Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Another gem from Luther

To the extent we are Christians, we stand above the law and sin. Christ is the Lord of the law.  He is present and locked in our hearts, just as a precious stone is firmly mounted in a ring. When the law accuses us and sin terrifies us, all we need to is look at Christ. When we have taken hold of Him in faith, we have the victor over the law, sin, death and the devil with us. Because Christ rules over all of these, we won't be harmed.

From "Faith Alone," July 14

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It's gonna be a busy week

Prepare Saturday and Sunday services and two Memorial Services

Prepare Sunday sermon and two messages for Memorial Services

Prepare new Sunday morning Bible study

Meet with Congregational President and marketing expert on possible campaign

Get Treasuring God's Word ready for another week

And all the unplanned stuff that comes up in a typical week

I'd better get to work!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why serve?

The Christian knows to serve the weak not because they deserve it but because God extended His love to us when we deserved the opposite. Christ came down from heaven, and whenever His disciples entertained dreams of prestige and power He reminded them that the greatest is the one who serves. The ladder of power reaches up, the ladder of grace reaches down.

Phillip Yancey, "What's So Amazing About Grace," page 266

Saturday, July 22, 2017

To worship we will go...

Yes. come and join us this weekend for worship - Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday at 8 and 11 am.

I'll be preaching at all three services - the message is titled, "Help When You Need It The Most."

Hope to see you at LICL!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Praying With Eyes Wide Open

It all began by accident.  A father and daughter are out on a walk.  They decide to pray together and in the next moment father knocks over daughter and they both fall to the ground. It turned out that when he began to pray father closed his eyes, as most if not all Christians do.  Obviously, it's a bit difficult to walk with your eyes closed.   However, this form of prayer provided a discovery for father and daughter - praying with eyes wide open.

That story sets up the premise of Sherry Harney's new book on prayer.  She makes the convincing point that praying with eyes open can add a new dimension to a person prayer life.  She recounts all the different ways that God's people pray.  But there is not one Biblical admonition that one must pray with eyes closed.  Praying with opened eyes engages the senses in an entirely different way.

Harney writes in the introduction: "Praying with our eyes open...allows us to see what is happening around us and engage in prayer in new ways.  Rather than closing our eyes to block out the world, we open our eyes, like Jesus did.  We see the need and pain as well as the beauty and joy all around us. What we see shapes our prayers."

Harney writes in an easy engaging style.  The book is filled with Scriptural references to prayer and also includes a number of stories about people who found that praying with eyes opened enhanced their prayer life.  If your prayer and devotional time has become routine and humdrum, you just might be blessed by "Praying With Eyes Wide Open."

Thursday, July 20, 2017

This is the way I always imagined it.

Jesus is dead, crucified on a cross. His body is buried in a borrowed tomb.

The devil gathers his minions and they celebrate.  What Satan could not do in the desert, at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, when he spent 40 days throwing every temptation imaginable at Jesus, he has finally done, working through the jealous Pharisees and the cowardly Roman governor.

While toasting themselves with hot toddies (because all drinks there are hot!) Jesus suddenly appears in their midst, very much alive.

According to the Apostles' Creed, "He descended into hell." Thus began Jesus' exaltation.

He is victor over death and sin and the devil.

Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father.  But one day He will return to this earth "to judge the living and the dead." Come, Lord Jesus!

Until then, we wait with hope.  We believe in "the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting."

The devil's banner is torn down.  Jesus is very much alive - "the resurrection and the life."

Praise Jesus!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

No, nothing can separate us from God's love in Christ!

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So positive is Paul of the truth of his words that he resorts to poetic hyperbole in listing all conceivable crisis.  Today we might say: "I am persuaded that neither sickness nor death, neither poverty nor want, neither unemployment nor enforced idleness, neither an unfaithful spouse nor wayward children, neither family bitterness nor rancor, calamity nor disaster - nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which we have found in Christ Jesus, our Lord!"

Does this sound too abstract, too theological? By no means! When the crisis moment is upon us, when all human resources have failed, when all "helping hands" have proved devoid of help - how soul-sustaining it is to know that standing at our side is the loving, caring, omnipotent Redeemer, from whom nothing can ever separate us. When despair would overtake us, let us turn to Him; let us walk with Him and talk with Him. He will grip our hand more firmly and lead us where His love would take us. In Him is our salvation.

Herman Gockel, "Daily Walk with God," page 384

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Revenge never works

Vengeance is a passion to get even. It is a hot desire to give back as much pain as someone gave you...The problem with revenge is that it never gets what it wants; it never evens the score. Fairness never comes. The chain reaction set off by every act of vengeance always takes its unhindered course. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain. Both are stuck on the escalator as long as parity is demanded, and the escalator never stops, never lets anyone off.

Lewis Smedes, quoted in "What's So Amazing About Grace," page 115

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Perfect You

"The Perfect You," the latest book from Dr. Caroline Leaf, is not an easy or quick read.  It's not a book that you'll leisurely read while relaxing on the beach.  It's not something that you can plow your way through while the kids are creating chaos in the house.

For example, Dr. Robert Turner, the author of the Forward to the book wrote: "As a neuroscientist, I love chapter 5...Dr. Leaf helps us understand the anatomical and physiological underpinnings of our particular ways of thinking, feeling and choosing. I appreciate how she weaves together three interrelated disciplines: neurospirituality, neuropsychology and neurophysiology." Whaaaaaat?

I found it a great challenge to read chapter 5 and all the material before it.  The technical and scientific jargon was difficult for me to understand. More interesting and helpful was the Unique Qualitative (UQ) Assessment tool in chapter six.  There are about 100 questions that are designed to help the reader gain an understanding of who they are and how and why they react to things as they do.  Again, this section will not be completed in 15 minutes.

I also struggle with the title of the book.  There is no perfect "you." That perfection was lost in the fall of the garden.  Because of our sinful human nature there will never be a time in life when the perfect feeling and thinking "you" will show up.  However, for the person who struggles in living life day by day, "The Perfect You" could be helpful for understanding one's self and learning how to overcome those moods, feelings and circumstances that make one feel less than perfect.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Prayer...for Christ to Love Through Your Heart

O Lord, live in me. My Your love beat in and through my heart. May You speak through my voice. Jesus, be the strength of my soul and the fire that purges wrongs from my desires.  Fill me with Your great abounding grace. In Jesus' name.  Amen.

From "God is With You Every Day," page 193

Worship this weekend at Life in Christ - 5 pm today or 8 and 11 am tomorrow.

God bless your weekend!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Rooting for Katherine Kirk!

This weekend the LPGA Open Championship is being played and our family is rooting for Katherine Kirk.

She won the Thornberry Classic in Green Bay last weekend.  My son in law is the COO of the golf club and worked over a year to bring the event to the area.  Over 50,000 spectators attended throughout the week.

Kirk won by one shot.  She made clutch shots and putts when she needed to.  Sherri and I cheered when she sank a 10 foot putt on the 72nd hole to clinch the victory.

But what really impressed us was the fact that she is a believer in Jesus and wasn't afraid to show it.

Her yardage booklet had printed in bold letters "John 3:16." It was seem numerous times throughout the television coverage.

And she marked her golf ball with a cross and 3:16 written next to it.

My son in law and daughter met and spoke with Katherine after the tourney.  They said that she was warm, welcoming and spent time to talk with each of them and all the people that wanted to congratulate her on her stellar play.

Kirk shot 2 under par in the first round of the Open.  She trails the leader for four shots.

We're hoping she'll be gunning for the championship this weekend.  And hoping that her yardage book will be on display.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A collect for the week

O God, You have taught me to keep all Your commandments by loving You and my neighbor: Grant me the grace of Your Holy Spirit, that I may be devoted to you with my whole heart, and united to others with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From "The Divine Hours - Prayers for Summertime," page 201

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

God does what is best for us

Martin Luther, writing on Psalm 118:1 (Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever) offers this reflection:

God proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is good and merciful. His daily and continual goodness shows this in rich and powerful ways. This psalm says, "His mercy endures forever." In other words, God always does what is best for us.

From "Faith Alone," July 11 devotion

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Prayer...for Light and Joy

Father, thank You that You have no problem walking through the walls that I sometimes hide behind. I welcome You to come with Your forgiveness and shed Your light and joy into my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Max Lucado, "God is With You Every Day," page 214

Monday, July 10, 2017

How To Break Growth Barriers

Maybe you're a pastor or lay leader who has seen God bless your church with growth and believe that He is leading your church to make plans to move to the next level of growth.  Or perhaps you're a pastor of a church that seems to have reached it peak and you've got no idea of how to reverse the trend.

You would be wise to purchase a copy of "How To Break Growth Barriers," by Carl F. George and Warren Bird.

George has been consulting with pastors, lay leaders and congregations for years.  His experience and research have gone into this new book, offering ideas on how to change the pastor and church so growth can take place.  George is very transparent; he reveals some of his own weaknesses and challenges he faced while in the pastoral ministry.  If you are a pastor who feels overworked and burned out, you should read this book.

