Monday, March 31, 2008

Believe it or not, there was a time when stopping by the gas station was a pleasure. You pulled up to the pump, rolled down the window and was greeted by a smiling attendant. You said, “Fill ‘er up” with a smile on your face and a lilt to your voice. He filled your tank, checked your oil, water and tires. And then he gave you stamps that could be redeemed for gifts or he may have given you a gift right on the spot—like drinking glasses which you didn’t want but felt the need to collect.

A few days ago when I pulled up to the pump I got out and filled my own tank. I wasn’t greeted by anyone and it’s just as well, I was crying uncontrollably. At the pump in front of me was an older man filling up an SUV. He got in his car and hung his head. I thought he must be writing down mileage or something. However, when I left he was still there with his head down. I feel bad now that I didn’t check on him. He may have had a heart attack!

I have just returned from refilling my propane tank. The price for grilling outside has just gone up. I like steak cooked on the grill but my menu now is going to read: Hamburgers, Hot dogs, and grilled vegetables.

When I was a young unmarried preacher I used to go across the street from the parsonage and visit with a wise old man. I learned a lot from him. We sat outside by the side of his house, leaned our chairs back against the wall and talked of many things. One day I used the expression, “Those were the good ol’ days.” He replied, “No Clif, these are the good ol’ days” meaning these days we are living right now. For over fifty years I have thought he was right. Now today, I feel like the poor old brother was an idiot!


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Solomon said: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4)

For some reason I just started thinking about all the great moments I have enjoyed in life. Wow! I mean really—WOW!

I have had hundreds of great moments. So many I can’t count them. I bet you have too.
I wonder how many great moments we missed. I wonder how many we just let slip by.

Let’s get serious about having fun!


Saturday, March 29, 2008


Complaining is a bad habit. We all do it, only to different degrees.

We try to justify it with all kinds of excuses. The most common one is, “I just want to get it off my chest.”

It’s a waste of time and negative. Breaking this bad habit is difficult but it is worth it.

Complaining takes a lot of energy. Spend that energy in creative ideas or quiet reflection.

If this sounds like I’m complaining about complaining—I’m sorry. I’m going to stop it right now!


Friday, March 28, 2008

I grew up in Oklahoma back in the days of segregation. Blacks lived in two sections of my home town. One section was extremely poor and the other section was where the better educated and the “upper class” blacks lived. They couldn’t go to school with us, eat with us or sit with us on the bus or in a theater. The churches were also segregated. The way these people were treated was wrong and sinful. Thank God things are better today. Things are not perfect—but definitely better.

Over the years, I have known and respected a number of black preachers. I have attended their services and participated in leading their worship. I have always been impressed that black churches worship with passion. I believe that all churches should worship this way.

It wasn’t until I heard the ranting and raving of Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright that I looked into what is called black liberation theology. Wow! This is a mess and a danger to society.

I urge you to check out this teaching. Remember Barack Obama and his wife have been sitting under this teaching for twenty years.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

It never fails to amaze me how many women bloggers there are. No, I have never counted them. However, I know that there are a lot of them out there. My wife hears from hundreds of them from around the world. Who knew? Not me!

I wrote my first blog back in November of 2005. Occasionally I would say to my wife, “Why don’t you write my blog today dear?” And she would reply, “Oh no, I couldn’t do that.” And she wouldn’t! Now she is into blogging—big time! I also encouraged a female friend of ours to blog but she also refused. Now she is blogging almost everyday.

I only read one or two female blogs on a regular basis. But I do occasionally take a brief look at several others. Wow! I am amazed at how creative these women are. I hate the expression, “You go girl!” I don’t really know why but I can’t stand to hear it. But I am so impressed by the talent these women have that I’m going to say it anyhow.



Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Paul Newman, the actor, played the role of Cool Hand Luke in the movie by the same name. He was a prisoner on a chain gang that went out every day to cut weeds from the road side along the levees. He was always escaping, being caught, brought back and punished. The warden would say to him, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

One of the final scenes in the movie has Cool Hand Luke, who has just escaped again, standing in front of a window in an old church building. He shouts outside to the warden and a group of his men, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

I think of that statement often. It seems to me that this is one of the major problems of the world—a failure to communicate. Think about it!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today I want to share with you these few, but good words from Blaise Pascal:

"I bring you the gift of these four words: I believe in you."
--Blaise Pascal, French Physicist and Mathematician.


