Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mildred was the "Tongue of the Church" and the self-appointed monitor of the church's morals. She could not stop sticking her nose into other people's business and gossiping what she sniffed out. Several members did not approve of her extracurricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

Mildred made a mistake, however, when she accused Henry, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Henry and several other members that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. Henry, a man of  few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.

Later that evening, Henry quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house, walked home, and left it there all night. You gotta love Henry. 

(Taken from Leonard Sweet's book, Nudge--Awakening Each Other To The God Who's Already There)


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

 Excellent advice:

 “Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I like what Henri Nouwen said about real life:

The real enemies of life are the "oughts" and "ifs." They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and now. God is always in the moment be that moment hard or easy joyful or painful.


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Serenity Prayer
Path God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr
In loving memory of
Fr Bertram Griffin -- 1932-2000
Requiescat in Pace

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3, 5-6


Saturday, September 25, 2010

I like the way counselor, David Seamands, summed up his career. I read this summary in Philip Yancey's excellent book, What's so Amazing About Grace?

"Many years ago I was driven to the conclusion that the two major causes of most emotional problems among evangelical Christians are these: the failure to understand, receive, and live out God's unconditional grace and forgiveness; and the failure to give out that unconditional love, forgiveness, and grace to other people...We read, we hear, we believe a good theology of grace. But that's not the way we live. The good news of the Gospel of grace has not penetrated the level of our emotions."

We desperately need the hope that only grace can bring to this jaded world.


Friday, September 24, 2010

The Republicans have come up with a document they are calling a Contract From America or With America or...............these clowns can't even agree on what to call it.

I like it. I like it a lot!



I'll just mention two:

EARMARKS. This is a big one as far as I am concerned. One Republican said they left earmarks out because they had already taken care of that. Sure! They left it out because they know darn well they have every intention of having earmarks.

TERM LIMITS. This is also a big one for me. Everybody wants this except those in congress. Let them do their job for a period of time and then go home. And not with big retirement incomes.

Do we need a change? Absolutely! We must have it. And this new contract is a good start but we must keep hammering away at the things that need to be changed. These political clowns will never change until they are forced to. And I honestly do not know if some things can be changed. I know this is negative but it is also honest.


Thursday, September 23, 2010


By Philip Yancy --New York Times Bestselling Author
OVERVIEW: In What Good Is God? journalist and spiritual seeker Philip Yancy travels the globe in search of an answer to a query posed the world over: when life gets tough, does what we believe about God really matter? His journey takes him to scenes of grief, devastation, hope, and redemption. From a shell-shocked Mumbai, India, to the motel in Memphis where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, to a conference of reformed prostitutes, each stop provides a fascinating clue to answering one of life's most basic questions.
The author's search is presented in a unique way as he relives the dramatic stories behind those ten memorable occasions, placing the reader at the very location to create a remarkably compelling reading experience of both the "story behind the story" and what the author said to the people he met. This unique combination provides firsthand evidence that faith really does work even when what we believe is severely tested.
AUTHOR: Philip Yancey serves as editor-at-large for Christianity Today magazine. Yancy has written six Gold Medallion Award-winning books, including Where Is God When It Hurts?..Disappointment with God, and The Gift of Pain. He co-edited The Student Bible, which also won a Gold Medallion Award.
MY REVIEW: Philip Yancy is one of my favorite writers. I have almost all of his books and have benefited greatly from each one. This new one is especially good and may become one of my favorites. Many people I know are in search of a faith that matters. This book will help with that search. This book brings together his two roles, speaker and writer. This is a collection of speeches he made to alcoholics, Bible college students, CEOs , Dalits (Untouchables), fans of C.S. Lewis and charismatics. He spoke in China, India, Cambridge in England, Johannesburg and other places. This book will give you hope that somehow God can wrest permanent good out of this flawed planet and us its flawed inhabitants.
(This book was provided to me by FaithWords a division of Hachette Book Group in return for an honest review)


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The people we have in congress are clowns and nobody seems to care.

For example: The democrats tried to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law. I don't agree with that but they have the right to do it. What I despise is the fact that they attached the "don't ask, don't tell" provision to the defense bill that would provide 721 billion for defense including a pay raise for troops.


Why is this allowed? How did it ever get started? Why isn't it stopped tomorrow?

If they want to repeal "don't ask, don't tell"---then do that!

If they want money for defense and to give troops a raise--then do that~

These two things don't have anything to do with each other.

We must find a way to stop them from putting all these things together.

I think the only way to do it is to get rid of all these clowns.