The chapter, "Should You Use More Than One Leadership Style" is probably worth the price of the book.  There you will read about Stakeholders, Berry Buckets, New Berries, Senior New Berries, Senior Formerberries and Junior Formerberries.  Makes no sense? I assure you, George provides real enlightenment on understanding the people of your congregation.

I'm not sure this is the best book Carl George has written.  But it may be his most important.

So this priest meets this peasant...

Brennan Manning tells the story of an Irish priest who, on a walking tour of a rural parish, sees an old peasant kneeling by the side of the road, praying. Impressed, the priest says to the man, "You must be very close to God." The peasant looks up from his prayers, thinks for a moment, and then smiles, "Yes, He's very fond of me."

From "What's So Amazing About Grace," by Philip Yancey, page 69.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Remembering Mary

Today would have been Mary Croushore's birthday.  Mary, pictured above with Kirk Brunmeier and Jan Hagar, was a wonderful servant of the Lord.  She simply enjoyed helping other people.  And she always made sure that LICL put its best foot forward, so to speak, through greeting and ushering at worship and by the way she did her work in the office.

Mary suffered for about a year or so from ALS.  She suffered while displaying great courage and steadfast faithfulness in her Lord and Savior.  In ministering to Mary I got to know her daughter Anita and her family and also Mary's friend, Bob Faulkner.  I watched in awe as they loved and supported Mary.  And they were by her side as the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, led Mary through the valley of the shadow of death so that she might rest in His arms until the Last Day, "the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting."

Thank You, O Lord, for blessing us with Mary's love, friendship and care.  She modeled Your compassion in the way she helped and served others.  Enable us to do the same until that last great day when the trumpet sounds and You receive the greatest escort we will ever see, when you come to judge the living and the dead.  We will be reunited with our loved ones who kept the faith and trusted You for forgiveness, life and salvation.  What a reunion that will be! We look forward to that day when we shall all together give You our total worship and praise.  What a joy it will be to stand with Mary on that day.  Keep us in the one true faith until You come again.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Worship this weekend at LICL - Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday at 8 and 11 am.  Have a blessed day!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Oh, did I forget...

To let you know I was going on vacation? Well, I did forget and I felt badly about that.  I know how frustrating it can be to visit a blog day after day and find no new content.  So, I'll try not to let it happen again.  Deal?

We spent almost 2 glorious weeks in Green Bay, Wisconsin visiting my youngest daughter, Katie, and her family.  My oldest, Stephanie, and her family joined us for a couple of days,  Green Bay is a wonderful place to visit in the summertime.  Most days the highs were in the mid 70's so Sherri and I tried to soak up all the cool breezes we could.

We were able to celebrate my grandson, Luke's birthday (age 9) and Drew's birthday (age 5).

We were continually amused by the antics of our other grandboys, Ethan (age 7) and Duke (age 2).

I spent quality time with Katie's dog, Howie.  (See below)

For the third year in a row we got to see a Peninsula Players performance - the best one yet!

Visited the downtown Green Bay Farmers Market - great food trucks and lots of local produce and plenty of cheese.

Went out to Thorneberry Creek Golf Club which is hosting an LPGA golf tourney.  My son in law, Josh, is the COO of the club and has been working to bring the LPGA to Green Bay for more than a year.  All his hard work paid off! The first round is in the books and the remaining three rounds will be televised (in part) on the Golf Channel (which we will be watching from start to finish).

As we flew in to Phoenix last night the pilot announced, "Welcome to Phoenix or as it is better known, the surface of the sun!"  And even though it was mighty hot, like Dorothy we had to exclaim, "There's no place like home."


Monday, June 26, 2017

Summer has officially arrived

Everyone has a way to officially mark summer.  The first 100 degree day...the first 120 degree day.

Here's what signals summer for me.  I go out each morning to pick up the paper.  When it is no longer cool but hot and sticky at 6 am, well, that's when summer begin for me.

It's summer! Stay cool!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

It's a weekend to worship

At Life in Christ! Won't you join us?

Saturday at 5 pm...Sunday at 8 and 11 am...classes for all ages at 9:30 am.

Hope to see you this weekend at LICL!

Unparalleled

Perhaps you've heard comments like: "We all worship the same God." "All religions are pretty much the same." "All paths lead to heaven so just take one."

Yes? Actually, the answers are No, no and no! And Jared C. Wilson explains why this is so in his new book, "Unparalleled."

In 10 masterfully written chapters, Wilson demonstrates how Christianity stands separated from every other faith.  He shows how Christianity is the only religion which teaches that a person can't save themselves; that only Christianity sees Jesus as He really is - True God and true man; that Christianity is the only religion that is built on the foundation of grace and love.

Weaving personal stories with powerful Biblical teaching, Wilson has written a book that should be in every pastor's study, on every church library's shelves and in every Christian's home. "Unparalleled" will bolster a person's faith in Christ and offer ideas on how to engage unbelievers by sharing the uniqueness of the Christian faith.  And reading this book will make a believer feel good knowing that faith in Jesus Christ is not in vain.  Christianity is different and as Wilson proves - that's good!

"Unparalleled" is easily one of the best books I've read this year.  Kudos to Jared Wilson for reminding me that there is nothing like Christianity.  It's unparalleled!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Why didn't I just buy the wallpaper?


I could have saved myself so much money!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What makes Christianity unique?

The Gospel makes Christianity unique among all other religious and philosophical systems of enlightenment, approval or success because while every other system primarily teaches things to do, only Christianity primarily teaches that the things to do are done.

"Unparalleled" by Jared Wilson, page 180

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Nothing else matters

Discovered this wonderful quote while working my way through Jared Wilson's "Unparalleled:"

If Christ is risen, nothing else matters.  And if Christ is not risen, nothing else matters."

Jaroslav Pelikan

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Meditate on the names of the Lord

            When you are confused about the future, go to your Jehovah-raah, your caring shepherd.  When you are anxious about provision, talk to Jehovah-jireh, the Lord who provides.  Are your challenges too great?  Seek the help of Jehovah-shalom, the Lord is peace.  Is your body sick? Are your emotions weak?  Jehovah-rophe, the Lord who heals you will see you now.  Do you feel like a soldier stranded behind enemy lines?  Take refuge in Jehovah-nissi, the Lord my banner.

            Meditating on the names of God reminds you of the character of God.  Take these names and bury them in your heart.

            God is:
            The shepherd who guides,
            The Lord who provides,
            The voice who brings peace in the storm
            The physician who heals the sick, and
            The banner that guides the soldiers.

            From the Great House of God by

            Max Lucado

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The weekend service schedule...

Is as follows:

Saturday @ 5:00 pm

Sunday @8 & 11 am

Sunday @ 9:30 am Classes for all ages

Short, sweet and to the point.

Come and join us this weekend at LICL!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Today's Quote

"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask 'Where have I gone wrong?'  Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take longer than one night'."

Charlie Brown

From "A Laugh a Day," day 314

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The unique gift of grace

In the movie "The Last Emperor," the young child anointed as the last emperor of China lives a magical life of luxury with a thousand eunuch servants at his command.  "What happens when you do wrong?" his brother asks.  "When I do wrong, someone else is punished," the boy emperor replies.  To demonstrate, he breaks a jar, and one of the servants is beaten.  In Christian theology, Jesus reversed that ancient pattern: when the servants erred, the King was punished. Grace is free only because the giver Himself has borne the cost.

Philip Yancey, "What's So Amazing About Grace," page 67

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

For want of a common vision

I just finished reading George Barna's "America At The Crossroads" and gained some insights into where it seems our country is headed.  I copied the following quote in my journal.  It seemed, in some ways, to summarize why our country is in such turmoil.

It is not much of a leap of logic to posit that one reason why there is so much division concerning which issues and solutions deserve our resources is because Americans today lack a common vision.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

America at the Crossroads

This was a hard book to read.  But it was a necessary book to read.

George Barna doesn't sugarcoat what's happening in America in the 21st Century.  Our "do whatever makes you feel good" type of morality is weakening relationships of all kinds.  While a majority of American describe themselves as spiritual, that spirituality is based on an individual's personal concept and beliefs and not necessarily based on a holy book like the Bible.  Institutions upon which we once relied for helping us achieve a high standard of living no longer have the trust of a majority of people.  Christians in general seem to be bullied by those factions that oppose the basic tenants of the faith and are often silent instead of taking a risk and standing up for what they believe.

These are just a few of the things you'll learn as you work your way through Barna's book.

The book is based on four parts.  Barna explores faith and spirituality; government and politics; lifestyles and perspectives.  The final part focuses upon what Barna believes the reader can do to confront a changing USA. I found Barna's approach in this last part very Law oriented and wasn't sure that a reader would feel motivated to change their lives as Barna urges.  None of us can change ourselves because of the sin and brokenness in our lives.  I would have appreciated to have read more about Jesus and how He has healed the brokenness of all people through His suffering, death and resurrection. Embracing Christ by faith is the first step toward healing and the new life that only the Lord can give.

One thing seems clear from reading "America at the Crossroads" - our country has actually become a mission field.  More and more people are in need of being touched by the love of Jesus Christ.  Those individuals and churches that are not afraid to offer a winsome but confident defense of the Gospel can and will make a difference in the lives of those who call our country home.  Reading this book will provide you with an understanding of our times and offer ideas for dealing with the changes taking place all around us.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

We're going to have a great week of worship!

