Thursday, January 31, 2008

She works in her garden, raises lots of food and has a fantastic time doing it. She leads the choir at her small church and loves every minute of it (Well, maybe not every minute). The bottom line is—she is engaged in life. She is a happy person and it rubs off on others.

What’s her secret? It’s no secret. She knows she has a choice about what to do with her life and she is well aware of the God factor in her life.

Her beloved husband passed away a few years ago. Life for the two of them had always been an adventure. She could have said, “My dreams are all gone, my health will soon go, my hopes will fade.” Instead she said, “What do I have left? What can I still do?”

She must have said, “I know. I’ll do the next thing. I’ll plant a garden—grow some food and flowers. I’ll work with the church. I’ll get up each morning and see what God has for me to do.” No helplessness here!



Wednesday, January 30, 2008

If you are going through hard times you need to hear the words of Paul to the Corinthians. He said, “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

He will be there for you so you can be there for somebody else who is hurting.

I especially like the words, “He comes alongside us…” and “God was there for us.”


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A mute boy, who would fall on the ground, foaming at the mouth and grinding his teeth, was brought to Jesus by the boy’s father. The father said, “If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!”

Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”

W O W! No ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” W O W! I don’t know what else to say. W O W!


Monday, January 28, 2008

“Let go and let God” seems trite and simplistic to me. But it really isn’t!

Have you ever watched a person who lives free? He (could be she) does what needs to be done and then when he is done—he is done. He does not worry about what others think, he simply lets go and moves on to the next thing.

Trusting God means learning to let go of each moment so I am free to fully inhabit the next one. There is simply no call for me to try to control people or outcomes. Someone far better is already on that job.

Note: The idea for this blog comes from John Ortberg’s splendid book, When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

You’re worried about the future? You don’t know how things can possibly work out? A man in the Bible named Daniel didn’t know how things were going to work out for him either, but he knew he was not operating alone.

Listen to this marvelous verse, “Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel.” (Daniel 1:9) Isn’t that wonderful? Don’t miss these words, “Now God had caused…” Fantastic!

Don’t overlook the God factor in your life!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Former Governor Ann Richards of Texas was well known for saying of George W. Bush, “Poor George, he can’t help it.” In my opinion, that’s just the problem. I think he can help it!

If things don’t change, and it doesn’t look like they are going to, George W. Bush is going to destroy the Republican Party. If you are a frequent visitor to this blog you know that I have written often about my devotion to President Bush. I believed, and still do, that God called him to be President at this time. We needed a good man to come to this office to give us some hope. I believe he did that—at least he did for me.

But poor George has messed up a lot of stuff! He has galloped down the wrong trail on spending, the size of government, the ability to prosecute war, illegal immigration and other issues. He not only has messed up these big issues he has annoying habits that he just refuses to give up. He shows no mercy when it comes to mispronouncing some words and he refuses to just “spit it out” when making a speech. He hems and haws until you want to scream.

I would scream but it wouldn’t do any good and I would look just as silly as Poor George.


Friday, January 25, 2008

The Apostle Paul says there is an outer you and an inner you. He also said, “Outwardly we are wasting away.” Sooner or later, Old Man Wrinkle is coming for everybody.

If you are over thirty, you lose thousands of brain cells every day.

YeS, outwardly you are wasting away. But that is not the real you. The inner you is the real you. But the inner you is invisible. In the New Testament, Paul says the body is headed south in a hurry. But that doesn’t seem to bother him much. He knows that he will live and die, but he also knows he is destined for eternity.

Dear friend, stop measuring time by how much arthritis you have and start looking to your heavenly father. You are looking more like Him everyday. Keep thinking about what you will be.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

John Ortberg writes, “Caesar thought his throne in Rome was secure. But the kingdom was lying in a manger in Bethlehem.”

Who’s in charge of things? Not you. Not me.

I like the story called Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss. Yertle thought he ruled over a little pond of turtles. One day he decides his kingdom needs extending, so there went out a decree that all the turtles should be stacked up to become Yertle’s throne. The king lifts his hand, and the whole pond scrambles to obey. First dozens, then hundreds—he could see for miles. Yertel thought his throne was as secure as a throne could be. But it came to pass that at the bottom of the turtle stack there was an obscure, powerless turtle named Mac.

That plain little Mac did a plain little thing.
He burped!
And his burp shook the throne of the King!