Bring in some women who have never been in congress before. One who has checked out witches would be better than men who have spent years under "the big top" with the clowns.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

The First duty  of love is to listen.

                             --Paul Tillich



Friday, September 17, 2010

Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," was performing at Radio City Music Hall. The climax of the concert came as she rendered the gospel song, "One Night with the King." "One day in his courts could forever change your course," she sang, and then paused to let the words sink in. With renewed breath she belted out, "One moment, in his presence, And you'll never be the same. One night with the king changes everything."

Six thousand fans--New Yorkers--rose to their feet applauding wildly and yelling for more.

Ah yes, one moment in his presence and you'll never be the same. Praise the Lord!

Do you need a course change?

(I read about Aretha Franklin's concert in Philip Yancey's new book, What Good Is God? which will be out in October)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

My initial response to participating in Facebook was, "No, it's not for me."

I didn't want that much exposure and didn't know why anybody else would. But after being involved with Facebook for a while, I find it a fun thing to do and understand why others enjoy it also.

It's fun to know what your friends and loved ones are doing and it's an easy way to answer that often asked question, "What are you doing." I have connected with old friends and schoolmates that I hadn't seen or heard from in years. Not having seen them in years made me want to see their picture on face book---not a caricature, an animal, pictures when they were babies or teens--not even a picture of the movie star they most admire.

Face Book is a great way to communicate with those you care about. It's even a great way to get on a "soap box" and let others know what you are thinking about a particular subject. Yes, they care what you think. More than you know they do. Ok, so they don't care. But you can pretend they do and get all that "stuff" "off your chest."

I would love to see your face on face book and know what you have been up to.Who knows? You might enjoy it. You might even like to see my pretty face. You really might. Maybe.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One of my favorite writers, Philip Yancy, wrote: "A friend of mine once told me, 'I prayed every day that God would take away my thirst for drink, and every day when I woke up my first though was Jack Daniel's whiskey. Then one day I realized my craving for drink was the very reason I pray every day. My weakness drives  me to God.' That simple statement contains profound theology."

Let that thought sink in. The thought that "my craving for drink was the very reason I pray every day. My weakness drives me to God."

I don't especially  want to be driven to God. But if that's the only way to get to God then I'll take it.

Prayer has never come easy for me. I have always wanted to pray and be close to God.

For some of us it takes something very strong to drive us to God (like addiction to Jack Daniel's whiskey).

I'm praying that we, all of us, can be close to God without being driven.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.   Psalm 100:4

I LIKE TO START OFF MY DAY by thanking God for the basics: "Father, thank You for my health. Thank You for my children. Thank You for my family. Thank You for my home. Father, thank You for all You've done for me." Even when I pray, most of my praying these days is simply giving God thanks.

Friend, God already knows your needs. he already knows what you're going to say before you say it. There's nothing wrong with asking God for things---the Scripture clearly instructs us to look to Him to meet our needs---but we should spend more time praising Him for His goodness than requesting His goodies. We should spend more time giving God thanks for what He's already done than we do asking Him to do new things.

(Taken from Joel Osteen's devotional book, Your Best Life Begins Each Morning)


Monday, September 13, 2010

MONDAY - For many years my eyes were always on Sunday. Sunday was "my" day. I even paid "good money" to have one of those fortune teller kind of guys tell me that at the L.A. County Fair one year. Silly I  know. But I smiled and felt good about it. I said, "Yeh, that's right. Sunday is my day!" So for years Monday was the "morning after". Yeh, I always had a "hang over." But now? Now, in retirement everyday is the same. I still like Sunday. But it's no longer "my" day.

WORK - W O R K? Anymore that word scares the daylights out of me. It didn't use to. I have worked all my life and was never too bothered by it. But now, even the thought of work makes me tired. In a few minutes I will drag out my old bib overalls and "suit up." I started wearing these silly looking things because a dear friend does. Sounds like a teenager. Doesn't it? I need to water things in the back yard that don't get watered by the automatic watering system. Then I'll backwash the pool and put in chemicals. After that, I'll get back to restoring an old croquet set that I let sit outside and fall apart.

BOOKS - Books are a big part of every day of my life. I just looked up and around from my computer and I see thirteen books I need to get to---and will. They are not on my schedule of things to do today. They are just there.

FOOTBALL - Oh no, I won't be playing. I'm just basking in the joy of knowing the Arizona Cardinals won yesterday. Yes, it was ugly. And if they keep playing like that they may never win again. But for now, I'll take the win and enjoy it. I did hate it that the quarterback for the Rams had to lose. He's from Oklahoma University and if he had been playing any other team I would have been cheering for him to win. He played a great game.