Monday, March 24, 2008

I have worked all my life. The Bible teaches that we should give an honest days work and that is what I always did. In my youth I worked in grocery stores. I was always early for work and stayed late any time that was needed. I worked when I was feeling bad and should have stayed home. My entire adult life was spent in ministry—fifty years.

Four years ago I retired. In that time I have always felt like I should be working. I always had—it seemed I always should.

Yesterday, just "out of the blue” it occurred to me, “You don’t have time to work.”

I have to read the newspaper and watch the news on television—and that takes time. If there is a Suns or Diamondbacks game on television—I have to watch. I have to eat three meals a day with snacks thrown in and that takes time. People my age need at least seven or eight hours sleep at night and all though it’s not a habit of mine, I do take an occasional nap. I have to walk down to the mail box once a day. I have to go to the grocery store and run other little errands every day.

Man, I’m telling you—I don’t have time to work, at least, not outside the home! I’m busy!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

“The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!”

Easter Sunday is the most exciting Sunday of the year.

The resurrection of Jesus is at the heart of our faith. Christianity is above all a religion of resurrection.

Christ is risen not just in the hearts of men and women, but risen from the dead.

The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is not only strong, it is also overwhelmingly compelling.



Saturday, March 22, 2008

There is no context that will right the wrong in Barack Obama’s pastor’s messages. What I’m referring to is his remarks from the messages that have been playing over and over on television and the radio. No context will set this right. You can carry the context back to the beginning of his messages and all the way to the end—and nothing will change. You can take the context back in his history from the beginning of his life and it will still not make his words right. They were wrong when he said them. They are wrong now and they will forever be wrong!

I have seen many black people on television trying to defend his words. In doing so, they always say, “You have to look at the context.” Context, my foot. Not this time brother. Not this time. Yes, context is important—extremely important. In fact, in trying to understand a passage of Scripture or any situation, context is one of the most important things. But context is not the pastor’s problem. He has a heart problem. Am I judging his heart? You bet I am. I’m judging his heart in the context of the words he believes and speaks.

Black liberation theology is nothing more than a man made doctrine created in the hearts of liberals. The words we need to hear are from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Apostle Paul and especially JESUS, set in the context of the Old and New Testaments.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Help us this day to remember, and never again to forget, the love of Him who laid down His life for us.

O wondrous love! to bleed and die,
To bear the Cross and shame,
That guilty sinners, such as I,
Might plead Thy gracious Name!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

I grew up hearing the question, “Will this matter a hundred years from now?” I think Richard Carlson asks a better question, “Will this matter a year from now?” We could even break it down more—what about six months from now, or one month from now?
If we really want to get bold—we can break it down to days or hours. Oh sure, we could even ask, “Will this matter minutes from now?” but I think that would be going a bit too far.

What Carlson is trying to get across is, “DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF…and it’s all small stuff.”

Think about it. Don’t let the little things take over your life!


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Heaven help us if we somehow fool around and let Barack Obama be elected President of the United States.

The people working with him in Homeland Security, Secretary of the Treasury, Defense, Education, etc. would be: His wife, his grandmother, his pastor, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand and many other Hollywood elites. He might have one sane cabinet member in Oprah Winfrey. However, if he wanted her to be in charge of a department she knew something about; he would have to create a Department of Shoes.

Enough said! Get out and vote for John McCain, even if you don’t like him.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Avis became one of America’s success stories by hiring one of the top advertising firms in America. The advertising firm said, “…give us ninety days to learn enough about your business to apply our skills, and then run every ad we write where we tell you to run it…If you promise to run them just as we write them, you’ll have every art director and copy writer in my shop moonlighting on your account.” Wow! They said run every ad we write where we tell you to run it and Avis did it even though they were skeptical. All the advertising firm could come up with was that the company was second largest and that the people were trying harder. That’s it! The rest is history. The Avis Rent A Car agency is now the nation’s number one car rental service.

