Saturday, October 30, 2010

I have birthdays on my mind. Last night we celebrated our daughter's birthday. Birthdays are special.

The following thoughts are from Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life.

You are no accident.

Your birth was no mistake or mishap, and your life is no fluke of nature. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He was not at all surprised by your birth. In fact, he expected it.

Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. he thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you! The Bible says, "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me." Job 12:10 TEV

We discover that meaning and purpose only when we make God the reference point of our lives.

The Message paraphrase of Romans 12:3 says, "The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us."

This poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:

You are who you are for a reason.
You're part of an intricate plan.
You're a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God's special woman or man.


Friday, October 29, 2010

The worldview framed on campuses from the 1960's on has now entered the mainstream of American life.

American Demographics magazine, summarizing a demographic study done in 1997, noted that there has been "a comprehensive shift in values, worldviews, and ways of life" that so far affects about one-fourth of American adults; this is the New Class, or what the article called the "Cultural Creatives." They embrace a new "trans-modernist" set of values, including "environmentalism, feminism, global issues, and spiritual searching." they often have a background in movements for social justice, civil rights, feminism, and New Age spirituality. Thoroughly postmodernist, they are skeptical, if not resentful of moral absolutes. They "see nature as sacred" and emphasize self-actualization and spiritual growth. They tend to be antihierarchical and embrace a public philosophy that is decentralized, democratic and egalitarian.

The upshot is that the most significant clash of worldviews is not between traditional religions or cultures; it is between classic Christian theism and naturalism.

We are in a mess. From the time that study was done we have moved rapidly toward this crazy worldview that has no room for God.  We must know not only what our worldview is and why we believe it but also how to defend it.

(Taken and adapted from the absolutely wonderful book, How Now Shall We Live? by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

"IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES." --Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

It seems to me that what we have here today is a paradox. I agree with Dickens--it's the best of times and the worst of times.

What is a person to do? Well, what I am not going to do is shout and run around "like a chicken with its head cut off."

What I am going to do is get up every day and act as sanely as I can, make as wise decisions as I am able and move on.

After reading a lengthy essay by a friend from my home town who is now a distinguished retired professor who is liberal in every way, I have decided that written debate with him is a waste of time. Is he hopeless? No. Not as long as he is alive and God hasn't brought things to a conclusion.

I have just decided that what God wants from me is for me to love Him with all my heart, soul and mind and to love my neighbor as myself.

He wants this to be the deciding factor in all I think, do and say. Big task!

But that's my goal for today, tomorrow, next Tuesday at the polls and every other day.

Yes, these are the best of times and the worst of times but I'm smiling because of GOD.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What She Believes and What it Means For America
By Stephen Mansfield and David A. Holland

OVERVIEW: From the moment she joined John McCain on the Republican ticket in 2008, Sarah Palin has stirred a firestorm of emotion rarely seen in American politics. These passions arise from critical fault lines she exposes in our country, fissures that reveal much about who we are and where we are heading as a nation. The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin examines these critical divisions, looking at them through the lens of Palin's life and faith. Neither biography nor commentary alone, this rather a reappraisal, one that exposes the contentious divisions that currently define our country, including: Religion in American Life, feminism and the conservative woman, the urban/rural divide and the rise of the Tea Party.

AUTHORS: Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times best selling author of The Faith of George W. Bush, Benedict XVI: His Life and Mission and Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill among other works of history and biography. He is in wide demand as a lecturer and speaker. David A. Holland is an author, speaker, media consultant, and award-winning copywriter who writes the popular blog and the satirical He is the co-author of Paul Harvey's America, as well as numerous articles, essays, and opinion pieces.

MY REVIEW: Before I write another word I want to say: I like this book. I like it very much! This is a moving story about a woman who has become a force--a moral force in this country. She is tough, tender, pretty and has a winsome personality that just reaches out and grabs you. She knows what she believes and has the "guts" to stand up for these beliefs. This book makes it clear that the thing that drives her and is the force behind all that she does is her Christian faith. The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin is well written and flows from page to page. If you have an interest in and concern about politics in America you will want to read this good book. If you have no interest in politics but love people and are interested in what "makes them tick" then you will find this great reading. Yes, I recommend this book without reservation.

