Thursday, November 26, 2009


Well, here it is Thanksgiving. What a wonderful holiday that seems to be unique to America. I find it sad that we don't think of every day, or at least a few days a week as Thanksgiving. Forget the turkey and the trimmings (I'm fat enough, already) but how about the real get down on your knees kind of Thanksgiving and tell God how much you appreciate what He's done for you. When you look around you, if you really look around you, you will see a lot of people hurting. And the funny thing is you will see a lot of people hrting more than you. Try this; offer a kind word, a cup of coffee, a hand up of some sort from the dark place they are heading and you will discover two things.
1. You will feel a lot better aobut whatever it is that is plaguing you at the present time...and....
2. You will become that for which they are thankful.
Now, don't you feel better already? Go out and give it a try....go on...See you next time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wake up call

I try to refrain from politicizing this space, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult with each passing day. It's very hard to watch our nation being flushed down the drain by those in power and even harder to realize that so many believe that what is happening is for the good of the citizens of the United States. Is it the beginning of the end times? Perhaps. As a preacher, I try to tell my people not to focus on anything or anyone than Jesus, but also to be aware of the times in which you live. To do otherwise is foolish. This is breif, but a warning is now necessary. Wake up America.
I guess the final nail in the coffin for me was last week at Fort Hood. Shouldn't someone have seen that coming? Muslim radicalism is not a good thing. The koran is not a book of peace. It is filled with hate and disgust for everything but its own. That may sound a bit harsh, but that's how I see it. When compared with the bible, which truly is a book of peace, it is found to be a loathsome book that is at the least incendiary and at the worst, provocative and inflammatory.
In the interst of political correctness, those in charge are afraid to say anything bad about the "peaceful" Muslims. Wake up America, before it's too late.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Seemed like a good idea at the time

Holiday weekends are made for something different. My something different was to take a ride on a motorcycle to help raise a little money for Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child. (Yeah, I know. Suffering for the children) We rode through the beautiful mountains of Eastern Arizona, past Sunrise Ski Area through the towns of Eagar and Springerville and looped back to Show Low. Around here, we call it the great circle route. The only problem was that it was raining, not all the way, sometimes it was hailing. At the time it was hailing, I was behind the others a bit (rest area break) so to play catch up I was going fast. I don't know if you've ever encountered hail on a motorcycle, but little bits of ice pelting you at 75-80 mph is a very different experience. Oddly enough, the ride was still very enjoyable. It may be one of those things that you tell your grandchilderen about and embellish so that there are monsters and evil involved and yet we came out victorious. I told one friend who was riding with us to put on my tombstone, "It seemed like a good idea at the time"
We all have those moments in life where we embark on something with the noblest of intentions and whatever it is becomes more tedious than originally anticipated. We just carry on because the inconvenience is still not greater than the goal for which we strive. I wonder if Jesus thought that what he was doing was more than He originally bargained for as He carried that cross up the hill that day. Obviously not, for He completed His mission. I'm sure He was aware of the pain, the suffering, the horrendous sacrifice He was making even though there would be those who would not appreciate His sacrifice and gain from that noble deed even though the reward for acknowledging this incredible gift is eternal life. (Ok there's a little more to it than that)
It is always, at the very least, impolite to not thank someone for their gift to you. But so many, in their ignorance, go beyond that to even mock the Son of God and those who believe in that precious gift. How sad, especially when the gift was given for everyone who lives. My sincere prayer is that no one would meet Jesus one day (and we all will) and when He asks why you didn't believe in the gift of God your answer is, "Seemed like a good idea at the time." What an eternally wrong statement.
I was once on that side of the fence. I am so glad we serve a merciful God. You think about some very different things while on a motorcycle.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Becoming a disciple