Moral: Don’t hire a master to paint you a masterpiece and then assign a roomful of schoolboy-artists to look over his shoulder and suggest improvements.


Monday, March 17, 2008

As a pastor for fifty years, I was involved with many committees. Few, if any of them, worked well. It’s sad to say, but I found most of them to be a pooling of ignorance. This doesn’t mean that the people involved were ignorant—at least not all of them. It means they were generally ignorant most of the time on the topics of discussion.

There is only one way to survive when you find yourself serving on a committee. You have to have courage, humor and energy. As a general rule, when it comes to committee meetings—the fewer the better. This applies to the number of meetings and the number of participants. Another general rules is, that unless the meeting is worth several hundred dollars—don’t have it. You are wasting time and money.

My philosophy is: Get on with it and get the job done!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

You probably have read about the little boy that says what he would do if he could be in charge of the world for a day. He would do things like make ice cream a vegetable. I say three cheers for that.

Well, if I could have been in charge of Walk Worthy Books and Music book store at our church a few weeks before Easter, I would have sold hundreds of copies of, The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper. Wow, what a book. John gives fifty reasons why Jesus came to die. He gathered these reasons from the New Testament. Not fifty causes, but fifty purposes—in answer to the most important question that each of us must face: What did God achieve for sinners like us in sending his Son to die?

If I could have I would have advertised this book on the churches’ web site, the monthly paper, every week in the worship bulletin and every week on the two large screens in the sanctuary. Every week over 6,000 come to the church. And at Easter that number will increase by several thousand more. I would have had tables stacked high with this splendid book. And then I would have asked the preacher to mention it from the pulpit. That’s all he would have had to do and the books would have just “flown” off the tables.

Well, guess what? I am in charge of this blog. So I am telling you, it doesn’t have to be Easter that you read this book—just read it. Fifty reasons why Jesus came to die!


Saturday, March 15, 2008

“People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed?”
Proverbs 19:3


Friday, March 14, 2008

In a splendid article for Christianity Today, J.I. Packer talks about the surprises of his life and what a blessing they have been for him. God surprised him in many ways over the years and he is now looking back and counting those blessings.

I believe that all Christians can and should look back at their surprises. I know that when I look at mine—I have been blessed indeed.

God surprised me when I was 13 years old when he brought an 11 year old, blue-eyed blond into my life. Now, after fifty years of marriage I look back on that day and smile.

God surprised me with a call to full-time ministry that lasted over fifty years and gave me some of the happiest days of my life.

God continues to surprise me, that even in retirement; I can continue to find joy in living. I have no idea what God has for me to do next. But I know this—whatever it is, I will probably be surprised. But then later on down the road, I will look back, see His hand in it all—and smile.

“Count your many blessings. Name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”


Thursday, March 13, 2008

The times in which we live are affecting my attitude and outlook and I don’t like it. I can feel my joy slipping away. Solomon says that if we lose our sense of humor that we will have a broken spirit, a lack of inner healing and dried-up bones (Prov. 15:13,15; 17:22). Not good!

Charles Swindoll says that a healthy sense of humor is determined by at least four abilities: The ability to laugh at our own mistakes. The ability to accept justified criticism—and get over it! The ability to interject (or at least enjoy) wholesome humor when surrounded by a tense, heated situation. The ability to control those statements that would be unfit—even though they may be funny.

I like this pray by Dr. James M. Gray: “…Lord keep me cheerful. Keep me from becoming a cranky, old man!”


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Over eighteen years ago when we moved into our house, ours was the only one on the cul-de-sac. Now there are six more. Over the years there have been many changes. People have moved in and out of every house—except ours. People have died in two out of seven of the homes. Go figure!

There has been a buzz of activity on the cul-de-sac this week. One house is getting a new roof and a new paint job. Another house is getting new, double paned windows, a new paint job, new inside window shades, new outside light fixtures, new gates and later they are going to overhaul their large swimming pool and spa. Wow!

A few years ago we got a new roof, a new paint job, new stone flooring, restyled and painted our kitchen cabinets, did some painting inside and had our pool re-plastered. The “old” hacienda looks pretty good.

