Monday, April 30, 2007

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on Interstate 77. Please be careful!"
"Are you kidding?" exclaimed Herman. "It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!"
(From Preaching Now)


Years ago when I lived in Southern California, I loved to eat Wienerschnitzels. I can remember when they first came to our town—El Monte. My brother and his family would come to visit and we would go to Wienerschnitzel. They only cost 15 cents (I said it was a long time ago) and my brother and I would have a contest to see who could eat the most.

Last week I was visiting with my friend, Tim Slider, when the conversation for some reason turned to Wienerschnitzels. I told him how much I miss them since there are none in my part of the valley and there were none in Northern California where we lived before moving here. Tim started rattling off the Wienerschnitzel locations all over the valley. He knows where they all are. There were about seven of us sitting around talking and it was easy to see they couldn’t care less. But I cared!

I’m going outside to the grill and “burn” a wiener or two right now!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

James said, “You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing.” Rarely is it a “wisp of fog” around here. More often it is a blast of sand. And it comes from out of “nowhere.” It comes quickly and it disappears quickly, but not quietly.

Life is a lot like that. James said we need to realize that “stuff” comes when we least expect it and that we need to “hang loose” and hang with God.

Last night I was watching the Diamondbacks and minding my own business when the sky got dark, the wind started to blow; the dust became so thick you couldn’t see across the street, drops of rain turned into mud balls and then a gentle rain washed the sky clear and I went back to watching the Diamondbacks. But there was a mess left behind that I hadn’t planned for.

Yea—that’s life!


Saturday, April 28, 2007

What’s so special about Saturday? I don’t know. It’s really just another day of the week. But for some reason, ever since I was a kid, I have kinda thought that Saturday was special or different.

Maybe, because when I was a kid—it was special. We went to town—which was a big thing. We didn’t go to school—which was a really big thing! We went on picnics, went fishing, and had fun in general.

When I was a teenager I went to work in a grocery store. During the week I could only work after school. But on Saturday I worked all day and into the night. That’s when the “glow” started to fade from Saturday. Oh sure, people were still going fishing, going on picnics and going to the movies—but not me, I was working. Today—even though I am retired, I still work on Saturday. I clean house on Saturdays. That kinda takes the “glow” off of Saturday as a “special” day.

Oh well, I probably wouldn’t go on a picnic (I had rather just go out on the patio) go fishing (it’s too much trouble and I like to go to Red Lobster) or go to a movie (I like to go during the week when others have to work).

But today is Saturday and for some reason it seems kinda special!


Friday, April 27, 2007

Jud Wilite, senior pastor of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas says, “While the rest of the world sees Vegas as Sin City, I see it as a place of grace where God can move in people’s lives, where nobody’s beyond hope and nobody’s beyond his forgiveness.”

Central Christian Church is the largest church in the Las Vegas area. Close to 12,000 people attend the church’s two campuses each weekend. In the seven weeks before and one week after Easter 2007, Central saw more than 1,000 people make first-time commitments to Christ.

Hundreds of non-Christians attend Central every week. God is alive and well in Las Vegas—especially in a place like Vegas!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

She bags groceries at Fry’s Market. I see her once or twice a week. She is small in stature and physically handicapped. And because of a slight speech impediment, you might think she is mentally handicapped.

I worked in grocery stores when I was in Jr. High, Senior High and College. I have bagged lots of stuff! So when my checked groceries aren’t being bagged, I pitch in and help. When this young lady is bagging my groceries I don’t want to interfere with the good job she is doing, so I don’t help—but I always want to! She looks like she needs help.

Today, the cashier shouted out the amount of our bill. I shouted back, “We’ll take it.” The young “bagger” kept right on bagging, didn’t even look up and shouted, “DEAL.”



Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A news alert is out today that Rosie O’Donnell is leaving the television program, The View. Even though I never watch the program I am thrilled that she will no longer be on television spewing out her venom against everything good.

I may watch The View if they get somebody to replace her that has good sense.

