve. Years ago she left Lincoln Heights Christian Church to go live in a convalescence home on the west side of town. But I retained in my mind the memory of her sitting over to the right side of the pulpit and about three or four rows back from the front.

Genevieve was my encourager and I was always pleased to look up from the pulpit and see her there. Someday I will look up and see her not at my right side but at His. What a day that will be!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

For the past two weeks our Sunday morning Bible class has been studying God's providence. This is an extremely difficult subject but also very interesting. I believe that God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he keeps them existing and maintianing the properties with which he created them. He cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do and directs them to fulfill his purposes.

If God controls all things, how can our actions have real meaning? Good question!

I derive a great deal of comfort from passages like Romans 8:28. I can't always explain these things but I accept them as true. I am glad to know that God is in charge.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done..."Gen. 50:20

"For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." Romans 9:17,18

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised." Job 1:21

WOW! All I can say is Wow! Job had just lost seven sons and three daughters and yet he could say, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised."


Saturday, October 21, 2006

The golf course had a wicked dog leg, two huge sand traps, and a pond. Tim Hansel tells about a golfer who described all the obstacles on this course and then said, “I love it! It’s the most exciting course I’ve ever played!” The course was difficult and it brought out his best golfing skills. With the right attitude we can turn something difficult into something fun and stimulating.

The choice is not if you’ll accept problems, but how! Your attitude determines whether or not you will succeed. William James said, “Perhaps the greatest discovery of this century is that if you can change your attitude, you can change your life.”

Do you need an attitude adjustment? Maybe.


Friday, October 20, 2006

My Dr. wants me to walk everyday so today I’m going to. We are on our way to the Flea Market. About the best thing I can say for it, is “It’s big.” About the best thing I get out of it, is exercise. This is definitely not Charlotte’s “cup of tea” but she tolerates it. I have always liked to look at “junk.” Let’s face it—I’m cheap! Do you really get bargains at the Flea Market? I don’t know. I’m not with the F.B.I. I don’t go there to investigate. If I think it’s a bargain—it’s a bargain.

Ok, so this is far removed from Vegas and shopping on the strip. This is how far down you can go in retirement. I have been working around the house all week and I need to get out and about. This is the best I can do for now.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Needless to say, the Diamondbacks will not be in the World Series. But that doesn’t keep me from being interested just the same. With the series coming up soon, you may be interested in some of the “stuff” found at Check it out. Even if you are not interested in baseball there is some interesting information here. Well, on second thought, if you are not interested in baseball you will probably not be interested in what you find at that site. Forget it! You’ve got better things to do with your time.


“I believe in God like I believe in the sun rise. Not because I see it, but because I can see all it touches.”
C.S. Lewis


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

“Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace.”
G.K. Chesterton


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Your standard of living improves when you go camping.
Your prenuptial agreement mentions chickens.
You have jacked up your home to look for a dog.
There is a belch on your answering machine greeting.
None of the tires on your van are the same size.
You hold the hood of your car with your head while you work on it.
Your town put the new garbage truck in the Christmas parade.
Your local beauty salon also fixes cars.
Your doghouse and your living room have the same shag carpet.
You've ever slow danced in the Waffle House.
Starting your car involves popping the hood.
Your garbage man is confused about what goes and what stays.
You whistle at women in church.
You actually wear shoes your dog brought home.
You've been in a fistfight at a yard sale.
You carry a fly swatter in the front seat of the car so you can reach the kids in the backseat.
You think people who have cell phones and e-mail are uppity.


Monday, October 16, 2006

When I was a teenager I learned the truth and the value of living life one day at a time. I have believed it, taught it and tried to practice it for many years. It has been easy to believe it and teach it—it has been extremely hard to practice it.

I find that I am not alone in this experience. Most people believe life should be lived one day at a time but few are able to do it. Physically it is impossible to live more than one day at a time. But mentally we try to go back in our minds and relive the past. We also try to look into the future and live days that have not yet come and may never come.