One house on the corner sold about two years ago in a bidding war for over twice what was paid for it. About a month later the other corner house went on the market and has been on the market now for over two years. Go figure!

The people who lived in the house that hasn’t sold now live in a home costing over two million dollars. Go figure!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I guess I’m just “out of the loop” of understanding in some areas of life.

Men are always saying things like, “That is the first thing to go or they may say that is the second thing to go “ and then laugh out loud.

I’m not laughing!!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Someone very wise said, “To deal with hurt, you need the greatest kind of grace available: the grace to forgive.”


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Wow! What a great day.

Before the assembly this morning I worked in the Book Store helping members select Bibles. I also did this after the assembly and I sold two more Bibles. What a joy to help someone go away with a good Bible. (30% off on Bibles everyday)

The sermon was fantastic! The preacher mentioned Phillip Yancy’s book on grace in his sermon and the book store sold out after the first service.

Splendid roast beef lunch at home. Our daughter ate with us and that is always a special joy.


I cleaned the pool and added chemicals. Pool looks good but it’s still too cool to swim.



Saturday, March 08, 2008

Today is Saturday. When I was a kid, Saturday was my favorite day. I don’t really know why. Maybe it was because school was out and I went to the movies. I usually went to a double feature at the Ritz. There were two main films and at least one of them was a cowboy show. There was a cartoon, a comedy, a weekly serial and a newsreel (which I didn’t like at all). It only cost a dime so I sometimes went to two theaters in one day. In my home town we had three theaters on the main street and two more, one street over.

I loved Saturday!

Later in life, Sunday became my favorite day. Do you think it had anything to do with the fact that I was a preacher for fifty years? Maybe! I know I have always liked Sunday. I like it even now, and I no longer go to the pulpit. But I seriously enjoy listening to somebody else preach—if they can preach! Good preaching is hard to find. But we have a good one at our church and I enjoy listening to him.

Today is Saturday. There will be no movies for me today, unless I snag a good one on the television set. Tomorrow is Sunday—the Lord’s Day. I’m looking forward to it. I hope you are too.


Friday, March 07, 2008

A Billboard Signed “God”


Thursday, March 06, 2008

Maybe you did—but I didn’t. My wife created a blog back in January. It wasn’t until then that I began to realize how many women are blogging. There are thousands of them all over the world! If you click on one woman’s blog you will find a sidebar with dozens of her favorites. If you click on one of them it will lead you to another dozen and on and on it goes.

My wife has been blogging for only a little over a month and she has already had thousands of “hits” from all over the world. This morning one came in from some country we have never heard of.

Women write about “everything under the sun” and are very passionate about doing so. They put all kinds of pretty things on their blogs. I rarely ever put anything on my blog but words. I have thought about trying to “jazz” it up but I can’t think of any way to do it that men would be interested in—except things that my wife won’t let me publish.

Three cheers for women bloggers. On second thought—three cheers for women period!


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The words of a wise person are gracious.
The talk of a fool self-destructs—
He starts out talking nonsense
And ends up spouting insanity and evil.

Fools talk way too much,
Chattering stuff they know nothing about.

Ecclesiastes 10:12-14


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

“We cannot make friendship and love happen. They come, when they come at all, as gifts. But we can make space for them.”
John Ortberg


Monday, March 03, 2008

Two of my favorite guys are John Ortberg and Dallas Willard. John recently asked Dallas, "How do I determine how my spiritual life is doing?” Dallas answered, “Ask yourself two questions.”

“Am I more or less irritated these days?”

“Am I more or less discouraged these days?”

Great questions! Very revealing!


Sunday, March 02, 2008

“Life is not like a VCR you can’t fast forward through the bad stuff. But He (God) is always with you and that is just enough.”



Saturday, March 01, 2008

Margi Galloway, a staff member at Scottsdale Bible Church makes great taco soup. I have never cared for taco soup. At least I didn’t think I did, until I tried Margi’s. The truth is I had never even tasted taco soup before. So how could I know if I liked it or not? I couldn’t. I’m just like a kid who refuses certain food because it doesn’t look or sound like something he/she would like. Try Margi’s soup—you will like it!