Every once in a while we have the opportunity to both refresh and grow at the same time. This past week was one of those times for me. I spent the week at Salvation Army Officer's Councils which would in and of itself give the impression that we were preparing for war. And in the strictest sense of the word, we were. You see we understand that we " do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12) And because we understand that we prepare for the battle.
Time was spent rediscovering holiness and discipleship, without both of which, we are powerless against the enemy of our souls. I find it very difficult to live the life of a disciple, though, without first fitting into a life of holiness. God is holy and so expects holiness from his people. (1Peter 1:16) And what I had reaffirmed this week is that our personal holiness is only made possible by the presence of God.
When God told Moses to take off his shoes because he stood on holy ground, the ground had been made holy by the presence of God, and nothing else. I strive for His presence in my life and reach out for His holiness, not my own. He is able to make me holy and there is no other way to achieve it. No rituals, no nothing can bring me into His presence but if He is present with me at all times, then His holiness remains with me at all times and because of this, I am made holy. I don't believe that holiness in this sense means that we are "set apart" but rather that we are touched by the Lord God of heaven and made holy by that touch.
What an awesome thing it is to stand before the creator and be able to both speak to Him and to hear His voice. Renewing is necessary and not just once in a while, but every day so that we come to Him refreshed and alive, able to know that we don't have to wait until the next life to become Holy vessels used by God to do His will. It's a great thing to be used by God, but if we become disciples made holy by His presence in our lives, our use is magnified and He is better able to use our talents for His glory.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I was pretty amazed at the hype over Michael Jacksons death then memorial. A friend sent me a post from another it is:
With no disrespect intended to the Jackson family, this sure does reveal the shallowness of our value system in this country.
This puts things into perspective:While the focus today, tomorrow and for the next God-knows-how- many-days will be the death of a pop culture icon; while many will mourn, wail and quite literally make fools of themselves over it and while as many will speak endlessly about it, allow me, if only for a moment, to remind us all that others have died this month; others whose lives were cut short; others who leave behind loved ones and whose families will dearly miss them; families who'll suffer with much more dignity and honor than we'll be exposed to on the tube in the coming days. Yes... it's true... we've suffered a great loss... but forgive me while I tell you that I'm not talking about the king of pop music.
These American military members died in Iraq this month:
Sergeant Justin J. Duffy
Specialist Christopher M. Kurth
Specialist Charles D. Parrish
Lance Corporal Robert D. Ulmer
Staff Sergeant Edmond L. Lo
Sergeant Joshua W. Soto
Captain Kafele H. Sims
Specialist Chancellor A. Keesling

And these members of our U.S. Armed Forces died in Afghanistan this month:
Sergeant Jones, Ricky D.
Specialist Munguia Rivas, Rodrigo A.
Command Master Chief Petty Officer Garber, Jeffrey J.
1st Sergeant Blair, John D.Sergeant Smith, Paul G.
Staff Sergeant Melton, Joshua
Sergeant 1st Class Dupont, Kevin A.
Specialist O'Neill, Jonathan C.
Chief Warrant Officer Richardson Jr., Ricky L.
Specialist Silva, Eduardo S.
Lance Corporal Whittle, Joshua R.
Major Barnes, Rocco M.
Major Jenrette, Kevin M.
Staff Sergeant Beale, John C.
Specialist Jordan, Jeffrey W.
Specialist Griemel, Jarrett P.
Specialist Hernandez I, Roberto A.
Sergeant Obakrairur, Jasper K.
Staff Sergeant Hall, Jeffrey A.
Private 1st Class Ogden, Matthew D.
Private 1st Class Wilson, Matthew W.

Let's remember and honor this day those whose deaths are truly impacting our Freedom and Liberty
This came from Captain Jake Cutter.....all I can do is stand up and salute these brave soldiers who have laid down their lives so we can live free. Thank you

Thursday, July 2, 2009

America, what happened?

On this 4th of July eve eve, I am contemplating the direction of America. I try to keep this space positive, but I have seen such a sadness take over our dear country in the last few months (perhaps even the last few years) that I am confused, bewildered and more than just a little ticked off by it all. The "news" about Michael Jackson's death gets more airtime than the middle east, wars around the world, North Korea and Hugo Chavez combined. Yes the man was talented, but I thought much more of Farrah Fawcett or Ed McMahon than him.
And how is it that our beloved America is beginning to look like a communist country? Government taking over businesses is a very scary beginning to things. The welfare state that has been developing over the last 40 YEARS is more than a little scary as well. I mean, I work in the social services arena and we never have a problem giving someone a hand up, but I don't much care for handouts. My wife has a saying she repeats to all in our homeless program as well as some others. "I am here to run alongside you, but I won't drag you down the road."
I worked with many Katrina evacuees and know many who work in agencies in New Orleans. The residents of New Orleans were never taught that they need to help themselves. Everyone just went in and did it for them. There is a time when that's appropriate, but when an able bodied man stands and watches others rebuild his house, I think it's time to grab him by the shoulders and shake him awake. When a perfectly healthy young woman watches while others go in a clean her house and bring her food and yet she refuses to even look for work, it just isn't right. But I'm afraid we did that to ourselves.
I work in disasters every year. I worked hurricane Ike last year. The people of Galveston, Houston, Pasadena and Beaumont just rolled up their sleeves and got to work. We brought them (along with many others) food twice a day, and in fact while I was there, we passed our two millionth meal from that disaster. But the work went on and was being done by those who lived there, by those who had lost all or nearly all.
It used to be that neighbors helped neighbors recover from any tragedy that struck, whether it was personal or widespread. It was the Christian thing to do. Now we don't know our neighbors and we sure don't want to help them, because they may be cooking meth in their house or it might be filled with illegal aliens. We'll just let the government help everyone now, if they really need help.
I apologize if I sound a little (or a lot) depressing, angry, or whatever. I'm not really, I'm just disappointed. I didn't want it to be like this. Our founders didn't see this coming, I'm sure. This 4th of July, I'll go wave a flag, barbecue with friends, watch fireworks and do all the things that Americans do on the 4th, even if they don't know what the 4th of July means. And I'll try to pass on to my children some sense of patriotism so that at least some Americans will remember that this nation was founded by the people, of the people and for the people so that we could write blogs, read dissenting viewpoints, live, love and cherish one another until God calls us home. Maranatha!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Being a survivor