We need to live moment by moment. For example: right now, writing this blog needs to be the only thing on my mind and I need to be giving my full attention to it. I need to be grateful for all that makes it possible for me to do this and thoroughly enjoy every aspect of it.

There would be a lot more joy in our lives if we lived moment by moment. IT IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE BUT LET’S FIND THE GUTS TO DO IT. ENJOY TODAY!


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Keys are an important part of life. Last week my wife lost hers. Thank goodness, she lost them at a good place—church. We thought they might be found but in the meantime we prayed and searched and searched and prayed. Almost all of life is lived in the meantime. If we don’t learn to live in the meantime we are less than half alive. So even though we needed those keys and missed them terribly we didn’t wallow in misery we just did the next thing. In the meantime we checked on the price for new keys. The programmed key for the car (like the one she lost) costs $320.00. The master key costs $185.00.

We went on with the routine of life—doing the next thing, UNTIL


I don’t think we will kill a fatted calf but we are making merry.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Well, it didn’t really get under my skin. A tomato can’t do that. What it did do is bug me!

I like Chicago style hotdogs. I was making myself one when I realized that the only tomatoes that we had were little cherry tomatoes which are worthless except in salads. Since that’s all we had I sliced two of the little things and placed them on the top of my hotdog. I went over to the counter, set my plate down, and sat down to eat when I realized that something was wrong. Since I had cut two tomatoes in half there should have been four pieces on the hotdog. But there were only three. One was missing. I looked under the hotdog. I looked under the plate. I looked back on the kitchen cabinet. Finally I looked on the floor and there it was—all over the floor. It’s amazing the mess that can be made from one half of a little cherry tomato. I immediately got up and cleaned up the mess. And then I returned to eat my hotdog. I took one bite and tomato juice and seeds shot out on the counter and all over the floor.




Friday, October 13, 2006

It may go all the way back to my childhood. I have never liked to have the spotlight turned on me. You may ask, “How did you make it through almost fifty years of preaching?” Good question. As a child, I never wanted to be a preacher. Oh, the Baptist lady who lived across the street from us when I was about three or four called me her Baptist preacher. But even as a kid I thought she was a little squirrelly. She is the one who called me across the street for a great looking piece of cantaloupe only to ruin it by putting pepper on it. I ran back across the street crying. I also cried before I gave my first three minute talk at Vacation Bible School. (I was a junior in High School then). I never gave oral book reports in High School even though they were required.

I felt like a country bumpkin carrying two suitcases through the lobby of the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas when everybody else was rolling theirs. And I do mean everybody. Yep, I felt like the spotlight was turned on bright and shining right on me.

Today, Charlotte and I moved up in society. We bought rolling suitcases. But once again the spotlight was turned on us. We were the only ones rolling suitcases out of Macy's and through the food court at Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale. If anybody who knows Charlotte saw us, they probably said, “Look, they have just returned from a flight somewhere and Charlotte had to go to Macy's before she could go home.”

I hate to stand out in a crowd!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

This morning I woke up thinking about a dear friend, an elder in the church in northern California. What was on my mind was what a great encourager he is. For almost twenty years he was a constant source of encouragement to me. Oh, he disappointed me at times—but never on purpose.

He took a personality test a few years back and found out he has a tendency to bully people. I could have told him that. He does bully people in certain situations. But he is not a bully! I don’t see him as what he does occasionally. I see him for who he is deep inside and what he does most of the time. I see him as an encourager. He is like Barnabus in the Book of Acts. Barnabus was an encourager.

My friend accepts you where you are. He lets the past be the past and he sees you right where you are. He gets excited about the progress of others. He gives others a second chance.

