Friday, May 31, 2019

Friday Funny - Boys will be boys!

Ending his sermon, a preacher announced that he would preach on Noah and the Ark on the following Sunday, and gave the scriptural reference for the congregation to read ahead of time.

A couple of boys noticed something interesting about the placement of the story in the Bible. They slipped into the church and glued two pages of the pulpit Bible together.

The next Sunday, the preacher got up to read his text. "Noah took unto himself a wife," he began, "and she was" - he turned the page to continue - "three hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high."

He paused, scratched his head, turned the page back, read it silently, and turned the page again. Then he looked up at his congregation and said, "I've been reading this old Bible for near fifty years, but there are some things in it that are hard to believe."

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Top 10 Failed Church Mission Statements

It is fashionable and even very helpful for a church to have a mission statement.  Such statements provide a congregation direction and help as it seeks to carry out its ministry.  Unfortunately, some of those mission statements miss the mark.  Here's are some of those statements that failed.

10) A going church for a coming Lord seeking the people who got up and left.

9) Looking for a child-proof church? Try ours!

8) A church built on the teachings of the Apostles', the Prophets and Dr. Suess.

7) Helping people find their way back to God through our new coffee bar!

6) We proclaim God's Holy Word - the King James Bible!

5) We proudly serve a Jewish carpenter and Colombian coffee.

4) A searching church in search for those not being searched for.

3) Our church stands on the historic Creeds, Confessions and flooring from Lumber Liquidators.

2) We're saved - you're on your own!

1) Welcome to Jesusville!

From May 29, 2015

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Let the demolition, er, construction begin!

The building permit from the city of Peoria was issued yesterday.  The first sub-contractor arrived this morning at 7 am.  And so begins our new remodeling project, or as it is known: "The Summer of the Mess."

Mess is what we're going to have on our hands.  Our popcorn ceiling is coming down.  Our carpet is going to be torn up, replaced by tile.  A small office for myself is being added.  So is a new back door to the patio.  I dislike disaray but I'd better get used to it.  Our comfortable life is going to be interrupted for a few months.

One thing I've noticed - it sure is easy to bust your budge on a project like this.  We're working with a contractor we really like.  He gave us a good quote.  The budget seemed very doable.  But we keep finding projects to add.  Which also adds to our budget.  At this point we could end up spending twice as much as we intended.  Perhaps we need an intervention?

Still, I'm very excited.  I've wanted a home office to work in for some time now.  It may be a place I can flee to when the activity (and noise level) at the office becomes too much.  Sherri has wanted the popcorn off the ceiling for about 15 years now - she's very happy that this will finally happen.  We're also excited about expanding the patio and the new tile for family room, living room, kitchen and office looks very nice (although I don't know how much traction our dog, Jake, will find when he goes chasing after one of his toys!).

Mostly, we thank God that we can take on this project.  He has blessed us greatly, His gifts are way too numerous to count.  It moves us to join our voices with the Psalmist - Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Our Christ comes to us

From Luther's works...

When you open the Book containing the Gospels or hear how Christ comes here or there, or how someone is brought to Him, you shall therein perceive the sermon or the Gospel through which He is coming to you, or you are being brought to Him.  For the preaching of the Gospel is nothing else than Christ coming to us, or we being brought to Him.

Quoted in "Authentic Christianity," page 76

Monday, May 27, 2019

Some quotes on the importance of prayer

On Tim Challies' blog today he had a link to an article entitled "43 Quotes About Prayer To Inspire Your Prayer Life."  I couldn't copy the entire article but I found four quotes that rang true to me.
1.”Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado
2. “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther
39. “As it is the business of tailors to make clothes, and the business of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray!” – Martin Luther
40. “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.” – Martin Luther

Sunday, May 26, 2019

What does Job 31:13-15 have to do with the abortion debate?