(This book was provided by FirstWildCard Yahoo! Group for an honest review)


Monday, October 25, 2010

How One Great Team
Can Transform an Entire Organization
by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

OVERVIEW:   From New York Times bestselling authors and renowned leadership consultants Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton comes a groundbreaking guide to building high-performance teams. What is the true driver of a thriving organization's exceptional success? Is it a genius leader? An iron-clad business plan? Gostick and Elton shatter these preconceptions of corporate achievement. Their research shows that breakthrough success is guided by a particular breed of high-performing team that generates its own momentum--an engaged group of colleagues in the trenches, working passionately together to pursue a shared vision. Their research also shows that only 20 percent of teams are working anywhere near this optimal capacity. This book will help your team become one of them.

AUTHORS:  Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton are coauthors of The Carrot principle and The Daily Carrot Principle which are sold in more than fifty countries around the world. Gostick is the leader of O.C. Tanner Company's employee engagement training and publishing practice. Elton is a popular lecturer on motivation, and an influential voice in global workplace trends. He is O.C. Tanner's lead employee engagement consultant and researcher, working with numerous Fortune 100 clients.

MY REVIEW: Why would a retired minister be interested in a book like this? Good question. I am interested because I still love and work with the church at every opportunity. I want to do everything I can to encourage young ministers as they work with their congregations. I recommend this book to anyone who is a member of a team, works with teams or wants to be a part of a team. Gostick and Elton use a wealth of specific stories from the breakthrough teams they studied to reveal in detail how these teams operate and how managers can transform their own teams into such high performers by fostering: Stronger clarity of goals, greater trust among team members, more open and honest dialogue, stronger accountability for all team members and purpose-based recognition of team member' contributions. These are all thing that will benefit the church. Is this a good book for those in the business world? Absolutely! My interest is mainly in helping the church but I also am thrilled to see businesses succeeding. So again, I recommend this book without hesitation.

Note: This book is based on a 350,000 person survey into the characteristics of the most effective teams)


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blessed are they who are pleasant to live with---
Blessed are they who sing in the morning;
Whose faces have smiles for their early adorning;
Who come down to breakfast companioned by cheer;
Who don't dwell on troubles or entertain fear;
Whose eyes smile forth bravely; whose lips curve to say:
"Life, I salute you! Good morrow, new day!"
Blessed are they who are pleasant to live with---
Blessed are they who treat one another,
Though merely a sister, a father or brother,
With the very same courtesy they would extend
to a casual acquaintance or dearly loved friend;
Who choose for the telling encouraging things;
Who choke back the bitter, the sharp word that stings;
Who bestow love on others throughout the long day---
Pleasant to live with and blessed are they.
                                     Wilhelmina Stitch


Friday, October 22, 2010

I have been serious about life, all my life--too serious for my own good.

My problem has been that I have been so serious and concerned to do what was right that I felt compelled to say "yes" to every opportunity to serve.

We don't need to go through life "flying by the seat of our pants." But at the same time we need to "hang loose" enough to enjoy the moments of every day.

Life is made up of moments. Moments that keep coming one after another.

We need to face those moments for what they are and respond in an appropriate manner.

All moments are not to be faced with life determining seriousness as if our final destination is being determined.

As I look back over my life I have no fears that I have hung too loose. No, to the contrary, I have been far too serious--too serious for my own good and the good of those around me. 

Today I try. I may not succeed, but I try to live life from the Center. I want to be just as serious as Christ wants me to be and to trust His leading.

I want to say "yes" to all the serious opportunities the Lord sends my way for service and I want to laugh all the way to heaven.

I want to be serious--just not too serious!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

When I was in the ninth grade, every day after school I would walk several blocks to Mac's Grocery Store and go to work.

Mac's Grocery was a small---really small, neighborhood grocery store.

There are not many Mac's Grocery types left. We have moved on to bigger and better things.