I want to be like that. I want to give all the encouragement I can. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I want to grow in this way because this old world needs all the encouragement it can get.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

As a Senior Minister, I could not tell people how to vote unless they asked. For years I preached the gospel and did not get into politics except to talk about moral values. But now that I am retired I am expressing my opinions on any topic of choice anytime I feel like it.





Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Yesterday I didn’t have anything on my mind or at least, not much.

Today, the only, or almost the only thing on my mind, is finding Charlotte’s lost keys.

Some people lose almost everything. Charlotte and I rarely lose anything. We are careful people—too careful. But she did lose her keys. We have looked “everywhere.” We have searched with urgency!

Whatever happened to the urgency we had for reaching out for “lost” people. I am thinking about people who do not know Christ as their Savior. What about reaching out to them with a sense of urgency? We used to do it. We had evangelistic meetings that lasted for weeks. We conducted home Bible studies for the purpose of conversion. We talked to people one on one about Christ. What happened? Where is the urgency?

Do we value our lost things more than we do our lost friends?

God have mercy on our complacent souls!


Monday, October 09, 2006

Is today a holiday? Maybe. Maybe not. The banks are closed. There will not be any mail delivery today. However, the kids in our neighborhood went to school. I worked in the yard. Charlotte did not give me the day off.

I think today is a holiday. So I am going to take the rest of the day off. I will be taking a holiday from thinking. Therefore I will not write a blog today. There’s nothing on my mind.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

We took two suitcases to Las Vegas. We have had them for a long time but they are in great shape. We take good care of our "stuff." They were just the right size for a four day trip.

We saw hundreds, and I do mean hundreds, of people with suitcases.


Country bumkins? Maybe. I went to Vegas thinking, "Roll'em" meant roll the dice.

We are so out of it, we didn't roll the dice or the suitcases.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

They never go away—those things we just do not want to do. You know, like getting a haircut, buying gas for the car, especially buying gas for the lawn mower (why do I even have a lawn in Arizona?), buying groceries, mowing the lawn, pruning, raking, making repairs—the list goes on and on. If you own a home there is always something that needs to be repaired or cleaned or replaced. A rare rain storm blew threw town yesterday, we needed the rain, but this morning I had to clean the pool.

If you have a body, and I guess you do or you wouldn’t be reading this. The body always needs attention. There is always something that needs to be done to it or for it. For example, if you are over fifty you need to have a colonoscopy. My Dr. told me that for years. Finally, at 71 I got around to it. Thankfully everything will be ok for a few years before I need another one. It wasn’t a big deal; I just didn’t want to bother with it. I finally decided the questions in my mind wouldn’t go away until I got it taken care of. Now, I’m a much happier man. That’s the way it is with getting a haircut, stopping to buy gas, etc.



Friday, October 06, 2006

Clifie, Clifie, where have you been?
I've been to Vegas to see the scene.
Clifie, Clifie, what did you there?
I was as frightened as a little mouse under a chair.
Did you drink and gamble and watch sex shows?
Why ask? You know how the slogan goes:
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."
You think so? asks Charlotte, after shopping all day.
Not everything stays--all this "stuff" is going my way!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Today Charlotte and I went back to Lincoln Heights Christian Church to celebrate Homecoming and to watch the elders burn the mortgage.

I taught a Bible Class and all the adult classes came together and many visitors were in attendance. The sanctuary was full at the morning service and the fellowship hall was packed full for a wonderful meal. Long time member, Bob Bradford talked to us about Phoenix and the history of the church in this city. Former associate minister, Sean Smith talked a few minutes about what it means to come home. Other members shared memories, the elders burned the mortgage and we went home smiling.

It was a great day! A day for rejoicing that Lincoln Heights has one of the most impressive pieces of property in the valley and now will have an extra $11,000 a month to put into missions and other good works.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

“There’s no place like home.” How true!

Tomorrow morning we are going home. We are going back to the church we called home for fifteen years. Tomorrow is Homecoming at Lincoln Heights Christian Church. Tomorrow we will burn the mortgage on their wonderful sanctuary. It will be a great day.