In a strange way, I find myself feeling sorry for Rosie because she is so stupid.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Talking about the Untied Nations he said, “It sounds so good in theory.” In theory, my foot—what about in fact? Yea, it sounds good. But it’s not! It is not! The United Nations is not good for anything—not a single thing! In my mind, the United Nations is close to the top of the list of bad organizations.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Author and law professor Stephen Carter writes:
My date book contains cartoons first published in The New Yorker. One shows a young boy in front of his class, doing arithmetic at the blackboard. He has just written "7 x 5 = 75" and says to his astonished teacher, "It may be wrong, but it's how I feel."
There, in a nutshell, is the problem with the post-secular university. Faith is dead, reason is dying, but "how I feel" is going strong.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Today is the Lord’s Day. In a few minutes we will be leaving for the worship assembly. The church is looking for a new preacher and one will be visiting today, so that is exciting. It is always exciting to go to worship with those of like mind. It’s not always good to look beyond the next thing—but that’s what I’m doing. I’m thinking about another gathering of Christian friends—and that’s tonight.

Tonight we will be meeting with friends from the church where I served as pastor for fifteen years. We will meet in the home of a former elder and his wife. These two have always practiced hospitality. Henri Nouwen wrote, “Hospitality is the creation of a free and friendly space where we can reach out to strangers and invite them to become our friends” That’s good—isn’t it? We were all strangers once. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Darryl Tippens wrote, “…we imitate our Savior by opening our homes, our lives, our checkbooks, and our hearts to others. There is no more essential spiritual practice than hospitality.”


Saturday, April 21, 2007

I really haven't been away. It's just our computer that has been gone. It went into Fry's Electronics for minor surgery. The last three days have been a nightmare. Charlotte and I had to go into rehab to try and kick the computer habit. The first step to recovery is to admit that you are a computer junky. Lots of strong, black coffee and lots of dark chocolate helps--but it is not a cure. In fact, we did not find a cure. We admitted we are computer junkies for life and that we will not be helped until we hit rock bottom.

We are on the computer carousel again and we are going around like crazy--but we are smiling!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Alvin Toffler said: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

Ok Alvin, we don't want to be illiterate so we are trying hard to keep improving and getting better. Yesterday we decided to upgrade (better) our computer to windows Vista. Vista is newer, so it has to be better. Right? Well maybe. I know one thing it is causing a lot of pain and you know what they say about pain and gain.

Most of us get to a point where we have reached our peak and we don't want to put out much effort to go beyond that. We like to feel safe and secure. I have those feelings about computer upgrades. If people hadn't pushed me I would still be typing and wouldn't know anything about the world of computers. If I hadn't been pushed or drug along I would still be working with DOS operating system. My "things" would probably be a Brownie Hawkeye camera, 17 inch black and white t.v, evaporative cooler, ice box, etc. There would be no room for digital cameras, huge colored T.V. with surround sound, central a.c., and refrigerators.

Man, am I glad somebody saved me from myself. I like all these "improvements" even if they are hard to work with sometimes.


Monday, April 16, 2007

High speed internet, HOV lanes on the freeway, drive-through lanes at banks and fast-food restaurants, are all signs of a fast moving society.

Yesterday after church, my wife, daughter and I went to First Watch for lunch. The restaurant was packed out and people were waiting outside. We were told, “Your wait will be twenty minutes.” (Isn’t it funny? It’s always twenty minutes regardless of how many people are waiting.)

It was absolutely beautiful outside and I was with two people I love and everybody sitting around seemed to be in a good mood. It should have been a pleasant experience—and it was. But I complained because the wait was thirty minutes instead of twenty. I was a little irritated at the thought that all of the people ahead of us probably just “rolled out of bed” and waddled over for breakfast instead of going to church. And I wanted to get on with it and get home and start watching the baseball game.

Later I remembered something from Darryl Tippen’s marvelous book, Pilgrim Heart—The Way Of Jesus In Everyday Life: “I’ve joined a movement that has brought me some peace. It’s the “slowing movement.” I cultivate patience by deliberately choosing to place myself in positions where I have to wait.” This is good stuff!