Saturday at 5 pm - Holy Communion will be celebrated and I'll be preaching.

Sunday at 8 and 11 am - the children from this year's Vacation Bible School will be singing at the beginning of both services and I'll be preaching.  Our music group featuring Connie, Dan and Ron will be providing the music.

Come and join us this weekend at LICL!

Friday, June 9, 2017

A dangerous path

I'm almost finished reading George Barna's "America at the Crossroads."  He spends much time analyzing the effect of "Political Correctness" on our society and how Christians have been impacted by the PC police.  Barna's conclusion:

When Americans are no longer free - or no longer feel free - to hold or express opinions that conflict with the perspectives promoted by certain vocal or activist sectors of society, we are headed down a dangerous path.  (page 136)

I'll be sharing more from this timely book in the weeks ahead.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Luther on the difference between Law and Gospel

I really enjoyed reading Kilcrease and Lutzer's "Martin Luther In His Own Words."  Here's one of the little nuggets I found:

The Law is a statement of debit; the Gospel is a statement of credit.

The Gospel, which is all about the atonement of Christ for sinful man pays our debt to God "in full!"

page 44

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Philip Yancey on reading the Psalms

 I come to the Psalms not primarily as a student waiting to acquire knowledge, but rather as a fellow pilgrim wanting to acquire relationship...More than any other book in the Bible, Psalms reveals what a heartfelt, soul-starved, single-minded relationship with God looks like.

From "The Bible Jesus Read," page 115

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

They say it's her birthday!

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday.  Katie is an excellent wife, mother and friend.  She bring light and life to our family.  Today is another good day to give thanks to God for blessing us with such a wonderful and loving daughter.  Happy birthday, Katie!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Just me and my gal...

If we could only see into the future.  Today, Sherri and I are looking back into the past and celebrating 45 years together.  It's been quite a trip.  Meeting each other in high school, getting married so young (now we know why our parents were so concerned), pursuing careers, raising kids, using our gifts where they could be used best, Sherri in teaching future nurses and me proclaiming God's Word in parish ministry, spoiling grandkids and thinking about retirement and what those years will look like.  God blessed me with a loving, supportive, compassionate wife.  And even though she recently spent 11 days in the hospital, Sherri's home now and we'll have a fine celebration today (even if it will be a little low key).

Join us this weekend for worship at Life in Christ.  Saturday services take place at 5 pm; Sunday worship happens at 8 and 11 am.  It's Pentecost Sunday and I will try to explain why Pentecost is such a big deal.  I hope you'll be there!

Friday, June 2, 2017

The difference between men and women

Author and funny man Ken Davis tries to explain it for us...

Women look at a cat's facial expressions and say, "Look, he's lonely and needs some love." To a man that cat just looks evil.

Woman want to talk about feelings; men don't have any!

Women comparison shop. If a man can find it, he buys it.

Taking a car trip without trying to beat you best time - why even go?

Women know the difference between beige, off-white, and eggshell.  Men know that teal is a certain kind of duck.

Women care about the inaccuracy of the bathroom scale. A man is satisfied as long as the scale is accurate to within 10 pounds!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

It was 50 years ago today!

50 years ago today the greatest record album ever made was released.  I was 15 and a year or so from driving.  So, I managed to get my Dad to take me the the foremost record store in Tucson (the name now escapes me) so I could buy my copy.  I purchased the Mono version because it was less expensive than a stereo copy (plus my record player had only one speaker anyway).

I gingerly took the record from its sleeve and began to play the first song.  It was like nothing I'd ever heard.  The crowd noise, the strings warming up and then Paul McCartney's guitar introduction leading to: "It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play..."  I sat in awe through side one and I thought to myself, "Side two can't possibly be as good."  And, of course, I was wrong. And when the final note of "A Day in the Life" (with each Beatle on a piano) was played, I was gobsmacked.  The Beatles had produced a masterpiece.

50 years on and nothing has changed.  I purchased the newly remastered stereo version of Pepper last week.  It was like hearing it for the first time all over again (Does that sound like something Yogi Berra would say).  Giles Martin (son of Pepper producer, George Martin) took 21st century technology and brought the album alive.  It's like seeing something in black and white and then seeing the same thing again in brilliant color.

A couple of years ago some seminary friends and their wives and Sherri and I met in Branson, Missouri for a reunion.  The highlight of the trip for me was enjoying the performance of the Liverpool Legends.  They are a Beatles tribute band headed up by Louise Harrison, the older sister of George Harrison.  The Legends were amazing! The music was spot on - every guitar lick, every drum fill was perfect! The Pepper logo was painted on the front of the stage and I couldn't resist having my picture taken with it.  As we made our way home following the concert, I had to conclude: "A splendid time was had by all!"

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Martin Luther In His Own Words

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  Standing at the center of it all was Martin Luther, the Catholic monk who wanted to bring reform the the Roman Church.  As it turned out, God's plans for Luther were much greater.

Through Luther, the Bible was unchained and translated so that the common man and woman could read God's Word for themselves.  Through Luther the great doctrine of the church - Justification by Grace through Faith - brought God's love, forgiveness and salvation to a people enslaved by the notion that God's favor had to be earned rather than received as a gift.  Through Luther, catechisms which taught the meaning of the 10 Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Supper, The Office of the Keys, and The Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper could be learned, enabling people to grow in faith and in their new life in Christ Jesus.

The biographies written about Luther number in the thousands.  The question for those who want to know more about Luther is this: "Where to start?"

Jack D. Kilcrease and Erwin W. Lutzer have complied a book that will introduce you to Martin Luther.

"Martin Luther In His Own Words" offers key writings from Luther that will give you an idea of the condition of the church and how the reformer sought to bring God's Law and Gospel to his readers. In this small volume you'll find Luther holding forth on the three articles of the Creed; writings referencing the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians; a short snippet from his classic, "The Bondage of the Will," and more.

Admire the hope that Luther offers when he writes: "The Holy Spirit assures us that we are God's children no matter how furiously sin may rage within us, so long as we follow the Spirit and struggle against sin in order to kill it." (page 65)

Whether you are a Luther scholar or simply want to know about the reformer, this is a volume that should be on your bookshelf.

Our prayerful Jesus

Awaking early to pray (Mark 1:35)

Dismissing people to pray (Matthew 14:23)

Ascending a mountain to pray (Luke 9:28)

Crafting a model prayer to teach us to pray (Matthew 6:9-13)

Cleansing the temple so others could pray (Matthew 21:12-13)

Stepping into a garden to pray (Luke 22:39-46)

Jesus immersed His words and work in prayer. Powerful things happen when we do the same.

Max Lucado, "God Is With You Every Day" page 154

Monday, May 29, 2017

Remember, merciful Jesus

Remember, merciful Jesu, that I am the cause of Your journey.

From Mozart's "Requiem," as quoted in Philip Yancey's "What's So Amazing About Grace"

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A need to worship

It's been a tough week for us.  My dear, sweet wife was struck down with a bad virus that ultimately led to her hospitalization.  A serious staph infection left her with pain in both shoulders.  Through this week she underwent two surgeries to deal with abscesses that had developed.  She is not bouncing back from all of this and we continue to be very concerned.

We have been encouraged by the prayers of family, friends and church family.  We are pleading with God to use any means at his disposal to bring healing and health to Sherri.  Having the opportunity to turn to God in worship, to receive His gifts of grace and to pour out our concerns at His throne of grace couldn't come at a better time.

On this Memorial Day weekend we will worship today at 5 pm and tomorrow at 8 and 11 am. I'm am speaking at all three services and the title to my message is, "The Problem with Waiting." Please come and join us this weekend at Life in Christ.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Say that again???

Our pastor was winding down. In the back of the church the fellowship committee stood to go to the church hall and prepare snacks for the congregation. Seeing them get up, Pastor Michel singled them out for praise. "Before they all slip out," he urged, "let's give these ladies a big hand in the rear."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Unwanted Houseguests

There were certainly times when fear and doubt and anxiety came knocking at my door. I would simply say, "You can come in but you're gonna have to hang out with faith, hope and trust - and they're not gonna let you stay here long.

Ernie Johnson Jr, "Unscripted," page 153

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

God's friendly heart

First, do not look at Christ's sufferings any longer; for they have already done their work and terrified you; but press through all difficulties and look to His friendly heart, how full of love it is toward you, which love constrained Him to bear the heavy load of your conscience and your sin.

Martin Luther, "Martin Luther in His Own Words," pages 122-123

Monday, May 22, 2017

What the church does best

The world can do almost anything as well as or better than the church. You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace.

Gordon McDonald, as quoted by Philip Yancey, in "What's So Amazing About Grace?" page 15

Saturday, May 20, 2017

See you later, Jim

It was a lovely evening in the last week of October, 2004.  I was getting ready to do a Q n' A with the people of Life in Christ Lutheran Church, Peoria, AZ.  The congregation was preparing to call a new pastor and I was on the list.  Before we began I walked around introducing myself to folks.  One man reached out for my hand and said, "I'm Jim Horner."  I asked, "Are you related to Bob Horner, the great Arizona State baseball player?" Jim proudly replied, "I'm his Dad!"