Fry's Markets are big and packed to the brim with just about anything you want.

Well I thought I had seen it all until a few weeks ago---BOOM! WELCOME TO FRY'S SUPER STORE!

When you walk through the front door you come face to face with beautiful flowers in their floral shop. Turn to the right and you walk past different places to buy food, sit down and eat it. And then there is bread and pastries of every kind at their bakery and it goes on and on.

The young oriental fellow hawking rice cakes (or something) is loud enough to be heard all over the store. There is an air of excitement and people are smiling. I didn't see a lot of smiling when I worked at Mac's.

I went from Mac's to a larger store and ended up working several years in the grocery business. I guess it kinda got "in my blood." So if you are not as excited about Fry's Super Store as I am---I understand. But if you are driving past Tatum and Shea you should turn in for a visit just out of curiosity, especially if you are hungry.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

There is a need today for moxey.

We need voices of dissent that point to another way.

We need to take exception to the givens of society.

We need to stop always feeling that we need to be politically correct.

Political correctness is just a bunch of crud!

What we need is guts! That's right--guts!

We need to stand up for truth and stand opposed to what is not true.

If society is jarred by our words and actions---so be it.

Jesus said, "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim
over with new wine.    Proverbs 3:9-10

IF YOU WANT TO LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE now, you must develop a lifestyle of living to give instead of living to get. You can do this in many practical ways. If you have things lying around your house or in storage that you are never going to use again, why not give those things away to someone who could use them?

Our minds can conjure up all kinds of excuses when God begins unclasping our sticky fingers. Human nature wants to hold on to everything. But you probably have all sorts of other things that you haven't used in ages! If it's not meeting a need, turn it into a seed. Remember, we will reap what we sow.

(From Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Begins Each Morning)


Monday, October 18, 2010

My wife is coming home today from her Girls' Getaway Cruise.

A clean house plus several completed projects will be waiting for her along with a dozen pink (her favorite color) roses.

I started to buy her a box of dark chocolates from See's but she said when she returns from the cruise she will probably need to cut back on her eating.

I will really be happy to see her. 

Saturday nights I am usually up late watching the Arizona State football game. Charlotte goes on to bed. There was no game this week.

Sitting in church Sunday I was probably with about 1500 to 2000 people. I missed Charlotte and our daughter, Carol.

Sunday afternoons I usually watch the Arizona Cardinals all afternoon. There was no game this week.

When that ol plane touches down at Sky Harbor there will not be a crowd there to greet Charlotte and Carol and I will not be there waving a big banner saying, "WELCOME HOME !"

But my old heart will be thumping loudly and I will whisper in her ear, "Welcome home babe."


Saturday, October 16, 2010

The following is taken and adapted from John Ortberg's great book, Everybody's Normal Till You Get To Know Them.

There is a little volume called The All Better Book in which elementary school children try to solve some of the world's knottiest problems. Here's the toughest: "With billions of people in the world, someone should be able to figure out a system where no one is lonely." What do you suggest?"

People should find lonely people and ask their name and address. Then ask people who aren't lonely their name and  address. When you have an even amount of each, assign lonely and not lonely people together in the newspaper.
                                                               Kalani, Age 8 (Obviously this is a girl
                                                                            with the gift of administration)                          
 We could get people a pet or a husband or a wife and take them places.
                                                                          Matt, Age 8 (This makes you wonder about                   
                                                                                               Matt's understanding of marriage.)

But the most touching response, the one that can break your heart comes last:

 Sing a song. Stomp your feet. Read a book. (Sometimes I think
                                    no one loves me, so I do one of these.)
                                                                                             Brian, Age 8

"With billions of people in the world, someone should be able to figure our a system where no one is lonely."

Someone did

...God invites us into the Fellowship of the Trinity. You see, the Father is very fond of you. 


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sing it Willie!

"She's gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone
Crying won't bring her back

Each tick of the clock's a reminder
She's gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone"

She left on a jet plane........

My wife of fifty-two years has left me here in the desert.