Maybe we won’t deliberately choose to wait but when we do have to wait we can learn that “slowing” is good for us.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Computers--don’t you just love them?

I can still remember the first time my secretary tried to get me to give up my typewriter for a computer. I just laughed. No way was I going to toss aside my tremendous typewriter. It had been a faithful friend and I was determined to remain loyal—and I did, for years.

And then it happened! I sat down in front of a computer out of curiosity. I have been sitting in front of one now for years – out of profound respect and awe.

Every day I am amazed at what can be done with a computer—absolutely amazed.

And yet, not every day, but every few days, my computer makes me want to throw up my hands and scream.

“Help! Can’t somebody help me?”


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why shout when talking on a cell phone? Common sense tells you that if they are far enough away to be on the phone—you can’t shout loud enough for them to hear you. So why do it?

Why shout when leading a public prayer? Common sense tells you that a God that can hear your silent prayer can certainly hear your normal talking voice. So why change your voice to a “preacher tone” and shout?

The “power” of the phone and the “power” of the microphone will amplify your voice without a lot of help from you.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Honesty. Integrity. Clarity of purpose. These are the qualities that Ronald Kessler, author of the New York Times best-seller, Inside the White House, discovered while investigating our current president who is so scrutinized—and so criticized—at home and around the world.

Honesty. Integrity. Clarity of purpose.

It never fails to amaze me that we listen to those who criticize our president when none of them have honesty, integrity or clarity of purpose.

Somebody tell me why we care what foreign dictators think or even American dictators, like: Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton (they wouldn’t make a scab on a “Reverend’s” behind) Rosie O’Donnell and a whole host of movie stars.

CHARACTER. We desperately need it—all of us!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

James Emery White is a good preacher. I have borrowed a few thoughts from one of his sermons to make some comments on a subject that I believe is sorely needed. The topic is how to manage your money biblically. Over 80 percent of all Americans owe more than they own. The Bible has specific advice on how we can build our financial margins.

Tithing is the first margin. The book of Malachi says that to not tithe is to rob God.
Avoiding debt is the second margin. Debt is deadly to margins, but it is easy to live beyond your means in today’s society. Saving for the future is the third margin. Saving for the future is a strong and very specific theme throughout the Bible. (Proverbs 21)
We need to follow these principles and not just talk about them. And then we need to be patient. Young people get into debt early on in life, but though it takes a long time, they can recover. We need to start gradually—but we do need to start!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Everybody knows what Don Imus said recently that got him into trouble, so I will not repeat it. Everybody has an opinion about it. My opinion is that what he said is terrible and that he needed to be rebuked. I do not think he needed to be fired. He just does not need to ever do it again. I feel very strongly that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do not need to be telling anybody how to talk or act.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

There is a price to be paid by those who talk all of the time. The price is—every word you say can be examined, taken apart piece by piece, chewed up and spit out. If you can’t stand for that to happen you can do one thing—keep your mouth shut!


Monday, April 09, 2007

The line of cars leading into the parking lot was long and slow. There were six worship services, as it is every Sunday. And the one we attended was full and overflowed into the gym. That means there were probably over 2,000 people in that one assembly.

Easter is over but remembering the resurrection of Christ is not. There will be six services next Sunday and there will be a lot of people at each one. However, many will be missing. And that is what I expect from all the non-Christian visitors. They will just return to their normal way of life. What is sad is that many who call themselves Christians will also be missing. Oh, they may return once or twice before Christmas—but probably not.

Every Sunday Christians should be saying, “The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!