That's how my friendship with Jim Horner began.  For the next 12 years I got to know him better as he faithfully worshiped every Sunday at Life in Christ.  Jim loved to be in God's House, loved to receive the Lord's Supper.  I was blessed to know this disciple of Jesus.

This morning at 11 am the congregation and I will gather together to say, "See you later, Jim."  We are confident that we will see Jim again, on the Last Day when Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead, to separate the sheep from the goats, to send some to eternal judgment and the rest, the believers in Jesus, to eternal life.

There will be a reception for family and friends following the service.  If you knew Jim or the family, I'm sure they would be pleased to have you join them.

Our Saturday service takes place later today at 5 pm.  The Kevin Svec group will provide music for all three services this weekend.  Tomorrow is Confirmation Sunday.  We have two services - 8 and 11 am - with Bible classes for all ages at 9:30 am.  Please come and worship with us at LICL!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Leave it the way you found it

Leave It The Way You Found It

A pastor places his order at the pet store: "I need at least 50 mice, 2000 ants and as many of those little silverfish you can get."

The clerk replies, "We can probably do that, but it might take some time. Mind if I ask why you are placing such an unusual order?"

The pastor replied, "I've accepted a call to another church and the congregation council told me to leave the parsonage the way I found it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Downward Dog got to me

My family was a dog family.  Throughout my first 19 years a four-legged canine was part of our family unit.  Brownie (three guesses as to how we came up with the name "Brownie") was with us the longest.  She was my Mom's dog and after my Dad passed away, Brownie was the best companion and friend that my Mom had.  Me, I liked any dog that would play fetch.  And Brownie, in her younger days, was like Brooks Robinson, the famous third baseman of the Baltimore Orioles - never missed a ball.

When I married my dear, sweet wife, I married into a cat family.  And I really dug cats.  So much different than all the dogs I'd known.  The biggest thing was that you really had to work hard to earn a cat's affection.  Dog were easy.  Some cats acted like they cared less whether you loved on them or not.  So, throughout our married life we've always had at least one cat around the house.

Not that we were devoid of canine affection.  My oldest daughter loved a dog that was given to us. Duppy the Puppy had a Lab body and with short legs.  A bit odd looking but lovable as the day was long.  Later, we acquired a second dog, Sunny, an Australian shepherd, that exclusively belonged to Steph.  And when Steph went to Law School, Sunny went with her.

Afterward, we were without a dog for a while.  But then our youngest, Katie, rescued a dog and gave him the name, Howie.  Howie came to our house every Sunday with Katie and Josh.  On Superbowl Sunday, when the Arizona Cardinals played the Pittsburgh Steelers, I taught Howie how to sit up and shake hands.  This was my way of dealing with the tension of the game.  Howie ate at least a dozen dog biscuits that day.  By the end of the game my stomach was upset over the Cardinals loss to Pittsburgh.  Howie had an upset stomach too - too many biscuits.

Three years ago, Katie and her family moved to Wisconsin.  Howie went with them.  I usually see Howie once a year and the first thing he does is lead me to where the dog biscuits are kept.  I walk him every day and he takes naps with me - I'm on one pillow and he's on the other.  I miss him terribly.

I found Downward Dog very clever.  Martin, who seems like a very lovable and loyal dog to me, talks to the viewer throughout the program.  He shares his thought processes about his life, his master and about the evil cat that sits outside on the porch.  Martin explains his love for his master, how he feels when he is left for hours at home while she works, and his reasons for destroying a pair of shoes.  Who knows if dogs think the way Martin expresses himself? I think what this communicates by the creators of the program is this - our pets are more than just "pets." They show unconditional love.  They crave our attention.  Their loyalty is off the charts.

At the end of the program, Nan, Martin's owner (played by Allison Tolman), makes a presentation where she wonders what our world would be like if we loved each other the way Martin loves her. I believe that the love of Jesus is the model and motivation for reaching out and loving one another. But Martin comes in a close second.

Check out Downward Dog.  It takes the place of Modern Family on Wednesday's on ABC. Even if you're a cat person, Martin might just steal your heart.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Heaven on Earth

The most significant boundary we cross is the boundary between heaven and earth. This boundary is marked by the Divine Service, the appointed place where the now of our lives comes together with the not yet of heaven to come in the bodily presence of Christ.

Art Just, "Heaven on Earth," page 40

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Insults

I don't know where I copied the following.  Unfortunately, I didn't note the source.  Someone had collected insults by famous people.  Can insults be appreciated? You be the judge.

He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to a dictionary.
  William Faulkner about Earnest Hemmingway

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.
  Oscar Wilde

And then there was this exchange:

I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend...if you have one.
  George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

Can't possibly attend first night, will attend second, if there is one.
  Churchill's response to Shaw


Monday, May 15, 2017

Sunday's schedule

6:45 am - arrive at church to pray, write prayers for worship and review my material for class later that morning.

8 am - during the sermon I sat in the first row on the lectern side and had the opportunity to greet a young couple and their new born - three weeks old! A beautiful child with thick dark hair which left me greet with envy.

9:30 am - it was a late arriving group but 25 attended my first presentation of our new INTRODUCING: LIFE IN CHRIST orientation class.  We focused on the four key words of our mission statement - Live...Grow...Encourage...Reach and explored how each word related to our new life in Christ.  A fun session!

11 am - our second worship service with Holy Communion.  I spied several new faces which is always exciting.

12:20 pm - after greeting the worshipers I went back into the sanctuary to tickle my buddy, Cohen. His Dad said, "This is probably the best part of Sunday for him." It was one of the best parts of my day too!

12:25 pm - Got to visit with my favorite singer in the whole world - Nicole Lingerfelter, along with her mom, Patti and her aunt, Connie (our lead administrative assistant).  We didn't get to sing together this time but hopefully soon...

1:30 pm - arrived home to see our crew in action.  My son, Eric and his wife, Christina and my oldest daughter, Steph and her husband, Geoff, provided the meal.  Meanwhile, my grand kids were running around in every part of the house, creating mayhem (of which my dear, sweet wife loves the sound of).

2:10 pm - Eric offers a beautiful prayer of thanks to God for the mothers in our lives.  Dinner is served!

3 pm - the mayhem continues! A couple of kids are watching Alvin and the Chipmonks; two more are in the family room playing with puzzles and the others are playing outside in our back yard. Everyone is happy!

5:45 pm - The mayhem ends and the cats enter the living room very cautiously.  They are not as fond of the grand kids as we are.

6 pm - Sherri and I relax by watching a few of our favorite tv shows - "Call the Midwife," "NCIS LA," a Rick Steves feature on Florence, Italy and an episode of "The Middle."

9:20 pm - time for an ice creme bar and an episode of "Cheers." Sherri says it's been a very good day and drifts off to sleep.  And I am right behind her.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Pocket Prayer

I've read lots of books on the subject of prayer.  Many of these books have offered some formula for constructing prayers.  These formulas can be helpful, especially when a person is troubled or confused and finds it difficult to pray to God.

I often use Max Lucado's "Pocket Prayer."  You can learn more about it in his book, "Before Amen." It goes something like this:

Father, You are good
  And your mercy endures forever.  In Your goodness You give me all I need for this life.  I lack nothing.

I need help. Heal me and forgive me
  I suffer from depression. My back seems to be a mess and a good friend says I just might have to live with the pain.  According to Your will, heal me. You have lifted me up from the pit, yet again. I thank and praise You for Your mercy. Do the same, if it be Your will, for my back.  Relieve the pain. Calm down that nerve.  Provide relief. Worse than that pain is the pain, the regret, the sorrow that my sin has caused You and those I love. I praise You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, on a rescue mission to save me and  a world enslaved by sin. Through faith in my Savior, my sins are forgiven.  I have been rescued! Help me to live in my baptismal grace, knowing that I am Your child, dearly loved.

They need help
  My prayer list is so long.  There are so many that suffer or are troubled. Lift the dark cloud of depression from those who feel as if they have no hope. Provide healing and relief for those who fear that their finance won't cover basic needs. Protect children who find themselves caught in the middle which mothers and fathers fight it out. Comfort those who mourn the passing of their loved ones. Give strength and protection to those undergoing trials and tests. Help all to trust that You are the God who doesn't slumber nor sleep.  Your love endures forever.

Thank You
  For Your promise to hear my prayers and to answer them.  For the faith to believe and trust in Jesus. For Your Holy Spirit who continually nurtures my faith and helps me to do those things I can do for my neighbor. For my dear, sweet wife, my kids and grandkids, my church family, for good friends. For everything good.

In Jesus' name. Amen

Join us this Mother's Day at Life in Christ.  Worship today at 5 pm; tomorrow at 8 and 11 am. Classes for all ages at 9:30 am.

Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Revitalize!

Andrew M. Davis' book, "Revitalize," doesn't offer 5 or 7 or 9 easy steps to follow to revitalize a stagnant or dying church.  In fact, he makes it clear that such work is hard and challenging.  Instead, Davis offers some Biblical keys to help such churches come alive again.