They have asked me to teach an adult Bible class. I will be teaching from Jeremiah 29 on the subject “How to Live In The Meantime.” God has a plan for every life and that’s what we will be talking about—how to live according to his plan.

I will also be honored to officiate at the Lord’s Table and to make a few personal comments before the offering is taken.

We will enjoy a great meal at noon, a wonderful time of fellowship and burn that old mortgage!

Homecoming will have a lot to give!


Friday, September 29, 2006

Where does all that paper come from? It just keeps coming. The newspaper plops on the driveway about 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning. The mail comes anywhere between 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Other paper products just appear by osmosis or something.

I take care of the newspaper almost immediately. I read it the first thing in the morning and usually by noon it is out of the house. What comes in the mail and what I print from the computer is my problem. For years I have had a problem with paper pile-up. Occasionally, like yesterday, I will dig into the mountain of “stuff.” On the way out to the trash can I looked like Santa with his bag of toys. Only it wasn’t toys it was trash. Why did I keep it so long? I kept it because I couldn’t make a decision not to keep it. “Hey, this is a great article. I may use this someday.” “Oh yeah, where, when?” “You’re right. I will never use it. I’m only dreaming. Those days are gone.” Out it goes!

I have made a resolution to sit down with the mail and immediately go through it and throw away everything that I know I don’t want and to file the rest. Sounds good! I have made the same resolution dozens of times. Maybe this time. Do you think? NAH!


Thursday, September 28, 2006

“Did you hear about the shooting at the school in Colorado, yesterday?”

“Ugh, aaah, oh, ah, ur, ur, *&&+@#, ugh………………………….”

You feel like saying, “Take your cotton pickin hands out of my mouth and I will answer you.” But even if you did it would come out, “Ugh, urrrrrr, ah, oh, ugh…….” Or something like that.

When I was growing up we didn’t think much about going to the dentist. In fact, we didn’t think about it at all—and we didn’t go. As an adult I have gone every six months for years. For some strange reason the hygienist got the bright idea she wanted to see me every three months. I have gone along with that for two appointments. Today I decided, “What’s up with this foolishness? I will soon be 72 and if she cleans my teeth every six months and I brush twice a day with an electric toothbrush and “play around with flossing” these teeth will last me until I head on home.” So, I told the dear lady and she understood. At least I think she understood. What I said was, “Ugh, aaah, oh, ah, ur, ur, **&^^%, ur, ugh.”


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

He walks by our house in the mornings on his way to school. He has a cigarette in his mouth and a can of something in his hand—it looks like a coke but it could be a beer. How sad! Do cigarettes really stunt your growth? Well not in his case. He is a towering six footer—at least. Are the cigarettes going to harm him in other ways? Doctors thinks so, and I agree with them. Besides, smoking is such a stupid habit. You roll up tobacco in a piece of paper, put it in your mouth and set it on fire. You then puff on it until it smokes and then you suck some of it into your throat.

One evening I was out in my drive washing the car. Chris waddled over and told me I couldn’t wash my car at night. I guess he thought I was stupid. I told him I could do anything I wanted to. I guess he is now saying the same thing. He was about two or three years old when he advised me about the car. He is now seventeen.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I like these words from writer, Ken Gire:

Music moves me in ways I can’t quite explain.

No theological study about heaven ever made me long for it more than “Somewhere Over the rainbow,” sung by Judy Garland. And when I heard Eva Cassidy’s renditions recently, the longing became even more intense.

No book about how to have a good marriage made me long for it as much as “The Prayer,” sung by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.

No sermon ever stirred my longing for Christ as much as the aria “Nessun dorma,” sung by Luciano Pavarotti.