“If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant, when they brought a complaint against me, what then shall I do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?” — Job 31:13-15

This passage tells us at least three things about the unborn, and thus about abortion:
1. The foundation of civil equality is traced to the womb.
Really, it is traced to God’s having made mankind in his image, but the well-to-do Job is asserting an equality of personhood with his servants based on their equal status as unborn children. Therefore, the unborn are persons with civil rights. This makes abortion a dehumanizing injustice.
2. The development of the unborn is a work of God.
Job says he and his servants were made in the womb, fashioned in the womb. Coupled with Psalm 139’s words on God’s creative work in the womb, we learn that abortion is therefore tearing apart what God has joined together.
3. The treatment of persons as non-persons is something for which we will give an account.
“What shall I do when God rises up?” Job asks about unjust treatment of his servants. And what will we say? Injustice of this kind will be reckoned with. We will have to give an account to our holy God for the murder of millions of unborn persons he is forming in his image.
No law can be just if its justice for one is predicated on injustice to another.
Written by Jared C. Wilson, "For the Church," blog entry from May 20, 2019

Saturday, May 25, 2019


This Sunday at our 11 am service we will celebrate the confirmation of six of young members.  For the past two years they have been studying the Christian faith in which they were baptized.  It will be a joyous day for the confirmands, their parents and the congregation.

Today, we worship at 5 pm.  Tomorrow at 8, 9:30 and 11 am.  Join us at Life in Christ!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Life stinks right now but...

Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph.  Yes, life stinks.  But if won't forever.  As one of my friends likes to say, "Everything will work out in the end.  If it's not working out, it's not the end."

Max Lucado, "The Lucado Inspirational Reader," page 306

Pray for love

The key to reaching those who are perishing in their sins is love.  It casts out all fear.  If you are afraid to share your faith, don't pray for less fear.  Pray for more love.

"Faith is For Weak People," page 22

Need to get rid of mice in your church?

Three pastors were having lunch together at a diner.

The first pastor said, "Ya know, since summer started I've been having trouble with mice in my church. I've tried everything -noise, spray, cats - nothing seems to scare them away.

The second pastor then said "Yea, me too. I've got hundreds living in the basement of the church. I've set traps and even called an expert to get rid of them, yet they still won't go away."

With a grin on his face, the third pastor said, "I had the same problem so I baptized all mine and made them members of the church... Haven't seen one back since!!!"

Thursday, May 23, 2019

What does it mean to be "called?" is how we receive Christ Jesus.  God does this by "calling me."  To be called is to hear a voice, to be personally addressed by words.  The Holy Spirit's voice is, by virtue of His divinity, God's Word.  Specifically, the call to faith comes from the Gospel, a term that means "good news."

From "Authentic Christianity,"page 92

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The disaster that is sure to follow

When we create a god in our own image, we predictably shape him to conform to our sins.  This is why you will hear someone say they believe in God and almost in the same breath say that it is a woman's right to chose the death of her unborn child.  That god doesn't mind murder.

Ray Comfort, "Faith Is For Weak People," page 153

There I Go Again

Good morning! I was looking through Tim Challies blog today and found this bit of poetry.  I felt like I could have written it.  Poor choice of words...poor steward of time and wages...poor keeping of the Great Commandment - yep, that's me.
Instead, this poetry comes from Matha Leanne Todd.  She describes herself as "a Christian, wife & mom, a CNA in health care & a writer/poet.  Check this out and see if any of it resonates with you.
There I go again:
quick to stumble, break, and fall.
Another choice of word
that’s slipped and heard
so full of swearing gall.
And there I go again:
poor steward of time and wages;
so wasted, spent;
dare I repent
before the Rock of Ages?
Now there I go again:
harboring rage against my neighbor,
whom I’m to love
if I’m made of
the Spirit for Whom I labor.
God of Heaven,
tell me this—
do I betray you with a kiss…
from unclean lips,
so coarse—profane?
I am not fit
to call Your name!
Much less to have
Your mercy, new,
that falls on me
with mourning due…
so crisp and clean,
‘fore men confessed,
all my sins
as grace refreshed
and Godly sorrow swallows pride
holy, satisfied,
not by a pious claim of mine
for none are they to find.
Though of no merit,
I will inherit
a Kingdom, most divine!
Because God’s rage against me
has been meted out;
and not on me
but on a tree
where Christ defeated doubt!
And so to Him I reach for,
despite my deep chagrin…
His hem, I touch,
absolving much!
It’s there, I go again.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A gimme

Do you know what a "gimme" is? In golf, if a player putts to within a foot or two of the hole, or attempts a putt that falls just short of the cup, the other players may give him the next shot without having to putt out.  It's like a gift.  It"s the other players acknowledging that the next putt would be made anyway.  It's a gimme!