Yertle Augustus had a great fall. What about you? Do you think you are in control? You may just be a burp away from a fall. It might be good to run your plans by the One in control.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

“If you want to make me laugh, tell me your plans.”
(A Billboard Signed “God”)


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

God can do anything he wants to and he wants to help us. He not only is able and willing but he promises that he will bless us.

I don’t know about you, but when God promises something, I believe it!

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.


Monday, January 21, 2008

God is not only able to help us, He wants to. In fact, He wants to do “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those that love him” ( 1 Cor. 2:9).

We can’t come up with a dream too big for God. He is a loving father who wants to do great things for us—and will.

Don’t limit God by thinking that He doesn’t want to bless you and that He is not interested in your dreams.

We have a great God. Don’t ever forget it!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Jeremiah 32:17 says, “You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for you” (NASB).

Got problems? What’s your biggest problem?

It isn’t too difficult for God!

Or what is your greatest dream? If you can imagine it, He can do it! He is able to resolve anything at anytime. Remember what Jeremiah said to God, “…Nothing is too difficult for you.”


Saturday, January 19, 2008

My first “real” taste of death came when I was eleven years old and my mother died. However, I never really dwelled on death. I preached my first funeral when I was a junior in college at Abilene Christian. Over the next fifty years and with four different churches I preached hundreds of funerals. But it has only been since I reached my seventies that I have spent much time thinking about my own death. But it is coming. The Bible says so (Hebrews 9:27).

Mickey Mantle always expected to die young. When he turned 60, he commented, “If I had known I was going to live so long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

“If you live to be 100, you’ve got it made. Very few people die past that age.” George Burns (who lived to be 100 and died).

The Apostle Paul said, “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16).


Friday, January 18, 2008


Death, taxes and Girl Scout cookies just keep coming around!

Let’s face it. There’s no escape—certainly not from death or taxes. But what about Girl Scout cookies? I woke up this morning and lay in bed thinking about it. Do you suppose they could find you in the bush in Ethiopia or in an Ashram in India?

Every January they come. They confront you in front of the super market, connect with you in the foyer at church and corral you on your cul-de-sac. No need to say, “I’m cutting back on my eating.” I know. I have been saying it every January for years. No need to say, “I’m diabetic.” I have been saying that for the past twenty years.

To say “No” to a Girl Scout is like turning your back on Mom, the American flag and apple pie. Wait. Come to think about it we have burned the American flag. And I have even heard of some moms being burned and buried in the back yard. I have also heard of a few apple pies being burned but I assumed that was by accident.

The truth is death, taxes and Girl Scout cookies are part of the American way of life. These girls have been hustling cookies for eighty years. No reason to stop now.

I like the Samoa cookies. They should be here in time to ruin my “cutting back” resolution and put a frown on my Doctor’s face when he sees my blood sugar readings. Hey, I gotta blame somebody!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

In his book 3:16 – The Numbers of Hope (Thomas Nelson), Max Lucado writes, "How can all religions lead to God when they are so different? We don't tolerate such illogic in other matters. We don't pretend that all roads lead to London or all ships sail to Australia. All flights don't land in Rome. Imagine your response to a travel agent who claims they do. You tell him you need a flight to Rome, Italy, so he looks on the screen.
"'Well, there is a flight to Sydney, Australia, departing at 6:00 am.'
"'Does it go to Rome?'
"'No, but it offers wonderful in-flight dining and movies.'
"'But I need to go to Rome.'
"'Then let me suggest Southwest Airlines.'
"'Southwest Airlines flies to Rome?'
"'No, but they have consistently won awards for on-time arrivals.'
"'You're growing frustrated. 'I need one airline to carry me to one place: Rome.'
"The agent appears offended. 'Sir, all flights go to Rome.'"You know better. Different flights have different destinations. That's not a thick-headed conclusion but an honest one. Every flight does not go to Rome. Every path does not lead to God


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

From a very early age I have been entirely too involved in what I call “real life.” I have been far too serious about everything.

I wish somebody—somebody I respect, would have said, “Lighten up brother, lighten up.”

A book I am reading asks the following: “But is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one’s life, is it so awful to travel through time with no greater ambition than to find the next lovely meal?... Or to nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favorite fountain? And then to do it again the next day?”

Good question.

I must bring this to a close. I need to clean some grease off my garage floor and then…


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Being a man I am not amused by all the women who “joke” that their husbands just will not admit that they are lost and ask for directions. But I for one am willing to admit that I do need directions from time to time. But I want to tell you why I am reluctant to stop and ask for help.