CHARLOTTE - Ah yes, Charlotte! Much of today will be spent with her. It's true I will be doing this and that that doesn't involve her, but no day---I mean no day, would be complete without her in it.

I hope you have a great Monday----and Tuesday, and Wednesday---you get the idea.


Friday, September 10, 2010

"Many Christians are stuck in the Mary Magdalene phase of 'They have taken my Lord, and I do not know where they laid him.'

"Christ wants to become in your life and mine a verb, not a noun."

"'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel--which means 'God with us.' But God with us, not for thirty-three years, but forever."

"I have a Jewish colleague who is more energized by a Messiah who has not yet appeared than many of my Christian colleagues are by a Messiah who is living in our midst. A Messiah who came two thousand years ago but does not come today is a what-difference-does-it-make? Messiah. The person and presence of Jesus are still available 24/7. 'My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.' For this reason Augustine could say that God is intimior intimo meo, or 'closer to me than I am to myself.'"

"The fundamental fact of Christian faith is this: Christ is alive! 'HE LIVES!' 'I know that my Redeemer lives.' 'We Serve a RISEN Savior.' 'Because HE lives, I can face tomorrow.'

"I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."

"The great 'I AM' is not the great 'I was.'"

(The above thoughts were taken from Leonard Sweet's book, Nudge--Awakening Each Other To The God Who's Already There.)


You Were Made To Make A Difference
By Max Lucado

OVERVIEW: In Outlive Your Life, Max Lucado is sharing a story that is very close to his heart. It's a story of hillbillies and simple folk, net casters and tax collectors. A story of a movement that exploded like a just-opened fire hydrant out of Jerusalem and spilled into the ends of the earth: into the streets of Paris, the districts of Rome, and the ports of Athens, Istanbul, Shanghai, and Beunos Aires. A story so mighty, controversial, head spinning, and life changing that two millennia later we wonder: MIGHT IT HAPPEN AGAIN? Max writes that he hopes so. These are devastating times: 1.75 billion people are desperately poor; one billion are hungry. Lonely hearts indwell our neighborhoods and attend our schools. In the midst of it all, here we stand: you, me, and our one-of-kind lives. We are given a opportunity to make a big difference during a difficult time. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope. Max asks: Worth a try, don't you think?

AUTHOR:  Max Lucado is a minister who writers and a writer who preaches. He and his wife, Denalyn, serve the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Max has written twenty-seven inspirational books, three fiction,  twenty-four gift books and has served as general editor for four Bibles.

MY REVIEW: Max Lucado is one of my favorite writers and has been for years. I have many of his books and have read some of them three or four times. Outlive Your Life is one of his best. I am pleased that one hundred percent of his royalties from Outlive Your Life products will benefit children and families through World Vision and other ministries of faith-based compassion. Max is one of the best story tellers I know of and this book is crammed with inspirational stories. This book will motivate you to be an authentic Christian. I agree with Richard Stearns, the author of another great book, The Hole in Our Gospel, when he said, "Outlive Your Life is one of those rare books that can change your life." I recommend you buy a copy of this good book. You will be blessed in the reading and the money you pay for the book will benefit hurting children and families.

This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishing Company.


Thursday, September 09, 2010

A preacher at a little church someplace in the south is planning to burn the Koran.

Does he have the right to do it. Absolutely. Should he do it? No! It's not the right thing to do.

It's just like building the Mosque in New York City. They have the right. But it's not the right thing to do.

Don't burn the Koran. Expose it.

Instead of burning the Koran, the preacher should go through it highlighting all the evil parts and expose them. He doesn't even need to give his opinion on what they mean. He just needs to point out what the Koran says.

For example: Koran 9.5 instructs Muslims to kill unbelievers, to capture them, to ambush them.

That's all that he needs to do. Just point out what the Koran says. No need to burn it.

His motto needs to be: WE REPORT. YOU DECIDE.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Almost every day---if not every day, we need to ask ourselves, "Will this matter a year from now?"

This being all kinds of things: Disagreement with a loved one, or boss, a lost opportunity, rejection from a friend or friends.

Asking this question will not solve all your problems but it will help you see them in a "new light" and give you needed perspective.

This morning, for example, I got up laughing at something that has been bothering me for days. Why? Because I realize now that this thing I have been concerned about doesn't amount to "a hill of beans." Nobody cares about it but me. Well maybe my wife. But nobody else. Oh sure, others pretend to care. And I would like to believe they do. But I woke up this morning knowing they don't--not really.

I said to myself, "Buster (I call myself Buster sometimes when I'm talking to myself) nobody gives a flip about this but you. Get over it."