I was reading through John, chapter 3 recently and found a gimme.  It's stated in the most famous verses in all of Scripture.  It speaks of the greatness of God's love for sinful people.  It tells how God made the greatest sacrifice of all - giving His only Son to save us from eternal death to grant eternal life.  If you haven't figured it out yet, we're speaking of John 3:16.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Martin Luther wrote, "It was not an angel, a principality, or any of the world's mighty who became incarnate and died for us - not, both the angelic and the human nature would have been too weak - but it was the divine nature that assumed humanity.  It was Christ who adopted our flesh and blood that we might be saved through Him."

This is news not to be taken for granted.  Instead, rejoice! God loves you. He gave His Son to be your Savior.  Through faith in Jesus you have eternal life.  Rejoice!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Today's words from the Modern Dictionary

I don't remember how this came about but, on Twitter, I'm following something called "Modern Dictionary."  Their definations are often hilarious and spot on.  Today, I want to share with you their definitions for Dad and Mom.

Dad - (n.)  Someone who always tells you to go ask your mother.

Mom - (n.)  The only person who knows where all your stuff is.

Sounds about right to me.

Through It All

Before being called into the pastoral ministry, I spent 17 years in the radio broadcasting business.  My career began quite by accident.  My pastor called me one day to tell me the station in which he had been doing a 15 minute Saturday broadcast had been sold.  "They are hiring all new staff.  I'll bet that if you apply, they will hire you."  I was attending ASU at the time, majoring in Broadcasting.  I had made an audition tape so I hauled it down to the radio station and they hired me on the spot!

I thought to myself, "Man! Radio is going to be so easy!"  My dream was to be an announcer at a Rock or Pop station.  I thought that this job would lead to where I wanted to be in the radio broadcast industry.  God had a different idea.

I started working at the station on the weekends.  The practical education was very good.  I engineered live programs, produced recorded programs, cut commercials and promotional announcements, read the news and played records.

And it was through those records that I came to know Andrae Crouch.

Crouch was one of Gospel music's superstars.  He wrote and performed music with his group, The Disciples.  It was soul Gospel music with rhythm and blues influences thrown in for good measure.  Having had no exposure to this form of music, I came to admire the way Crouch connected with his listeners.  The music was great to listen to.  But the lyrics had substance and pointed to Jesus as "the way and the truth and the life."

I'm reading a biography of Billy Graham, written by his son, Franklin.  At many of his crusades, Graham had John 14:6 - "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me," on a large banner behind the platform.  Franklin writes, "Billy Graham never wavered from this singular message..."  Then Franklin quotes lyrics from a famous Andrea Crouch song:

I thank God for the mountains
 And I thank Him for the valleys;
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through;
 For if I'd never had a problem,
I wouldn't know that He could solve them,
 I'd never know what faith in God could do.
Through it all, through it all,
 Oh, I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God.
 Through it all, through it all,
Oh, I've learned to depend upon His Word.

Whose word do you depend on? Your spouse? Your friend? Your boss? Your life coach?

The apostle Paul, in his final epistle, reminds Timothy that God is behind every word of Scripture and that the Scriptures can provide the foundation for everyone who reads, hears and obeys His Word:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteous, so that the man of God may be equipped for every good work.

Advice from spouse, friend, boss or life coach can be very helpful at times.  But God's Word is completely reliable, full of truth, and is "the power of God for the salvation of the world." (Romans 1:16).  May each of us learn to depend on God's Word... just like Andrae Crouch.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Faith is For Weak People

How do you answer people when they ask, "If God is in control of the world, why does it seem to be so out of control?" Or, "Why does God allow evil?" Or, "Seeing is believing. Why do I need faith. Faith is for weak people?"

Ray Comfort knows how to answer these questions and he can show you in his new book, "Faith is For Weak People - Responding to the top 20 objections to the Gospel."

Comfort is an author and a producer of Christian TV programs and movies.  But what he does best is witness to others about Jesus.  He sometimes preaches from a soap box in a park or on the beach.  He takes on all comers and has probably dealt with every objection to Christianity that people have offered up.  In this book, he teaches how to deal with some of the most common questions people have, not because they are seeking answers, but to prove that their own ways and lives are good enough for God - that is if they even believe in God.

Keeping the conversation about Jesus is the most important thing, even when those you're witnessing to are tying to derail the conversation with one or more objections.  What I really appreciate about Comfort's approach is that his is a Law/Gospel presentation.  He makes the very wise point that telling someone that "Jesus loves you and died so that you might go to heaven," means nothing until a person know why this Jesus showed his love by taking on the sins of the world.  Leading a person to repentance and faith must take place and then that person is ready for sharing the good news about Jesus.