For several days she will be cruising with author Karen Kingsbury, our daughter, my nephew's wife and daughter and a ship load of Christian ladies.

They will have a wonderful time. I wanted her go. But in my head and heart I can hear old Willie Nelson singing:

"She's gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone."


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I never really wanted to be a blogger but I am so glad I became one. It never fails to amaze me how much encouragement I receive from my blogging friends. And one of the world's greatest encouragers is my blogging friend Loren who is celebrating her birthday today. This is my birthday wish for her.

                                                 A BIRTHDAY WISH

I do not wish you joy without a sorrow,
  Nor endless day without the healing dark,
Nor brilliant sun without the restful shadow,
  Nor tides that never turn against your bark.

I wish you love, and strength, and faith, and wisdom,
  Goods, gold enough to help some needy one.
I wish you songs, but also blessed silence,
  And God's sweet peace when every day is done.
                                                Dorothy Nell McDonald


Monday, October 11, 2010

I have spent my life thinking about saving or restoring people.

When I think about restoring, Galatians 6:l comes to mind: " who are spiritual should restore him gently."

The old song, Rescue The Perishing also comes to mind.

Restoring is my business. So when I saw my old, almost fifty year old croquet set, dirty, moldy, falling apart and almost beyond repair I couldn't stand idly by any longer.

I restored it!

It was in shambles, in a box, on its way to the junk pile.

Many times I thought it's hopeless. There is no way that ugly thing will ever come "back to life."

But it did!

"Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, Cords that are broken will vibrate once more." - Fanny Crosby

Play ball! 



Saturday, October 09, 2010

This is a true story of a man and his wife who could not find peace in any manner in the Untied States. While working with the Navigators he was offered the opportunity to work in Uganda.He talked to his wife and children and they prayed. His wife said, "If that's the door God has opened for us, I'm ready for the challenge."

So they flew to Nairobi, Kenya, where he put his family up in a hotel while he rented a Land Rover and drove across the border into the country of Uganda to check out the situation.

This was just after Idi Amin's reign of terror. The first thing the man saw as he came into the village were several young kids with automatic weapons shooting them off into the sky. And he thought, "Lord are You in this?"

At the little hotel there was only one room available that he would have to share with someone. He dropped to his knees and confessed to God that he was afraid and asked God to show him that He was involved in this move. The door opened and there stood this six-foot five-inch African frowning at him and saying in beautiful English "What are you doing in my room?" and "What are you doing in my country?" He answered, "Well, I'm with a little organization called the Navigators." The African broke into an enormous grin, threw his arms around his new roommate and laughed out loud and cried, "Praise God, praise God."

The African man has been praying for two years for God to send someone to him from that organization. And he pulled out a little Scripture memory-verse pack, and at the bottom of each of the verses it read, "The Navigators, Colorado Springs, Colorado."

The door of new hope flew open for the man from Colorado. That African became a member of the man's board, helped him find a place to live, helped him rebuild a section of his home, taught him all about the culture, assisted him with the language, and became his best friend for the many years they were there, serving Christ...who "opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens."

Doors are closed. Doors are opened. Lives are changed.

(Taken and adapted from Charles R. Swindoll's wonderful book, The Mystery of God's Will)


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Singing about L.A., one of my favorite singers, Neil Diamond belts out, "Sun shines most of the time..."

And he's right. It does. L.A.'s fine!

The same is true in these parts---Phoenix, Scottsdale, all over Arizona.

Yes, yes, I know, you heard. Thunder storms, lightening, rain---even a tornado paid Arizona a visit.

But that kind of thing is rare around here, and it didn't last long.

The sun is out bright and beautiful today. There is a slight touch of fall in the air.

Charlotte and I will be spending a little time at the gym this morning. She is getting in shape for a great Caribbean cruise she is going on with a bunch of Christian women. At least she said it is a group of women.

And me, I'm getting ready............Hey, I'm getting ready to be LEFT BEHIND!

Oh well, if one has to be left behind, there's no better place than sunny Arizona!

Charlotte and I have been married fifty-two years. She needs a break from me.