Will this matter a year from now? Flip, it won't matter two months from now. Yeh, I think that's about right two months. It shouldn't even matter two days from now. But I'm trying to be honest here.

No, it will not matter a year from now!

I'm already starting to feel better.

You should try this. It works.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Many feel that there is more to life than they are experiencing. They are asking, "Where is the treasure box of more?"

I like what Barbara Brown Taylor writes in her book, An Altar in the World:

People seem willing to look all over the place for this treasure. They will spend hours launching prayers into the heavens. They will travel halfway around the world to visit a monastery in India or take part in a mission trip to Belize. The last place most people look is right under their feet, in the everyday activities, accidents, and encounters of their lives."


Friday, September 03, 2010

He sits in the same place everyday. He smells. He coughs. He spits. That's all. He just sits there.

She talks on her cell phone as if the listener was in the room with her. She is loud. She is obnoxious.

He honks at you and then gives you "the finger." You wonder why.

He listens to music so loud that it leaks from his headphones

She hugs your bumper so close that you dare not touch your brakes.

You are trying to eat a quiet lunch in peace and he sits at a table across from you spewing out vulgar language. Some words you have never heard before.

Many human beings rarely do things the way I think they should do them. They "bug" me.

But all these people are precious in the sight of God the same way I am.

He died for them the same way he did for me. (John 3:16)

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37).

Every person is dealing with something. Every person is in the middle of their own scene.

I don't know why they act the way they do--but God does. Most of the time I'm not paying that much attention to them. I'm thinking about me.

God is paying attention! People are precious to him!


Our daughter took us to breakfast at Coco's this morning.

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day---although it's going to be HOT.

It is absolutely beautiful outside this morning. It's great to be alive.

I will be jumping in the pool again today. The pool days are numbered. Slowly but surely the water is getting a little cooler.

Baseball is ending. Football is starting up. There is a touch of fall in the air---just a touch.

My favorite time of the year in the valley of sun is coming on, not strong---but it's coming.

We won't have a fire in the fireplace until sometime around Thanksgiving and only then to knock the chill off in the morning. But the anticipation is almost as good as the real thing.

Normally I read upstairs in my favorite reading chair with the light coming in over my shoulders from the East window. Then when it's cool enough to have the fireplace going I like to snuggle up with a book in the family room in another great chair.

Did I mention that it's suppose to be 111 today?


Thursday, September 02, 2010

It's the hot nights I don't like.

It was 108 today and I don't especially like that. But it gets that hot during the day in many other places.

It's the hot nights I don't like.

It's almost 9:00 p.m. right now and it's still 104 degrees outside.

We moved here from Stockton, California. It gets hot there during the day in the summer. But it cools off at night. I have been outside at night on the Fourth of July watching fireworks and wearing a coat.

Stockton is an inland seaport. A deep water channel runs right into the down town area. It is a strange sight to look out over a field with a tall crop and see a ship sailing along. There are also many water canals in the area. As I said, it gets cool at night in Stockton.

It will not even begin to cool down here until the wee hours of the morning.

I love Arizona and have from the moment we arrived.

Did I mention it's the hot nights I don't like?


It seems I have been talking all my life.

After all I preached for forty-seven years, for goodness sake.

It almost seems like God said, "Look Clif, you've talked enough. Shut up and listen for a while."


For the past six years I have been trying to listen more. It's not easy.

We have great churches in Phoenix but I looked all over before I found a preacher I could listen to.

Slowly but surely I am coming to "Speak, Lord; your servant is listening" instead of "Listen, Lord; your servant is speaking."

I like what Leonard Sweet said on this subject: "...the quieter we become, the chattier God gets. Just as when you keep silence, someone tends to talk more and reveal more, so when we keep silence before God, God tends to reveal more or we hear more. Do you want more of God? Then shut up and listen." 


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Three daily devotion books and a One Year Bible sit on a lamp stand beside my favorite "reading" chair. I read through them last year and I am doing a hit and miss job of reading them again this year. The following devotion is from Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Begins Each Morning.

PERHAPS YOU CAN'T STAND someone in your life, and you wonder when God is going to change them. Have you considered that to change you God may have purposely arranged for you to be in close proximity to that person? He may be trying to toughen you up a little and teach you to have some endurance, to not run from everything that is hard, uncomfortable, or inconvenient.

God is not going to change anyone you are dealing with until He first changes you. But if you'll quit complaining about everybody around you and, instead, start taking a good look inside and working with God to change you, God will change those other people. Begin today to examine your own heart and see if there are attitudes and motives that you need to change.