Davis knows of what he writes.  Throughout the book he weaves his own story of coming to the First Baptist Church of Durham, North Carolina.  The church had fallen away from solid Biblical principles and had succumbed to lay leadership that had grown drunk on their own power and authority.  Davis explains how, with the help of a remnant of godly men and women, the church was able to return to its Biblical roots and, in the process, become a revitalized church with a passion for discipleship and outreach.

The book consists of 17 easy-to-read chapters.  "Revitalize" would be the perfect tool to be utilized by pastors, elders, deacons and other church leaders.  Each chapter concludes with a section called "Practical Advice."  And that's just what Davis offers - practical advice regarding the way that a church can come alive again - revitalized!

News travels fast!

Advance Notice

A bishop visited a church in his diocese. Only three people turned up to hear him peach.

He asked the Vicar "Did you give notice of my visit?".

"No" replied the vicar, "but word seems to have got round anyway".

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The importance of chastity

A certain wise man said that chastity of body and purity of spirit are the two keys of religion and happiness. If the body is not kept pure and chaste, it will scarcely be possible for the soul to glow with a holy fervor in prayer.

Johann Gerhard, "Sacred Meditations," #37

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fire tests iron

Temptation tests an honest person. Sometimes we don't know what we can do until temptation shows us what we are.

Thomas 'A Kempis, "The Imitation of Christ"

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rest in Jesus, Lois

In yesterday's mail we received the funeral bulletin for a dear friend of ours, Lois Holscher.  Lois, and her husband, Ed, were members of Island Lutheran, when we served the Hilton Head Island church from 2011 to 2014.

Lois and Ed were faithful worshipers. They drove 50 minutes from Savannah, Georgia to our campus on the Island.  They appreciated our Law/Gospel proclamation of God's Word and enjoyed digging through the Bible with us during Sunday morning study.  Ed carried one of the biggest Bibles I've ever seen.  It was chock full of notes, study sheets, pieces of articles he'd found on different texts plus family pictures and mementos.  It was amazing!

At Life in Christ we have a couple, Sharon and Dick Mefford, who do a fantastic job of greeting people before and after worship each week.  I can't tell you the number of times I've had visitors tell me how much they appreciated the warm greeting they received from Sharon and Dick.

Lois and Ed did the same for us at Island Lutheran.  Ed was usually the spokesman but they did this important task as a team.  Their warm greeting and sincere interest made a great impression on visitors and it made my job easier when I got to them.  Lois and Ed cared for people and wanted to do all they could so that more and more people would get to know the forgiveness and salvation of Jesus.

The Holscher's also cared for Sherri and me.  They went out of their way to spend time with us. After everyone had left the church, Lois and Ed stayed to visit and see how Sherri and I were doing.  They were interested in Sherri's work as a nursing professor at the community college in Beauford.  They also understood well the pressures that pastors labor under so they were always checking on me, wanting to know how I was doing and how they could pray for me.  We went out to eat with them a number of times but not one time was I able to pick up the check.  Ed always managed, one way or another, to pay for our meals.  His generosity seemed unlimited.

We stayed in touch with Lois and Ed after I took the call to be pastor of Life in Christ.  In November of 2005 they came out to Peoria to join us for my youngest daughter's wedding.  When I was invited to speak at Island Lutheran's 25th anniversary in 2009, we were able to have lunch with the two of them. We had heard that both of them had experienced some major health issues.  But at lunch Lois and Ed were the same warm and friendly folks that we'd always known.

In the last few years Lois and Ed moved to Wichita, Kansas to be closer to their daughter, Cindy. Worship continued to be a priority and although they were no longer very mobile, their prayer lists were extensive.  Just 10 days after her 90th birthday, the Lord Jesus came for Lois, took her by the hand, led her through the valley of the shadow of death, and to God's kingdom to rest.

But one grand, glorious day to come, Lois' soul will be reunited with a new, glorified body and she will be raised to life.  She'll be reunited with Ed and family and friends and the saints of God, those who died trusting in Jesus alone for life and salvation.  Sherri and I will see Lois and we will gather around the throne of God and the Lamb to give our unending glory and praise. Until then, rest in Jesus, Lois.  We loved you and won't soon forget you.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Why read and pray the Psalms?

The Psalms supply me with the words I need and sometimes want to say to my God. Words that celebrate His reality: "The heavens declare the glory of God." Words that confess His action in my life: "You have turned my mourning into dancing." Words that express my utter dependance: "In my mother's womb, You formed me." Words that convey my hoped-for intimacy: "This one thing I desire, that I might dwell in the house of the Lord forever." The Psalms tutor my soul in my love for God.

Harold Fickett, as quoted by Philip Yancey in "The Bible Jesus Read," page 124

Saturday, May 6, 2017

From 109 to 75???

I had the privilege of conducting the marriage of Raili Rogers and Garrett Rains yesterday.  The bride was beautiful and the groom had "goo-goo eyes" for his bride.  (Yes, goo-goo eyes is a condition that I'm aware of, mostly because I had them when I saw my dear, sweet wife for the first time at my wedding!).

It was an outdoor wedding and it began at 4:30 pm.  Need I say more? It was hot! But the heat didn't bother Raili and Garrett who were as cool as Pierce Brosnan in a James Bond movie.  God's best to Mr. and Mrs. Rains!

The air conditioning works just fine at Life in Christ so join us this afternoon for our 5 pm service. Or be with us tomorrow at either 8 or 11 am (Christian LIFE Hour takes place at 9:30 am).  During the sermon I'll be looking at the concluding verses of chapter two of Acts and reflecting on the phrase, "They were devoted..."  What does devotion look like? Who best models the idea of devotion for you and me.  I hope you'll join us this weekend at LICL.  And, stay cool!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Ban those hot air hand dryers!

My pastor friend put sanitary hot air hand dryers in the rest rooms at his church and after two weeks took them out. I asked him why and he confessed that they worked fine but when he went in there he saw a sign that read,

"For a sample of this week's sermon, push the button."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cats and Dogs

I like this about cats: they're the Clint Eastwoods of companion animals. A dog who sits by your side craves company; a cat is doing you a favor. This is why when you say, "Sit!" a cat rises and stalks out of the room. Most dogs will fall back on their haunches, vibrating slightly, their liquid eyes locked on yours.

Anna Quindlen, "Good Dog. Stay." page 19

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

It's all God!

It is not the level of our spirituality that we can depend on.  It is God and nothing less than God, for the work is God's and the call is God's and everything is summoned by Him to His purposes, the whole scene, the whole mess, the whole package - our bravery and our cowardice, our love and our selfishness, our strengths and our weaknesses.

Elizabeth Elliot, "Through Gates of Splendor," (page not noted)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Does God care?

"Does God care?" I know of only one way to answer that question and it has come through my study of the life of Jesus. In Jesus, God gave us a face, and I can see directly in that face how God feels about us as a people...By no means did Jesus eliminate all suffering - He healed only a few in one small patch of the globe - but He did signify an answer to the question of whether God cares.

Philip Yancey, "The Jesus I Never Knew," page 160

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Four...Fore...Whatever...

Today's the day for our 1st Annual LICL Golf Tourney which has been organized by our church's Encouragement Team.  I get to play today with Mike Woods, his son, Brett and my son-in-law, Geoff. "Play" is a term used very loosely. I've been suffering from back problems since Monday afternoon.  I had a steroid injection on Thursday and I felt great for about 24 hours.  But the pain is still on going and I doubt that I can even swing a golf club.  Which could be the best thing for my team.  With me out of the way the three of them (very good golfers) can concentrate on low score and win the tournament.   I can just ride along on their coattails and not hurt myself.

Later this afternoon our Saturday service takes place at 5 pm with music by Kevin Svec's band. Sunday worship is set for 8 and 11 am and my little group will provide four songs including "Give Me Jesus," and Matt Maher's wonderful, "Abide With Me."  The title of my sermon is "God Is At Work."  Assuming I don't fall out of the golf cart and further hurt myself, I'd love to see you this weekend at Life in Christ!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pastors have to take the good and the bad

A friend passed along the following to me and I think it's only fair that I pass it along to you. Enjoy (I hope)...

Good news: The Lutheran Women's Missionary League voted to send you a get-well card.  Bad news: The motion passed 31-30.

Good news: You finally found a choir director who takes the same approach to music as you do. Bad news: The choir quit.

Good news: Mrs. Smith is wild about your sermons. Bad news: Mrs Smith is wild about "Real Housewives of New York City...Orange County...Atlanta...New Jersey...."

Good news: The women's softball team finally won a game. Bad news: They clobbered the men's softball team.

Good news: The Elders voted to send you to the Holy Land. Bad news: They gave you a one-way ticket.

And finally...

Good news: Church attendance rose dramatically over the past three weeks. Bad news: You were on vacation.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Love this quote!

Has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?

Erwin Lutzer, as quoted in "REvitalize" page 100

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We interrupt this blog...

Moving can be a hazardous business.  Especially when you have a bad back.  Especially when a bulging disc is acting up again.

