Friday, June 24, 2016

Top 10 Signs Your Pastor is Watching Too Much "Fixer Upper"

America is in love with Chip and Joanna Gaines. Your pastor may be among the many suffering from "Magnolia Mania." So watch for these important signs!

10) Disappointed that the church council won't approve his idea that the interior of the church be done in "ship lap."

9) Broke his arm hanging from a tree "just like Chip does."

8) Infuriates congregation by changing name of church from "Immanuel" to "Magnolia" Lutheran.

7) Entitles his sermon on the great flood, "Demo Day!"

6) Announces a new sermon series on great Biblical characters. First up: Joanna!

5) Looks odd while leading worship with a tool belt around his alb.

4) Proposes that new altar furniture be built by Clint Harp

3) Every fifth word in his sermon is "back splash."

2) Won't take off his new t-shirt, "Keep Waco Wacko."

And the number one sign that your pastor is watching too much "Fixer Upper?"

1) Tells parishioners, "Just call me Chip!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It's time for my annual summer blog vacation!

Yes, this time each summer I take a blog vacation.  The reason is pretty simple.  I'm so tired.

You see, blogging is hard work.  I spend 15-20 minutes a day working on my blog.  Now, if you multiply that amount of time by, say, 100 years, well, that's a lot of time.  So, you can see why I'm exhausted.

I want to keep things fresh so it makes sense to take a little break.  How will I spend my time? Probably, I'll take four hours a day to checkout other blogs.  Unless they all have taken a blog vacation too.  Then I will just switch over to ESPN to watch some of my favorite sports games.

I especially want to thank the 48.9 people who read my blog each day.  I think the majority of those who read the blog are Life in Christ members.  I know it's not my family.  One Sunday at dinner I happened to mention something I wrote earlier in the week and my kids said in unison, "You have a blog?"  But really I don't mind that they don't check out my blog.  And I'm sure they won't mind thatt I've changed my will and am now leaving my estate to the 48.9 people who faithfully read each day.

And you thought you were wasting your time!

Well, gotta get this blog vacation going! I will return on July 15 with a great article about

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

You're thinking of getting a dog?

Over the years I've found much useless advice from the pen of Dave Barry.  For example, if you're thinking of getting a dog, Dave says...

You want a dog that will run headfirst at full speed into a wall chasing a ball that you have only pretended to throw.  You want a dog that will do this ten consecutive times, and still, on your 11th fake throw, launch itself at the wall with undiminished enthusiasm.  You want a dog that considers you brilliant because of all the amazing things you can do, such as open a door; a dog that worships you as a treat-dispensing god; a dog that, when you have an intestinal flu and reek like a Hong Kong Dumpster because you have not showered or changed pajamas or brushed your teeth in four days, and you are crouched in the bathroom spewing random fluids and semi-solids from every orifice you possess, your dog is right there next to you, wagging its tail and licking you and just generally doing everything it can to communicate the message: "Wow! You have never smelled more amazing!"

You're welcome!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Health - it's a wonderful thing

About two and a half weeks ago I was suffering the worst pain in my life.  At one point I said to my dear, sweet wife, "Now I know what it feels like to have a baby!"  She disagreed.  But that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Since then I've made an early morning visit to the ER and multiple trips to Dr. Wright's office at Camelback Chiropractic.  As I left his office yesterday, Dr. Wright said, "From where you were two weeks ago to today, well. it's pretty close to being miraculous."

I'll buy that!

So between God's mercy and Dr. Wright's treatments I'm about 95% restored.  Still have a little numbness running on the outside of my right hand.  My pinky finger tingles all the time.  Dr. Wright says there is still a nerve that slightly irritated but hopefully it will become a happy nerve soon.

As it is, I'm a happy and grateful boy.

So my renewed health comes at just the right time.  Today, myself and 15 other LICL members will be attending part two of an evangelism/discipleship workshop.  At 5 pm I'll preach and my little group will provide the music for our Saturday service.  Holy Communion will be celebrated.  If you're in the neighborhood, join us!

Tomorrow, worship takes place at 8 and 10:45 am.  At 9:20 we'll be electing officers for 2016-18 and will receive an update from our treasurer on church finances.

It will be a busy weekend and, praise the Lord, I'm up for it.

Be blessed! Be God's!

Friday, June 10, 2016

From now on I need nothing except faith...

In need of a little Luther? Here's something for you to think about today:

Although I am an unworthy and condemned man, my God has given me in Christ all the riches of righteousness and salvation without any merit on my part, out of pure, free mercy, so that from now on I need nothing except faith which believes that this is true.  Why should I not therefore freely, joyfully, with all my heart, and with an eager will do all things which I know are pleasing and acceptable to such a Father who has ovewhelmed me with His inestimable riches? Therefore, I will give myself as a Christ to my neighbor, just as Christ offered Himself to me; I will do nothing in this life except what I see is necessary, profitable, and salutary to my neighbor, since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ.

Martin Luther, "Treasury of Daily Prayer," page 222-23

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Don't doubt God's goodness

I was thumbing through one of my Bibles the other day when I found a devotion I'd torn out of a booklet.

I can't tell you the year the devo was written.  But it was written about a hero of mine, Pistol Pete Maravich, college basketball's greatest scorer.  Let me share it with you:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8.

No one ever played basketball like Pete Maravich.  He was a ball-handling wizard, a scoring machine who broke nearly every major college scoring record.  Ten years as an NBA star and millions of dollars later, he retired - unhappy and empty.

But that's not the end of the story.  In 1983, Pete surrendered his life to Christ.  For the next four years, his driving passion was to share with others the wonderful joy he had found in Jesus.  Then, early in 1988, he died suddenly of heart failure.  He was only 40 years old.