Reading this book just might give you the encouragement you need to begin engaging people and talking about Jesus.  Ray Comfort loves sharing Jesus with others.  He invites you to come along.

Dealing with the loss of a best friend

Have you ever had your BFF move away.  Ever hear the words, "I'm leaving soon," from that person who knows you best and has your back? What do you do?

If you've ever experienced something like the above, then you can relate, at least a little bit, to Jesus' disciples.  In the final night Jesus spent with them, before His suffering and death, the Lord told them that He would soon be leaving them.  How did they respond? And what did Jesus do to soften this awful news?

Find out this Sunday at Life in Christ.  Services take place at 8, 9:30 and 11 am.  We'd love to see you!

Have a blessed weekend!

Latham is right about the left!

Australia's Mark Latham is a politician whose beliefs lean toward the progressive mindset.  He is also a non-Christian humanist.  But he is disgusted with the smug and intolerant attitude of the cultural lift.  Below are a few comments from a speech recently Latham recently make.  As Gene Veith wrote in his blog (The Blog of Veith - excellent!) Latham comments have hit a nerve in Australia and might have the same impact in America.

"They preach diversity but practice a suffocating cultural conformity, wanting everyone to be just like them.

"They argue for inclusion but as soon as a Christian, a conservative, a libertarian, a nationalist, a working class larrikin, an outsider from the vast suburbs and regions of our nation disagrees with them, they crank up their PC-outrage machine to exclude them from society.

"They are tolerant of everything except dissenting values and opinions – meaning, of course, they are tolerant of nothing that matters, only themselves.

"This is the Leftist curse through the ages: the recurring history of those who so badly crave control over others, they lose control over themselves."

Friday, May 17, 2019

Bring your doggie to work day

Last week, with my dear, sweet wife out of town, I brought our dog, Jake, to work with me.  He was a very good boy.  He didn't knock over garbage cans and didn't bark at everyone who stopped by the office (well, almost everyone).  Having been so patient and well-behaved, I decided to take him for a walk.  Actually, he led me.  We walked around the parking lot and then up 75th Avenue and around the corner to the Lion's Gate subdivision.

As we came back, Dan Seabreeze, snapped this picture.  I really enjoy walking with Jake so I'm glad Dan captured this moment.

Thanks, Dan!

The Friday Funny - #364

The preacher, in his Sunday sermon, used "Forgive Your Enemies" as his subject.

After a long sermon, he asked how many were willing to forgive their enemies. About half held up their hands. Not satisfied he harangued for another twenty minutes and repeated his question. This time he received a response of eighty percent. Still unsatisfied, he lectured for fifteen minutes and repeated his question. With all thoughts now on Sunday dinner, all responded except one elderly lady in the rear.

"Ms. Jones, are you not willing to forgive your enemies?"

"I don't have any."

"Ms. Jones, that is very unusual. How old are you?"


"Ms. Jones, please come down in front and tell the congregation how a person can live to ninety-three and not have an enemy in the world."

FThe little sweetheart of a lady teetered down the aisle, very slowly turned around & said: "It's easy. I just outlived them all!"

Thursday, May 16, 2019

TBT - You think your job is tough?

Think your job is tough? You should have walked in Moses' sandals.  His job was to lead God's people, the Israelites, from Egypt to the Promised Land.  Working in a nitroglycerin factory would have been less stressful!

The people rejoiced when God miraculously delivered them from slavery.  They sang with Moses when God destroyed Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea.  They praised God when He promised to establish a covenant which would make them a people to be envied by all other tribes and nations.

But the Israelites could also be, as God described them, "a stiff-necked people."  You've heard the phrase, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going?" When things got a little difficult for God's people, they would moan and complain, with Moses being their whipping boy.  They accused their leader of having brought them out to the desert so they could die of thirst.  They whined of having no food to eat; then when God provided them with good food, they complained that they were tired of the same old menu.  How was it that Moses could put up with these people?

Moses got frustrated, even exasperated from time to time.  But he would soon calm down and get back to his job, leading God's people to the land the Lord had given them.  Moses was able to do so because He had a personal relationship with God.  He communed with the Lord.  He spent time in God's presence.  Moses once even reflected God's radiance to the Israelites.  When the going got tough, Moses got back to His ever-present God.  He trusted the Lord.  The Lord was with him.