Anyway, we're having the offices re-carpeted at church this week.  This is the last 1% that needs to be completed.  Then our building project is officially done.

While this is a necessary task, I've been dreading it.  This pretty well disrupts our usual routine. Projects that I hoped to complete this week aren't going to happen.  At this point we're hoping we can cover the basics - like have worship services completed for Saturday and Sunday.

Yesterday, we were putting the final touches on moving the offices so our carpet guys could get started.  I didn't feel like I'd done that much.  But while eating lunch I felt a pain that drove me to my knees.  I did lots of ice in the afternoon and my dear sweet wife applied lots of icy-hot in the evening. It was hard to sleep.  More ice and icy hot this morning seems to be loosening my back a bit and at least I can stand up now without more pain in my back and radiating down my right leg.

All of this reminds me again of just how much I need the Lord's mercy and help every day.  God is faithful.  He hears our prayers.  Thanks be to God for a little relief!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Yesterday...

Took communion to one of our couples recuperating following hospitalization.  They were so grateful to receive God's gifts.

Finished work on our new "Introducing: Life in Christ" class.

Conferred with Connie and Marge about some possible new changes in the office.

Worked with Joe and Jerry on a transition to a new head elder.

Did an hour of pre-marital counseling with Paul and Samatha.

Spent some time in our new prayer chapel.

Not bad, for a Friday.


Friday, April 21, 2017

It's another Friday Funny!

An elderly woman walked into the local country church. The friendly usher greeted her at the door and helped her up the flight of steps. "Where would you like to sit?" he asked politely.
      
      "The front row please." she answered.
      
      "You really don't want to do that", the usher said. "The pastor is really boring."
      
      "Do you happen to know who I am?" the woman inquired.
      
      "No." he said.
      
      "I'm the pastor's mother," she replied indignantly.
      
      "Do you know who I am?" he asked.
      
      "No." she said.
      
      "Good", he answered.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Our King was punished

In the movie, "The Last Emperor, the young child anointed as the last emperor of China lives a magical life of luxury with a thousand eunuch servants at his command. "What happens when you do wrong?" his brother asks. "When I do wrong, someone else is punished," the boy emperor replies. To demonstrate, he breaks a jar, and one of the servants is beaten. In Christian theology, Jesus reversed that ancient pattern: when the servants erred, the King was punished.  Grace is free only because the Giver Himself has borne the cost.

Philip Yancey, "What's So Amazing About Grace?" page 67

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Father...Son...Spirit

I'm solely working my way through the book "REVITALIZE" by Andrew M. Davis.  Although I'm just a few pages in, this paragraph caught my eye:

As Paul put it, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." (1 Corinthians 3:6-7) Church revitalization is like the renewing of a dormant, seemingly dead plant to bear fruit. Not one pastor or lay leader could ever bring this about. this is something only God can do through Christ by the power of the Spirit.  (page 51)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Top Ten Things This Pastor Likes About Easter


My son, Eric, calls this my "Super Bowl" Sunday.  As I head off to church this morning, here are some of the things I like about our Easter celebration at Life in Christ.

10) Getting to say "hello" to people I haven't seen since Christmas.

9) Not an Easter bunny in sight

8) The Means of Grace in plain view

7) Marveling at how much better donuts taste on Easter Sunday at church

6) Feeling goosebumps every time I hear Matt Maher's, "Christ is Risen!"

5) Hearing the greatest words every spoken: "He is not here.  He is risen just as He said.  See the place where He lay."

4) Walking the two blocks to church while seeing the sunrise and wondering, "Was it a morning like this?"

3) Hearing the congregation sing with just a little more lung power and a lot more joy on Easter than on any other Sunday of the year.

2) Announcing to the congregation, "ALLELUIA! HE IS RISEN!"

And the number one thing this pastor likes about Easter?

1) Hearing the congregation respond:"HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!"

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Come celebrate Easter with us

Join us at 5 pm for our Easter Vigil service.  Deacon Jerry Klink will be preaching and my little group will be providing the music.

On Easter Sunday you can worship with us at 6:30 am, 8:30 am or 10:30 am.  I'll be preaching and exploring the fact that what took place at the Garden Tomb was completely unexpected - by the soldiers guarding the tomb; by Satan, who had thought he'd finally defeated Jesus; by the women who thought they would be anointing a dead body.  Through it all we can learn how to handle those times when the unexpected takes place.

Hope to see you this weekend at LICL!

Friday, April 14, 2017

What did Christ feel at the cross?

What did Christ feel at the cross? The icy displeasure of a sin in hating God. Why? Because Jesus carried our sins in His body. With hands nailed open, He invited God, "Treat me as You would treat them." And God did. In an act that broke the heart of the Father, yet honored the holiness of heaven, sin-purging judgment hovered over the sinless Son of the ages.  "My God, my God, why have You forsake me?" Why did God scream these words? So you'll never have to.

Max Lucado, from "On Calvary's Hill," UpWords, 3/20/15

Thursday, April 13, 2017

God's Word does what it says

His (God's) Word does what it was sent to do. He calls us back. He speaks us clean. He forgives our sins and gives us faith and gives us eternity.

David Petersen, "God With Us," page 106

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"

That's why contemplating the terror of the cross at Gethsemane was such an agony for Jesus. He had never experienced a moment when He wasn't in communion with His Father.

Paul E. Miller, "A Praying Life," page 45

Monday, April 10, 2017

Unscripted

"Unscripted" by Ernie Johnson Jr. made me laugh and made me cry.  It helped to fill my heart with admiration for the author and it moved me to say more than once, "Praise the Lord!"

Johnson is the three-time Emmy winner, known primarily for his work on TNT's popular "Inside the NBA" sports program.  Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal talk basketball and any other popular topic and have a great time doing it.  Johnson appears as a nice guy, someone you'd enjoy having a Starbucks or grilling some burgers in your backyard on the 4th of July.

"Unscripted" tells the story of how Johnson became that nice, considerate guy.  He writes with great affection about the influence of his father, Ernie Johnson, a major league pitcher with the Braves, a man who also went on to be a star in the broadcast booth.  He is head over heals in love with his wife Cheryl and together they've raised six kids (four are adopted).  He describes his faith journey and the circumstances behind how he learned to "trust God...period."  And the book helps the reader to learn how to look for "blackberry moments."

These are defined as "an unpredictable moment that makes life extraordinary."  Johnson's life has been filled with "blackberry moments" and he shows how everyone has them - you just need to be looking for them.  Searching for blackberry's is an effective theme that runs through the book.  I could tell you about some of Johnson's but I rather that you buy the book and get the complete picture.

I promise you this - you'll be glad that you read "Unscripted."  Learning about Johnson's relationship with his Dad, the Johnson's adopted son, Michael, and his battle with muscular dystrophy, Johnson's battle with cancer and his love for his family - all of it will warm your heart.  And it will lead you to become a blackberry picker too!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Short but meaningful

If you come to worship this Sunday at Life in Christ, I promise to give you a short sermon.  Now, how can you turn down an offer like that?  To borrow a phrase from a fellow I used to work with, the sermon will be "short but meaningful."  Sold yet? I hope so!

I'll look forward to seeing you this afternoon at 5 pm for worship with Holy Communion; Sunday services are at 8 and 11 am (Holy Communion at the 11 am service).

God's best to you this weekend.  See you at LICL!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Top Ten Dumb Things Pastors Say

As a pastor you're always expected to have a comment, a quip or a word of encouragement for every member.  Try as we do, sometimes our responses are just plain dumb.  Here are the top ten...

10) "Your Aunt Betty's potato salad tasted like something I once ate that made me sick."

9) "I try to avoid speaking about politics.  I simply ask the Lord to send us leaders who will make America great again."

8) "Yes, my birthday is coming up soon.  By the way, did you know that I've never been to the Holy Land?"

7) "I think the men's restroom is the perfect place for Mrs. Johnson's painting of George Washington and Jesus crossing the Potomac."

6) "I think our pot just ran out of luck."

5) "Any hymn written after the 16th century is not worth singing."

4) "You bought a new boat? I guess you won't be increasing your tithe this year."

3) "Aren't you glad that when you get to heaven you'll have perfect pitch?"

2) "I believe Dr. Dobson has written several books for parents who have out-of-control kids."

And the number one dumb thing pastors say (drumroll please)

1) "When's the baby due?"

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Do you fit the profile?

I cannot avoid the impression that Jesus prefers working with unpromising recruits.  Once, after He had sent out 72 disciples on a training mission, Jesus rejoiced at the successes they reported back. No passage in the Gospels shows Him more exuberant.  "At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit said, 'I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure'."  From such a ragtag band Jesus founded a church that has not stopped growing in 19 centuries.

Philip Yancey, "The Jesus I Never Knew," page 100

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Living the larger life

How much larger your life would be if your self could be smaller in it. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theater in which your own little plot is always being played and you would find yourself under a freer sky.

GK Chesterton, quoted in "Because of Bethlehem," page 87

Friday, March 31, 2017

Top Ten Anonymous Complaints from Members

A pastor is never pleased to find an anonymous note shoved under the office door.  These notes usually are written by members who have a complaint but don't want the pastor to know who the complainer is.  Here's the top ten...