Why did God take him? Why didn't he allow Pete to continue leading people to Christ with his hard-hitting testimony? Perhaps Pete's autopsy report holds the answer.  Doctors discovered that Pete had a congenital heart problem that should have prevented him from playing basketball.  In fact, they said he probably should have never lived beyond age 20.  Suddenly, we get a glimpse of God's marvelous ways.  He didn't take Pete early; He preserved his life until he had accepted Christ and made his testimony known.

When death claims a believer who is still in his prime, we wonder why.  That's natural.  But our wondering should never lead to doubting God's goodness or wisdom.  He remains trustworthy.  His ways are higher, and so much better, than our ways.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Christian without a church...

A Christian without a church is like a baseball player without a team or a soldier without an army. You aren't strong enough to survive alone.

Max Lucado, "The Gift for All People," page 137.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Yes, we have no VBS this year

Several folks at church last Sunday were asking me, "Will we have vacation Bible school this year?"

I was tempted to answer, "Yes! Our theme is 'Working in the Carpenter's Shop with Jesus."

"VBS will start at 5 am.  It will last for eight hours, not including two water breaks and one lunch break."

"Kids will learn the fine arts of drywalling, spray painting, and pouring cement, among others. This will be much better than working on some of the silly arts and crafts projects that come with many VBS kits."

"Kids should bring their own tool belts and lunch buckets.  We'll supply the water."

"So bring your children for an unforgettable VBS experience!"

But I didn't say any of that.

There are a number of different ministries that we have had to curtail or cancel because of our expansion project.  I'm certain that we will have a great VBS program for our kids next year.

And they'll get to leave their hard hats at home!

Monday, June 6, 2016

It's grace!

Do you remember when you became a teenager? Having reached his teen years, author Charles Swindoll thought he was pretty hot stuff.  His father, however, saw a healthy young man who wasn't too old to come outside and help with some yard work.  Swindoll's father asked, "Charles, come out and help me weed the garden."  Swindoll answered, "No! It's my birthday, remember?"

Wrong answer!

Swindoll writes, "My tone was sassy and my deliberate lack of respect was eloquent.  I knew better than to disobey my dad, but after all, I was the ripe old age of 13.  (My dad) set a new 100-meter record...he was in the house and all over me like white on rice, spanking me all the way out to the garden.  As I recall, I weeded until the moonlight was shining on the pansies."

Did Swindoll's disobedience put the kibosh on his birthday? He writes: "That same night (my dad) took me out to a surprise dinner.  He gave me what I deserved earlier.  Later he gave me what I did not deserve.  The birthday dinner was grace."

There are few verses in the Bible that better describe what grace is than Paul's wonderful words in Ephesians 2:8-9: For it it by grace that you have been saved through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works so that no one can boast.

Getting what we don't deserve.  That's grace - free, unmerited, undeserved.  Praise God for His grace!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Life in Christ is cool!

Yes, I know it's hot outside.  We'll probably set another record for heat by the end of the day.

But it's cool at Life in Christ.  So, be cool!

Worship with us today at 5 pm and cool off.  Or join us tomorrow at 8 or 10:45 am and chill.

Life in Christ is cool.  Join us!

Friday, June 3, 2016

It was 44 years ago today...

That the pastor got Sherri to say...


What do you get the girl who has stuck by you for 44 years?

A new piece of jewelry?

A shopping spree at the mall?

A trip to a romantic island?

New hedge clippers?


After all these years spending time together is the best gift I can give to her and she to me.

So it's time to bring this blog to an end.

I got other things to do.

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

So you're angry and...

You start to open your mouth to speak.  How are you at stopping yourself, biting your tongue or muzzling your mouth? We've all had our moments when it would have been better to have remained silent instead of letting our emotions get the best of us.

Heed this word of warning from Dr. Lawrence Peter:

Speak when you are angry - and  you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret.

From "Imagine 5:16" page 167

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I'm looking forward to...

Seeing our expansion project moving forward.  Work is nearly completed on the new offices/music room/chapel and efforts have moved to working on the overflow area of the sanctuary.  As far as I can tell, the elevator shaft and stairwells are finished so work on the foundation of the Christian Life Center can soon begin.

Reading the new book, "For the Glory - The Life of Eric Liddell," by Duncan Hamilton.  If you saw the film, "Chariots of Fire," you'll remember Liddell's name.  He was Britain's great hope to win the 100 yard dash but announced he would not compete in the race because the finals would be held on a Sunday.  Liddell, a child of missionaries, had been taught that Sunday was the Lord's Day, a day of rest for His people.  Instead, Liddell ran and won a gold medal in a different race and then returned to the mission field in China following his Olympic experience.  Reviews of the book indicate that Hamilton offers a full portrait of the man who serves as an inspiration and example for me.

Getting some more relief from the neck and arm pain I'm feeling.  God has been merciful - this time last week my pain level was 10+.  Today, it is at a 2.  I still have soreness in my neck and shoulder and a little pain running down my right arm.  My ring and pinkie fingers are still quite numb.  I hope to have today the results of an MRI I took on Friday night.  I'm praying that with those results my doctor will have a clear idea as to how to continue treatments so that I find full relief.

What are you looking forward to? Isn't it a blessing that we can do so with the confidence that our Lord is watching over us, hearing our prayers, protecting us from danger, pouring out His faith, hope and love upon us? Life is full of challenges but we have comfort from God's Word in knowing that the Lord is near.  Trust in His promises and believe that He is present as you go into this new day!