You are just as blessed as Moses.  Remember this great hymn of the church? Jesus, priceless treasure, source of purest pleasure, truest friend to me.

Our greatest treasure in this life is the Lord Himself.  No matter how tough life becomes for us, we, too, have a personal relationship with Jesus.  He is with us always.  He has sent the Spirit to guide us.  He is preparing a place for us in heaven and will come again to take us to be with Him forever.  Don't despair, my friends, in these tough times.  Just as Moses communed with God, so you have fellowship with God, now and forever!

From May 16, 2012

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Grace upon grace

To be called to work in God's kingdom is itself grace.  To be rewarded for that work is grace upon grace.

Pastor Frank Starr

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

What walking does for you

I could not believe the number.  But there it was, in black and white.  The bathroom scale does not lie.  It confirmed what I had suspected.  I weighed more than I ever had in my life.

When I played high school basketball, I measured 6'2" and weighed 160 pounds.  If I stood sideways, you couldn't see me.  At that time I wished that I could put on some weight.  Now, I found myself wondering how I was going to get some weight off!

So, late last summer, I began walking.  Every day.  One to three miles.  I also changed my diet.  Started counting calories.  It wasn't as hard as I thought.  And then, a wonderful thing happened - I began to lose weight.

I set a goal of losing 20 pounds.  In eight months, I've actually lost 23 pounds.  Not a drastic loss. But I feel better and I look better.

Now, I do my walking with our dog, Jake.  He leads me on one to three mile walks.  We're both pretty tired when finished.  But its a "good kind of tired" if you know what I mean.

While looking at one of my journals this morning, I found something that I must have copied out of a magazine.  Can't tell you where it came from or when it was written.  But the comments about walking and exercise are pretty funny.  So, without any further ado...

I joined a health club last year; spent about 400 bucks.  Haven't lost a pound.  Apparently, you have to go there.

Walking can add minutes to your life.  This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional five months in a care facility at an extra $5000 per month.

The advantage of exercising every day is so when you die, they'll say, "Well, she looks good, doesn't she?"

I like long walks, especially when they're taken by people who annoy me.

Have a blessed day.  You might even include a walk.  It beats binge-watching Game of
Thrones.  Let me tell you how the show ends...


Monday, May 13, 2019

A quick answer to prayer

In 2011 I was given a three month sabbatical.  Included in this time of rest and refreshment was a month long trip to Europe.  We attended music festivals in Vienna, Austria, Leipzig, Germany and London, England. One leg of our trip would enable us to spend a few days in Wittenberg, Germany, the home of Martin Luther and the place where the Reformation of the church had its beginnings.  There was just one problem: our travel agent told us there was no train from Leipzig to Wittenberg.  We would have to travel all the way to Berlin, Germany, change trains and then double back to Wittenberg.  None of this made sense to us but we accepted it as part of traveling in a foreign country.
We boarded the train and quickly found our seats.  The conductor called out the route we would take which included stops at a number of cities including…yes, Wittenberg.  I talked to a train official and asked if Sherri and I could simply leave the train at the Wittenberg stop and not travel all the way to Berlin.  He said to me, “Of course you can!”  Sherri and I rejoiced.  Wittenberg was having a special festival celebrating the marriage of Martin and Katie Luther.  Now we would be able to attend.  We were so excited at our good fortune.
Sherri and I loved traveling by train, seeing the German countryside and what seemed like miles and miles of land producing all kinds of good crops.  Every village was picturesque and seemingly at the center of each one stood a church with a steeple and cross for everyone to see.
Finally, we heard the Wittenberg stop called out.  We grabbed our luggage and stepped off onto the platform.  The train blew its horn and off it went.
Our excitement didn’t last long - there wasn’t a single soul at the train station.  The information booth was closed.  We could see in the distance where the city of Wittenberg was – we just didn’t know how we were going to get there.
Suddenly it seemed as though good fortune had come through.  A taxi drove by.  I flagged the fellow down and asked if we could get a ride.  The driver told us he was occupied and that I should call for a taxi to pick us up.
That wasn’t what I wanted to hear.  I was having a terrible time making international phone calls.  You’ve had salespeople explain to you how simple something is to do or use, right? Unfortunately, we had had little success making such phone calls. I wasn't very optimistic that we would reach anyone.
As I started dialing the number, Sherri prayed out loud, saying simply: “Lord, we need a taxi.”  No sooner had she said the words than I turned around and behind me was a taxi! We didn’t even hear it pull up to the curb.  The driver asked us if we were going to town and we said, “Yes!” And just like that, we were enjoying the festival in Wittenberg.
On our ride into town, Sherri and I couldn’t help but keep looking at each other and smiling.  We were thinking the same thing: “God is good!”  We needed help and the Lord heard our call and provided the help we needed, almost instantly.  Amazing!
God doesn’t promise to answer every prayer that quickly.  In fact, we experience times when the Lord seems to take His time to get back to us.  Still, as disciples of the Lord, we do not despair.  Instead, we come in Jesus’ name, in confident faith that our Lord will answer in His perfect time and according to His perfect will.  1 John 5:14 tells us: This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Isn’t that great.  God hears us…even when we need a ride into town!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

