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!


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It was too hot to be out “messing around” in the heat. But there we were. I think it was about 116 degrees and it had been 117 the day before. Kierland Commons is a great place to shop but not when it’s 116 degrees out.

Relatives were visiting from Southern California and my nephew and I were strolling around in a garden shop when we struck up a conversation with a male employee. He had just been in Scottsdale for a few days and he couldn’t believe the heat. He was from Washington D.C. and had never experienced anything like 117 degrees.

As we walked out of the store I said to my nephew, “Man, he’s not going to make it through the summer. He will be packing up and heading back to Washington.

Today, the weather is beautiful. Walking down the street at Kierland Commons I thought, “It doesn’t get much better than this.” And then I thought of the man who thought he had died and gone to hell. I went in to check on him.


I’m now saying, “He will love it here for the next eight months. He may never leave.”


Monday, September 18, 2006

Muslims don’t want to be humiliated. They are blowing up people all over the world but if you say anything about it they are humiliated. If you stop them at check points to try and keep them from blowing you up—they are humiliated.

The Pope quoted a person who said that Muslims use force or terrorism to spread their faith. They said that wasn’t true. What did they do? They went out and killed a nun.

They say, “We don’t blow up people” all the while blowing up men, women and children. “We don’t do it and if you say we do we will blow you up.”

The far left seems to think this all makes sense. Well, not to this “dumb Okie” it doesn’t.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Life can seem unbearable at times. Physical pain, difficult decisions, financial hardships, the death of a loved one, or shattered dreams threaten to engulf us.

The following words are extremely helpful: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Almost everybody I know is against torture. The problem is—we can’t agree on what is and is not torture.

I want our President to do whatever he thinks needs to be done to protect us. President Bush is just as good a Christian as I am and I don’t think he would do anything to anybody that I wouldn’t do.

Senators, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Warner don’t agree. They are causing problems for our President and hindering him in getting his job done.

If I was in charge and could do it, I would put McCain, Graham and Warner in a cold room and make them listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers until they came to their senses.

Torture? Probably. Sinful? I doubt it. It might be the best thing that ever happened to them.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Islamist are all over the Pope today. Seems he said something they don’t like. The fact that he was quoting somebody else and the fact that the quote is true doesn’t seem to matter to them. They want an apology.

The point he was making is that Islam spreads its faith through violence and that it shouldn’t be done that way.

That is the way they spread their beliefs and it definitely shouldn’t be done that way!

I have never been a big fan of Popes because I don’t think we need them. The Bible doesn’t teach us to have them. But they are here and they have a right to express their views. And most importantly, they are not going to kill me and everybody like me who doesn’t agree with them.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Driving down Scottsdale Road yesterday I looked up and saw a Jack In The Box fast food restaurant. I was reminded of the day that Jack In The Box burned down. The fact that it caught on fire is not so strange. They keep the fires hot in those places. The fact that it burned down is not so strange either. What is strange is the fact that it burned down with a fire station just across the street.

It’s hard to believe that the firemen just stood across the street and watched that Jack In The Box burn down or up or which ever way it was going.

It seems that the fire station which is on the east side of Scottsdale Road and the Jack In The Box which is on the west side are in different districts. I guess one is Scottsdale and the other is Phoenix. Go figure.

Now what the flip does this have to do with letting the building burn down? I couldn’t have done it. I couldn’t have stood there and watched those burgers get so over cooked. In my mind this is a time to throw rules, laws, restrictions, regulations, etc. away and use a little COMMON SENSE!

Sorry Jack. We are an educated society that doesn’t have sense enough to get in out of the rain.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dave Branon said the following about empathy: Empathy is a strong emotion. It can drive us to come alongside those who are in similar situations. It can cause us to care in a deeper way for those with whom we share a concern or a difficulty.

The most important example of empathy is the Lord Himself. He became one of us (John 1:14). Because He did, He understands our struggles and weaknesses (Heb.4:15). Jesus knows what we are going through, for He endured this life Himself. As we receive His grace in our time of need, we are better able to come alongside others.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We’ve all seen them—lists of things that indicate you’re getting old. Like, “You know you are getting old when your back goes out more often than you do.” The list is long and you have probably read it many times so one example is enough. However, what I do want to do is add a new one to the list: “You know you are getting old, when instead of building a new bird house you simply remodel an old one.”