10) I'm tired of all this preaching about evangelism.  Why the emphasis on outreach? You should tailor your preaching to those in the church who pay the bills!!

9) Can you get the organist to play faster? She plays like maple syrup has been poured over the keys and pedals!

8) Can you get the organist to slow down? She plays like she's got a 10 am reservation at a brunch!

7) Have you seen the Sunday school rooms? They are a mess! If the children can't keep them neat and clean, we should just cancel Sunday school!

6) I have a complaint about the free donuts you serve each Sunday.  I hate Bashas'! Get them from someplace else!

5) How much extra is it costing this church to have the custodian vacuum up all the Cheerios left behind by those noisy kids?!

4) Do something about the rude ushers! I'm sure one of them stood over me and wouldn't move until I put another dollar in the collection plate!

3) I don't like your attempts at humor on Sunday! And by the way, I don't like your haircut either!

2) Why in the world did we build a pulpit if you're not going to use it? Stand still!!

And the number one top ten anonymous complaint from members:

1) If you don't stop this praise band stuff I'm going to set the guitars and drums on fire!!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lord Jesus, Thou art Going Forth

What can I for such love divine
 To Thee, Lord Jesus render?
No merit has this heart of mine;
Yet while I live, I'll tender.
Myself alone
 And all I own.
I love to serve before Thee;
 Then when time's past.
 Take me at last
To Thy blest home in glory.

From "The Lutheran Hymnal" number 150, verse 5

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The escalator of pain

Vengeance is a passion to get even. It is a hot desire to give back as much pain as someone gave you....The problem with revenge is that it never gets what it wants; it never evens the score. Fairness never comes. The chain reaction set off by every act of vengeance always takes its unhindered course. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain. Both are stuck on the escalator as long as parity is demanded, and the escalator never stops, never lets anyone off.

Lewis Smedes, as quoted in "What's So Amazing About Grace," by Philip Yancey, page 115

Monday, March 27, 2017

God Among Sages

Reading Kenneth Richard Samples new book, "God Among Sages," will make you feel good.  Not that it's designed to be a "feel good" book.  But it will make you feel good that your faith and life is rooted in the one true God whose Word is truth and who is truly worthy of our worship and praise.

Part one of the book lays out what Samples calls, "The Historic Christian Portrait of Jesus Christ." He shows Jesus as He is understood by the Orthodox Christian Church.  He demonstrates that Jesus is true God & true man, the promised one sent by God the Father.  Those characteristics which prove that Jesus was more than just an ordinary man are presented.  Samples include sources from outside historic Christianity that testify that Jesus lived and did many of the things which the Gospels teach. Samples shows his readers that it is good and right to put faith and confidence in Christ Jesus for life and salvation.

The second part provides profiles of  Krishna, the Buddha, Confucius and Mohammad.  This part of the book is especially worthwhile if the reader has little knowledge of these leaders and the religions they are connected to.  In light of what we read regarding Islam and the radical groups that have sprung from this religion, "God Among Sages," provides eye-opening information and points out some of the important differences between Islam and Christianity.

Samples is an effective apologist of the Christian faith.  If you want to learn more about what religion is all about in the 21st century, "God Among Sages," is a helpful resource to have on your bookshelf.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

If it's Saturday...

There must be a worship service today at 5 pm at Life in Christ.  Bingo! I'll be continuing my sermon series, "Lent - A Season of Renewal" and Holy Communion will be celebrated.

On Sunday we meet for worship at 8 and 11 am.  All kinds of classes for all ages meet at 9:30 am (after have all devoured a decent number of donuts!).

Join us at Life in Christ this weekend!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Top 10 Signs Your Pastor is Suffering From March Madness

No one is immune from March Madness...not even clergy!

10)  Hymn board in church is replaced with posters of the brackets. (thanks Kevin Svec!)

9)  The hymns sound suspiciously like school fight songs.

8)  Starts calling the 12 Apostles the 12 Seeds.

7) Refers to the days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Saturday Vigil and Easter Sunday as the "Final Four."

6) Found sitting at his desk muttering over and over, "My brackets are busted.  My brackets are busted."

5) Throws a fit when the women's ministry leader beats him in a game of "horse."

4) Calls a technical foul on a noisy two year old during worship.

3) During worship tells congregation, "Wanna see my impersonation of Bobby Knight?" Then hurls a chair down the center aisle.

2) During the children's message, teaches the kids how to spell "Krzyzewski."

And the number one sign your pastor is suffering from March Madness:

1) Gets two services and a Bible class over in 37 minutes so he can get home to see the opening tipoff!

One thing God's Word does for us

It takes God's Word to reveal God's blessing. And, as a sign of His favor, no earthly blessing is intended to be a distraction from God's greater gift: His Son.  Rather, as we bear our crosses and sacrifice in love for our neighbor, we follow Him and abide in His teaching.

"Blessed - God's Gift of Love" Mary Moerbe, page 124

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Meet Generation Z

When it comes to developing a strategy for reaching the lost with the good news of Jesus Christ, you'd be wise to listen to James Emery White.

He is a pastor, speaker, college professor and president, and accomplished writer,  And he seems to have his hand on the pulse of those born between 1993 and 2012, better known as Generation Z.

The question is: how do reach this group that makes up nearly 25% of our population? Are they interested in spiritual things? Is the traditional church attractive to them? Should modern church music replace the great hymns of the church?  Is free wifi service a must?

Emery offers many important insights into Generation Z.  For those who are confused as to how to reach this group, Emery offers hope that these young people can be reached for Christ.  Emery also offers some ideas on what not to do if a church wants to connect with this group.

Emery calls Generation Z the first post-Christian generation.  He also provides hope and practical ideas for showing and sharing Jesus Christ with this large and important group of people.  An important book indeed!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Life is good. Why do I feel so bad?

I've begun reading Mary Beth Chapman's book, "Choosing to See," for the past week.  In the book she describes what it was like for her family when they suffered tragedy.  One of their sons accidentally hit and killed a young Chinese girl that the family adopted.  The family's journey from grief to grace is incredible. But I wanted to read the book for another reason.

I was told that Mary Beth was very open and candid about how she suffers from depression.  I admired her honesty as she describes how she was diagnosed and the care she received following her diagnosis.  One particular paragraph really hit home for me:

It was a relief to know that what I suffered from had a name. I felt guilty and ashamed. Like everything was my fault. I had no logical reason to be depressed. I had a wonderful, loving husband and healthy, great kids.  We were financially blessed. I wasn't living in poverty, persecution or pain. Why should I be depressed? (page 66)

What she wrote made so much sense because I feel the same way.  Everything is really good in my life. Why do I feel so bad? Why can't I be happy? Why do I feel like a dark cloud has descended upon me, ruining my life? To me, this is one of the great mysteries with this disease.

This is also why depression is so frustrating for the loved ones of those who suffer.  "Snap out of it," they say.  "Just get busy and you'll feel better."  "You've been on the medication for two weeks.  Why aren't you better?"

I guarantee you - those who suffer from depression do want to snap out of it.  They would like to get busy.  They are just as anxious about getting good results from medication.  But it isn't that easy. Patience and prayerful support from loved ones makes all the difference in the world for a depression sufferer.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

So long, Dorothy!

Today is set to be busy for me.  This morning I will be doing two private baptisms for families who are starting to become connected to our church.  Such a joy to see God's love in action through the waters of Holy Baptism.  Then, at 1 pm today, we will hold a Memorial Service for Dorothy DeJovine.  She was one of the most faithful disciples of Jesus that I've had the pleasure to know. Dorothy had a sharp mind and a wonderful sense of humor, her chuckle always put a smile on my face.  A reception for Dorothy's family will be held in our new hall following the service.

Worship takes place this weekend with our Saturday service at 5 pm and two Sunday services at 8 and 11 am.  I will continue to preach on the theme, "Lent - A Season of Renewal."  We will also continue with session two of our study based on Max Lucado's fine book, "He Chose the Nails."  That takes place at 9:30 am along with a bunch of classes and gatherings taking place throughout our building.  Join us, won't you?

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Life of the Party

That would be my grandson, Duke.  A lampshade was not available so he had to improvise.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Best $5 I ever spent

Some of my friends know that that I love to shop at thrift stores and places like Goodwill.  You just never know what kind of bargains you might find.  One day you might leave the store empty handed; the next you just might find a treasure that really puts a smile on your face.

On Monday I was shopping in one of my favorite stores when I happened upon the two volume "Complete Far Side" by Gary Larson.  I had struck the mother lode - 4,333 cartoons drawn by Larson.  Each volume included his observations about the art of cartooning, letters written to Larson or various newspapers, either praising or trashing a particular cartoon, and a foreword penned by Steve Martin.

So far I've worked through the first two years - 1980 & 81.  There were classic cartoons (like the one Larson drew for the Wonker Wiener Company - remember that one?), some that I did not recall seeing and several in which I thought to myself, "I don't get it," a regular reaction by readers of Larson's work.  Flipping through the pages brought back to mind the joy of going outside to fetch the morning paper and immediately finding the Far Side panel for the day.  A great way to start the day!