“How long have you lived here?” “All my life.” “And you don’t know where the post office is?” “No, I’m sorry.” “You’re sorry? Sorry doesn’t tell the half of it!”

I stopped at a store in Cave Creek yesterday and inquired about a new store in town. The lady didn’t know where it was. She sent me about a mile in the wrong direction to look for it. It turns out it was only about two blocks from her store.

Reluctant to admit I am lost. No! Reluctant to stop and ask for directions? YES!


Monday, January 14, 2008

“Why don’t you write something for my blog today, dear?” “No, I don’t have anything to say. You are the writer.” So it went—for a long time. My wife just wasn’t interested in writing for my blog—she still isn’t.

Now she has her own blog, At Home in Scottsdale. Check it out http://athomeinscottsdale.blogspot.com/ Charlotte has just started. She is writing about dolls, her home, her faith and her adventures. Charlotte is in love with life and living it.

Another blog coming out of Arizona and written by another lovely lady, Megan McCain, can be found at http://mccainblogette.com/. Megan is the daughter of presidential hopeful, John McCain. She writes about politics and shoes. She loves both. I don’t know about politics, but every woman I know loves shoes.

Good stuff comes out of Arizona. Check it out!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

This morning the preacher said, “Sometimes it seems God is not doing anything, but he is active behind the scenes.” Amen to that!

I believe with all of my heart that God is working in our lives even when he seems remote and distant. He has a personal, purposeful plan for our lives.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that all things work together for good to those that love the Lord. Hang in there. It’s always exciting to see what God is going to do next.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Some of us go through life stumbling over much and noticing very little. Others have cultivated the habit of noticing all sorts of things—even little things.

One of the minor disappointments of life is that our family and friends are prone to take for granted all our thoughts and pains about caring for our gardens, decorating our homes, planning meals, etc. They seldom seem to notice. When someone does notice and speaks an admiring word, it pleases us a lot.

If we take for granted all the care and thought that others put into their lives, we shortchange them and ourselves as well.

A good “noticer” is a great pleasure-giver.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Jokes about relatives top the charts. We all have relatives and we all tell jokes about them. The thing that adds spice to these jokes is you don’t know when they come from fact and when they come from fiction.

We had relatives come in on Sunday and leave on Wednesday. As soon as they left we checked to see if any towels were missing and even though we had the good silverware in a safe hiding place—we checked it just the same.

We should have checked the garage. A car is missing. It was spotted out on interstate 10 going toward California. The next sightings were strange. It was seen at that humongous flea market just inside Arizona, and then again at that huge mess of outlet stores in California and then, of all places, on a church parking lot.

The only thing I can figure out is that they sinned their way across Arizona and California and felt the urgent need to meet with God and try to straighten things out.

Was the car valuable? Are you kidding? It was priceless!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


11. "Did anyone think about bringing a couple of umbrellas?"
10. "Hey, there are more than two flies in here!"
9. "I finally get a bass boat and now I have to take the whole family..."
8. "Wasn't someone supposed to put two shovels on board?"
7. "Help! I need some Pepto for the elephants -- QUICK!"
6. "OK, who's the wise-guy who brought the mosquitoes on board?"
5. "Don't make me pull this Ark over and come back there!"
4. "No, Ham, you cannot eat the pig!"
3. "And whatever you do, do NOT pull this plug out."
2. "Nice doggie!"
1. "Are we there yet?"
(from Mikey's Funnies)


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It’s hard to believe, but Americans are the unhappiest people on earth. That is the conclusion of a new study by the World Health Organization and the Harvard Medical School, which found that 9.6 percent of Americans suffer from depression or bipolar disorder – the highest rate of the 14 nations surveyed. Our "Prozac nation" has a greater percentage of depressed people than war-torn Lebanon (6.6 percent); job-starved Mexico (4.8 percent); carefree, hedonistic Italy (3.8 percent); and overworked, socially rigid Japan (3.1 percent). And how’s this for a paradox: Nigeria, a land of desperate poverty, rampant corruption and violent tribal conflict, had the lowest depression rate of all – just 0.8 percent.
How can this be? One possibility is that when your life is a struggle for clean water and adequate food, you don’t have time to indulge in existential despair. In New York, on the other hand, a lawyer making $200,000 a year may find himself “depressed” if he doesn’t make partner in his mid-30s. It may also be that in less modern societies, people find comfort and meaning in their families, their religion, and their cultural traditions. (Vince Siciliano, Wall Street Journal’s The Week Magazine, 3/23/07; cited in Church Leaders Intelligence Report, 10/31/07)


Sunday, January 06, 2008

A golfer said, “What an incredible course this is. It has a wicked dog leg, two huge sand traps, and a pond.” He went on describing all the obstacles of the course, and then he said, “I love it! It’s the most exciting course I’ve ever played!”