Today, I plan to remodel a bird house. Over the years I have built many bird houses. I have never remodeled one. I have never really wanted to. I’m not all that excited about remodeling this one. But as I said, I’m getting old. It takes quite a bit to get me excited these days.

Faith Hill was in town a few days ago. Now that gets me excited. The excitement cooled quickly when I realized I couldn’t afford her concert. And the fact that big ol Tim McGraw was hanging around was a distraction.


Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 ! What do your remember about that day?

I remember exactly where I was the day President John F. Kennedy was shot. I was driving on the Hollywood Freeway on my way to a religious book store in Santa Monica. I went into the store and told them what had happened and they didn’t believe me. I understood why they didn’t believe me. I wasn’t sure I believed it myself. However, they turned on their radio and as we listened together to the sad news—we became believers.

I remember exactly where I was when the attack, now known as 9/11, happened. I was at home watching the morning news. At first, I didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t take it all in. I stared at the television screen in disbelief. However, it wasn’t long until Charlotte and I became believers.

What do you remember about that day? We must never forget the horror of it all and the lives that were lost.

“America, America, God shed his grace thee…” I never sing those words without getting a little misty eyed. I love America and I hope you do too. Let’s be the kind of people that help to make America great! God bless America!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Growing up in Oklahoma I was never too thrilled with the winter months. When I went to college in Texas I disliked the cold winter wind. And then I moved to California and lived there for years without any “real” sign of winter. Now I live in Arizona and like California, there is no big change in the seasons.

I like the different seasons of the year and I wish sometimes the seasons were more distinct in Arizona. However, I never want to live again where there are cold winters. But I do realize that God knew what he was doing when he gave us different seasons.

God not only controls the weather, he controls the cycles in our lives. Solomon said: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (Eccl. 3:1).

God knows what he is doing when he gives us a time to sow and to reap, to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance, to gain and to lose, to keep silent and to speak, to love and to hate.

It’s a little different outside today. I think fall is in the air.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

A dear friend of mine wrote his first blog a few months ago. He tells me he started his blog because of mine. I’m glad. I’m always eager to read what he writes and to keep up with what is on his mind. He doesn’t write as often as I think he should—but he does write. I have encouraged other friends to begin blogging but, as of now, they haven’t. I guess I want them to blog for selfish reasons. I see it as a way of keeping in touch. I don’t think they believe me when I say I’m interested in what they are thinking.

It is estimated that only about 5% of the population blog but there are some 70,000 new blogs every day. A new blog is launched every eights seconds and many of them have only a half a dozen entries or less. So, or at least it seems to me, that one should decide if they really want to blog or not, before beginning. Consistency and volume count for something.

Blogging gives the opportunity for others to interact with our thoughts and ideas. For this, and many other reasons, preachers should blog. It gives the members a look into the heart and soul of the preacher.

I invite you to come along with me. Let’s boogie (Ooops. I mean blog).


Friday, September 08, 2006

Liberals drive me nuts. All they ever talk about is talk—or dialogue. “What we need is more dialogue.” How do you dialogue with an idiot, a madman, people who blow up children?

Most meetings I have attended (and I have attended a lot of them) were just a pooling of ignorance. I have lost count of the meetings I have attended when the church was excited about evangelism. We would meet and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk some more. The problem? We never did any evangelism. We didn’t want to go, we
wanted to talk about going.

Generally speaking, I am not in favor of meetings, the fewer the better.

The reigning Miss America is a member of the Church of Christ. Miss America for 2007 is a member of the Church of Christ. I am impressed with the fact that when most of the contestants for Miss America are asked what they want for the world more than anything else they reply: WORLD PEACE. Well, isn’t that good? Yes, it is good, but just talking about it doesn’t bring peace. And just having dialogue with a monster who wants to wipe Israel and the United States off the map will not bring peace.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Only an idiot would think that Phoenix is anything like Monterey. Not wanting to appear to be a complete idiot, I need to clarify the title of this blog. I’m sitting upstairs looking out the window. Looking out this window I see a red, very wet roof, two citrus trees, a huge pine tree and a backyard full of greenery. Everything is still wet from last night’s rain. Now I know this is Phoenix, but it feels like the Monterey Peninsula.