How about this weather?

This week is was not too hot and not too cold but just right.

As I see it, there is no excuse for being in worship this weekend.

Join us at LICL - today at 5 pm and tomorrow at 8, 9:30 and 11 am.

I will be doing the preaching this weekend and I'm excited about the message - "Come Lord Jesus."

So why don't you come too?

God bless your weekend!

Friday, May 10, 2019

What kind of bells are we ringing?

A minister well known for his beautiful singing voice came home visibly upset after consulting with a new widow about funeral plans for her recently deceased husband. His wife asked him what was wrong, and he revealed that the wife had asked him to sing her husband's favorite song, "Jingle Bells," at the funeral.

He was troubled that it wasn't appropriate to the solemn occasion. He struggled and prayed about it, and finally decided to honor the grieving widow's wishes.

At the funeral, still sensitive about how some of the mourners might react to hearing "Jingle Bells" at a funeral, he carefully introduced the song with words about appreciating the sense of humor and lightheartedness of the deceased.

The widow had been very tearful during the service. Hearing the introduction to her late husband's "favorite song" she sat up and began to appear quite interested. As the preacher began the song, the widow began to smile, and her tears dried up.

She was actually giggling as he concluded, and he felt glad he'd decided to honor her request since it obviously had been so comforting.

After the service she thanked the pastor for sharing his music ministry, and with a big grin she added, "By the way, the favorite song I requested was 'When They Ring Those Golden Bells!'"

Thursday, May 9, 2019

What could be worse than death?

I think this quote came from a Woody Allen movie which I watched many years ago.  I don't remember for sure but I think I might have added this to my journal after a one hour appointment lasted nearly three hours.

There are worse things than death.  If you've ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman, you know what I'm talking about.

TBT - The Owners Manual

The Owner's Manual.  We're certain we don't need them.  But they sure come in handy.

For example, the last time I had my car in for service, the digital clock got scrambled and wasn't showing the correct time.  There are two little buttons to set the time.  Should be easy to set the clock correctly, right? Maybe for you, but not for me! I messed with it and fussed with it, all to no avail.  Finally, I got out the owner's manual, read the short paragraph on "clock," and had the correct time set in two minutes.  Thank goodness for the owner's manual!

After doing some study it seems to me that the Epistle of James serves as a manual of sorts for Christian disciples.  Over the course of five chapters the brother of Jesus deals with a variety of subjects.

1) How to deal with temptation
2) Hearing the Word of God and putting it into practice
3) Loving your neighbor
4) Putting faith to work through serving others

With James you get nothing but straight talk.  He's got no time for those who blame their problems on God or others.  He's not impressed by those who "talk the talk" but fail to "walk the walk."  Take some time to read James.  You'll find yourself being challenged by his words.  Read them carefully.  They were written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so, you might say, these are God's Words to you.  Consider them.  Pray over them.  Identify those areas where growth in faith and obedience is needed.  And then ask the Holy Spirit to continue to do His sanctifying work in your heart and soul.

May your reading of James fill you with the wisdom that comes from heaven! (3:17)

From May 2, 2014

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Food for Cross Thoughts from Kurt Senske

Simply put, it is impossible for us to live the life that God created uniquely for us and continue to live in our old ways.

From "The Calling," page 13

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

One ingredient to beat depression

Countless studies have found that social relationships are the best guarantee of heightened well-being and lowered stress, both as an antidote for depression and a prescription for high performance.