Life is a complex, ever-continuing, ever-changing set of problems. The choice is not if you’ll accept problems, but how!

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:12


Saturday, January 05, 2008

We were living in Northern California and my brother and his family lived in Southern California. They had just come for a visit and were loading up their car and getting ready to go home. After everybody had hugged and said their good-byes, my brother turned to us and said, “Come back.” Everybody started laughing and said to him, “You’re not the one to say, ‘Come back’, you’re leaving.” He smiled and said, “Well, I thought somebody ought to say it.”

Yes they should. And we would have if we had been given time. A few years later my brother was killed in an automobile accident. He will not be coming back! I realize how short life is and also how quickly it can be taken from us. I wish our relatives lived closer and that we visited more often.

My brother will not be back but his son and his son’s wife will be coming for a visit tomorrow. I have swept off the welcome mat and Charlotte is baking a cake. We will greet them with, “We’re glad you came” and when they leave we will say, “Come back soon!”

Life is short. We need to spend more time with and communicate more with our friends and loved ones.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Everyday I battle this problem--the problem of believing that most people are incompetent or insincere. I don’t like this about myself but I can’t seem to overcome it. My life experiences just keep proving it to be true. I don’t want it to be true. I don’t want to believe it. Nevertheless, it just seems to me, if not most, certainly many people are incompetent or insincere.

I want to believe the words of Warren Bennis: “Even an overdose of trust that, at times, involves the risk of being deceived or disappointed is wiser, in the long run, than taking for granted that most people are incompetent or insincere.”


Thursday, January 03, 2008

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I want you to read and re-read that sentence. Let it sink into your mind. Never in my life time have we had a greater need for a Christian worldview. We have been taken captive by our culture.

Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, speaking of his country’s spiritual demise, said, “If I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more bluntly than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’”

I’m reading again, A.W. Tozer’s classic, The Knowledge of the Holy. It’s a great book. Tozer is the one who said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” In his little book, he writes about such things as the mercy, grace, love, holiness, and sovereignty of God—and much more.

We absolutely must think right thoughts about God!


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Bob Bradford was my friend. We will gather at the Lincoln Heights Christian Church Friday morning to tell Bob good-bye.

From the moment I arrived at the church to be the new minister, Bob encouraged me. He always had something to say about my sermons. He listened well and I sincerely appreciated that. He told me once that I had more ways of presenting a message than any preacher he knew. Bob never tried to force his opinion, take advantage or bully anyone. He treated you the way he wanted to be treated.

Bob was a teacher, preacher, singer, actor, drama coach, craftsman in addition to being a great husband and father. Bob was an asset to the community. For many years he owned and operated the Bradford Mills. He made the beautiful cabinets and bookshelves in the preacher’s office at Lincoln Heights.

I am confident that there has been beautiful singing and great story telling in heaven for thousands of years. With Bob’s arrival it has just improved!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Charles Swindoll said, “Standing on the front edge of a new year is invigorating for some and a little boring for others.” The twelve months stretching out before us can be mysterious, intriguing and even frightening.

“All things are wearisome…That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun…I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity (futility) and striving after wind “. (Eccl. 1:8-9, 14)

Sounds pretty boring, but life can be exciting and fulfilling. We can dream big dreams and then with God’s help reach out to fulfill them. We can look to others for our example of how to live. Paul is a good one to emulate. (Galatians 5:19-23)

“Stay away from the things which flesh produce, such as immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, arguments, jealousy, angry outbursts, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, and running around with the wrong crowd. Emulate the things which the Holy Spirit produces, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Be a diligent person. Don’t waver in your faith. Be known for uncompromising moral excellence. Enlarge your reservoir of knowledge; keep learning. Stay balanced; guard against extremes. Persevere. Make sure your godliness is free of hypocrisy. Treat others tactfully, graciously. Let your Christian love flow, let it flow, let it flow.”

If you take these things seriously you won’t be the same person you were last year and you certainly won’t be bored.