And after a few days at sea with all those women, she will come running back to these lovin' arms!

Running that is, if she gets in shape at the gym


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Speaking at an A.A. meeting, Philip Yancy tells about his friend George. I think the church could learn some valuable lessons from George.

Here is what Yancy said:

"Several times in my writing I've referred to my alcoholic friend George, who happens to be here tonight. He told me that when he first stumbled into an A.A. meeting on a bitterly cold night some twenty years ago a group of total strangers welcomed him with open arms and told him to "Keep coming back." George had hit bottom, his life was a mess, and since nobody else was telling him that in those days, he accepted their invitation.

George sometimes gets a different response from his church friends. "Aren't you done with that issue yet?" they ask. And this is what George says: 'I realize that for the rest of my life, I can go to A.A. meetings and nobody will ask me, 'Aren't you finished with all this talk about your alcoholism?' They will just say, 'Keep coming back--glad you could make it.'"


Tuesday, October 05, 2010




THE MYSTERY of GOD'S WILL   By Charles Swindoll





EVERYTHING CHRISTMAS  (Celebrate the Joy of the Advent Season with the Best of Christmas, Past & Present)

Now I'm off to the gym but when I return I better get to reading!!


Monday, October 04, 2010

By Charles Swindoll

OVERVIEW: The Church Awakening is primarily for two groups of people:  First, for serious, clear-thinking, tough-minded churchgoers, who know there is a better way and are courageous enough to stand against the swelling tide of postmodernism; Second, for pastors, especially those on the fence, who need permission to buck the tide and put the preaching of the Word of God back in its central place in the church's worship, where it belongs.

AUTHOR: Charles R. Swindoll is Senior Pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. He is also president of Dallas Theological Seminary and host of the internationally syndicated radio program Insight for Living. He is a prolific author with many best-selling books. His practical application of the Bible to everyday living makes God's truths a reality to hurting people.

MY REVIEW: Charles Swindoll is one of my favorite writers and preachers. I have many of his books and have listened to him preach on the radio and in person.This new book, which is an urgent call for church renewal, is one of his most important books. My review copy is an advance reading copy so I cannot quote from it. Please take my word for it---this book is packed with needed and valuable information. Swindoll points out that biblical ignorance is intensifying, even in the church. He also points out that in spite of this Christ will be triumphant in the end, and those of us who stand with Him and live for Him will be victorious. That's good news! And that's the foundational message of this powerful book. I recommend this valuable book to all church members and those who preach.

(I received this advance reading copy from FaithWorks a division of Hachette Book Group)


Friday, October 01, 2010

Being patient and understanding of others has never been one of my strong points.

I appreciate what Barbara Brown Taylor said in her book, A Geography of Faith-- AN ALTAR in the World.

She is describing a practice of hers when riding the subway.

"I study the particular human beings sitting around me: the girl with the fussy baby, the guy with the house paint all over his jeans, the couple holding hands, the teenager keeping time with both knees while he listens to music so loud it leaks from his headphones. Every one of these people has come from somewhere and is going somewhere, the same way I am. (Emphasis mine) While I am sitting here thinking I am at the center of this subway scene and they are on the edges, they are sitting there at the center of their own scene with me on their edges. Every one of them is dealing with something, the same way I am. (Emphasis mine) We are breathing the same air, for this little time at least. Sometimes I say the Lord's Prayer under my breath while I look from one of them to the next, but this is optional. Paying attention to them has already shifted my equilibrium. For all I know, one of them is practicing reverence on me."


Can you hear me singing? "Stayin' Alive, stayin' alive, Ah, ha,ha,ha, staying' alive, stayin' alive, Ah ha,ha,ha, stayin' alive."

Yesterday when I joined 24 Hour Fitness Health Club, they asked, "What are your goals?"

My answer: "Stayin' alive, stayin' alive, Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive."

The health club is open 24 hours a day. Needless to say I will not be exercising 24 hours a day. But I will be trying to stay alive!

Now I have got to go. I'm off to my Tai Chi class.