"The Happiness Advantage," by Shawn Achor, page 14

Knowing God

If you want to know God, then you simply need to know Jesus.

"Authentic Christianity," page 70

Monday, May 6, 2019

Hold fast to Jesus Christ

My dear, sweet wife often makes fun of the fact that I have the ability to remember the most insignificant details from the past but have a hard time remembering that garbage pickup in our neighborhood is Thursday (or is it Tuesday?).

Anyway, I recently took a trip down memory lane all the way back to my days at Redeemer Lutheran School in Tucson, Arizona. The first verse our 5th grade class memorized was Luke 11:28 - Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and obey it."

Our teacher, Mrs. Royer, told us that everything we learned during religion hour that year would be from the Word of God.  She said, "Now I don't want God's Word to go in one ear and out the other! I want you to memorize God's Word and know it and keep it and obey it!"

The emphasis on the Greek word for "obey" is "to hold fast to, trust, cherish, keep on believing."  Our Savior God takes up residence in our hearts through faith created by God's Word.  The Holy Spirit continues throughout our lives to teach us the truth of the precious Word.  As we hear and learn it more and more, we trust God for the forgiveness of our sins, hold fast to Christ, "the way and the truth and the life," and cherish how God speaks to us through His Word.

May God continue to bless you and you hear, read, study and pray over His Word and keep on trusting in His promises of grace!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Who not to take criticism from

Don't take criticism from people you wouldn't take advice from.

TV commentator  and former coach Jeff Van Gundy

This Old House

The psalmist writes, "O Lord, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells."  Join us in God's house for worship this weekend at LICL;

Saturday at 5 pm

Sunday at 8, 9:30 and 11 am.

That's it! Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, May 3, 2019

When we all get to heaven...

Father Murphy walked into a pub and said to the first man he met, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

The man said, "I do Father."The priest said, "Leave this pub right now!" 

He then approached a second man.  "Do you want to got to heaven?"
"Certainly, Father," was the man's reply.  "Then leave this den of Satan!" said the priest.

Father Murphy then walked up to O'Toole and asked, "Do you want to go to heaven?" O'Toole replied: "No, I don't Father."

The priest looked him right in the eye and said, "You mean to tell me that when you die you don't
want to go to heaven?"

O'Toole smiled, "Oh, when I die.  Yes Father.  I thought you were getting a group together to go right now."

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A prayer for unity in the church

Heavenly Father,

You called us into the body of Christ
 Help us to live as one in Him

You have given us one faith
 Keep us in the one true faith

You have given us one baptism
 Let us live in our common baptismal grace

You have given us apostles and prophets
 Let us live with singleness of heart

You have sent us pastors and teachers
 Enlighten us to learn with oneness of mind

You have equipped us for the unity of faith
 Help us to attain that unity by forgiveness

You have given us Your love in Christ
 Enable us to speak Your love in truth

You built Your church of Your will
 Make us to fit into our proper place

You create Your church of living stones;
 Enliven us to serve Your holy purpose,
 that the whole church may grow and upbuild itself in love

We ask it in the name of Jesus, 
 the chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls


From Lutheran Book of Prayer, page 78

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

My father in law's birthday

It's my father in law's birthday.  But he's not here to celebrate with us.

Bill Landis is celebrating his birthday in heaven.  Although, I doubt that birthdays receive much of a fuss in heaven.

Why celebrate yourself when you are resting in the arms of your Savior, Jesus?

So we remember Bill today.  We remember what a wonderful husband and father and grandfather he was.  We remember his track record of success in the business world (although you'd never hear it directly from him - Bill hated talking about himself.).  We remember that you couldn't have a better friend in the world.  He was always "on call" when someone needed help.  We remember that he was a quiet man of a deep faith that enabled him to trust in his Savior for forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

The promise of the resurrection is our comfort today.  We'll be reunited with Bill.  We'll know him better there in heaven than we ever knew him here on earth.  And we'll celebrate the perfect sacrifice and perfect love of Jesus who has made our family reunion certain.  What a day that will be!

We are the "called out" ones

The word for 'church" in the New Testament is "ecclesia."  It means, literally, "called out,"  Christians are "called out" by Christ - out and away from sin, death and the devil.

Matthew Harrison, "A Little Book of Joy," page 156