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!


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!"