Monday, September 25, 2006

Curt Warner is a Christian and a good quarterback. I like him a lot. But yesterday he lost the football game for the Cardinals. After the game he said, “We have to stop losing games like this.” Not we, Curt—you! You lost the game when you threw three interceptions and fumbled the ball in the last few minutes. The young quarterback for Arizona State also lost the football game he played in Saturday. He stepped up and said so. He said, “Evidently I’m not as good as I thought I was.” Ok, that’s good thinking. Just get back out there next week and do better. I’m confident you will. But I’m not sure Curt Warner will.

Mel Gibson is a Christian and a good actor. But he needs to learn to keep his big mouth shut. Recently he said bad things about the Jewish people while he was intoxicated. A few days ago he spoke against America and said some things about the War in Iraq that didn’t need to be said.

What do you do when favorite people disappoint? If you do what I’m going to do for these two, you cut them some slack and move on. Maybe you don’t like the comments I have made about one or both of them. Hopefully you cut me some slack and move on. How many times have our friends just looked at us, smiled and moved on???????


Sunday, September 24, 2006

When God doesn’t heal, consider:

First, he does not always respond to our desires, and he frequently allows circumstances we wish he wouldn’t. We call this sovereignty. The scriptural truth is that God is in control.

Second, our tendency is to doubt God’s sovereignty in the midst of tumultuous times. Unfortunately, when we doubt we presume to comprehend more than he does.

Third, we must embrace the sufficiency of God’s grace in all circumstances. In other words, it is imperative that the God of the mountains also be the God of the valleys.

As with the Cross, our darkest hour may be God’s finest moment.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

You woke up to a beautiful morning? Don’t forget to say, “Thank You.”

YOU WOKE UP! Don’t forget to say, “Thank you.”

You prayed. He said, “Yes.” Don’t forget to say, “Thank you.”

It’s easier to want stuff, ask for stuff, and beg for stuff than to remember to be thankful.

The old song says, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”


Friday, September 22, 2006

The first thing you do is sign papers releasing the doctors, nurses, hospital, janitors, all their friends and neighbors from any liability that might occur during or from the procedure you are about to endure. And then you lay and wait in a room where others also wait, separated only by curtains. During my wait I kept not only hearing people pass gas, but they were being encouraged to do so. The nurses were like a cheering squad. A little discharge of wind brought loud encouragement for more. I finally asked the nurse, “Are all the people in here for the same reason I am?” “Pretty much!” she replied.

I had come in for a colonoscopy.

Little did I know that following the procedure I would be told, “Take deep breathes and let it out slowly. Turn over on your side and the gas will pass easier.” “But I’m a gentleman and I have been taught to not offend people with bodily grossness.” “Well, this time it’s OK. You people in here are all so cleaned out that it’s not going to smell and besides I can’t let you go home until you do this.”


Side Note: I seriously want to encourage you to have a colonoscopy. Lives are being saved by this procedure.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

It is not by chance that you live where you live, work where you work, shop where you shop. There are no coincidences with God. Everything in your life is a part of God’s plan—the good and the bad. We do not always know the reason and that is where faith comes in. Everyday we need to read the Word, pray, walk with Him and try to follow His direction for our lives. This is tough. But knowing that God has a direction for every life is what gives meaning to what we do. I know that some of you are going through tough times. But know that He is there and that He cares. Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. So march on, knowing that nothing can separate you from His love. I love the words of the poet who said: “So I go on not knowing, I would not know if I might, I had rather walk with Him in the dark, than walk alone in the light.”


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Many, if not most, would say, “Sports in heaven? Who cares?” However, some would say, “No sports—I don’t want to go there.”

I have no interest one way or the other. But I do find it an interesting question. I’m always curious. I don’t have a single thought on this topic but Randy Alcorn does. In his excellent book, HEAVEN, he states his belief that he thinks there will be sports in heaven.

It would be impossible for me to do justice to Alcorn’s thoughts on sports and heaven in this brief blog. I hope you have an interest in heaven and that you will read his book. Playing sports in heaven may not be important but being there is!