In Phoenix, we only have a few days like this—but we will take every one we can get.

I love Phoenix. I love the Monterey Peninsula. I love everyplace I have ever lived.

I would love to live in many different places for about a year at a time. I would like to wake up each morning for a year in a particular city and then at the end of the year, move on. But that is not to be. Phoenix may be my last city to live in or call “home.” But even so, it will not be my final “home.”

I love Phoenix but I do not think it can compare with heaven. In all honesty I think it has some of the characteristics of a place far removed from heaven. (Hot)


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The media treats President Bush as someone who is obsessive about his religion.

Is he?

Well, he reads a devotional every day; he tries to get through the Bible once a year; and he prays. We all know many people who do this. And yet the media treats the President as some religious nut and pursues this story inaccurately. It is clear to me that partisan bias is involved because the President doesn’t talk about his faith as much as other presidents have. Here’s a funny thing: President Clinton quoted scripture and mentioned God and Jesus Christ more than President Bush has.

No, President Bush is not obsessive about his religion. He is a Christian and he doesn’t try to hide it. He believes God hears and answers his prayers and so do I.

Be glad we have a president who looks to God for guidance.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Much to my surprise, Labor Day started off with labor. An uninvited storm dropped in for a visit the night before. Some of the first words I heard on Labor Day morning were, “Storm damage.” No damage at our house but my daughter had a tree down. LABOR.

In the afternoon we turned from labor to food. Hamburgers on the grill. Homemade ice cream on the patio. Two of my favorite foods.

Later, we hit the pool. It was a great day for laying on your back looking up at the sky. Everything was crystal clear after the rain. Big white, billowy clouds floating on a sea of blue. Absolutely beautiful.

In the early evening there was a fantastic rainbow.

The day ended with a beyond belief sunset.

Wow! I’d like to do this again next Labor Day.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that takes place on the first Monday of September. It is generally regarded simply as a day of rest. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school. However, of late, schools have begun well before Labor Day.

One of the largest modern traditions of Labor Day in the United States is the annual telethon of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, hosted by Jerry Lewis to fund research and patient support programs for the various diseases grouped as muscular dystrophy. The telethon raises tens of millions of dollars each year.

Call me silly but I don’t see any reason to name this day, Labor Day. Why not call it The Last Fling of Summer Day?


Sunday, September 03, 2006

I like these lines from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

The temptation is to do just the opposite. We live under constant pressure to follow the crowd. Certainly we shouldn’t try to be odd or make ourselves into misfits in society. We don’t need to rebel against everything around us.

But what I am saying is, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold!”

Fox News featured a program today about Rick Warren and how he is on a mission to change the world. I LOVE IT! Change the world???? Why not?

Horace Mann gave a commencement address at Antioch College in which he told the students: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for mankind.”

To Rick Warren I say: “Go for it brother. Maybe you will give the rest of us the courage to listen to the drummer in our own hearts.”


Saturday, September 02, 2006

“Awh, I’m just a cowboy.” I heard my friend Glenn describing himself to a fellow passenger as we winged our way across the ocean on the way to Ethiopia. I smiled. Glen wears boots, jeans and western shirts. He lives outside of town and raises Arabian horses. But Glen is not a cowboy. He has a degree from the University of California at Berkley and is a successful salesman for a chemical company.

I was thinking about Glenn the day we visited the Annual Cowboy Artists of America Exhibition. I’m not a cowboy and I have never had any interest in art. But what can I say, the seniors from the church were going so I went along, mumbling to myself. The only cowboys I “know” are John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. And everybody knows they were not “real” cowboys.


The 41st Annual Cowboy Artists of America Exhibition & Sale is October 21-November 19 at the Phoenix Art Museum. Try it, you will like it. This is good stuff!


Friday, September 01, 2006

Shut up and listen!

“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening.” Luke 10:39

Many of us go to the Bible with our mouths wide open; talking “a hundred miles an hour” We are searching for answers, asking all kinds of questions and in general, just trying to learn. This is good!

But sometimes—in fact, many times we just need to open the Bible, read and listen. Listen, not for an audible voice but for inner guidance. I have learned so much this way. You can too.