The cartoon below I actually used for a devotion in my Homiletics class at Seminary.  I doubt that Glenn Nielsen remembers this (my ideas for devotions are usually not very memorable).  But at the time is seemed like the perfect introduction for my devo on why the omniscience of God is good for us.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A good gift idea for guys

My dear, sweet wife has a birthday in early February.  Then, right around the corner, comes Valentine's Day.  Put a lot of pressure on a guy to come up with two stellar gift ideas in a short period of time.  I came up with a nice birthday gift but what to do about Feb 14?

Then I happened upon an ad on Facebook about the Magnolia Journal, a new magazine being published by Joanna and Chip Gaines.  Bingo! Sherri and I love "Fixer Upper" and really admire the Gaines'.  We've been to Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas (and met Joanna's mother) and had a fun morning shopping, trying out some of the food trucks and admiring the silos and the whole set up.

I believe if you look around the internet you can find a introductory subscription price for the Journal. If you have a birthday or anniversary coming up or if you just want to surprise your honey with a special gift, get her a subscription to the Magnolia Journal.  It's a solid gold gift - I guarantee it!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

It's Saturday but Sunday's Coming

Yes, today is Saturday and it's going to be a warm one in the Valley of the Sun.  I imagine we'll have the air conditioning on for the 5 pm service this afternoon and the 8 and 11 am services tomorrow.  I'll be preaching at all three services so come and join us.  Also, we will hold the dedication service for the Christian Life Center on Sunday at 9:30 am.  Every day we rejoice at the great blessing this new facility is for our church and we look forward to seeing all the ways we can use the facility to serve our people and reach our community with the love of Jesus.  So, come and worship with us this weekend.  You'll receive a warm welcome at LICL!

Friday, March 10, 2017

It takes a church to reach the lost

For any church to be effective in winning people to faith in Christ and to connect them to a church, it takes the entire membership and attendees to be actively involved.

Gary L. McIntosh, "Growing God's Church," page 147

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Live Boldly!

Our lives in Christ flow from God's Promises and God's truth.  In our society, false voices are proclaiming what it means to be a human creature, when one become a human creature, how we should treat our fellow human creatures, where our value as human creatures comes from - and the list goes on.  God's Word speaks to these things, and especially speaks that in Christ God has loved all humanity, all people - and laid His claim even on those who reject Him.  God's people will hear as their pastor asked them to join Him in living in love for those in need.  The needs are all around us, and growing.  Our faith must be active in love.  So, that means not just speaking boldly, but living boldly.

Rev. Dr. Jeff Gibbs, professor of Exegetical Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  From "Reporter" March 2017 edition

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Phillip Yancey on the Psalms

I had missed the main point, which is that the Book of Psalms comprises a sampling of spiritual journals, much like personal letters to God.

The Psalms do use an inherently different approach, not so much representing God to the people as the people representing themselves to God.

I come to the Psalms not primarily as a student wanting to acquire knowledge, but rather as a fellow pilgrim wanting to acquire relationship.

More than any other book in the Bible, Psalms reveals what a heartfelt, soul-starved, single-minded relationship with God looks like.

From "The Bible Jesus Read"

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Lent - A Season of Renewal

Tomorrow is the First Sunday in Lent and my sermon series will focus on how we believers can use Lent as a time to ask God to revive our faith so that we follow our Lord and Savior more fully and faithfully.  Join us at either 8 or 11 am.  In the adult Bible class, we will use a study based on Max Lucado's 2000 book "He Chose the Nails."  It's the perfect study for the Lenten season.

You can also worship with us today at 5 pm.  Whether it be today or tomorrow, join us at LICL!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Confess!

If you are weak enough to confess your sins, God is strong enough to save you from them.

Thabiti Anyabwile

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A prayer for those who struggle

During my struggle
O God
grant that I may 
go to Bethlehem
and there enfold
my Savior
in the manger
of my faith

During my struggle
O God
grant that I may 
go to dark Gethsemane
and Calvary mournful
mountain climb
and share in
His sufferings 
for my transgressions
God's own sacrifice complete

During my struggle
O God
grant that I may
go to the garden
see the empty tomb
and through faith
in my resurrected
and ascended Lord
rise above
my passing trial
and at last
win the victory
through Christ
my Lord

Donald Deffner, "Prayers for People Under Pressure," page 38

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What to make of life's troubles?

Therefore, troubles are not always punishments for certain past deeds, but they are God's works, intended for our benefit and that God's power might be made more apparent in our weakness.

Article XII - Confession & Satisfaction, Apology to the Augsburg Confession

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Katharina & Martin Luther

In 2017 the Christian church celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  We can expect a spat of new books to be released, covering the Reformation and the man who brought it about, the Wittenberg monk who became the champion of the Scriptures, Martin Luther.

However, if you have enough money to buy just one book, use it to purchase "Katharina & Martin Luther" by author Michelle DeRusha.

She does a very fine job of covering the events that led to the Reformation of the church and what took place thereafter.  But her focus is fixed on one of the most important and vital changes Luther brought - the freedom for men and women serving in the Catholic church to marry.

The story of how Katharina and Martin came together is so unlikely that one can only believe that it was the hand of God that brought the two of them together.  Their's is not a "love at first sight" kind of story.  As DeRusha explains, the two of them hardly knew one another when they said their "I do's." But what develops over time is a love between the two that is deep and abiding, a model for every married couple.

Books about Luther are endless.  Very little is actually known about Katharina.  And yet, DeRusha offers a very complete picture of the challenges the Luther's faced, the scorn they received by marrying and the full life they built for themselves and their children.

We often talk about books that were so interesting and compelling that "we just couldn't put it (the book) down."  This is the kind of book that Michelle DeRusha has written.  This is a 5 Star book. Read it and be blessed by the story of Katharina and Martin Luther!

Sunday will be action-packed!

Sunday will be one of those kind of days we'll not soon forget at Life in Christ.  Besides Sunday worship at 8 and 11 am, LICL will celebrate the completion of our building project with an Open House from 2 to 4 pm and a concert by trumpet great Jesse McGuire from 4 to 6 pm.  The Open House will feature tours of the facility, games for the kids, along with cake and other goodies.

At 4 pm the actions shifts to the sanctuary for Jesse McGuire's concert.  He an Emmy award winner and his resume includes a "whos-who" of musicians and actors.  The concert is free and a free-will donation will be taken.  You'll also be able to purchase copies of McGuire's CD's.

And don't forget  - there will also be worship this afternoon at 5 pm.  I'll be doing the preaching this weekend and the Kevin Svec group will offer the music today.  Please come and join us at LICL!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Help me seize the day today

Lord, dear Father in heaven, how many times have You come, looking for fruit and not finding any? And yet You let me remain in Your vineyard.  Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You for interceding. I know what would have happened if You hadn't taken me on Your shoulders. Help me seize the day today, tomorrow and every other day as a day of grace and a gift from You. I know there is a good reason for it because You gave it to me. Help me to do and be whatever You wanted when You gave it to me. Amen.

From "To Live With Christ," page 188

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who are you listening to?

Writing in reference to 1 John, chapter 3, We may also doubt or fail to recognize our true status as God's children in this world since too often we take our cues from the world instead of from the Word.

Pastor Frank Starr, "Light for the Way," Bible Reading Guide

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An iconic musical instrument

Beatles fans will recognize what I've got leaning against the wall - the Hofner Violin Bass Guitar. When Paul McCartney moved to bass guitar (neither John Lennon or George Harrison would do so) he purchased the Hofner because, at the time, it was fairly inexpensive.  Most of us saw the Hofner on February 9, 1964 when the Beatles played for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show.  The little group I play in a church includes Ron Taylor and he plays a Hofner - so cool! This is not a real Hofner base guitar.  It was made for a music video game (which I don't own).  Whenever I look at it I'm reminded of the joy that I've received over the years from Beatles music.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The rain can't dampen our parade

Looks like a weekend of rain (all together now: WE NEED THE RAIN!) but that won't keep us from worshiping, studying and having fellowship with one another.

On Wednesday we received our Certificate of Occupancy.  It was a long time coming but worth the wait.  A dedicated group of volunteers worked really hard this week to get tables, chairs, etc out of storage and over to the new Christian Life Center.  We're not completely moved in and that will take some time.  But we're so excited to finally utilize our new facility.

We have worship this Saturday at 5 pm with the Svec group providing the music.  This Sunday, my message is entitled, "But first, we pray."  My little group will also offer the music at services and we are very excited to sing Matt Maher's beautiful "Abide With Me" as an offertory.  Join us at 8 and 11 am for worship; 9 am for coffee fellowship in our beautiful new hall; Sunday school, youth ministry and ABC (adult Bible class) at 9:30 am.  Hope to see you this weekend at LICL!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Poster wisdom for $2.99

Shopping at a thrift store the other day I found a sign that really resonated with me. 

DREAM more
COMPLAIN less
LISTEN more
TALK less
LOVE more
ARGUE less
HOPE more
FEAR less
RELAX more
WORRY less
BELIEVE more
DOUBT less
PLAY more
WORK less