Sunday, April 08, 2007

[T]here really is no story about the Resurrection in the New Testament. Except in the most fragmentary way, it is not described at all. There is no poetry about it. Instead, it is simply proclaimed as a fact. Christ is risen! In fact, the very existence of the New Testament itself proclaims it. Unless something very real indeed took place on that strange, confused morning, there would be no New Testament, no Church, no Christianity.
FREDERICK BUECHNER,The Magnificent Defeat


Saturday, April 07, 2007

WOMEN in first-century Jewish culture were not given credibility in a court of law; their testimony was not considered reliable. So why [do the Gospel writers] say that women discovered the tomb empty, even though it hurts their case in the view of their audience? I believe it's because they were trying to accurately record what actually took place.Lee Strobel, Beliefnet interview


Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday at church is one thing; Good Friday at Costco is something else.

I am making a note in my daily organizer for next year. Do not go to Costco on Good Friday.

Everybody in Scottsdale was at Costco today. Everybody was in a hurry and nobody was watching where they were going. The traffic around the hams was horrendous and the bakery department was impossible.

Let your big C be for Christ—not Costco!


Thursday, April 05, 2007

I like what Mike Cope, preacher for the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas had to say about friends:

I am so thankful to live in the graces of good friends.
Lately I’ve been meditating on what it is that makes solid friends. Here are three things that have struck me:
1. A commitment to live for the wholeness of the other person. Even when that isn’t easy. You want the very best for them, and you promise to join them on the journey toward wellness.
2. A rugged determination to be honest. It’s so hard to find deep friendship when you don’t know when someone is shooting straight with you.
3. A sense that you aren’t inconveniencing the other person. What you’re thinking matters. You can tell they’re listening. A common bond of stories, inside jokes, and memories is formed.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It was a cold winter day. An old man walked out onto a frozen lake, cut a hole in the ice and dropped in his fishing line. He was there for almost an hour, without even a nibble, when a young boy walked out onto the ice, cut a hole in the ice not far from him. The young boy dropped his fishing line and minutes later he hooked a Largemouth Bass.
The old man couldn't believe his eyes but chalked it up to plain luck. But, shortly thereafter, the young boy pulled in another large catch.
The young boy kept catching fish after fish. Finally, the old man couldn't take it any longer. "Son, I've been here for over an hour without even a nibble. You've been here only a few minutes and have caught a half dozen fish! How do you do it?"
The boy responded, "Roo raf roo reep ra rums rrarm."
"What was that?" the old man asked.
Again the boy responded, "Roo raf roo reep ra rums rarrm."
"Look," said the old man, "I can't understand a word you're saying."
The boy spit the contents of his mouth into his hand and said, "You have to keep the worms warm!"
(From PreachgNow)


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Why would anyone not vote for the best candidate for President knowing that by not voting for him/her that they are casting a vote for the worse candidate? Why? Why would anybody in their right mind do that?


I have recently heard, “No, I will not vote for him because of his stand on----------.” And then the person making the statement was asked, “I know you disagree with him on this but you think he would be the best President. Wouldn’t it be better to vote for him than to help elect -------, who you consider the worst possible choice?” They answer, “I would hate for that to happen. It would be a tragedy, but I just will not vote for him because of his views on ------.”

How sad—how very, very sad! I am afraid we are going to end up with a sorry President because of stubborn and stupid thinking.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Some people claim they enjoy walking. I think they lie. I don’t like to walk but I have finally discovered a way I can endure it. Music is the answer! I have always just started out walking with my head down, muttering to myself and as a result my feet hurt, my back hurt and I returned home tired and sore.

Lately I have been listening to beautiful music as I walk. This morning the first thing I heard was a deep, mellow voice singing “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…” and then came the voice of Elvis for a couple of songs and then a beautiful waltz, and then piano music so wonderful I almost broke into a jog. (Almost, but not quite).

There is magic in music!

Music has changed my attitude about walking. Today, I was so engrossed in listening to the music as I walked that I looked up and was almost home before I realized it. I want to go through life like that—listening to the music until I look up and see that I’m HOME.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Richard Foster calls it “symphonic piety.” He says: “The discovery of God lies in the daily and the ordinary, not in the spectacular and the heroic. If we cannot find God in the routines of home and shop, then we will not find him at all. Ours is to be a symphonic piety in which all the activities of work and play and family and worship and sex and sleep are the holy habitats of the eternal.”