Saturday, April 29, 2017


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


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


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" 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