I find myself preparing for something I hope never happens. That's so sad. I've been praying intensely for America. Then I suddenly came to the realization that no matter what happens, it is all in the hands of God. (I guess that wasn't such a sudden revelation) I will continue praying, but I am concerned for those who are not ready for any contingency. We must get ready for whatever happens. Stock up on food if you can. Be ready for anything. Be a survivor.
Yesterday, one of my parishoners, an 84 year young lady was preparing to move back to Oklahoma and when she was getting ready to leave she became quite ill and was hospitalized. Her little sister (76 years) was stuck alone and afraid so my wife went to comfort her and I went to the hospital. Well family is coming to take little sister back home and it she's unable to fly, one of our church fellas and myself will drive her back home. She kept weeping, saying, "I just want to go home". In my business that can mean something quite different. Anyway she wants to go fishing in Oklahoma one more time. It's in the hands of God. I'll help if I can, and she's getting ready to go home....either way. She's a survivor.
We all need to prepare spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally for everything that comes our way, and putting preparation off won't make difficult circumstances dissipate. In fact, that will worsen the situation. I work in disasters all the time. We call those who make it through a disaster survivors, while those who don't are called victims. Don't be a victim, don't play a victim. Be a survivor.
Preparing spiritually is the easiest as far as preparation but is the one thing that gets ignored the most. We wait until we're neck deep in the flood and then cry out to God. Would have been a good idea to perhaps get yourself ready beforehand. And preparing spiritually will certainly help the other three fall in line. Be a survivor

On Backing up

Well, it seems I am getting oh so forgetful, but I think its more just relying too heavily on electronic gizmos and computers to do my remembering. I put everything in Microsoft Outlook so I can remember appointments, I make notes on paper and lose them, ....Oh the confusion. I need to learn to back up all files, paper, electronic and mental. (not sure how to do all that yet) Were it not for an occasional ride on the motorcycle, all brain cells would have shrunken to a horribly tiny size and refused to fire at all. Yes the bike is good.
Life is moving at an incredibly quick pace. The last year has been dominated by a youth center, (which finally is on the verge of opening) We hooked the computers up last night. The cable internet will be hooked up today. I'm torn about allowing kids to utilize these computers for facebook, twitter, etc. I am told that if oyu want the kids to come, you must. But I am of the mindset that they can "twitter" & "Tweet" at the library or home. I really want these to be used for research. I think they'll come anyway. I hope so, anyway. Guess we'll see.
We received a grant to help families with children aged 1-5 yrs with food, diapers, etc. I'm excited about it, but I think it's a bit of a huge project. I hope we can find some volunteers to help.
I passed a big milestone this past week. My youngest daughter was married on Father's day...and I got to perform the ceremony! It was truly wonderful. She married a young man from Italy and most of his family was present. Lots of hugging and kissing going on. Beautiful people enjoying a wonderful time. Aubriana Rose Hope I have always considered my smartest daughter, until she chose to have an outdoor wedding in Phoenix in June. At least it was in the evening. It was only about 90-95 degrees by then. Anyway it was all good. They are now on their honeymoon and basking in one another's love. I hope she learns to speak Italian.
Weddings are funny, but remind us (especially parents) that life is a moving target that must also be backed up by memories created along the way, and by the love we can show one another when things are good and when things are tough. Everyone has tough times at sometime and we can never depend on all things being good all the know...for better OR worse. I gave the beaming couple a book called "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs. I think it's the definitive book on relationships and explains so well what is needed to make a marriage successful. It's for new AND old marriages. Well gotta go back up some files now....